dear mother, dear father

today my mom told me that when i was little, she used to run an informal daycare at home to make a little extra money. my dad worked for fisheries so he was away for about a month at a time but when he came home, he told her he didn’t want her doing the daycare thing because it was a nuisance to him. she told him to get stuffed, that the neighbours were already depending on her so even if she was going to stop doing it (which she wasn’t), she’d have to give them lots of notice. my dad’s response was to lock mom and all kids out of the house all day long.

i couldn’t believe it when i heard that story. i wondered if mom was exaggerating, and if the truth would be a little less damning to my father, but then i remembered that i personally witnessed him having enraged tantrums, ranting and raving like a wild man, and kicking chairs into walls. he clearly had some anger and control issues so maybe there is something to my mom’s story.

sort of similarly, tyrone told me that back when he was a kid, his dad bought a really nice big toy fire truck for ty or one of his siblings for christmas. ty’s dad wrapped the thing up but eventually decided it was too nice to give to his kids so he kept the toy in the christmas wrapping paper in his closet. and it’s still there in the wrapping paper today, 30 years later. that’s insane.

to me, those are both examples of extremely odd behaviour that both my dad and ty’s dad should be embarrassed of. ty said his dad just laughs it off whenever anyone brings the fire truck up and doesn’t actually address it. my dad totally denies ever losing his temper, even though there are still marks in his house where he put the chair through the drywall and had to repair it. my dad and ty’s dad should each be able to say, “yeah, that was weird/uncool of me. i can admit it now,” but they can’t. 30 years later, they’re still either ignorant of or in denial about certain aspects of themselves. that bothers me.

i want to be hyper self-aware. i try to constantly ask myself why i’m doing any of the stuff i’m doing. when i realize i’m doing something i’m not proud of, i try to acknowledge it and change my behaviour. of course, i’m not saying “my dad was a dickhead but i’m an amazing, great person. where’s my award?” but i do think i’m more self-aware than he is. and i wonder if that’s a generational thing, like if my generation is more focused on mental health and acknowledging feelings and root causes of our actions, or if this is the same thing that every kid thinks about their parents. i don’t know but i somehow feel pretty confident it’s a generational thing. i feel like the further back you go, the more people had a head-in-the-sand, “because i say so” approach to dealing with people and problems. so as much as i hate all the annoying touchy-feely bullshit that is ubiquitous these days, i have to admit there are benefits to being more in touch with feelings.

i want to ask my dad about locking mom and the daycare kids out of the house but am not sure i want to open that can of worms. i don’t want to make him feel bad for something dumb he may or may not have done 35 years ago.


finding myself through dish washing

more talk about washing dishes. brace yourselves.

1 – when i have dinner at someone else’s house, i like to do the dishes afterward not only to help out and reciprocate their kindness but also because i want to avoid the awkwardness of drying the dishes and having no idea where to put them. trying to help out but requiring ample assistance when doing so is a horrible, pathetic thing.

on a similar note, it’s funny how good i feel about helping clean up at get togethers because i used to absolutely loathe it. the fact that i was soon going to feel obligated to help out always cast a gloom over whatever fantastic meal the host was graciously providing me. oh yes, i was incredibly, ridiculously lazy and selfish, and i am still ashamed of it. i was the same way with thank you letters after christmas. my parents would be on my ass to write to uncle bill and aunt lois and the various other mystery relatives who kindly sent money every year despite having never met me (at least as far as i could remember), but i couldn’t have given less of a shit about thanking them back then. the worst part is that the war of attrition with my parents sometimes ended with me winning, not writing any thank you letters. it’s awful. i’m so embarrassed. it might be residual guilt from those thankless years that drives me to try to be more vocal about my gratitude now.

2 – when i wash the dishes, i no longer fill the sink with dish water. instead, i fill the largest pot or mixing bowl and use that for my dish water. it probably uses less than 1/4 of the water of the sink. i started doing that a few years ago when we were put on severe water restrictions due to drought and it’s stuck with me since. i’m proud of this method because it’s super simple yet very effective.

taking it one step further, when i’m finished washing dishes i can take the pot or mixing bowl outside and water the fruit trees and ornamental plants with the stuff. marion showed me that part, bless her eco-friendly heart.

i must be really thin on material these days.

to judge a man by the length of his hair

last xmas, jenn and i spent a few weeks in kauai. while cruising around exploring the island, we listened to the local radio. one night on the way home from another day of adventures, a funky old tune about hair came on that i fell in love with immediately. i waited to hear the name of the artist or song but never caught it so when we got back to our place, i hopped on my computer and started searching for said tune. to my amazement, i couldn’t find it. i spent hours but came up empty-handed. i was shocked and disappointed.

since then i’ve thought about that tune a few times and wondered if i would die without ever finding out what it was. i could tell it was old but i had never heard it before so i thought if i had gone 36 years without hearing it before, i’d probably go another 36 without hearing it again.

fast forward to yesterday when i was watching slap bass lessons on youtube. in the related vids section, i noticed a song called hair by graham central station. i furrowed my brow and wondered, could this be it?

yep, that was it, and it’s as awesome as i remember.

i love when happy coincidences like this come occur. i was totally resigned to never hearing that song again, and now i can not only listen to it whenever i want, but i can also play the bass part whenever i want. i would never have imagined it.

fucking eh.

additionally nice is that this song will probably always remind me of nights in kauai with jenn, driving home in the dark after checking out tiny towns, meeting wonderful locals, witnessing the oddness of xmas decorations juxtaposed against flip flops and humid tropical weather, soaking in the unique culture of the island. that’s my fave part about this. my love for nostalgia is strong.

warm feeling

last night, i went to a christmas party at the old twiss homestead. it was a lovely affair, really classic and traditional. i got some great time in catching up with friends i don’t see often enough, and i left with that wonderful bittersweet feeling that accompanies a great night.


it felt like this looks, and this actually looks a lot like the twiss’ log house at christmas.

an aspect of the night that seems incongruous with that previous paragraph was that trish, carling, and i all talked about feeling bummed recently at events that had all the ingredients for a fab night yet somehow fell short. it was weird that each of us had independently had such similar experiences lately, and i felt bad for both of them because i know how much that sort of thing has bothered me. it sucks to feel shitty.

that wasn’t the whole of our conversations last night though: there was lots of good catching up and joking around, the kind of stuff that you generally only get from relationships with great people that you’ve known for a long time. and in the end, between that quality time with wonderful old friends, the cozy xmas decorations and festive lights, the incredible spread of snacks and desserts, i headed home feeling the warm afterglow of a night that i will always remember fondly — it was a wonderful holiday evening.

and on the way home, i realized that the night had sort of been an opposite version of the surprise bummer nights trish, carling, and i had talked about, in that i had been looking forward to this night but didn’t anticipate feeling this moved by it — i was caught off guard by what an especially good time i had. it was neat to experience this in reverse right after talking so much about surprise bummer nights. and even after realizing it, i was still sort of shocked because it’s not like anything crazy had happened to make it stand out as super special night. i mean, when i told jenn it was a really nice night, i couldn’t give any quick examples of why it was so nice.

i think what it boils down to is that wild, crazy parties and late nights can be super cool, but spending quality time and having genuine connections with people you care about and respect can be just as super cool, even if it doesn’t make for a mind-blowing story.

old friends.

shitty xmas decorations

each xmas over the last few years, i’ve noticed more and more crappy giant inflatable xmas lawn decorations that people have bought from wal-mart. i hate em.


spot the white trash house

i don’t mind holiday decorations. what i mind is

  • wal-mart
  • people believing that giant things are automatically awesome, as if size can make up for a lack of quality and originality
  • everyone buying the same generic shit as their neighbours
  • giant inflatables are doomed to pop, get tossed in the trash and taken to the dump, get blown around by the wind, and likely end up in the ocean to become a part of the plastic garbage gyres out there. like the rest of the shit there, the decorations will slowly break down into tiny pieces and be eaten by fish, which will then eaten by us — we will end up eating these fucking stupid decorations yet we will continue to wonder, “why are cancer rates perpetually on the rise?”

we don’t need a cure for cancer. we need to stop happily giving it to ourselves in the first place.

so inflatable holiday decorations just make this season even more depressing and frustrating for me than it was already. hot dog.


happy holidays

‘still crazy after all these years’ and thoughts on life and death

today i was grocery shopping when paul simon’s ‘still crazy after all these years’ came on the in-store radio.

it hit me then how much this song reminds me of the holiday season, or more specifically how it reminds me of the dichotomy of the depths of winter. the cold and darkness are so morose and haunting but we spend a lot of time over christmas and new years with close friends and family, surrounded by warm twinkling lights and festive decorations, reflecting on the closing year’s happenings. maybe those are just responses to the cold and dark, ways to fight against them. who knows. but for me, the overall effect of the contrast of those dark and light things is one of wonderful bittersweet nostalgia. there’s something sad about it, but it’s really beautiful, and i love it just like that.

i often think about the seasons as a metaphor for life and death. no clever surprises here: spring – birth; summer – the prime of life; autumn – decline; winter – death. i sound like a fucking teenage girl with dyed black hair and candles in her room, pretending to be wiccan. oh well. anyway, the point is that thinking about the seasons always brings me back to big picture stuff, like life and death, so i can’t think about ‘still crazy after all these years’ and winter and the holidays without thinking about death. but in a nice way.

i guess i’m just hopeful that death will hold the same kind of bittersweet warmth and glow amongst a world of darkness just like winter does, that dying will feel the same to me as ‘still crazy after all these years’ and auld lang syne and new years with great friends.