Saturday, November 24, 2012

Les Mis

Aching back. Oh, the back of aching misery. Why, oh why, oh why... Well, I know why. I'm carting around more in front than ever before and despite the exercise I've been getting, my body is having a hard time keeping up in any kind of comfort. So every day I have a sore back.

And a cough. I've been coughing for two months. Apparently this can happen. And my heartburn is constant. I eat Tums like candy. The Tums container says eat 5 per day. I tell the Tums container to mind its own business.

This is really getting me down, I won't lie. I wake at night almost hourly because in my sleep I roll over onto my back, which is uncomfortable and wakes me up. This doesn't leave me feeling entirely refreshed in the morning.

I'm heading into my third trimester soon, roughly around my 30th birthday. What is now a cute bump will turn bulbous and frightening and what aches I feel now will no doubt grow into something more insidious  I have no idea why women say they enjoy this. I really don't. Perhaps it comes from trying without success for awhile, or maybe the psychological joy is taking over and clouding everything else out, or maybe women who are done birthing babies just plain forget how awful it is to carry one to term.

And to put this in perspective, I'm young and healthy. I'm 24 weeks and I've gained 12 pounds. I have no complications to speak of, no risk factors being monitored. This pregnancy is normal and uneventful. And here I am, feeling like a pile of disjointed discomfort.

Being pregnant is not for the weak. Hell, being a woman is not for the weak. Oh man, I am having a rough time with this.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Twilight Sexism Issue

Oh, cursed be my hesitation. I  waited too long to request my vacation time for some reason, thinking foolishly that it was too early to do so. Now rather than a glorious stretch of 17 days off, I have to work December 27th and 28th, which cuts into our trip to our hometown a bit and breaks up my holiday joy. Nuts. 

I've been thinking lately about something that kinda bugs me. Hating on people's guilty pleasures is a favourite pastime for people. I try not to do it. I mean, sometimes it's hard not to be a little judgemental if all a person seems to like are guilty pleasures, and then you wonder if there's anything that person enjoys that isn't McDonald's for the soul.

But everyone's got some. Really bad movies, for example. Or dramatic reality TV. Or Ke$ha. Trashy novels, or really expensive coffees or tabloid magazines.

I never feel too guilty about my guilty pleasures. I figure since everyone's got some and I'm allowed to have fun, screw it. So I see the Twilight movies in the theatre. 

Are they based on well-written books? Great dialogue? Fascinating characters? No. Not really. Frankly, it's beautiful people, sexual tension, a love triangle and surrounds the idea of a girl being nothing special and yet being wildly desirable and important to sexy and/or rich and/or devoted young men. And then the girl becomes special, gorgeous, rich and is hand-delivered a perfect child and home and eternity with one of the devoted beautiful men and his totally loving family.

I mean, let's be serious. The appeal is pretty obvious. So easy to tap into the old teenage me and swoon.

But the part the gets me is the constant hate on the series. I'm pretty sure it's entirely based on sexism. I mean, Transformers is equally as poor in the character and dialogue category. You go to these movies to see robotic monsters smash things. They got a lame guy to be the lead and he gets to be with a woman so far out of his league it's laughable. Where's the hate for that franchise, one based off a cartoon pretty much designed to sell toys to kids?

Oh, right. There was minimal vitriol despite the hype because it's target demographic is male.

The 2 Fast 2 Furious series, with no character development and no meaningful plot, all surrounding cars and women and being cool. That's it. Literally, that's all there is. People roll their eyes, but no one goes on a boner-inducing hate-on for the movies. Why?

Oh, yes, of course. It's for guys. It's stupid, but men like it, so... 

But here is this guilty pleasure franchise for young women, a largely untapped market in this arena. A feminine fantasy-driven product that delivers a boost to the happy centre of the brain for a couple hours. Well! It's stupid. It's unrealistic. It's harmful to young women!!!111! Vampires don't sparkle, I'm outraged! RAWR! No one should see this EVER! DOWN WITH TWILIGHT SFGJDFGbdfmgndfmgndfGDFG!

Okay, honestly, I'm over it. 

Also worthy of note is no one would give me much flack for watching the dude-geared movies I listed above, but try watching a guy do so with Twilight. My femininity is not impaired because I like the Terminator movies (obviously another ridiculous plot hole-ridden mess of a series) but that is because culturally male stuff equals good and female stuff is less than. So a man who is supposed to be superior and above femaleness is raked over the coals if he enjoys something like Twilight. His guilty pleasures are supposed to be masculine.

I saw one guy get lambasted yesterday for saying he was seeing the Breaking Dawn movie with his wife. Let him enjoy himself. A part of me was chuckling, though. I think he likes riling people up. If they're going to get that upset about his movie-going experience, that's their problem. He was going to have fun. All these people trying to talk him out of what he likes and it was in one ear and out the other.

Well, I say fuck it. Fuck the wall of complaints. No one has to watch or read this story. It doesn't have to affect anyone in any real way. My advice for the devoted haters? Just don't bother with it if it's not for you. Leave your misogyny at the door when you hear people talking about it. Or at least be an insufferable critic about every other bad movie out there, and make sure there's nothing you enjoy that's worthy of criticism, ever. 

Good luck with that one.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Two weeks till 30

So, I'm turning 30 in a little over two weeks. TWO WEEKS (and change). Oh, what a world. With gray hairs sprouting, fine lines developing and a bun in the oven, I'm approaching the milestone year with a relative amount of acceptance, if not unaccountable bewilderment. You go through life feeling like you'll never get old, that somehow an exemption will be made in your case. Not so. Though, like my godmother said, aging beats the alternative.

I'm not sure what the plans are. The Dude said he would sort something out, so I'm leaving it to him. So strange to have named my blog after this pending birthday and now it's approaching at an inhuman speed.

One thing I realize I forgot to include back at Halloween was a picture of my costume!

I posted this on Halloween:

Bumble bee minus antennae.

This is an old costume from 2009 that somehow still fits thanks to the powers of spandex. The Dude threw on his Super Grover costume and we sat out on the porch and handed out candy. Or at least we tried. We actually got snubbed by a lot of families! Heck. I mean, it's free candy.

Then at the McPal party the following weekend I had on my real costume:

Greek goddess, and yes, the Dude is Mugatu and loving it. 
Now, when you're pregnant, no matter what you dress up as, it's going to be seen as a pregnant something or other. There's really no escaping it without being a pumpkin. Pregnant nun. Pregnant witch. Pregnant Cookie Monster. So, you roll with it, and thus what was I the goddess of? Fertility.

The party was, as always, a great time and had a record turnout. It's really awesome to be out and about, enjoying my friends. Time is really ticking for me on the hang out freedom front and it's important not to take this time for granted.

The Dude started painting the nursery and we've ordered the crib. Inch by inch I'm growing and piece by piece we're putting together our new lives.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sound of love

I've been listening to a lot of classical piano music lately. When I was a child I took piano lessons that fruitlessly led nowhere. I'm not musical. My parents bought me a keyboard when I was 8 and didn't get me lessons until I was 10, the instrument sitting unused all that time collecting dust.  I think my mother was secretly hoping I was some sort of prodigy who would teach herself. I taught myself to draw, but my artistry never strayed from the visual.

But I still appreciate the piano. In fact, I'd say it's my favourite instrument. It always catches my ear and moves my soul. It's enchanting to hear piano live. And symphonic music, oh, how wonderful. I've always wanted to go to see a symphony.

But I've never been much for live rock shows. Honestly, I find them boring and noisy. I hate standing for long periods of time in rooms too loud to hear my own thoughts and ideas. Plus, maybe it's just me, but I rarely can make out the lyrics. I mean, I'm a human being, thus I like music. But I prefer it when I'm comfortably seated and I can allow it to gently enter my ears and enhance the cerebral experience of thinking and feeling. A live rock show makes me feel like I'm being held hostage.

I don't have a favourite band. I rarely ever have. I liked Bush when I was 13, Alanis Morissette when I was 14, Jewel when I was 15, Our Lady Peace when I was 16. But I never gave a hoot about concerts or merch or their personal lives. Meh. I would have claimed those bands as my favourites as a teenager, but really they took up very little mental space in my brain.

I've not spent much time seeking classical music out, even though it truly moves me and I love it. I suppose because it's not widely out there I just don't bother and simply enjoy it when it's around. But lately I've been craving it. Which is funny because food wise I crave nothing. But the relaxing nature of a beautiful piano melody makes me so happy I sometimes cry.

I'm going to need to actually build up a collection of classical music to listen to. It can be hard to know where to start, but I can imagine labouring through something like the song below. It sounds like what I think love feels like.

I'm listening to this now. The baby is kicking. I feel so at peace it hurts.

Monday, November 12, 2012


Okay, just now I was laying in bed and feeling not kicks, but swathing large movement. So I rolled up my shirt to view my tummy and I watched a rolling ball of something pass past my bellybutton.

You can be intellectually prepared for such a thing, but not emotionally. Emotionally? I gapsed and went, "OH my GOD!" Oh man, oh heck. That was weird. Weird. I have something nearly viable inside me and it's rearranging me and feeding on me and floating around like it owns the place.

Pregnancy is a means to an end. I want a child, this is how it's done. I never fully appreciated how all-encompassing this is physically. I want to step outside my body and go for a long walk without my feet hurting, in one of my pretty dresses. And then have a few drinks. Wear some less sensible shoes.

Then I'd be happy to suit up into the pregnancy body again and get back to business. Oh, but there's none of that. And nursing of course will dictate my wardrobe for some time, that and an inflated body recovering from this whole ordeal.

I can't wait to actually meet my child. If it weren't terribly dangerous, unhealthy and distressing, I'd be more than happy to just give birth now.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Baby Musings

I'm a round snowman-like entity. My abdomen has expanded to the point I look undeniably pregnant and I have roughly four months to go. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't rather horrified about the prospect of my body's humungous future. I've googled "40 weeks pregnant" and it ain't cute. Them bodies mean bidness.

I'm trying to wrap my head around caring for an infant, even when I'm tired, or sick or not in the mood. I'm visualizing leaving the house to go to various types of places with a baby and how to manage all its needs and still maintain a life. I want to breastfeed, and I'm nervous about doing it out in public, which I'll have to do if I leave the house for more than a couple hours at a time. I'm thinking about my friends and how dinners out will be over for quite some time.

I'm wondering how the cats will react. I'm concerned about getting a colicky baby who drive me crazy. I'm worried about taking a stroller on a streetcar (Oh, how I wish those new streetcars were out now) and whether I'll be a pain in the ass who blocks people or if I'll be able to lift it myself up the old school streetcar steps.

Leaving for the weekend? Not without the baby. How will I make a hair appointment? I can't take a baby into a salon and the Dude works late hours on a random basis so he can't be counted on to be home to take over. I read so many women who wax poetic about how vital their mothers are when they have a baby. Awesome. Well, that's a luxury I don't have.

I know we will make this work. It'll work because it has to. There's no other options. But damn. Adjustments. I'm in for such a ride.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

4 More Years

Barack Obama won the American election. Pretty much most of the world is happy with this decision and a little over half of the American population. The other half is unimpressed. Very polarized nation the States has become. I feel like we're on our way there ourselves these days. Harper is a negative guy, what with his attack ads all the time, robo-calls, anti-democratic omnibus bills and general careless spending on big ticket items while nickel and diming the important things.

I envy the States Obama. Now, granted, he'd be a Progressive Conservative in this country and I never voted for them. But he's a pretty sincere guy who legitimately gives a damn and doesn't seem ruled by ideology in favour of reason. I never fully understand those who call him a socialist or a communist. I mean, Obamacare still has people paying through the capitalist system for healthcare. I mean, hell, here it's government funded and there's no private option allowed. And we're still not a socialist country, not really.

We went to my buddy's for the election and he and his girlfriend had a little party with scorecards. I don't think I did well. I needed to have mine scored for me. I can name all the states, but I don't necessarily know where on the map they're all located.

I was also pleased to see the Tea Party rape squad was roundly defeated. The most stupid one, Akin, who didn't understand rape can lead to pregnancy? Out. Murdoch, the ass who said rape babies were God's will? Gone. Then there's Mr. Some Girls Rape Easy. No dice. There's a few more and they were all shown the door with a "Don't let your misogyny hit your ass on the way out."

I feel in a way the American people have let politicians know there is a limit to crazy. A line has been drawn somewhere. Some lessons perhaps have been learned from this election.

1. Don't treat hispanic and black people like fringe votes you don't need; they have say as citizens of the country and they'll vote. Deal with it.
2. People generally don't enjoy open rape apologists running for office.
3. Gay people also are voting and they'd like to be treated equally to straight people. Oppose their rights at your own peril.
4. Don't count on more than half the country being anti-healthcare for all.

Perhaps the Republican party with rethink their crazy. They don't need to be this insane. Surely. Historically they haven't been off their rockers. It'd be great if our neighbours to the south had better conservative options. Frankly, we could use that ourselves.

Friday, November 2, 2012


I've been thinking a lot about loss lately. And life. And the way those two things intermingle.

One of my least favourite sayings is that everything happens for a reason. This is ludicrous. Many things happen for no reason, with no benefit to anyone. "Everything happens for a reason" is used to justify some pretty inhumane stances in life like, for example, forced pregnancy for rape victims.

No, I don't care for that one bit. People's hearts get broken, sometimes arbitrarily and through betrayal because they dated a jerk. Rainforests are destroyed, not for any nobler use of the land. People are murdered because bad people exist. Sometimes there is no higher purpose or reason because the world we live in is chaotic and random shit goes down.

There is no proof of any higher being orchestrating the details of our existence, formulating a divine cause and effect to bring us joy. I mean, hell. People are being slaughtered en masse in Sierra Leone, starved in the Sudan and raped to death in Congo. I fail to see how any of that is happening for a reason.

Actually, it's sort of a privileged belief that our lives in this hemisphere are somehow fated and organized into better things after pain when such mindless, godless suffering is happening elsewhere for no rhyme or reason. Frankly, life is a crapshoot, and opportunities in many ways are luck of the draw, sometimes boiling down to where and when and to whom you were born.

Having said that, I think of my own losses. I mention my mother a lot because to date she's the single greatest loss of my life. I was visiting my aunt in Vancouver and she was musing over how things would be different if my mother had lived.

Very different. Undoubtably better in some ways because I think the world was a better place with her in it. But my life would be unrecognizable and I have no idea where I'd be right now and if I'd be truly better off in every respect. That's impossible to gauge.

For instance, I inherited enough money to leave my hometown and go to college in the GTA without taking out a loan, and then taking whatever program I was qualified for without concern for paying for it. Starting out life without debt changed the course of my life.

I moved into downtown Toronto with only an internship and no job and was able to sustain myself for half a year while I looked for good work, while also taking a three-week trip to Europe alone, something that helped me grow as a person. This changed me as well. Without that money, I would have had to move back home to my mom and I likely then would not have found my job, the job I still hold today, and all the enhancements to my quality of life that has brought me.

I thus wouldn't have met my first love (In Toronto) and had that meaningful two-year experience. That break-up coincided at the perfect time to reconnect with the Dude and here we are, married and expecting a child. I'm happy, contented and comfortable. There is no way I can see how I'd have married the Dude had this chain of events (which also shaped who I am and taught me valuable lessons) not occurred.

Had my mother lived, my aunt would not have moved to Vancouver, something she's always firmly maintained. Thus her children would not have moved there, something they did to stay together. My cousin met her husband in Vancouver. Their lives have altered forever too.

A person's death has a ripple effect that spreads wide and far and changes people and their lives forever, making permanent diversions from the path they were taking. When those paths are negative, it's easy to pinpoint the cause of suffering. When they're positive it's tempting to say it was all for a reason.

But no, I think it's simpler than that. I think that when we reach a healthy place with our loss we're able to manage to find joy in our new situation and get on with the business of life. My mom didn't die so that I could marry the Dude one day and have a baby with him. There was no cosmic force behind that. That's what "Everything happens for a reason" thinking suggests. Rather, after my mom died, I made a point of living the new life I was given as well as I could and this is the result.

So, as much as I want my mother here for the birth of my baby, I have to accept the reality that this specific baby I'm having wouldn't be here had my mother lived. My baby, the one I'm having in this life, can't coexist with my mother. The loss of one lead me indirectly to the creation of the other. In another reality, where my mother lived, I may have met someone else and had a different child, one who would have been meant to meet his or her maternal grandmother. But that's not the life I'm living.

I don't think my mother died for any particular reason or for a grander scheme. But what I do know is that every beautiful thing that happens to me in life that I couldn't guarantee would've happened had she lived serves to reconcile me to my life the way it is and the loss I suffered. It wasn't all for a reason, but one can still find meaning in one's pain.