Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sunday Morning Snow Reflections

Ahhhhhh. The snow is beautiful. And I can't help enjoying it even though it's bloody freezing out there and I don't have a coat that buttons over my HUGE belly (well rounder than usual--I shouldn't say huge now, because I've got 4 months to go and if I start thinking of myself as huge now then I'll be really miserable by the end).

Trouble is that it's Sunday. So lots of people will try but probably fail to make it to church. When I was younger (not that much younger) I used to pray to St. Nicholas for snow--partly because one year it really worked. But obviously Dad hates snow because attendance at church is down--which is fair enough really. Must be hard for him to get out of bed on Sunday morning thinking he's going to be one of a very few people.

Today my husband picked him up because he was snowed in. We spent our Christmas money on snow tires--which at the time made me really mad, but now I'm quite thankful. When you think of it, considering the conditions (which were pretty unlikely) they were the best Christmas present we could have given ourselves. It's hard to tell because the Weather Network people are such Indian givers (oo sorry ethnic slur --I'm told Welsh givers works too) but it looks like we really are going to have a White Christmas--pretty rare for this part of the world. And if that's the case, snow tires are the best gift we could get. Not because we need to drive to church or because we have to travel very far at all really. Nope, it means my husband can play taxi-man and pick up as many people who need a lift on Christmas as he can reach. After all, the more the merrier on Christmas morning-- at church I mean.

I'm still in my PJs sipping coffee because I've decided to skip my pre-Liturgy shower while Theo is at Matins--who wants to go out with wet hair (especially if you lost your only hat)? But it's early still and I just want to sit and enjoy the peacefulness of the trailer. Usually the traffic screams by at all hours. When the snow comes it's nice and quiet for a change.

But I can't help feeling a twinge of guilt about the whole snow thing and I'm not sure how to work it out in my head. I suppose when it comes down to it no one can control the weather so I shouldn't really feel guilty about the excitement and happiness I feel when it snows. It's not MY fault it's freezing and people are snowed in away from family or getting in car accidents. But then it IS sort of my fault that people are out freezing their asses off because they're homeless right? I mean not directly my fault. It's everyone's fault really. The main reason snow is so delightful is that I have a home and a warm coat and a bright shiny red kettle to make me hot cocoa. I can sit and watch the snow and enjoy the coziness of the house and the satisfaction of hearing the furnace kick in again. I can dress my kid up in woolies and force his mittens on and let him play outside and not worry about him freezing to death. Must be really hard to enjoy creation when you're poor and homeless.

What does that say about people who don't enjoy creation for what it is when they DO have a home and hearth? People who rail against the weather because it keeps the mall attendance down and profits bad. People who insist their employees turn up on a snow day because otherwise the company won't make as much-- even if the employees have to bus it in the freezing cold? Or leave their children without babysitters because the schools and daycares close, but the malls never do? (Ahem, can you tell I've been scarred by retail...?) It would be nice if, when it snowed like this, everything closed except churches and community halls and people's homes. Don't go to work-- stay home and make soup for the people freezing outside your door. That should be our FIRST job really. Our on call job. You know--in an ideal world.

Anyway, I've been blessed with a house and clothes and snow tires. So I'm going to enjoy what I've been given and at least pray for everyone out there who isn't enjoying it--whatever the reason, hearts too small or shoes too tight (or non-existent).

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

More things I'm Grateful for

I'm on a roll now.

1)Theo is napping and I didn't have to put him down-- Grandpa did!!
2)We found the perfect train set
3)my shopping is done!!! (Except for groceries)
4)Mini-baby is kicking me in the bladder, which might seem like a weird thing to be happy about but seriously, there's nothing like a foot in the bladder to make you feel all warm--especially if you pee your pants
5)I don't get hairier with pregnancy! But my hair looks full and lovely...
6)Surgery for varicose veins is covered by medical (I'm told)
7)Mom gave me some lovely table linens for Christmas
8)The Hartleys gave us some lovely fancy gold and white china for our wedding years ago which we'd forgotten all about and never needed till now because we're hosting Christmas! (Bless them)
9)We might have snow for Christmas
10)Buying a new phone was actually cheaper than keeping the old one (yay Fido Dollars!)
11)Two Christmas hampers means more and bigger knitting storage baskets!
12)How the Grinch Stole Christmas is still fun to watch even if I've see/heard it a million times this month
13) Ditto Charlie Brown Christmas
14)My kid is cute making it hard to be mad at him for long (I know, how crap a mother would I be for an ugly kid right? I'm ashamed)
15) The choir sounds terrific at church and Greg is really really enjoying it!

There are more. I thought of them yesterday and had no paper to write them down. But it works a treat. I feel so much better!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Things I am Grateful For


Okay I'm having a crappy couple of weeks. When Charlie Brown says "Everything I touch gets ruined"-- I really really sympathise. The dress I spent hours sewing to wear for Christmas is probably not going to fit because I'm expanding too quickly; we're completely skint after our two day holiday from Theo (because we couldn't face taking the bus and decided to pay to bring the car on the ferry at the last minute) and as a result I had to return half the presents we bought; work is going to be scarce over the holiday because the office is shut down between Christmas and Theopany; I lost my only winter hat--just in time for the freezing weather; my coat doesn't fit over my massive belly; and the lovely snow we were all excited about (especially me) made the tiny crack in our windshield into a HUGE crack and now we have to spend $200 to replace it. Oh and I burned my hand making breakfast yesterday.

So I'm trying really hard not to be negative and spend the week crying and ruining everyone's Christmas spirit because it isn't their fault I'm having some really bad luck. But being positive in the face of misfortune is really not a pregnant woman's forte. So I thought I would make a list of things I'm grateful for and see if that helps.

1)Christmas is STILL Christmas
2) WE are still married, even though many people we know called it quits this year
3)We have a terrific family that will keep us from freezing and starving
4)-- neither of which we are close to doing
5)The above people are also not sick or dying or injured
6)--and they're paying for Christmas dinner
7) We've agreed that we will make an exception to our "no visa purchases rule" to get Theo a present
8)We've also agreed that a tree is a necessary purchase
9)I haven't taken a hammer to my sewing machine yet
10) --Or the car
11)I made some very pretty gifts, even though I couldn't afford to buy them for people
12)We have our own place with no one above, below or next door to object to Theo's prospective Christmas present of bells from his grandparents.
13) I do not object to bells from his grandparents
14)If I DO object to bells they can live with his grandparents and said grandparents will not be offended (they promised)
15)My Christmas decorations don't suck
16)One glass of wine on Christmas day is perfectly acceptable even though I'm pregnant
17)I don't suck at cooking (which is really good if you're too skint to buy meat very often)
18)I also don't mind going vegetarian if we have to
19)I don't think we pay the gas bill, which is good because it's damn hard keeping the trailer warm
20)I can bake cookies today
21) I might not have a pretty dress to wear but I don't have to wear sweat pants either
22)I have fuzzy pink slippers
23) Non-alcoholic beer doesn't suck
24)--and we might be able to afford it...for Christmas anyway
25)My husband works outside his home office on Fridays which means I can still play my new Loreena McKennitt cd at least once a week

There are so many more, those are just the things that came to mind right now-- not necessarily in order of importance. Hm. I DO feel better. Well--better enough to get up and make another cup of tea and start thinking about those cookies...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Politi-what?

Okay, I'm feeling fairly miffed and confused about the state of Canada's government right now. And annoyed by everyone's reactions to what going on.

I should explain that I'm not political. I don't get it. I'm apathetic. I don't have television, I quit listening to the radio (because Radio 2 changed their entire weekday program to nix most of the classical music!!) and I don't read newspapers because who wants to spend that money? So I'm fairly uninformed. And I don't care. Maybe I'm evil. Whatever.

But I do feel I have to do my civic duty and go vote (after all it's a right that not a lot of people in the world have and I felt it would be ungrateful not to) so I was bloody annoyed when I heard through friends that we're going to have to vote on the federal government AGAIN. Seriously? Didn't we JUST all vote like last month? And then we had to worry our heads about the US election too, and the municiple elections just finished and I think the provincial ones are coming up again and I'm just fed right up! Leave me alone government!!

Well it turns out we're NOT voting yet. We either vote next year (probably unless some wheels get seriously greased, and from what I can tell those wheels are damn stubborn and don't seem to want to move no matter what.) Or we get to have a coalition of the smaller opposition parties that as far as I know have nothing in common ideologically except that they hate the party currently forming the government. Great. That sounds stable. Oh and they want to spend lots of money we don't have in stimulus packages to help people suffering from the financial crisis--which has so far done absolutely nothing to help our biggest trading partner. Meanwhile, the ruling party's solution is to suspend parliament (lest they lose power because they won't budge on THEIR stance)-- which means absolutely nothing gets done for two months straight while we're in the middle of an economic crisis. Brilliant.

Now I will be honest. I voted for the Conservatives. Not because I am conservative. I already said I don't get politics at all. But I had no respect for the Liberals after 13 years of lies, broken promises, and scandal and their new leader (who didn't seem to speak English) wasn't doing anything to restore their credibility as far as I was concerned. And plus they wanted to raise taxes for "helping the environment" or something. Cuz that's the big issue.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not some hick with a petrol guzzling 4x4 on stilts that thinks global warming is a lot of hooey. As a matter of fact, I live a fairly environmentally responsible lifestyle. I use cloth diapers, we drive a tiny, super fuel-efficient Honda Fit (and we only have ONE car). I walk where I can and when I can't walk I use the bus. I wash my dishes and my laundry in environmentally safe detergent. I don't waste paper. I use power-saving lightbulbs. I buy local and organic groceries when I can and I cook things from scratch rather than use processed pre-made "food products" that are not only unhealthy but also create a lot more waste. Why do I have time to do all this? Because I'm a stay at home mom. Why can I afford to stay at home? Because we cram everything we own into a tiny two bedroom trailer which we plan to fill with as many kids as we can fit bunk beds for and because the current government party sends me a check for $100 a month (per child under 6)--which is what pays for the slightly more expensive groceries, and environmentally safe lightbulbs and laundy soap and organic milk from a local dairy. My husband does not make a lot. In fact if you divide his wage between us (imagining that we're BOTH working) we make about 9 bucks an hour. Which is a buck more than minimum wage. Not really enough.

Now I COULD go back to work (like a responsible woman of the world) and actually try to provide the north American standard for my children (their own rooms in a big house with a big yard and all the toys and opportunities for sports and extra cirricular activities they could possibly imagine). But we'd have to buy another car, and I would have spend half my wage on daycare and we'd never have time to eat as a family so it would be instant meals all the way and processed lunch meat (bring on the listeriosis) and low quality snack foods and disposble diapers (daycares don't do cloth) and meanwhile my kids would never see me, my husband would never see me, family unity would go out the window, and all those environmentally friendly things we can manage because I stay at home and bother to do them would be gone.

We'll never own a house-- or at least not while we're in our current situation. But I failed to see how raising taxes would actually help the environment when the problem, to me, seems to be a social one-- which is that both parents have to work to survive. If one parent chooses to stay at home to take on these things that INDIVIDUALS ought to be responsible for (not the government), then we can make a much bigger difference to the world not just environmentally, but socially speaking as well. Think of all the kids who will have better relationships with their families-- and marriages that will benefit from more frequent communication and time spent together at home? Think of how much better people would be fed--how much better children would learn if they weren't consuming sugar and processed crap all day because Mom (or Dad) haven't got time to make you anything else?

And politically, the only party I saw supporting families with one spouse at home to care for the children and keep house was the Conservatives. No one will convince me that taxing us further to provide more government subsidised child care programs will actually help things that are wrong in this country. Plus the Liberal government's track record for a)doing what they said they would and b)using our money wisely (instead of lining their already heavy pockets) is pretty shady. Green solution my ass.

So I voted to the right. Not because I call myself conservative-- I dunno anything about politics. Ideologically I don't really understand how one party differs from the next. But I know what I value-- which is family life. And it seems to me that a lot of the left leaning parties, who talk a lot about union rights and the environment and government subsidised programs, seem to value the same things I do, but their solutions for change make no sense to me because they all assume that work is life instead of the thing we do in order to support and enjoy other parts of our life- like family. Why would a woman WANT to stay home and care for her family? Is she backwards? Mentally deficient? Did she miss that year at school where we drilled into them importance of having a career? Of putting herself forward and being a USEFUL member of society????

Well I dunno but the "education" never stuck with me.

Plus all that talk about union rights and stuff always gets my goat because, ahem, we would LOVE to have a union job-- you actually make some money if you work for a union--ever worked retail? No? Then stop bitching. Those people don't make enough to pay rent when they work 60 hours a week. They get shitty hours, deal with shitty people (and smile while doing it), they are always underpaid, understaffed, over-worked, they don't get proper breaks or holidays (two weeks?? Are you kidding??--half an hour's unpaid break, maybe, out of eight, to wolf down a disgusting meal from the food court?) and they don't earn enough money to manage even a small rent half the time, let alone pay for a car or school or decent food or raise kids. Who represents them? Uhuh, no one. People who work for unions have it made compared to the rest of us. People who work for unions are the ones shopping on Sundays (people need the right to shop weekends you know) and making the poor sales assistants tear their hair out.

Okay that last bit was fairly irrelevant and bitter so jsut disregard it, but personally I'm fed up. I don't want to vote again. I just want everyone in Ottawa to grow up and stop talking shite!! And that goes for the lot of them!!