In Defence of Other

It goes without saying that Twitter is a wonderful tool. It connects people, creates friendships, promotes businesses, encourages adventure and exploration, allows the user to see things in the world they otherwise wouldn’t. And it also harbours bullies and better-thans.

What’s a Better-Than you ask? Anyone who believes that what they do, love, eat, drink, etc is leaps and bounds better than what you do, love, eat, drink etc, simply because the two are not the same. Some prime examples? You enjoy a cold Bud after a long day of yard work. How pathetic are YOU? You should be drinking the latest and greatest local craft beer because all the cool kids are and they sure as shit are going to make fun of you for drinking something as bottom-of-the-barrel as a Bud. Even though you like Bud. Then theres the coffee drinkers. GOD FORBID you stop in at a Tim Hortons. GOD. FORBID. You should be drinking the more expensive, rarely open, out of the way, its-better-because-we’ve-convinced-you-its-better coffee. Except for one thing. When you wake up at 4:30 in the morning and head to work at 5:10, Mr High Falutin coffee maker is neither open nor on your way to work. And some people? I know this will be shocking, but some people actually just like Tims. They are not the devil spawn or the bottom feeders. They just want an inexpensive, ok cup of coffee. And guess what? That’s OK. Oh, you live in a newer neighbourhood with small trees and lots of houses? How sad for you. You must have ZERO ambition and must be SO WILLING to settle for average. Actually, our home and our street are both equally amazing, full of kids running around outside all day long and families that, yes, get this, families that KNOW EACH OTHER. You don’t need to be living in good old River Heights or Wolesely to have a family-centric neighbourhood full of good people who look out for each other.

I think the best one out of the bunch though? That would be taste in music/food/restaurants etc. Not dining at the latest, locally owned bistro? You pathetic Earls-monkey. Not buying your groceries at the specialty store and making instagram-worthy dinners? Heathen. You listen to WHO? NO ONE LIKES THEM you fool.

How about this. How about we all like what we like? How about we stop trying to make people feel embarrassed or belittled just for liking something OTHER than what YOU like? How about that hey? Wouldn’t that be neat. Because I live in a developed neighbourhood, I drink Tim Hortons coffee, I enjoy a cold Bud if its put in front of me, I eat at Boston Pizza, I listen to Eminem, and I cook basic, good old meals that I photograph only to prove to my mother that I actually DO cook now. So you and me? We’re not that different. I don’t care where you live or what you eat or who you listen to. Just so long as you enjoy it all to the fullest. That’s it. That’s all.

The Thing About Muscles

A few things I have learned this week about muscles:

1) You require your tricep muscle to accurately apply mascara. You can use opposite hand to securely hold mascara-wand-holding-arms-elbow to steady application. And then be thankful you only wear mascara and do not need to repeat this.
2) You require your chest muscles to turn corners in your car, and you particularly need them to parallel park. This one I took for granted until I realized how many turns it took to get to work, get home, get to my girls school and park the car. Our city is made up of constant turns.
3) You require your quads to lower yourself on to a chair or toilet, this is especially true in the dark, in the middle of the night, when the seat is freezing cold.
4) You also require your quads to get back up off of said chair or toilet. You may let out an “oompf” at this point.
5) You require both your biceps and your triceps to raise your arms high enough to wash your own hair. If you know this in advance, you can plan to have a helper onsite. Or get comfortable with not washing your hair for a few days.

Its kind of cool, how all these little moves use all of these different parts of your body. And that working them out properly leaves THEM feeling sore and YOU feeling, well, them. When your muscles are sore a day or so after a workout, it means they are repairing the damage from the workout. And in repair is where gains are made and strength is created. So I will suffer through the messy mascara eyes, driving like an old granny, grimacing as I lower into any seat of any kind and washing only the lower third of my hair because I know I did good. I have made gains. I have gotten stronger.

Angry Reading, Its a Thing

Funny how sometimes you go back to something you really dislike, only to see if you still dislike it as much as you thought you did.

I read a few blogs now and then. I am not a committed reader as I do not entirely have time nor am I scheduled enough to remember to go to that one place and do that one thing everyday at that one time. So when I think of it, I go check stuff out. There has been one blog that I have read with somewhat regularity and I find myself drawn to it frequently, not because I like it, but rather, because I quite DISlike it.

It is somewhat of a communal blog and I go there to see if the one writer who I DO truly enjoy reading has left any new ditties behind. I’m always a little bummed when its not hers, and believe you me, I can tell within the first sentence if its hers or not, but I read anyway. And then I stew. And I think of comments. And I decide its better to just keep them to myself lest I make any online enemies cuz who needs that.

I get that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I appreciate that we are all very different people. So I really have no valid basis on which to hang my dislike. But its there. I get that they are writing about things that do not interest me in any way but that doesn’t usually create dislike in my world. I can read a technology magazine and not be irritated by it even though I have ZERO interest in it. But this blog? The irritation is virtually instant. Its practically palpable.

I have come to realize after chatting with a pal that it is more the disingenuous way in which they write that irks me than the topic itself. The way that they think everyone wants these ridiculous things that they write about. And then when certain “other” posts garner comments and accolades I can sense them attempting to write in the same style and that irks me even more. The whole idea is to just simply write. Take the words from your brain, and throw them out into the world. Maybe I’m getting this whole blogging thing wrong. Maybe I should be thinking of things that other people want to hear about and spewing out a forced monologue and trying to fancy up really boring things and hope like hell I get a comment.

Hell no.

I write for me. I write to get it out and remember things and if someone else reads it, super. If someone else likes it, super. If someone else hates it, super. I didn’t write it for them. I wrote it for me. Thats me. Thats genuine. Thats what I want to read from other people.

If your words sound fake, one can only make a fairly simple and elementary deduction.

I will still click on over to this other blog on occasion, don’t get me wrong. I will continue to log on and remain typically optimistic that I will either be surprised and enjoy the words on the screen or be treated to a beautifully composed post from my favourite contributor. And if I am let down, well, I will carry on, tally-ho, push through the discomfort and will NOT exit out. No siree. I will read on, slight scowl on my face, restraint in my comment-typing fingers and when I have digested their words, will log off muttering something to myself about “why do I keep going back” and maybe even “glutton for punishment”.

A Very Merry Christmas Indeed

I like Christmas. I think its fun and pretty and when you don’t overdo it, completely enjoyable. I like that we have made our own traditions, however much angst and disappointment that created with certain relatives. I like that we no longer pile into the car on Christmas eve and go have dinner with relatives we only see once a year and sit through the evening watching so-and-so ignore so-and-so and pray for no arguements or drama and stay way later than we want to. I like that I make a meal for the inlaw side of the family in my home on Christmas eve now. That McK gets quality time with her grandma and grandpa and uncle. And I like that they leave when I tell them to so McK can go to bed at a reasonable time.

I like that I decorate my home with the same decorations each year, as boring as that may be to some. And that there is a spot for each and every one of them. I like the way my stockings hang on the mantle and my tree has evolved from a picture perfect specimen to one adorned with McK’s creations and various ornaments gifted to us by wonderful friends. I like that our door is open to anyone who wants to come by on Christmas day, share some coffee, wine and conversation and that there is always something to nibble on laying beautifully on the table. I like that McK gets up, discovers magic under the tree and can’t WAIT for the first visitor of the day. I like that we all get to sit around in our pj’s till we decide we want to get dressed. Its cozy. Its simple. And its perfect. For us.

I’m not into Griswold-esque light displays, copious amounts of “stuff” everywhere, cooking a huge meal (and cleaning up after!), or a bazillion people in my home all at once. I take down the decorations on the evening of Christmas day when the boys are out picking up Tim Hortons for everyone thats left in the house. I don’t generally let Christmas linger in my house. On to the next I say!

This year will be a little different. Theres a “significant other” that may come along with the bro-in-law and it will likely be her first introduction to some of the other in-laws (could get interesting). Theres a cabin that may be rented where, if we decide to do it, we won’t even be at home on the day. But either way, we will make sure McK has the best possible time with the people she loves most in this world. That is the present I give to myself every year.

Mirror, Mirror

When you have lost an amount of weight that is deemed somewhat significant (35lbs), when do you think you start to actually see that person in the mirror?

I have kept this weight off for over a  year now. I run when I feel like it (certainly not as much as before) and I still eat well so the weight has successfully stayed off. And yet, more often than not I still feel like that heavier person. There are a few outfits that I put on and think, ok, yes, smaller, fitter, definitely. But then there are the days where I feel the exact same as before. Maybe its a time thing. I was THAT weight for 9 years, it will take a few to get to feel like me at THIS weight.

This all kind of hit me last night. A technician was describing something that was going on in my body and said “Because you are thin, you’ll feel it more.” Because I am thin. A stranger who did not know that I was 35 lbs heavier a year ago called me thin. Huh. How bout that?

I know I am fit. I know I am strong. I know I do not long to be “skinny”. I believe that some muscle definition is sexy. I believe in having a healthy goal weight. I beleive the old adage that muscle weighs more than fat and will not be ruled by the scale. I believe the combo of weights and cardio is the way to go and that fat loss is born in the kitchen. I believe that mirrors show both flaws and successes, regardless of what you choose to focus on. And I believe that random unintentional compliments from strangers will help you see more of the successes and less of the flaws looking back at you.

Red Red Yellow Red Red Yellow

I’m what you might call a “details person”. I notice things. I notice pretty much everything. Pat is always floored when I remember things and I often hear “How did you even know where that was? We’ve never been there before??” to which my reply is always something along the lines of “Well, we drove past it that one time, 6 years ago, when we were on our way to go buy that <insert totally random item here> at that store with the lady who kept calling you sonny.”

Its not only that I remember small details. I SEE things too. I see things that stand out to me, that I think would stand out to everyone, but they don’t. Sometimes it my OCD coming into play. And sometimes I think my detail-noticing is just me being a lil bit cray cray.

I will always notice when a group of cars are all the same shade of color. Like, 4 red cars parked beside each other, or 6 grey cars that pass by on the road. I will dump a mini pack of smarties in my hand and the only thing I will see is that there are three greens and every other color is a single. And then I will not be able to eat the greens together, always separate.

I believe I have passed this oddity on to McK. I know this because sometimes I will say “Hm, all of those cars are shades of blue” and she will reply “Yeah, I noticed that too”. Not that theres anything wrong with noticing these things, or being aware of where you are in the city, or recognizing landmarks and key things. Its not like it takes up a ton of space in the old noggin. We have memories that are like bank vaults. I remember what Pat orders from every food spot we go to. From the intricasies of his Subway order to what he takes in his Tims. And now, so does McK. She knows that this is a trait only she and I possess so she makes him write our order down every time he goes out for us. Every. Time. He is not what you would classify as a detail person. His eyes get glossy and empty when I try to “tell” him where we were that one time and where we saw that one thing and when it was that we went to that place and who it was we saw at that restaurant. He just stares at me with a blank look and asks me one more time what I want in my coffee.

3 cream, 2 sweetner. Write that down.

Nanny and Pipe

I miss my nan. I miss our visits. I miss her smile and her sparkling eyes and even her gossip. I miss making her tea in a delicate tea cup complete with saucer, the handful of grapes that were always on the table, the assortment of cookies that were always in the blue tin in the cupboard above the sink. I miss how she would put her soft hand, as delicate as her teacup, on my arm when she was telling me something she really wanted me to listen to. I miss the concern in her voice and the love in her eyes when we were trying to get pregnant and the worry she showed when my sister got pregnant before me. I miss going in to her room, seeing the two little beds with the wooden headboards, the delicate makeup table and rickety chair with the crystal jewel holders and soft bristle brush with matching hand held mirror placed perfectly on top, and the dresser that housed the rotary phone and the address books with little scraps of paper tucked in because she ran out of space under H and M (“You kids need to stop moving, I have no space left!”).

My nan was a beauty. A stunner, they’d call her today. Once she went in to the Palliative Care Home, I would visit her and wash her hair for her. We would talk about things that had been happening in each of our worlds, I would give her the latest on McK’s newest trick and she would give me the latest on the woman in the room across the hall that seems just a little bit crazy. I would make her laugh. And I would leave wondering if it was the last time I was going to go and run my fingers through her fine, grey curls and wipe the drips off the back of her neck so they didn’t run down her back and get on her cotton nightie and give her a chill.

My nan died the day after I had been there to visit. She had asked me to not only wash her hair but to blow dry it and then curl it after. We spent an extra bit of time together that evening, her perched in the little chair in the tiny bathroom in her room, just watching me in the mirror. Me, giggling as I pretended to be a high falutin’ hairstylist, telling her how hot she was. “Oh go on” she’d say, but I know she loved it.

Somedays, like today, I just want to get in my car and drive over to Nanny and Pipe’s house, make myself a roast beef and cheddar sandwhich, cozy in on the big brown couch, watch the weather channel with them and catch up on all the neighbourhood gossip. Before leaving, I would lean down over her now tiny body, take her hands and give her a big fat kiss, bug Pipe one more time about being deaf which, of course, he would always hear and follow with a “Shut it you”, clean up the kitchen for them even though they always told me not to and remind them to come and lock the door behind me.