Saturday, August 28, 2010

Not a Typical Chip off the old Block!

Dare I admit - for risk of sounding "old' that I have only just recently become "text savvy". I know, I know, it makes me sound sooooo "out of it"! I just never really seemed to have a need but now that my daughter is texting all the time, I had to get with the program. I am always a bit reluctant to adopt any "new" technology for some reason in an attempt to avoid having to read any sort of manual (I hate that!) or admit that it is necessary ( a bit of a stubborn streak in me) but eventually by desire to "keep up" with the rest of the world wins out and I succumb. I just finished a short but sweet conversation with my daughter via text that made me laugh. She is away at a friend's "movie marathon weekend" where I had some concerns about the possibility of under age drinking..... or worse and it was comforting to text her and get a near immediate response that reassured me that the weekend was legit and not what it would have been when I was her age - an excuse to get shit-faced. This generation, from what I am experiencing and learning is far more responsible and dare I say more intelligent than mine was at her age. She will turn 16 in a few short weeks and to date has not to my knowledge (and I believe it to be true) ever been drunk, stoned or.....well, I'll leave that one to your imagination. She is a great kid with a good head on her shoulders and I am so proud of her and the choices she makes. She is genuinely thoughtful in her choices and is sooooooo much smarter than I was at her age, it almost seems it can't be possible she came from the same gene pool. I'm lucky. Not all parents are so fortunate. I would like to think I had something to do with it, but I can't take all the credit. She is her own person. She has opinions. She is not a follower. If she sticks to her current path, she may just turn out OK. Perhaps better than OK. She is not perfect. She is working through teenage angst like most kids her age and the good news is she is working through it without the crutch of drugs or alcohol. And even better news, she actually talks to me. She is more open with me than I ever was with my parents and I am so grateful she feels she can share some of her innermost feelings and thoughts with me. She constantly surprises me with her honesty. If I had to pinpoint any one thing that has led her to feel able to do this with me, I would have to say it is because I have never tried to bullshit her. I have always been honest with her about my past, my successes, as well as my failures and have always let her know I was human. I have made mistakes. I have not always been perfect - far from it. She loves nothing more than to hear some of my wilder stories of my misspent youth - in fact, she seems to love that more than anything - knowing her mom was not always a "good girl". If that is all it takes to make her more of a "good girl" , well I'm glad I was honest with her. Maybe it is the best policy after all.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Meeting on the Magnificant Mile

So - breezed in last night after a weekend in the 'windy city" - or so it is often referred to - Chicago, chi - town, home of Oprah Winfrey, The "Chicago School" of architecture, and oh yes, Vince Vaughn. Had to throw in Vince's name since we actually bumped into that famous wedding crasher down on the lakefront on Saturday morning, sweating off a few calories like the rest of us. You're looking good Vince - keep up the good work. It was my annual getaway with my BFF and since we were trying to find somewhere to meet in the middle between Toronto and Austin - sort of, we chose Chicago this year. We did New York last year and have concluded (this being our second trip to this mid-west mecca) that it has as much to offer as the big apple without the offensive smell and the possibility of a breeze in the middle of a hot August heatwave. It did not stink and we finally did feel a breeze by day three, so we counted ourselves lucky. We had both just finished reading Loving Frank and so Chicago seemed a rather apropos destination considering Mr. Lloyd Wright's humble beginnings in the city's Oak Park neighbourhood. I highly recommend the river cruise with the guided tour of Chicago architecture. I spent the weekend in the newly re-furbished Ritz Carlton where art deco reigned supreme and with the many buildings done in the same style throughout the city, it lifted the design world's current love affair with the "modern glamour" look of the moment to a whole new level. But this blog is not intended to be a travelogue, so I won't bore you any further with the details of my trip, other than to say, if you get there any time soon, check out Million Dollar Quartet for a fun night of musical theatre. And.....beware of a geriatric, bleached blonde female cabbie wearing a cocktail dress, five-inch stilettos and a thick German accent who is completely unfamiliar with the word "sisterhood". Thaaat beeeech is von scarey frauline. While you're at it, avoid the needy "new to town" driver from Louisiana who never shut up and forgot his GPS at home. We don't care - we really don't. We just want you to know where the friggin hotel is and we want you take us there NOW. If you don't know the downtown very well, head back to the burbs bub - do I look like a bloody native? Anyway, New York does have a leg up in that department - cabbies who actually have personalities and know where they are going.....most of the time. Where was I? Oh yeah. The whole point of this blog was supposed to be about my weekend and what it meant to me. I know I have spoken of this before in past blogs but it is worth repeating. I look forward to these "girlfriend" weekends more and more all the time. For a few days, in some far away city, I can just be "me". I am not someone's wife or mother, or employee. I only need to be a friend. Surely, it is a form of escapism. A departure from the daily grind, the roles we need to play and a maid to make my bed everyday. What more could a girl ask for? In fact, on the one drizzly morning, as we laid in bed watching a movie and eating room service breakfast in our thick white bath robes, we stopped to ponder our good fortune and I knew (we both knew) how fortunate we were and how grateful we both were to be there surrounded in a sea of comfort and luxury yet again, another year of friendship under our belts. We always, always, always have fun - as Oprah would say - I can count on it as "one thing I know for sure".

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Lyrics that should fall on deaf Ears

It's been awhile since I felt like ranting but this morning's drive into work has left me with a bad taste in my mouth all day. Admittedly, I tend to either listen to my own mix CD's in the car or 680 news for the traffic reports or the ultimate MOR station - CHFI, but today, I felt like listening to Marilyn Dennis who I miss terribly since she left CITY TV, so I switched the station to CHUM FM. For years I was a faithful CHUM FM listener, but CHFI seems to have suited me more in recent years. CHUM FM plays more current music and I figured it might also be a good idea to listen to some new music, step outside my aging box, so to speak. The first song that came on was a rap tune that I actually found myself digging a bit, could even imagine dancing a bit and then I started focusing on the lyrics. Had I just heard what I heard? Wow! A giant step back for women - that was how it struck me.
"If she ever tries to fucking leave again I'mma tie her to the bed And set the house on fire Just gonna stand there And watch me burn But that's alright Because I like The way it hurts Just gonna stand there And hear me cry But that's alright Because I love The way you lie I love the way you lie I love the way you lie"
The first stanza is sung by Eminem and the second by Rihanna. I have not felt so deflated by what I heard in a long long time. Is this what my 15 year old daughter and her friends are listening to? Do they think it's OK? So I hauled my daughter out on the patio tonight and talked to her about this. Thankfully she thinks Eminem is an asshole and does not think these lyrics are alright - but what about other girls her age? Do they? I think it's time for some real uproar here. I would like to see young women everywhere banding together to protest such demeaning, anti-feminist, unempowering thoughts on the airwaves. When I looked at a few websites with comments about this song, I was even further horrified at how many listeners thought this song was "awesome." Was I missing something? Do young women find these lyrics acceptable? Did Rihanna not just escape an abusive relationship? What would possess her to sing this song? Help me out here folks. I don't get it. I started to think maybe the whole idea of "freedom of speech" was at the core of this. Maybe it has something to do with that - admitting sado-masochistic leanings as some sort of freeing anthem. The same sort of attitude that goes along with the idea of oral sex not being "real sex". The things I hear about today's teens equating fellatio with nothing more than a good night kiss. I hear this stuff and think - maybe it's not that prevalent and it's more urban legend than reality. But the more I hear, the more I wonder if I am naive now. I find it depressing and sad and if that makes me seem old than so be it. I feel sorry for any young person that views intimacy between two people to be so void of emotion or connection that they place little or no value on it. Is there an entire segment of this generation that have separated love and sex so completely that their hearts have become frozen to the potential of genuine love? I question. I ponder. I wonder. Maybe they need to consider doing this too. Question. Ponder. Wonder. The answers might come.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The August of my Life?

How is it that it is August already? Summer is waning and I feel as though I have barely gotten into it. My legs are finally a shade darker than neon white (thanks to gradual self-tanning creams), my daughter has gone and come home from summer camp, the garden shops are starting to stock fall mums and I have eaten the first corn and tomatoes of the season.
All signs of endings, not beginnings.
Kind of like mid-life. My own personal August for all intents and purposes started a couple of years ago I figure. Suddenly it started requiring far more "maintenance" to remain looking like January to June and not July to December. I have to work out harder, eat less, drink less, sleep more ( as difficult as that seems to be), fuss longer with my hair and make-up and spend more at the salon than I did in the first half of the game.
I notice that when some women reach November and December in their lives, they actually start spending less as it must seem hopeless at that point. Why bother? I don't think I will be one of them. Every now and again I bump into a November or December gal who still works hard at pulling herself together and I admire her - "that will be me," I think to myself. "I won't let myself look like the women in my hair salon with that "old lady" hair.
You know - the ones who get their white hair permed and then go for a weekly "set". It looks like a tightly curled helmet. Just shoot me if I ever look like that. There is one woman in her late seventies that still looks hip and every time I see her, I congratulate her for not giving in. She still sports a spiky cropped do that requires a bit of "product" to make it stand up and she easily shaves ten years off with that style. She also still wears jeans and has not given in to the polyester, elasticized waist pants that so many others her age seem to have done.
I am forever inspired by that paparazzi photo that was taken of Helen Mirren a few years back in her red two-piece bathing suit at 63. She looked fabulous and if she can do it, so can I! It is a fact of life that it is easier for men. Case in point - the photos in the news today of Bill Clinton at his daughter's wedding. We look at his white hair and his sagging jowls and think - "hmmm, not bad for an old guy." However, we look at Hilary and all we see are her flaws. Kind of like we do to ourselves. Some days, I can look at myself in the mirror and see the same face I have seen my whole life and skip out of the bathroom full of vim and vigour, but some days I pause too long and start to examine the fine lines and start pushing and pulling my face this way and that to see what I might look like with a little nip here or a tuck there. Never a good plan.
I am finding it difficult to face the fact that I am in the August of my life. I don't even believe it some days. It's as though it has come as a shock to me suddenly, like some unexpected surprise I was not at all prepared for. I see old friends faces on Facebook - women from high school or university and for the most part, they shock me. Not all, but some. Do I shock them? Do they look at my face and do a double take? One thing I do notice though is their eyes - that is how they are still recognizable even if the rest of their face has become distorted by time.
And that about sums it up, does it not? The window to their souls. That's always still there. That part of them that is forever young, timeless and beautiful.
Amen to that.