Watercolors Of The Past

I was determined to not write this post.  I'm tired of writing this post.  And here I sit, writing this post.

22 years ago, I read some book called The Root Cellar.  I remember the story, how sucked into it I was, how I pined for the boy character, how I sympathized with the girl character.  I remember feeling sadness and excitement but it's been so long, I can't conjure up those feelings about it anymore, no matter how hard I try.

30 years ago, I played out front of my house with my brother and my dad.  We nailed each other with the hose, we got ice cream cones from the truck, we made mud pies.  I know the air was hot, the water was freezing and the ice cream was sweet.  I can recall those facts, but I can't feel the heat anymore, or the cold, or taste the sweet when I close my eyes.

25 years ago I sat in a sink with a razor that had been used, oh, 50 times already, and I tried to open a vein.  I didn't know it wouldn't work if the razor was dull, and I don't think I cared.  I just wanted to know how it felt.  I know that bathroom had a florescent light and a cold tile floor, but I can't actually bring back that memory of how blue the light was or how cold the floor was or how the blade pushed and pulled, but refused to dig in.

19 years ago, I kissed a boy for the first time in the hallway of his house while my mother banged on the front door for us to let her in.  It was exciting, it was scary as shit, it was wrong and right and perfect and a disaster.  What lasted 5 seconds in reality lasted for hours in my mind.  He wore too much Drakkar Noir, and had the softest lips in the whole world.  I can't remember the smell or the feel of any of it, just the words that describe what it was.  I did, however, take up using his brand of chapstick that day and have used it every day since then, so for once in my life I got to carry an actual sensory connection from one side to the other.

21 years ago, my 10th birthday came and went.  That night, I sat on my bed, covered in the new Strawberry Shortcake sheets my father had bought me a week before so I could have something close to a 10th birthday present.  I looked out the window at the black night, the trees starting to bloom, and I felt empty inside.  I felt alone and small and enraged.  Today, right now, I can't muster that heart-pounding anger, that soul-crushing isolation.  I know that it was there with me, I just don't know how it felt anymore.

17 years ago today I stepped out of a front door, into a car, into an airport and onto a plane.  It landed in Denver and I stepped onto a jetway and into my father's waiting arms.  We walked silently through the airport, down to baggage claim, and outside into my brand new life.

Today is my 17th birthday.  All of those memories, all of those events that sit in the little black book of my soul, none of them happened to me.  They're all chapters of a book I read, photographs in a scrapbook I thumbed through once some time ago, some life ago.

We walked through the slidey-wooshy doors and into January in Denver, into dry cold and black sky, into more stars than I knew humans could see and thinner air than I knew we could breathe.  We walked, silently, through a lot of cars piled under snow, and as we passed one car of no significance at all, I scooped a handful of snow off its hood.  I stopped, looked at my hand, looked at my father and asked if they were filming a movie at the airport.  He said they weren't and wondered why I'd asked.  I told him, "Because this isn't snow.  This is dry, like salt.  It's like plastic or something."  He put his arm around my shoulder, took my bag from my hand, and told me that snow was just like that in Denver.  He told me that lots of things were different, and that I'd get used to it eventually.

That was the first moment I ever lived.  That car is the first thing I can remember fully.  I can feel the powder in my hand, I can feel his weight on my shoulder, I can close my eyes, breathe in, and feel the air in my nose and throat.  I can make my head spin if I want to, reliving the wonder and confusion that stuff he was trying really hard to convince me was snow made me feel.  That was real.  That happened to me.

I'd sat in the airport earlier that day, crouched in the bottom of a phone booth, watching and waiting for my mother to come find me, hurt me, kill me, drag me back with her, I didn't know.  I just knew it was coming, and I knew I had to hide.  I sat there for hours, and she never came.  All that terror swirling in my head instantly headed south and thudded down in the top of my stomach.  The pain of being let go, pushed out, given up, that pain that I can only describe as being dumped by God, it settled in my abdomen, under my ribs, into my lungs and it knotted and twisted and turned and sucked the life out of me.

I can only recall that with a semblance of clarity because six years later, a small person lodged himself into just about that exact same spot, and when he finally was strong enough to kick his mother he kicked the very spot my pain decided to reside.  He twisted and turned and sucked that pain right out of me.

That day, this day, I didn't just run away from home, I did the first truly courageous, selfish, and right thing I'd ever done in my life.  I didn't just switch parents, I survived something.  I rose above something.  I dared to dream, I took a leap.  I didn't just throw everything I owned in a dumpster and forever walk away from the only family and home I'd ever known, I wrote the end of Me, the book and started in on the sequel.

I don't sleep curled in a ball anymore, with my arms around my head and my head tucked into my chest to try and spare myself visible bruises from silent, secret, middle of the night assaults.  I haven't dreamt of knives and blood and revenge and murder, I haven't gone to the hospital wondering if I was having a panic attack or if my busted up, swiss cheese heart had finally given up since I don't know when.  I can't imagine doing, thinking, or feeling any of that.  I can hardly believe I ever did.

Everything that came before January 9th, 1992 is just faded pictures on a page, watercolors of my past.  16 years were wasted, and for 16 years I've lived to reclaim them, to balance the books.  Today is year 17, the first year out of the red, and finally none of it is real, none of it exists, none of it matters anymore.  I can't forget what didn't happen, I can't forgive what doesn't matter.  It's not about that anymore.  It's about me being thankful that I made a choice, me being proud that I survived, and didn't I survive.  It's about shadows in corners that I don't fear, about strings cut and ties severed.  It's about tomorrow, never yesterday.  It's about the scales being tipped in my favour now.

It's the person I am, not the person I was.  I have no clue who that person was, and I never, ever want to.

On Red, The Seeing Thereof, Etc.

I fancy myself a nice person.  I'm a benefit of the doubt kind of girl, I am not one to raise my voice in public, I have an underdeveloped sense of road rage.  If you cut me off in line, I'll typically just assume that you've got something fairly urgent going on.  I'm kind of a doormat, truth be told.

However, the onset of my advanced age has brought a few changes to my proverbial doorstep.  With who I am.  I went from having A chin hair to having ALL the chin hair.  My moustache doesn't suck, either.  I'm getting Cherry Angioma all fucking over my body, and my hair is coming in gray.  ALL OF THEM.  You know how your hair looks if you go a few days without a shower?  Mine normally looks like that about 12 hours after my shower.  Now, it just always looks like that.  It's stringy and greasy and motherfucking gray.  My 9-days-long-just-like-clockwork period is now a two-weeks-long-whenever-it-damn-well-feels-like-it period, and it usually feels like it right after I've blown the entire bank account on pregnancy tests.

Oh, and I suddenly have PMS for the first time in my life.

My old PMS manifested itself in nesting.  My house is never cleaner that the week and a half after I ovulate.  Lately, though, not so much.

I am blaming this shift in hormones and attitude for the fact that I tore some woman a knew asshole at my kids' school today.  See, we have this drop-off/pick-up lane at the school that is a no-stop zone.  You can't park there, you can't walk there.  You drop your kids at the curb and move on.  No one ever follows this rule.

Of course, we've had 100 billion cm of snow, and the school district kind of forgot to plow the school before it started after winter break, so this already narrow, weird, straight uphill drop off zone is now a sheet of snowy ice and hardly wide enough for one car.

Naturally, some fucking moron decides that today, in the pouring rain, she should park her minivan half-way up the hill and go get her kids.  I could see my kids at the top on the curb, where they should be, waiting and getting soaked.  I waved, they waved, and they stayed put until that car moved and we could all get up the hill.  10 minutes later, after 10 cars piled up behind us blocking the main street and a city bus, she returned.  I was fuming.  She got in her car and tried to drive off, but what was in front of her?  ANOTHER parked car, a Ford sedan, this one at a 45 degree angle, so no one who didn't know how to drive in the snow stood a chance of getting around it.  Minivan mom tried to inch her way around that car, but couldn't figure it out, so she just got out of her car and climbed in the back with her kids.  After 5 more minutes, she got back in the drivers' seat, tried again, and got around the Ford.  Eventually.  Very slowly.

The car in front of me goes around the Ford, no problem, and so did I.  (Nice tense switch there, huh?  I can writes good.)  The 10 more cars that are backed up on the street, and the now TWO city buses that are blocked start to move.  We pull up to our kids, and by now they are dripping and shivering.  They start getting in the car, and I'm pissed.  I look up and see some woman walk past me, grab her keys, and point them at the Ford.  The trunk pops open.  This is my moment.  Am I man or amoeba?  What do I do?

I rag out all of her ass is what I do.

I unroll my window, open the car door, take off my seatbelt, lean my head out of the door and turn it all the way around all Linda Blair style, and as loudly as I can I say to her back, "Are you aware this is a no parking zone?"  She turns around and puts her hand up, like "talk to the hand" puts her hand up, and that was it.  BOOM.

"Are you also aware that you held up TWENTY CARS and TWO CITY BUSES?  It took me TWENTY FIVE MINUTES to get around your car.  My kids are SOAKED.  This is a NO PARKING ZONE.  Do not ever, ever park here again."

She says Sorrrrrrrryyyyyyy.  I say "DON'T PARK HERE."  She starts saying something that begins with "I just..." and a gave her a nice, loud whatever and drove away.

I have never, ever done anything even close to that before in my whole freaking life.  I don't even know who I am anymore.  The worst part?  I wrote the PTA president to bitch that there is never anyone out there directing traffic even though we have an entire committee dedicated solely to directing traffic, and guess what?  I've officially unquit the PTA.  I'm now directing traffic two mornings and two afternoons a week and organizing the parents who I will force to help me with this.

Seriously, do you want my uterus?  THREE TIMES NOW, it's landed me a spot on the PTA.  Fucker hates me, and I'm breaking up with it.

Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them

We didn't celebrate Christmas when I was kid, so I never really understood the whole 'believing in Santa' thing.  All I knew was that we were under strict orders to not be the jerks who ruined it for everyone else.  We were never to tell.  I don't know about my brother, but I never told a soul.  One day, just no one believed anymore, and that was that.

I have to admit that I LOVE my kids believing in Santa, and I'm overly sad that it's going to end soon.  I always swore I'd never lie to my kids like that, that I'd never teach them about something as stupid as magical, chubby dudes and flying reindeer, that I was a bigger person than all that.  The reality of it is that I can't get enough of it.  There's something about it that I just find gorgeous and beautiful and meaningful.  Maybe it's just that I never had it, I don't know.

What I do know is that something happened this year that just bought me a hell of a lot of time, and the story is right this way....

What I Did Over My Summer Vacation

Hey, it's summer at Kelley's house.  Shut up.

It started snowing an hour before the kids got out of school for break two weeks ago.  It almost hasn't stopped at all since.  The piles of snow in front of our houses in my neighbourhood?  Taller than I am.  "It doesn't snow in Vancouver" my fat white ass.  I meant to take pictures, I really did, but I wasn't blogging and you know how that goes.  And now the gorgeous snow hills are the same shade of gray as death and just look less gorgeous and more dirty-icebergish.

So we spent the majority of Christmas break running out early to buy the winter pants and boots that Santa fully intended to bring a few days later, because damn him and his deadlines that have nothing to do with the actual weather outside, hanging out at home, playing outside, sledding and pelting each other with snowballs.  And shoveling, oh the shoveling.  Good thing I'm the only person here from Colorado; I smoked those bitches asses at shoveling the street.  That Dirty American isn't so aggravating anymore, is she?

*ahem*

And then it was Jesus' birthday, so we opened some presents on his behalf (which was fine with him; he hasn't worn a kids' size 12 coats in ages) and ate some food.  Okay, we ate all the food.  I cooked for five.  Thousand.  It was epic, and then it was New Years, and tomorrow the kids go back to school.

Christmas 2008
The rest are slowly being added to FlickR.

And tomorrow, I tell you what this picture is all about.

Most important phone call he's ever taken.



See all of Lotus' Weekly Winners here.

Of Mice and Men

So yeah, I suppose I'm back and stuff, but here I sit thinking "Oh crap, who can I get to keep writing this thing for me?"  I'm just not feeling it yet.  Alas, I am determined to get all the boob shots of my main page (thank you for that, Mr Lin; you'll get yours, mister) and so there has to be something going up.

I got to thinking about all the things I was determined to do on my time off, all the ways I was dedicated to being the new, improved Mr Lady this coming year, and how already, 12 hours into it, I've managed to fuck it all up.

I'd decided to get back on my little diet that I so thoroughly trampled upon over the past two weeks, and so naturally I started the morning of January 1st bent over the kitchen counter with a cup of coffee in one hand and a bowl of Cheese Whiz in front of me and a fistful of Saltines in the other hand.  Apparently, it only takes me .056 seconds to catch sympathy pregnancy.

I thought it would be a good idea to get my kids eating more diverse, nutritionally balanced foods including more than Frosted Flakes and apples with peanut butter, and after two weeks of cooking seriously divine food 24/7, they started their New Year by requesting Ramen noodles and english muffins with jam for breakfast.  And I obliged.  Because I suck.

I was determined to not be 80 years old, and to stay up in New Years Eve until my husband got home from his 14 hour day at work to bring in the New Year with a bang in the interest of being a better, more trampy aggressive wife this year.  And I actually made it until the 1:45 in the morning he came rolling in, and I indeed got my New Years bang.  Of my head.  On my pillow.  What?  Snoring, drooling chicks are dead sexy.

I wanted to take my time off honing some of my other skills, to rediscover Shannon's interest and not just Mr Lady's, and after two long, glorious, deadline free weeks of doing whatever the hell I wanted to, I still can't figure out how to get the stupid ball to turn around in BiiBallLite.  And it's making me fucking insane.

I bought a book to read, because when I'm not staring at a laptop all day, I suddenly have the urge to read literature.  I bought the new book by one of my favorite authors, sat down on the couch, curled up with a blanket, and dreamed of days squandered on the couch basking in words on pages.  And then I devoured that sucker in less than 24 hours.  I hear they make a cream for that.

And, of course, I totally cleaned my house while I was gone.  That was kind of the whole point of the hiatus.  By yesterday morning, you could eat off of all the floors.  You could see your reflection in the walls.  And of nothing else, I was determined to keep this up.  There was never laundry in the baskets in the morning, the dishes were clean and the sink was empty every morning, and I can't tell you how happy I've been about the whole thing.  And then one day, ONE DAY we have plans to go somewhere, and of course I run 30 mintues late, and right now there are grapes smashed into the kitchen floor, I'm a day behind on laundry (which, shut up, there's 5 of us and one of us is at the tail end of 'wiping her own ass' training' and there are 13 things on top of my coffee table that have no business not being in the trash, on someone's foot, in a coat pocket, tool box, or kitchen sink.  Which is full.  And starting to smell funny.

And here I sit, writing on my blog.

Thank god I didn't bother trying to quit smoking.