Just a little rant. . .

It’s been a while. But I’ve got something to say and this is quite likely the best place to say it.

I wish to GOD that people would stop posting all those melodramatic posts about what it means to be a mother.

Don’t get me wrong – I know being a mom is a tough (tuff) job – but come on people! It’s not like you’re working in the salt mines or digging ditches in 100 degree heat all day!

The tone of all these posts that get circulated on the internet is that somehow being a mother is akin to being in shackles and that there is absolutely no respite or appreciation or compensation for the job.

I call bullshit!

I don’t get why all these women who wanted a home and family are now so bent on getting attention and recognition for their ‘sacrifices’.  It wasn’t a sacrifice — it was a choice. A choice women since the dawn of time have made. And they made it knowing that it would change their lives. Mostly for the better.

Despite all the mewling and whining and ‘woe-is-me’ out there, I believe most women who have been mothers or are mothers just get on with the job of being mom. That includes being wife, housecleaner and chief bottle washer. They get up each morning with a smile and greet their families without the marks of self-flaggelation upon their backs.

You don’t see a gazillion weepy-penned articles or posts about what it means to be a dad.  If all these women crying the blues think they’ve got it so bad, think they’re so under-appreciated and under-valued, why don’t they try being the dad for awhile. Gain a little perspective, then talk about sacrifice.

I was a mom. I loved it. Not every day did I love it, but 93% of the time I have to say, I completely loved my job. To me, it was the most important thing I could ever do in my life. Raising a child, teaching him, guiding him, providing for him. I chose that, no one forced me into it.

I was lucky, I had a husband who worked full time while I stayed home. Occasionally I worked at a part-time job when we wanted extra money for holidays or some big purchase. But mostly, I got to be at home – a place I took pride in, a place I felt blessed to have, a place I knew was my responsibility to keep clean and maintain as a trade-off for being a stay-at-home wife and mother.

I don’t get how the women in these posts and articles feel they need all this validation. They’re constantly bemoaning the fact hat their husbands come home and question them about what they did all day when they walk in the door to chaos and no supper. Well, I question that, too.

What the hell are they doing all day? Surfing Pinterest for the next great birthday theme so that they can impress all the other whiny-mommies? Or, perhaps it’s searching for butt and ab exercise routines that can be done in under 20 minutes? No, more than likely it’s for smoothie recipes to help them lose weight.

And, if it’s not Pinterest, then they’re probably on FaceBook or Twitter or just texting to complain about how hard their little lives are. Meanwhile their kids are being ignored, the house is a mess and they don’t get why their husbands are  no longer attracted to them.

It’s time for women to stop acting like martyrs. Time for them to step up, do their job, and do it well. Time for them to stop begging on social medial for respect and acknowledgement. Nobody, except movies stars and athletes, gets to do that.

You’re a mom — get used to it.

 

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July 31st – August 2nd

Day 213 – 215 — We’ve had a few very lovely days here in Bon Accord.  And it looks like the long weekend is shaping up to be a gorgeous one.

I managed, finally, to get all the weeding done.  Yay! Yay! Yay!  I sat under my lovely pergola for the first time last night and enjoyed the fading rays of the sun after a late dinner.  I made the most delicious spinach salad I’ve ever had.  Don’t want to boast — well, that’s a lie! — but, damn, that salad was good.

On Wednesday I decided to pick up my grandkids and spend the day with them — to take a break from the monotony of chores and day-to-day.  We went to the spray park in St. Albert where they had a grand time.  Ethan was enthralled with the skateboard park next to us and I have fears that as soon as he’s big enough he’s going to want to try what he saw.  Gives me fits.  Afterwards we had popsicles and ice-cream as we sat in the sun waiting for them to dry off.

Then, home where I made them tacos for supper.  We were having fish tacos. None of them have ever had fish, so Grandma decided to try it on them.  I LOVE fish tacos — my new favorite food.  Has been for about a year now.  Anyway, they loved the fish, just not on tacos.  They’ll get there, eventually.  But I’m glad I was able to introduce them to something new.

On Thursday I went and got my haircut.  Quite a bit shorter than I have had, and I love it.  Something new for the new me.  LOL.  Followed my plan to find a little coffee shop and sit and write for a couple of hours.  Tried out a place called JAX coffee on 50th street.  Very nice.  Excellent food and service.  I would recommend the wonton soup if you decide to give it a try.  Got some good writing done.  Fleshed out a poem, which I think is going to get entered into a contest when it’s done.

I am feeling full of positive vibes.  I know it has mostly to do with the summer and the removal of work stress, but I’m determined to hang on to them.

Oh, yeah — I’ve registered for courses at Concordia again.  Marching ever forward.

Saturday Night

Just a very quick blog to state how very, very, very happy I am to be on Christmas break!  Finally!  Yay!

This is how I’m looking at it:  two whole friggin’ weeks of Friday nights!  Yahoo!

Am I happy?  You bet your sweet patootie!

To everyone who works in a school —  you know what I’m talkin’ about!

So, go do your happy dance!  Dance! Dance! Dance!

I feel like a loon and that’s the way I wanna feel!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, near the end of November

It’s hard to believe, but this month is nearly at an end.  December is a mere 5 days away.

December.

Christmas.

The longest night of the year.

The beginning of the depths of winter.

It has been an exceptionally rough Fall this year.  For me, anyway.  I’ve had what I think is more than my fair share of trials and tribulations.  That may sound like whining, but I’m being honest when I say it’s been a helluva long haul.  And it ain’t over yet.

Oh, no.  There’s still plenty coming my way.  Only now, I’ve managed to gain a modicum of perspective and I think I’ll manage to get myself through without too much trouble.  (That’s my fervent hope, anyway.)

I’ve had help from those nearest and dearest who have listened, talked, calmed and helped me see that it isn’t as bleak as I sometimes paint, and when I’ve felt that I’ve painted myself into a corner they’ve been there with the rags and the thinner to help show me the way out.  I truly am blessed.

Sometimes, it’s easy to lose your perspective.  Easy to give into the dark thoughts and fears that wait for the times when you’re feeling weak and vulnerable.  But, with perseverance and love and kindness, eventually you’ll see that all the good, joyful, wonderful bits that make life bearable are still there and that they can overcome your fears and insecurities.

I don’t know why, really, it was so hard for me this year.  Usually, I’m pretty tough.  I can take just about anything and bounce back ready to fight.  But this time around. . .

. . .I don’t know.  The fight seemed to go out of me.  I’m tired of fighting, I guess.  And that confused the hell out of me.  Because if I’m not ready to fight, then what am I to do?

I know what I want to do — and that is simply just to be.  I want to relax in the evenings and bake cookies if I feel like it.  I want to go out for leisurely strolls in the cold winter evenings, even though I hate the cold.

I want to curl up on the couch and read.  Pick up the crochet book and the yarn I bought.  I want to rearrange my bedroom.  I want to wander over and see what my grandkids are up to and then wander back home and have a hot cup of tea and go to bed.

But right now I’m not capable of any of that.  Right now I’m simply rallying.  Rallying my defences — physical, mental and emotional.  And that is taking a lot out of me.  Slowly, slowly I’m beginning to feel strong again, a little bit of the fight in me is showing through again.  It won’t, I don’t think, ever come fully back.  And that, I believe, is because I won’t let it.

It’s time for me to take care of me.  There’s only so much of yourself that you can give away before something inside you gives way.  It’s been a tough lesson, one I would have thought I was too old to learn.

Apparently I was wrong.

I’m hoping that my mind is a little clearer a little more free again and that one of these days I’ll start writing something besides these angsty, self-analysis posts.  Until then, thanks to everyone who has continued to check in on my meagre and sporadic offerings.

The glass half full — with cranberries!

Thursday, bloody Thursday

I only wrote that because I had nothing else to say.

Lately, I feel like that all the time.  It’s been quite a struggle this past month.  But maybe, just maybe I’m beginning to see an end to it.

I hope so.  Because going around pretending to be happy is HARD.  I want to stop pretending.

Sometimes, as I said about a week ago, life just sucks.  There’s not a damn thing you can do about it but keep on living.

And so, I have.  I’ve gone to work, I’ve done an excellent job (I think) in a less than wonderful environment.  I’ve managed to stay on top of Union business that I’d rather have just forgotten about, I’ve dealt with difficult people, difficult situations and managed to maintain my respectability and sanity.  I’ve weathered my own little emotional crisis and have, amidst it all, found time to vacuum the living room and clean the bathroom.

Reason to celebrate!  And, at least, smile a little bit.

Maybe it’s just the turning of the weather, the cold, hard fact that winter is nearly here.  We did, after all, have snow today.  The skies were gray, the wind was cold and tempers were frayed.

We’re waiting for the thermometer to finally drop well below 0 before we have to make that inevitable trip down into the basement, where we’ve got the winter boots stowed away in the space under the stairs.  It’s a gloomy thought if you’re not 10 years old.

The thought that my grandkids are probably all looking forward to the magic of the first ‘real’ snowfall — the kind that blankets the world in white and transforms it into something new, strange and wonderful — is the only thing about the coming winter that can make me anticipate it in the slightest.

Once upon a time I enjoyed waiting for that first big snowfall because I loved the sense of surprise and wonder it brought to my son’s eyes when he saw it.  Sadly, now, I’ve lost that.

When it’s just me staring outside into the dark morning, knowing that I’ve got to spend 5 minutes brushing the damn stuff off my car before I can leave for work all I can do is think of it with loathing.

Ah, tomorrow is Friday.  For that I give thanks.

Monday — the last Monday. . .

. . . of this 2011/2012 school year, that is.

This last couple of weeks has gone by really, really slowly.  Today was our last day with the kids. We won’t see them again until Friday when they come in for half a day to pick up their report cards and attend one last assembly.

We have to switch classrooms — again — seems like Special Ed is the most transient group in the school system.  We just moved into our new digs last year and we had come to really like and appreciate our space.  Next year will be our third time moving.  It’s enough to make me want to cry.  Hopefully, this latest move will be our last.  Our kids need and deserve continuity.  Ah well, here’s to hoping.

I have mixed feelings about what to expect for next year.  We are going from having 5 full time aides and one part timer to only 3 full time aides (possibly only 2).  The needs are the same, perhaps even greater in some respects, but we’re really going to have to spread ourselves out in order to meet the demands.  It’s going to be a challenge, that’s for sure.  Good thing I work in a challenging environment.

 

 

 

Saturday morning

This is just a quick post to say I’m still alive and well.  It’s just that It’s nearing the end of the school year and that means it is particularly busy.

Even as an education assistant this means there is a lot of extra work.  The teachers have it harder, believe me, but we EA’s work our butts off, too, during this time.

Last night, I attended our Grade 9’s Farewell fling.  Most of the time these kids make me want to scream because of the way they act, but last night they were wonderful.  They looked so gorgeous dressed up, pretending to be adults.  They’re on their way, that’s for sure, but they still have a way to go.

Though our school has toned down the farewell thing for grade 9’s I still can’t quite wrap my head around how much money parents (some) spend on this.  At least the dresses are not in the $500 – $800 range.  But they are still pricey.  A few of the girls were dressed a tad too scantily, but they conducted themselves appropriately.  All in all, I’d have to say it was a huge, beautiful success.

I wish them well as they head into exams and contemplate the years of high school ahead of them.  Oh, the Comp is going to be such a different world!  Many of them have such an awakening coming to them, it’s going to be tough at first.  But if last night’s glimpse at their potential holds true, they’ll do just fine.

In between school stuff and CUPE stuff I’ve been trying to work out in the yard.  So far, I’ve only managed a couple of hours a week, but I’m hoping to get more time in this weekend.  I’m currently clearing my rock paths of all the poppies and dandelions.  Armed with a paint scraper (great for shearing them off at ground level) and a bottle of undiluted vinegar (kills weeds without all the toxic side effects) I am determined that once again I will be able to clearly see the paths I so painstakingly laid two years ago.

I have big gardening plans this year.  I want to grow as many vegetables in pots that I can.  This was inspired by one of Soul Dipper’s Occupy Blogosphere posts from a while back.  It has become so important to all of us to try to eat as much self-produced food as we can.  Not only because of the fear of unknown contaminants and genetic modifications, but simply because it is better for us in all ways.

Growing even a  tiny bit of the food you feed yourself and your family provides a sense of pride and accomplishment.  It teaches responsibility and the need for diligence.  It’s good for the soul — gets you back to the earth, so to speak, even if it is potting soil.  It adds beauty to your surroundings and provides a sense of holistic balance.  And, it saves you a few dollars.  Which, these days, is mightily important.

Anyway, folks, I just wanted to come in for a quick touchdown, say hi, and then vamoose for a little while again.  Until the holidays are here my posts will be very sporadic.  I do try to sneak in for a peek at many of your blogs just to see  what you’re up to.  I comment when I think I have the time.

Take care; I hope you’re enjoying your summer (or winter).

Well!  I got the nicest surprise. . .

Well!  I got the nicest surprise when I checked my blog today.  Grandmalin has nominated me for a Kreativ Blogger award.  I am so tickled.  Thank you!

I really, honestly was surprised, because most of the time I don’t feel like I’m being very creative at all.  Mostly just blithering away about stuff that I think no one will find interesting. (Well, maybe one or two people who know me and humour me, but that’s it.)

Lately, I haven’t had a lot of time to blog or to catch up on other’s blogs.  It’s been a very busy time here at Casa Larson, in the wee town I live in.

Work has been nuts — we’re heading into the last two months of the school year and everyone starts getting very nervous and stressed out about jobs and assignments for the next school year.  Education is often not a pretty career choice.

I have big exciting news that I can’t share yet — it has to wait until after Father’s Day.  Suffice it to say it involves travel and my favorite musician.  I am so stoked I can barely stand the fact that this ‘event’ is 4 months away.  How, oh how, will I make it?!

So, now on to honouring, or attempting to honour, the requirements of my award.

Here are the rules for those nominated:

  1. Copy the Kreativ Blogger Award logo and place it in your post.
  2. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  3. List 7 things about you that people might find interesting.
  4. Nominate 7 other bloggers for their own Kreativ Blogger Award.
  5. Leave a comment on the blogs you nominate to let them know about the award.

Seven interesting things about me:

1.  I love red cars — once wrote a piece about them that I read on-line for CBC radio.
2.  I always root for the underdog — it’s just so much fun, and worth it when they come out on top.
3.  I dabble in many things — but never really master any of them.  I blame it on time — the lack of.
4.  Being a mother and a grandmother are the two things I’m most proud of in my life.
5.  Back in the days of drive-in movies I was a lover of drive-in food — corn-on-the-cob, foil-wrapped burgers, fries in little card-board boats.  Yum!
6.  I weighed 104 lbs when I got married.  165 lbs when I gave birth to my son.  Yikes!
7.  Reading Mark Helprin’s A Soldier of the Great War changed my life.

There you go — some stuff a little personal, but the best I could do.  (It’s hard!)

Now to nominate bloggers I admire (this is going to be harder — I admire them all):

1.  SoulDipper
2.  KateShrewsday
3. Wightrabbit
4. Sweetandweak
5.  LyndaJeffersPhotography
6.  Grandma 1947’s Blog
7.  The Laughing Housewife.

For those I didn’t nominate I will still give a shout out to you as being great motivators and wonderfully creative human beings.  Reading your blogs often gives me a lift when I desperately need one.  Anyone who dares to put themselves out there in front of the big ol’ scary world deserves an award.

I hope you are all having a lovely Spring weekend.

Ciao for now.

The Dresses

When the urge strikes. . .

The Dresses

When I was a little girl I remember, vaguely, some dresses that my grandmother Evelyn bought for my sister Tracy and I.  One was pink and one was blue.  They had full skirts with crinolines underneath.  The tops were black (I think) with short, cap sleeves and a round neck-line.  The skirts were large print gingham with black silhouette cutouts around the bottom.  There were ladies, men and poodles as I recall.

My sister and I loved those beautiful little dresses.  Grandma even bought us matching white patent leather shoes to wear with them.  I remember feeling so pretty and so special when I put it on.  I couldn’t have been more than 4 or 5 years old at the time.

My parents were dirt poor.  My father was a private in the army and was gone a lot of the time.  My mother was left at home by herself to take care of us.  There was barely enough money for food at that time, and certainly never any money to buy us pretty things like dresses or shiny white shoes.

Of course, I knew none of that then.  All I knew is that my beautiful, tall and elegant grandmother had descended like a fairy godmother to bring my sister and I fancy dresses, like those a princess would wear.

My grandparents had come for a visit and they were taking us all out for dinner or lunch.  Sadly, I don’t remember if we ever wore those dresses more than that one time.  We wanted to wear them all the time, but of course, were not allowed. Shortly after that my father was posted to Manitoba.  Whether the dresses came with us or not is a mystery.  I certainly don’t remember ever wearing mine again.

And then, our house burnt down.  It was a ramshackle affair in a town called Wheatland.  It was situated on a dusty prairie road alongside some train tracks.  I recall that most of the people living there were poor, like us.  I don’t believe we had running water; the house was heated by a pot belly stove.  That’s why it burnt down, in fact.

My sister and I saw it happen.  We had gotten up to go to the bathroom and came down to use the toilet beside my parents bedroom.  We saw that the pile of newspapers next to the stove had caught fire.  We were afraid to wake my parents up and so we just ran right back up the stairs to our bedroom, which was right above the stove, and crawled back in to bed.  We laid there, awake, scared, crying and not knowing what to do when suddenly we heard my mother and father screaming and shouting.

My father came up the stairs and got each of us (there were six of us at that time, including my infant brother, Shawn).  The stairs were on fire already and he had to throw us through the flames to our mother who was waiting to catch us at the bottom of the stairs. Thankfully, I have blocked all that out.   Tracy and I were put in charge of our siblings, including Shawn, (we were 5 and 6 at the time) while my parents did their best to salvage what they could.

The next day, or maybe it was many days later, when we came back to see the house I remember Tracy and I crying and asking what happened to our dresses.  My mother, obviously stressed to the breaking point, screamed at us that we were selfish little girls and said something about “those goddamned dresses” .

I know now as an adult that there were some big issues between my mother and my grandmother.  Probably the fact that we were so distraught over something trivial like a pretty party dress reminded her of all that she had given up for the kind of life she had.  We had lost everything, and we didn’t have much to begin with, we were homeless, we were poor and we were alone, thousands of miles away from ‘home’, Ontario, where both my parents had grown up.  I can’t imagine the kind of despair they must have felt.

Still, when ever I think back on that time I wonder about those dresses.  And I have mixed feelings of joy and sorrow for those little girls who got to feel so pretty and so special for such a brief moment in their lives.   There never was another pretty dress for either of us, until we grew up enough to afford them ourselves.

©Kathy Larson, 2012
All rights reserved.

 

Sunday evening, January 15th

. . . and I’ve just wasted the last hour playing solitaire on-line.

But, it was fun.  So, I guess I’m okay with it.

I love to play cards.  But I rarely have anyone to play with.  Tim is not a game player, unless it’s the video, let’s-shoot-some-zombies kind.  I bought him a Playstation 3 for Christmas — pretty much shot myself in the foot on that one.  I love when we have company over because I’ll always manage to convince our company that a game of cards would be fun, and then Tim has to go along with us.

But, when there’s no company. . . solitaire it must be.

I had a great weekend.  Busy, but good.  My grandkids came for a sleepover yesterday.  We played Chutes and Ladders, and Skip-Bo, they helped make pizza for supper tonight — even 2-year-old Ethan.  He plastered mushrooms on and gobbled up handfuls of shredded cheese.  It was too much fun.  We stayed up and watched movies and had popcorn last night and then everyone slept in a little this morning.  A lovely Sunday.

Though, I do have to admit I’m pretty worn out right now.  The thought of getting a blanket and curling up on the couch is sounding pretty good.  Might go see if a new episode of Hell on Wheels taped and watch that before I turn in for the night.  If you haven’t heard of Hell on Wheels, it’s a great show — a Western about the building of a railroad and a conflicted Confederate soldier on the hunt for the Yankees who raped and murdered his wife while he was off fighting in the war.  There’s some pretty complex themes involved (this is an AMC show, after all) and the acting and photography are excellent.

Am reading Black House at the moment.  A book by Stephen King and Peter Straub.  Some twenty years ago I read The Talisman, written by the pair of them.  BH is the sequel.  And it’s turning out to be every bit as disturbing and suspenseful and horrifying as the first book.  It’s all brain candy and exactly what I need.  Gruesome brain candy, I admit.

Well, week one of the return to work is behind me and it actually wasn’t all that bad.  It was busy, and we had the usual problems after coming back from a long break, but for the most part, the kids settled back into routine by the end of the week.  I really enjoy our kids.  For the most part, they’re a great bunch to work with and I truly enjoy helping them learn every day.  When I’m not feeling stressed about a million and one other things I can admit to myself that I actually love my job.  It’s rewarding, it’s meaningful, and it has purpose.  There may be much wrong with the education system in Alberta/Canada, but there’s a lot that’s good about it, too.

I am endeavouring to get around to everyone’s blogs, and this week I even managed to find a couple of new ones to follow.  THERE REALLY, TRULY IS SO MUCH GOOD WRITING AND SO MANY GREAT BLOGS OUT THERE!  It’s like going into a bookstore and trying to decide which books to buy even though you know you probably won’t have time to read any of them.  I’ve managed to peek in on just about everyone this past week — even though I haven’t always left a comment.  I might have only had 5 minutes and so just passed in and out, quiet as a mouse.

My decision to only blog once or twice a week, has, for this one week, anyway, been a good one.  I found myself starting to think yesterday about trying to find the time to sit down and pound out a few words.  Then, tonight, once I made my way in to the computer room I knew that is why I was coming in, but I allowed myself to be seduced by Facebook (just had to see what others had been up to) and then that led to checking my Scrabble games, and then Solitaire.  But, all the while, I was thinking about blogging.

It’s not that I have anything particularly relevant to say, no wisdom to impart, nothing to smart or informative to impart.  It’s simply that need to connect, through words.

I can feel myself moving towards beginning the second draft of my novel.  There’s some other stuff churning around in the old noggin, and I’m pretty certain (once I get my other desk completely cleaned off — I got most of it done last week) I’ll find myself scribbling away in a notebook, soon.

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