Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Change... but not too quickly

Our kitchen has an island, which in many homes equates extra counter space.  It's an area which some families might use for meal preparation, baking - for whatever normal people use an extra expanse of counter.  In our home, the island is where our junk congregates.  Mail and newspapers, wrappers, receipts and various bits of paper gather to bask in the glory of our many, hydro-sucking pot lights.  Last week, I decided to tackle the piles of debris in a long overdue attempt at creating order-without (y'know, because they say that's the first step to order-within).

The standard tidy-up routine consists of sorting each piece of crap into new piles according to owner.  Wolf's, Kitten's, Mom's, the landlord's and garbage.  I took my crap and Wolf's crap to our room and put Kitten's crap outside her bedroom door (where it would stay for several more days) and had in my hand a bunch of crap for the garbage.  As I made my way back across the living room, I became hyper aware of one item in my hand.  It was a piece of Pale green paper, folded many times so it resembled a flattened tube.  I'm a chronic checker (let me just make sure I have my keys... for the third time) which means I cannot throw anything out without first reading it.  What if it's important?  I unfolded the paper - a 4" square sheet of origami paper, coloured only on one side - and held in my hands one of the sweetest and slightly-less-innocent-than-I-would-have-liked love note.  It was signed, in cursive, by the young man who enlivened our home for two and a half days, three weeks ago.

I took a few days to panic and obsess about it before I told Kitten we had to chat.  I told her that I'd used variations of a particular parental quip on many occasions but that I had to amend it.  In the past, I've said, "You know you can talk to me about anything?" and "I want you to talk to me about whatever!"  This time, I said, "Communication is imperative.  I need you to talk to me and you need me to talk to you.  Because the only other option is for me to assume."  I don't like being blindsided.  It tends to tweak my anxiety and I get a bit crazy.  The chat ended up being more of a mom-ologue (which I tend to be completely blind to, in the moment).  

When Wolf arrived home, I brought the whole thing to him.  Typical man, he said, "So, what did she tell you?"  Allow me to take this moment to look sheepish.

He called Kitten.  She arrived with her typical, "Yes, Daddy?"  and the conversation truly began.

Wolf:  Mom showed me the note.
Kitten:  (deer-in-headlights-I'm-trying-to-look-innocent look)
Wolf:  Is [he] your boyfriend?
Kitten: Yes.
Me:  What does that mean?
Kitten:  (deer-in-headlights-what-the-hell-are-you-asking-me look)
Wolf:  Since when?
Kitten:  Since I was eight.
Wolf:  Have you kissed him?
Kitten:  No.
Wolf:  Have you kissed any boys?
Kitten:  Only you, Dad. 
Me:  So what does boyfriend/girlfriend mean to you?
Kitten:  We hold hands.
Me:  (relief)
Wolf:  Good.

It was a decent conversation.  She's at the tail end of twelve and while there's a huge, screaming part of me that insists she's too young to be using the word boyfriend, I also know that there's nothing I can do about it.  She was born into a family which boasts stubborn strength of conviction, for good or for ill.  She will do what she will do out from under our watchful eyes*.

I spent a few more days lamenting the death of my 'baby girl' ("If drama was money, I'd be a millionaire" - Kitten) and then it snowed.
Due to recent extremely dire financial straits and a kid who doesn't complain, Kitten needed footwear.  She's worn her runners folded at the heel almost since the day she got them. As a result, pinchy-toes have never been an issue.  Snow is and there was no way I was letting her play in the snow with her heels hanging out of the backs of her shoes.  So, Kitten got her first pair of grown up winter boots.  She loved them so much she put them on at the till. 

We had one more stop before heading home and I parked in a snow drift.  Kitten leaped out of the truck as soon as Wolf had cleared the door.  Off she tromped through the parking lot bent on trying out her new boots.

I watched her, independent and self assured, with my heart heavy.  And then... I smiled.  There was my daughter, a breath away from thirteen, climbing the biggest pile of snow in the lot.  She thew her hands into the air and crowed her success at the mountain's summit.  And she's still my Kitten.

  *which means she must stay under our watchful eyes until we're confident in her strength of character!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Day Twelve - Timing

I sit down to write, nightly, but I keep leaving it 'til later each time.  As a result, I'm sore and edgy (not in that hip, desirable way) and ready for bed.  I certainly don't want to use what little energy I have left trying to create witty quips.

So... tomorrow I will write earlier.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Day Eleven - In Remembrance.

I'm taking the evening to process and be thankful.  Remembering is important.  Feeling is hard.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Day Ten - A Movie.

Seeing as I'm not taking more than a symbolic part in NaBloPoMo, I can do this:

Have you seen Untamed Heart?  Do so.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Day Nine - Kitten.

Wolf was so proud... He's Metis. '08

Kitty torture 101  '08

Fire and water. '08

Sweet as cinnamon.  '08

Kitty torture 102   '08

Sometime a Klingon invasion is just what we need.

Her secret weapon?  Smiles...  '08

or pouts.  '08
Sometimes both!  '10

She's begun to morph... which happens to be the first word she ever read - Metamorphosis.  '10
And she's slowly dancing away from me, into her own life...  '10

Monday, November 8, 2010

Day Eight - Dragging...

Sadness is pulling me under.  I've been fighting it, giving it all I have for a couple of months.  Today, it's almost too much.

Stress, right?  We all have it.  We all soldier through life's ups and downs.  Sometimes, though, there just doesn't seem to be quite enough up to balance out the down.

So, I'm going to keep this short.  Misery may love company but I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy.

Have a peaceful night.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Day Seven - It's the little things...

Do you ever have those days when nothing feels right?  Everything is just a hair... off.  Physically, I'm feeling a touch under the weather.  I'm emotionally 'blah.'  I'm not tired enough to sleep, but I'm not interested in folding laundry or mopping the floor.

Whenever I cloud over like this, the universe offers me a little morsel, something that carries with it the possibility of a smile, a faded ray of sunshine.  Today, I was reminded of this:

generated by sloganizer.net

It displays a new 'slogan' with each page view.  I was introduced to The Sloganizer several years ago when my blogging habits were more regular and far more whiny.  I still have the blog, but it prefers to be called a journal... a livejournal.  I was checking my friend page - I still have a friend who writes, once in a while - and something moved me to look at my profile.  There it was...  "WolfSong is better than chocolate."

Sloganizer therapy.  I recommend it for anyone.  ;)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Day Six - The stuff we carry never gets lighter...

Dirty mirrors and work clothes. 
By 2002, Kitten was four and I found myself in the midst of a re-kindling.  After two years of only telephone and email contact, Wolf and I had a face-to-face visit.  It lasted ten days, out here on the Island, and resulted in Kitten and my relocation to Ontario to create our new family.  Why Ontario?  Well, Wolf was the sole proprietor of a thriving company which wouldn't have taken well to uprooting.  

 ... yes, this does have something to do with hair and my issues therewith...

My bleach phase was on hiatus and I hadn't done anything more than remove the remaining white tips from my hair.  Ontario weather is brilliant!  I grew up in arid Alberta and, therefore, didn't know my hair was curly.  The constant Hamilton humidity meant twelve hours of air-drying time after I washed my hair.  I finally had a wash-n-go 'do!

So, the very air was my friend, and my hair was growing ridiculously fast.  My life was fresh and new.  I was ready to start playing again.  There was only one problem.  Wolf was the sole proprietor of a thriving company in Hamilton, Ontario - I was 'Dharma' to Wolf's 'Greg,' but with less self worth and more guilt and a martyr complex that beat all.  I was bound to the rules of upper-middle class society.  No visible piercings.  No funky colours.  Buy yourself a nice dress...

And then, two years had passed.  My hair was mid-back length and shapeless.  Wolf was afraid to let me cut it, so I let myself get talked in to a 'complimentary birthday haircut' by our stylist friend.  Oops.  I asked for long layers, she layered it.  I walked out with diamond head.  You know, where the fullest part of the hair is at the jaw line and it tapers both up and down from there?  Well, I stuck with that cut for about two weeks (see a pattern here?) before I grabbed the scissors.  Wolf said he'd feel better if he cut it, as he could see the back of my head.  So, he cut it.  That one didn't even last 48 hours before I fixed it.

Two years later I cut off several inches in an attempt to clear up my split ends.  I swore I'd start trimming in every couple of months, but it was already too late.  The obsession was growing without my realizing.  While I was busy being resentful, I neglected to see the strengthening correlation between my okay-ness and my hair.  And my hair got longer.  Two more years later and I had six inches removed.  It was back to an inch above my bra strap.  And my hair got longer...

I'm standing at the crossroads, nine years from my last play-with-my-hair day.  My locks are long enough that they get caught under my leg when I get into the truck.  They are badly damaged from years of sweater collars and it takes me almost an hour to get shampoo and conditioner through and then rinsed out of them.  It's like having a baby.  Everything has become difficult: sleeping, showering, cleaning, working... it's always in the way.  Even if I put it up...  It takes way too much energy, and it isn't energy I want to spend.

Are you asking how it got to this point?  Why I didn't cut it sooner, if it was bugging me so much?  Because it's long.  It's really, really long.  In a world where long hair is defined as 'below the shoulders,' it has become more than novelty.  It's a defining characteristic.  A part of me points out how pathetic that is.  I'm a great person.  I'm kind and likable.  None of those things is effected by the length of my hair.  My value or 'specialness' isn't decreased because I don't have long, unhealthy, resented hair.

Besides, it's not like it won't grow back...

Friday, November 5, 2010

Day Five - Carry-on Luggage

Baggage.  I think it's safe to say that we all have it, in one way or another.  I like trying to 'checking' it, banishing it to the cavernous depths of my metaphorical plane, hoping that the airline will lose it.  Sometimes I shove it into the overhead compartment, out of sight but still looming over me.  And no matter how hard I work on 'dealing' with it, the Universe is always more than willing to remind me that it's still here, tethered and weighing me down. Anchoring me in garbage.

The interesting thing is, all of my bags match.  They don't all hold the same thing - that would be silly - but each holds something undeniably related and tied in to the others.  It doesn't matter what the issue-of-the-day may be, somehow it will trigger 98.669% of all the other crap in my head.

Since 2002.
I have letting go issues and a self-worth disability, anxiety disorder and a sprinkle of debilitating depression.  And they're all tied together feeding on and being fed off of each other.  I was under the impression that the passage of time would lead to maturity, which would bring wisdom and, eventually, peace.  You know what the passage  of time leads to?  More birthdays,  which leads to older-than-ever-ness and, inevitability, wrinkles.  Not overly comforting.

I used to have a hair fixation when I was younger.  I bleached and dyed and refused to trim because I needed every battered inch that I could get.  And I couldn't leave the house without styling it.  You know how some women can fix a bad hair day with an elastic and a ball cap?  I wasn't one of those.  If my hair was shite, I was shite.

When Kitten was born, my hair was three or four inches past  my shoulders.  Life with a new baby doesn't leave a whole lot of time to play with one's hair, so for the first year of Kitten's life, my hair lived in a pony tail and grew.  Close to her first birthday, I was sitting in the kitchen of the house I shared with my mom.  My sister was visiting and she was playing with my long, straw-like - in both colour and texture - pony tail.  I love having my hair played with so I removed the elastic and revelled in the attention.  Eventually, though, her intention cut through my pleasure.  She was cringing.  I couldn't see her, but it was strong enough to be felt, none the less.  This set me to thinking about how gross my hair looked, truly.  With the remnants of a bad blond job* taking up about half the length of my hair, I knew cutting it was the only remedy.  I had tried dying darker - twice at home and once in a salon - only to have the colour wash out.  Apparently my hair was too porous.  Something to do with the size of the dye molecules....   "Hurry up, before I change my mind."  I was that unspecific and my sister was running for scissors.

She cut my hair to my shoulders which is my least favourite style in the world.*   A few weeks later, while visiting family in Calgary, I had it cut Sarah McLachlan c.1998.  Having curly hair made this a very disappointing style and a few weeks after returning from our visit, I enlisted a friend and we took the clippers to my head.  I loved it and kept it that was for several months.  Right up until I noticed the side effects.  I didn't mind the flirty smiles from the ladies, but the threatening smiles from some of the men made me a little nervous.  And I hated when senior citizens thought I was something to fear.

The great thing about those months was that my fixation was broken.  My hair became something that I could play with.  I bleached, properly this time, and spent a while 'looking like sunshine,' according to Kitten.  I was reinventing myself and I loved it.

 ...to be continued...

*(note the natural colour of my hair... I used a box of blond dye, twice, two weeks apart, in order to get a lovely orange colour)

*as it was the style my mother had throughout my childhood.  Show me a kid who grew up in a dysfunctional family who want to look like her mother and I'll.... I don't know.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Day Four - Long weekend...

Tomorrow I'm getting the day off.  Not my usual day off - running Kitten to classes; knitting or reading in the truck or on the job-site all day.  No, I get a real, at home with Kitten, doing whatever we feel like (while catching up on reporting), morning to evening, all day kind of day off!  I'm a bit excited!

 On a completely unrelated but equally exciting note, I've decided to hack off my hair!  Currently, I only have one pic that sort of shows the length.  Tomorrow, I'll upload my camera.  It still hold my 'good-bye, hair' pictures. 

I'm running on half brain, right now.  I was doing really well until I junked out on leftover pre-Halloween candy (the stuff Wolf and I bought for ourselves the day before the ghouls came out - it's only fair).  I felt great for quite a while, but the crash has hit like a ton-a and I have to put my head down... or eat more!

Until then, then.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Day Three - L is for the way you make me laugh...

wolf: What's wrong

me: Headache.  And I think I need some dental work.

wolf: Here, take this.

me: Shouldn't I take it with food or something?

wolf: Oh, you should be fine... I can't guarantee anything, I mean, it is an opiate.  You may hallucinate there's a gorgeous, naked man in your bedroom.

And this is one of the many reasons why I love him so very much.  Of course, he's currently pacing around in a bit of a huff because I'm blogging instead of enjoying my naked man hallucinations.  This is not one of the reasons I love him, but is more than tolerable in view of all the wonder, joy and humour he brings into my world.

Sleeping where I sit...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Never write emails to people you don't know really well - or at all, for that matter - when you're too tired to keep a thought cohesive all the way from your brain to your fingers...

Trust me.

Day Two - Gifts

There are times when what we've given to life gets reflected back at us.  Sometimes it comes as a realization, while watching a stranger's behaviour.  Sometimes it hits closer to home.  My experience of motherhood has given me many of these moments.  Sometimes it sucks, like when I heard my Kitten chastising her dolly using my voice and words.  Or when I hear her say things like, "I can't..."  That's one of my personal favourites.  Thankfully, I only hear that one about twice a year.  The great thing is, unless we've been icy or ogreish from day one, now and again we also get to see a reflection of our good sides.

This evening, while I was dishing up my dinner (Kitten and Nana had already eaten and Wolf was eating in the solace of our room), Kitten regaled me with tales from the book she just finished... for the third time.  After a few minutes, she opened up the first page - a warning page - and read it aloud.  Then, she flipped to the author's note and read out his words.  When she was done, she smiled and said, "Y'know Mom, I really think you'd like this book and I think it would be cool if I read it to you, y'know, when we're in the truck and stuff.  I mean, you've spent so much time reading out loud to me."

So, with thankfulness and joy, this evening I began listening to a dynamic narration of Rick Riordan's The Red Pyramid.  It's a brilliant story that doesn't need to be read aloud by a loved one... but if you happen to have one handy, I'd recommend you both (all) give it a try.  


Monday, November 1, 2010

Day One

A thought occurred to me, just after posting my last entry.  I really enjoyed the last NaBloPoMo in which I participated.  I loved the commitment of sitting down in stillness, at least once per day, to focus on writing something - anything.  So, I decided to commit myself to a little piece of sanity, whether I'm an official part of the annual event or not.

I'm not, for the record.  The universe took me to task for overusing one particular excuse and I found my quiet, only-child household 'enlivened' by a very high energy, thirteen-year-old, oldest-brother-of-four!  I was gifted with the opportunity to learn what "chaotic" truly meant!

I have to get Kitten to dance class and just might have a moment, once we return, to add a bit more detail to this too-brief illustration.

Facing the future with... something,