One year ago yesterday I lost my mother in law. The words I wrote afterwards are more true now that we’ve had to live without her for a year. We miss her terribly.
originally published July 11, 2011
She raised two boys, one of them my husband. He was challenging to say the least, much like my son, and she was fond of telling me that he was the payback for his father’s behaviour. My father in law worked on the hercs when the boys were born, and she spent a lot of her days parenting solo. A petite woman, who never drove, with two small boys in Leduc.
She told me once of my husband’s penchant for nude escapes when he was a toddler. He used to shimmy under a hole in the fence, only to be returned by a neighbor. One day he was too big to fit through the hole and was stuck, half in, half out of the yard. Her neighbor phoned to inform her of the situation, but she was already aware and was watching his lack of progress through the window.
My husband remembers when she used to walk him to hockey practice, carrying his bag of gear while he wore some of his equipment to lighten her load. Early morning practices and all that being a hockey mom entails. She bore her load stoically.
She told me that when they first moved to Ft. Saskatchewan, where my husband was born, that they didn’t have much money, and that was the only time she had ever bought groceries (at Woodward’s) on credit.
She was quiet when I met her, I would assume that living with 3 boisterous boys/men could make you that way. Let me assure you, she was no push over, and when she wanted to be heard, she was. I didn’t quite know where I stood with her the first few months of our relationship. But I remember the day I was included wholly into her family. I remember how she smiled widely at me, a smile so broad and unguarded that I had never seen before and I knew in that moment, she cared about me.
She taught me how to cross stitch, re-introduced me to crochet, and reminded me of the heartfelt joy of giving or receiving a handmade gift. She was immensely talented and could honestly make just about anything. She could knit, crochet, sew, and a myriad of other tactile skills that I will likely never have the patience to master. Rarely a holiday or event passed without receiving some kind of hand made goodness. She even made me a lovely bib to wear on my wedding day, with white satin ribbon and lace trimmed edges to protect my dress from my own klutziness.
I can’t even tell you how much I’ll miss her. I was so blessed to have known her and to be a part of her family. There are so many mother in law jokes out there, but none of them applied to her. I had a great mother in law.
I weep when I think that my husband will never invite himself over for Sunday dinner again, or that she had never found the ‘Roo pattern to complete the Winnie the Pooh sets she made for each of the grandchildren. How she always spoiled my children’s dinner with treats, and then gave them ice cream for dessert afterwards. We’ll never go to the Christmas craft fair again, where she would skip dinner just to have one of those gigantic cinnamon rolls. Or when we came for a visit, I never saw her because she would be playing with the kids the entire time. I think of all the things I never got to ask her, that I thought I had all the time in the world to find out.
This world will be a slightly dimmer place without her light. I find some solace in thinking about the things she has left us. The things by which she will live on. She taught me patience, and perseverance. She taught me about picking my battles, and what really matters in the grand scheme of things. She taught me about the sense of humour I would need to raise the children of my spouse, when to call to task, and when to just laugh. She raised two wonderful boys, who in turn are raising four amazing grandchildren. I see her in my son’s brow and in both my children’s high insteps that makes it cursedly hard to find comfortable shoes.
Tomorrow I will make my calls and do what I can for my family to ease this transition, because that’s what she would have done. The most important thing she taught me, though she never spoke a word of it, is how mothers are the rocks that the foundation of a family is built upon.
I miss you already Mrs. B.
I came in late from an evening visit to my local Shoppers Drug Mart last night (SDM in wholesaler-speak) last night. This in itself is no great surprise, any number of my friends can tell you that I am ALWAYS at the SDM. I sneak out once the children have gone to bed (not to worry, the fantastical Senor Biceps is still at home with them, AKA my husband) to indulge in some mommy time and usually pick up some kind of necessity for home (bread, milk, munchies, melatonin). So I got in the front door, and promptly went back out in my slippers to ensure I didn’t leave the seat-heater plugged in. I did this once and it not only fried the seat heater, ensuring me a cold bum for the rest of the winter, but completely drained the Mystery Machine’s battery and she wouldn’t start in the morning.
Seat heater unplugged, I’m heading back in when I tripped going back up the stairs to my front door. I fell to the stairs in a resounding crash, landing on my knees, hands, and almost my face. I considered seriously NOT getting up again ever. I was hurting so bad I had that shaky-pukey feeling. I made it back inside and up to bed, but just barely. Upstairs, Hubs asks me what happened. I told my tale in a shaky voice, and showed the large dust stains on my knees. He says “Oh, I was wondering, I thought you dropped something. All I heard was a thump-thump CRASH!!” Umm, yeah. Thanks hubs, I love you too. It’s ok, don’t drag yourself out of bed on my account, it’s not like I was lying on the porch hurt or something.
I was lying there, after my extra strength Advil, and saying to Hubs, “I don’t remember falling hurting this much as a kid, and I fell all the time.” Which led me to think vaguely about physics, and largely about an episode of The Real Ghostbusters that I saw once. The guys were shrunk down to the size of ants, and when they got flung from a car, Egon said it didn’t hurt because they had so little body mass.
So here I am today, with pretty much every muscle and joint from my neck down in some form of agony thinking about the physics of falling. Some quick research (read: Google and pick from the first page) found this website. Where when I input the measurements from my son, I get and average impact force of 1960 N (I think it means Newtons? He discovered gravity right? I HATE him). Now, using the same formula, lets say I weigh 120 lbs (I don’t but I’d like to say I do), factoring in my height, the average impact force is 9819.599999999996 N. Nice. So I weigh more than I did as a 4 year old (duh), because of that I fall harder and to top it all off, I’m older, so I don’t heal as fast.
I may just give up and get one of those sweet power scooters and a life alert necklace.
I was excited when I first saw True Blood on HBO. I started watching when it first aired, but somewhere around the 3rd or 4th episode I felt like I was missing something. Convinced I missed an episode that would explain things, I stopped watching, hoping to catch up when the re-runs started in the off season. I actually stopped watching for three seasons it appears.
Last September I started reading the Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris, the series of books that True Blood is based on. I devoured this series at the rate of a book every 1-2 days. They were absolute brain candy. I quickly moved on to the other three series Charlaine Harris wrote. I tore through those at an almost equal speed. I can’t say the Charlaine Harris will ever be equated to Shakespeare or Hemmingway, but she writes some very compelling and entertaining books, that I thoroughly enjoy.
Ms. Harris has some reoccurring themes through her books. The majority are based in the southern states, they talk in detail about southern traditions and hospitality, her heroines are fastidious about their personal grooming, she describes in great detail the wardrobe choices of the characters, but above all, Charlaine writes about strong women. It may be one of the things I like best about her books. Her main characters are strong women, not lift-a-bus strong women, but strong in character with a “git er done” kind of attitude. Sure these women look for, and find love, have sex, and make friends, but they are resourceful even to the point of surprising themselves.
I recently read Charlaine Harris’ collective works again (yes I like them that much) and decided that now would be a good time to watch True Blood from the beginning. Any person who has seen the series and read the books will tell you that HBO has taken a lot of creative license with the show. Some of which I don’t care for (the way they worked “Jessica”, Bill’s prodigy into the story line), and some of which I heartily enjoy (Lafayette not being murdered in season 1). The biggest difference for me is the character of Sookie Stackhouse. During the first book, Sookie grows into a tough, confident woman. While she receives help and is rescued by a wide variety of supernatural beings, she rarely asks for it. In the series on the other hand, she shrieks incessantly, hides her face in the chest of every man that passes close enough and screams to be rescued when her literary counterpart would be fighting.
What I wonder is, did HBO decide to take Sookie’s character in this direction, or did actress Anna Paquin? Who decided that we, the viewing public, weren’t ready for a strong female lead that can still desire and be desired? At what point did it seem like a good idea to have the lead character simper her way through life crying and begging for acceptance instead of being an independent woman? Why does Hollywood have such a hard time portraying woman in a normal light? They all seem to be either sniveling wimps who can’t do anything other than bake a mean pie, or wicked conniving daughters of eve, ready to trick the poor hapless man into eating the forbidden fruit*. Perhaps they believe we wouldn’t be interested in a strong female character? To answer this all you need to do is look at Charlaine Harris’ sales, she has sold over 1 million books on Kindle alone and set a record for having 7 out of 8 of her Southern Vampire series on the NY Times best seller’s list simultaneously.
We are ready Hollywood, are you?
*(I’m purposely excluding female superheroes here because that is a whole other kettle of fish.)
As I was brushing my teeth this morning, I received a tweet from That Angela, a fellow blogger and all around awesome lady. It was about an article over on the National Post Blog regarding a radio contest. It seems The Bear over in Edmonton has decided to run a contest where first prize is a Russian mail order bride.
So I moseyed on over to the website to see for myself how ridiculous this was. In all fairness, they are in fact giving away the services of a company called Volga Girl to meet a potential Russian bride, as well as airfare, accommodation and Visa services. I mean, I’m thankful they haven’t actually clubbed some poor Russian woman over the head and dragged her by the hair to the altar, but really, this is only about 3 steps behind such neanderthalic behavior.
I couldn’t really expect a much more creative contest from a radio station that has such things as “the Babe of the Day” and the ever popular “Something in your Mouth” contest. In fact, The Bear isn’t even the first radio station to run this contest. When I was doing research for one of my Battle posts I came across a couple of stations in North America who have run this gem over the past couple of years.
The fact remains that this contest is degrading for women, and if you don’t believe that, look at some of the entrant’s messages. Like the guy who wants a Russian chick because he’s tired of girls “with no asses”, I’m sure the girls are tired of asses like you sir. After a quick read of the contest rules, it states that any one over the age of majority and in the Edmonton area can enter but it also clearly states the prize is a “hot Russian bride” or “wife”, and the company Volga Girl doesn’t have offerings for the lonely North American who may want a Russian male. People shouldn’t be won, bought, sold or traded as stock. EVER.
Representatives from The Bear have equated this contest to shows such as The Bachelor, and have claimed that we all must just have misunderstood their message. Perhaps they’d like to tell us that they are really helping out the poor lonely saps over in Edmonton find love across the seas. Maybe in their own minds they are the cupids of the airwaves, selfless and charitable to be offering such a prize. At least The Bear is claiming to have psychological assessments done on the contestants, and Vogal Girls says it will terminate communications if they deem the girls aren’t being treated to their expectations. In the end though, they are peddling flesh like pimps, and no amount of fancy window dressing can change this. Like pimps they are doing this for money. The ad revenue and web traffic and increased listeners are their ultimate goal, and they don’t care who gets hurt.
Kudos to Alberta Immigration Minister, Thomas Lukaszuk, who publicly called out the Bear, and pulled all his advertising from the station for the duration of the contest. I would love to see the Alberta Government cease all advertising with The Bear permanently. Why just limit it to the end of September? They would just find a new, more degrading contest October 1st.
I really wonder what is going on in the City of Champions these days.
Found in this week’s Sobeys flyer, an ad for Dove’s “self esteem fund” sharing the same ad box as a Slim-Fast ad proclaiming “you can’t wear a snowsuit in the swimming pool”.
This helps us to remember that Dove is owned by Unilever, a marketing giant who’s real interest has always been $$$ first and foremost. Self esteem fund my rosy round butt.