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Do other people worry about becoming a hugging person?

31 May

I sometimes worry that if I lose my job and get out of the rat race, I will end up as a hugging saint. I also worry that I will not be able to pay for my iPhone and have to rent out my basement, so it’s not like I have achieved enlightenment. It’s just that sometimes I feel like that is a shadowy other-life. Anyone else ever feel that way?

(P.S. I have hugged Amma, and may again. She is in Toronto June 28-Jul 1, check out her site. She is actually a very cool feminist in her way.)

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Love with cinnamon on top

21 Apr

Dear you,

I woke up this morning so happy to think about you. Not, of course, that my every thought is consumed by you because that would be over the top ridiculous. I am a well-rounded individual and in the past ten minutes I have thought about civil liberties and their place in the face of sociopathic activity, ice cream, the role of laundry in history and whether my poor old cat is losing weight. But I also did think about the way everyone in the entire world, throughout history, who shares your first name, saint and sinner, misogynist and activist alike, makes me smile just a little bit because, well, it is your name. 

I want to share everything — well, that is everything except a little bit because really I do have to come first in my own life, as much as I want to go through it with you; the fact is if you were to crush my soul, lay an unwanted hand on me in a violent or coercive manner, or become a negative in all my days I might well end things and so there will always be a small private island within the ocean, a little place of independence upon which I could be shipwrecked, a host of private thoughts like coconuts…. Well, this metaphor sucks and what’s more, let’s not kid ourselves, I am kind of independent and I suck at sharing, and what’s more, I am not even sorry about it. But, I wouldn’t mind getting better at it with you, which is what really actually surprises me.

Your kisses are amazing, and sexy, and I love being a sexual agent with you. Let’s do that at the earliest opportunity, contraception and all. 

Mom friends: Fellowship of the Ring

1 Jan

I have a group of mom friends that I made in the traditional (more-or-less) manner. When my eldest son was 4+ months old, in early 2006, I was going bugfuck in my house, still leaking milk, whacked out on sleep deprivation and my old “single” friends (single = without child) were upset I was not coming out for dinner with them.

The One Cookie

The One Cookie

So I looked on the Internet for help and found a mom’s group kind of sort of starting out as an email list. And the organizer of that group invited us all to show up for coffee at the mall. And I did. Getting there felt like Frodo taking the One Ring up Mt. Doom, but I met some friends there. The group expanded to insane proportions, split with dramatics, split several more times without dramatics, and I ended up with some great friends.

I started off cleaning my house from top to bottom every playdate and making elaborate finger sandwiches and ensuring three kinds of fruit. I ended throwing cheese on a plate and crackers in a bowl and shoving the laundry in my bedroom. And this path was a good one, because life is not like Pinterest…not every day anyway.

(A Pinterest rant will arrive. Love it. Hate it.)

When I went back to work I fell out of touch with them because I was having a hard time making sure my underwear was not inside out and talking to people who, you know, sleep through the night. And I was a little defensive and busy freaking out that I was Ruining My Child With Daycare and who needs a playgroup when your child is in daycare because they are just going to tell you you are screwing up? But luckily for me the same organizer ended up with her son in the same Montessori and I hooked back up with them.

By this time (this tale is starting to feel like Tolkien) playdates had become Friday night whine/wine night and I was so in. And it is amazing. It is like Friends. Here’s how it works: After the kids are in bed, whenever that is, we congregate at someone’s house for food and drink. It rotates. We use Facebook to do it. People drop out, come late, leave early, whatever. We stay up on each other’s lives, more or less, and we love each other.

We are a fellowship. Posse. Whatever. I have other friend groups…the same people who put up with me as a nerd in high school, work friends…and I truly do love them all. There is no trade and no hierarchy.

Royal iced eye of Sauron

Royal iced eye of Sauron

But these mom friends…here’s the thing. When I started off with them, I was so intent on doing this playgroup thing under my new identity as Supermom. Not weird. Not too different. Clean. Great cook. Loving and consistent mother. And it was mostly for the good of my child – support, as we say, as a parent, to be a good one.

And what I got was those people in my life who show up with casseroles when someone is hospitalized and who come over at 2 am if someone is getting divorced and is crying uncontrollably. (I have been the first and so far, not the second.)

Over time I have even let out my inner geek…that part of me that formed so much identity in high school as a loser, a loud obnoxious fantasy-book-quoting person who felt she had to cover that up, a bit, For The Good Of Her Child And Career. And in some ways I really am not that person any more. Except…I am her too.

And I do own and love the extended Lord of the Rings.

And so does that Chief Organizer.

And this holiday, we organized a watch-it-all party. And we hung out and ate and drank hot buttered rum, while our spouses watched our children, and watched all 12 hours. And talked about good and evil and Orlando Bloom’s ass.

And I made the cookies you can see in the pictures here. As well as Mt. Doom in meatballs: Mt. Doom meatballs

Pin that.

Judging mothers

26 Dec

I’d intended (and still do) to post some holiday things but I was just listening to Amanda Todd‘s mother, Carol Todd, in an interview on CBC. I thought she was some kind of parenting expert at first; she was talking about talking to your kids while you drive in the car to get ice cream.

I admit that when I heard she was Amanda Todd’s mother, at first I thought maybe the drive to get ice cream story was fabricated. Because of course if a child commits suicide, the mother is to blame. I recognize that this is ridiculous; children actually are able to have all kinds of serious problems and still have perfectly good and decent mothers. And yet, even though I can talk to myself about my biases, and Carol Todd’s message — that her daughter had multiple issues; that she still wants to get Amanda’s message out — seems rational and reasonable to me, there is a piece of me that thinks that she must be covering something up, some essential error in her approach or even her love.

I have lost a baby and I know how isolating that experience was, even when it was clearly not my husband’s and my fault. I cannot imagine how much worse it is, or at least different in the texture, the daily absence of it, to lose an older child. Nor, having had my many sleepless nights of what-ifs, how terrible it would be to not just be the mother, but to be the mother for all of us people listening to the radio on Boxing Day with our kids, whole enough and hale enough, driving us crazy as they run madly about the house trashing their brand new toys, strewing mess around the holiday-clean hallways. I want to let go of my preconceptions and just stand with this moment of radio, a truly brave moment to put your parenting on the national record with your child a successful suicide. If she were here, I think, I would probably see her and not all the ghosts of mothers past and present and then I would sit with her.

And then I would know adds that terrible self that really, really wants it to be her fault. Because if it was her fault, then maybe one day, it will not be mine. Maybe one day my kids will bring their spouses home for Christmas, unscathed — or at least, unscathed enough — by my own failures as a parent.

I judge other mothers not just because I judge myself. In our narcissistic culture I’m not really sure I judge myself enough all the time, actually, all the mommy blogs making Pinterest crafts while relating tales of that time I totally lost in (in this cute way) tee hee. No, I judge them because that is, after all, the air we still breathe.

When my almost-2-year-old went to daycare, the first few weeks he cried daily. And often, he cried for his father. We have been pretty equal parents since his birth, particularly since he was our second, although I had the breasts and the maternity leave to be home with him 52 weeks, carting him around in the Moby to pick up his brother and so I’m not really sure that was that equal and…why? Why after all that (and 6 months of a nanny) would he cry for his father? Why? The staff would laugh and remark that all the other kids cried for their mummies.

But my little guy cried for his daddy because he’s just like that. And it is 2012, for fuck’s sake.

And no one could believe it. That’s the air we all breathe, as parents and judgmental strangers on the Internet. Kids should miss their mothers. And mothers should make things right for their kids.

How to manage your social media profile (an introduction)

15 Dec

(Also an abject lesson)

So, I work for a lifestyle website during the day. And I spend a lot of time wishing that I could say something like this, or show my readers things I cannot (for this second link: Barbie Hoarder Dreamhouse!) Even under my real name, because these days, employers do Google you before they hire you.

Employers care about your social media profile
Can you believe this shit? We live in a world where your employer is going to Google your name and find your drunk pictures from university and that your aunt likes every. fucking. post you make on Facebook and the banal Instagrams you took that day you had a beer at lunch and suddenly all the street graffiti seemed like it was part of the cosmic adventure, man. And then they will decide whether your Klout score is worth your apparent alcoholic (or hippie) tendencies.

It seems to me that in medieval times it was the Church that sought to police the serf’s every thoughts. As long as they were worried about whether they might be found to be witches or sent to hell for coveting their neighbour’s wives, and reassuring themselves that really, God would let them through the gates of all glory, they weren’t too obsessed about the fact that they were starving to death while the bishops fed the fruits of their labour to local whores. (Where the fuck do you think these phrases come from?)

But now, it’s ourselves.

We are our own spin machines; our own PR. Yesterday I actually found myself wishes I had better dishes so that I could decorate one cupcake perfectly and put it on Pinterest — my god! This is why I learned to read and write and write essays about dramatic irony and do trigonometry and cook and love my children and work hard to buy housing, kitchen appliances and gas, so that I could create that one perfect cupcake! And people might share it and enhance my Klout score! — and here’s the thing.

Here’s the thing! I don’t even like to decorate cupcakes! I just kind of wanted to look like the kind of person who does!

The whole thing reminds me of a comedy sketch where a comic goes on about people being upset that they can’t use wifi on a plane. And they’re on a plane! In the air! Holy fuck!

The Internet is like that, if you ask me. Here we are with this amazing technology that did not exist at all while I was growing up (in fact, our phones connected to the wall while we were speaking on them) and what are a lot of us (me too) using it for? To buy shirts at Old Navy.

Y’know?

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But then, you see, I worry. If I say I like Old Navy have I just priced myself out of an executive position? Am I no longer hipster social media guru material?

In 1995 did I have to worry whether I was cool enough for my quite ordinary job?

Enrich your social media profile like this, or the love that dares not speak its name
So this is  the genesis of this blog: To share things I love, to write the stories women’s lifestyle website editors wish they could, and to basically have way too good a time for the cusp of the post-capitalist era.

To be as real as I can, given that I also have a Twitter account.

Social media advice
And oh yes: The love advice part. What can I say? I have been married 18 years. But it is way more complicated than that, because even though I promise you that I am (for real) utterly in love with my husband, and my Internet Boyfriend, I also have crushes and affairs all the time. Besides, on the Internet everyone’s an expert.