How to be a Fab Working Mom in 2017

Motherhood it exhausting. Like “horse tranq dart to the neck” exhausting. I’m Will Ferrell floating in a pool to “The Sound of Silence” ALL of the time.

[Stay with me.]

Work – while providing a much needed space to finish a whole coffee, pee in silence and talk to other adults (not always at the same time) – can also be exhausting. Especially in lieu of “sleeping at night”.

Whether you do one or both, you might find yourself feeling less than fabulous these days. Especially as everyone around you counts cals along with “days till the beach [sun-wearing-sunglasses emoji]”.

And you’re just over here trying to tuck everything into your high-waisted pants and literally suck snots out of small people’s noses.

You’re just trying to stay awake because it’s 8:59 on a Friday evening and you’re still young and hip, dammit. And you’re wishing the snacks weren’t all the way over there on the coffee table because now you are just going to have to die of hunger.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

WORRY NOT! The gusto of your yesteryears may be waning and you may not have the time/energy/giving-of-a-fuck to “shower daily”, per se… But I have the tools you need to unleash your inner firecracker.

Don’t get me wrong, I mean, I’m no one’s superhero but… Well, ok, except yours. I’m your superhero. But like, not in a “life-saving” way. *bashful smile*

[GIRL, I’M BOUT’DA SAVE YOUR LIFE!!!]

So here it is…

10 8 WAYS TO BE A FABULOUS WORKING (OR NOT) MOM (OR NOT) IN 2017:

[Ten was a long shot.]

1. It’s All in the Eyebrows

The Kardashians called it way before the rest of us. Big, bushy bad-boys blockin’ out the blistering ball of fire in the sky (#AlliterationOrBust)? It’s what’s up.

The key is, get the waterproof kind with a wand. That way when you wash your face, little balls of brown fabu-glue say clung to your sparce strands reminding you of your fabulousness even when you try to wash it away.

This month I’ve been out of mascara but ZERO bigs; when I’m rocking a jet black, asymmetrical version of Eugene Levy calibre brow fabulousness (self-taught!), no one even sees that I’ve got the lashes of a newborn boy.

2. Bald Spots

You know how you always imagined that, as a mother, you would have the dewy, rosy-cheeked, doe-eyed look of that actress from the old-timey Romeo and Juliet movie? Well good news: you totally will!

[Except it’s not so much dewy as sweaty. And it’s not so much “rosy cheeked” as it is “adult onset acne (henceforth, “AOA”; i.e. #RockinTheAOALikeABoss)”. And it’s not “doe-eyed” so much as “the-look-of-defeat-because-your-life-is-no-longer-your-own”.]

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This is exactly what I look like while trying to take a dump with three people in the room and listening to my four-year-old tell me how I got his snack wrong.

Additionally, you’ll inherit the most adorable triangles of hairline recession;

[as hormones rage through your exhausted shell of a body]

one on each side. Cuuuuuute! But if you’d prefer to get the patches back, you get to use a fun, little hard-toothed scalp brush to really kick-start the ol’ re-growth initiative. And THEN – and this is my favorite part – you’ll have not one but TWO totally fun, totally funky bangs fanning into your forehead toward midline.

I’m all like, “no, you guys, I did not get this professionally done. It’s just motherhood”.

[And then – in this weird, fictional sequence – we all high-five.]

3. Ugly Christmas Sweaters for All Seasons

I did not buy this $20 Christmas sweatshirt (not even a sweater) from Dynamite ironically. I bought it because it’s fucking gold. It’s comfortable as shit and airs out all my places. In fact, I wear it year-round. Some (my husband) might say I wear it every day of the year. And some would be correct.

I feel like I can do anything in this.

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The face (the sweatshirt) of a winner.

Small person puking on you? No problem – there are ZERO washing instructions for such low-quality garments. WIN.

Need to whip out a titty in a hurry? Bam! Nothing to untuck, nothing to unbutton. Just overstretched, crap material with no tailoring.

Without exaggerating, it’s the greatest thing I’ve ever purchased.

4. Master that Smoldering Gaze 

Don’t be fooled. That smokey-eye effect is totally still in. But not the kind that takes, you know, “eyeshadow” and “skill”. Nay!

In three easy steps you can have that sexy, sultry look of the sassy minx in the photo above.

Step 1. Use mascara wand to scrape the inner walls of the 1.5-year-old empty mascara tube. Step 2. Wiggle dry flakes of old mascara crumbs through lashes haphazardly. Step 3. Anxiety-sweat your way through the day, taking care to rub your eyes as often as possible, forgetting about the mascara. Step 4. Bam! Is there a fire in here? Because that’s smoke, baby!

Bonus tip: Compliment those shadowy peepers with a fuzzy updo – don’t forget the tousled neck hair – and a vibrant sweatshirt. What is that, Vuarnet? You go, girl!

5. Maternity Clothes Forever

You don’t have to be “pregnant” or “a mom” to avail of the limitless give of maternity clothes. Maternity = Forgiving when it comes to fashion. So buy all of the things (once they go on sale, of course. That shit’s expensive!)!

6. Zero Subnavel Grooming Until After Canada Day

For my out-of-country besties [I think mom has an uncle in Pennsylvania], that means July 1.

Nothing makes you feel sexy and summer-ready like taking zero care of your furry gams before the last frost. Because when you finally zip that pelt off? Wow. Unstoppable fabulosity.

7. Vent the Volcano

If you’re like me, being a mother means daily rage black-outs masked as silly banter with your beloved(ly demandy) offspring.

When I’m at my wit’s end because I haven’t slept longer than three consecutive hours in  a year and a half and my youngster is crying because “everything smells like eggs”… I don’t lose my cool. I don’t erupt. I “vent the volcano”. I belt out shitty Disney songs, like Let it Go, as loudly as I can. Outside your register? Even better!

Your daily nervous breakdowns are now fun for the whole family!

[Minus your partner. This is not fun for them.].

8. Screwdrivers

Because day-appropriate alcohol.

Also, Caesars.

LIFE

Day drinking: because children suck the meat from your tits. #emptytubesocks

You. Are. Welcome.

Go now, you fierce n’ fabulous femme (#AlliterationIsAWordThatMakesMeFeelSmart). You got dis! xo

~ HOAR

Everybody Poops. So Be Weird.

Eating wet things off the floor: It goes against everything we believe in. Things like “dignity”. “Basic hygiene”. “Not being vermin”.

Now, dry things? A cracker, some popcorn perhaps? Have at it! But what about when it’s saucy pasta? A chunk of watermelon? A spoonful of chilli? It’s just wrong.

Ish.

I pondered this this morning as I swiped a blob of lil’ M’s yogurt off the unvacuumed carpet with my finger and, without a napkin handy, tucked it away in the confines of my mouth. Honestly, the only reason I gave it a second thought was because of the unidentified crumb of something I then had to pick off my tongue and carry, clinging to my finger, to the sink to be rinsed down the drain. A task which, presumably, was too daunting for the original yogurt blob.

Now, to be clear, if I were reading this, I would be sickened. I would say “f’ing gross” out loud, as you just did.

[I can hear you.]

But I’ve found, perhaps from getting older, perhaps from phlubbing a drenched human outta my loins… that I just don’t give a shit, ya know? Because, as a great Scandinavian poet once said, “at the end of the day, we’re all f’ing gross”.

[No poet ever said that.]

[Stay with me, it gets better.]

You remember that t-shirt; you either loved its wearer or wanted to give him just the quickest flick in the ol’ he-nads. It’s the t-shirt that read: Everybody Poops.

[It may have originally been a Japanese children’s book, but it was the t-shirt that really did it for me.]

It was one of my “a-ha” moments (*somewhere in Chicago, Oprah grimaces, sighs heavily and rests her forehead wearily in her palm*).

I loved it immediately.

Everybody poops. Even really, really attractive people. Even Kate Middleton! What a refreshing concept.

That’s not to say “have zero dignity”. It’s not to say “go ahead and fart on jam-packed public transit”. And that’s certainly not to say that anyone wants to see or to know about your bathroom habbits. It’s not really even about pooping at all.

It’s just about us all being united. In our grossness. In our nose-picking. In our wedgie picking. In our gut-sucking-ining.

I like acknowledging our collective weirdness. We truly are all just a bunch of weirdos trying to figure our shit out. Anyone who chooses to judge one of his/her fellow weirdos in any demonstration of weirdness is dealing with his/her own issues of fear and insecurity.

It helps to remember that daily. It helps me forgive myself many a social trangression.

Like the other day, it was hotter than a Game of Thrones hooker scene in my land-locked Prairie neighbourhood.

[For all intents and purposes, let’s call said suburb, “The Truman Show”.]

The Truman Show has a playground with a big fountain at its center. Kiddlings (genuine and “at heart”) can run and splash through the fountain like you would a garden sprinkler back in the diz-ay (as nan always called “the day”).

And with Calgary at the exact temperature of a hockey player’s post-game ballsack, of late, this fountain has been a popular spot. My lil’ M was one of many splashing around when a song came on (some family brought their ghetto blaster; am I saying that correctly, “ghetto blaster”? I thought so.).

I LOVE when he hears music. He literally shakes with excitement, his jaw clenched, bottom teeth exposed.

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I’m dusting off this little piece of art because it’s exACTLY how lil’ M looks when he hears music (except with actual life in his eyes).

Photo backstory: Believe it or not this is not a candid Christmas shot taken in the living room. Despite Jennifer’s childhood habbit of placing both hands gingerly on my shoulders and trying not to cry as she conceals some secret horror whenever we were chillin’ on the homefront, this is actually a professional photo.

And we were not being the easiest of subjects for the poor photographer. Mom, brilliantly employing the #1 parenting tool which I whip out on a daily, bribery, told us if we smile as big as we can we will get a treat. Knowing Jennifer’s knack for only smiling on the inside, I took one for the team and stretched my face as far horizontally as I could. And kablammo! This gorgeous gem was born.

What Jennifer lacked in bangs symmetry and joy, I made up for in zany brow fur and mullet curl perfection.

Anyway, I really try to rev lil’ M up as much as possible by rocking out to whatever tune is playing. Seeing me let loose is his unspoken permission to bust out his wildest moves.

[One of which is him locking his neck in 90 degrees of side-flexion and moving the unilateral shoulder forwards and backward violently. It works for both slow songs and fast songs.]

So I start dancing. And lil’ M loves it and he starts grooving. And it’s great. And I’m so focussed on him that it isn’t until about thirty seconds into our little public dance-off that I realize what is happening to my body. I am doing something that was once thought physically impossible amongst members of any demographic outside “white males over 85”.

Get ready for this:

I’m sticking one hip out to the side.

And doing a double finger point/jab out to the same side.

Then repeating on the opposite side.

Not to any semblance of a beat.

But I fought the reflexive urge to tone down “the elderly wedding uncle”. Instead, I reminded myself that everybody poops. Granted, not everybody dances like an asshole. And I may have looked like I was actually pooping. But that thought was all the reassurance I needed to up the ante on the ol’ finger air jabs.

[There was a moment I even tried to fit in three air finger-jabs in one stride, but I dialed it back after that. No one needs to get hurt.]

Especially since becoming a mom, I find it helps sometimes – as you sweat and flail in your undirected efforts to keep a tiny, wiggly person happy and stimulated (alive) – to be reminded of the ways we are united. In our gross, weird humanness.

And that perhaps we all may, in a pinch, eat wet things off the floor.

P.S. It was my birthday recently. We ordered Chinese food and rented “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” (2011). The rental choice made me feel like that sexy chick who’s just “one of the boys” and does cool things like play beer pong and ride a long board and watch Planet of the Apes… Except that I ugly cried and shut the movie off as soon as Caesar got locked up. And things would have gotten super heated were it not for the painful MSG bloat and the goal of a “good night’s sleep”.

P.P.S. “Phlubbing” is not a word.

P.P.P.S. Stay tuned for next week’s post when I tell you all about how I ran away and got married! Just like Bruno Mars told me to.

 

Da Belated ‘n’ Brief Crimmus Blag

Merry Christmas to all and to all...I think I'm drunk.

Merry Christmas to all and to all…I think I’m drunk.

I started this blog in about mid-December. The fact that I’m even posting it now – two days after the twelve drummers drummed – is kinda risky.

Because let’s face it: you’re dealing with the crippling plague of sadness that is early January (taking down the tree, returning to work, admitting how fat you truly are and resolving to change that…).

One week ago, you were a yuletide legend; an A-lister at every Christmas fete. Now you’ve got a “drinking problem”.

The last thing you want to hear is some asshole’s recollection of Christmas (newly) past.

But here she goes anyway. Don’t worry, I’ll keep it short. And I hope you haven’t completely shunned drugs and alcohol, because I want this to be not totally unenjoyable.

***

The main distinction between this and any other Christmas is I now have a tiny guy who accompanies me, like, all the time. Which, in all honesty, is friggin’ sweet. It just changes the game a little.

Take Christmas shopping. I’m normally a last-minute, Christmas-Eve-at-Shoppers-Drug-Mart-surrounded-by-panicked-husbands kinda shopper. But not this year. Once you have a youngster, you’ve got to be on the ball.

So the shopping day was planned for December 13. Yes, that’s right, Friday the 13th.

[I’m not at all superstitious. But my weekly tarot card reader did tell me to “beware” this day so…]

Lil M was a mess. He’s teething, poor little bug, so he was red faced and leaking fluid from all his face holes. And his mother made the mistake of feeding him spaghetti for lunch so he was covered.

It’s 1pm. I haven’t eaten (and hypoglycemic me is not me at my best, let me tell ya) so I’ve got the hunger sweats, big time. I’m trying to clean and dress him as he screams in my face.

After a mild wrestling match, I finally get his diaper on (at 9 months, babies are strong and wiggly and they don’t care what they’re covered in or what color your carpet is). I rush to get up off the floor and step on the bottom of my skirt, which yanks it completely down. And I nose dive, thong-arsed, into the carpet.

This makes him cry harder. Probably because of the guttural sound that came from my face.

But more likely because of the sight of my bare arse.

We made it through shopping though. And I only stepped on one used syringe outside the Dollarama.

***

Then there’s Christmas songs. At every opportunity I’m busting out  impromptu performances of them for the poor boy. Usually as a distraction technique when I’m changing his diaper.

We think we know the words to all the classics until we are forced to sing them in their entirety. And I don’t mean, like, Good King Wenceslas classics (although had you asked me a year ago I probably would have thought I knew all the words to that too). I’m talking the basics.

Like Jingle Bells.

Jingle Bells? you ask. Everyone knows the words to Jingle Bells!

Oh really? Finish this verse: Now the ground is white…

How about this one: A day or two ago, I thought I’d take a ride…

If you did, indeed, successfully finish either of those, you’re probably in a choir. Or you’re an elf.

Most likely, you downright butchered this beloved holiday classic by finishing it from your untrustworthy and aged-well-before-its-time memory. Like I did…

*ahem* Here we go. Feel free to sing along!

[The first verse I obviously know because I wasn’t born during a zombie apocalypse. And yes, I’ve been watching a lot of The Walking Dead lately and it’s all I think about.]

[Yes, you’re supposed to sing the “Oh” like Lil’ Jon.]

Jingle Bells – a Mother’s Improvisation

Dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh

O’er the fields we go, laughing all the way

Bells on bobtails ring, making spirits bright;

What fun it is to ride and sing a sleighing song tonight.

Oh!

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way

Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh – hey (b’y)!

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,

Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh.

A day or two ago, I thought I’d take a ride

And seated in a show, as Pete did by my side

The horse was mean and rank, misfortune seemed his luck

He got into a pistol stank and

buck, bu-buck buck buck!

Oh!

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way

Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh – hey (b’y)!

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,

Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh.

Now the ground is white, so blow it while you’re young

Take the girls tonight, and sing a sleighing song

You’ll get a bobtail snag

In forty-four below

And pitch it to an awful hag

And pop! You’ll take a leak.

Oh!

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way

Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh – hey (b’y)!

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,

Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh.

The End.

I know, I really got into a pickle with that last verse. It doesn’t even rhyme, it’s just what fell out of my mouth as my sweet baby looked up at me with eyes filled with wonder (disappointment?). I had to keep going. He clapped (threw his hands together haphazardly, sometimes making contact) and everything. I just couldn’t let him down.

So I let Christmas down instead.

I made up for my disasterous rendition by making the “Oh”s extremely loud and over-confident. I think that helps.

***

Parenthood or not, ‘tis the season. The key is making time. Time to lounge in Christmas jammies, quote Clarke Griswold in every other conversation and draw icing dicks on gingerbread men.

Happy new year.

La Liste

That’s french for “the list”. I Googled that just now because I couldn’t think of a catchy title.

So a couple weeks ago my friend Robyn came over. I love when she comes over because she brings wine and we eat cheese and chocolate things.

She was telling me about a guy she went to school with, the guy who wrote The Book of Awesome. He started as a blogger.

“Wait a tick…I’m a blogger!” I exclaimed.

[I did not say any of those words. But you get the idea.]

The conversation began because I was saying that you can’t write a book based on a blog. No one’s gonna publish/buy a book whose content is basically free online.

“I beg to differ!”, Robyn shouted.

[She would never say that. Nor does she shout at me.]

She then told me Neil Pasricha’s success story. She may have used the word “kajillionnaire”.

[That’s true.]

It’s had me thinking. Maybe HOAR can become a book! I can’t think of a better stocking stuffer than a heartwarming book filled with teenage she-staches, cat attacks and poo.

[Maybe a Samsung Galaxy S4 would be better. Or an iTunes gift card. But the poop book would be a solid 39th top pick. Amongst my immediate family members.]

So I’ve been trying to figure out what this HOAR might need to make it more marketable. And I think I’ve got it.

Lists.

Pasricha’s blog, 1000awesomethings.com, is a list of…um… one-thousand things. That are awesome.

[I should write blog reviews.]

Apparently people were on the edges of their seats awaiting the number one awesome thing. People like lists. Especially lists that count down to one big shebang of a finale. So I’ve decided I’m gonna start making more HOAR lists. Starting with this one.

[Note: I can’t think of a thousand of anything so I’m gonna stick with ten. Even that might be stretching it but here I go.]

Ten Ways My Five-Month-Old Shows Me He Loves Me

[Note: List items are actually in no particular order. Other than the order in which they popped into my head. But we’ll frame it like a countdown anyway. Because we all love countdowns.]

10. Sometimes I’m so exhausted that I confuse his name with the word Baby and call him something that sounds like a really drunk person saying “Moby”. And he smiles anyway.

Mommy's not drunk. This is what sleep deprivation does.

Mommy’s not drunk. This is what sleep deprivation does.

9. He grabs my hair and keeps on pulling. With eerily intense grip strength that can only be fuelled by true love.

It's pretty painful. Also, mirrors have become a thing of the past.

It’s pretty painful. Also, mirrors have become a thing of the past. And yes, that’s poop on my face.

8. He seems to actually enjoy when I suck the boogers out of his nose. Yes, you read that correctly.

Seriously though, nothing gives you the anxiety-sweats quite like a baby with a stuffy nose does. Invest in a snot sucker, you won't be sorry. It's only partly as gross as it sounds.

Seriously though, nothing gives you the anxiety-sweats quite like a baby with a stuffy nose does. Invest in a snot sucker, you won’t be sorry. It’s only partly as gross as it sounds.

7. He looks deeply into my eyes moments before he pees on himself (and me) during naked time. I think this is his way of giving me a heads up. He’s always looking out for me, the little tyke.

No matter how often it happens, you're never prepared for it.

No matter how often it happens, you’re never prepared for it. And yes, your mouth is open every time.

6. He supports and empowers my breastfeeding endeavors by vigorously pulling off to look around whenever we’re in public, exposing my (newly bendy) crayon nipple. It’s as if to say, “Are you all seeing this? My mom’s the best!”. But never when we’re alone together. Only when others are around, to make the most of the proud display.

Note: I totally support breastfeeding in public. In private. On a train or in the rain. On a boat or with a goat. Well not...WITH a goat. I don't mean breastfeed a goat. I just mean...if a goat's there then...that's cool.

Note: I totally support breastfeeding in public. In private. On a train or in the rain. On a boat or with a goat. Well not…WITH a goat. I don’t mean breastfeed a goat. I just mean…if a goat’s there then…that’s cool.

5. He farts repeatedly when you try to have a serious conversation with another adult. It’s as if to say, “Meh, it’s all good”. He’s so chill like that.

Why is it that farts often sound like questions?

Why is it that farts often sound like questions?

4. He wakes me up every few hours to remind me of how much he cares.

moonlit adoration

3. He loves my singing.

mama singing sensation

2. He smiles really, really big when I say the word “mommy”.

No picture necessary. He also smiles when I say “hi”, “naptime”, “stinky feet”, “poopy bum”… He pretty much smiles all the time. But especially when I say “mommy”.

1. He gives me verbal encouragement as I narrate our entire day.

And I really do narrate our entire day.

And I really do narrate our entire day.

So a lot of these things may be assumed. But I’m confident that’s what he’s thinking. And a mother’s instinct is never wrong.

[Unless your instinct is to leave you baby alone in a parked car. Or give him/her Coca-cola. Then you are, indeed, wrong.]

I hope you enjoyed my first HOAR list. More to come.

Your, HOAR

Fond Recollections of…Oh My God – Squirrel! Squirrel! Squirrel!

Until yesterday, I deluded myself into believing that heatheronarock.com hits from Italy, India, Brazil, the UK and Australia were due to the site’s globally-appreciated, funky-fresh humour and fast-growing popularity. Then I discovered the search terms/phrases which led interweb crawlers to, inadvertently, click on this blog. There were several. Some I can’t repeat due to their high raunch factor. Amongst the tame-just-funny to moderately raunchy, here were some of my faves:

ultra thin yoga mat
black girl boobs pierced
pube changes for teenagers
they f*^# on a soft red satin sheet
letters shaved in their pubes
chase swamp people
sexy love letters
boobs at mudder runs

[That last one is both perplexing and awesome. I invite you, musical friends (mom, you’re still taking piano lessons, right?), to consider using it as your next album title.]

I feel bad for the poor fourteen-year-old dude who just wanted to confirm the normality of his chaotic pubes.

I initially wanted to speak to each search phrase so that the searches were not in vain. But for obvious reasons (hi dad!), delving too deeply into most of these topics would quickly change the tone of this blog. Maybe get me arrested.

So instead I’ll discuss something a little tamer but equally sexy and risque:

My dwindling memory and short attention span.

[Holla if ya feel me.]

It all started four weeks ago when I came home to have my usual 2 pm nap. I was out cold the second my head hit the pillow. About thirty minutes into my coma, I was awakened by pounding on the condo door. I must emphasize pounding because when I nap, let me tell you, it takes just-short-of jumping on my face to wake me.

Anyway, I went out and the guy tells me I left my keys in the door.

Gosh golly, jeez. Thank ya, mister, I said.

[Note: exact wording may be altered to enhance reading experience and better illustrate my preferred recollection of the event, as having occurred in an episode of Little Rascals.]

I grabbed the keys out of the lock and was drooling on my pillow again within thirty seconds.

I woke up about an hour later and was in a panic because I was late for my evening shift at the clinic. I was frantically digging through the fridge for something to take for supper. I moved the hummus. And there, in the back of the fridge, behind the hummus, were my fucking keys.

Yes, the same keys that I’d left in the door.

So what this meant was: I’d taken the keys out of the door and somewhere between closing the door and being unconscious less than a minute later, I opened the fridge, moved items out of the way to get to the back of the fridge, and carefully laid the keys there.

Unbelievable. Especially since I’m usually not even responsible enough to put food back that promptly.

[That’s actually untrue. Fadder drilled into our heads from an early age the importance of putting “the perishables” away immediately after dinner. Sit around as long as you like, sure. Dirty dishes? Ain’t no thang. But for the love of all that is sacred, put those perishables away. I never questioned it. But I am lovingly teased every time I suggest that the barbecue sauce might dramatically “perish”, as opposed to simply “go bad” if left out too long.]

Then, two nights ago, I was borderline feverish and feeling like I’d been beaten with an anvil. I insisted “I need to write” but my hunky-man-love (that’s my personally acceptable word for “boyfriend”. “Boyfriend” is what Selena Gomez calls Justin Bieber.)

[I prove that I’m a grown-up by using mature labels like “hunky-man-love”… And knowing that Selena Gomez is dating the Biebs. *Hangs head*]

Anyway (see what I mean with the attention span thing?)… So yes. The hunky-man-love says, “Are you sure? You don’t look so well. Maybe you should lie down and rest, I’ll get you some ice-cream” (something like that). He opens the freezer. And there are my sunglasses.

[I didn’t end up writing that night.]

And then I worry about my lack of memory. I have a fucking Biochemistry degree and, so help me God, all I remember about biology and chemistry are, 1) the video I made for grade 11 Bio class entitled The Rare Ditch Project; and, 2) the fact that sulphur smells like farts. Respectively.

[As I know it would be eating me alive if I were a reader: *ahem* The Rare Ditch Project was the cinematographic end-product of a Biology assignment. I was partnered with my friend, Heather. Each student pair was assigned a “biome” to research and present. We could use any medium we wanted to educate the class about our biome. Ours was “fresh water”. For our film, we (the characters) were surrounded by fresh water bodies and wandering through the woods (late at night, of course) in search of the legendary “rare ditch”. At one point we’re running through the dark woods, spooked by a creepy little voice (altered to super high pitch, compliments of my old-school dictaphone), squeaking, “I am an amoeeeeeeeba…” and continuing to describe its home, the fresh water biome. And, yes, the film both opened and closed with my repeating a single low note on the piano. Heather-squared for the win.]

I thought maybe it was normal that my “memories” contain unspecific flashes of events or scenes at best; that I know the words to a song but couldn’t tell you how I know it or who sings it…

[While clearing away the perishables after dinner tonight, I randomly sang, “it’s all good, baby BAY-bay”. My hunky-man-love grinned at me proudly and replied, “It was all a dream, I used to read Word Up magazine.” I think I said, “…pardon me?”.]

…Or that you could name a movie and I’ll say, “never heard of it”. Then watch it and realize I’ve seen it a million times. My friend Dee, who’s my age, not only remembers every movie and every character and every actor ever, she’s borderline psychic about this shit. We were once discussing a novel-turned-movie…

[The novel may or may not have been called Twilight.]

…and who we’d pictured playing the protagonist’s father. I swear to you, all I said was, “…I can picture the actor, but I have no idea what his name is… He’s got a mustache”. I didn’t even have it all out. I may have said, “He’s got a mus-”.

“SAM ELLIOT”, she blurts out.

“Who the fuck is Sam Elliot?”.

Sure enough, she Googles him, pulls up an image, and there he is; the nameless dude I had simply thought about. Sam Elliot. The Charlie Swan of my daydreams.

[Dee’s mind is freaky like that. Yesterday she casually name-dropped LeVar Burton when we were fake-casting another novel. “LeVar Burton”, she says! Don’t get me wrong, he is an artist truly worthy of being remembered. But I can’t remember the names of some of my cousins. My abused brain is bordering saturation. I’m tired. And so, with no disrespect, all he can ever be to me is The Reading Rainbow guy.]

For so long (thirteen years of grade school, seven years of university) all I did was force feed my quivering brain more and more and more. And the wrinkly ol’ guy really hung in there, got me through. But I think it got to a point where it just threw it’s veiny, cartoon arms in the air and said, “You know what? Fuck you, man. You’ve gotta reeeeeally want it if you expect me to hold on to shit from now on.”

While my initial theories of brain-tumor and early-onset dementia aren’t disproved, I’m thinking that I just have extremely selective attention. I’m very lucky that I have a patient hunky-man-love who feigns interest when, say, he hears about my early-childhood “throat surgery” (and I demo the voice) for the seventeenth time, because I forgot having told it…

[“Maaaaam. Daaaaaad. Jofo.” (Mom. Dad. Jennifer.) à la Linda Blair, circa The Exorcist.]

…And a dear friend who reads and conveys my thoughts when I cannot.

But I’m not declaring total brain death just yet. I’m gonna stick with the “selective attention” theory for now. And start doing Sudoko.

Sequins of Memory in the Fabric of Time (And the Eternal Shame of Pooping Your Pants)

If there’s one thing that goes with a fine ($11.99) bottle of red wine, it’s peanut butter M&Ms. There are colored, candy-shell pieces between my keyboard buttons as I type.

But that’s neither here nor there.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about time and memory. I think it’s because a patient asked me recently how old my nephew, Chase, is. After a moment of arguing with the math, I said, “he’ll be turning four in a few months”. FOUR. That blows my mind. He was just a jaundiced, little wrinkly gnome called “Peanut” who looked uncannily like grampa.  He was just adorably mispronouncing my name and calling me auntie “Ho”.

[It is worth noting that he actually did just stop calling me this. In the beginning, everyone’s name was mispronounced in normal baby fashion. But long after “opa”, “grammy”, “mommy”, “daddy” and various relatives and barnyard animals achieved their correct title pronunciations, auntie Heather was still “Ho”. This provided endless entertainment for the extended family, as you can imagine. ]

I can still remember moments of being four years old…

[And I, like my darling mother, have the memory of a goldfish.]

…We lived in Curling – a posh, 1980’s suburb of the booming megalopolis that is Corner Brook, Newfoundland. I was standing on the front step of our little green house with my sister and our babysitter’s daughter, Naomi. Desperate to impress these older girls, I decided it was a good time to say my first curse word.

I said “dirtbag”. Specifically, I said our neighbour was a “dirtbag”.

This was a huge moment. This was the worst word we knew. And it was so out-of-character bad-ass of me. I still remember the lightheadedness and the conflicting guilt/pride of that moment.

To think, Chase will soon be remembering things; carrying moments into his adulthood.

Two things have hence gripped me:

#1. I really need to stop swearing around him. And pretty soon “mother-fuaaaaaather” just isn’t going to cut it.

#2. The reality of Time and Her ephemeral ways. And the flood of memories…

She’s Not Pretending to be Daddy, That’s Really Her Voice

I guess I was about three years old. I don’t recall the exact details but my parents decided there was something wrong with me. I think the fact that I talked like Joan Rivers with testicles threw them off. Voice-wise, I was mannish for such a wee child. Sure enough, I had “singer’s nodules”; blobs of uselessness on my vocal chords. This meant two things: 1. My career as a Bette Midler cover singer in Vegas was out the window, and 2. That shit had to be hacked off.

Obviously I don’t remember the surgery. But I remember being in the hospital. I remember having a band-aid from my IV. And I remember being devastated when it was taken away. I remember that.

[No one (except Nelly) has ever loved band-aids as much as I did (do).]

The story ends there. I just think it’s crazy that I was three and I still have flash-backs of being that version of me.

[Also, when I overdo it with singing now, my mutilated vocal cords still break down and I wake up sounding like I sucked helium.]

Shame Frogs

I guess I was about six years old. Grade one. I went with my sister and her friend deep in the woods looking for tadpoles in big puddles. I really had to poop. I almost made it home.

I don’t wanna talk about it.

Dame Edna Does Poetry

I don’t think I have ever been as motivated in my life as I was at elementary school speak-offs. And I can still remember the grade four event. This was more than a poetry contest. This was do or die.

[My archnemesis, at the time, went on to become a Rhodes scholar. So I feel my sense of threat was legit.]

Despite being a good student and having an unbreakable, competitive spirit, I had the poetic cunning of a poodle. Hence, my choice of poem: My Dog, by Emily Lewis. Sweet? Sure. Ammo for a big win? Questionable.

Unless you enunciate to the point of having a British accent.

Which I did. And I think the judge/teacher and my classmates were so shocked by a nine-year old reading something as trivial as “…hide your mats and put your meats upon the top-most shelf” like the Queen Mother, that it was Heather for the win.

[You may have won the Rhodes scholarship, Paul, but there’s a cardboard participation ribbon that says that, for a hour of an afternoon in the ‘80’s, I was better than you. And also a flamboyant, British monarch.]

Old People are Cool as Shit

I guess around the same time as my public speaking victory came my realization that my Grampa was the funniest human alive. I never hid the fact that I was obsessed with our grandparents’ pliable skin and old teeth. I recall running to Grandma immediately, at one visit, blatantly ignoring her customary questions and comments, rolling the skin on the back of her hand between my fingers and asking her, matter-of-factly, “are you gonna die?”.

And their teeth. They were my favorite. Grandma’s, for her one black tooth. And Grampa’s for their perfect falseness. One day, cool as a cucumber and without warning, Grampa said, “I’m a cash register”, pushed his nose with his finger (“ding!”), and shot out his lower dentures.

Jennifer screamed, ran away bawling and remained utterly horrified for quite some time. I had never been more impressed. I may have peed a little. This, I knew, was comedy at its finest.

Wanna Dance? No? Oh, You Have a Girlfriend? And She’s My Sister. And You’re Dancing with Her Right Now? Oh… Wanna Dance?

In elementary school, the most happening events on Friday nights were Cabrini dances. Cabrini was an abandoned high school from  the ‘70’s/80’s which wreaked of catholicism and poltergeists. It was an ideal place for pre-teens to have socially acceptable boners and jam their hands in each other’s back pockets for three minutes of a Guns n’ Roses ballad before retreating to the canteen for a bag of Humpty Dumpty chips and a Big Turk.

I don’t know if you’ve read my earlier blog entries, but… Despite having healthy calves and confident sideburns, I didn’t always “have someone to dance with”, per se. And it didn’t help that the man-boy I had a heart-on for was taken. By my sister no-less.

And so I remember, clear as day, slow-dancing with Jennifer and her “boyfriend”, Bubba. The song was More than Words can Say, by Alias. I couldn’t make this shit up.

There is, again, no real reason for telling that anti-climatic horror story other than to say, “holy shit. That happened. And I can’t, for the life of me, seem to forget it.”

Who’s That Scarlet-Lipped Beauty?

…Is what I had to convince myself the other kids would say when they saw me on my first day of junior high school.

I was twelve. And I may or may not have slept in my sister’s bed until I turned thirteen (or high school) because I was afraid of the dark.

The night before my first day of junior high was full of excitement/anxiety. As we lay in bed, I kept singing to unleash some of my pent up energy. Jennifer, a year older and way cooler, wasn’t having it.

[In her defense she told me to shut up at least eight times. And she may have even given me the heads up that the punch was coming. But that didn’t stop me.]

I don’t remember the song. But I remember the hit. It was skull numbing. She got me with a deft back-hand. The swell-burn spread quickly and I thought my face was melting. Not realizing the impact, Jennifer didn’t even bother turn to see where she’d made contact. And, stubborn as shit, I didn’t say a word. I waited for her to look at me.

Clearly, I thought, my lip is bleeding. God knows, I can’t feel my mouth. Once she sees my bleeding lip, oh…she’ll feel bad.

I lay there for quite some time, unable to move or to cry because I was determined to have her look on her own time. And when she did, the result was even grander than I had hoped.

I’m pretty sure she screamed when she asked, “WHAT IS THAT?”.

“You punched me in the face!”. It felt so good to finally say it, although it seemed my mouth-coordination was not on par with my in-ya-face attitude.

“There’s no way I did that”, she retorted.

Suddenly her genuine panic registered with me. I dove out of bed and ran to the mirror. I was not ready for this.

My entire lower lip was one giant blood blister. A pocket of face blood is so much less cool than active bleeding.

End of story. Obviously I survived day one as well as every other day of junior high school. I know, my story-telling here is the shits. I guess memories are often simply moments – sights, sounds, smells, sensations – and don’t always make for ground-breaking narrative.

I Know The Police

…is was dad once said when a boy called (Jennifer) in seventh grade. I still remember listening on the upstairs phone and wanting to melt into the floor.

Are you Beyonce?

No. No you’re not. So don’t dye your fuzzy black hair blonde and hope good things will come of it. But I remember looking in the mirror that first time. And falling in love with my RuPaul-esque sexuality.

Sewing My Wild, Spanish Oats

Having buried myself in books my whole life, by the ripe old age of 18 I was dancing on my fair share of speakers. But the universe quickly put me back in my place and stole my ticket to par-tay. Literally.

At the time I was shocked and mortified. But in hindsight, perhaps it makes sense that the Halifax bouncer didn’t believe I was a black woman named Susie Payez.

I should have practiced that signature.

It was then that I decided it was time to return to Newfoundland and nuzzle back into the familiar nook of the textbooks.
____________________________________________________________________________

And the craziest thing of all: that last one was twelve years ago. Jeez…

I now say things like jeez. And take naps daily.

Sometimes I get lost in the clouds of memory. And panic a little when names and faces start to blur. But that’s a silly tendency because the only thing I have for certain is this moment. Right now. As I type this.

More than I hope that Chase will carry these moments into his adulthood, I hope he’s stoked by this very moment. And if it’s past his bedtime (it’s Newfoundland, afterall), I hope he’s having one sweet-ass dream where he’s tall enough to reach the cookie cupboard.

So in honour of carpe-ing the shit out of the diem, I’m gonna close this laptop, top up the vino, suck the life outta these M&Ms until the peanut butter melts, and stare at the fire.

And yes, I’m listening to “More than Words can Say” by Alias right now.

Love Letters to Me

Last week at the gym I was on the stepper developing my carpal tunnel (I opt to take most of my body weight through my poorly conditioned forearms while convincing myself I’m shredding booty) reading the February 2012 issue of Shape magazine. There was article that discussed the results of an interesting study. Apparently writing a love letter to yourself once a day for a week can have highly positive effects. I say “highly positive effects” because I can’t actually remember the positive outcome they were looking at. It was probably something like (please don’t quote me), “you’ll have really great sex”. Or, “your skin will have the bronzed glow of an Oscar’s statue or a Jennifer Lopez”. Or, “you will have more energy and burn more calories”. Or, “you will meet the man/woman of your dreams”.

[Pick your favorite, and yes, that’s what the outcome was.]

Either way, the “highly positive effects” lasted six months in the study. For only one week of sexy love notes to myself? I gotta get on this.

So here it goes.

Saturday, March 12, 2012

Dear HOAR,

My love for you is so strong that, if I could, I would bring you flowers every day. Even though I know you couldn’t possibly keep them alive and, let’s face it, you couldn’t name three different types of flowers if you tried. But I would still do it because in our culture, dying plants mean “I love you”. And I do. Love you.

Sunday, March 13, 2012

My darling HOAR,

What is that? Is there a dead animal on your shower wall? A toupee? No. That’s the mat of dead hair that falls out of your precious, dried scalp during your vigorous deep conditioning process. But rather than let the nest clog the drain, you stick the matted handfuls to the wall. Brilliant! How thoughtful! Sure, sometimes you forget to wipe it off afterwards. Sometimes it’s still there when company comes over. But if they love you, like I do, they will consider your unique wall art endearing.

P.S. You look great today. Whoever told you Walmart flannel pajamas are less sexy than Victoria’s Secret lingerie was lying.

Monday, March 14, 2012

Hey there, sexy HOAR,

Whatcha wearin’, there? Oh, the cords again? You treasure. Those beige Joe Fresh corduroys you bought while grocery shopping in Thunder Bay five years ago might seem dated to some. But gosh, you manage to wring every ounce of… je-ne-sais-quoi out of everything, don’tcha you little thrift-kitten? Sure they end slightly above the ankle bones but hey! Who doesn’t like capris? And the trendy high-waist and extra large buttock pockets just…give that butt so much space to…exist. Looking at it just…gives me time to think. About life.

You should have bought a pair in every color.

Tuesday, March 15, 2012

Dearest HOAR,

You really do go above and beyond in everything you do. And I want you to know how much I appreciate that. Don’t think I didn’t notice you digging through bins of multicolored candy with a scoop to pick out just the green ones for St. Paddy’s day. I saw you break a sweat and I may have even heard a gentle grunt or two as you really got in there. And just for me. I am very lucky. Some might argue you would only put forth such an effort for food but no, they’ve pegged you wrong. I’m not one to name names, but in the wise words of a woman who may or may not have grown me in her uterus, “you’d tear out your arsehole and shit through your ribs” for a great glass of red as well. You work and you suffer for what you want. Admirable.

Wednesday, March 16, 2012

My HOAR,

Loving the “born-again” thick hoop you’ve had re-jammed in your nose for only $50 of the grocery money. When paired with your work pants and that adorably fuzzy, low-set bun in your hair, you look nothing like a thirty-year-old having an identity crisis. But, perhaps, your gut instinct is correct and it should be changed to a demure stud as soon as you’ve waited the mandatory six weeks. Only because “understated” is the new “please look at me” in accessorizing. Not that you’re not gorgeous.

Thursday, March 17, 2012

To the HOAR of my life,

I can’t help but notice how strong and unbreakable your nails are lately. Some might compare their thickness to toenails and attribute them to the new brand of birth-control pills you just started (hi, dad!). But I just think they’re the outward projection of your inner strength. And the fact that the white part starts so close to the large cuticles? To me that says “whimsical” and “fun”. You should be waving those babies in the air right now!

Friday, March 18, 2012

I/You/We love wine. Winey wine wine. I love you. You love I. Love love. And wine.

Saturday, March 19, 2012

Darling HOAR,

Has it been a week already? I could have gone on forever. What I love most about you is your bravery. I remember that fateful day seven years ago when you were not totally unlike William Wallace himself…

Of course you hadn’t had a cold sore since you were a child, so how were you to know when you felt that delightful tingle you shouldn’t gnaw at it with the corner of your crooked upper front tooth like it was a scratch-n-win? And when the thing ballooned to the size of a brussel sprout and the allergic reaction caused the left side of your lower lip to swell until it gently caressed your chin, what were you do to but keep on truckin’? And that’s just what you did. Nevermind that you had just won the prestigious Summer Undergraduate Research Award and were doing cancer research in a meticulously sterile lab at the Health Sciences Centre. Nevermind that your brilliant, little Japanese supervisor had the drive of a worker bee, the patience of Christian Bale having his eyeline crossed, and a voice that could pierce the bottom of the great Atlantic. Nevermind that you worked in a lab full of attractive grad students a few years older than you. And nevermind that when you mustered up the gut-wrenching courage to walk into the lab, your supervisor pointed and screamed “Herpes! Get out!”. What’s important is that you survived. After a week of social isolation and self-administered food therapy you walked into that lab with your head held high. That shows great courage. And for that, I love you.
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Whew. I’m gettin’ a little misty here. I had no idea how much I loved myself.

[Of course I did.]

Having re-read those letters… I feel like slipping into my sexiest pair of beige corduroys, throwing on the ol’ iPod headphones and taking a stroll in the sunshine. Spring starts tomorrow and I’ve got six beautiful months of great sex/J-Lo sheen/a slimmer waistline/whatever to look forward to. Chee-ya!

Your turn!