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    Write what you know

    The other day my mother forwarded me some Writer's Guild stuff. "You should consider submitting something," she wrote. "And write more. You're SUCH a good writer."

    I think she's a little biased, being my mom and all. I mean, I notice this myself; I congratulate my kid on being SO AWESOME at something when what I'm really complimenting is his progress, not necessarily his skill from an objective perspective. He's 6, so that's acceptable. My mom has been reading my stuff since I was an angsty teenager, so she's seen a fair bit of improvement...but that doesn't make me Shakespeare.

    But, I think about it a lot. I want to write, I replied. But I don't have time, I'm busy, my head is crowded. In a year maybe, when this thing is done, when that thing is done. When my kid is in high school, when I can take time off, when I'm retired.

    You know the drill.

    My mom responded with an oft-cited nugget of wisdom from a local writer: Just write 15 minutes a day, she said. Commit to that 15 minutes, that's all, but maybe sometimes you'll write more.

    I want to write, I said again, but I don't know what to write. I need mental white space to come up with ideas. I need less stress, more time. My 15 minutes of writing would be nothing but complaining and crappy haikus. What would I write?

    Write what you know, she said promptly. Finish the complaining and then write what you know.

    (My mom can be really annoying when I'm trying to be lazy.)

    Okay. Write what you know. So I'm writing what I know....which is writing about not writing.



    And now the Van Halen song is in your head too

    Remember how I said Mother Nature is taking my simple purchase of a proper coat as a personal challenge? Yeah, that hasn't let up. I think everyone is getting hammered with it. They're calling it an arctic vortex, which sounds pretty doom and gloom. As if we weren't depressed enough about living in darkness and having to wear long underwear everywhere.

    I mean, that shit flatters no one.

    But with excellent timing, I have planned a trip in a few weeks to Panama. Where it's really warm, I hear.

    I'm going with my cohorts from high school, the Four Horsewomen of the Wine-Induced Apocalypse. Except we're losing a Horsewoman, so there's only three, but I'm pretty sure that's enough for a few apocalypses.

    We all turn the same age within about a year and a half. When we turned 30, we did something special for each person's birthday. We went on road trips, we went to the spa. I am the last one to celebrate, so my friends were out of ideas and just rented a limo and tried to kill me with liquor.

    Speaking of apocalypses.

    This time we figured we'd just do one BIG trip, and hopefully the liquor assassination attempts would all be mutual. Originally we thought Costa Rica, which got nixed due to finances, and after a lot of 'reply all' email chains we settled on Panama. Which has spiders, but I'm willing to overlook them if my friends are willing to stand between them and me.

    They promised me they were. That's true friendship, folks.

    I've traveled a fair bit in the past couple of years but rarely for pure pleasure, and I have suffered through every single bone ass cold January here since moving home from Vancouver over 15 years ago. So a hot weather vacation is due. I even bought a new bathing suit that makes me look like a super hero.

    A slightly pudgy super hero, but hollywood is totally ripe for one of those, amirite?

    Omg, it's going to be so fun. Sun, sand, booze, water, booze, two recently divorced friends.

    What could possibly go wrong?



    Touche. Bitch.

    Last winter was fucking miserable.

    We got so much snow that when this winter began, the dump site from snow removal still had snow from last year. I am not even making this up. There were giant piles of snow that survived all goddamn summer.

    I'm pretty sure that's how Ice Ages get started.

    Anyway, for someone who lives in a province where it gets really fucking cold, every single year, and who has lived there the majority of her life, I am woefully underprepared. I own but one pair of long underwear, stolen inherited from my mother, and one pair of gloves that would keep my hands warm longer than 20 seconds. I have coats which, on a scale of 1-10 for protecting against the elements, rate a "WTF". My boots are fashionable but wouldn't hesitate to sacrifice a toe to frostbite.

    I really don't know how I've survived this long. It certainly explains why I bitch so much.

    So this year I declared my intent to buy a big, fuck-off-mother-nature, down-filled full length coat. And a pair of giant boots made from animals that had sacrificed their lives to keep my feet warm. Neither of these things is a thrifty endeavour, but I was determined to just make the investment and be warm for once.

    "You know," my mom said when I told her my plan, "That pretty much guarantees we'll have the warmest winter on record."

    "I know," I gloated. If my life has taught me anything, it's that things always work like that for me. (And, apparently, my mom, since she was familiar with the phenomenon.) Get prepared for once? Totally unnecessary. Unprepared as usual? Here's 16 feet of snow. 

    I was ready to tell everyone, you're welcome. I bought my coat and boots and some extra mitts and made a "bring it" hand gesture towards Winter.

    That was kind of stupid. It's been at least as cold as -20C (-4F for you 'merican folks) ever since. Mostly -40 with the wind chill. 

    (To everyone: I am so sorry. So, so sorry.)

    Occasionally it warms up abruptly for a day, I'm pretty sure only because it has a debilitating effect on my sinuses. 

    You know, so I have something ELSE to bitch about for a while.


    Christmas rambling, are you listening?

    And then she disappeared again! No, not really, I still feel like I have teh thingz to say. I don't know what those things are, but the urge to blog has not yet left me.

    But Alfred has been stealing my laptop to play Everquest. This is due to a) his apparent lack of awareness of improvements in gaming in the last 15 years and b) he recently quit wrestling so doesn't have to go to practice any more.

    No more derby, no more wrestling. We're fickle in our commitments around the Un Mom household.

    Anyway, far be it from me to deny him some solace in reminiscing around an elven campfire.

    So are you ready for Christmas? I feel like we've entered that very weird time of year, where things at work slow down enough that I feel relaxed, but yet still have this impending sense of doom about other things. I don't know why, I do not go "all out" for the holidays, but I usually feel angsty all December. I have things! To do! But not really because I've never done them and I'm not doing them this year!

    I don't do a big dinner, for instance, or have parties or do a lot of baking or even buy gifts for anybody other than my immediate family.

    Well, and the cleaner. And something for the inlaws. And I guess I should get something for the teacher this year, that's a thing now that we're into grade 1.

    Maybe something small for my co-workers.

    Aaaaannnd I think we just identified the source of my angst.

    My tree also gets me a little worked up. When I was a kid, we had the same decorations every year, and they all had a story behind them or were handcrafted by my mother or were otherwise meaningful in some way, and the lights were all mismatched and it was a glorious glittery tree of chaos. We had a moldy lump of playdoh in a vague reindeer shape that my brother made in kindergarten residing under the tree until I was in my 20s.

    My Christmas trees, on the other hand, have a different color theme every year. It started out as a few different sets of ornaments that I rotated, but now I basically buy brand new decorations each time. We do have some meaningful ornaments, some that were given to us or that we made, and I will put those on the tree.

    If they match the color theme.

    (This year is turquoise and lime green. In case you were wondering.)

    I don't know why I do this, other than it allows me the thrill of purchasing new ornaments every year, under the guise of being completely insane. Every year I spend about 3 weeks before we buy the tree wringing my hands and haunting the Christmas aisles of major retailers, looking for my chosen colors. At least this year I chose a popular color - the year I decided to go with blue and gunmetal gray, I lost a lot of hair.

    (Getting the actual tree part is up to Alfred, and I don't get overwrought about that. Maybe as my disease progresses, I'll care more about the perfection and fluffiness of the tree, but for now I don't care how spindly and and lopsided it is, as long as I can cover it in the correct color of glitter.)

    The actual decoration of the tree I try to make as delightful and festive as I remember it from my childhood, but in truth I grit my teeth a lot and Alfred is extra cautious around me. I think the 6 year old still enjoys himself during decorating, and hasn't noticed what a crazy person his mother is yet, so that's good. Maybe next year I'll pre-load with nog so that I'm not such a bitch.

    I'd post a picture of the tree, which went up last weekend, but. Um. I need to get a few more turquoise and green decorations. It's not finished.


    I know I'm not the only nutjob during the month of December - what gets you all in a lather? Inlaws? Cooking? Wrapping? People who don't say Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas or Happy Hannukah or Happy Kwanzaa or maybe they DO say those things but whatever they say, it's not what you'd prefer?

    Merry Ho Ho, by the way.




    Getting older is fun, you get to be exponentially more inappropriate

    More text conversations with my platonic life partner, Force of Nature:


    And the good news is she's blogging again! Go find out what she's been up to for the past, oh, three years.