Tag Archives: love

Not my Canada

More often than not I put pen to paper (or fingertips to keyboard) to air my grievances in a humorous manner. I do this to remind myself that my problems are small and the best way to let them go is to laugh at them. After all, I have a roof over my head, food on my plate, my health, my sanity (for the most part), great friends and family, a beautiful child with another on the way and so much more. The problems that I have can’t take any of this away from me, and so at the end of the day I can consider myself among the lucky ones on this earth.

Today I can’t laugh. Yesterday many individuals in Québec City likely woke up feeling as I do: Grateful for life, love, happiness, community etc. By nightfall much of this had been stripped away from them, as their family members and friends were gunned down during evening prayer just because they were Muslim. These families are experiencing an unimaginable loss. I can’t even type this without tears spilling from my eyes. A community targeted for what? This was without a doubt an act of terrorism. This is not my Canada.

All Canadians are immigrants. Well, all Canadians are immigrants except the First Nations from whom we expropriated the lands upon which our cities sit, but that’s another story. This country’s immigration policy is the reason that I am here today. On my mother’s side I am a first generation Canadian, as were and are my paternal grandparents. I can’t know exactly why my family left Europe when they did, but I can only assume they were in search of a better life here in Canada.

My father’s family emigrated from Poland during the early 1920s. We are Jewish. As a child I was always acutely aware that I was ‘different’ from my Christian friends, but I was never singled out or targeted for that difference. I distinctly remember thinking that I was proud to live in a time and a country where race and religion didn’t matter. I remember being annoyed at my grandparents’ discomfort that my best friends were German. It wasn’t until I was 13 and did a class project on Anne Frank that I understood why they were uncomfortable, though they never told me I couldn’t or shouldn’t socialize with Germans.

My grandparents’ immediate families were the only ones who made it out of Poland before the Nazis invaded. They were living in Canada with the full knowledge that their loved ones were back in the old country, living in conditions that we Canadians can’t really even fathom. They rarely spoke about it, but I do remember my Papa telling me that he was responsible for fetching the mail for his mother from the post office during WWII. He was a teenager at the time. His mother would correspond with her sister in Poland quite frequently, and he diligently brought home her sister’s letters until one day there were no more. I can’t even imagine what that must have been like for him. To know why the letters had stopped. To have to tell his mother yet again that there was no news. To know that it meant death and loss. To know that his empty hands were breaking his mother’s heart.

My family lost their loved ones during a war that persecuted innocent people simply because they were Jewish. How is this any different from walking into a mosque and shooting up a room full of people simply because they are Muslim? Our differences are what make this world beautiful. I have travelled around this world and back again and marvelled at these differences. What are people so afraid of? I share a lot more in common with my welcoming, generous Muslim neighbours than I do with a white skinned bigot. I am an invisible minority and I admit that sometimes I hide within that identity. You can’t deduce my religion or cultural background from looking at me. My skin is so white it’s almost translucent. My native tongue is English. My son is baptised into his father’s family’s faith. Yet had I been born in a different time in a different land I would have shared the same fate as my Jewish brothers and sisters, as would my children. Hate doesn’t care who you are, only what it can label you.

Many Muslims don’t have the luxury of being ‘invisible’, nor should they want to be. If you can’t tell the difference between someone spouting the hateful ideology of a radical offshoot of Islam and a Muslim family fleeing their war torn homeland where they have lost everything to that same radical offshoot, then you are the one with the problem. I will never condone hateful words or actions, no matter the colour of the skin or religious beliefs of the owner of those words and actions.

Despite the discourse of hatred and fear that has permeated present day politics and infiltrated many aspects of life in the western world as of late, I am pleased to see that there is push back. My greatest fear today is not ISIS or Al Qaeda or the average Muslim Canadian. My greatest fear is complacency. At least here, despite many other failings, we have a government that speaks out against this hatred even if we have citizens who would idealize what is happening south of the border and live out that hatred here. The sad truth is that those citizens are no different than the ones they truly fear and hate. The more you hate, the more they hate and so on and so on. It’s the worst kind of positive feedback loop or vicious circle. Although it is scary to learn that the number of people contributing to this dangerous discourse is far greater than I ever believed it could be, I am grateful for the many more voices I hear speaking out against it.

To the community of the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec, I am truly sorry for your losses. This hateful Canada is not my Canada, nor is it the Canada of the vast majority of Canadians. We stand with you today and I hope we will prevail, God willing/b’ezrat HaShem/insha’Allah.

jack-layton

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Love is Surviving his Noxious Gas (and 6 Other Things I Realized While Watching The Bachelorette)

ImageOkay, so this season of The Bachelorette is over, and everyone is so happy for Des after she managed to take one day to get over being dumped by the supposed love of her life in order to get engaged to her second choice. In case you live under a rock and/or have a serious aversion to social media (if so, I’m glad my blog is an exception, thank you) and have never heard of ABC’s smash hit The Bachelorette, it’s basically a show where one woman spends 10 weeks sifting through a group of 25 men to find her one true love. It’s totally realistic.

I’m kind of embarrassed that I got sucked in this year. I’ve never watched it before. I was trying to reconnect with my girly side. It’s been a long time since I got to hang out with some girlfriends and watch a chick flick or Sex and the City. I’m a stay at home mom and rarely have a reason to dress nice or wear makeup. I have a son and am engaged to a real guy’s guy. I’ve begun to grow hairs on my chest and have developed a penchant for peeing outdoors. Ok, just kidding on the last two counts… although I did have to pee outdoors a few weeks ago when J’s stellar navigational skills got us lost in the middle of nowhere. I did not enjoy it. I especially didn’t enjoy that he laughed his ass off the whole time and I could barely go I was so embarrassed. What a jackass… I mean… so glad he could find humour in my humiliation, that sweet, sexy, ever-loving fiancé of mine… errrrr, right.

And on that note, the amount of times that Des talked about ‘real love’ on the show, and then proceeded to swoon over presents, poetry and romantic walks on the beach made my ears bleed. Apparently true love Bachelorette-style equates with Nicholas Sparks-style romance. Um, Des? Don’t you know Mr. Sparks’ romances rarely end in happily ever after? Screen shot 2013-08-06 at 11.43.12 AM

So, I decided to make a 7 point list of what love really is in order to help out future stars of The Bachelorette. You’re welcome, o seekers of true love. You’re welcome.

Love is…

1. … being able to tell little white lies and feel no guilt because you know you’re doing it to protect the one you love. And no, I am not advocating dishonesty. I’m talking about insignificant lies that protect no deep dark secret. Nope. Just the kind of tiny lie that is meant to cover your passive aggressive ass and protect the illusion that you are nothing less than perfect. Screen shot 2013-08-06 at 11.50.31 AM

Example scenario: Your boyfriend/husband/partner always manages to throw his/her dirty laundry on the floor next to the hamper rather than in it. After asking politely several times, your passive aggressive tendencies take over and you find yourself tearing a beloved t-shirt into tiny pieces with your scissors/teeth/claws. Little white lie: “Oh Honey, no! I would never tear your favourite t-shirt to shreds. The dog/cat/baby dragon must have got it, that little rascal.”

2… never having to say you’re sorry. JUST KIDDING! Love is a big fat slice of humble pie and if you don’t learn to admit when you’re wrong and learn to use that word with sincerity, your love is probably going to drown in a big boiling vat of resentment. Ironically, the movie that line comes from ends in much the same fashion as a Nicholas Sparks novel.

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3. … being able to put up with someone’s crazy quirks. Example scenario: Your husband turns to you in bed with that loving look on his face (you know, that look that normally tells you you’re gonna get some), leans towards you, reaches out and tucks your hair behind your ear, his lingering fingertips soft on your cheek, looks deep into your eyes while reaching for something off the night table behind you and says, “Honey, will you please pluck each individual back hair out with these tweezers I bought today?” Even though your brain is probably sincerely questioning your taste in men, you do as he asks, cuz hey, you love him and he loves to be hairless. C’est la vie.

4… being able to refrain from committing murder. Let’s face it. Part of the reason divorce is rampant is because we have this fairytale idea of love. We’re told it’s always there. We’re told we should want to always be with that person. That we should always miss that person when we are apart. Pft. It’s impossible to feel lovey dovey all of the time. The person you love is the person you spend the most time with. You see the best of them, but it also means you see the worst of them. If you can survive those worst moments you can survive anything. That’s love. If you commit homicide, that is not love. Therefore, not committing homicide = true love. (Don’t bother pointing out the fallacy here. I’m well aware.)

Screen shot 2013-08-06 at 12.12.20 PM

5… realizing that if the knife actually did slip/the pillow lingered a little too long/the vial of arsenic did accidentally get knocked over into his stew, you would miss him terribly. Yes, the love of your life will probably drive you cuckoo bananas, but you’d rather risk your sanity than live without him.

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6…  being able to survive his noxious gas. This is especially important to the stars of The Bachelorette. Men are smelly smelly creatures, but they can hide it well in the early weeks/months of a relationship. Ladies, 10 weeks is not long enough. Once you’ve survived your first Dutch Oven (intentional or inadvertent) and you still want to let that guy/disgusting creature/swamp thing touch you in your happy place, you’ll know you’re playing for keeps. Screen shot 2013-08-06 at 12.03.42 PM

7… when, despite his protests and threats to retreat to the basement man cave, that man will give in to your request to curl up in bed with you and watch The Bachelorette. Watching The Bachelorette is probably way down there on that list of things your man would like to do. He might even rather stab himself in the eye with a fork, cuz hey, he’s got two eyes. He could be using his one remaining good eye to watch Duck Dynasty or Cops or ANYTHING ELSE. So yeah, watching The Bachelorette with you? Now THAT is love.

Every Mommy Needs a Daddy Sometimes

So after yet another night of four feedings I groggily and reluctantly woke up before the sunrise because Baby H said so. I went down, popped a T-Disc in the machine and cried to myself a little bit. I miss my friend Sleep so much, although I somehow don’t feel it so much during the day. I miss it in the throes of lacking it, when J is fast asleep and snoring.

I came back upstairs to where my little wiggle monster was, well, wiggling around in his bassinet. I flipped on the TV to find a familiar scene unfolding.

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As a pregnant lady watching this movie last summer I definitely related most to the Elizabeth Banks character. Despite people telling me that I had ‘that glow’, I did not have that glow. It was just sweat. Buckets and buckets of sweat. To be fair, it was the hottest summer on record and I had no air conditioning, but still. I spent the last months of my pregnancy flopping around on the couch feeling like I’d never be comfortable ever again.

So, given this information, and the fact that I have clearly forgotten it, why on earth do I feel twinges of envy as friend after friend announces their summer babies on the way and posts adorable belly bump pictures? They are still small enough that they really are glowing and lovely. Maybe that’s why. Maybe if they were posting pictures of themselves looking like beached whales or Violet Beauregarde post-blueberry incident I might not feel that little bit of envy.

Two days before the birth of H... see the resemblance?

Two days before the birth of H… see the resemblance?

Why on earth would I miss being pregnant? Besides being huge and uncomfortable, I was a sleep deprived hormonal nightmare. I haven’t slept since August! I have no sleep in the foreseeable future. And while I don’t begrudge J his sleep (ok, I do begrudge him just a smidgen of sleep), I have in fact, as Amy at Pregnant Chicken (<- Pregnant women, click that link. You’ll thank me later.) warned, stared at his sleeping, peaceful face at 2am and wondered what the hell the point of him is. In those sleepless 2am moments, especially post-baby, as I stumble around blearily trying to figure out if the baby needs to be changed, nursed, or both, I think of J simply as “the sperm donor” and feel like he couldn’t possibly be the father because he clearly abandons me in every 2am moment of need. If only the men had the boobs… (ok, no. I love breastfeeding and wouldn’t give it up for any amount of uninterrupted sleep, and that’s the truth!).

Sperm Donor

Ok, to the point. On those nights I don’t really feel abandoned. That’s the deal. He needs to get up at 5am to work every day, and he operates heavy machinery. I’d be a pretty horrible person if I expected him to share in the sleepless nights. However, despite my supermom status, I must admit that sometimes I need him. And so does the baby. The other night, I was having a moment (or several). For the life of me, I could not get little H to sleep. He’s normally really easy to put to bed! Nurse him or pop a soother in and he’s fast asleep in 5. This night, though, I felt like my baby had been replaced by a banshee. He screamed until he was purple in the face, tears streaming from his eyes. I tried everything but he could not be consoled. This is how J found us upon arriving home from work at 10pm (where he’d been since 6am). I fully anticipated that he’d disappear into the basement or to bed and leave me to deal with the shit show we’d created. Instead I was pleasantly surprised. He came into the room and started talking to the screaming, writhing mass that I suspected was the baby but was no longer sure. My head was throbbing and I couldn’t think clearly. All of a sudden there was silence as H listened to his daddy’s voice. There was still some pouting and gasping going on, so J picked up the baby and off they went to play in front of the mirror and have a little chat. An hour later a perfectly calm little angel child was returned to me and we fell asleep side by side, which is where J found us 6 hours later at 5am. It was a miracle.

So you see girls, there is a point to him. If you’re tempted in those last days of pregnancy or early days of baby to stab him with a fork as he lies there sleeping like an angel (or snoring like at trucker), hold off. Think about it for a few days to make sure its what you really want to do. You might end up regretting it because even though it may not seem like it during those sleepless nights, every mommy needs a daddy sometimes.

S and J

About the Mutt

My last post received mixed feedback. Some expressed their joy at my happiness while others complained that it caused them to throw up in their mouths a little bit. To that last group I say, “You’re just jealous!” Let me enjoy my happiness while it lasts. As we all know, relationships have their cycles and the good times at least help to teach us respect that will hopefully carry us through the more difficult times.

Now, onward an upward. I’ve made you both swoon and vomit over my love for J and an About the Belly part 2 is in the works, so I figured I’d dedicate today’s post to my fur monster… uh, I obviously meant to say fur baby.

Punky Brewster (a.k.a. Punky, Punky B, The Punk, Punkster, Punk Star, Pukey Poopster, Brew, Brewster, Brouhaha, The Beast, Bee Sting, Noise and many more to come I’m sure) was born to an estranged set of parents on February 15th, 2012. She was the result of a randy visiting gentleman standard poodle from Québec, and a much obliging lady american bulldog/neopolitan mastiff cross (although her colouring suggests english mastiff). No doubt he seduced her with his accent. The chance encounter between those two brought 11 gorgeous little mutt puppies into the world. Her image was shot straight from the Internet (thanks to a random Kijiji search… I wasn’t even thinking about getting a dog) into my heart.

She was adorable… for about 2 seconds. No, I’m just kidding. She’s still the apple of my eye and I’m a little bit worried about jealousy issues once le bébé arrives. After all, she currently thinks she’s my baby. Why wouldn’t she? I only tell her she is about 50 times per day. No, it’s just that she’s more than tripled in size since the day we brought her home, and she’s gone from being an obedient little mouse to displaying some decidedly teenaged habits. She was out late the other night doing God knows what. This is how I found her in the morning:

All signs point to some sort of substance abuse problem… le sigh.

I don’t know what I, a pregnant lady, was thinking getting a giant puppy that could very well grow to be in the vicinity of 100 lbs according to her vet. Whoops. Oh well. She’s here to stay, I love her to bits, and we start puppy training this Friday. If it’s entertaining enough I’ll post an update. As it is, I’m too tired to even finish this post. But it was worth it just to share the toilet photo with you.

Wish us luck!

Goodnight, sleep tight!

Dear J

Lately my most annoying pregnancy symptom (aside from sleepless nights and heartburn) is my overwhelming sensitivity and sentimentality, but I’m gonna go out on a limb here and put a bright side spin on it. As you will know if you read my posts ‘Relationship Misadventures‘ and ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony‘ J and I haven’t had the easiest time adjusting to the pregnancy. This pregnancy happened very early in our young relationship and while it’s been stressful, it’s also been amazing. After all, I can’t say it was an accident since our combined 36 years of education should have taught us where babies come from. Our favourite cute couple (read: vomit inducing) game to play is “No, you wanted to get pregnant.” I officially win by default when, after sharing our why you wanted to get pregnant stories, J ends his with “and I’ve told this lie so often now that I’ve started to believe it”. Way to disqualify yourself darling!

I think I got a bit off track. My purpose here was to put a bright side on my ridiculous sensitivity and sentimentality as of late. Most of the sentimentality centres around being truly madly and deeply in love with the father of my baby. If he were a more sentimental man I’d write him love letters, but since I can’t really even verbalize how I feel about him to him in person due to the fact that his reply would make me feel weird (meaning there would be a lack of reply. Not because he doesn’t love or care about me; I catch glimpses of sweetness, some of which you will read about further on. No, it’s because he’s ‘built Ford tough’ dontcha know and tough guys don’t spew sonnets). Anyways, it’s been building up in my chest this week and I’ve just got to get it out, so now you all can read about it instead. He’ll probably read this eventually too (I know he spies on my blog from time to time) and that’s okay. He doesn’t have to tell me!

Without further adieu, here are 10 things that might appear in a love letter to J, should I ever write one:

1.

2. This city girl secretly loves that you’re a country boy (even though she won’t admit it half the time).

3. The phrase “I love you” gets thrown around a bit too easily in relationships, but you took your time, and I like that. When you first told me you might be falling in love with me it freaked me out. I don’t know why, I think I just didn’t expect it (I was also being a horrible hypocrite and read the text while driving… going into shock and commanding a moving machine do not mix, FYI). Then you kind of got all weird and disappeared for a bit, which scared me even more, because when I really thought about it I was happy you were falling in love with me. Thankfully when you came back it was with full force and that first “I love you”, even though it was a text made out of weird symbols and you were mad at yourself for saying it via text, just swept me off my feet. Seriously. I think the fact that it was a text helped in that department as well. You might be a tough guy, but you’re kind of shy and it’s totally endearing.


4. I actually cried last week when I sent you the pic I drew for baby H’s nursery and you told me the next day that you’d been looking at it on and off to keep you smiling.

5. Sometimes when I indulge in the darker places of my brain that I’d prefer to forget exist, I get super sad that you’re a smoker. I always told myself never to fall in love with a smoker because I knew I’d struggle with it. And it’s not because I think it’s gross, or that I’m frustrated that you said you’d quit and haven’t. It’s not for those reasons. It’s because I love you to pieces and can’t handle the thought of losing out on precious moments with you. I know we could all die tomorrow, but the fact that you’re hurting yourself (someone I love so much) willingly and knowingly breaks my heart. I want to take care of you and I wish you’d do the same (take better care of you!). Sometimes I even feel relieved when you sleep in the middle of the day (even though I get bored and wish you’d wake up!) because I know at least it’s 1 (or 10) less cigarette(s). Crazy thought process, I know, but that’s what love does to you. It makes you crazy one way or the other.

And what if you defy the odds but end up looking like this guy? Hmmm…

6. Thank you for telling and showing me (Note to my readers: that’s right. I went there. We’re having a baby so you shouldn’t be surprised), especially when I’m feeling like such a whale, that you find me sexier now than ever. I admit, I feel the same way about you.

7. My heart still jumps every time your name lights up my phone.

8. I just about died of happiness last night when you were talking to baby H and he was wiggling all around at the sound of your voice (oh dammit. I just teared up again). So many women complain that their partners don’t take any interest in the pregnancy part of the having a baby thing. I think it’s so beautiful that you talk to your son and clearly think about what our lives will be like with him in the world. I know it won’t be easy at times, but I can’t wait.

9. I think it’s obvious. I love your guts. And it doesn’t hurt that the encasement of those guts is mighty fine. You’re sexy and you know it!

10. Even though you might be mad that I gave the Internet a glimpse beneath your tough guy exterior, I know you’ll forgive me. Why? You totally love me too. Yup.

Ok, so this post totally isn’t in keeping with the tone of my blog, but I don’t care. I can’t just write about the things that annoy me, although it’s super fun because it’s just so easy to make them funny. Sometimes a little sentimentality is good for the soul.

Happy Monday friends! (And who ever says that about Mondays!?)

Wonderful Weekend

For most Canadians, this wonderful weekend has yet to end. It’s Canada’s 145th birthday and tomorrow is a holiday Monday. I, however, need to keep working! Wednesday is a big deadline. My first complete draft needs to be submitted to my advisor, and while I’m close, it’s not something that can be finished in just one more day. That’s okay though.

J and I haven’t been spending much time together as of late. Times are busy and stressful, but this weekend was a special one and so I had to stop working just for a day or two. Yesterday was J’s birthday and I must say, I love celebrating a loved one’s birthday much more than I ever enjoy my own! Also, birthdays mean cake, so you can’t really go wrong.

Birthdays on a budget are hard though, especially when the birthday boy got you a rather thoughtful and expensive gift back when it was your birthday. Well, I couldn’t do much by way of expensive, but I do love the thoughtful part. There’s so much fun to be had in personalizing a gift. Here’s my list of gifts in order of their nearness and dearness to my heart (from awesome-even more awesome):

1. J asked for cologne. While I really loved Dolce & Gabbana’s ‘The One’ (so much so that I was smelling my wrist for hours afterwards), I ended up going with Gucci’s ‘Guilty’. I couldn’t help it. I found it too funny since J is a huge trouble maker. If ever you think he did it, he’s probably guilty.

2. Half a dozen Cinnamon Crunch bagels from Panera, his favourite.

3. A little onesie for the baby. It’s navy with red crabs embroidered on it, because let’s face it, J is a bit of a crab! He’ll be the first to tell you. He’s also a Cancer, and has a crab tattoo. It’s just too perfect.

4. A picture book on how to be a daddy! Seriously, this book is brills.  J will not read the pregnancy book I got him, but the snazzy comic style pics in this gem seem to have done some sort of trick (if not THE trick). He actually brought the book to bed last night and *gasp* read it! There are some words, but its really the pictures that give the instructions. I’ve heard from other woman that this book has captivated their men as well, so I guess it can be highly recommended.

5. Lastly, and my absolute favouritest gift in the history of all my gift giving, was a photo album I put together of our few, but significant, moments together thus far. Pictures from my birthday, from our trip to Aruba, the baby’s ultrasounds, some lovely maternity photos my friend took (visit her photo blog HERE), and a cute picture my mom took of us together last week. What made this so special to me was the reaction it received. I hope we will fill the rest of its 200 or so slots with many memories to come.

Another weekend highlight was J feeling the baby kick again. He responds to J’s voice now, and its the cutest thing for this mama to see. He wriggles and kicks his way towards the sound of it.

We also went to a big family picnic for the Italian side of J’s family. Of course, a lovely day in the park could not prevent this crowd from watching the big game (2012 Euro Cup Final)! No no. A computer and a projector were high on the list of things to bring! Too bad Italy lost 4-0 to Spain, and thank goodness I left before the end of the game! Italians love their soccer and I’d have hated to see that disappointment (/rage).

So that’s what I’ve been up to. I’m feeling all good and in love and stuff and generally not in the mood to make fun of my life (oh self-loathing nature/source of dark comedy, where have you gone?), but hey, a mushy gushy post is okay every once in awhile! Right?

What can I say? I love my baby daddy.