I’m a Mother of the Bride and This is My Story.

What do you say when your sweet little girl, the one you still think of like this

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is suddenly a quarter of a century old and marrying the love of her life?  Well, you write a speech telling them to basically not listen to advice because nobody knows how things are when you are alone together and nobody has the right to tell you what to think, what to feel, or how to live your life.  Then you tell them to always honour the relationship because that’s the foundation of your new family.  Never forget the reason why you’re together in the first place and it will all be fine, I said.

the happy couple

The Happy Couple

 

Not living in the same province limited my ability to be a hands-on mom with the pre-wedding preparations but that’s okay; that’s what her friends are for.  I did not (I hope) become part of a narrative of the dreaded mother-of-the-bride.  Yeah, that evil mom-in-law type, that’s not me.

I still believe that the world needs more compassion, and that you don’t always have to like what people do with their lives but you should try to love unconditionally.  I don’t claim to do that.  I do claim to be able to share my life with an ex-husband and a common-law spouse and we all get along so well it didn’t hurt to share the same house for two years when it was necessary, and it didn’t hurt us to have everybody be in the wedding party. My daughter and her husband I am so very happy to say are very caring people who open their world to people who treat them and others nicely.  It’s not a lot to ask of people is it?

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When you have a baby your world suddenly changes.  Oh you think you’ll be that cool, calm collected mother with the full-time job and the well scheduled kids classes and the clean house and the well tended couple life with your husband.  You never think that the birth may be nothing like you imagined, that teeny tiny babies are utterly scary and it’s you they’re counting on to literally stay alive, that you’ll go for months or even years without a full night’s sleep, that most of the shoulders of your shirts will have spit-up, that you won’t have a hot cup of coffee for weeks if not months, that a shower will be considered a luxury and you wish you weren’t either a screaming meanie or a crying wreck because of the aforementioned lack of sleep.  Oh, and there’s nothing sexy at all about a mother of a new born who is wearing the extra strength ladies’ umm…stuff…and who has those in her bra cups too and the dark circles under your eyes aren’t from your mascara running after you being out dancing all night.  Yup.  Reality hits in a really big way when you have a child.

My beautiful daughter is my first born so she got the pleasure of all of my experiments and all of my parental fears.  When you’re having a baby you read as much stuff as you possibly can and think you know it all.  People are only too happy to give you bountiful amounts of useless and sometimes downright dangerous advice (start labour on a late baby by using a knitting needle?  uh…pass).  Perfect strangers think it’s a-ok to pat your belly and marvel and tell you either how small or how big you look.  Acquaintances will tell you wonderful things like, “Oh you’re pregnant!  Thank God!  I thought you were getting fat!”  Guess what, well-meaning elevator person from 26 years ago:  I am fat, bwahahaha!  Mmm, just a little bit.  Which is something you can never say about pregnancy.  But I digress.

The thing is that when you have a baby, oh how the days are long and when it’s 2 a.m. and you’re in a rocking chair singing “All My Life’s a Circle” for the umpteeth time that night it doesn’t seem remotely possible that a blink of an eye later, this loud red-faced doll-like person will be the lovely lady in the white dress marrying the man of her dreams.

Funny thing though.  Next you know you’re once again pregnant and your sweet little doll isn’t a baby anymore, she’s a young child and an older sister!

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As a mom you don’t realize just how much your baby has grown until you have another one.  One more step on the ladder of independence for your little one, one more reminder for the parents how quickly a child really grows.

We had the million-dollar family: a boy and a girl.  There is a bit of a difference between them – 5 years – and there’s good things about that but she did miss out on having a little person in the family close in age to her, so she filled that with her friends all the while loving the fact she had a baby brother.  As a mom who worked full time, that 5 year difference let me have one child in school and one in daycare which is a little better and I think it also gave me a little bit of an easier time with not having to chase after a toddler while tending to a newborn and my little toddler was a busy girl indeed.

She would walk around our little block every night saying hi to friends along the way, me running behind.  I was in fantastic shape in those days.  One of those street friends of mine became her after-school babysitter when she was old enough to be full time and take the school bus.  One of her daughters was the same age, and as it happens was in the same grade.  This cute little girl was my daughter’s maid-of-honour.  My loving daughter never lets a friend go unless she has to.  How wonderful is that?

The thing about being a parent is that you think you know your children.  You do but you don’t really. Think for a minute:  how well did your parents know you?  Part of growing up is doing your best to break away from your parents because that is a healthy thing to do.  Your job as a parent is to slowly but surely lead your child into experiences like school and various after school activities that foster their self-worth, build on their strengths and foster the growth of their indepence.  You hope that that indepence is done in a good way and not rebelliously with illicit substances and unsavoury friends but let’s face it:  the more you as a parent tell your children to stay away from certain things and people that’s exactly what they want to do.  So I tried always not to be pushy but I hope more informative and let them understand what the consequences can be in a gentle way.  Or I could have just been another mom with the speeches.  I can’t say, I wasn’t in their shoes.

What I can say is that in a certain way I was in their shoes.  Life at home by the time son was 4 wasn’t too great.  Mom and dad just didn’t get along too well when they were home together which wasn’t often unfortunately.  Mom grew up in a home of anger and scary things and swore not to do that to her children.  Try as she might, this was the one thing she couldn’t fix and so after two years of depression and worried about the future and what her children were learning from their parents’ behaviour mom called it a day on the marriage.

This was a dark time but if I can say anything in my defence and be understood, I truly didn’t want my children growing up in anger and silence in between the anger and I wanted them to know how men and women treat each other with respect.  What we were doing wasn’t that, and we were both to blame.  At the end of the day both of us were good parents who happened to be much better as friends.  But it was hard for the children, I do know that.  It hurt terribly to see them hurt.  Daughter said her words of wisdom and did her best to make us all happy because that’s just how she is.  She made new friends in her new home alongside her current friends at what was now dad’s place.

A year later, Jim entered our lives after a long friendship through an online creative persons group.  A phone call after 9/11 somehow turned into love after an opportunity to meet in person the next spring.  He came up to Canada for the summer and by September we knew that we were so good together that we had to try to be a blended family.  It’s hard for children to understand and I will say that for the most part they were accepting of Jim.  My family not so much for religious reasons initially but we were 500 km away so there was that space to keep things civil.

I had been trying for a few years (since my father took ill in the mid-1990s) to go back to my hometown and after one false start in 2002, in 2003 my boss phoned me up and said he needed me in Ottawa was I still interested in going?  Was I?  Yes!

My children were 12 and 7 at the time and I did something that was one of the hardest things a mother can do:  I gave her the choice to stay where she was or come with us to Ottawa.  I did this because I know my daughter.  Yes, I do realise that I said earlier you don’t know your children but bear with me.  I was 12 once and my family was not in a smiley happy place at that time.  I had no voice.  At age 13 I was in very bad shape emotionally, and at age 14 I gave up and ran away.  I didn’t want my daughter to ever feel so trapped and unlistened to that she felt the need to do something like that.  My family will never forgive me for giving her that choice, but then again, read the previous sentence.  I would not do that to my children; daughter was old enough and very much wise enough to be given the choice.

What I honestly didn’t know was whether she’d choose Ottawa or stay.  She came with us on the house hunting trip, discussions were made about what school the kids would go to if we moved close to my family, and then before the final house hunting was arranged daughter chose to say with dad and her friends.  I will someday write more about this but I will simply say that I felt proud to give my daughter a voice that I never had at that age and her choice was her following her heart.  Her heart is very big and so many people were in her hometown, not my hometown.  So for all the people at the wedding who were scratching their heads about what Jim said about us moving, that was it.

We moved, many road trips were taken between Ottawa and Mississauga and life went on.  Then came the crash of 2008.  Erin’s dad’s job situation was not as good as it had been, he had to sell the house.  On to Ottawa and a rental duplex after the start of what was her grade 12.  The semester system was not what she had in her high school so she couldn’t go to a school that had the semester system.  That ruled out the school in mom’s area and most of the schools in Ottawa.  But there was one that would let her go.  The beginning of December she started in the middle of a city bus strike in an Ottawa winter (kinda scary for a GTA girl) and there in the library was this tall friendly boy who offered to help with her homework and the rest is history.

I like that as her new Father-in-law said they’ve already moved more than 1300 km in 7 years and they are just starting their lives.  A parent’s job is not to mold your child to be a mini-me (though when I was younger and skinnier we were forever being told how much we look alike) or to dictate their soul’s purpose.  I don’t know her soul’s purpose.  She does.  I am the the facilitator of her entry into the world, the rest is up to her.  And you know what?  If there’s anything I know about my daughter, it’s that she doesn’t make decisions lightly but once she does, she’s in it heart and soul.

As for my being a mom-in-law you know what?  I think I’ll just be me.  I’m not big on titles, they know I’m always there for them in whatever way I can be.

 

(c) 2016 Catherine M. Harris

p.s:

  1. I changed the wording in one part of “All My Life’s a Circle” to “all my roads have Bens” when my son was born.
  2. Somebody pointed out rather loudly in my reading at the wedding ceremony that I shouldn’t say “when I became a woman, I put away my childish things” because it wasn’t about me.  Yes, they’re right.  I was thinking of that piece as a singer because I change the gender in songs.  For readings, yeah, I shouldn’t have changed it.  Would’ve been nice if they hadn’t been so loud about pointing that out in the middle the ceremony though – just saying.
  3. My name really is Harris.  I overheard on part of the video of the wedding somebody telling someone who didn’t know me that my name is really Davies.  It’s not.  The law in Ontario when I was married was that as long as I was married I was allowed to use Davies but to officially change it I had to do go to court for that because I wasn’t born in Canada.  I didn’t.  When I got legally separated 15 years ago I had to turn in my marriage license and lost my legal right to call myself Davies.  Hope that clears things up.  Kinda makes me sad I even have to explain that after all this time though.
  4. Later on I would play Harry Chapin’s “Cats in the Cradle” on the guitar because I loved the song, and because their dad and I both travelled a lot for work. Still brings a bit of tear to my eye when I play it.
  5. In my speech I referred to an essay I wrote about my own wedding.  Here’s the link: Our Wedding and Other Miracles.

 

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This is from a comic strip I started way back when.  My mother was there at the wedding, and it meant the world to all of us that she was there enjoying it.

 

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Cathi’s Comments for December 31, 2015

As 2015 winds to an end I find it’s been quite a strange year all in all.  Personally, the year started with saying goodbye to Erin and Alex who continue on with their life journey in Toronto.  Then was the loss of my cat Domino, who passed away at age 14.  We now are down to one dog and one cat.

It’s been a year of decisions.  My jeep that has been sitting waiting for money to get the brakes fixed since November 2014 now has a dead battery and at last look either a dead battery cable or dead starter or both.  I put it up for sale in August but people either want it for almost free or they want it running and certified, which, sadly so do I.  If it were I’d be driving it.  I could have used the money if it sold but as the year ends it still sits there in my driveway.

It’s been a year of discovering my own truth.  I discovered that there really is a bias that happens at 50 and you will get denied opportunity.  I won’t go into detail but it was said to my face so I have to believe it.  It makes me sad that once again I’m forced to see that no matter how good you are or how much knowledge or experience you have it’s all about agendas and where you fit into it.  And I don’t.  So.  That leads me back to decisions.  I have no idea how long it’s going to take me to pay off everything we owe and bank enough to pay the bills for a year but that’s my plan.  Whenever I do leave this next time it will definitely be my last.  I will not go back to work where I’m not appreciated again.  Unfortunately it’s going to take a long time because I’ll never get a real promotion again I don’t think.  At least that’s the way it looks to me right now.

I say that I need a year’s worth of bill paying ability because as of this date we are still waiting for Jim’s not so great Old Age Security, one year and three months after he turned 65.  CPP by the way is pocket change, not a real retirement sum so if you do have any chance to have input on upping the CPP payout, please agree to it.  Someday you’ll thank yourself and the people already retired who are getting a pittance will thank you.  I also think that the Guaranteed Income Supplement should be based on individual income, not family income.  It isn’t fair to dual income families who suddenly wind up with one person making pocket change and waiting forever for marginally better OAS while the other has to carry the load. Not many middle income earners have planned for one year or more of nothing coming in.

Carleton Park at Dusk But on the bright side, I finally started painting again. I have one painting that is now donated to The Ville, and I have the canvas for 3 more that I’ll be starting shortly. It’s been a good year for me creatively.

Off-Air is finally published in paperback and as a Kindle edition, I Ching Jukebox finally made it as a Kindle edition, my poetry book as well became a Kindle edition.  I also posted my very first novel and am in process of posting my second novel that I wrote in my 20s.  I am also in the middle of writing a novel that started with Nanowrimo 2014.  I did try Nano again this year but ran out of time.  I’ve been very busy but I’m glad I did attempt it.  So you see, me and Genève Blue have been working away.  I also submitted an entry into the CBC short story contest for the first time in forever.

So – looking forward, 2016 should be an interesting year.  There is a wedding to attend in September (yay!!) and aside from my paintings to do I plan to finish the two novels in progress.  I will also take my Troll of Barondale children’s story and create the drawings for it so I can publish that one too.  I actually woke up on morning seeing it as an animated short but unfortunately, like the other ideas I have for animation I’m not sure how to do that without some pretty decent software.  I need to take another animation course I think, but probably not this year.  Time and lack of money forbids it.

Beyond that, who knows what 2016 has in store for me.  So on that note I will say, please people follow your heart and treat others with compassion.  Don’t let the darkness steal your light away, the world needs it.

In love and light, à la prochaine,

Cathi

Resolutions

I did something last night that I haven’t done in many years.  I wrote some New Years resolutions.  As I wrote them the memory of previous resolutions bubbled up:  the inevitable quit smoking (I did, 13 years ago), the exercise more (I have a love-hate relationship with exercise), the basic flogging myself for not doing as much of a talent like writing or painting or music, the “get thee to a university” one which I did start 13 years ago and gave up on 3 years ago after about 1 year’s worth of courses.  Most of those previous resolutions (and a few I won’t name) are either done or a moot point now.

What could I possible resolve to do now that so much water has passed under my bridge?  Well, there is the small matter of needing to get back down to at least the weight I was when I moved to New Brunswick.  I have been exercising for half an hour a day on the eliptical but recently upped that to an hour after realizing I haven’t lost anything, I just look more toned.  The real truth of the weight that isn’t normally on me has to do with stopping my night time cleaning (1 hour a night for 4 nights then 4 hours on the weekend – worked out to about 10 km of walking every week). Add to that the fact that I had to stop chewing my beloved nicorette (I have an off and on again love affair with that gum) because I simply didn’t have money to buy it any more since last February and has meant that little bags of candy replaced the gum.  Not that wise a choice I think.

So one resolution is really two; watch what I eat and cool it with the candy for snacks.  I need to go back to feeling like myself again.  For someone who has spent most of her life on the almost underweight side of things, these past few years of peri- and post-menopause weight gain is a little alarming really.  Annoying most certainly.  Jim says I’m not fat.  Bless his heart.  I’m not obese, true, but still more than the upper limit of healthy for my height.

The others are more specific and boring so I won’t put them here, except for one.  I will start to write in a journal again.  I feel this urge to put pen to paper and say what’s inside in a place that isn’t in the ether.  I used to write a journal; my first one I got when I was quite young:  7? 8? It was purple and had a gold lock.  I still have it and I have the series of journals I wrote ever since.

There’s the one I wrote all in code because my sister had prying eyes and was happily telling whoever would listen all the awful (in her mind) things I did.  I wish I had the code for that one, I have no idea what I said for about a year or two when I was around 9.  I have one from my teenage years that is pink and is really a long and thin lined notepad that I folded over and tied up with a pink wavy ribbon from a sewing project I did.  I have the ones from a time in my teenaged years that was pretty dark, and the slightly less dark ones when I was alone and single but on my own and hopeful.  I have the ones from my mid- to late teens where I fell in love and my friends were closer to me than any relative could ever be.  That is until they disappeared or pulled a nasty.  I think we’re equal numbers on those two events.

Then there’s the broken hearted one where for years I fended off well meaning people in my life trying to tell me to get back together with my high school sweetheart.  They never could understand why I broke up with him and rather than being supportive and sympathetic I got chastized for doing that.  This was the beginning of what has been a long history of that kind of “help” in my life.  So.  I did what was the best thing:  don’t give them the ammunition to use against me because the more I tried to explain the more it became all me.  Can I, in the interest of honesty and the passage of time now say why, lo these 34 years later?  Why not?

Here goes dear well meaning people.  The truth on my first love of my life:  He fooled around on me with one of my best friends.  They thought I was clueless enough not to catch jokes between them when we were all riding in a car one summer day.  Boyfriend did not realize that women recognize another’s scent.  I didn’t want to believe until I did and blasted that friend with angry words.  I have said there’s only two or three people I would rather never speak to again in my life.  She’s one.  As for boyfriend, so in love was I, I forgave him.  It was difficult but we were “The Couple”.

Sadly that forgiveness and trust was misplaced because he thought forgiving meant it was okay.  There were others.  One called me on the telephone saying, “I know you’re not going out anymore but you’re still friends so can I ask you to tell him to stop calling me?  Tell him I’m not interested?”  I just said, “Actually we are still going out.”  And hung up.

Another time a friend I had when I was about 6 and hadn’t seen since then came up to me in a parking lot and said hi.  After a few minutes of chatting and isn’t it nice to see you again (from me) he told me, “You’re going out with that XXXX XXXX person right?”  I said I was.  He told me to tell him to stop bothering his girlfriend who works at Brown’s Cleaners, she’s really not happy with that.  A heart sinking moment.  I mumbled thanks and watched my very young childhood buddy’s grown up back walk away.  He didn’t want to know how I was.  He just wanted my person to leave his person alone.

It wasn’t long after that that I said enough already.  A relationship can slip away in moments or they can explode in one bright flash.  The end was more like a death to me.  One morning I woke up and realized that I simply didn’t love him anymore.  I’d had enough.

I honestly wish I hadn’t had to defend my decision.  I did, without telling the whole truth because a part of me didn’t want to dim their idea of this friendly fellow they liked, but mostly because I knew that it had been decided that I was what? Flighty?  A slut?  Who knows and what could I have said that would have made anyone say that I was right when they’d already decided I was wrong?

My journals kept on until the time my son was a toddler.  Then I worried more about what I wrote because some things that had bothered me for about nine years were wearing on my soul.  I couldn’t write the words for fear they’d be read.  And besides, I had already written them when I was single and when on one of those weeks my husband was out of town I decided to read them I realized how very little had changed since that time.  I was foolish to think I could change someone, and foolish to think I wouldn’t change.

I did, and like my first love, there did come a time when all those words didn’t matter any more and I simply gave up trying.  I had no more love to give for love is a vessel that needs to be replenished once in a while by its source.  My love was for my children and when I could I said good bye because I also knew from experience that children learn from what they see and I didn’t want them to think that relationships are all about anger and the silence in between.

It’s been fourteen years since then and oh, I’ve made a stab at a written diary but found that blogs and my web site filled the gap nicely.  But it kind of doesn’t.  There’s things I’m not allowed to say, things that I shouldn’t say. There’s no continuity.  There’s no way to download one of my blogs for instance, and I really want to port those posts to somewhere else so even if it’s on a memory stick I can go back to them and read them.  Perhaps it will become a day or two cut and paste project for me.

I keep my diaries in a locked box, have done for years.  All my teenaged angst, all my childhood frustrations and wondering.  My hatred for “shepherd’s cack” that they served oh so often when I was ten or so and going to Elmwood School.  My elation at winning awards or happiness at making a new friend.  It’s all there.

So now that I’m in the autumn of my life, I do feel the desire to continue on with that.  Because you see, the more life appears to change, the more it stays the same.  I know there’s nothing I can do to stop some not-so-well meaning things that have been said about me but at least my children are now old enough to ask what is the truth.  No, I didn’t cuckhold my husband (and no, the person who relayed this doesn’t speak Victorian English but I know people who do), and yes, I can cook.  Pretty well actually.  I just don’t invite people over to prove it that often.  My plate is full with life and living it. These are thoughts I am saying outloud today.

My little daily thoughts and angst that can’t be shared with the world at large (at least for now) deserve a place.  And the stuff that can?

It becomes an essay.  Like this one.    To quote Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men,   “The truth?  You can’t handle the truth!”  Well, maybe you can and maybe some truths arrive in small doses on blank pages late at night.

So with firm resolution, I will begin 2016 by turning over an old leaf.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five More Shopping Days ’til Christmas

Over the past few years what was an orgy of Christmas shopping and gift giving has whittled down to what we have this year, which quite simply put is nothing.  We are literally not Christmassing this year.  Even my little table top tree remains in its plastic bag.

Now before I get a flurry of “you grinch” comments and “don’t worry you still have 5 shopping days until Christmas!” ones helpfully and cheerfully urging me on to do something I really can’t, it’s not because I don’t want a pretty little tree buried beneath colourfully wrapped paper.  Shouldn’t is more the reality.

The thing is that we no longer have children in the house and this year maybe only one now-adult visiting.  There are bills to pay and a car inspection to be done before December 31st.  The car inspection scares me, it’s never just the $25 for the inspection, there’s always something else.  And it’s that inspection last year caused me to park my Jeep and pray for money.

This year the Jeep no longer has valid plates and has been for sale since August.  It’s actually in fairly good shape except that the brakes are rusted, and the battery is dead.  And from the last viewer (a mechanic), it needs either a new battery cable or starter or both.  It has really good mileage and two tiny spots of rust that hasn’t gone all the way through.  It has a couple of stains on the back seat from children.  So basically, about $1800 worth of work, much less if you are mechanically inclined and can get parts cheap.  So I priced the car for the going rate (between $4k and $5k and confirmed by another of the knowledgeable viewers) less the cost of repair.  The price has gone down from $3500 to $3000 with room for negotiation, within reason.  (And I did say that).  I also said $2500 plus two cords of dry firewood delivered would do.

So there’s been a lot of interest, but nobody wants to pay me what it’s worth.  I’ve been offered $1500.  I’ve been offered $2000 and then insulted by someone who didn’t bother to view the car (but neither did the $1500 person).  I’ve been offered a trade for a motor home.  That one kind of intregued me but if I can’t afford repairs for the Jeep I can’t afford repairs for a motor home.  It’s depressing.  I’m selling because it shouldn’t just be sitting, and I need the money.  The winters here, a Jeep is a good thing that sadly I just can’t keep on the road anymore.

That’s the irony.  I need the Jeep where I live, but can’t keep up with the upkeep.  I’ve been living a lot of irony this year.  I come back to work and paid back money that I got when I left before and it caused my income to go up so much that one year (even though the money was taken back) that CRA is after me for the taxes on that money I paid back (that incidently was taxed at the beginning and paid back in gross amount).

Then there’s Jim still waiting for his old age pension more than a year after he turned 65.  So far he’s found out it’s not worth that much anyway and that hurts.  He has land in Quebec he has to sell and can’t because he doesn’t have the money to pay for the title change (and they’re getting angry) though we could probably arrange something if somebody wanted to buy it but like the Jeep, no one wants it.  So he waits for his back pay from the OAS to pay for the title.

There’s been revelations this year, like the realization that being over 50 means you don’t necessary get the job you think you’re perfect for and there’s nothing you can do about it.  That all the experience and knowledge I have means nothing in the grand scheme of things.  At this point I regret going back to work because I see that I won’t get the job I need that would help me get out of the financial mess I got in by going back.  I’m an idiot.  I know.  Twice I found the situation so serious I left but I came back.  This is the last time for that; the next time I leave that’s it.

I am out on the East Coast though, so that dream is fulfilled and so far we’re both happy to be here.  Life really is nice here.

Today as I sit by my fire lit by broken up wooden pallets cut to stove size by Jim, I remember how frantic and expensive Christmas was when the kids where small, and before they were born when I was a nice aunt that bought those toys that gradually reduced to nothing as my own children were born and the cost of living got higher than what we were bringing in, and then single mother I had enough for us to have an okay Christmas.  Back then it meant something.  Christmas is for children.  None of us are that now.

So this morning I said to Jim, “Do you mind we have nothing but a turkey this year?”  Not at all, he says, we’ll have Christmas whenever he gets the money he’s owed or I sell the Jeep.  We’re not holding our breath on that.  I’m betting it’s Christmas in July.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not sad.  I’m not anything really.  I’m just looking forward to a few days off to write and paint, maybe play the guitar and to look back on the year that was and do my looking ahead.  I am hopeful at least for me in my place in the world.  I still dream that someday a publisher will like my writing and pick it up.  Or maybe the public at large will find something special in one of my books and make it a best seller.  Maybe there’s a Lotto Max in my future.  See?  There’s always hope.

Merry ba humbug unChristmas this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here in the Winter of Our Discomfort

The last three weeks have been weird.  I say that knowing in the back of my mind that since mid-October really the winds of history have changed and many things are pointing to one of those universal wtf times.

I can say this.  I know stuff.  I’ve been around the block, hell, the whole neighbourhood more than once.  What I find interesting is all the parallels in assorted times of my life.  That’s where this period is uniquely interesting.

First I guess is finding out that the wish for change politically was so strong and as the provincial elections happen we’re seeing that too.

Second but definitely not least is Paris.  It has a 9-11 feel about it, but it isn’t that.  Between one and two hundred people dead isn’t three thousand, no matter how horrific and sad it is.  And to bring the point home, how many mass shootings have happened in the US have happened since then?  It doesn’t matter to me.

What matters is innocent people have been gunned down for whatever stupid reason people do this.  Do I care the reasons why?  Actually, only remotely.  I am more concerned that weapons of war are freely available in the open market in certain places  which makes them available on the black market everywhere else.  To me I don’t care what kind of crazy you are, you still had access to stuff that can kill a whole bunch of people when you shouldn’t have.  I don’t care what religion you are.  No religion if they truly are holy should be advocating mass murder.  Pointe finale.

One thing that was interesting was out of the blue I read a post from an online acquaintance talking about landing the planes in Gander on 9/11. Now people who say that the recent events in Paris is their 9/11 is (a) wholely dismissing WWII and the hideous things the Nazis did, and (b) forgetting that 9/11 was kind of a bit bigger.  People are forgetting history, which isn’t new at all.  What was new was presenting the Gander story to people in a social media format that made people who didn’t know go wow, thanks.  Some of us lived that.  So I smiled and posted links to things that told the story from a different viewpoint.

But then I was in a phone call recently where I explained the history behind an old method of doing something related to my work that made me believe, yeah, maybe there’s worth in me yet work wise at a time when I was seriously wondering what posessed me to go back and….

An evening of chatting with a relative clearing the air.  It was an all night thing and I’m glad we did that.  Time moves on.  There’s one thing  that I will be able to better explain concerning a life issue someday but that issue we can talk about some other time, they need to just know that everything that happened and everything that was done and fought for by me was because I very much believed in them and wanted to very best for them.  Who they are today is in large part because of stuff they just don’t remember, and that’s okay.  It means maybe I kind of did something right, amid a whole bunch of people who on the sidelines where quick to disagree.  It is interesting that when they weren’t on the sidelines but actively involved they came to see what I had known all along, and no, there were no apologies.  At this point that is water under the bridge that’s so old it’s dried up.

I removed stuff online that I could as had requested, understanding that as a writer my soul is everywhere for the world to see.  That’s who I am.  That what I do.  Darkness breeds in the silence so that’s not me.  However, where I could put the cloak on and not dismiss my own story, I did so we’re good.

Nanowrimo ended with me not finishing this year which is okay; what I was writing is not my usual fiction and it took a lot more considered thought than one month could provide.  That happens sometimes.

I submitted to the CBC Short Story contest for the first time in a few years so while I never have high hopes for that one, I’ll take it as an accomplishment.

The world is changing.  Massively.  As we pretend this isn’t world war three and while people are decrying their fears against refugees and others are claiming that financially the world is just about a-okay if you forget about oil, um….

I like change.  It’s needed.  But change for change’s sake isn’t always good either.  As we live through the growing pains into the next era, all I ask of anybody is this:  compassion is paramount.  The world desperately needs this.  At home, in the workplace, in general.  Please care because if nobody else does in the world we’re lost.

I’ve said this before about religion but I’m going to say it again.  Religious communities can do absolutely wonderful things, but the thing is this:  if your religion pits you against everyone else in the world, if it asks you to do unspeakable things that you wouldn’t have before you joined, if you feel that compassion and love is second place to hate and anger is that godly?  Really?  Think.  That’s all I ask.  Please think.  And if where you are isn’t suiting your heart, go elsewhere.

Avoir le coeur, aie amour entre nous, aie le voix de parler de tes veriters, aie de la joie et de la belle humeur, être soix-mêmes premièrement entre tous.

Cathi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When We Wake Up in the Morning, It Will Be Less of the Same.

I hope.  I am not allowed to make political comments so I won’t but I will say that I’m very very pleased indeed with the turnout of voters this time around.  All those one little votes add up don’t they?  Things like entire Reserves taking buses to polling stations to ensure the aboriginal voice is represented this time around.  And young people – bless your souls, you now see the effect you have on our country!  I am so proud of us.

It’s been a strange few weeks for me, a lot of uncertainty on a few fronts.  I’ve been trying since August (unsuccessfully) to sell my Jeep.  Not that I want to, but I simply don’t have the money to fix it and it’s been sitting in the driveway too long.  It makes me sad but what else can I do?  Jim turned 65 over a year ago and numerous trips to the office behind the old age pension hasn’t gotten him any closer to his OAS, so he brings in $82 a month.  I make too much for him to claim the guaranteed income supplement so all of his bills, until I literally ran out of every last spare penny I had, were paid by me.  It was always just one more month until I ran out of money for the next one.  Sigh.

I have been fending off worries of my own that I won’t go into about how I went from money to none but a lot of what I got before I had to give back and it meant sending a letter to the latest communications with do what you will, what you want I don’t have.

But then came the tests for Jim, and the worry there and on this beautiful fall day, we learned not to worry, it’s fixable.  Yay!

And then the election.  Will it be better?  Who knows, but it is different and a fresh perspective is very often just what we need.  It gives hope.  And for me, and many other middle class people, hope is what we desperately need right now but many like me just don’t have the answer on how to fix our situation.  So we will continue to wait for his OAS, knowing it’s way too late to fix anything as it’s gone beyond believable.

But I do believe that when we are faced with challenges there’s a road that opens up if you look for it, and so I shall.  And after today, with just a little bit of a smile on my face.

Politics Ruins Everything

It’s been a while since my last Cathi’s Comment and oh, what can I say?  We’re in an election that is the 3rd longest in history (beaten by 1867 and 1872).  We are hearing stories of an impending El Nino, which may or may not be a good thing.  We are in a technical recession which is bafflegab for what was previously known as a recession and the sad image of a little boy face down on a beach is the shame of Canada and the world.

Canada used to be a haven for refugees, a bright light in a dark world. Instead, like the boatload of Jews from Europe that were turned away during WWII (http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-27373131), we have any number of reasons why these thousand of refugees around the world have to live in camps for years rather than be brought to our faraway shores. At the same time, we now have a temporary worker program that allowed companies to bring in temporarily workers from around the world because we don’t have the number of (often) low-skilled workers to fill our need. But they can’t stay here. And now, because of abuses, it’s much less – approximately 25% of the number from Jul-Sep 2014 than there were in Jan-Mar 2014. These by the way are the latest numbers I could find published at time of writing this so I can’t vouch for accuracy there and I have no idea what the 2015 figures are.

So. There we have it. I can’t discuss politics or show favoritism for a particular party or denigrate any party, which is probably a good thing because from where I stand at the moment, I think politics ruins everything. I am forever ending my posts here saying something to the effect of please people, show compassion. This is what the world needs.

I find a lot of election campaigning to be a turnoff; and to have a really long campaign (although for some parties it seems non-stop campaigning) means endless opponent-bashing ads on t.v., and the eternal search in the media for the perfect sound bite, the perfect line or picture that can be skewed or stopped at just the right moment to make a candidate appear foolish. I don’t care which parties do this, I hate those ads. I mean it. If the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Party was created and did that, I would it hate it just as much.

There are buzzwords that drive me crazy. War-chest is one of them. A war-chest, for the uninformed, is the money donated to politcal parties to fund their election campaigns. I find this expression particularly offensive because that means that I, as a voter, am the enemy. I am here to be swayed and conquered by these marvelous war-chests of theirs. The bigger chest the tighter the sweater…wait, that’s another expression. But it makes as much sense. I, as a voter, do not want to be considered as something to be conquered or wooed or even slightly swayed. I want honesty. I want facts. And by facts I mean real facts. I want options. Not long lists of what political party experts have decided that they think I’d like to hear. I want humility, but more than that, I really want at least a glimmer of the truth.

On a grander scale, we live in a world of my way or the highway thinking, and that’s something else I truly hate. I don’t know exactly when it became fashionable to engage in black and white rhetoric though I’d personally blame it on the 1980s and the Thatcher years. I want all politicians and people in power, including those in big corporations to know that there is rarely if ever anything that can be answered with a black and white answer. Life is a myriad of greys, pick the appropriate shade for that particular situation. That’s when fairness begins. But that is too complicated, too expensive. It all comes down to the almighty dollar, and if it means suspending any rational thought to save a dollar and believe an ideology so be it. It shouldn’t be like this. I ask all those people thinking of entering politics right now to consider the human side first and go from there. Please. Somebody has to.

I won’t presume to know what political menu would be best for you, the reader, but I will say this: please take the time to find out a little of what is being said, a little of what has happened recently that is affecting now (and please don’t dig up memories of old bones of politicians whose actions and policies have no bearing on today’s issues whether they are alive or not); think about how you’d like to see things change or stay the same and go from there. Most important of all, vote. Just vote. Follow your heart, follow your mind, whatever it takes, vote. What we don’t need is a country run by the results of only 61% of votes actually being cast because that really isn’t representational of who we are is it? Please don’t say your vote doesn’t matter. It does.

In other matters, though I’m not posting as many Comments as I used to, favoring instead other means of social media like my WordPress blog (https://mrssauga.wordpress.com), Facebook and Twitter I will at some point soon update this web site as perhaps a convergance of my other sites with links to my historical web pages. It’s been a while since I’ve done any programming to speak of and I miss it so yeah, it’ll happen. Right now though I’m concentrating on writing and artwork.

Off-Air and I Ching Jukebox by Genève Blue are now available both as paperbacks and on Amazon Kindle; my Polariods Get Yellow poetry book is also now available as a paperback and Amazon Kindle, and on Tablo (https://tablo.io/) there’s a novel from when I was in my teens that is up and can be read there for free (I don’t plan to do more with that one), as well, there is a book of my short stories in progress there that can be read. For Genève Blue, there are two other novels in progress: The Late Night Cleaner’s Club, and the novel Cassandra which is a novel I wrote between 1988-1990 and I’m pleased to say is seeing the light of day. So far I like it and will most probably be publishing that on Amazon as a Kindle edition and possibly as a paperback.

I’m pleased to say that I’ve finally started painting again; my newest painting is a view of Carleton Park at dusk and I have donated it to a local Fredericton former school turned Community Centre (www.TheVille.ca). More paintings to come, I promise.Carleton Park at Dusk

So that’s it for now, à la prochaine,
Cathi