Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Monday, March 1, 2010
I am not so Canadian anymore…
Now, I know that that is a bit of a weird statement to make but I think this is something that has been going on for quite some time now. And it only just completely hit me this morning.
I guess it was this whole Vancouver Olympics thing that kinda really put things into perspective. First, I have to say that I love the Olympics. As a child I remember my father explaining to me how special the Olympics are, and I remember always thinking that I would like to go there some day. And so the closest I had ever come to that was when I was in judo. I wasn’t half bad, back in the day, but I was never quite good enough to make it on that level, though everyone in highschool thought I had a chance. It was the most common comment made in my yearbooks, ‘see you at the Olympics!’ I had gotten over my dream when I turned 19, moved to Europe, said goodbye to my sport and hello to all those things young folk enjoy at that age. And I don’t regret it. I never look back now and say, ‘if only I had stuck with it…’; I was smart enough to know, already then, that the olympics was something that was just not gonna happen for me.
But I still love the Olympics. And now with them being in Vancouver I thought I would get that extra little bug of excitement brewing, being Canadian and all. But that didn’t happen. I enjoyed watching some of the events on Eurosport, and I am happy that Canada won the gold in hockey last night, and respect to the Canada team for achieving a record number of golds at a single winter Olympics. But you know what, I don’t have that pride.
So many of my Canadian friends were, obviously, absolutely dripping with pride (especially after that win) but I just didn’t feel it. Having now been living in Europe for a decade I have slowly gone through some sort of process of Euronization (yes, it’s a word I think I have just made up – meaning, I consider myself a European, not so much a Canadian, or North American anymore). And this is a very strange thing for me. When I was in Canada with my family last summer, all I thought about was how different I was from ‘them’. Wherever I went, all I kept saying (with a bit of disdain) was ‘they are so North American’.
I feel almost guilty for feeling this way, but it’s true. I grew up in Canada. I spent my childhood there (sure I was twenty when I left, but realistically, I was still a kid). I spent my adulthood here in Europe. This is where I formed into the person I am today. Now, let’s make it clear, I happy that I grew up in Canada and had a wonderful opportunity to meet different people and make some very good friends along the way. There are still some things that I miss, that I just can’t get here; i.e. Mr Christie’s chocolate chip cookies, and relish, and baked beans, real sales in the malls, and wonderland, and good (though most of the time over-the-top) customer service. I am thankful to Canada for all that it has given me, but I don’t get that tingly pride sensation anymore. How strange is that…eh?
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Today, for the first time in a really long time I have had a proper productive writing day. I don’t know what has come over me but finally, after a long wait the words just kinda eased off my fingers onto the screen and the ideas were just pouring out.
In the last week or so I have been trying to decide what to give up for lent. I was considering smoking but the thought was just too scary for me. Though I have to admit that the last few nights I have been waking up with the feeling that I had an ashtray lodged in my throat. It’s a terrible feeling and I am hoping that soon enough it will force me to quit this nasty habit (but, those smokes are so good, they calm me down, and they give me a reason to step out for some fresh air once in a while.) I considered giving up carbs as well (like I did last year which did wonders for my weight) but as I am now an habitual runner I am dependant on those carbs and I just can’t let them go. Then I thought that maybe I should give up meat. But no, just can’t do that.
I spoke to a friend of mine a few days ago and asked her what she was planning on giving up. I must note, that I am not a religious person, and though I was raised as a Catholic I have pretty much severed all ties with the religion. But living in Croatia, in a predominantly Catholic society, their rituals and beliefs are all around and very prevalent in both the media and in every day life. You just can’t avoid it. What point here now is that though I don’t consider myself Catholic, I do like the idea forty days of fasting (normally associated with food, but we live in a modern world where these types of activities can be expanded to other forms of abstention), it’s a good method of self-discipline. So as I was saying, I was asking my friend what she was planning on abstaining from and she said that this year she was planning on giving up anything but instead decided to use these forty days to do something good for herself, such as preparing her lunches at home and taking them to work everyday so that she wouldn’t be left to snacking on junk throughout the day. And I thought, that’s a good idea. And then I wondered what it is that I can force myself to continuously do for forty days straight and hopefully make into a GOOD habit. But I hadn’t come up with anything.
Until yesterday, or the day before, I am not sure, when I went onto Allan Woodrow’s blog The Shelf Life and read his advice for successful writing http://notesfromasuburbandad.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/how-to-be-a-better-writer/and his blog http://notesfromasuburbandad.wordpress.com/2010/02/07/when-life-gets-in-the-way/ about how three days had passed and how he was ripping his hair out not having been able to write. And then there was Twentington 100’s blog http://twentington100.wordpress.com/ 100 poems in 100 days. Yes, there is another person who is working every single day on his writing. This is what I need to do too.
So thanks to Allan and Twentington and thanks to Lent I have committed myself to write every single day. I’m hoping to average at least a thousand words a day and if I knew how, I would set up a tracker on this blog to record how many words I had written every day. By the time Easter rolls around I should have approximately 40,000 words which is almost half a book!!! Which is AWESOME!!!
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
I realize that smoking is a complete waste of time and money, it’s detrimental to your health, and it stinks. I don’t even like the way I smell when I come home from a smoky café. But I’m just not ready yet.
I am writing this now because lent is coming up soon, and though I am not a religious person, living in a predominantly Catholic country makes me want to join in on the I-have-to-give-up-something craze. It would be lovely not to have to rush down in the middle of the night to find an open kiosk when I’ve just run out; it would be awesome not to have to hang my clothes to air out off our balcony; it would be great to get rid of those empty plastic bottles filled with water that I use as an ashtray instead of, you guessed it… an ashtray. I use them to remind me of how horrible my lungs must look, but they don’t seem to be having much of an effect on me.
I don’t want to go to the pharmacy to stock up on gum or patches or whatever it is that they recommend these days to help quit smoking. I don’t want to spend the money and I want to spare myself the embarrassment of having to admit to the pharmacist and the old women who pack the pharmacies that I have ‘a dirty little habit’ I’m too weak to get rid of on my own. I considered forcing myself to drink a glass of water every time I felt the urge to smoke but considering how often I get the urge I’m afraid I might just drown myself in it – you can die from drinking too much water believe it or not! I also considered chain smoking to the point of vomiting but the thought of vomiting just puts me off the whole idea (but not off of smoking of course.)
Cigarettes are my little treat, that’s how I try to justify them. No, I’m not addicted, I just like to have one here and there to reward myself – like after I do the dishes, and after I walk my daughters to kindergarten, and after I chopped the vegetables but before I go and cook them, and then of course I have another reward after that… you get my point. I need to find myself some other kind of reward – but I fear that would mean chocolate…
Point is… I’m just not ready yet. See you out on the balcony...
Monday, February 1, 2010
I haven’t had much experience taking care of other people’s children, primarily because most of my friends don’t have kids. But a few of ours do and today I took care of a young little boy aged about 9 months. Now, I don’t know why, but I managed to put him down for a nap, prepare him lunch and have loads of fun acting silly and stupid just to keep him entertained. And it was fine. He cried a bit, and tried to throw a bit of a fit, but I took it all in stride. And I don’t think that the experience of having two children of my own helped me that much. Sure some things are easier done when you have done them before (i.e. changing nappies, etc…) but I really felt like the whole thing was a piece of cake.
The crying didn’t bother me, and really, making gurgling noises just to copy him was not much of an issue for me. So why was it such a big deal with my girls?
I think that as parents, we are too protective of our young. Every time my babes would cry it would just break my heart. Maybe they’re sick or scared or something worse… god forbid they cry. The thing is that at that age, that is practically the only way they can voice their concerns. Or they just like to protest. But 99% of the time they are perfectly fine, just looking for that extra little bit of attention.
Today, I knew the little one would stop crying eventually. It was nap time after all, sooner or later he would have to nod off. And he did, and it only took him about 16 and a half minutes. NOTHING! I wish I had this sort of approach to my own girls. But I didn’t. And unfourtunately I still don’t.
Let them cry. They’ll stop eventually…
Saturday, January 30, 2010
I was so happy today when I got a little bit of free time to go bra hunting. It has been a long time coming, haven’t gone bra shopping in ages (even though, supposedly, you’re supposed to buy new ones something like every three months…) Luckily, my timing couldn’t have been more perfect, JANUARY SALES, practically everything is 50% off (can’t go wrong with that!!!)
So I have been thinking for a while that I would really like to buy a bra without padding in it. I’ve just been feeling kinda restricted lately and thought that a pretty sheer little thing just might do the trick. So I went to the lingerie store and picked out three padded bras and three without any padding (lacey, sheer, with little bows types of things… if I only knew how to upload pics to a blog it would make things so much simpler). Anyway, the padded bras were great. The nons, not so great, terrible in fact. I can’t describe the disappointment that both my face and my boobs expressed when I put on that pretty navy blue with black polka dots little bra on that chose to hug my nipples, curl them and point them towards the neighboring changing rooms (which, by the way, both had men standing outside of who could very easily sneak a peek behind my curtain because I couldn’t close it all the way) as if fighting over which way to go. I tried on another non-padded one. This one just let them droop and hang like empty sacs (of what I won’t say). I didn’t even bother trying on the third.
So I am thirty-one and my boobs sag like no tomorrow. I thought this was something that happened to older women. I AM 31! Perhaps I ruined them somewhere along the way. Yes, it could be the fact of a total of 25 months worth of breastfeeding; or maybe they just got lazy, having been snuggly cuddled in padded bliss for more than 15 years; they just never bothered to stand up on their own. And now when they are all grown up they’re disabled!!! I know that padded bras aren’t a bad thing, it’s just depressing that I am destined to wear them FOREVER!!! And that’s a long time…
Friday, January 29, 2010
We all do it, I know, but I seem to be one of those that has an excuse for everything. Some of them are legitimate and some of them are just to feed my selfishness. For example, I usher my kids off to kindergarten every morning no later than 8:45 because I have to go running. But I don’t go running every day – that is just an excuse so that I can have the flat to myself, the nice QUIET flat… Or, whenever my ex-roommate calls me for coffee (which has been happening less and less frequently, thank god) I always tell her that I am busy working (she equates that with cleaning) – but to be honest, I can’t be bothered to meet up with her because the conversation always leads to the newest brand of laundry detergent on the market. Or sometimes, I’ll tell my husband that I didn’t have time to go to the grocery store because I had been cleaning all day (please don’t tell my ex-roommate) god forbid I have to do more than one major chore in a day (I am such a lazy shit!)
Why is it that we are so full of excuses all the time? I don’t like the fact that I will make up a million excuses for not sitting down and working on a project that I have been THINKING about for the last eight months. It drives me crazy that my idea haunts me in everything I do, whether running, or cooking, or cleaning, or even just plucking my eyebrows. And I always have these brilliant ideas on how to develop it. But why is it that I cannot just sit down and do it? I think there are a few reasons for this. Perhaps the most important thing is that I am just plain insecure. I am afraid of showing ANYONE my work, too afraid of rejection, too afraid of bad criticism. I still can’t believe that I am posting my thoughts (which are pure ramblings and probably don’t make much sense and are not even structured very well – it’s safe to say that this is not what I would call good writing, or even poor writing, it is somewhere between the red and green zones in the -2 level of the parking garage down the road from my flat). I am realizing now that perhaps this little blog project that I have going is just another excuse to not do what it is that I actually should be doing and working on what I should be working on. But I need to flip it, I need to convince myself that this is an essential exercise to get my brain going, to get my fingers working, to get into the habit of writing (even if it’s crap).
So yes, after I post this I will stop making excuses, at least try not to make too many today and try to actually be productive when it comes to me and my work. I shall forget today about the laundry, I will whip up something quick and easy for dinner so that it does not take up too much of my time, I shall put off waxing for some other day (or perhaps not, I have neglected my legs for too long) – I shall sit down and I shall come up with a plan. And I shall follow this plan. Enough excuses… unless of course I get called because of some emergency or something (that’s always a valid one)…
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Now, before everyone gangs up on me and starts screaming blasphemy I would like to say this: there are many beautiful, extremely intelligent successful women out in the world, but when it comes to men we are just plain dumb. It’s true. I know there is a lot of talk out there about how men know nothing about women but the opposite is true as well; we really know nothing about men.
Flip through almost any magazine with a majority female readership and they are full of advice on how to get a man, how to read his body language, what he says and what he actually means, etc, etc… The truth is, we love to analyse, we love to pick them apart, we love to believe that we have complete control. But we don’t. We resort to conniving methodology to get down to the heart of things. We keep an eye out on his friends lists, we dig through his pockets, we wonder where he is when he is not home in time for dinner. Why isn’t he picking up his phone? Why is he not answering his text messages? Why is he talking about getting into shape? Why is he so often away on business? Revert back to those magazines and they will all tell you these are sure signs that he is cheating. And everyone knows that every man is a cheater…
My husband doesn’t pick up his phone because he is in the midst of a lease agreement negotiation. My husband doesn’t text me back because he has put his phone on silent so as not to be disturbed whilst writing up a report due last week. My husband wants to get into shape because he’s at a heavier weight now than he has ever been. My husband will be away next week because he is meeting an international investor who is very keen on spending his money on developing the newest, most modern shopping mall in the region. Those are the reasons that I get to those questions. And I believe him.
So, you say, why does that make women stupid? Well, the fact is that we just haven’t learnt to trust our men. I admit that though I believe my husband, sometimes there’s that little annoying voice that tells me ‘go check his pockets, go see who he’s recently added on that social networking sight, go through his phone and see if there are any suspicious text messages…’ I did that once. I went through his phone and I found something that I didn’t like. It was harmless in the end, but I went through a lot of grief and a lot of stress and it was so not worth it. And I put our relationship at risk because I didn’t tell that little voice to SHUT UP!
What about intuition, you say? Well, I honestly believe that we have been programmed in such a way so as to always question, always analyse, always look beyond what has been said or done. We are driving ourselves mad by doing this. And it is so not worth it.
I think that the majority of times when a man tells us he’s been in a meeting, or met up with a friend for drinks, or has headache and doesn’t feel like sex tonight, that is what he actually means. He doesn’t mean ‘I was doing my assistant in my office,’ or ‘I was out at a strip joint getting a lap dance,’ or ‘I’m all sexed-out from the marathon of lust I subjected myself to this afternoon.’
Let’s be frank. We don’t trust men and we’re stupid for not doing so. Okay, so yes, there are some out there who lie and cheat and could give a rats ass about their women, but I don’t think the majority of them are like that. I really don’t. Now you may say that I am stupid for thinking so, and you may be right, but I’ll have a hard time agreeing with you…
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Yes, I’ve said it, and I am really not afraid to admit this. I could be so much better than I am. My children are a reflection of the kind of mother that I am. They are not the little angels that everyone says they are to be. That’s them on a good day, which is not every day. Fact is, I lack patience, I yell too much and I give in way too easy. There are days when I just want to close myself in my room and cry. They drive me to want to rip all my hair out and throw myself off our balcony. I suppose it’s a good thing that I settle for a cigarette instead.
Being a mother is damn hard – I was told this before I had children but never really knew it until they arrived. My first child was especially tough. I admit that there are still times when I resent her. It’s such a terrible thing to say, but I believe my life stopped the moment she was born. And two years down the line, it went in reverse when the second one came along.
Don’t get me wrong; I cannot now imagine my life without my kids. I love them more than anything, though sometimes I don’t like them very much. I am not one of those moms whose whole reason for living is children. I have made my contribution to the human race and it stops here. I don’t understand those women whose children are their sole purpose for living. I remember once watching an episode on Oprah where they discussed working moms vs stay-at-home moms. The working moms seemed much more in touch with reality than the stay-at-home ones. Now, I am not trying to put down the stay-at-home moms because I am one myself. But I don’t believe the notion that children are their lives. I just don’t. I think it’s a load of shit. You can’t define your life through the existence of others. It doesn’t make any sense to me.
I refuse to be categorized as a mother because there are so many images that we are programmed to imagine a mother to be. And I too admit that I am programmed in such a way. When I drop my kids off at kindergarten I keep my conversation with other mothers to a minimum. Because I don’t want to be associated with them. I am such a snob, I know.
Now, I know that with children lifestyle changes need to be made. I can’t go out and drink every night (not that I was ever a heavy party person). And I do need to schedule my time around my own kids’ schedules (which is fine). But sometimes, I look at moms around me and yes, I simply know that I don’t want to be that. As if they are of some other, possibly lower being than myself. And for the record, that is not what I am trying to imply at all. All that I am saying is that I don’t want to be the mother that gushes and smothers her child all the time. I don’t want to be the mother that wears khakis and cardigans. I don’t want to be the mother that slaves in the kitchen, drinks tea, and organizes play-dates with their other friends’ children. If your kids want to come over and play that’s fine – let’s just not make it a ‘play-date’. The term is so exclusive: ‘Susie and I have arranged a play-date with Mikey and little Ben,’ or, ‘I can’t meet with you for coffee this afternoon because Betsy has a play-date’. Ugh, give me a break.
I am quite happy to say that I am absolutely elated when I tell a stranger that I am a mother and they don’t believe me. I know that they look at me and think, ‘hoodie, ripped jeans, converse and the just-got-out-of-bed-threw-hair-in-a-ponytail kinda do. How can she be a mother?!’ Even last week, I came to the kindergarten to pick up the girls one day and one of the new teachers looked at me and said, ‘You, you’re a mother?!’ She was completely confused. I loved it!
Now, when I think of it, it’s not so much that I am necessarily a bad mom, I am just fighting to be me first. I hope that won’t have too bad of an affect on my kids. On the contrary, I hope it will teach them to put themselves first (not in the selfish bad kind of way) but that they will think before they conform to what society might deem a norm. It’s bad that we label people, put them in boxes (I do it all the time – I just don’t want to be stuffed in one myself).
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Though I like to sometimes convince myself otherwise, most of the time, deep down, I know that I am not the most attractive person in the world. And I am not only talking physically.
I have struggled with weight all my life; and though I don’t think I ever fell under the obese category, I have never truly known what it feels like to be skinny (but I desperately want to – there, I’ve said it!) I know that we are constantly being bombarded with images and ideas of what an ideal weight should be – but they are lying to us and it sickens me. Any magazine I look at all I see are unhealthy girls with their ribs sticking out and waists so tiny they can easily wrap their long stringy fingers around them. Why are they doing this to us? And why are we falling for it? Why is it that we support an industry that tells us we are less than what they consider beautiful? I don’t understand this. And yet I do it. And it’s not only buying magazines. It’s trying out the fad diets (that we know, though won’t admit, are not good for us); it’s exercising until we pass out to fit into a smaller sized pair of jeans. It’s living on water and crackers just to punish ourselves for eating that bag of potato chips the night before. It’s figuring out the correct angle and light in pictures that we take with our friends, and getting down that pouty model face pose to make us look our best, though 99% of the time we don’t look like that at all. Imagine us walking around with our model faces on all the time – we’d look like a bunch of idiots!!!
I can now say that I have done tons of research on healthy living, healthy eating, and a more positive outlook on life. These all contribute to a better me – and yet it is the most difficult transition to make. We have created this horrible society of quick fixes and immediate results – and we are killing ourselves doing it. Why have we become so obsessed about the way we look? Is it to fit into those trendy tops that only look good on a stick?
What bothers me is that we are all aware of this (unless you’re a teenager and haven’t had the countless experiences of failing point blank). What bothers me is that we are so in denial; we’ll scream in the midst of our two-hour elliptical training that we’re doing it to be healthy – WE ARE SUCH LIARS!!! What we really want is to look like them. Maybe then we’ll be happy. But we all know we won’t.
I know that there those out there who will say it’s all about making money. The fad diets are out there to cash in on those poor slobs who are ten or a hundred pounds overweight. The fashion trends are constantly changing so that last years military look is so passé today (even though last year it was the look to wear)*, so you are forced to go out and buy this years shoulder pads and high-waisted pants. It all just makes me so sick.
Besides my weight, there are other factors that contribute to my lack of attractiveness (if that’s even a word). My hair is long and thin (but if I cut it short it will make me look even more fat). I have big knuckles that make me look like I have manhands (but I attribute this to eight or nine years of judo where my hands went through torture and suffer greatly from swelling and some form of arthritis). I have huge calves! They’re massive! They make me look like a bodybuilder – not the graceful elegant woman that I would like to be. I have skin problems, and bags under my eyes – but to be honest, I refuse to put on too much make-up to cover up these imperfections – I know it will only make things worse.
Of course these are all physical things – but let’s get back to what we are here for anyway. I am coming to terms with myself and am being open and honest with myself. I am not the most attractive person on the inside either. I can be quite a bitch sometimes. I am not very open to newcomers. I do like to put others down to make myself feel better (admit it, we all do). There are people that I avoid like the plague (though they are deemed ‘friends’). There are places I avoid like the plague because I don’t want to be associated with the likes of those that hang out there. I am liar. I am conniving. I am lazy. And I don’t care much for anything.
And there it is. I have now listed the reasons I am unattractive. And I am coming to terms with myself. One truth at a time.
*This is just an example – I don’t know if last year the military look was in, and I could care less.