Irreverent Mama

Sunday, August 26, 2007

FUN MONDAY is being brought to you a day early here at Irreverent Mama, as IM (aka Laura) will be out of town and possibly unable to blog for most of next week.

Lisa wants to know why we blog.
I’d like to know more about you, what makes you tick. I’d like to know how you started blogging. Did you keep a diary under lock and key safely hidden as a child? Do you still? Do you share the same things on your blog that you would have, or do, in your diary? Why did you start blogging and why do you continue? May as well throw in any roadblocks you have run into while blogging. If you still have your old diaries we’d love to see them.

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, I had another blog. It was a great little blog, a fun little read; I had a decent readership and a steady email correspondence with enough of them to keep me busy.

But it wasn't about me, not really. My readers tended to think that was me, and projected all sorts of (generally very flattering) things upon me. Flattering, but limiting, too. It was a work blog, and, as such, showed only a small part of my character, and essentially none of my 'real' life. The person speaking on the blog was a persona.

I wanted to have a place where my real voice could be spoke. One night, when I should have been sleeping, the perfect-for-me blog name popped into my head - and I leaped out of bed to claim it before someone else did. (Geeky, I know. But hell, I don't need to feel foolish for this; you're all bloggers.)

And thus IrreverentMama was born. Here, I do what I want. I don't feel compelled to post daily. I don't feel compelled to interact with my readers. (Though, obviously, I do so - because I feel like it.)

And I say what I want. Oh, there are still things I don't say here - those things go in the password-protected hidden file on my computer. But everything you see here is genuine.

Lisa asks about journalling, which I have done since I could write a sentence (and long before I could spell). For various reasons, I don't have any of my old paper-and-pen journals, but for me, journalling is qualitatively different than blogging, anyway.

So why do I blog? It's a forum for expressing more - but by no means all! - of the genuine me. I enjoy the fact that it's public; I appreciate the possibility of interaction. Blogging is like bumping into congenial strangers at a bus stop or your local pub or in the park - only with blogging, you can come back again and again - or not at all - and maybe some of those congenial strangers evolve into something like friends.

It's a fascinating world, out there in the internets.


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Thursday, August 23, 2007

"Where did this come from?"

Matthew stands in the entry, holding a clear plastic bag.

"It was going out with the garbage. It should have been leaning up against the bin. Why?"

"That's where I found it. I mean, where did it come from?"

The item in question, inside the bag, is a crocheted blanket. My grandmother would have called it an afghan (I'm not sure why). It's a hideous affair, huge granny squares made of something thick and scratchy, more twine than wool, in a visual assault of orange, brown, green, and yellow. I found it in the back of a storage area in the basement, where it's sat for a least three years, and am sending it to its just reward.

"It came from the storage room. You know I'm decluttering down there." He pauses. I can tell he's waiting for something more from me, but lord only knows what it might be. Communication is a tricky thing. I'm saying words, he's saying words, pretty simple words in this case. We each know what the other's words mean, but somehow, I can tell, meaning is not attached to the words we're tossing at each other.

We pause in befuddlement.

Then he says the words that make the whole thing clear.

"This is the blanket that my granny made for me when she was dying."


Good Lord.

And he found it propped up against a garbage tin in the drive. The blanket his granny crocheted for him as she lay dying. Oh. I feel a little sick.

"Good heavens. I didn't know that. Well, I guess we won't be throwing that out then, will we?"

And I take it from him and give him a hug. We have a cup of coffee, we chat of this and that. A couple of hours later, he heads up to bed.

Leaving me staring at this thing.

Which his granny made for him on her deathbed. We can't throw it out. (Damn, I wish he hadn't spotted it!)

But it's still ugly. Really, really ugly. (Utterly out of the question to toss it out now.)

And scratchy. And heavy. (How could she lift the damned thing on her deathbed? Maybe she smothered to death? Oh, good god. How crass of me. I am should be ashamed. No, I am. Sheepish, anyway.)

Oh, dear. (If he hadn't spotted it, it would be gone before breakfast, and no one would have been any the wiser.)

Oh, dear. (Because, after all, it's been in a basement storage room for three years now, and I had not a clue what it was. Nor did he know where it was. Or miss it, apparently.)

I return it to the storage room.

Where it will stay.


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Monday, August 20, 2007

Fun Monday this week is brought to you by the letter U, and the number... limitless.

Uncaringbear wants to know:

Share with us a little white lie that you may, or may not, have gotten away with. Perhaps it's something more sinister than a little white lie - maybe even a deep dark secret that you've kept buried for years! All the better! Now's your chance to get it off your chest and confess: "Yes, I did eat that last slice of cheese cake", "No, I wasn't washing my hair that Saturday", "Those pants do make you look fat"!

So, do "little white lies" include faked orgasms? Yes, yes, I know. We independent, confident women-of-the-new-millennium aren't supposed to. And, since my first marriage bit the dust, I've never faked it just to bolster some bumbler's pathetic ego. But sometimes, you know, it's been just lovely, really, it has, but you're very tired now and you really don't care if you 'get there' or not, and what you really, really want to do now is snuggle up and go to sleep, but the fellow you're with, he Just WON'T Quit until you do... so you do. Fake it. Really.

Every woman has done that a time or two. Whether she admits it or not.

Not that that's necessary with Matthew, sensitive and aware man that he is. Besides, he's a canny sort, and has long since discovered that if I'm left to sleep and simmer, I wake up ready to burst into flames in the morning. No fool he.

The rest of the time? I sometimes indulge in little white lies because I'm lazy. It's easier to say the kind and comforting thing than get into the Big Discussion over something that doesn't really matter - or won't matter tomorrow.

"I'm sorry. I'm not much company today. I'm worried about X."
REAL ANSWER: YES. You are being a complete blight on my evening, and I wish you'd just SUCK IT UP or go somewhere else.
LWL: Oh, I noticed you were a little quiet, but that's okay. I'm sure you'll feel better tomorrow. (And, if I'm feeling particularly saintly, "Would you like a backrub?")

But by far the majority of my LWL's are sins of omission than comission. It's not what I say, but what I don't say.

"That was an impulse purchase that I truly regret now. What a waste of money!"
REAL ANSWER: Damned right, woman. And it's not the first time, either. How much money will you pour down the drain before you grasp this?
Little White Evasion: I'll bet if you put an add in the paper, you can sell it in a few days!

"I guess I didn't give him the benefit of the doubt."
REAL ANSWER: No you didn't. Like you didn't last time, and you won't next time, and frankly, I don't know why he puts up with you.
Little White Evasion: Being in relationships is hard, isn't it?

"And everyone was staring at my child. Why can't people cut a three-year-old a little slack?"
REAL ANSWER: Because most people's three-year-olds do not stand on tables and scream in coffee shops. You're not asking for 'slack', you're asking for license to riot.
LWE: Guess it'll be a while before you go back to that place!

"I guess I was a bit rude to that other driver."
Laura pretends to have dropped into a sudden, unexpected coma.

Yes, I can and do get into tough conversations. In fact, I often quite enjoy them. But they aren't always necessary, they certainly aren't always welcome, and sometimes? Sometimes it's just none of my damned business. And for those occasions?

I just loooove me some Little White Lies...

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

John wants to see my mantlepiece. I can see why. Mantlepieces are interesting - and can be as revealing of the person as their bookshelves. Wonder what mine says of me?

Funny, it looks a lot more spartan here than in does in real life. Perhaps because I can see the dust? (Which tells you I am not the World's Best Housekeeper.)

From left to right, you have Angel Christmas Tree topper. Yes, technically she's on a speaker, not the mantle, but close enough. I keep her out year-round because she has more than a touch of Faery in her, this angel.

Then the mantle proper: at either end, a hurricane lamp. These do get used from time to time when the power goes out. One of them has matches tucked behind it. No scrambling around in the dark for Laura. (Unless she's in the mood.)

Next from left: a card from our wedding. None of the others have been deemed worthy of preservation from the reycling bin. (No, can't say I'm particularly sentimental. Can't afford to be in this small house!) This card, though, I particularly love.

The little white square is in fact a box containing a medal my brilliant sweetie won for maintaining an A+ average during university. (His second degree, received just a few years ago.)

Centre: Our wedding picture, which is leaning up against a piece of Real Art. Which is probably not good for the Artwork, but the photograph will stay there until after I've finished painting the living room - the persnickety among you will note that I have not yet started, and you can just hush yourselves - and it can be hung properly.

And here are some items from the mantlepiece in the bedroom upstairs, because we do in fact have TWO fireplaces in this house, not that either of them work. They were sealed years and years before we bought it.

Because both fireplaces are very similar, I'm just showing you a few items from the upstair mantle.

Georgia O'Keefe. Unfortunately, not "real", like the one in the living room.
But still appropriate for a bedroom, somehow...

More lamps. :-)

A good sentiment for a marriage, no?

There. The mantlepieces in Laura's house. Care to share yours? If you post pictures, drop John a line and let us know to come look!

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Monday, August 13, 2007

HA! Here I am, writing a Fun Monday post ON THE TUESDAY BEFORE.

I am so organized...

And, thanks to Beckie, it's an easy one, as well as a fun one!

What is my favourite treat? With some details. When she posts her instructions, her examples are all food, so I guess you won't be hearing about a non-edible favourite treat Matthew shared with me only an hour or two ago.

My favourite treat is Miss Vicki's potato chips, in one of two flavours: Sea Salt and Malt Vinegar, or Lime and Black Pepper.

These are the best chips bar none. The flavours are intense and authentic. Yes, I may simply be ingesting a complicated concoction of chemicals, but it TASTES like vinegar and lime and jalapeno peppers, or whatever. And the texture? Perfect. Crisp, with enough thickness to give you a satisfying CRUNCH between your teeth when you bite down. No wussy "oomph" of disintegrating starch, no! Instead, a robust explosion that renders you incapable of maintaining a conversation. "Sorry, dear, I can't hear you over the chips."

I'd provide a picture, but I don't have these things in the house. Recipe for complete caloric disaster. I'm losing weight, remember? I allow myself a small bag every couple of weeks. Which I eat outside the house.

Strangely, I can't even find a picture on the internet. So maybe I'll pop over to the 7-Eleven and be the weird woman taking pictures of the bags of chips on the shelves.

Or perhaps that would just be too, too sad...

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

"Did you miss me?"

Matthew has gone camping with the kids for a few days. He's taken all of our conjoint lot who do not have summer jobs. They'll be gone till the end of the week. And when he comes home, he will ask me. "Did you miss me?"

With Matthew, I have the relationship I've always dreamed of. Intimacy that I've always craved. (Yes, sex, of course sex, but sex is the easiest and most straighforward form of intimacy, in my experience.) But the talking! Long conversations. Easy conversation. Deep conversations. Conversation that flows like a thread through our lives, the bedrock upon which the relationship is built.

For the next few days, though, I will be alone.

Some women don't like being alone. Most who don't will say they don't sleep so well. Some say they miss this or that that their fellow does for them. A few will say they miss the conversations. (Strangely, they never say they miss the sex. Isn't that odd? Do they not miss it? Perhaps they're even relieved at its absence? Or do they miss it and don't want to say? This question stirs a mild curiousity in me.)

Me, I love being alone.

I love being able to come and go without a second's thought or hesitation. No need to check in with someone, let him know what's up. I love being able to sit in bed with a book or my laptop till ridiculous hours. I love being able to sleep diagonally in the bed. I love being able to set my social calendar without balancing competing needs. I love that the only mess in the house is the one I create. And the silence. I love, love, love the silence.

I love it all.

Matthew misses me when he goes away. He will certainly miss me this time: he is getting the short end of this stick, and we both know it. Yes, I'm working, but camping with four teens is not a holiday. (The kids don't know this, and we don't tell them, but parents know the truth of this.) It is particularly not a holiday for a quiet introvert type who needs his alone-time.

But even when he's had a great time - like his last trip, a few weeks ago. A conference on a topic of great interest to him, with interesting sessions and lots of free time to explore a city he'd never before visited. Just the right mix of mental stimulation, social interaction, and blocks of time on his own. A perfect few days away. A holiday, really.

Yet, still, when he returns, he will hold me long, tell me he missed me, and ask, "Did you miss me?"

And I won't have. I used to feel guilty about this. It seemed a sign that my emotional tanks were flawed, that, even in this perfect-for-me reationship, I was unable to fully invest. Obviously, he loves me more.

In the decade or so I've had to consider this, my perception has altered. This is not because he loves me more. I think it's simply another expression of our fundamental difference in temperaments. I am a natural optimist; he's more depressive. My glass is always half-full; his is half-empty. We see this difference over and over again; this is merely another manifestation of the old, familiar pattern.

He enjoys his few days away - and he does enjoy them - but one part of his mind is always aware there is something he doesn't have that he wants (me! Isn't that sweet?), and it is that on which he focusses. Because that's how his psyche works. Me, I enjoy my time alone. While I'm aware that he's somewhere else, and with him are some good things I can't have right now, my focus remains on the good things I have in his absence - because of his absence. Because that's how my psyche works.

"Did you miss me?"

He'll ask this as he draws me into his arms, and I will sink into our welcome-home kiss, and I will revel in his return, in the solidity of his hug, in his smell, in the comfort of how well we fit together. I will look forward to the long conversation that I know will follow, going over the events of our days apart, our responses to them, our thoughts and ideas. I look forward to later that evening, and some intimacy of a different sort. All those good things I couldn't have when he was gone are back! Here in my arms!

And as the kiss breaks, I will look up at him and say, "Yes, I missed you."