Monday, August 24, 2009

Who ya gonna call?

Captions I thought of for this picture:
  1. Are they giving them away? Some clarification please.
  2. I've haven't enjoyed my neighbourhood walk so much in a long time.
  3. Somebody sure has a high opinion of himself.
  4. I wish I'd seen this sign before I agreed to get married.
  5. Mr Earth was slightly intimidated by this sign.
  6. If I'd known this was just down the street, we'd have bought a different house.
  7. Where the heck is my *$%@ phone?!
  8. If it truly is that big, do you really need a sign?
  9. I stood around waiting for something to happen, but after 30 seconds I just left in disappointment.
  10. This sign must have been made by a man. In reality it was only 2 inches long.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Close Encounters

What a long strange day this has been.

It started about 3am, when Big C woke up and decided he couldn't be consoled unless he slept in the "big bed" with me. I don't usually do this, but the boys and I were having a sleepover at my parents house, and what the hell. As long as I got to sleep, I didn't really care. Of course, I didn't. I was awake for an hour afterwards, and then awake every hour after that. Then I was so tired that I slept through my 6am wake-up time.

I managed to get out of the house at 6:35am for a run along the escarpment trail. Hot as soup, it was. It felt like I was sweating oil along with, well, sweat. Attractive, I KNOW. I got to the part of the trail where it either veered off into houses on the edge of the escarpment (or "mountain" as we delightfully smart born-and-bred Ti-Cats refer to it), or you could continue on into the the less maintained part of the trail. I was unsure of my way in the mountain streets, so I decided to continue on the trail on the trail for 5 more minutes until I reached my half-hour turnaround point. It felt like I was venturing into No Man's Land (or was that Nomo's Land..??), but what is life without a little risk..?

Not too far in, I deftly veered out of the way of some prominent animal leavings, and saw a brown rabbit sitting calmly in the brush to the side of the road. Further down the rabbit hole I went. Before I had run the requisite 5 minutes, something large burst out of the trees to the left and crossed the path a few feet from where I was running. It was a deer. I stopped and watched it join it's mate in the forest to the right. They were eating and cautiously watching me to see what I would do. I stopped in my tracks and watched to see what they would do. I took this as a sign that I should turn around and go back. Leave nature to unfold..naturally.

I picked up the pace and came across several deer on my right, standing at the edge of the road. I started counting and there were nine in total, one, a baby spotted fawn. I slowed down again, and walked as calmly and unthreateningly past them as I could. They watched me warily to see what I would do. I watched them warily to see what they would do. It was like an old-fashioned showdown without the gunslinging.

The rest of the run passed uneventfully, although a bug did fly up my nose. And one stinger rode on my hat for a while. That was fun. Buggers.

On the drive back to Toronto, Big C said that he had had trouble sleeping last night because there were flashing lights in his room. Puzzled, I asked flashing lights from where? From the window?? My mind immediately going to aliens. I watch far too much weird TV. He said they were coming from inside the room. From 'reflections'. I let the conversation drop. There are some things I don't want to know, and aliens top that list.

At 7pm, the skies opened up and we had the most frightening weather I have ever been witness to in my life. Rain bucketing. Wind whipping. Tornado watching. Rooves ripped off. Houses destroyed. Somebody killed. I watched the TV and the window, frightened that it would strike our house. Strangely, I had no fear for myself, only the need to get the kids to safety. Out of harm's way. Nature is powerful.

It passed as quickly as it came on, and in the end, a beautiful rainbow. Now I remember why I loved them as a child. They mean that all is safe.

They say that animals (and perhaps small children?) sense danger, and act strangely when something big is going to happen. Who knows. But I won't look at a deer in quite the same way again.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Wherein Nomo Discusses a Book Without Reviewing It.

So, I finished reading Loving Frank for my book club meeting this week. I'm not going to review it save this: it was a good book, well-written, and I liked it.

Wow, I'm smart.

What I do want to talk about is the subject of the book. If you haven't read it, the basic premise is as follows: Mamah Cheney is a married woman with two small children. She and her husband, Edwin, hire Frank Lloyd Wright to design their home. She falls in love with Frank, and realizes that she not only loves someone else, she actually never loved her husband. She leaves him and joins Frank on a trip to Berlin. She asks her husband for a divorce, which he eventually grants. Cause: desertion. I won't say much more as not to ruin the (very shocking and unexpected) ending.

I actually finished the book last week, but I've been mulling it around in my head. Mr Earth is tired of talking about a book he hasn't read, so you, my lovely readers are the recipients of my thoughts.

I absolutely believe that if Mamah doesn't love her husband, and, in fact, never loved him, then she should have left him. I've never been a fan of the whole idea of "staying together for the sake of the children". While I respect the thought and love behind to the decision to stay together for the children, I think it does them a disservice in that they spend their childhood witnessing an unhappy and unhealthy relationship. As parents, Mamah and Edwin, should have made every effort to make the relationship work. But if they tried, and it still didn't work, everyone is happier separate, no matter how hard the initial shock of separation is for the children. So in that respect, she was absolutely in the right.

What I don't understand is how Mamah could leave her children behind FOR 2 YEARS while she gallivanted off to Europe to hang out with her lover and find her calling. Both are very important things, things that she had to do to regain her sense of self. But to do them at the expense of her relationship with her children...well, it made me think less of her. Yes, she had to be with Frank, who was overseas. Yet she could have stayed with him there and come back periodically. Yes, she had to find herself, and do her important work in the world - work that would have been hard to do with small children around - but she could have done it from a location closer to her children. It would make it harder, yes, as Europe was the epicentre of the new thinking, but as a parent - wasn't she obliged to stay? Wasn't she??

It's such a hard question, one I ask myself constantly. All people, mothers being no exception, need personal fulfillment. They can't just narrow their lives up to a point where they are "mom" and nobody else. It's a recipe for future disaster. As one of the characters in the book, Else, said "I was married to a doctor...I had fine china. Lovely rugs on the floor... One day, I woke up and thought, What have you done with your gifts? You've traded them for furniture." (pg 191) That quote really chilled me, because you can hear how easy it is to lose yourself in motherhood and forget selfhood.

But I still think that if you make the choice to have children - and nobody put a gun to Mamah's head, although in the early 1900's, I'm sure it wasn't really a choice - then you must necessarily be there for the children YOU CHOSE to have. They have a right to a mother, and you have an obligation to be there. She chose to further herself at the expense of her children. It's funny too, because she criticized her idol, feminist Ellen Key, for contradicting her own ideas and saying just that.

I'm just torn apart trying to figure out just exactly what I think of Mamah. I like her. I want to support her breaking the mold, going after her dreams, and seeking her happiness. I simply can't forgive her leaving her children to do so. Desertion is a cold word. An unforgivable word, where children are concerned. After a week of thinking about it, I still don't know whether or not I agree with the path she chose. (I know I don't have to. It's just a book. But I say a book is not worth reading if you're not invested in it. I like to put myself in the heroine's position and figure out a problem from her perspective.)

What do you think? Are you even following my muddled thought process...?

Monday, August 03, 2009

Post It Forward

Not too long ago, Mac and Cheese posted about how boring the blogosphere has become lately. Many people aren't posting very often lately, even less are reading, and even less than that are leaving comments. I've noticed a widespread blogging malaise over the past few summers. It gets worse during the BlogHer week, when everyone is off having fun and we sad few remaining can only sniff and bemoan our outcast state.

I'm part of the problem. Thanks to a driveway gate, some large trucks that really should be outdoors anyways and a lovely new patio set, I've discovered that my backyard can be turned into a gigantic, fresh air playpen. I'm outside a lot, as it should be. If I had some sangria and children who would let me read for five whole minutes in a row without interrupting, I would be out there all the time. Seriously. All the time.

Anyways, on to a solution. I've decided to institute a new bloggy game (or 'meme' if you'd rather - I avoid words I can't reliably pronounce..) called Post It Forward. Here's the deal: write a post sharing why and how you started your blog. You may have posted about this before, but don't cheat and link to it. Write it again. I probably missed it the first time, anyways. At the bottom of the post, choose another person to share their story, and let them know you did. If you send me the links, I'll post them on my sidebar, so everyone else can find them easier. And don't wait for someone to tag you, if you don't want to. Be a rebel! Start a new strain! Just let me know, so I can read 'em too. I need inspiration. I'll start...

Big C was 18 months, and I had been back at work for 6 months. I was feeling guilty, and cut off from the whole baby world I left when I went back to work. I was terribly bored at work (it was summer and really slow), and reading parenting websites for any advice I could get. One of them linked to MUBAR. I had no idea what a "blog" was, and was curious. Her blog linked to a lot of other ones, and I started reading them too. I had no idea all these voices were out there in the ether.

After a while, I started feeling like a stalker - reading, sharing in these lives, but never commenting. I decided to create a "mock" blog because I wondered what mine would look like if I actually had one. I chose the name No Mother Earth in a tongue-in-cheek homage to the Evil Mom's Group that I belonged to. They were SuperMoms, and I was anything but. I chose a recent picture of Big C at the cottage that looked suitably 'earthy' and was very dear to my heart because my parents were selling the cottage.

After I created the blog, I found it didn't look right, because it had no posts. I wrote two posts, just to see what they would look like. Somehow, the lovely and talented Bub and Pie found my blog, and commented on those posts. I was thrilled. And somewhat taken aback. How had she found me? I thought I was so completely under the radar that no one would ever find the blog. But I was so intrigued by the ability to post something and get a response, that I felt I had to continue.

It wasn't until six months later, though, that the idea of blogging really cemented for me. Someone put the call out to Toronto bloggers to meet up at a bar in Greektown. Completely out of character for me, shy and uncool, I decided to go. I found some incredibly lovely people that helped me put faces to the blogs, and they soon became friends. And for all the many reasons I have to continue blogging, that one is right up there at the top.

Post It Forward: I choose Kgirl. She mentioned that she might be having trouble posting things longer than 140 characters (Damn you, sweet Twitter..!)