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Posts Tagged ‘Random Ramblings’

Why must we torture ourselves so?

Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

So, we committed ourselves to a self-imposed challenge we are calling “Sober October”. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

It’s about as dreadful as it sounds and we are one week into it.

While the title implies it’s all about the boozing, that’s only part of the package. We have been drinking too much too, among other things this past year plus. This self-imposed torture is about what some might call “Self Love”.

Sober October is committing to 31 days of “sobering” cutbacks and kick-it-ups. Thirty-one days of self- punishment, ahem, love, with a cheat day allowed for Thanksgiving, only because it’s Thanksgiving (Even if Covid means limiting family gatherings. But hey, pumpkin and apple pies, right? You don’t need a houseful of people for apple pie!) but not going all out crazy that day.

Thirty-one gruesome days of watching calories, eating healthier, eating smaller portions, zero alcohol, zero snacking, except for the Thanksgiving cheat, exercising daily at home and/or hitting the gym (or nearly daily, we fail at daily) – basically sucking all enjoyment out of life.

Before Covid shut down the gyms a year and a half ago we went on a semi-regular basis. I did walking exercise at least two to three times a week. Since they shut down I continued regular almost daily walking exercise at home and we did occasional long hikes. So you wouldn’t think it would be such a stretch to do the walking exercise most days with the gym at least half the days.

A week in and I feel more tired, more achy, weaker, and hungry more.

Even now, after a banana for breakfast and a hot coffee at my side, my achy legs are hating me for telling them as soon as I finish posting this it’s time to get walking. And I need to do an extra walk to make up for working through lunch on the job that pays the bills yesterday and missing my noon walking.

Got to get ‘er done to get on with the cleaning house and walking the dogs (One at a time because they are arseholes walking together, yay dogs.), before exercising again, showering, picking up the kid from work, and supper.

Maybe by the end of the month it will have given me some new fodder for dark stories of depravity.

Be good to yourself and keep writing my friends.

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Sometimes life just gets in the way of our promises we make to ourselves and to others.

At times life just makes us suck, right? We make promises we’ll do something and then before you know it time has passed and it didn’t happen. Of course, we can’t just put all the blame on outside sources, Old Man Time, Mother Nature, demands on us for work, family, and friends, or the wickedness of surreal time and memory lapses causing time to pass quickly or drag endlessly while we forget some things while focusing too much on others.

Ultimately we are in control of our own actions and lack of them. We own how much actual effort we put into meeting those deadlines, self-imposed or not. And in keeping promises we made whether they are to ourselves or others.

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

Maybe you just overreached what you can manage. Good intentions and all that.

And life does constantly throw up little roadblocks, bumps in the road, and a thousand mini obstacles.

Still, we have to reflect on ourselves and look inward, but with the same compassion and understanding we hope others will give to us, and that we must give to others because we strive to be good people.

A promise to both myself and you to commit to weekly blog posts. One I am still failing on at the moment. It is a surprisingly large time commitment when your time is stretched. But, ultimately, I own the fail on that.

Committing to self-care, that term floated to you that often seems intangible. As illusive as that hint of motion caught in the corner of your eye that is gone when you turn to look.

A promise to myself, and perhaps to my all of three fans, if they truly exist outside the realm of fiction, to finish some of the endless WIPs taking up disk space and eating away at my guilty subconscious for neglecting them, stories waiting to be told. To write new stories. To have some of these shorts published and finish the novel length works so they too can be released upon the world with all their pervading darkness. Another fail, but a wish not abandoned entirely.

March 19, 2020, my first day working remotely due to Covid. Today is October, the start of the best month for us writers of horror and everything dark. This is one year and almost 6 1/2 months of ultimate fail to my writer self, failing to write, to feel that energizing driven inspiration. The crossing of that 1 1/2 year mark of writing rut that began on that very strange feeling day when it seemed I was in my own insidious dark story of a world gone upside down where the down below became our world.

Am I alone in feeling a little down, a little like I lost myself, for not being able to be embraced by that feeling of being swallowed into the heart and bowels of a story I am writing? I don’t think so.

Am I alone in feeling like life just keeps ponderously moving along second by second by minute by hour oblivious to my wants? Certainly not.

A lot of us find ourselves in exactly this spot and it will happen multiple times in your life. Sometimes it lasts longer than other times.

I actually started writing this post yesterday, what should be a quick knock off of a few words, on October 1st. Intended to post it yesterday. But life happens.

As a simple necessity, the job that pays the bills always takes priority over everything else in life, and takes up the majority of your waking hours. The needs of the household and family take the second priority.

Your partner. Your kids need help or just attention. Groceries, cleaning, meals, and a million other mundane life duties. Right now there is a massive mound of washed laundry in the process of being folded next to me and the vacuum is waiting to take a turn right after washing everyone’s dishes and the general clutter of a household.

Somewhere in there you try to fit in five minutes, ten, twenty; you hit the jackpot at thirty minutes of writing time. But that’s okay.

Allow yourself the courage to push through the niggling little things getting in the way, the dramas large and small, chores, day jobs, and the time goblins, all seemingly conspiring to suck away any writing time. Your life is the sum of all of its parts. Embrace it.

Our attempts at training the Big Dumb Bunny have so far failed. The first of two kids started university and the first student loan application was denied on the assumption we should I guess borrow the money ourselves to pay for it. Still, an interest free and payment free until graduation loan beats anything we could get, assuming we have enough equity to get the loan, and then more loan when the second kid starts university. Between school, work, and boxing, you’d barely know she lives here. The second kid got her first job and is learning to drive. Meanwhile the bus schedules have her walking or relying on us to drive her to not be 45 minutes early or 15 minutes or more late for work. We are trying harder at self care, something as parents we neglect too much.

These are barely a drop on top of the day to day with each of us in our own little worlds that sporadically merge one with another a few hours a day while we all live under the same roof. And here I am giving that time to you with this random rambling.

Mom! Mom! Mom! Pay attentionz to mee!

When I can’t break out those precious moments for a little writing time, I may feel a bit sorry for myself, but it’s still just one part of everything that is my world and overall it’s not a bad world. It’s worth embracing.

So when you feel like it’s been forever since you could get that time to do what you really want, embrace it all and take greater pleasure in those moments when they do come.

And now Roxy, aka the Big Dumb Bunny, is demanding my undivided attention.

Here’s to hoping I can post again in the next month.

Be good to yourself and keep writing my friends.

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Or, more accurately, did you even notice I was gone?

Photo by Jasmina Rojko on Unsplash

No, this isn’t one of those feel sorry for me deals. Those are so cliché and overdone, aren’t they?

I’m more of a realist than that. With the world going a little more down that dark twisted path of an angst horror story each day, its contradictive every person for their self strongly political egotistical self-righteous “only I’m right” political grandstanding and apocalyptic “nature is trying to kill us” story plots at times clashing like a badly written narrative, I half expect each one of you and everyone else to be swallowed up in that darkness, along with me.

The weirdness is even more striking with that overall story thread of mundane normalcy casting its deceptive veil over reality. Or is the mundane the reality and the rest the waking nightmare our narrator is playing us with?

Life goes on.

March 12th, 2020 Manitoba officially reported it’s first cases of Covid-19 as a stunned populace watched the progressing news story in stunned disbelief.

The stories coming out of places like Italy were staggering. Heart wrenching. Hidiously unreal. People singing to each other from their imprisonment in their homes creating a surreal uplifting moment in a lockdown where people stole food to survive with their world in a complete lockdown, and stories of care homes with the elderly and infirm left abandoned by the hundreds, dead and dying in filth, stink, and overrun with insects, rodents, excrement, and rotting waste, a plotline straight out of a fictional apocalypse story.

March 20th, 2020 Manitoba declared a state of emergency, and the lockdown began April 1st with the ordered closure of all non-essential businesses, as if there truly is such a thing when that income feeds and homes people reliant on it.

People cried out that it’s all fake. It’s not real. It’s made up to control us. (Have you read Orson Welles 1984?)

With a sinking feeling of what was as yet unknown to come, it all feeling utterly unreal and entirely fabricated, two days before the announcement, our office was shut down at the end of the day and everyone sent to work from home. March 19th, 2020 I began the odd journey of mostly self-isolation.

Ill prepared schools, teachers, and students scrambled with schools being shuttered to move thousands of kids practically overnight to online learning from home.

Businesses shuttered, mass numbers of people suddenly became unemployed with no job prospects, people were forbidden seeing or touching friends, family, and other loved ones. There was an eventual run on animal shelters by people seeking companionship. Unscrupulous people bought up mass quantities of basic staples: cleaning and sanitizing products, and toilet paper of all things, leaving none for others, those jerks!

Masses of people voraciously embraced new home projects and hobbies with the audacity of assuming everyone had the endless time and financial resources to do the same. By the way, this is also just one of the things that happened during the 1918 “Spanish” flu pandemic (called the “Spanish flu” then much in the same vein as some call Covid-19 the “China virus” now, only there was zero evidence of any Spanish origins to the 1918 flu.) that is being mimicked during Covid-19 today. People then also embraced anything to push away the boredom of quarantine, weird and self-destructive cures, false political wins became more important than protecting people, and people embraced conspiracy theories.

And with all this, for many, life felt relatively untouched. All the horror was distant, someone else’s story.

Interspersed with this has been a nonstop eclectic list of political farces, dramas, and atrocities. The never-ending inhumanities of war in countries that long ago forgot how to exist without war. And the planet seems bent on annihilating us all like a bad case of lice, throwing nonstop global destruction at is in the form of storms, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, pandemics and other too common and weirdly new illnesses, and unprecedented fires, heatwaves, flooding, and droughts with the apparently requisite grasshopper pestilence to decimate what little will grow. And don’t forget the Murder Hornets. We will never forget the Murder Hornets.

Seriously, who is writing this stuff? Is it any wonder it all feels like a far away unreal story to so many? Is it any wonder anyone in your world may have seemed to have just checked out?

And yet our mundane lives go on. Strangely normal and untouched for many while billions suffer just beyond the reach of our little enclosed lives.

We have to eat, sleep, work, volunteer, deal with the dramas of family and friends, raise our children, and pick burs out of our dogs’ ears. We have birthdays and anniversaries, teenagers being teenagers, kids being kids, and partners who we love to be around but sometimes need a break from. We get lonely for the friends we wish we had, miss the ones we do, and watch in sick fascination the train-wreck relationships among us.

And our life goes on, mundane and unchanged for many of us.

The surreal ugly of the world can be a depressing place. If it doesn’t depress you, it can still envelope you in the morose sense of the pain endured by others. Shocking headline after headline. Social media filled with sympathies for others’ suffering and castigations of failures to offer sympathies for that author’s righteous cause. It is impossible to offer sympathies to every pain and loss, and offering daily generic all-encompassing sympathies lacks the merit of sincerity.

And finally, you have been asking where is this going? Nowhere. Like everything else it is going nowhere. Our mundane round and round of daily life, for many sheltered from the reality of others. From the reality of their neighbors.

All during this world and local news unravels in a daily horror story that leaves many screaming to be felt and heard in the most ingloriously strange ways, embracing things they never would have before, some becoming increasingly hostile to anyone not sharing their voices. Many embracing what feels ludicrous in the face of what is happening locally and globally.

As much as I’d like to pinpoint for each week why is has been almost a month since my last post, more than a month since posting something that involved actual writing, the truth of it is that mundane round and round life. The daily commitments of work, volunteering, and family. Teenagers being teenagers, the partner you love to be around but sometimes need a break from, being lonely for the friends we wish we had and missing the ones we do. Picking burs out of Roxy, the #BigDumbBunny’s, ears and between her toes. Watching with that dulled dissociation and disappointment the train-wrecks that some among us have become. The fact that there just is not enough time to fit it all in and so sometimes something must give.

Unfortunately reality holds that by necessity the job that pays the bill takes priority over all else in your life. After that comes the needs of family, pets, and others you care about in your life. Home and house. And finally at the end of the day, behind everything else is you. Writing is for me. It’s my passion. It does not benefit anyone in my immediate world, and so that puts it last after all else.

Over the past five weeks, among other things, we had our first training session with an experienced and qualified dog trainer to try to fix Roxy (and us, because dog training is as much about fixing you as it is the dog). The air conditioner quit during the heat wave. We discovered a nice walking trail close by, an hour round trip walk where we can go partially woodsy deer trail or all grassy field, whichever strikes our interest.

And today we celebrate my nephew and his wife, married in 2019, but she finally now managed to immigrate to Canada.

My attempt to write a simple blog post weekly, large or small, helpful or not, in depth or mediocre ramble, has proven to be an incredible challenge. As in it is very challenging. To find the moments to write even in bits and spurts of a few minutes at a time. To edit it. To be creative.

I went into this knowing I would fail at times to pull it off every week. Heck, I barely managed to edit this at all, so bear with any mistakes and let’s just call this a “rough draft” published publicly.

And today’s random rambling lesson is this:

Don’t let those times when your desires, your driven passion that is what you want to do, gets pushed to the back and, frankly, shoved right off that backburner (cliché, yeah, bring it!) onto the floor behind the stove get you down.

Our world has fallen down a dark abyss of strangeness that belongs in an episode of The Twighlight Zone. Expect to be derailed.

Just because you couldn’t do it for a while, days, weeks, months, or even years, that does not mean you have to call it quit or abandoned. It’s not even a setback, really. It’s just life.

It is way too easy to let yourself slip into that daily drudgery and not make yourself get back at it. Not let yourself get back at it.

Don’t let those times quit you from what you love. Get back to it. Embrace it. Yes, you may feel morose, neglected, rejected, defeated, given up, and a whole of of other negative feelings at times while you quietly yearn to be able to do what you have a passion for, like writing. Life doesn’t care about what you want. It moves on around you, oblivious to you.

It’s up to you to embrace the good. The people you care about and the things that give you joy.

My writing has suffered since March 2019, but it is not forgotten. The passion and drive wanes and flutters back to life, but it will not die. Don’t let yours die either. It is never too late to reclaim your passion.

Be good to yourself and keep writing my friends.

P.s. This was not intended to be a Covid life rant, but the fingers will go on the keyboard as they will sometimes.

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fish & lureI’ve noticed a new breed of phishing scammers lately. They’ve gotten more sophisticated in their attempts to trick, cajole, and outright scare you into falling into their trap. The emails are written by someone fluent in English and are even doing a pretty good job of mimicking the company they are pretending to be.

The scammers of old seem to have fallen away, those all too predictable and obvious pathetic attempts with poorly spelled words, atrocious grammar errors, and the glaring obvious that they know very little of the English language and are completely oblivious or just don’t care.

As published authors we have to put ourselves out there, always marketing and schmoozing online like the girl at the young teen dance who so desperately wants to be asked to dance, but no one seems to notice her in the corner behind all the other girls desperate to be asked to dance.

The problem with making yourself visible to as many others as possible in the hopes that just one or two might actually buy your book, is that you are also making yourself visible to the spammers, phishers, and hackers.

Apparently a phisherman of this newer breed noticed me on Amazon. I suddenly am getting all these urgent messages that my Amazon account is in dire peril.

How do I know it phishing? It’s not that hard to figure out, really. Just be smart and stop and think before you panic and click that link or give any information. And when in doubt, just back out. Stand up and take a step back and close that email. Picking up a phone to call customer service (if they have one!) will sort it all out. If they have no real people working for them, then go to the actual legitimate website and contact them with all the details. They will no doubt tell you that you just got phished.

Keys and tips to protect yourself from phishing:

  1. Don’t make your email public. Really, how many of your “fans” need to email you? There are safer ways to do set that up. Do you think Stephen King put out his private email to the public? Not a creepy clown down the sewer chance! Of course, that’s sometimes easier said than done whenever media site defaults to publishing your email.
  2. Use multiple email accounts. Use a spam email for social networking sites where you know you are likely to get spammed by the site or phishing scams. Never use the same email that you use for banking and other important business.
  3. If the email is asking for personal information, bank account or credit information, passwords, or for you click a link to log in securely – IT’S A PHISHING SCAM! As soon as you log in through their link they have your username and password, giving them full access to your account.
  4. It doesn’t matter what the account is: your bank, Facebook, Paypal, Amazon, etc they will never contact you asking for you to click a link and provide information that gives access to your account. They will instead direct you to visit their legitimate site to access your account securely or contact them.
  5. Check the IP or senders email. Big red flag: all the Amazon’s calling and your account is in grave danger and has been shut down emails are coming from “noreply@amazon.ca”. Now here’s the dead giveaway: the sender’s email shows up as “noreply@azon.ca“. But that is almost Amazon you say? Yes, but do you not think a multi billion-dollar corporation would get that right?
  6. Did it even come to the right email address? I’ve had plenty of warnings that my bank accounts are in imminent danger. Usually the first giveaway is that it’s a bank I don’t have an account with, or sent to the wrong email.

The phishermen may have gotten smarter and more sophisticated, but common sense is pretty smart and sophisticated too.

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How awesome is this?!

I let the kids ride their bikes to daycare this a.m.

Baby wild bunny

 The youngest (7) is just giving it with all she’s got to keep up with the 9 yr old and her bigger bike. (7 yr old’s bike is too small and has very small tires).

 Baby bunny comes racing from a yard, runs right between the 7 yr old’s small bicycle tires, comes back and dodges her again, and runs off.

 Of course, that wasn’t the end of it.  The little bugger came back to sit in the middle of the road.  I had to shoo it off so I wouldn’t risk running it over.

 My awesome 7 yr old didn’t even flinch, and no wipeout.  She managed to avoid hurting both herself and the baby bunny playing a game of tire dodge.

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It’s that special day of the year again, when the kids make their Mom’s breakfast, make her cards, write her poems, and give her hand-crafted gifts.  All gives happily received, especially the one that don’t involve Mom spending hours cleaning up after their creation.

This year was especially nice.

The older daughter’s grade 3 class put on a formal Mothers’ Day tea, complete with white table cloths and fancy table decorations, beautiful décor, a picture together, and a cellist playing as the Mom’s trickled in.

The event held an afternoon of entertainment performed by the kids, songs and poems, and a few video clips.  Each kid got up to say a little speech about their mother:

Mother’s Day Speech

Written by

Sidney Gaudet

“Good afternoon Moms and grandmas.  My name is Sidney and this is the grade 3’s Mother’s day tea.  I am here to talk about my mom.  I am the daughter of Lori.  My mom has long blonde curly hair; she has glasses and gray eyes.  Now I told you what my mom looks like mom can you come up?

In my family there is my beautiful mom, my silly dad, my ANNOYING SISTER and my two smelly cats and me.  My mom works in an office; she is a payroll worker for truck drivers.  What she does is that she pays truck drivers for their work.  At home my mom cleans the house, does the laundry and makes supper.

My mom’s favorite color is purple.  My mom’s favorite actor is Johnny Depp in the Pirates of the Caribbean.  My mom likes to order stead at a restaurant.  My mom likes hollow chocolate.  She does not like when my sister and I fight.  My mom does not like it when my Dad says inappropriate words.

These are the things my mom likes to do in her spare time.  Well, she likes to play on the computer, read, watch TV plus go out.

Can I tell you something funny about my mom?  Once my mom and I went on a tube ride and she almost fell out.  I like it when me and my mom go out together, also when we play together and talk together.  Mom is especially good at games, cookies, reading, making stories, and also being funny.  She is so good at making stories that she was Author of the Month in January.

If I could give my mom anything in the world I would give her a big bouquet of beautiful white daisies with jewels in the middle.  My mom is special because she is always herself and never anyone else.  Also because she is my mom.  I love you mom.”

Presents included a wonderful 8 page card and large silhouette picture on black paper.

And on Mother’s Day:

The 3rd grader gave me another card, bookmark she made herself, and “M” fridge magnet.

The younger daughter also made me a great card and gave me a wonderful fridge magnet picture of herself.

And, last but not least, I have no idea how they got there and managed it, but they also gave me Cuisinart 15-pc. Compact portable blending/chopping system that chops, grinds, crushes ice, and will make some superb smoothie drinks this summer at the camper – along with a gift card for the liquor store to buy ingredients.  Summer, here I come!

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March Madness – I’m Going to Finish this Damned WIP if it Bloody Well Kills Me!

By L. V. Gaudet

Written February 29, 2012

It’s only one more sleep to March, and kind of a cheat day since today isn’t really supposed to happen, at least not 4 out of 5 years it isn’t.

It’s February 29th and leap day!

It’s also been three months since the insanity of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).  For those who don’t know, this is a month of madness.  30 days of writing mayhem, where writers such as myself, who are suffering from bouts of derangement try to write an entire 50,000 word novel from start to finish in only 30 days.

This year I decided to make March Special.

I am declaring March to be a new month of madness.  I’ll lovingly call it “I’m Going to Finish this Damned WIP if it Bloody Well Kills Me!” month, or IGFDWBWKM month.  Okay, so the anagram needs work; a lot of work.  So to make it easier I’ll just refer to it as March Madness.

The idea is to take that energy you poured into November’s NaNo challenge, but with what should be a much less daunting (and less insane) task.  Take that one WIP that is driving you really nuts, nagging at you, pecking at you, and just plain annoying the hell out of you because you just want to finish it already.  And, finish it.  Just like that.  You even get an extra day because March has 31 days in it.

Finish outlining ahead if possible (I’ve been hashing out the end of the outline for mine for the last couple of weeks).

There is no word count goal because it doesn’t matter how far along you are, and every story will end up being exactly the length it needs to be.

There is only one goal – finishing that damned WIP if it bloody well kills you.  You win if you can comfortably say you finished that damned WIP without your inner guilt demons laughing at you for lying.  The prize is that feel good feeling of finally getting that thing off your back and being able to say, “Hey, I finally finished the bloody thing!”

With me?

Tomorrow is day one.  Tomorrow I start typing and I’m Going to Finish this Damned WIP if it Bloody Well Kills Me!

It’s madness, yes, but it is March.

I may even tease with a few excerpts of this nasty novel of kidnapping, murder, and assorted mayhem.

 

*** HOLY HANNAH THIS IS MY 100TH POST ON WORDPRESS! ***

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It’s that time of year again when we take a day out of our lives to stop and remember the men and women who made huge sacrifices fighting for others.

Ideally we wouldn’t need a special day to remember.

Ideally there would be no wars to be fought, no blood spilled, and no atrocities inflicted.

Since that isn’t the case, ideally we wouldn’t need a special day to remember because we would remember every day.

But sometimes we need special reminders.  One day a year obviously isn’t enough or we wouldn’t still have men, women, and children suffering at the hands of that terrible monster we call War.

It seems that Remembrance Day has less meaning to each generation.

The legions were started to help war veterans having difficulties fitting back into society after returning home from the First World War.

As more wars followed, the number of veterans grew and so did the need to remember the sacrifices they made as they fought, suffered injuries to both mind and body, and were killed.

But these days it seems the faces of the veterans propagated by the media around Veterans Day are growing older and fewer.

Some might even think the veterans’ organizations and legions will become a thing of the past as the old veterans from WWI and WWII vanish into the distant memories of the history books.

Perhaps that makes it even more important now than ever to remember the men and women who fought for others, for their cause, for their freedom.  It’s more important because the veterans are not a vanishing breed.  On the contrary, wars continue to be fought every day right now and more veterans are returned home injured in mind and body, or for burial, somewhere in the world each and every day.

The veterans of war are not vanishing or dying off; their faces are just becoming unrecognizable to us as new generations of them are created.  They are not just the old grandfathers and grandmothers and great-grandfathers and great-grandmothers.  They are the sisters and brothers, the fathers and mothers, and the sons and daughters.  Their faces are decades younger than the veterans whose faces are splashed across the Veterans Day advertisements and newspaper stories.

And, to the newest generation, as with the newest generation for generations past, Remembrance Day is about having a vacation.  A day off from school with their parents home from work.  A day for learning new songs and poems about stuff they don’t really know with meanings they don’t really understand.

Knowing the importance of it much more than the newest generation does, and seeing how the real meaning is vanishing over generations, I want to make sure my own kids know the significance and the importance.  I try to explain it to them, and I know school does the same, and somewhere along the way they will eventually learn the deeper meaning of it all.  The sooner the better, and maybe one day they can help the world evolve into a new world where war is a thing of the past.

It is not just about remembering that people died for us long ago, it is about remembering everything that war is.  The cruelties and atrocities committed against the innocent.  The loss of life, property, and the indignities forced on others.  How war makes good people do terrible things and bad people do even worst things.  It’s about remembering the victims and the warriors fighting on their behalf.

This year, as my daughters eagerly planned for their day off holiday, I decided it would be a good idea to have them do something to earn that day off, the extra play time, and the extra movie night they wanted.  To earn it by showing me what Remembrance Day is to them.

So, I asked them to write me a story or poem about what they think Remembrance Day is about.

This is what they wrote (for the sake of legibility I typed up what they wrote) …

 

As I’m sure you noticed, the six year old wrote “Happy Remembrance Day” and “Have a Happy Remembrance Day” on her poem.

Now what could possibly be happy about a day dedicated to remembering death and war?

Well, I asked her that.  I asked her what makes a Remembrance Day a day to be happy.

Her answer – “A happy Remembrance Day is when you remember that the soldiers died for you.”

Maybe she has a deeper understanding than I thought possible for a six year old.

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The clock did not yet read two A.M., the alarm had not yet rang, but still it was time to get up.  You might as well when you have been lying more awake than asleep in fitful bouts of dozing all night long and the alarm will sound in less than ten minutes.

The house was still a shambles, having exhaustedly run out of time trying to clean it the night before and gone off to bed.

The state of the house is only one of the casualties of trying to be Supermom and returning to full time work after six years exclusively as a stay at home mom.

Seriously sleep deprived, we were up, showered, and stumbling about to frantically get the last things packed, the car loaded, kids up and dressed, and out the door by three-thirty A.M.  We really should have been hitting the road before two-thirty to get to the airport when they recommend – three hours before our six A.M. overseas flight.

And then came the hours of waiting.  Waiting in line while the four of us felt we certainly couldn’t possibly stand another minute.  Then more waiting, waiting in chairs and again in another line.  At last we made it to the security line.  We scrambled to put everything in those little plastic trays, jackets etc off, and sliding things though the x-ray machine one at a time.  Finally we were ready to go through the metal detector.  Steve went first and was immediately swarmed by three stern looking airport security guards waving menacing looking wands over him.  It was kind of funny, all the fuss over a little blue jeans button.  But the kids were a bit scared watching these stern guards waving their metal detecting weapons all around their daddy.  It was their first experience going on and airplane, and my first since very many years before all the need for high security on airlines and at the airports.  We scrambled to collect our things and make room for the people behind us, rushing off … to spend what felt like many more hours waiting to actually board the plane.  Naturally, the plane was delayed by an hour and a half.

After a great deal of waiting the kids learned that wonderful magical plane ride they had been so eagerly waiting for weeks for wasn’t so wonderful and magical after all.  At roughly five minutes and thirty-six seconds into the flight they were completely bored with a four hour flight to go.

The plane ride was pretty much as expected.  The kids couldn’t really see the little television that folded down from the ceiling some rows of seats ahead, the picture and sound were choppy and cutting out through much of the movie, and the seats were cramped.  The kids had no interest in the movie anyway.  It was more of an adult movie.  Seven year old Sidney’s distaste for the choices for the limited airline menu was just a taste of what was to come.

Despite the utter exhaustion of only half a night’s sleep at best, none of us slept on the plane ride.

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Well, we all survived my first week in my new life as a working mom.  Ok, more or less survived maybe is a better way of putting it.  It has been a week of adjusting in a big way for all of us.

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I have gone from getting up at around 6:30-7ish to 5:30 and am unbelievably and completely exhausted with my body balking at the rudeness of getting up that early.  And I think I need to change that to 5am.  By the time I’m driving home at the end of the work day all I want to do is crawl into bed and go to sleep.  Hopefully my internal clock will have adjusted by the time this term job is over and I can sleep in until 6:30 or so again.  Of course, then I’ll be waking up at five out of habit and cursing myself because I can finally sleep later again – at least for a few months or so until we (fingers crossed, and toes tied, wiggle your nose and hope hope hope) get the kids into permanent daycare and I find a permanent job.

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So far it’s taking me an hour and a half each way to get to work and back home – that’s three whole hours I could have spent writing!  But that’s what comes from working in the middle of a city.  At the start of the day, half the city grudgingly makes their way to the heart of the city all at the same time, which of course inevitably causes traffic chaos.  When the day is done and all the little ants are desperate to escape the crushing overpopulation of downtown on a work day, there is no escape.  I think the city planners planned it that way, a way of trying to centralize the population and try to make everyone live and work in their little downtown cubicles.

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The kids are getting up earlier, have no time to play, and are being rushed out the door an hour earlier than they’re used to.  Then it’s to the babysitter where they have an hour to play before the school bus and a couple hours again after school.  Of course, with mom rushing off in the morning and not coming home until supper, they don’t have that morning and afternoon mom time any more.  The girls are definitely feeling that loss.

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And for this first week of working, my husband has been the wife.  Yep, that’s right; it has been a complete role reversal for this first week.

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This week, he has had to get the kids fed, dressed, and brushed.  He has had to get all their stuff together, which is typically all over the house despite your best efforts to keep it in their backpacks, and off to the babysitter.  And then he’s rushing home after work to pick up the kids.

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Say, did I mention that he even starts work a half hour before me and finishes a half hour later?  But he doesn’t work downtown, so he doesn’t have that extra hour travelling time needed each way to ease excruciatingly slowly through the slow crawl dance of the rush hour traffic that is trying to get in and out of downtown.

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Then, he has been making supper while supervising the kids activities and breaking up their fights, trying to get them into the bath on bath days, washing the dishes, and doing their reading (while I’m sitting with the engine idling and hoping to creep up another car length before the light turns red yet again).

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And then I’m the one who finally straggles into the house tired and grumpy to kids who are eagerly waiting and a husband-wife who is frazzled.

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And, as my day finishes off, it’s supper, kids ready for bed, and then I have time to do household chores until bed.  Of course, I should also be getting all my stuff together for the morning – my housecoat ready for the shower, clothes pulled out and put where I can find them in the dark, lunch made, and shoes and whatnots packed and ready to go.  Yeah, but that’s planning ahead.

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And now for the part that everyone likes – the highlights!

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The highlights of my first work week:

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Day 1 – Let it Snow

Snow came late this year, but when it did it came with a whollop.  By Thursday before the start of the new job 42.6 CM of snow had been dumped on the area (37 CM between Nov ember 18th’s first snowfall of the year and November 26th, and the rest after that).  That sure beat the November average of 21 centimeters for the whole month.  By my first day of work, the city crews were still cleaning up the mess.

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For my first day of work it snowed again, and with the snow came very slippery roads, treacherous highways, and impassible glops of snow marking the edges of lanes that made lane changing difficult or sometimes impossible, and even slower than normal traffic and an extraordinary amount of traffic congestion.

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After almost seven years as an unemployed bum (a.k.a. stay-at-home mother) I felt like I was fresh out of high school and taking my first job ever.  In other words, I felt like a bumbling idiot and was sure everyone else was thinking the same thing.  On the plus side, I’m neither fresh out of high school nor completely inexperienced.  I had all those years of work experience, although it really doesn’t do much for you when you are learning new software and procedures because every workplace has a different way of doing things.  And, with all those years of life experience behind me I was not the shy and downright terrified nineteen year old that started that very first job.

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The parking I managed to find is a bit of a trek from work, and I had the fortune of passing through impassible sidewalks.  I got to the end of one sidewalk to discover that I was trapped with not enough time to make the journey all the way back to the start to cross somewhere else.  With a low wall on one side topped by high banks of snow, a filthy guard rail and heavy traffic on the other, and the end blocked by a dirty snow Mount Everest dumped there by the snow plows.  There was nothing to be done but to hike up my skirts, hope I don’t get too dirty, and make the climb.

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By the time I got to work I was tired and my legs were sore.

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I left my lunch at home, sitting (I believe) conveniently beside the coffee machine and had the added pleasure of having to wear broken eyeglasses.  Naturally, my glasses broke and I hadn’t gotten them replaced yet before starting a new job.

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By the end of that first day I was exhausted and not looking forward to the hike over impassible and slippery sidewalks back to my car.

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 I had also forgotten some of the unwritten rules about getting around downtown.  Specifically about which corners pedestrians do not cross in certain directions regardless of what signs the city has put up.  Perhaps some city planner was snickering when they planned out the downtown intersections.  Or maybe it is a means towards population control.

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Regardless, without thinking I waited for the light to change and that walk sign to show it is safe to cross, waited for the cars packing the intersection to clear it on their red light, shoulder checked for turning cars, and proceeded to swiftly cross the road oblivious to the unwritten rule against crossing in this direction on this side of this particular intersection.

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One woman motorist, who was turning, was kind enough to remind me of my error by trying to run me over with her car.  I’m convinced it was on purpose.  Either that or I grabbed the wrong coat and was wearing my cloak of invisibility.  There was no possible way the woman did not at some point notice the large bulk of a heavily coated person directly in front of her car, unless of course I was invisible.

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It was dark when I left home and dusk had well descended when I was heading home.  I can get glimpses of daylight through the window, which looks onto another window that gives a dirty glimpse of outside.  Total sunlight experienced – zero.

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Day 2 – Let it Snow Some More

Despite promises of clear skies, it snowed again (or maybe it never stopped) and once again the roads were slippery and virtually un-passable in some places.  The highways were icy and the winds and blowing snow left visibility even worse than the first day.  It was a long slow ride both ways.

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I took a different sidewalk route on my hike between work and parking, but with the drifting snow it meant plowing my way through deep snow down the entire long length of one stretch of sidewalk.

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By the time I got home my legs were painful even to touch them.  Man, am I out of shape!

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I had learned from the blinding migraine I got home with on the first day, and had ibuprofen with me, which I popped before I started the drive home, having once again left work with a headache already building.

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I managed to write about a hundred and some words on my NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) novel for the last day of NaNo month.

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Day 3 – Now That’s a Bad Santa Suit

The day started just like day 2, I got up and showered, and cursed myself for forgetting to put out clothes the night before.  I’m not good at stumbling around in the dark looking for clothes, so I had to wait for the hubby to get up before I could get dressed again.

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The roads were still slippery but not as bad and traffic moved a little better.  My legs cried and threatened to run away from home when I told them they had to make the hike between parking and work again.  They hurt, but I convinced them to make the walk anyway.

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I felt a little less useless at work and got through the day.

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I was surprised it took until day 3 to see my first panhandler.  I don’t know how I missed him, but I didn’t see him until it was too late.

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I crossed the street only feet away, hoping to not be seen.  Luckily he was focused on the cars and left me alone.  I had spent my sidewalk toll money on lunch that first day and wasn’t about to hand over twenties out of the grocery money I had on me.

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The man wore a rather bad version of a Santa suit, minus the beard.  He had a sad little half tree strapped to his back as part of the costume, its ornaments waving cheerily as he moved.  I couldn’t help but wonder what happened to the other half.  Did he buy it that way?  Or was another bad Santa suit guy harassing motorists somewhere else and wearing it as part of his costume too?  I didn’t catch what words were crudely drawn in dark marker on the cardboard sign he waved around.  Bad Santa suit guy was going from car to car, gesturing and waving his sign, and going right up to the drivers windows in an aggressive in-your-face attitude.

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Those ones are the worst, the aggressive in-your-face ones.  Those are the ones that seem to think you owe it to give them your money simply by right of who they are.  Those are the bullies.  They are the ones you see robbing people of their bus fare or lunch money, or even of their lunch.  These are the ones that you see threatening or assault people with no provocation, if you aren`t the victim yourself.  Not all of them do of course, but it’s almost always one of these ones.

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We needed groceries in a bad way, so I made the first of three stops for groceries – getting everything I can at the cheapest place to get it.  I got home in time to tuck the kids into bed and eat a late supper alone.

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The laundry and house cleaning is piling up.

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Day 4 – Happy Birthday to Me!

Yeah, it’s my birthday.

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My body is in revolt and refusing to get used to the new routine of getting up at 5:30.  I am more exhausted than I have ever been in my whole life.

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Things were improving but at the same time it would be a day of big guilt.

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The pain in the legs is lessening, and I now feel like any other schmuck starting a new job and learning the ropes, rules, new computer program, and procedures of the new place.  It’s not feeling so much like I’ve been out of work for almost seven long years.

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I spent the day feeling guilty because the kids were trying so hard to get attention from me in the morning.  It’s clear they’re badly missing their mom time, but there just isn’t any time in the mornings.

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On the slow drive home it occurred to me just how much my body is rebelling at the stress of that first week back to work after so long.  It seems to have shut down certain bodily functions.  I haven’t even felt the need to have a bowel movement since before I started the new job.

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I came home to the seven year old crying in her bedroom and refusing to come out.  Apparently she was practicing a special birthday dance as a special surprise for me and it was ruined by daddy and her sister.  Daddy could only take so much of her angrily whining “Robyn, stop it” at her sister, and only so much of the younger one trying to torment her sister and put them for a time out.  Daddy put them both for a time out after about a dozen warnings and she couldn’t finish practicing.  And about three minutes later I came staggering through the door wanting nothing but to put on my pajamas and go to bed.

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My husband was scrambling to make a special dinner for me.  The kids had set the table with a birthday balloon in a vase, candles, and the going-on six year olds special folded napkins.

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The seven year old finally came out of her room after refusing to come out for supper and cried through dinner, too upset to calm down.  My husband ate hurriedly, produced a small and wonderfully delicious chocolate caramel cake, a quick rendition of happy birthday by him and the girls, and he was rushing off out the door to play hockey.  I managed to get the kids to eat a reasonable amount of supper while they kept begging off dinner to eat cake and finally gave up on trying to eat my own.  They both loved the cake, even though it was more of an adult type of cake.  The seven year old even had a piece of leftover birthday cake from her sister’s birthday too.

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And then the crying started.  My younger daughter came to me, crying her heart out, for a cuddle.  She tearfully begged and begged me to quit my job and stay at home to be with them.  She told me how she misses her mom time and even forgot what the cat looks like.  Almost in tears, the seven year old came and said the same thing while I was consoling her sister.  I felt like crying myself seeing how upset they were.

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I finally got the kids to bed and the phone started ringing.  I missed most of my Thursday night writers chat and got absolutely no household chores done.  I was still getting off the phone when my husband returned from hockey at 11:30.

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The chores are going to need an intervention soon.

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Day 5 – Friday!  At Last!

Driving has gotten better.  I’m getting used to it again after years of only having to drive a few times a month, in daylight, no rush hour traffic, and having the option to stay home if the roads are bad.  Everyone else seems to be starting to get used to snow driving too.

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The pain in the legs is still improving.

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I barely feel like I was out of work at all and am getting my work confidence back.

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But the body will find new ways to revolt to change.  Beginning at about 3:00am and roughly every fifteen to thirty minutes after that, my body woke me up to tell me the alarm was about to go off.  I’d look at the clock and swear.  Then it was trying to get back to sleep only to repeat it all over again.

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Now I really was more exhausted than I have ever been in my life, even when I was up feeding babies every four hours twenty-four hours a day.  I was burned out before noon.

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Leaving work, there was Trapping People Trying To Cross The Street guy, and of course he was of the in-your-face aggressively panhandling group.  I managed to avoid Bad Santa Suit guy.  I had the rest of the grocery money on me and managed to avoid having to give away any of the bills on the way to my car.

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I made the slow drive home, making three of four needed stops for gas, groceries, and stuff, getting home in time for the kids to put on their pajamas and get ready for bed.

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I hauled in loads of groceries to the seven year old bragging about her sister being bad and a stressed out husband telling her to mind her own business.

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Uh oh.

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Long talk with the almost-six year old about what bad thing she did at the babysitter’s house, kids finally pj-ed and off to bed (late), and a phone call to the babysitter later and it was too late to bother with supper.  But that’s all right, I wasn’t hungry anyway.

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But hey, it’s payday!  I came in halfway through the pay period and got paid for my first week.  After filling the tank with gas, paying the pre-paid parking for the month, the babysitter for the week, and putting aside gas money for next Friday, I’m left with roughly a hundred dollars to put in the joint account for household expenses.  Yep, all this and I earned roughly a hundred dollars for that first week.  This is why we all love working so much.

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At last, my first week is done.  I’m exhausted and the house needs disaster relief with the laundry and chores piling up.   The kids are moody with adjusting to the new routine and losing those hours of time normally spent with me.  I want nothing more than to spend the weekend relaxing and recuperating, but need to play catch-up on all the household chores.  And the kids need their mom time too.

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I have to try to find time to start decorating and buying present for Christmas.  I have doubts that I’ll manage any Christmas baking this year.

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I have had zero sunlight exposure this week, sucked enough gas fumes in traffic to kill a roost of chickens, and lost fifteen hours to commuting – ten of those just because traffic doesn’t move at rush hour.

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My kids miss me, my cat misses me, and my husband seems like he might not survive another day rushing the kids, dinner, and dishes.

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We have a Saturday night Christmas party for my husband’s work to go to that I feel too tired to go to, and really should stay home to get that laundry and those chores done.

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I have managed to write a measly hundred and a bit words one the one evening I managed a small bit of time, but was too tired for writing.

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I also lost about five pounds after five days of no time for breakfast, hiking impassible sidewalks, and little interest in supper.

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Monday is a new week, and I expect nothing but improvement while we get into the groove of the routine of our new lives.

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