Friday, November 11, 2011

Music and the Realization That I am Getting OLD

I thank my brother who is ten years older than me for exposing me to great music at a very young age. (Despite the fact that seeing the cover of this album was pretty disturbing to me) One of the most influential albums was the Pretty in Pink soundtrack which included bands like The Psychedelic Furs, New Order and The Smiths, just to name a few. I credit this album with my later great taste in music. (However, I will shamefully admit to liking this song and buying the album. Check out the look that defines the word fierce at 1:17!)

In my twenties I went to my first big Concert. The Cure in Minneapolis. I went to a few other big concerts in that decade, The Smashing Pumpkins, The Cranberries. (I had a strict rule about only seeing bands with 'The' prefacing their name. Just kidding.) I also had the pleasure of seeing some great Canadian bands. One them was a band called The Gandharvas and I have to post the video because I think it has held up over time, as has the song.

However, they are not the band that inspired this post. That band is Big Sugar. I was lucky enough to see them twice in my twenties and again on Wednesday night. Before I talk about that, let me enlighten you.

The first time I saw Big Sugar play Gordie Johnson came out wearing tight leather pants and cowboy boots. Normally this would have made me roll my eyes. I didn't roll my eyes that night. They were promoting Hemi-Vision which I loved but I had NO idea how much my world would be rocked by experiencing them live. If a band puts out an album, you expect them to be competent musicians. I can honestly say that this is the only band I have seen live who has literally blown me away with their ability to play their instruments. Especially Gordie. It is awe inspiring to watch that man play guitar. The thing I found even more astounding, was how he connected with the audience. At least I felt connected. There were moments when our eyes met and volumes were spoken. The conversation went something like this...

Gordie - You're having a great time aren't you?
Me - You seriously have no idea.
Gordie - I'm having a great time too! I love my job! And I love that you are having a great time.

No joke. That's what we said. And believe me, I've seen a lot of bands in this place where I live. A place which would easily be one of the smallest on their tour list, a place that could easily have been skipped over. And it's been more common to see that look on performers faces wondering, why exactly it wasn't skipped. Why. are. we. here? And it's insulting. I bought my ticket. In a lot of cases I bought their album, maybe even an ill fitting t-shirt. I help to pay for them to do what they do. That's why all rolled into one, I fell in love with Big Sugar that night.

The second time I saw them it was when they were touring for Heated

which is my favorite Big Sugar album. The caliber of show was equal to the first time I'd seen them. Perhaps better. We shared the same glorious telepathic conversations and I basked in talent, beauty and Gordie's long black hair.

I was even lucky enough to run right into him coming off his bus on my way out and he graciously signed the tour booklet I'd purchased.

Fast forward to this week. In anticipation for the upcoming show I pulled out my albums and proceeded to rock out in my car everywhere I went. I also checked out a couple of their new songs, and was happy to find that they have remained consistently good. However I was faced with one glaring, unavoidable fact. They were older. It's ridiculous, I know but I admit to being surprised that they had aged. And then I was faced with the inevitable conclusion that this meant I too am older. I don't feel older, don't think I look that much older... then I went to the show. I took my spot at the front of the stage but I had to share it with three young men. At first I dismissed them as kids that were just there for the beer and live music. Once the band started to play in was apparent that they were fans. BIG fans. Belting out the lyrics beside me.

This spurred many emotions in me, mostly irrational ones. I felt some kind of warped ownership of the band, as though anyone who liked them should have to meet my approval. And I wasn't sure these kids did. After all, they must have been in Kindergarten when I saw Big Sugar last time. And there it was. I'm old. So there I stood. Feeling old, watching the band who is also old, next to kids who were probably wondering who the old lady beside them was and why she was fighting them for the front of the stage with such intensity.

After a while I didn't care because I got lost in really loud, genius guitar playing and telepathic conversations. It was comforting to find that in fact, they have only gotten better with age. Perhaps this is the case with me as well.

They finished the show with this song and I thrashed around with the reckless abandon of a twenty year old.

Monday, October 10, 2011

My Sickie

I always had a hunch that my adventurous children would wind up in the emergency room sooner rather than later but when it happened, and not due to any daring behavior I still found it caught me off guard.

It happened just over a week ago now but each day that passes I'm thankful that I don't have to spend 5 1/2 hours in the ER. It's not a very exciting story. Basically Miss A woke me up to tell me she'd thrown up in her bed. Not the nicest way for either of us to wake up but, it happens. Peter called in to take the day off work and I planned to take Miss B to her sitter and go to work leaving Peter and Miss A to have a lounge on the couch watching movies day. That is not how things went down.

Miss A just kept getting sick, it wasn't long before her stomach was completely empty and yet, she still continued to vomit. I tried to get her to sip water but she barely took any. What happened next seemed to happen quickly. She seemed to suddenly become really lethargic and her vomit began to look bloody and was looking more so each time she was sick.

I was on the phone with Health Links by this time. They told me we should go to the ER so that is where we headed.

Peter held her in his arms in the back seat as we drove and Bella chirped at them about how they didn't have their seat belts on. When we arrived at the ER they weighed Miss A on the baby scale because she couldn't stand. Thinking it would be a while, I zipped Miss B over to her babysitters. When I got back to the hospital Miss A was in a bed, had her blood taken and they'd put in an IV. This was the part where I started to cry, I didn't want to upset her so I got myself under control pretty quickly.

Within 20 minutes she seemed completely better. They'd given her both an anti-nauseate and medication to reduce the acid in her stomach through IV. Then we waited. And waited. And waited some more. The pediatrician came to see her. He told us he suspected it was simply a virus that hit her very hard for some reason.

We waited for the test results to come back. They didn't show anything unusual and she kept some liquid down so we were cleared to go. They wanted to leave the IV attachment in overnight in case it started up again. This was a drag. They were confident that I could take it out the next day but instead I took her to a walk in doctor to have it removed. She would never have let me do it.

It took her a while to start eating more normally again. But she seems better now. I'm not convinced that it was a virus. I suspect her chronic constipation, actually but when I suggested it to our regular physician he seemed skeptical. So now we wait and see what happens. Hopefully no more ER trips in the near future.

Here she is with her IV under a bandage.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011



Another kid, off to preschool. I guess they look more alike than I thought!

Monday, August 01, 2011

Doing This

Last weekend I played in what I consider to be my first competitive roller derby scrimmage. To explain the "what I consider to be" part, my FIRST scrimmage took place during this weekend which I blogged about last year. However, I was fresh, so fresh I had a 'F' on my arm with my number so more experienced player knew not to hit me...much.

This scrimmage there was no 'F' on my arm. We set it up with another team a couple of hours away. They've been playing about as long as us but have had the opportunity to play other teams. I was under the impression that this scrim would be mostly about learning and getting to know each other. My impression was false. It was competitive and it was rough. Just so you know I was not surprised to find that roller derby is rough, only this game in particular.

Within seconds of playing I was rocked several times. What happened next did surprise me. I remember thinking, "Wow, this is really rough." and then a huge involuntary smile broke out of my face (which looks pretty silly when you are wearing a mouth guard) and I realized that I loved it. I loved people slamming into me trying to knock me down and failing (most of the time). The realization of this and what it indicates about me (I'm nuts) made me grin uncontrollably.

I wasn't smiling the entire time though. By half time (30 minutes in) I felt like barfing. There is nothing like thinking you are in pretty good shape and finding out you were horribly wrong. Although I think it had more to do with the fact that in that kind of competitive situation (before you've become accustomed to it) you forget to breath. Skating really hard + not breathing = feeling like you want to puke or pass out.

The second half was much better. I survived and had an immense feeling of satisfaction. I knew I'd made the right decision to start playing roller derby. It's something I'm good at and I can only get better. I'm about to invest in some serious skates which will be my birthday present. I can justify it because I know I'm going to keep doing this for a while and I think it's in my favor to do it in a Porsche instead of a Chevy. I'm doing this.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My City

Another significant blogging absence. I do hope that one day I will be able to resume some sort of regular posting. For now apparently I can only seem to muster up a post when something extremely significant is happening. Like right now.

My city is flooding. Like breaking all the records, water has never been this high in the history of it's existence kind of flooding.

Fortunately for myself and my family we are well out of the waters path. Unfortunately for many, including some friends and clients of mine, their residences or workplaces are not.

I have friends who are waiting to be told to evacuate their homes, and people I know well who have already had to evacuate. I feel physically ill on their behalf and have no idea how they must feel considering they are the ones whose homes are at risk.

There is also a certain feeling of claustrophobia since getting out of the city (if necessary) is becoming increasingly difficult. There have been road closures so your options are to take a significant detour or drive through the valley where an impossible amount of water is being held back by ENORMOUS sandbags stacked 3 rows high. Neither option is very appealing.

I've done a little volunteering. It's difficult because I need to have a babysitter to do it. Peter and I had a babysitter the other night and were going to help with sandbagging in a nearby rural municipality but with the logistics of getting there by way of the detour we decided against it. We didn't want to clog the road up with yet another vehicle amongst the ones who were trying to get home.

Adding insult to injury the weather has been the pits. If it's not raining it's overcast and gloomy and threatening to rain which does nothing to improve anyone's optimism or anxiety even if the rain doesn't fall.

It's as though everyone is holding their breath. Waiting to see what will happen. With an unprecedented amount of water, no one knows. And that is terrifying.

I worry about the safety of everyone working on the dikes. I worry about those who haven't been evacuated. I worry. I force myself to stop thinking about worst case scenarios when they come into my mind.

I'm thankful to be going to work today so that I can think about something else. Although, who am I kidding? I think it's a pretty safe bet what every single person who sits in my chair will talk to me about.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


I don't think I've talked about my father too often on my blog. That's probably because I have only been writing since Miss A was a few months old and we really haven't seen him much in that time. I really haven't seen him much since I was thirteen actually. That is when he and my mother separated and we moved here.

My father is one of those men who would likely forget their own birthday without their wife to remind them. He failed to remember mine every year since we left and missed many other important events over the years. Dealing with his absence and my perception that he didn't care led me through several emotions over the years. Sadness, Anger, Indifference and finally, in the past few years, a kind of understanding.

It's taken me over 20 years to realize that although he may not show he loves me (and now my children, his grandchildren) in the ways I think he should, he really does love me/us. I have learned to accept the way he is and the way that he loves us. It still makes me sad sometimes that we see him so rarely but when we do it's obvious how much he cares for us all.

I've learned a lot from Miss A loves him so unconditionally.(Miss B is still kind of oblivious.) She loves him in spite of how little she sees him, in spite of the fact that she's seen him only a handful of times in her 5 years of life. She remembers and cherishes and talks about those times to me because they mean so much to her. My instinct is to feel angry about that. I feel like he hasn't earned her love and adoration and to be honest, I don't understand it. I have worked hard to ignore my anger and be happy that she loves him and hasn't felt disappointed by him the way I have. I will also try my damnedest to make sure she never does.

I called him the other night because I had heard from my sister that he'd been here at the hospital to have a test. It was another of many tests he's been having lately. I had a feeling that something was up but of course he hasn't said anything. When I got him on the phone I asked him how his test went. He said he didn't know the results yet. I asked him what was going on and why he was having so many tests done. He told me he had prostate cancer. He seemed very calm about it, telling me that the doctors don't think he'll need surgery, that he'll simply have to take some medication. I'm not certain that he's really clear about what the treatment will be but I know he'll find out in the next while.

After getting off the phone with him I wasn't sure how to feel. I didn't feel as upset as I thought I should. Maybe it was because he seemed so calm about it. Maybe it's because it doesn't seem real to me yet. I thought about how I would feel if I got similar news about my mom. Regardless of how calm she might be (however she WOULD NOT be calm) I would be FREAKING OUT. So then I felt guilty.

My Grandfather on my mother's side died when I was about 19. My father had attended the funeral. I remember sitting there looking at both of my parents. I thought about how I was sure that my mother was saying goodbye to her father that day with very few regrets. I looked at my own father and wondered, when I was sitting at his funeral one day how many would I have? Would I wish that I hadn't been so stubborn, waiting for him to call me, and call him first? Would I wish I'd made more of an effort with our relationship regardless of how little effort he put in? I decided that day that I didn't want to have any regrets.

Unfortunately, I didn't really stick to my decision. I didn't call as often as I planned. I soon grew tired of being the only one making an effort. I learned to settle for the relationship that we had. Appreciate the times we did speak and see each other. Perhaps his current medical condition is indeed, not so serious. We may have many more years with him, I hope we do.

If we don't I'd have to say goodbye. I'd have regrets but most of them wouldn't be about the things I didn't do. They would be about the things I couldn't change.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

It's About Freakin' Time

I've been wanting to post. I have. Now I'm doing it. I just am. Now what I have to give is a mish mash of information about what has and is going on around here.

Miss A is well settled into Kindergarten. She has started both piano lessons and gymnastics since January and is loving both of them. I find it fascinating to hear about social interactions between her peers. Best friends change weekly, sometimes daily. Peter has named this time "The Golden Age of A" because we are so absolutely enamored with her at the moment. She just seems so incredibly easy right now. Her temperament is calmer, she disappears for long periods of time to play, she is generally very content. However, it may just be because of the stark, STARK contrast to her younger sister.

Miss B is... challenging me. To. my. very. core. I think it would be a useful exercise to go back in this blog and read over some of what I wrote about Miss A. I am certain that she was the very same but it's difficult to remember (I think I blocked it out) and also to believe. I made a grave mistake in labeling this girl. She was initially so much better as a newborn that I gave her the title of "the easy one". Apparently defiance runs deeps in our gene pool because it would seem she has been bound and determined to rid herself of that label.

I take comfort in the fact that Miss A seems to have turned out so well and I'm sure I have something to do with that so perhaps I could be two for two.

Roller Derby. See when I started on that path last May I had absolutely NO IDEA what I was getting myself into. I foolishly thought it was going to be a hobby. That my life would basically stay the same only my recreational activity was a different one. Boy was I WRONG. Four hours of practice a week. Training team duties which include researching drills for both on and off skate, planning practices, going to meetings and most recently giving and marking tests and drawing up answer keys. Currently we are planning a social. Seems like all fun and games until things don't go as smoothly as you thought they would and you're scrambling to get all your ducks in a row again. I feel guilty because really it's a huge part of my life and I didn't give anyone any warning about that. Except that it's because I totally had no idea this was what was going to happen. I adore Peter in new and unexpected ways for his understanding about the whole situation. I am so lucky to have married someone who understands me so well and adapts to whatever insanity is taking up pieces of my life at any given time.

I completed the story I briefly mentioned in this post. I am so satisfied to have finished and excited to see what may come of it, if anything. In any case it makes me feel like all of those hours I spent sitting at a typewriter when I was a kid writing crappy stories my have had some value after all.

And also. Dang it's cold outside.