Saturday, January 31, 2015

Psssstttt ... Hey Mom! Look Who's On Page 16!

Happy Birthday to me!

Happy Birthday to me!

I've officially been PUBLISHED!

Happy Birthday ... to ME!

Yes, today really is my birthday, but that's not the big news!

The news I've been anxiously sitting on, because a couple of months ago, the most amazing thing happened.

An email landed in my inbox, from a reporter who wanted to know if I would be interested in possibly writing a column for one of our local monthly newspapers, The Laker.





After a bit of conversation, it turned out that we have a mutual friend in common, and it was through her facebook 'likes', that he found this little Korner of mine.

He liked what he saw, thought I might be a good fit for the paper, but still had to discuss it with the editor.

Well, cool!

Then, I heard from the editor and she asked the hard question.  "Which topics were you thinking of tackling?"

Well, crap. 

As you all know, that could be just about anything that's going on in my head at any given moment!

And that's pretty much what I told her.

But then I thought to myself, if this was really it, if this was my opportunity to get something I had written out to the world, somewhere other than my own blog, my very first published piece, what would I want that to be?

Should I submit something I'd already written, or come up with something entirely new?

I knew I wanted it to be something relevant. Something I felt strongly about. Something that could be of personal interest to most anyone reading it.

So I reworked it a bit, to accommodate for the word limit, and chose the blog post I wrote a couple of months ago, about the launch of the Rehtaeh Parsons Society.  

And then I waited.

It was the middle of January, and the next edition of the paper wouldn't be out for a couple of weeks.

This may be my first rodeo, but I do know enough to know that if it's a busy news month in the community, the opinion column wouldn't necessarily make it into print.

But that was OK with me.

I was ecstatic that I was even being given the opportunity in the first place, ( write a column ... for a paper ... GAH! ), so I'd just try again the next month!

Today, my birthday, I picked this up.  It's the newest edition of The Laker.


Psssstttt! ... Hey Mom! Look who's on Page 16!

They published my column.

With my very own by-line!

I have to say, aside from, 'HOLY CRAP! That's me!', that's pretty much the best damn birthday present this girl could EVER ask for!

Well, OK. Maybe finding THIS in my driveway would be the best damn birthday present this girl could EVER ask for ...

 Pic taken from HERE

But seeing my own words and thoughts, in a column I wrote in the newspaper ... that's pretty freakin' awesome, too.


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Once A Mean Girl, Always A Mean Girl?

Mean girls.

You can't escape them.  

They're at your school, your work, yoga class, the grocery store ... go anywhere there's a large gathering of humans, chances are there will be one mean girl in the group.

I don't think I was ever one of 'them'.  At least I certainly hope not.

If anyone has ever perceived me as one, I apologize!

And having two boys, I believe I got off easy in that part of the parenting department, as boys just don't go down that same 'mean girl' path that the girls seem to.

Sure there's some drama, and complaints and they have their arguments with friends, but then it's forgotten.

Not with girls.  WE.  FORGET.  NOTHING!

And we can be cold, and vindictive and spiteful, and downright mean.

No ... really ... I'm serious!

As we get older though, we understand that compassion, and caring and empathy are better qualities to have, than having the biggest circle of friends, and making life hell for those NOT in that circle.

At least ... SOME of us get it.

For others perhaps, it may simply be a case of; once a mean girl, always a mean girl.

While I was home over Christmas, the boys, my mother and I went to visit my grandmother in her nursing home.

She is in her 90's now, and firmly in the clutches of that terrible Alzheimer disease, so she's not exactly the lady I remember so vividly from my youth.

Alzheimer's not only robs a person of their memories, and leaves them a shell of what they once were physically, but it can also do 'strange' things to the person it has afflicted.

One thing that happened to my grandmother, was that she stopped speaking french for awhile.

The woman is French Acadian.  She was brought up French, and raised her own family as French. Yes, she could speak english also, but french was her native language. 

She's a French woman through and through.

But one day, all of a sudden, she would only speak english.  No french.  At all.

Then, just as suddenly, it was back to french again.

Now, she rarely speaks.

She also gets very agitated easily.  

But how could you not? When you don't recognize where you are, or the people around you or why you're there? 

And you can't even get out of your damn chair.

And you're medicated.

How frustrating would that be, to be trapped in your own mind and body?

But one of the biggest adjustments is the personality change.  

She swears now.

My little sweet, polite, respectful, loving grandmother will now curse you out, just as easily as saying hello to you.

No, definitely NOT the woman who has been my grandmother all these years.

But I do understand why she does what she does and says what she says.  

Even if she doesn't realize she's doing it.

That particular day, we (all four generations of us) were sitting in a 'common room' at the nursing home and mom was feeding her lunch.

The boys and I were talking quietly, when all of a sudden, Nanny decided to curse at my mom. In french.

The boys just kind of looked at each other and me, and mom. They may not have understood exactly what she said, but they knew by my surprised reaction, and Nanny's tone that it wasn't good.

Mom simply spoke to her calmly. She's used to this.

The woman sitting at the next table over with her friends however (who are also patients there), decided to make fun of my grandmother.

She made fun of, and laughed at my grandmother.

Never ... ever in my almost 44yrs have I EVER wanted to kick the ass of rudely disrespect an elderly person.

Until THAT day!

I seriously wanted to go right over the table and yell at her.  Tell her exactly what I thought of her making fun of someone who can't control their actions or words.

Get right in her face, and let her know that if she EVER made fun of my grandmother again, it would be ME she would deal with!

I wanted to come down on her and let my bitch flag fly high!

But, I didn't, of course.

She's an elderly woman in a nursing home.

She may not have understood that other people could hear her.

Instead, I simply looked over at her and her friends with my evilest glare, bit my tongue, HARD, and focused on enjoying the rest of my visit with my grandmother.

I can't say it didn't bother me, because it did.

I thought about it after we left, on the drive home, and wondered to myself what that woman was like when she was younger?

Was she a nice person?

Or was she always a mean girl?

Once a mean girl, always a mean girl?

I don't know the answer to that. 

I realize she's there for her own reasons, and may not even be in her own 'right mind', but prior to the incident she was sitting there having a conversation with two other people and then later walked away on her own.

Whatever her health issues, she's definitely in a better place physically and mentally than my grandmother.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I see no other explanation for her actions.

And if I'm not ... Seriously? In a nursing home, making fun of other patients.

That's just mean.

So, here's a little secret for you, for those who don't yet know ...  NOBODY likes the mean girl.

Not at 7 ... or 17 ... or 70.

Don't be a mean girl. 

Be better than that. 

Someone's granddaughter will thank you for it.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

You Can't Go Home Again.

There's an old saying that keeps popping into my head more and more as I get older.

"You can't go home again."

It's also a book, by Thomas Wolfe, for those who are interested.

I have heard the phrase forever, and used to think, 'Bull!'.

I used to go home all the time!  

When I went away to university at 18, I would come home for every holiday break, and sometimes in between.

When I decided to move to Nova Scotia permanently, and got my own apartment, I would still go home regularly to visit, and eat!

When I got married at 25, I went home! Had the wedding in my hometown.

I would take the kids home to visit mom and dad, and sleep in my old room, which granted had been redecorated to include a crib, but it was still my room.

It was still home.

I always went home. 

The old saying was just that.  An old, meaningless saying.

And then my dad died. 

And slowly, year after year things and people change, and what was once  'Home', becomes the house you drive by on those occasional visits back to the street you grew up on, in the town you grew up in.

Now, I take the kids to visit my mother in her new house, that she shares with her longtime boyfriend.  (Boyfriend? I still find it weird saying that.)

And the boys and I now stop by and visit with my dad in the graveyard.

I'm finally starting to understand it.

That old, meaningless phrase.

I can no longer drive over the 'little bridge' and look off to the right and see my grandmother's house.

The view is completely obstructed by a bunch of apartments now (I think they're apartments), where once her neighbour's little house sat. 

And my grandmother, I now visit in her nursing home, but she has no idea who I am, when she looks at her eldest grandchild. 

This past Christmas, the boys and I went home again.  

Regardless what it might actually be, I still call it home.

It was a short visit, but it's always nice to see my family and eat my mother's cooking!

I took the kids for a drive around the old neighbourhood before we left, as we usually do.

I've pointed out different houses to them over the years, where friends lived, told many stories as we'd drive by.

We've spent time at my childhood park and elementary school and we've driven along most of my old paper route.

All of it there, much of it the same, just no longer, home.

Because I finally get it now, the meaning of that old, meaningless saying.

And I honestly consider myself one of the lucky ones. 

I had a great, long run of going home.

Because to me, home was growing up in that house, on that street, in that neighbourhood, in that town, with those parents, and surrounding family and community.

And being able to go back, as often as I did, and everything being just the way it was.

I had all of that for a very long time, so yes, I do consider myself one of the lucky ones.

And even though my mother lives in a different house, in a different neighbourhood, with someone who is not my dad, I'll keep going back to visit as much as I can, because she is my rock and I love her.

I will still visit my family while there.

I will still take my kids on drives 'through town' to show them the sights of my youth and tell them stories.

Because that's what you do when you go back.

But they (whoever 'they' are who invent old, meaningless sayings), are right.

I'm not going home.

Because for some of us, "You can't go home again."