Thursday 26 December 2013

Christmas at the Rotten's

Good Lord, it happened.  We hosted Christmas dinner this year.

It's not like this is something I didn't want to happen. In my opinion, at some point the kids have to take over the family traditions and let our parents retire.  I think it's just that I kind of envisioned the first Christmas dinner would be with my extended family because our house is tiny and they don't give a shit about fancy things like tables and chairs.  Or plates.  Also, I have fewer siblings than my husband.

But if we're going to host my in-laws, ideally I would like for everyone to have somewhere to sit.  Like, I would actually care about their comfort as opposed to my own people who are very comfortable making themselves comfortable, and I am comfortable letting them.  (Does this make any sense to the non-neurotic?)

Here is how it all happened:

The Problem 

On the night of December 21 there was an ice storm.  It caused a lot of damage to the power lines in Ontario and my in-laws live in a rural area with hardly any people on their grid, which makes them kind of a low priority for the hydro people.  When the power still hadn't come on by December 23, we knew there was a strong possibility that it was going to be a very dark and very cold Christmas.  We had to come up with a plan.

The Contingency Plan

The cooking of Christmas dinner could be shared by my tiny kitchen and my sister in-law's tiny kitchen.  My husband's parents, three siblings and their significant others plus our family (a total of 11 people) will all fit into our two-bedroom, cottage home.  It would be a little tight but we could just manage.  What could possibly go wrong?

The Results

We spent the whole of Christmas Eve simultaneously planning for dinner and praying that the power would come back on.  My husband watched the power company's website obsessively as we worried about practicalities like the fact that we possess exactly five forks and two wineglasses.  My personal strategy was to strategize the shit out of this dinner thereby guaranteeing that the power would be turned back on and all our efforts will have been for nothing.  Because the Universe is an asshole like that.

When we woke up Christmas morning the status was that the power would be turned on by 5:30 pm.  That meant we would for sure have to put the turkey cooking plan into effect.  No problem.  The turkey went into my sister in-law's oven (because it's bigger and works better than mine) and my POS oven should be able to handle the stuffing and hors d'ouevres.

We were worried about just what every one was going to do all afternoon while the turkey cooked.  My in-laws are not the type to want to sit around watching movies.  Traditionally we go out to the farm for lunch and then after lunch there is a winter hike and possibly ice-skating on the pond if it's frozen enough.  We opted to stick to that tradition and just rough it at the farm.

When we got there we had to keep all our outside clothes on because you could literally see our breath when we spoke, it was that cold.  We made jokes like celebrating the fact that it was 2 degrees warmer in the family room than the dining room by virtue of the fire in the fireplace.  And it was about 15 degrees warmer inside than it was outside.  My father in-law let my husband know that he put the Guinness in the fridge to "help warm it up".

The kids entertained us while they opened their gifts.  Frack decided that it was very important to show proper appreciation for each and every gift by blaspheming loudly, frequently, and in as many ways possible through the entire unwrapping process.

"Oh.  My.  God.  Oh, my Gawd!  OH!  MY!  GAWD!!  OHMYGAWD!!!"  (waving the gift triumphantly in the air)

Happy birthday, Jesus.

Halfway through lunch the phone rang.  It was the power company's robo-caller letting us know that the power wouldn't be turned back on until 5:30 pm on Boxing Day!  I almost cried when I saw the look of tired frustration on Father Rotten's face.  This poor man, who has a flock of sheep to look after, had been hearing that the power would be turned back on tomorrow for three days now.  It was like we were in that Tom Hanks/Shelly Long movie where the young couple are told the work on their house will be done in two weeks for like, a year.

And so, it was on.  We were going to do this!  For the first time I ever we were going to have Christmas dinner at our house.

My husband, my mother in-law and I all went back to our place to cook while the younger/more able-bodied people stayed to try out some ice-skating.  Us ladies would stay at my place to cook the stuffing and the sides while my husband cooked the bird at his sister's.  We had to come up with a list of all the things we needed the others to bring from the farm because, as I have mentioned, we didn't have enough chairs, plates, etc. for all 11 people.

When everyone showed up, my Father in-law and my SIL's boyfriend somehow managed to haul our only table from the back room into the living room.  I thought for sure the table was going to have to be dismantled for that but they did it!  I tried to remove the cheap, dollar store table cloth I put on it last summer only to discover that it had glued itself to the table, leaving behind a film of white felt/cotton or whatever.  

My mother would have been horrified, as it was a good quality table that used to stand in the kitchen of my childhood.  Great Gran MacCrappy would have been even more horrified that the table cloth that she gave me that I used to cover the table was wrinkled all the to hell.

(Sorry, Gran.  I have not once used the iron you gave me to iron any linens.  Please don't haunt me.  If it makes you feel better, on the rare occasion I iron my husband's shirt I turn it inside out first like you taught me.)

But once we were all seated at the table(s) it was just so nice seeing everyone there.  I loved having our family gathered together in our home for the first time on Christmas.  I almost felt feelings!

Everyone pulled together to make that dinner go off without a hitch.  Not having enough of some things and having to improvise here and there was kind of fun.  I wish it didn't have to happen in a way that so clearly caused my husband's parents some suffering, but I wouldn't mind if it happened again.  Just the dinner part though, we'd like to keep our power in Canadian Winter, TYVM.  And speaking of which....

The power is officially back on at the farm as of 9 am, today.

It's a Boxing Day miracle!

Friday 13 December 2013

Christmas Gets a Break This Year Because I Am Broken

Literally.  I actually broke myself.

For the last month I've had the worst cold you could possibly have that still leaves you well enough to have to show up at work.  I've been keeping track of how long I've been sick because every time I have a cold it always feels like I've had the cold forever.  This can't possibly be true.  WebMD seems to think a cold lasts about a week.

Hahahahahaha!  (Oh!  Ouch!  It hurts to laugh!)

So I've been doing all the right things.  I've spent all my spare time trying to rest and drink lots of fluids and all the stuff you're supposed to do.  Which means my house is a mess and I haven't been posting much lately.  I haven't even bothered to decorate my blog and facebook pages for Anti-Christmas which is actually a lot of fun.  I was looking forward to it this year.

But I have to officially go on hiatus because last night I broke myself.

About two weeks ago I pulled a muscle in my back from coughing too hard.  At the time I thought it hurt pretty bad but what happened last night makes that pain seem minor now.  I went to see my doctor earlier this week and she agreed the muscle was pulled but the good news is that the cold is starting to go away so I should recover pretty soon.  Take some Advil and come back if anything gets worse.

Well, oh boy did it get worse!

I was out Christmas shopping after work last night.  On my way out of the store I coughed so hard I felt something go "pop!" in my back.  This caused a pain so severe I involuntarily shrieked a stream of profanities in front of a family with small children.  I was convinced that I must have cracked a rib and headed straight home so my husband could take me to the hospital.

Every bump in the road made me scream out loud and by the time I got home I wanted to weep.  But I didn't because I'm kind of a bad ass that way and also my kids were really worried about me.

The doctor told me that I had actually pulled the cartilage in my back, which is what made that "popping" sensation.  He gave me some painkillers and anti-inflammatories and told me this was going to take about 6 weeks to get over.

6 weeks!

So I must sadly inform you my friends, that I must take a break from snarking on Christmas this year and blogging in general until I feel better.  Hopefully I will be writing before 6 weeks is up but right now sitting upright is a challenge.  I am able to accomplish this post because I am hopped up on Tylenol 3 but it's making me pretty drowsy and I will soon be incoherent.

In the meantime, please enjoy this festive themed stream of profanity brought to you by that Christmas classic "A Christmas Story".

Monday 25 November 2013

Hot Trends For Kindergarten

Last week I was invited to sit in and observe Frack's Kindergarten class.  This is pretty typical.  It's supposed to put the parents' minds at ease that their kids are indeed "learning through play".  This last one makes four Kindergarten observations under my belt.  But this last one was a little different.  It seems the little tykes of Room 13 are quite fashionable.  I studied these kids very closely and I think I have a pretty good handle on Kindergarten's hottest trends this season!

Because the flames make it go FASTER!
1. Paper Airplanes

Wow, paper airplanes are big this year!  All the kids are making them.  They are so hot that some kids are stealing paper airplanes from the other kids.  Frack's paper airplanes are in particular high demand.  Since this trend started Frack insists that we make him airplanes almost every day at home.  My husband usually does the folding and I embellish the planes with flames.  Frack likes to add a few technical innovations, like stapling the nose of the plane.  They seem to fly better like that.

For No One's Eyes Only
2.  Writing Notes

The kids are crazy for writing notes!  Can they read?  Not really!  Are they communicating anything through these notes?  Hell no!  Most of Frack's notes for example, are simply a list of his friend's names or words he copies from around the Kindergarten room.  But who cares?  They are awesome!  When the notes are finished they are typically rolled up into little scrolls and given to others as gifts but Frack and his trusty stapler (the stapler is literally his favourite art supply right now) has made a change that is sure to be the next big thing in note-writing.  Frack is actually learning to write short sentences like "Frack Love Mommy" and "Mommy Love Daddy".  He writes this down and then he folds the paper, staples the shit out of it and colours in a heart (that he insists I draw for him) on the outside.  It's so secure that NO ONE CAN READ IT.  Probably not even the NSA.

3.  Scarf On Your Head

Frack has been wearing his scarf on his head like a headband for some time now.  I thought he was just being a typical weird kid but when I was in his class I realized that he is just very fashion savvy.  The kids love tying their scarves around their heads!  It's super popular!  In fact it's kind of a problem.  I watched the teacher tell three very unhappy looking kids that the scarves belong in the coat room, not on their heads in class.

Wait a minute.  Outdoor winter wear being worn indoors?  Reappropriating the use of a thing?  These kids are like the ultimate hipsters!  Don't give in so easily kids!  Fuck the establishment!

4.  Rainbow On A Stick

In Room 13 there are several activity stations but the most popular one by far was a station supplied with paper, crayons and popsicle sticks.  And every single kid there was making a rainbow they would cut out and glue onto a stick.  They played with these Stick Rainbows a lot.  Some rainbows were happy and some were sad and some had only eyes.  One creative little girl whose name begins with "M" made a rainbow that kind of looked like the McDonald's golden arches.  Well hot damn!  Double Rainbow on a Stick!

I just want to mention here that I became acquainted with "M" while looking at a picture of our solar system with Frack.  When I showed him which planet was Venus "M" piped up to tell us that "Venus rhymes with penis".

Which totally made me giggle.

Then my giggling prompted her to solemnly inform me that "penis" isn't funny and that just made me laugh more.  Seriously.  This five year old kid is waaaaay more mature than me.

And, awesome parent and role model that I am, I went on to say "Of course it's funny!  Have you ever seen one?"  And then I was grateful that none of the other adults in the room heard me say that because I probably crossed a line.

This is why I am going to hell.

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Tanning and Ticks

My husband just returned from this year's hunting trip.  Last year he brought me home a couple of ducks.  This year he was more ambitious.  This year he came home with a deer.

When he called me to tell me about his kill I begged him to save the hide.  Deer hides are nice and it seemed like a waste to not keep it.  He mentioned that getting the butcher to deal with the hide could be expensive so I told him to just bring it home and I'd figure something out.

And he did!

I knew it was going to be nice but I wasn't prepared for how luxuriant it was!  I don't remember any petting zoo deer feeling this nice.  But it was also a huge mess.

It's a Lady Gaga reversible fur coat.

I could see that this was going to be a huge chore.  I was going to have to prepare this thing for storage if we were going to have any hope of using it.  This involves scraping all the flesh and fat off the skin and then drying it out with salt.

It turned out that I knew more about tanning hides just off the top of my head than my husband.  When he told me I'd probably be dealing with this hide myself I asked him to keep the brains.  He thought I'd lost my brains until I explained that they are commonly used in hide tanning.  Where did I pick up this little bit of info?

Hardcore Paleo-porn.
And so when I sat down with my deer hide, my sharpest kitchen knives, and my dollar-store tablecloth I was no longer Mommy Rotten.  I was transformed into Ayla of No People, Mate of Hung-Like-A-Mammoth Jondalar and Great Healer Woman.

The first thing I had to do was try to check for ticks.  This is almost impossible.  The coat was so thick and deep that I just couldn't see anything.  I took the precaution of covering as much skin with clothing as possible.  I managed to find two, disgustingly bloated ticks.  Ugh, they looked like black jelly beans ((shudder)).

I was finally ready to proceed with my gross, squishy, messy job.  It took a while to get used to the technique.  All the videos on Youtube have people using some kind of round surface to work on but I wasn't getting any where with that.  I tried a few other ways but I ended up removing more flesh from my skin than the deerskin.

Eventually I found a method that was both safe and effective and started making some actual process.  It was very hard work.  I kept thinking about what it must have been like to depend on this skill for survival.  I started to day dream that I was Sacagawea.

I could tell I was impressing the hell out of my husband.  He kept telling me I was crazy, but I could hear the pride in his voice.  I imagined him bragging about me to his co-workers.  "My wife is tanning the hide of my first deer!" he would say.  "She is crazy resourceful."  And they would all agree that I am totally bad ass.  Maybe this would be my new hobby.  I'll tan all the hides my husband brings home and make awesome stuff out of them.  Maybe give them as gifts.  And someday, when the apocalypse comes we'll be sitting pretty because of my mad survival skills.

After getting about a quarter of the way through I decided to pack things up for the night.  I carefully wrapped up the deerskin and put it outside, taking extra pains to protect it from animals.  (It was wrapped in the tablecloth, put in a garbage bag, then in a box and then under our old broken microwave).  I figured I could finish the rest tomorrow, while the kids were in school.

So this morning I set up business again.  I had on my protective layer of clothing, I had all my clean sharp knives handy, I set up Silence of the Lambs on the TV to watch and got comfortable.  I was determined not to move from my spot until that skin was clean.

And then I learned something I did not know.

I did not know that ticks could be incredibly tiny.  I learned that fascinating little tidbit when I found one, no larger than a flea, crawling on my hand.

And then I screamed.

I found three more teeny tiny little bastards crawling on my jeans and six on the tablecloth.

And that's when I completely lost my shit.

I frantically tore off all my clothes and threw them out into the backyard.  Then I wrapped the deerskin in the tablecloth and heaved it out there, giving no fucks whatsoever if some animal hauled it off.  In a panic I gave the dog his flea and tick medication not able to remember exactly how many weeks it had been since his last dose and then thoroughly vacuumed my work area.

The whole time this is happening it's like I'm in the throes of some kind of coke addled paranoid delusion, screaming "Get 'em off!  Get 'em off!  Get 'em off!" every time I imagine the slightest tickle on my skin.  When I was finally sure my house and dog were safe I ran into the bathroom and gave myself a Silkwood shower.

And that proves it.  If we are ever in the Apocalypse we are pretty much doomed.

Sacagawea I am not.

Wednesday 6 November 2013

Ten Rationalizations That Make It Okay For Me To Steal My Kids' Halloween Candy

1) Sharing is good.  They should learn to share their candy (even if they can't possibly know they are sharing because they are asleep right now).

2) Frack's bag weighs as much as he does.  He can't possibly eat all that candy.

3) In fact it would be bad for him to eat all that candy.  In fact, it would be irresponsible of me not to eat some of his candy.

4) It's okay as long as I don't eat his favourite ones.  As long as I don't eat that full candy bar (he'll definitely notice that one missing) he won't even mind.

5) I should probably eat some of Frick's candy, too though.  He came home with three bags full, so he can spare a few pieces.  As long as I don't touch his full candy bar, he'll be fine with it.

6) They don't even like the Coffee Crisp bars.  I'm sure it's okay to have as many of those as I want.

7) Sure, the peanut butter cups are their favourite but they have so many of those.  They won't notice if I only take a few.

8)  I'll only eat the chocolate bars.  More than half of this candy is rockets, gummi bears and other crap like that, they won't be missing anything.

9) I put all the leftover candy that didn't get handed out into Frack's bag.  So it's okay to eat as many of those as I want.  I did pay for them, after all.

10) Fuck it, I am an adult.  I do what I want.  I am totally eating their candy.

*Update*: I have eaten far too much candy.  Seriously.  I think I need an intervention or something.  OMG, I have no self control.

Thursday 31 October 2013

Rain On My Halloween Parade

Every year Frack's school celebrates Halloween with a parade.  They usually march the kids in  their little costumes around the block and the parents just line up all along the sidewalk.  It's a good deal because there's no real competition for space and if you show up a little late you can just position yourself ahead of the parade.  When Frick was going there I went to every Halloween parade and they were always very well done.

I was really looking forward to it last year because it was Frack's first Halloween parade.  Unfortunately last year it was raining so they had the parade inside.  The school newsletter said that the parade would be starting at "approximately one o'clock" so I was there at 12:55, camera ready.  "Approximately one o'clock" turned out to be 1:20.

It was hot and stuffy and crowded in there.  I was stuck behind two tall people so there was no way Frack could see me.  It was a miracle that I was able to see him when he went by.  The only reason he believed I was there was because I managed to get video footage of him walking down the hall in his costume.

Once all the kids went by everyone was herded into the gym, but by then I was so hot and tired and cranky that I decided to just go home.  The whole experience sucked pretty hard for both kids, most of whom were unable to see their parents in the crowded hallway, and the parents who were frantically craning their necks and calling out to their kids to let them know they were there.

Well this year they managed to make it suck even harder.

It's been raining all night and all morning and so I had no hope of this year's parade being outdoors.  But I forced myself to go because I knew that Frack was counting on me being there.  I had to at least get a picture of him in the parade to prove I was there.  Since it took so long to get started last year I took no pains to be early but I was exactly on time....only to discover that this year they had started early.

I totally missed Frack's class.

They had gone upstairs to parade through the rest of the school.  I heard murmurs from the other parents that the kids would be coming back down and we'd probably get to see them again with the older grades.  Once again the hallway was hot and stuffy and crowded.  Once again parents vied for better spots to take pictures.

After Frack's class the other Kindergarten class marched briskly past us.  Then there was a five minute wait before the first graders sped by.  (Seriously, why are they going so fast?  It's like watching a fire drill.)  Then we waited around for about ten minutes while nothing happened.

Where were the rest of the kids?  We were genuinely confused because last year it may have been crowded and stuffy but there had at least been a steady stream of kids going by.

Suddenly, at the far end of the hall some Kindergarteners came through the door to the upper floors of the school.  Those doors were far away from most of the parents but only about 10 feet from the gym door.  For a small second I caught a fleeting glimpse of Frack's backside before he marched himself into the gym.  I was not quick enough to get a picture.

Then we saw first graders, second graders and progressively older kids flowing into the gym through this ten foot interval which provided the least possible viewing space for the hundred some odd parents lining the hallway.  The worst part about all of this was that they could just as easily have used the doors at the other end of the hall which would have had all these kids marching past their parents waiting for them along the hallway.

Oh, but what's this now?  All of the parents seem to be heading into the gym.  I took this to mean that all the kids were in the gym and now the parents would be allowed to enter.

This did not seem like a good idea to me.  My instincts were telling me that any experience to be had inside the confines of that gym were bound to be un-enjoyable at best.  Usually these gymnasium affairs consist of a crowd of parents standing at the back of the gym and competing with people of varying heights for the ability to look at their kids.

But I was determined to go in there anyway.

"I'll just go in there, get my picture of Frack, maybe wave at him and then quietly leave," I told

I followed the herd of parents heading into the gym only to be blocked from entering by yet another parade of costumed children we could barely see.  So now we were bottlenecked at the end of the hall as our kids were whizzing by us into the gym.  One woman couldn't take it anymore.

"This is stupid.  This is stupid!  This is SO STUPID!"

OMG, someone was about to be totally amazing and she was standing right behind me!  She was getting progressively louder.

"Isn't there something we can DO?!?  There must be something we can DO about this!"

And then...

"This has to stop!  Right NOW.  We must stop this now!"

People were starting to look at her funny.  Some of the kids marching by stopped to look at her.  The people next to her looked distinctly uncomfortable.

"Isn't anyone going to do anything about this?!?  This CAN'T be allowed to go on!"

You go, Disgruntled Mom!  You are literally the most entertaining thing about this parade.

Any minute now she's going to start in with a hearty rendition of  "Do You Hear The People Sing?"

I looked around me.  Most of the parents looked either really angry or really uncomfortable.  People were muttering complaints to each other.  Some were still desperately trying to get pictures of their kids.  Disgruntled Mom was becoming more irate, wailing about the "utter failure of this parade!"  These people clearly cared way more about this parade than I did.  I just wanted a stupid picture of my kid.

I finally decided to give up and resolved to get lots of pictures of Frack in his costume at home.  Whatever was in that gym could not possibly be worth this wait.  And since all hope of getting a picture of Frack in the parade was lost I decided to let Disgruntled Mom take my spot and I got myself the hell outta there.

Frack is home from school now.  He is apparently way too excited about Trick or Treat to give two shits about whether or not I was at that parade.  I think maybe I'll just stick to the outdoor ones from now on.

Thursday 17 October 2013

This Week in Assholes...

There has been so much going on this week that it was too hard to decide what I wanted to rant about.  Instead of agonizing over it (because I don't have time for that) I decided to do them all.  So without further ado may I present This Week in Assholes.

1) The Staff at Eastern Wayne Middle School - Last Friday a middle school decided to put a spin on one of their hum-drum safety drills.  Because safety drills could always use a little pizzazz, am I right?  Somehow a small group of trained professional educators all thought it would be a good idea for one of them to pose as a masked gunman and scare the shit out of 6th graders teach them to be more aware of their surroundings.


Well, I guess if you want to teach them to be "aware" that they are in a school and that school these days are lousy with gunmen then, congratulations!  Mission accomplished.

And wow!  Not one of the adults involved had any misgivings about the project?  Really?  What happened?  Did you start your weekend drinking early?  Did someone secretly switch your coffee to decaf?  Did you all graduate from a fake online school?  You know what?  I don't care why.  If this is what you consider to be good decision making then you all need to be fired.

Won't you pleeeease stop getting yourselves raped?
2) Dear Prudence - Emily Yoffe, otherwise known as "Dear Prudence", is trying to rebrand  herself as "Dear Prude" this week. Yesterday she handed out some holier-than-thou bullshit of the unsolicited kind that would make Helen Lovejoy wet her pants:

"The Best Rape Prevention: Tell College Women To Stop Getting So Wasted"  (aka. Boys, continue to drink your faces off.  Nothing bad ever happened from that.  Just kidding, alcohol is the devil. But seriously boys, you got nothing to worry about.)

I'd link to it but I don't want to send her any traffic.  If you want to read some great responses check out this response from Maria Guido and this post by Erin Gloria Ryan.  They're both excellent.

3) "What's Your Excuse?" Mom - Next up, the latest headlines in the probably non-existent Mom Wars are all about fitness enthusiast Maria Kang's "What's your excuse?" image.

Good Lord, I find this woman exhausting!  She truly has no idea why people don't like her.  Based on her aggressively worded non-apology she seems to believe her critics are just jealous fatties who find it easier to hate on her than heave our their fat asses off the couch.

I read her blog describing her weight loss journey and I congratulate her for overcoming a serious eating disorder.  I admire her for working very hard to achieve the kind of healthy and muscular physique that she has.  I would never begrudge another woman that accomplishment just because I am soft and squishy and about 10 pounds overweight.  The fact that she has done all this while being employed full time and taking care of three kids really is impressive.

But it's not what she's saying, it's the way she's saying it.

I think her intention was to copy the "What's your excuse?" meme depicting amputees making great physical achievements like becoming competitive athletes or climbing Mount Everest, in spite of being disabled.  I find it weird that she seems to liken the challenges of being an able-bodied Mom of three small children to those of a person with missing limbs.  And she knows she's not fat-shaming, y'all because she used to be overweight.


Her heaviest weight was 153 pounds at a height of 5'4".  OMG!  QUICK!  SOMEONE ROLL HER BACK INTO THE OCEAN BEFORE SHE DIES!!!

Oh, let's not forget that she weighed 180 pounds while pregnant.  Ewww!

She thinks because it was a lot of hard work to lose some unwanted weight (and I have no doubt that she worked very hard) that she has overcome some kind of insurmountable obstacle.  That's why she feels entitled to this "inspirational" meme.  Because being a thin and hot Mom of three is the same thing as being a marathon runner with prosthetic legs.  But the message she's actually sending here isn't "You can do it!" or "Live life to the fullest no matter what stands in your way!"

Without any context at all this message fairly screams "You can't use having babies as an excuse to be fat.  I am living proof that the truth is you're just lazy!"  And yes this is exactly what fat shaming is all about: the assumption that a person is overweight because they are lazy.  Which she would be keenly aware of if she had ever actually really been fat in her life instead of tragically hating on herself because society dictates that skinny=hot.

So thanks, Maria Kang!  The only thing that was missing from our lives was yet another Mom telling us that looking hot after pregnancy IS possible.  What a unique and unheard of idea!

4) Tea Party Republicans - This week's winner of the Shittiest Asshole Award goes to Tea Party Republicans.  It wasn't even close!  First you shutdown the government because you don't like Obamacare.  Then you act surprised when the shutdown means the closing of National Parks resulting in this little gem right here:

Yes!  She should be ashamed, upholding the government shutdown YOU voted for, Randy!  That is fucking brilliant!  I can't tell if you are truly crazy or if you're a trolling genius but that right there is something to behold.  Then, while hundreds of thousands of people are living with no income, while oil spills happen in North Dakota with no one to clean it up, and while programs to feed the hungry are at risk, they rise en masse to defend....cold stone monuments.

Not to mention putting the country at risk of default.  You know, usually I can find American politics amusing when I'm safe way up here in Canada, but you crazy fucks are on the verge of screwing over the economy of the entire world!  And you're acting like it's not any big deal!

W! T! F!

So Here is your Shittiest Asshole Award.  You can have Ted Cruz come pick it up on your behalf.

He can use it to fund his next campaign.

Friday 27 September 2013

Extreme Baby Naming: Because Unique Names Are For Pussies

Unique baby names are all the rage lately.  They are everywhere!  There are so many "unique" names out there that having a unique name isn't unique anymore.  And if doing all that work to dream up a special name that is tailor made for your baby and your baby alone wasn't hard enough, you also have to be on the lookout for nefarious name-stealers!

You really think that no one would be shitty enough to steal a name from an innocent baby?  Think again!  Just ask Brinkley's parents who had not one but three former clients steal their daughter's name for their own babies.  And then poor Serenity Grace whose "unique name that NOBODY out here has" was stolen by haters, copiers and "little groupies"!  It's such a phenomenon that Beyonce and Jay-Z tried (unsuccessfully) to have their baby's name trademarked.

What's the average (but distinctively avant-garde) person to do if even the Carters can't get a trademark on their baby name?

You want your baby to really be an original?

You want your baby's name to accurately reflect the awesomeness of his or her unique but yet to be determined personality?

Then it's time to nut up or shut up!  Anyone can give their baby a unique name.  It takes a real, no-compromises, balls-to-the-wall kind of parent to give their baby an Extreme Name!  

Here's how:

1.  Convert Regular Everyday Words Into Names.  Lots of forward thinking parents have opted to toss away the baby name-dictionary and just get a dictionary-dictionary from which to choose their baby's name.  We've seen "Blanket", "Apple", "Pilot", "Scout".  Boring!  And those names are all so easy to steal!

If you want an extreme baby name why limit yourself to random words from the English language?  There is a whole globe full of interesting languages from which to choose your random words! You could really give a dead or dying language a much needed shot in the arm by picking from one of them.  Double points of you can't actually speak that language.  Triple points if the meaning of the word is something embarrassing.

eg.)  Tisch - German for "table"
        Koilara - Basque for "spoon"
        Cico - Esperanto for "nipple"

2.  Portmanteau Names.  This is that thing where you take two different names and fuse them together into a brand new name.  Think "Renesmee" from Twilight.  Only don't think Renesmee from Twilight because why mash up only two names when you could mash up like four or five?  If you have a short list of names you love why go through the agony of having to choose only one or two?  You can have them aaallll!!!

eg.)  Sophemmabellinanie, Benjacophersontiansen

3. Use Unusual Letters.  There has been an upsurge of unique baby names using cool letters like "x", "z" and "q" (eg. Zack, Xack, Zaq, Xaq).  These letters are all the rage in baby names lately but like, anybody can count the points on Scrabble tiles to find the rarest letters.  Instead why not throw a few Greek letters in there to show how much you enjoy the classics?  Embrace your Jewish roots with some Hebrew characters.  I've always thought Cyrilic has some pretty cool looking letters:

"Mommy Rotten" in Russian
It may be impossible to type but it is guaranteed to deter potential name-stealers!

4. Unique Punctuation.  Another popular method of making a name extra special is to play with punctuation.  Adding an umlaut or accent over the vowels gives a nice European feel (eg. Mömmÿ Röttèn) where a few artfully placed apostrophes can sound royal or exotic (M'ommy Rot'ten).  But this is such a popular way to make a name more unique that it's not unique anymore.

Try exploring some of the less tried punctuation marks.  Go for a semi-colon for an intellectual looking name (eg. Mommy; Rotten).   Exclamation points can give real sense of power and ruggedness (eg. Mom!my!  Rotten!).  Or you could try my personal favourite: the inverted question mark.  I think it adds a hint of mystery and excitement:

                                                    ¿Mommy Rotten¿

5.  "Diffrint" Spellings.  Personally, I don't think it takes a hell of a lot of creativity to take "Jackson" and turn it into "Jaxon".  Too easily done.  No, if you are serious about playing with the spelling to make it unlike any other baby name you are going to have to try a little harder (but not too hard, am I right?).  Have you ever tried to read Gaelic?  Now there's some interesting spelling for you!  Whole blocks of consonants are simply not pronounced.  It is amazing what kinds of spellings you can dream up if you borrow language rules from wherever!

eg.)  "Timothy" becomes "Dtimno'thidhe"

6. Use Place Names.  Place names are like, so on trend right now: Brooklynn, Paris, London, Siena, Rio.  Babies are being named after places from all over the world!  So in order to make sure your baby's place-inspired name stands out you've got to get creative.

Re-think what society thinks of as "places".  Anyone can name their kid after a famous city but who would think to name their baby something like "Downtown", "Union Station" or "Provincial Park"?

7.  Create An Opportunity To Show Off Your Love Of Literature.  Lots of people like the idea of naming their baby after a fictional character they love.  But they forget that sometimes authors pick rather boring names.  David Copperfield?  Jane Eyre?  Don Quixote?  I mean, how will people know you are like, totally into books if you give your baby those names?  People would just assume you're boring without ever thinking to ask how you came up with it.

Rather than pick a name from a book , try picking a random word from a book.  I knew someone who once named their cat like this and it worked out great for them!  Cat got an original name and the dude got to never STFU about it every time someone asked him "Hey, Why the hell is your cat's name 'Somewhat'?"

Just take a book from your shelf, close your eyes, open a page, point and you have yourself a name!  Then every time you introduce your kid to someone you will have this very annoying story to tell.  Extra points if the book is particularly pretentious (anything by Ayn Rand, Herman Hesse or Gwyneth Paltrow should fit that bill nicely.)

Deciding to go with an extreme name is not for everyone.  It is for those bold enough to challenge what is conventional.  It is for those brave enough to go beyond what is merely "unique".  It is for those daring enough, who will stop at nothing, to pick a name for their baby that other parents (ie. haters and copiers) wouldn't have the guts to steal!

Monday 23 September 2013

I Was Lunch Shamed By My Son's Teacher

So I have officially started working and boy are my hours shitty!  I'm on a waiting list to get better, normal people hours but for now it is what it is.  Last night I got home after midnight and didn't fall asleep until 2 am.  This was irresponsible of me knowing I had to be up at 7 am to get the kids ready for school.  I was having fun playing book quote games with Yvonne at Attracted to Shiny Things.  Yes, we're nerdy like that.  Shut up.

Anyway that was maybe a mistake because I was a mess this morning.  I fell asleep with Frack trying to wake him up.  Frick woke us both up and then I went and fell asleep on the couch where Frick had to wake me up again.  I'm actually kind of proud of him right now.  He was the only one in this house who had his shit together this morning.

I barely managed to scrape their lunches together.  It's Monday and I get paid tomorrow so there weren't a hell of a lot of options in the fridge.  Let's see, I had some lettuce and cheese but no bread.  We used up all the baby carrots and cucumbers over the weekend.  There was half an onion, some yogurt, and a box of crackers.  I also had a small stockpile of applesauce and granola bars.  I could work with this.

Frick got cheese and crackers, a granola bar and some applesauce.  He disdains any yogurt that isn't in tube form.  He only drinks water at school, even though I practically begged him to take a drinking box.  I guess drinking boxes are passe for middle-schoolers.  But of course he forgot his water bottle today.

I agree with all of you who are no doubt thinking, "That's not enough food for a growing 12 year old boy!"  Try telling that to Frick.  He comes home every day with most of his lunch intact.  What can I say?  He has ADHD, he's on medication that affects his appetite.  The school gives him only 20 minutes to eat his lunch and they put him in a room full of his friends and almost no adult supervision to do it.

Frack's lunch was another story.  I put a granola bar in the front pocket of his lunch bag and showed that to him, telling him it 's for "snack time" so he understands.  This is a ritual we go through every day because I have yet to buy the required, special, separate lunch bag clearly labelled "Frack's Snacks" so the school can help him ration out his food for the day.

Then I packed crackers with no cheese because he hates cheese unless it is in the powdered, neon-orange form typical of Kraft Dinner and Cheetos.  Then I packed a juice box and some yogurt because it's his favourite.  I didn't want to give him applesauce with the yogurt because he's in Kindergarten, not a home for the elderly.  It looked like a pretty bland lunch so I tried to make up for it in quantity.  I must have put half the tub of yogurt in his container.  I had to break some of the crackers just to close the lid on the other container.  And I was happy to see that at least his lunch bag felt nice and heavy.

Now at this moment I would just like to walk down memory lane, for perspective's sake...

When I was a kid, a packed lunch consisted of a sandwich, a piece of fruit and some juice/milk.  Every once in a while there would be some kind of dessert like cookies or pudding, but not every day.  This was considered perfectly adequate.  From what I remember this was true for all of my peers as well.  This is now the standard by which I judge my sons' lunches.

But it's not the only one because holy shitballs!  There is just so much more anxiety over school lunches anymore!  Seriously.  Between over-achieving Moms competing to win the Most Adorable Bento-Boxed Lunch Award, peanut butter bans, healthy snacks programs and the many, many households that suffer from this nicey-nice sounding thing called "food insecurity" there has never been so much pressure to packing lunches in the history of lunch-packing.  For me, packing a school lunch is just another daily opportunity to feel like I'm being judged as a parent.

(Just a little note about "food insecurity".  Insecurity?  "Insecurity" is what I felt about facing high school with a big zit on my chin.  When I have nothing to feed my children I'm going to be feeling some feelings that are a great deal more severe and complicated than "insecurity".  Fuck you, people who make up words!  Children are going without food, stop trying to white-wash it.)

After I packed up this admittedly less than ideal lunch, I took Frack to school and went home to take a nap.  About an hour later the phone rang jolting me out of my sleep.  I didn't get to the phone on time but I could see it was Frack's school.  I'm not the over-protective, hover-mom type but I always get a little freaked out when the school calls.  You would be too if most of the calls you got from your kid's school were to inform you that he had been in a fight and needed to be taken home.

I called the school back wondering what was wrong.  Is he sick?  Did he get hurt?  Maybe he wet his pants and for some reason his spare clothes aren't in his backpack.  Sometimes the demands on his language skills cause him to just shut down and cry.  I had to take him home last year for that reason a couple of times.  The answer, of course, was none of the above.

His teacher wasn't sure if Frack was staying for lunch today because, get this, "there isn't enough food for him in his lunch bag."  She said both she and Frack didn't know how they were going to portion out his food for the day.

So in that moment I am feeling embarrassed and ashamed.  But then I noticed something.  She never mentioned the granola bar.

"Did you find the granola bar in the front pocket?"  I asked her.

"Oh no, is it in there?  I'll have to check."

Okay, so nevermind that I pack a granola bar in that pocket for Frack every day.  Nevermind that I made sure that Frack knew where his snack was supposed to be today, like I do every day.  Nevermind that all she had to do was look in a pocket on his lunch bag before deciding to call me at home.

 Did she notice that I packed 3 pounds of yogurt in there?  Did she notice that I generally pack good lunches with a variety of choices each day and that today's lunch was an anomaly?  Did it occur to her that maybe we are "food insecure" in our house and that by calling home this way she was potentially rubbing my poverty in my face and calling attention to a fact I would already be anxious about and powerless to remedy?

I have to say I'm kind of surprised here.  I really like Frack's teacher and his school but right now I'm pretty annoyed, mostly because it's the only emotion capable of distracting me from a deep anxiety about Frack and whether or not he is going hungry at school because of the shitty lunch I packed him.  Which was in no way alleviated by the fact that the rest of our conversation seemed to emphasize that, granola bar or no granola bar, this still was not a satisfactory amount of food to pack.

My rational brain says, "There is totally an adequate amount of calories to meet your sons nutritional needs over a 6 hour period.  Get a grip."  But the asshole region of my brain is saying, "There is probably a small group of educators standing around your son's lunch right now shaking their heads.  Maybe they are asking around to see if anyone has a spare apple or something for the poor kid.  You are a terrible mother."

Fortunately for me this shitty lunch situation is a temporary one.  I am very lucky in that I know this anxiety will be gone tomorrow because, come hell or high water that kid is getting enough food in his lunch to see him through the apocalypse.

But since I'm feeling my asshole-brain feelings right now I would like to know, just what the hell do you do if you suspect that a child in your class is going hungry?  Surely that's the real reason she called.   Because what I choose to pack in my son's lunch is none of her business provided he has enough to eat.  It's got to be super tough to find a tactful way to broach the subject, but there has to be a better way than calling up Mom and telling her something she must already be keenly aware of.  And certainly you don't jump to these conclusions because on one day you notice that the child's lunch is a little sub par.

Unless....maybe she thinks all the lunches I've been packing are shitty?  Maybe today's lunch was the final straw after a couple of weeks of watching my child slowly waste away.  Maybe she is just one shitty lunch away from calling Children's Aid.  Maybe they are planning an intervention as we speak....(curls up into the fetal position, rocking back and forth).

Food insecurity is a very real problem y'all, both in Canada and in the United States.  Click the links to find out what you can do to help.

Wednesday 18 September 2013

Back to Work Bitch!

Have you heard Britney's new song yet?  I actually like it.  I think I'm losing my edge.  Britney Spears used to be the face I put on everything that is wrong with the music industry.  I mean come on, at one point Bitch was making songs that were literally identical to each other:

(Uhhhh...the video I orginally posted was not what I thought it was.  Please go here.  Because Youtube hates me today).

You see?  Everything that is wrong with the music industry.  Not that I really put the blame on her.  I seriously doubt she had anything to do with the writing of her own music at the time.  But since I never get to see the suits responsible for the ruination of modern music, and since Britney's been the biggest name at the top of the Pop music charts for so long, Britney had to take the heat.

So it came as a real surprise when I didn't totally hate her new song "Work Bitch":

Yeah there are things in there that bother me.  I always think it's cheesy when American artists use a faux-British accent in their music.  If I cringed when Madonna did it there's no way Britney's getting a pass.

Also, I always hate it when the song breaks down into the slow part.  What the hell are you supposed to do with yourself on the dance floor when they grind the song to a halt for this nonsense?  Nothing, that's what.  You just stand there looking like an idiot waiting for the beat to drop again.  But then that's the former Rave Kid in me.  Fuck that annoying trance shit.  Never stop the beat!  I want techno and I want it hard, harder or hardest for like, six hours straight.  Whoo!!!  Party People!  PLUR!!!!  Dance like no one's watching!!!

But overall the song has a great beat and I can dance to it.  And somehow, I can also relate to it.  The words to this song feel like they came from Britney, non?  I can't even hope for Maseratis, mansions and parties in France but I relate to it because it feels like a window into Britney's life.  Like she is sharing something kind of personal here.  I mean the song could have been written by someone else, but in my fantasy I imagine Britney finally being grown up enough to have something to say and wanting to express that.

It's like she took all the words that her producers, managers and various handlers constantly hounded her with so they could keep squeezing cash out of her and made it into a hit.  In this song I hear a thoroughly exhausted Britney finding her second wind and throwing herself back into her work with a beat as hard and relentless as the people pushing her.  It's driven, it's energetic and for these reasons it's going to be the best workout song of the year.

Anyway, I never thought I would have this much to say about Britney.  But I do like her song and I plan to add it to my workout playlist.  Also, the name of the song provides a great segue into some personal news:

This Bitch is going back to work!

That's right, I am going to be a working Mom!  Now that my kids are in full time school I would really like to have a little more money.  How is this going to change my blog?  Not a hell of a lot.  I had to sign an agreement that I would not talk about the company I work for online.  But I imagine that the realities of being a working Mom are going to have an affect on my personal experience of parenting from which I am able to derive so much comedy for your amusement.

It's not like I'm going to start launching into the whole SAHM vs. WM debate because, fuck that noise!  As far as I'm concerned there is no "vs." and there is no debate.  In the real world where people are struggling to put food on the table this isn't a decision you make based on parenting philosophies.  It's a decision made based on resources.

I was never a SAHM because it was "best for my children" but because I make shit money and would be handing over literally all of my pay to daycare.  In some ways it was an advantage because it made me more available to my special needs kids.  But it also meant we had less money for things that might have been helpful to my special needs kids like having Frick tested for dyslexia or getting Frack into private speech therapy now that he no longer qualifies for government funding.  Staying at home wasn't better or worse than being a working Mom.  It was just the best we could do at the time with what we had.

But right now if I want a nice Christmas,
a longer grocery list,
to get my oven fixed,
I gotta Work Bitch!

Friday 13 September 2013

Take Back the Night....I Think I Get It Now

Last night I met up with my friend Jen to go to Take Back The Night.  I had never been before.

Why?  Apathy mostly.  I never really paid attention to when it was happening.  I had never been in a protest until a little over a year ago when I went out to support the Quebec Student Protest.  I was too busy.  I had no one to go with.  Because when I was younger a lot of the men in my life thought it was "stupid".  Excuses?  I have them aplenty.

I probably would not have gone this year either if my friend Jen hadn't told me she was going.  But I am very glad she did.

I first heard about Take Back the Night from my Family Studies teacher in 12th grade.  It was that bullshit class where they hand you an egg and tell you to pretend it's a baby for a week.  We spent the rest of the time cooking and balancing a household budget and somehow managed to squeeze in about 5 minutes of Women's Studies in there.  Because Women's Studies isn't a real subject, am I right?  I guess this was the proverbial bone thrown to feminist parents by our Board of Education.  (Either that or Ms. W went rogue on the system and forced it in there.  She was feisty like that.)

Anyway, during our Feminist Five she mentioned the Take Back the Night Rally and encouraged us to go, but only addressed the girls in the class.  I felt that this wasn't right.

I grew up surrounded by men and they loved to put down feminism ("bra-burning man-haters") and women in general ("silly", "soft", "weak").  I grew up listening to blonde jokes and dumb-woman jokes. I grew up being told about how terrible we are at driving and less deserving of equal pay because we "can't work as hard as a man".  When my step-dad was particularly pissed off at me or my mother the worst insult he had for us was "Lady".  Like calling us exactly what we were was insult enough.  I grew up with this and there was nothing I could do about it because in my house, men were running the show.

I understood on a deep level that the only way for any of this feminist stuff to work was to convince men that we don't hate them and to welcome and educate them.  So when my teacher let us know this was basically a "no boys allowed" event I was angry.  I felt like it was just perpetuating the idea that feminists hate men.  I argued passionately that this was just wrong.  My teacher's responses, though well meaning, were very unsatisfying.  She explained to me that many women at the event may be victims of some kind of traumatic assault or abuse from men and that they would find the presence of men too intimidating.

I had no response to this because I wouldn't want to make victims of abuse feel unsafe at a feminist rally but....still it didn't sit well with me.  The debate ended there since I had no counter argument, but I wondered if maybe the men in my life were right and this Take Back the Night thing is just stupid.

It took me 20 years to get over it.  I discovered that while Ms. W wasn't wrong, she didn't present the full picture of why it is so important for Take Back the Night to belong to women.  I don't blame her because it's a difficult thing to articulate, but I'll try.

We march!
I was 15 minutes late meeting Jen.  I had to mill around the crowd of women in front of City Hall to try and find her.  There were lots of women there and the crowd seemed to be getting bigger by the minute.  This was definitely the largest scale protest I had ever personally seen in Anytown.  It looked like people were being bussed in from out of town.  The Student Protest was pretty good with roughly 70 people there.  Tonight it looked like attendance was going to number in the hundreds.  I was soon engulfed by a crowd of women.

Stopped in front of Date Rape Central The Village
There was an amazing, happy and vibrant energy all around us.  No Doubt was blasting on the speakers.  Lesbians had a drum circle going.  Some women were in various costumes.  I saw one chick wearing a big purple tutu. There were women on roller skates handing out programs and those glow in the dark necklaces you buy at festivals and raves.  There were tables with placards and pamphlets full of statistics.  I told Jen it looked like a Feminist Science Fair.

Also?  I had never been around so many women in my life.  SO.  MANY.  WOMEN.  Tall women, short women, fat women, skinny women, young women, old women, gay women, trans women, native women, black women, french women, black french women, mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sisters, leaders, women in t-shirts, women in costumes, women carrying signs, women in wheelchairs, women pushing strollers and wearing babies, women on skateboards, women painting faces, women handing out pamphlets, women giving speeches, women leading group yoga, women, women, women, women, women.

Yes!  That IS Putin on a stick!
This was the biggest event I had ever been to, belonging solely to women, that was NOT about birthing, babies and breastfeeding.  I had never experienced what it was like to be so completely immersed in Sisterhood.

I had never known what it was like to be part of something that didn't involve any men.  I mean, there were a couple of guys milling around in front of City Hall checking out the information booths and they seemed welcome enough, but when it came to marching it was just us gals.  (And Putin!)

How much of our lives can we say we have control over without male interference?  The majority of leadership positions are held by men. The majority of working women have male bosses.  In some places our reproductive rights are being decided by men without any input from women and in some places women don't even have the simple freedom of being able to drive somewhere by themselves.  Our daily lives are bombarded with comments, insults, come-ons, general harassment (and occasionally violence) perpetrated by men.

And then I thought about the way I grew up.  The many moments of  belittlement from my step-father.  Being told by him how to sit, how to dress, and above all to never forget to act like a lady so that when I angered him he could throw that fact in my face to insult me.  Being told that if I got fat when I grew up I would deserve to have my husband leave me (a fate worse than death).

Dealing with the aftermath of that one awful night when he beat the shit out of my mother and made me clean up her blood and hair from the dash board of his car, because cleaning is for women.....

And then I thought about the first and only time I told a boy I didn't want him to touch me and he slammed me against a wall and called me a "little bitch".  I thought about all the times I had to tolerate a man's leering and suggestive comments with a smile and a giggle so I could please not make him too mad at me and maybe he will just leave me alone and not hurt me.  How many times I was called a slut for no other reason than my choice of clothes.

I thought about all the times when I was single and had to enlist my biggest, scariest looking guy friend to pretend to be my boyfriend so I could feel safe dancing at the club.  I thought about how when I was 15 I wasn't allowed to leave the house without my little brothers as "protection" because there was a serial killer on the loose who targeted teenaged girls that looked like me.  And I remember how when he was caught I wondered how many killers were still out there that we didn't know about yet.  Knowing that they would want to target me because I'm a girl.  I remembered how understanding that fact changed the way I left my house and walked out into the world forever.

And I realized that there was very little (if any) of my life that wasn't policed and controlled by men in one way or another.  I knew all of these things before I went to Take Back the Night.  But I did not understand the raw power of female solidarity when we face up to these facts and say "No!  We won't take it anymore!"

So yes, I absolutely believe that as feminists we need to reach out to our brothers and make them welcome and enlist them in our fight.  But now that I've actually been to and experienced Take Back the Night I think I finally get it.

Where else in our lives are we allowed to take sole ownership of our selves on such a scale?  Lately it feels like we barely have a say in what happens to our own bodies.  We are frankly tired of constantly depending on the goodwill of men for our basic safety.  We are tired of being afraid.  Being allowed to express this without the help of men is crucial to our sense of empowerment.

So men, we love you very much but you dominate just about everything else in the world and in our lives.  We want you to be a part of our movement but please, could you let this one thing be just for us?  We need it so very much.

This post was a little more serious than I like.  I really had a lot of fun at the rally and so I would like to leave things on a light note by sharing this incredibly creepy sign from the "Corned Beef Hut" we walked past during the march.

I would also like to thank my friend Jen for making me go to the rally and for generously allowing me to post some of the pictures she took from last night including, and especially, this one:

He's going to haunt my nightmares!  Whee!
And finally a little shout out to Queen Liz, who I ran into while we were there.  It was awesome seeing you, hon!  Kiss your grandbabies for me!

Monday 26 August 2013

Dear Miley...

Dear Miley,

This morning I woke up to find that the internet suddenly turned into Victorian England.  At least that is the only explanation I have to make sense of all the controversy over your VMA performance.  In fact there seems to be so much upset over you that I kind of feel a little irresponsible for what I'm about to say.

I don't care about your performance.

Maybe it's because I don't have any daughters.  Maybe it's because I'm the last living soul who still exists in 2013 where I'm bombarded with twerking videos on a daily basis.  I can officially say I've seen cats and dogs twerking and they did a better job than the people twerking in animal costumes on your stage.  Maybe it's because I'm old enough to be your teenaged mother and I was watching Madonna masturbate on stage before "Achy-Breaky Heart" was a twinkle in your Daddy's eye.

If you think it's controversial for people to see a little girl they watched grow up on the Disney Channel doing a raunchy bump 'n grind well, Christina Aguilera was doing that long before anyone ever heard of Hannah Montana and, at the time, I found it way more uncomfortable than watching you.  But by the time you did it, it was already done (and done better) by Christina and Britney.  Aguilera even worked with Furries before you (Holla Furries! @ 3:38):

Honey, not only has this been done before, it is overdone.  Watching your performance had all the novelty of eating tired, grey leftovers that had been reheated too many times.  Little girls proving to the world that they are all grown up by overtly demonstrating their sexuality is just a trope now.  We expect it.

It's a phase like biting or tantrumming or colouring on the walls.  The only appropriate response to you right now should be "Oh look!  She knows sex now.  Isn't she cute?"  And then wait for you to get over it.  In approximately 2-5 years you will probably be hawking organic Furry onesies for babies on your own Mom-blog alongside Gwyneth Paltrow and Jessica Alba.

You know something, Miley?  For all my snarkiness here, I kind of like you.  I don't know why (I certainly don't like your music), but I do. You are young and rich and beautiful and are no doubt having the time of your life.  You are a very mediocre yet very famous popstar.  Being raunchy on a stage isn't likely to ruin your life.  At worst it will probably embarrass you in the same way old pictures of you falling asleep on the potty will embarrass you.  My advice to you girlfriend, is let your freak flag fly.  You're only young once so live it up.  You want to be raunchy?  Go for it.  As long as you're having fun.

But let's be honest here: there is a metric fuckton of try in this performance.  If you are truly trying to shock anyone other than your grandmother you are going to have to do better.  If you really want to shock people you have to do something unexpected.  Do something no one ever expects young, beautiful rich people to do.  Go to college.  Get arrested at a protest.  Start a not-for-profit business.  Join the circus.  Start a cult.

But then it's possible that I've missed the point entirely.

Perhaps the whole point is to have you ironically playing the little girl grown up while ironically bumping and grinding on Robin Thicke, who is simultaneously ironically disrespecting women and generating even more irony because NONE of this SHOULD be controversial, because it's all been done before by people who did it with MORE shock value, thus creating a huge vortex of collective irony on the stage so massive it collapses in on itself and becomes one giant, ironic black hole birthing a whole new ironic universe.

Because if that was your goal then brava, girlfriend!  You are a fucking MENSA level genius.

P.S. (Dear Internet:  Calm the fuck down.  You are the birthplace of Goatse.  Get a grip.)

Thursday 1 August 2013

Rotten Wedding Day

Approximately 6 years ago today my husband and I got married.

Why approximately?  Because we can never remember the exact date of our anniversary.

Why can't we remember?  Because that's just the type of people we are.  We revel in the fact that we don't keep track of such things.  If I hadn't been pregnant with Frack on our wedding day I don't think we would have any idea how long we've been married for.

We are not "romantic" types.  Well we are, but not in a recognizably traditional sense.  Poetry makes us laugh.  I think flowers are a waste of money.  We sometimes like to hate-watch romantic comedies together so we can snark on them.  "Our song" is a happy hardcore rendition of "Like a Prayer" because one night at a club he got the DJ to play it as a joke and then dragged me out on the dance floor so we could dance like idiots.

This song is an assault on the ears.

Could you imagine that playing at a wedding?  I didn't think so.

So what does a wedding for two crazy kids like us look like?

Forget the flowers.  Forget the church.  Forget the dress.  Forget music, invitations, centerpieces, bridesmaids, birds, bubbles, butterflies, the whole shebang.

Because when I was a little girl and my friends were designing their dream weddings, all I cared about was the "happily ever after" part.  I did not give a fuck how it happened so long as it happened.  Whenever I gave any thought to the actual wedding I wanted to elope.

Because when you suffer from anxiety the last thing in the world you want is to be responsible for planning a huge social event where every little detail is super important and you are the center of attention.

In fact when we were first planning our wedding I was having panic attacks just thinking about this stuff.  My husband didn't care how we got married but he did want to have some kind of reception party.  Every time I gave any thought to the cost of this party, or what food to serve or which people should be invited (and which ones to leave out) I wanted to curl up in the fetal position and bury my head under a pillow until it was all over.

It was upsetting me so much I was on the verge of handing over the entire planning of everything to Mummy Dearest and her sisters.  Instead I sat down with my husband and explained how our wedding was ruining my peace of mind and we got to planning my real dream wedding.  A wedding that would really make me happy instead of a nervous wreck.

This made all the difference.  Once I stopped worrying about the wedding I was supposed to have and started planning the wedding I really wanted it turned out to be a lot of fun.

I went online and searched for a minister who would be willing to come to our home for the ceremony.  I narrowed it down to three candidates, all of whom I had spoken with on the phone and all of whom seemed to be absolutely lovely people.  I couldn't decide so I let my husband choose.  He ended up choosing the lady minister because he liked the idea of us being married by a woman.  I thought this was adorable.

She gave us three ceremonies to choose from: religious, spiritual, or civil.  We picked the civil ceremony because it was the shortest...and then we cut that in half.  What it lacked in religious wording it made up for in flowery poetry on love and marriage.  We knew that if we happened to look at each other while she wsa saying that drivel we were likely to burst into derisive snorts of laughter.  We gleefully crossed out anything that wasn't "Do you?  Do you?  Done."

It looked very similar to this.
We simplified the guest list to just immediate family members and wore whatever we happened to have in our closets.  Fortunately I had already purchased my dream wedding dress four years earlier.  It was a beautiful deep red and cream coloured sari I bought to attend my friend Jen's Hindu wedding.

(What?  Jen is a totally popular Indian name.  Shut up.)

We bought frozen hors d'ouvres to serve and put Mummy Dearest in charge of the cake.

It was a month before the wedding (it was on Canada Day in fact) when we found out I was pregnant with Frack. How much of a piss off would it have been to put all kinds of work into a wedding reception only to find out you can't even drink at your own party?  But with our easy DIY, backyard wedding it wasn't a big deal.  We saved the news, deciding that our wedding day was the most efficient perfect time to tell our families.

We were married on a beautiful summer day in front of our house at sunset.  The minister, I guess thinking we'd regret our edits, ended up improvising, sneaking in a little romantic poetry after all.  We managed to behave ourselves and only exchanged amused smirks at each other.  The bakery fucked up the wedding cake and decorated it in hideous orange roses.  This greatly upset my mother but, I don't know, I was kind of tickled by the idea of an ugly wedding cake.

There was no dancing, no long speeches or endless toasts.  We made one toast in which we announced our pregnancy.  My mother cried.  We ate our fresh out of the oven, frozen hors d'ouvres and ugly wedding cake and it was one of the happiest days of my life.

Some girls are in their glory when planning their wedding.  It's their special day where they get to be Queen, and that's all fine and good for them.   But I'm not that girl.

For me a wedding is a lot like having a baby.  The more planning you put into the birth, the more likely something will go wrong/differently than you planned and you will be disappointed.  It doesn't really matter how the baby is born so long as they get here. What matters is what happens for the rest of their life.

In marriage it doesn't really matter how the wedding goes so long as you get so say your "I do"s.  It's just a day.  What matters is what happens for the rest of your lives together.

Happy Rotten Anniversary!