Tag Archives: music soothes me

Love and Affection

Yesterday I was walking to the library after leaving Arlo at his soccer class and I passed two young teenagers, a boy and a girl, lanky and floppy, parting ways for the evening. It was possibly a first or second date, at that age and stage where “date” means “yanno, hanging out” and as the girl veered off towards her house (I presume), a goofy grin on her face, the boy said, “So thanks for, like, walking around with me or whatever…” and the girl said, “yeah, it was fun..” and they both trailed off like that, blushing, and it captured me entirely. Nostalgia and relief mingled in me; relief to not be *that* awkward, at least. But also a bit of sadness that there’s nowhere to go but down. I’ll never feel that first simple flush of boy/girl crush again. There will never be another first time.

Oh that reminds me.

And then this morning, there was a boy at the bus stop with me and when he got on the bus he found friends at the back, and when they got off, he and a girl were holding hands and that made me smile too because of course, teenagers meet up with each other on the bus before band practice. They can’t live with each other. It was comforting, that things are the same as they ever were, while still being very very different.

I have a new co-worker, who is twenty-two but delightfully old for his age; he sings Cher and Journey in the office with me, complains that his iPhone 4 is so old it doesn’t even have wifi. I love him, because he reminds me of me.

I love all the things that remind me of me. Don’t you? Love the things that remind you of you, I mean. Not me. I mean, you can love me if you want. But love yourself more.

I checked back in with the Internet this week and there was Outrage and Scandal and much disgusted staring at people who disgust us, their names start with D, all 19 of them, and I remembered reading once in one of my hippie books something like “Whatever you give your attention to will grow.” Do we want people who are famous for having children to be more famous? Do we want them to grow? No. Stop looking at them. What if we could all look away. Look at something else. Take the spotlight off the undeserving and look at the melting ice caps. And not the Tim Hortons kind, either.

Here are some rabbit-faced jalapenos as a palate-cleanser:


The other night I was on a coffee shop patio and a woman sat down with her small dog on her lap. She fed the dog some muffin, and tilted some water into its mouth and then she took a series of photos of herself and the dog with her cell phone. At first I was scornful but then thought better of it. Have a date with your dog. You love your dog, your dog loves you. If I had a dog I loved that fit on my lap, I would take selfies with that dog and probably post them on twitter. I take pictures on my cell phone with my children. I take pictures on my phone just of me. Just to see what I look like because sometimes mirrors can’t be trusted.


In the office we were talking about animals and a co-worker related a story about her neighbour who took home a baby raccoon whose mother was hit by a car. The neighbour’s cat adopted the baby raccoon and the raccoon grew up thinking the tabby was its mother. One day the raccoon moved out and the cat was deeply saddened, lying around mournfully for weeks.

I wonder what would happen if a cat and a raccoon stood next to each other in front of a mirror. To each, the other looks normal and relatable; small-ish and fuzzy. They have no idea they bear only a passing resemblence to each other. They have in common that they want to be friends and co-habitate and snuggle and eat cat food.


This week I’m practicing wilful acceptance of all the people I encounter. So, if you see someone aggressively accepting you on public transit, even while you quietly fart and scroll through news stories on your phone, it might be me.


Stay Keen, Jelly Bean

I have just retired to my patio, as it is a warm late spring evening and also Victoria Day. I think I might have woken the neighbour’s toddler, whose bedroom window opens on to the sidewalk, but all I did was open and close my screen door. Get over it, toddler.

I am drinking a beer, a Fat Tug, which is a delightfully bitter and hoppy IPA brewed on Vancouver Island. It is one of my very favourite beers. It is also 7% abv so one is enough. I may get a tattoo that says that because the devilry of alcohol is such that after one, more seems like a good idea and by the time you’ve had two Fat Tugs it’s tomorrow and why is your breath so bad and who brought the donkey?

The children recently came into some gift money from their aunt and uncle, who visited for a couple days last week. The money received nearly doubled Arlo’s stash of money that he was saving for an unspecified something, so yesterday he decided he wanted to buy a Nerf gun. Not just any Nerf gun: the Retaliator, the same gun his friend and neighbour has. He found it this morning at Wal-Mart for $32.92 and when I said, whoa! that’s a lotta money! he said, yes, but it’s worth it.

It’s worth it because he is nearly nine years old and there is no adult logic to be applied to this situation. Money is for spending, and Nerf guns are for having, and it’s not my money is it. Nope. Ever observant, he said, you don’t think I should buy this, do you? And ever mindful I replied, nope but I won’t stop you.

Yesterday, faced with a similar cash influx, as well as a five dollar gift card for a local candy store, Eli bought himself 500g of Jelly Belly Gourmet jellybeans. And two packs of Hi-Chew. Grand total of that expenditure: $17 (only $12 real money, $5 for the gift card) Did I want him to spend $17 on candy? I did not. Is it the most ridiculous thing in the world? Quite possibly.

When I was ten years old we went to Italy to visit my grandmother and on the way back we stopped in Montreal or Toronto or possibly both to visit more of my dad’s family. My aunt gave me $20. This was 30 years ago. I don’t think there were candy stores back then. I certainly didn’t give a shit about Nerf guns. I went directly to the mall (I think we were in Scarborough?) found Music World (or A&A Records and Tapes) and bought my first cassette tape: Olivia Newton John’s Greatest Hits. It cost the entire twenty dollars. It was worth it. I had absolutely no regrets.

Still don’t. Wish I knew where the tape was. Probably in a box. Probably somewhere in my house, knowing me.

A while ago — years? — we started our kids on allowance. We ask that they divide their allowance into savings, sharing (charity), planned spending (things you’re saving up for) and mad money. Being us, we don’t enforce the planned spending as much as we could, (“I totally plannnnnned to buy these Pokemon cards…just a minute ago?”) but the savings and the sharing are untouched. And our kids understand money. They understand the value of a dollar; how much I get paid, how much goes to daycare and car expenses, etc. They don’t get everything they want, not by a long shot. Sometimes they get unexpected treats, like an ice cream cone for the walk home from daycare, but more often I say no to their ever-more outrageous requests.

Sometimes, though, money appears in your hand for no good reason and yes, the smart thing, the adult thing to do, would be to save it, but the human thing to do is to want to turn it into something that gives you pleasure. Maybe that thing will only give you pleasure for an hour. Maybe it will give you pleasure for a lifetime. I don’t feel like it’s something I should lecture about. The only way to learn which things are good investments and which bum is by experience.

This afternoon, Eli ate a lot of jelly beans. I didn’t pour them into a bowl for him the way we did yesterday. He held the bag and he ate them and ate them. He also ate dinner. Then he had a baseball game. Then we came home and he had a bowl of cereal, which gave him a stomachache.

How is my foreshadowing? Is it good?

After brushing his teeth, he started to cry. I feel like I’m going to barf, he wept. Eli can really weep about barf and he’s usually right. Arlo got out of the room. Eli barfed. Three times with increasing violence.

When my kids barf I do a little flowchart in my head. Barf: food poisoning or virus? Oh god I hope it’s not a virus. I’ll have to take tomorrow off work. We’ll all be sick. There goes the rest of May. Wow it’s very violent vomit. What did he eat today? Cereal. Before that. Jelly beans. Before that. Cheese toast. Before that. JELLY BEANS.

As the smell of jelly beans permeated the room — no, they were not even semi-digested — Eli started to wipe off his mouth with his sleeve. I feel way better, he said. Oh good, I said. Way too many jelly beans today, he said. I think so, I said.

And then, feeling a lot like the lowest clown on the clown totem pole, cleaning up the clown car, I mopped up a lot of pink, sweet vomit, and thought fondly of the beer in the fridge downstairs.

Full circle! Happy Victoria Day!

In No Particular Order

I saw a crow eating a dead pigeon while I was walking through downtown this afternoon.

A man walking the other direction on the sidewalk, who saw the crow eating the pigeon at the same time as me, met my eyes and we both affected a wide-eyed horror face, and then we both looked at the tour bus that was stopped for the light, but none of the tourists looked out their windows to see the bird carnage.

I continued eating my most delicious falafel sandwich as though I was a crow and my delicious falafel was my pigeon.

When I got back to the office and told my co-worker, let’s call her Laughing Elder, about the birds, she told me about once seeing an eagle steal the food of a crane and the crane losing its mind with anger.

Last night I started reading “H is for Hawk” and it is exactly as good as all the reviews say it is.

Last night I also bought two Foo Fighters albums and finally indulged my love of All Things Rock and Grohl. Yes, I just said that. You are embarrassed for me. I hate puns. Unless I am making them.

I feel like I should be embarrassed for loving the Foo Fighters as much as I do. Yet, they write the songs that make me pound the table and bang my head while keening to the sound of perfect harmonies, so I guess I will not apologize. Also, Dave Grohl is an excellent writer and drummer, and shouty in all the right places.

That was the first song I heard this morning on my music player on the way to work and yes, I was a little overtired and happy that it’s Friday, but it was more than that. The song in my headphones at 7 am on 8th ave waiting for the bus made me darn near euphoric. I thought I might cry, vomit, become hysterical, and pass out on the sidewalk.

(It is possible I could use a good night’s sleep.)

Things have been at a low ebb for a few weeks; the evening sportsball activities are taking their toll and Eli in particular, being of a slightly dramatic persuasion, has a tendency to complain that he is tired, has only ever been tired, and will continue to be tired until his dying breath. Which will be tired.

Wednesdays are our busiest evenings; baseball starts at 5:45-6, then Arlo does soccer at 7 at a different park, and we don’t get home and into bed (the kids that is) until at least 8:30, sometimes closer to 9. Then up for Thursday at 6:30.

Wednesday I picked up the kids at daycare at 5, as usual.

Eli: Ohhhhh I am so tired.
Me: Gosh you do sound tired.
Eli: I think I should skip baseball practice.
Me: Oh yeah?
Eli: I’m too tired. I just..I just…
Me: We’ll see.

It should be noted that wednesdays are my busiest day at work. On Wednesdays roughly 80% of my day is on my feet, and 60% of my day is talking to clients, and the rest is either going to the bathroom or taking public transit, where I am also standing. Wait, no, I sit down in the bathroom. But stand on public transit. So I was tired too. I did not want to take him to baseball. I wanted to change into sweatpants and drink wine and drool myself to sleep.

Arlo: ..and I don’t have my shin pads.
Me: Hm?
Arlo: Remember I had to have my shin pads or I couldn’t go back to soccer? And I looked for them but I didn’t find them.
Me: Did you look *everywhere*?
Arlo: I think so.
Me: (suspects not)
Arlo: ..anyway I might find them. But if I don’t, we can go shopping.
Me: Pardon?
Arlo: For black pants and a white shirt.
Me: Pardon?
Arlo: Tomorrow is the May Day assembly at school. So we need black pants and a white shirt.
Me: Not for the assembly, surely. For the actual ceremony, next week…
Arlo: My teacher said for tomorrow.
Me: (plots teacher’s demise)
Arlo: So…we can go shopping if we don’t go to soccer.

Yes. Doesn’t that sound fun? Car, mall, kid, evening. No sweat pants. No wine. No drooling. I am DELIGHTED with this counter-proposal, and yet there is SOMETHING missing. What could it be. Could it be..that if I’m not GOING OUT I don’t want to GO OUT.

On we walked, Arlo bouncing along, Eli slouching.

At home, I made them grilled cheese sandwiches and thought about it. It wasn’t a baseball game, just a practice. Was it absolutely necessary that we go? Would it injure anyone’s character? I decided no and texted the team to let them know we wouldn’t be coming. I texted one of the parents from Arlo’s class and asked about the dress clothes for the Thursday assembly. She replied yes, and lol, and ha ha. I looked for Arlo’s shin pads and did not find them. I considered that he might have hidden them, but remembered that he loves soccer. Decided to cancel soccer too. Went to the mall and bought black jeans and a white collared polo shirt and was happy that we have two incomes right now so I could just go to H&M and buy the kid clothes and not worry about it.

Arlo has the right kind of body for H&M, spaghetti-like. The clothes fit him and we moved on quickly. I got to my sweatpants, my wine, and my drool. As Arlo himself is fond of remarking, it was not the end of the world.

Plus he is cute.



Eli got a cheese hat from his uncle who drives a truck and was in Wisconsin.


On and On, Around and Around

I almost wrote this blog post on my phone, using the free wi-fi available at the ball park, while Eli practiced baseball and Arlo practiced hockey with a tennis ball (ALL THE SPORTS AT ONCE PLEASE) but people talked to me so I listened to them and then it would have been awkward to pull out the phone again. Plus I have fat, fat thumbs that do not do well with today’s smart phones; my old phone had a little punchy-in keyboard and that was great but the touch screen, I am not used to it. It is not used to me. I watch teenagers text on public transit and their thumbs move like hummingbirds and their mistakes autocorrect — or don’t — and they don’t even stop to read over what they’re writing, they just hit send and apologize later.

On Saturday night SA and I went to see the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra perform Mozart’s Requiem and on our way home on the skytrain we met up with a few hundred people who had been to see Def Leppard. A lot of them were very young. A significant number were older than me. I know from my high school facebook friends that many people my age also attended the Def Leppard show. Armageddonit.

The Symphony was splendid. I sat listening, thinking of better words to use than awesome. Fantastic. A delight. An older woman sat next to me. She was there with friends, but they had seats together and she was visiting from out of town so she bought a ticket on her own. She was from Montreal and she had never seen the Requiem performed. At the end she stood and applauded and shouted Bravo! and then leaned down to ask me what I’d thought. Wonderful, I said. It was. A symphony is one of those things that you take for granted until you are staring at it, bathing in it, wondering how on earth anyone ever thought of Music Composition or Symphony Orchestras. Seriously. It could be so, so horrible, but it isn’t, it’s amazing.

Three days earlier I saw Neko Case perform at the Vogue theatre and she was sublime. Her voice is like warm honey. Sometimes it turns and there is a knife blade, but before you can really process that you heard a knife blade, she’s back to honey. She has magnificient, red hair and she wore tights with skeleton bones printed on them. If I could switch places with her, Freaky Friday style, I totally would.

*closes eyes* *opens eyes*

Nope, still me.

Yesterday it was ALL THE CELEBRATIONS for Eli’s birthday, which is today. Today he is seven. But yesterday he was six and 90/100ths and we had a birthday party at the movie theatre. Three friends fell ill over the weekend with a mysterious feverish virus, and in retrospect that’s probably a good thing because six boys in a movie theatre was enough and nine might have killed me. The party was not Pokemon themed, although I did put Pokemon cards in the loot bags; there is a store at a mall that sells ‘grab bags’ — 20 cards for two dollars, and one of them might be rare. Eli also received a lot of Pokemon cards as gifts, and the sharp intakes of breath around the table when he opened the blah blah blah blah something or other E.X FULL ART! was something to behold. How to shut up a room of 6-7 year olds: put a giant shiny card in front of them. Magic.

Eli also received some money as a gift and when asked what he would do with the money he replied, I will buy more Pokemon. When asked what he would do if everyone he knew stopped playing with Pokemon, he shrugged in his inimitable way, and replied, I will put them away and wait until they’re popular again.

Smart for seven. Maybe too smart. Age of reason: achieved.


“One nice picture. Come on.”


Bee Firmly Fixed in Bonnet

It started out OK, this day, but the list of things — stupid things — that were irritating me just collected and collected like a layer of dust until it was impossible to see the road ahead of me, so dusty was my windshield.

How Dusty My Windshield: Collected Stories.

A list, in no particular order, of the stupid things that somehow were impossibly irritating today:

— The smell of flatulence in a certain area of the office and before you suggest it was me, it wasn’t. I even, at one point, considered that I MIGHT be farting, that maybe my sphincter is LOOSE and farts are escaping my person without me noticing? And then I thought no, that is ridiculous, you would also then be pooping in your own shoes, surely, it is merely that someone in this office, or possibly everyone, needs to eat less junk food and get outside for a walk.

— This dude on the skytrain this morning had a baseball cap that said something stupid. I know. I don’t even remember what it was but it pissed me off.

— Whenever I take an escalator I think about a tweet I saw once; this person said “one thing that really bugs me is when people stand rather than walk on an escalator.” Now I do not give a shit what you do on the escalator as long as you keep right if you’re standing and walk left if you’re walking. But what the hell is wrong with standing on an escalator? It’s a MOVING STAIRCASE. If you want to WALK, take the STAIRS. I think about this tweet almost every time I take an escalator. I imagine that people who walk on the escalator are judging me, and then I get mad about them judging me.

Guess what, they are not judging me. Also can we take a real minute to appreciate my hypocricy, in taking someone’s stupid annoyed statement and making my own annoyed statement about how annoying it is.


— Also transit related: when people line up for the bus and then slowly shift forward in the line, even though the bus has not yet arrived. Holy shit. I am about to start swinging a baseball bat at the bus stop, people. If the bus is not at the stop, you don’t need to keep moving. Just stay put. Why are you moving? Do you think moving will make the bus come sooner? It will not come sooner. It’s the same as people in cars who are at stop lights and they can SEE that the cross-light is nowhere near ready to change but they still inch up, up, up, until their dumb car noses are in the intersection and for what? Two seconds of lead time? You don’t even GET that lead time in the bus line up because you get on right after the person in front of you and right before the person behind you. So I stand still. The person in front of me can inch, I will not inch. Today the person behind me was nearly licking my earlobes, so close to me was she, because when the person in front of me moved up an inch, the person behind me did too. I WILL NOT MOVE.

— The lady in front of me in the bus line up was wearing tights of the panty-hose variety, not the footless tights that are like exercise pants variety, and I could see the dimples in her butt cheeks and I did not want to see that.

— There was this kid on the bus who wanted to hold a bouquet of dandelions and his mom said no, your hands are too dirty and he was whining like whoa about this so I had to put on my headphones. YOUR HANDS ARE TOO DIRTY TO HOLD DANDELIONS THE MOST PRISTINE FLOWER IN ALL THE LAND AND ALSO RARE, WHAT? Sorry little dude, I feel you, but your voice is like a knife on a wine glass.

— This stupid computer program at work that makes me do extra clicking and is full of bugs and no one cares. It’s like an addled co-worker that you have to check up on all the time, to make sure it’s not breaking or losing things. Which is pretty much the OPPOSITE of a good computer program, can I just say.

— My music player was on shuffle and it kept playing PJ Harvey and the Pixies, as though it knew I needed to be pushed into a dark, cranky space and then forced to explode my way out. So I turned it off.

I left the headphones on, though, because of the dandelion kid & etc.

Yeah I think that about covers it.

If you have any irrational irritations feel free to share. No irritation too small, that’s my motto. Even the tiniest chafe can make a blister. Etc.

Thanks to Our Sponsors

This week has been brought to you by:

— Moisturizer. Because my cuticles and nails are incredibly dry and jagged and horrible.

— Halls cough drops, without which I would not have slept on Monday and Tuesday nights. Damned throat tickle. ALTHOUGH I could do without the inspiration printed on the cough drop wrappers, in English and French. ALLEZ Y yourself, cough drop.

— The drugs called “montelukast sodium” and “albuterol” which help Eli go from coughing all the time to not coughing all the time, instead of to bronchitis/pneumonia/whoknowswhat. I love these drugs.

— Zadie Smith’s book N-W.

— Outkast’s song “Hey Ya” which I remembered and listened to several times this week.

— Seriously, Zadie Smith forever. Interesting, to me, that I brought this book home from the library last year and stared blankly at it for three weeks and then returned it. As though one’s emotional life, if taxing, can sap the ability to understand and appreciate good literature. Here is a bit I read on the train this morning that made me memorize the page number so I could find it again later:

“Felix spotted a wayward shiver in her eyelid, a struggle between the pretence of lightness and the reality of weight. He knew all about that struggle.”

There are some books you read to escape into, and you barely read the words on the page, just skim for the gist, like shoving chips in your mouth so the salt will take hold of you faster. Books you read to pass the time. Books you read to lull you to sleep. There are some books you read because they are good for you, the kale of the book world, and when finished you say, well, that was HEARTY. And then there are books where the flavours meld perfectly with one another, where the nutritional value is balanced with the combination of sweet/salty/spicy in your mouth, where you slowly open them to read — carefully — each word because each word is worth it. This is one of those books.

— The prospect of the four day weekend (easters Friday and Monday the glorious, sleeping-in brackets to this normal weekend.)

— Various pale ales.

Onward, Easter-ocity!

At Any Time

Oh it is so hard to sit down here with nothing to say, no point to make, but it’s the ritual or, more accurately, routine of it I’m after. Not the content (obviously, she said, self-deprecatingly) but the being here. Morning is too crowded already, evenings are a slow slide to sweet sleep, the skytrain/bus, as entertaining and beautiful as it can be, is no place to type on a laptop. I do write in my notebook, though, yes, now I have made it so anyone can recognize me on transit because I haven’t seen another human writing in a notebook. Yet. I could draft posts on my phone but I don’t want to draft posts on my phone. Ah, I don’t want to draft anything at all. I want to be creative and I want to write and I want to stop talking about it just do it so that’s what this is. This is just doing it.

Let’s take blogging back and make it back into a boring hobby that no one pays attention to, a place to practice turning over buckets of sand. PERFECT.

I am in the middle of cooking dinner; a mixture of wild and brown and japonica rice, stir fried steak strips, and vegetables. The meat is marinating. The rice is cooking. My lips burn a little with the dust of habanero and lime-flavoured tortilla chips. The happy birthday banner we hung up yesterday is dangling from the ceiling like this: Happy Bi
It was my father’s birthday on Saturday. There are a lot of birthdays at this time of year. A lot of fathers. Well, two. Plus several aunts, a few friends. My co-worker’s niece and then her mother. Happy birthday, all you March babies. Happy blossoms and tiny green buds on trees and allergies, to those who celebrate allergies.

In a month it will be Eli’s birthday and he would like a Pokemon themed party. Can someone make that happen, please? Thaaank you.

I just finished a great book called California by Edan Lepucki. I recognized the writer’s name, possibly from The Millions or somewhere else on the Internet, otherwise I wouldn’t have picked it up, as this book was not my kind of book. It is a future-story, set in the wilds of a de-urbanized California/America. But it is a character-driven future story, which IS my kind of book. Once I dug into it, I enjoyed it a great deal. Although the end felt a little rushed, but to be fair, I was rushing through the last chapter, trying to finish the book before we had to return it to the library. I was keeping Eli company in the dentist’s waiting room while he waited for his turn, my nose buried in this book, but he kept talking to me. I offered to read it aloud. Four pages was all he needed, then he politely told me I didn’t have to read it aloud anymore.

At my job I get to talk to people using a microphone several times a week. I have to constantly remind myself not to hum when I am paused between sentences. You don’t realize how much you hum until you have a microphone under your face. I’ve developed quite a humming habit in the past few years as solitary child-minder. Time to curb it.

Unconscious-tic’ly yours, ’til tomorrow.

Shut the Door, November, it’s COLD Outside

The trees look very male-pattern-balding with their crowns just twigs and still all bushy with leaves around the bottom. Bald men with hairy bottoms! It was a very mild week and then a snowstorm came.

SNOW!!! The children exclaimed Saturday morning and quickly put on their snow pants and boots and hats and mitts and then froze their tushes off because it’s unseasonably cold. Usually we get snow as a precursor to rain, so it’s wet and mucky and goes away (unless it doesn’t, hey climate change). This time it basically froze right when it hit the ground so there is powdery snow that doesn’t form a snowball but instead goes poof like an icy dandelion.

All the sidewalks are ice, which is annoying. I can’t run (very long) on ice so my run today was canceled. I’ve been running less since the half marathon anyway but I still need it for my mental health so I’m desperately trying to keep up three runs a week.

Plus I woke up feeling still tired. And I’m freezing. So I’m grumpy.

The sun is out. The sky is blue and the snow sits on the trees like frosting and we’re all healthy. My grumpiness stems entirely from there being an obstacle between me and what I want.

Despite there being no fresh snow today, the early-rising, highly excitable Eli still wanted to go outside and play in yesterday’s snow at 7 am so I had to say, it is -8C and there is nothing to play with. It’s like playing in a gravel pit. It’s like playing in the middle of a skating rink with no skates on. It’s like playing in a walk-in freezer with hunks of last year’s snowballs that you insisted on freezing in ziploc bags.

(Truth: just as I typed this, Eli came in from playing outside, carrying a small snowball. “This is for the freezer,” he said. “I’m going to label it so we don’t think it’s pie crust.” After trying to write on a snowball with a felt pen [hello metaphor] he found a small plastic bag to put the snowball in and now we have 2014 snow in our freezer hooray)

Well, can you make waffles for breakfast, said Eli.
No, I said.
Why not?
I don’t want to.

Arlo came downstairs.

Eli said, I asked if she’d make waffles but she said no. She’s too… [he almost said lazy and then called back a conversation we had a couple weeks ago where I explained that actually that’s an insult] she doesn’t want to.

Nope, I agreed. Don’t feel like it.

Oh, said Arlo.

I ended up making pancakes, later, after I’d had some coffee. Because kids gotta eat. While I was making the pancakes the internet radio station, called Back to the 80s, played a Front 242 song called Welcome to Paradise. It goes like this: HEY POOR. HEY POOR. YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE POOR ANYMORE. JESUS IS HERE. It’s about televangelists. I have never heard a Front 242 song on any radio, let alone an 80s throwback station that usually plays Belinda Carlisle and Falco and the Bangles.

So delighted was I that I left the radio station on for the rest of the day. A few minutes ago, it played Don’t Worry Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin, a song I have managed to tune out for most of my life. It was on the Cocktail soundtrack and I loved Cocktail and its soundtrack but that track was not my favourite. Today I actually paid attention to it.

“Put a smile on that face!” he says. “It will soon pass, whatever it is!” he says.

Wow did I ever want to go to Bobby McFerrin’s house and punch him in the nose. But I don’t really want to go out. Instead I am feeling retroactively very sorry for the people who had personal crises the year that song came out. (I? Was fourteen, and while that was sort of a personal crisis, I’m talking more about the real kind where if you endured it while also having to hear Don’t Worry Be Happy on the radio four thousand times a day it’d make you want to hide your head in a walk in freezer full of snowballs.)

I was going to say it’s awful and annoying like Happy by Pharrell, but then I realized that at least Pharrell is giving us the OPTION to clap along if we want to. We don’t have to. He’s talking about how HE’S happy. He totally has the right to his own happiness just like we have the right to our own sadness.

Here we find two different approaches to cheering up the world at large. Diminishing their feelings by telling them to buck up l’il camper vs. giving them a happy model to follow/clap along with or not.

Maybe I’ll clap along tomorrow. When it’s December.

Shaking Off the Anaconda

I looked in my drafts folder today and there were 46, forty-six drafts. I read through a few of them and they were dated, yes, but not horrible. Why did I never post them? Why indeed. I think when I finish writing something I feel as though I should let it sit a bit before posting but when I let it sit, I inevitably do not go back and look at it again for months or years.

There was one about pop music and Miley Cyrus, one about peanut allergies, one about how I was so ready to be done stay-at-home parenting. All of it still true and relatively relevant except I mentioned Ke$ha in the post about Miley and now I realize I have not heard from Ke$ha in quite some time. I mean, I never HEAR from her. I don’t get texts from her or anything. We don’t SNAPCHAT. But on the radio.

The children are so into pop music and this is fine and great. I heard Arlo singing along to Shake it Off the other day and he knows all the words and also can hit all the notes because he is eight years old and has the same vocal range as Taylor Swift so it’s pretty cute. I have a soft spot in my heart for Shake it Off. It’s like a self-help book in a pop song. I respond to it. That’s why it’s the only song I’m linking to in this post.

Tonight at dinner we heard a new pop song called Anaconda by Nicki Minaj, a song about, uh, a misguided relationship, maybe? Anyway it contains many samples from Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-a-Lot. The children — not just mine, but many children, the same ones who were crowing “I’m Sexy and I know it” a few years ago — have been wandering around singing “My anaconda don’t want none / unless you got buns hon” and I needed to know they understood what they were talking about.

I tried to shake it off but they are boys, someday to be men, who ought to know. Besides, Arlo told me today he wants to be a famous rapper when he grows up, so the more info he has, the better. And so, we had the following conversation, after the last chords of Anaconda had faded from our ears.

Me: So that song samples another song, you know that right?
Arlo: Yeah, the one about Oh My God, Lookit Her Butt (incidentally, the original Baby Got Back says “oh my GOD lookit her butt” but the sample in Anaconda is “oh my GOSH lookit her butt” and this odd censory gesture is to laugh, truly)
Me: Right, so some people like to look at other peoples’ butts. They’re attracted to them. Some people like butts, some people like other peoples’ faces, some people like to look at long hair or short hair…
A: Hmm
Me: Sir Mix-A-Lot really likes butts. Right? He starts the song with I LIKE BIG BUTTS AND I CANNOT LIE
A: Right
Me: And then he goes on and on about how butts are great and sometimes they’re bouncy and sometimes they’re squishy or whatever.
A: Yeah
Me: And then he says “my anaconda don’t want none unless you’ve got buns, hon.”
A: Yeah
Me: What do you think that means?
A: His..anaconda doesn’t want anything unless it’s got a big butt?
Me: Righhht…and…
A: ??
Me: Do you think he has a pet snake? That eats people? (ed note: this would be a good horror sort of twist on the song maybe?)
A: No ha ha ha ha
Me: So what’s the anaconda?
A: ??
Me: Can you think of a body part that a man has that’s like a snake?
A: *blinks twice* Oh! His penis!
Me: Right.
A: *laughs hysterically*
Me: Yes.
A: *laughing*
Me: So it’s a metaphor. One thing means another thing
A: Rigggght

And tomorrow at school should be awesome for everyone who knows my son.

We’ll deal with the grammar another day.

I Get Knocked Down. But I Get Up Again.

This is my last week of work. Because I work part time, these are my last three days of work. Today is done, and now there will be two more.

This morning I was not especially excited to go to work. I mean, even less than usual. You see, last week it was very slow in the office. There was barely enough work for one person and guess what, there were two of us.

Maybe it makes sense they lay me off, I thought for several long, dreary hours last week. The only thing worse than having too much to do and not enough skills/confidence/time to do it is having nothing to do and an airless tomb of an office enclosing you with a silent, cranky co-worker at your back, while you try to look busy for SEVEN HOURS.

It tested me for two days last week and I was not looking forward to three more days of photocopying random pieces of paper in order to look like I had a task to complete.

But it was a nice morning; overcast and not too hot. I made good time to work. I had to stab at the radio a lot to find songs I didn’t hate, but that’s how it goes with the radio sometimes. Just as I pulled into the right lane that turns into a left turn that turns into the parking lot that is where I go to work, Tubthumping by Chumbawamba came on the radio.

Tubthumping is not a favourite song of mine. It was annoying, back in the day, and time has added a sheer gloss of nostalgia but under that sheer gloss is still some dry, cracked lips. If you follow. However, I was making a right then a left then a left so I couldn’t stab at the radio and all you can do if you can’t stab at the radio is sing along.

Right? Right.


(yeah you remember Tubthumping. And if not, it goes like that for about five more minutes)

It was an apt song to hear on the third to last day of work at a job where I was knocked down every single day and came back every single time. Like the MARY ELLEN CARTER. (“She went down last October in a pouring, driving rain”) Like one of those inflatable clowns. Like a dog that just fucking loves you even though you’re allergic. Like a child who doesn’t care that you’re angry. Like someone determined.

I have made it to the end of this story and I am so proud of myself.

I got out of my car with a smile on, and saw my boss/manager person, having a smoke outside the office. She was very glad to see me. It turns out my co-worker has been off all week with a family emergency and there was a two-day backlog of work that ONLY I could shuffle around until it more resembled an hour-long backlog of work.

So, not only was it my third to last day, ever, but I got to work alone, without the bad juju. I had lots to keep me busy so I wasn’t watching the clock tick all day. I get to leave a smiling impression of goodness and dedication. And any mistakes I make in the next three days? I will NEVER HAVE TO HEAR ABOUT. At 4:30 pm on Friday I will vanish into a vacuum of my own making and someday I will tell you all about it over a beer. A lager-drink, perhaps. Or a whisky-drink. Or a vodka-drink.*

*bad Chumbawamba joke. As if there is any other kind.