Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Odds & ends & recent reading

  • Dh & I went to the mall today to get out of the house (we are heading for the title of "Coldest February on Record"...!). It's usually very quiet there on a weekday afternoon, but the central atrium area was PACKED with dozens of proud parents & grandparents wielding cellphones, cameras & videocams. It was the annual local primary school choirs competition (which I've heard about in the past, via local parents I know & local media coverage)... another one of those things that, when you don't have kids, simply doesn't appear on your radar. 
  • I briefly stopped to watch & listen as I was making my rounds -- but had to beat a hasty retreat when I realized the choir was singing Billy Joel's "Lullaby (Goodnight My Angel)" -- a song I wrote about here last fall. Hearing those sweet childish voices deliver lines like "Wherever you may go/No matter where you are/ I never will be far away" was one of those gut-punching, lump-in-throat producing moments that never quite go away & pop up when you least expect them.
  • I had a true "WTF??!"  moment recently when I came across a Slate article in my Facebook feed, with a headline that read “Having a Baby Is Not Unlike Dealing With a Death.”  I mean, seriously?? Seriously??!! I couldn't bring myself to read an article with such a completely dumb headline at first, but I eventually steeled myself & read it.  Now, of course, I have never been a mother (to a living child) -- so I won't pretend to know what new motherhood is truly like. I have no doubt that it can be very difficult and disorienting and lonely and life changing, and post-partum depression is not something to downplay or fool around with.  I get that it's the end of your previous life as a non-mom, and the beginning of a "new world order," as the writer puts it.  BUT. SHE HAS HER BABY.  Her baby is alive and well.  Mine is not. End of story. I don't want to play Pain Olympics, I don't want to discount her very real and valid feelings -- but hello, some of us have had to deal with having a baby AND a death. Of that baby. Simultaneously.  Not some metaphoric death of our old self.  :p  I do wish that she had not made that unfortunate comparison (& that Slate hadn't picked that quote to highlight in its headline).
  • I watched the Oscars (as usual) on Sunday night -- but it didn't hit me until I read a Salon article by Mary Elizabeth Williams that (once again), mothers were "front and centre" at the Oscars. Williams referenced J.K. Simmons's directive to "call your mom (and dad)" as well as Patricia Arquette's now-infamous acceptance speech, in which she advocated equal pay and equal rights for women (to the great and visible delight of the women in the audience, including unlikely seatmates Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez), and prefaced her remarks with the words “To every woman who gave birth to every tax payer and citizen of this nation.” Most of the commentary that I've read focuses on the backlash to Arquette's speech -- particularly her backstage comments about how "it's time for women" (vs gay people or people of colour) -- and whether political subjects should be addressed at the Oscars at all.  But Williams did note that "Arquette’s assumption that motherhood can be defined by “every woman who gave birth” leaves out a whole lot of caring, wonderful mothers who didn’t earn the title by pushing a baby out of their bodies."  K.J. Dell'Antonia of the New York Times's Motherlode blog went one step further, noting "She could have been more clear that it’s not the giving birth that matters, not to her or to the individuals and social forces that set the pay scales, but the ability to give birth — in other words, simply being a woman." Touche!!  & thank you, K.J.!   

Monday, February 23, 2015

#MicroblogMondays: And the Oscar goes to...

Me!! (lol) 

As I mentioned in passing on another recent post, I had to go to a baby shower yesterday, for one of dh's cousins' daughters. Obviously, it is not my favourite way of spending an afternoon -- but I wasn't bothered enough by the prospect to invent an excuse to bow out. I figured that if I could survive a baby shower on the weekend of my 40th birthday while deep in the throes of infertility treatment, I could most certainly survive this, 14 years later. ;) 

Still, I grumbled a bit as I got dressed (agonizing over my choice of wardrobe) and fretted about the zits that picked THIS weekend (of course!) to pop out on my chin.

Then we got a call from BIL.  SIL's mother is gravely ill and is not doing well, and SIL decided she needed to stay with her instead of attending the shower. That kind of put things into perspective for me. Given a choice, I am sure she would much rather have been attending the shower -- and if I were in her shoes, I am sure I would have felt the same way.

StepMIL had already bowed out;  she really IS sick. That left me as the sole representative from our branch of the family. It was very strange for me to be at a shower without SIL there -- we're always at these things together.

But overall, it wasn't an unpleasant experience. Dh drove me to the shower venue;  we had just had a fresh dump of snow -- the fluffy kind that sticks to the tree branches and makes everything look like a Christmas card (almost pretty enough to make me forget that it's late February and I am thoroughly SICK of winter...!) -- so it was a lovely drive.  Among the 50-plus guests were dh's aunts, female cousins, cousins' wives, their daughters and granddaughters -- I hadn't seen most of them since a family gathering last summer, and so we had a nice visit. (With all the baby & bridal showers I attend, I get to see them all more than dh does...!).  They are a warm and welcoming bunch. Plus it was at an Italian restaurant = great food.  There was even a choice of salad & entrée, which made it easier to accommodate my tomato allergy. Best of all -- there was wine!! (lol)

I gamely tackled a couple of the dumb games and activities (the word scramble, a quiz that was done as a team with your tablemates) and ignored some of the others. (One of the hostesses handed me a pad of post-it notes and told me to write down some advice for the mom-to-be for a scrapbook they were making. I just smiled and quietly passed it along, and nobody asked me about it again.) There was so much going on, so much chatter, I didn't even see most of the presents opened.

It was a little over three hours out of my life. I was well fed. I survived.

And then I got to come home, and watch the Oscars. :) 

Next...!! ;)  

You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here.      

Friday, February 20, 2015

"Boomer Grannies??"

Were you tired, during the last few U.S. elections, of hearing about the political clout of "Soccer Moms?"  Well, move over, Soccer Moms: according to The Atlantic, the next election is going to be all about "Boomer Grannies" (who are actually aging Soccer Moms) -- particularly since one of the likely candidates is the Boomer-Granny-in-Chief, Hillary Clinton.

"Clinton, at 67, is far older than most first-time grandmothers in the United States, whose average age hovers around 50,"  the article notes.
Part of this cohort’s grandmotherly concern for posterity may have to do with its shared experience of parenthood itself, says Laurel Elder, a professor of political science at Hartwick College who, along with Steven Greene at North Carolina State University, has published the only study of how being a mom affects choices at the ballot box.  
“We’ve found very consistent motherhood effects,” she told me. “Even when you’re controlling for other variables, motherhood predicts more liberal attitudes. Being a mom makes you more supportive on government spending on education and daycare and on a whole range of social-welfare issues: spending on the elderly, spending on the poor, overall government services.”


(Interesting. Not that I've done any academic studies, but in my own experience, many of the non-moms I know tend to hold more liberal values, while the moms are more conservative/traditional. As non-mothers, whether by choice or otherwise, we are certainly not following a traditional life pattern.) 

Anyway -- as a late boomer/early Gen Xer, this article rubbed a few sore spots with me. First, the reminder (as if I needed another one) that not only did I never get to be a mom (let alone a soccer mom) -- that "shared experience of parenthood" is not something I can claim as mine -- I won't ever get to be a grandmother, either. (Not that I needed a reminder:  a growing number of my friends & cousins have become grandmothers in recent years, filling my Facebook feed with adorable photos and gushing posts about how great it is to be a grandparent.)(Infertility: the gift that just keeps on giving... :p )

(To rub salt in the wounds -- I'll be attending a baby shower this weekend :p -- the one I went shopping for awhile back. The mom-to-be is the daughter of one of dh's cousins. Her older sister already has three children under the age of 5.  The grandparents are younger than dh & me. Oy.) 

Two, as neither a Soccer Mom nor a Boomer Granny, I clearly don't have the political clout that my mommy/grandma friends have had, and continue to have. When politicians babble on about "family values" and "helping hard-working families," I know they are not referring to me & dh. 

And yet, childless women alone are a large & growing segment of the population (& voter pool), with needs and interests that are not always the same as those of parents. But you would never know it when it comes to policymaking. Several of us were commiserating with Bent Not Broken recently about the lack of tax breaks available to non-parents. (There are a number of deductions that Canadian parents can claim -- including (believe it or not) for enrolling children in sports or arts-related activities.)   And I've been horrified to read that, historically, childless adults have not been eligible for coverage under Medicaid in the United States. (Another reason I am glad to be Canadian...!) 

Jody Day of Gateway Women is part of a new group in the United Kingdom that is working to bring attention to the growing number of childless -- and aging -- adults, and (hopefully) affect social policy changes there. Governments in the UK (& I daresay North America too) seem to assume that seniors will have children and other family members to fill the gaps in community care -- which is not necessarily true, even for parents, whose children may be dead, estranged, living far away, or frantically juggling children, career and other things, on top of eldercare duties. 

I don't know what the answer is -- but if someone has taken the trouble to do a study on how being a mom affects ballot box choices, I would love to see something similar done to bring attention to non-moms (and non-dads) as voters. (Melanie Notkin of Savvy Auntie has done some research on "The Power of the PANK (Professional Aunt, No Kids)", identifying non-moms as a sizeable group that has yet to be recognized or tapped by marketers.)    

Monday, February 16, 2015

Family Day: Diverse & inclusive? Not really...

So as I blogged earlier today, it's "Family Day" in my province.  And while the media has been full of reports about what's open and what's not, and suggestions about fun activities families can do together, I had gone the entire weekend without encountering a single news article or report that waxed poetic about happy families and their importance to society, etc.

Until this morning.

The Life section of the Toronto Star included an article headlined "Family Day: 1,000 Families Project showcases diverse shapes a family can take." OK, family diversity, that's encouraging, right?

  I started reading:
...in 14 years as a parenting editor, [Brandie] Weikle says she is aware of the default voice in media that assumes your family reflects a Norman Rockwell scenario.  
"If your family doesn’t look like that, it can feel a little excluding,” she says.
Agreed.  OK, so far, so good.

I read on. The examples of diverse families mentioned in the article include:
  • a single mom who co-parents her daughter with grandma,
  • dad comes out and the marriage ends, but the family unit does not,
  • a single mom with two kids who lives next door to her ex-husband,
  • a father living with his brother and his wife to save money, with all the cousins living like siblings,
  • a polyamorous relationship that includes three adults living and bringing up their children together, and    
  • a family that includes a friend living with them in an "uncle" role.
Nowhere does the article acknowledge or even hint that there can be families of two -- by choice or by circumstance. Nowhere does the article acknowledge or even hint that a family doesn't necessarily have to include kids, by definition.   

Then, near the end, the kicker:
"Weikle says she is looking for more story submissions from families of all kids with different cultural backgrounds and structures." [emphasis mine]
I went to the actual website that is the focus of the story. The welcome message promises "thought-provoking posts on the issues parents are talking about most." And invites reader submissions "about what life with kids is like for you. Whether you parent with a partner, extended family member, friends you can’t live without or on your own, we want to hear from you."

Well. Clearly, they don't want to hear from ME.  Or any of us out there whose family does not include children. (Even if we WANTED it to include children.)  Clearly, in their definition, family = children (living children, at any rate), and involves active parenting.

So discouraging. :(

As I have said/written before -- I am glad we (finally) have a holiday in February -- but oh, how I wish they had come up with a different name for it.  :p

#MicroblogMonday: Winter weekend whammy

It's been a whammy of a winter weekend: 

*  Friday was Friday the 13th. Fortunately, nothing bad happened. (Except that it was frickin' cold.)  :p 
*  Friday was also a professional development day for teachers hereabouts = day off school for the kids. I only heard about this second-hand, of course. ;) And so I was glad we decided to stay home & do the housecleaning, instead of venturing out to the local mall, which would have been crawling with kids. :p
*  Saturday was Valentine's Day (which I blogged about last week for #MicroblogMondays). It started off with a mini-snowstorm... and wound up frickin' cold. :p  But we still managed a bookstore visit before heading home for a cozy evening together and ordering in Chinese food for dinner, as planned. 
* Yesterday/Sunday morning, we woke up to temps of -26C, which felt like -42C with the windchill factored in. (Yes, -42C.)(And if you don't know Celsius, all you need to know is that -40C is exactly the same as -40 Fahrenheit. 'Nuff said. :p  ) 
* Nevertheless, we ventured out to the movies for an afternoon matinee of  "Kingsman." Because, Colin Firth, on Valentine's Day weekend. ;)  (Fifty shades of what?)
* I was expecting to see hordes of middle-aged women there (because, Colin Firth, albeit in a non-romantic role). Instead, there were hordes of teenagers, which seemed somewhat odd. When the credits started rolling, it all made sense:  the movie was based on a comic book/graphic novel. Which also explained some of the over-the-top violence. (Would I have known about this if I had my teenager with me??)
* Today/Monday is Family Day in Ontario. I've written about Family Day, and my ambivalence about it, before. I ran across an article in the Ottawa Citizen that called it "the stupidest holiday ever."  The writer was referring to the confusion over what's open and what's closed, who gets the day off and who doesn't, and not the fact that it's a made-up holiday labelled by politicians who figured that giving people a mid-winter holiday and slapping a warm, fuzzy"family" label on it would win them points (and you just KNOW they weren't thinking of families of two when they did it). 
*  But as I've said many times before, it's a holiday. In February. I'll take it. (Even though every day is basically a holiday for me now...!)
* Did I mention it's (still) frickin' cold??  
*  And how was your weekend?

(Still somewhat longer than a MICROblog post should probably be. Oh well.)

You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here.      

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Blogging Cupid :)

Thank you, Mel, for sending me a virtual Valentine. It's been a very long time since I got a Valentine from anyone besides dh (or maybe my mother, lol). :)  I was in excellent company among the four other people she selected at random from her RSS feed to tag with some bloggy love.

Now it's my turn. Happy Valentine's Day to five wonderful bloggers whose posts I always look forward to reading: 

By the Brooke:  Dear Brooke, I love your beautiful, eloquent, thoughtful posts about your Eliza, and the ongoing grief of stillbirth. And your photos and stories about your other two adorable daughters never fail to make me laugh & smile.

Silent Sorority:  Dear Pamela, finding your original Coming2Terms blog more than 7 (!!) years ago -- even before I had my own -- was like stumbling into an unexpected oasis in the middle of a desert. So glad you are still writing and speaking out and giving hope to our fellow infertility survivors that a good life can be had without children.

No Kidding in NZ:  Dear Mali, thank you for being such a thoughtful, articulate spokesperson for the "no  kidding" life.  I really appreciate your steadfast, positive outlook. It's also great to have a Down Under perspective that gently shakes us out of our North American-centricity (if that's a word). ;)   

* Mrs. Spit... Still Spouting Off:  Dear Mrs. Spit,  I am constantly in awe of how you face every challenge that life throws your way with honesty and grace -- from bereavement to health issues, to a work & travel schedule that makes me tired just thinking about it. And you still find time & energy to blog about it all with eloquence and humour.

A Woman My Age:  Dear Deathstar, I so appreciate that although you achieved your dream of motherhood when you adopted your son, you've never forgotten the journey you took to find him, or how things might have turned out differently. I salute you for juggling the midlife sandwich ingredients of career, motherhood, marriage and caring for an aging parent with humour as well as Buddhist zen.

The five of you, consider yourselves tagged.  Here’s how it works:

* Choose 5 blogs at random.

* Throw up a post with a sentence about what you love about each one.

* Tell those people to consider themselves tagged.

You can right-click and grab the image Mel made (above left) if you want to add it to your own post.

You can also add a link to your post on the linky list on Mel's blog, which is open until 11:59 pm ET on Saturday, Feb. 14th.

Go spread the love. :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Recent reading

  • I was intrigued by this New York Times blog piece about social media & the loss of a beloved pet.  While losing a baby is not the same as losing a pet, there are similarities. I was particularly struck by the author's struggles with how to articulate to himself what he was really feeling and what if anything he wanted to say about it, versus others' expectations about how he was "supposed" to express his grief (i.e., with a post on Facebook). To each their own...!
  • Also from the NYT, in the Motherlode blog, a post about donating embryos -- with a surprisingly mostly civil discussion in the comments section.
  • I liked this recent article about egg freezing in New York magazine.  While I'm not opposed to egg freezing per se, I was glad that the RE was honest, that egg freezing doesn't always work. And while I don't want to male-bash, the article also points to a subject that too often gets overlooked in stories focusing on "career women" who "postpone" marriage & family and resort to measures like egg freezing as a kind of "insurance policy."  It takes two to tango:  where are the men in this picture?  Granted, they are not under (quite) the same time pressures that women are (although research indicates that they shouldn't feel they can safely postpone fatherhood forever either). But why isn't anyone asking about their desire (or lack thereof) to settle down with a wife and family?   
  • And speaking of egg freezing, it's the subject of the first article in a new Globe & Mail series about "the fertility business, its procedures, and promises that might be too good to be true."  If this article is any indication, I am looking forward to reading more in the series. The writer points out the stats (and lack thereof) related to egg freezing and other ARTs, and asks some excellent but necessary questions.        
  • The same issue of the G&M included an opinion piece about workplace-sponsored egg freezing programs, which suggests that perhaps companies should be investing in flexible work options and daycare programs instead.
  • Further to my post about my dislike of February -- Justine wrote her own "not a huge fan of February" post.  In the comments, Sharah mentioned an old post by Martha Beck, which I found after some Googling. Actually, I found two posts that touched on February funks -- here and here.  (Martha's book, "Expecting Adam," was out around the time I was ttc after Katie's stillbirth. I bought it, but never could bring myself to read it. I have enjoyed her columns in O Magazine, though.)  "February in the northern hemisphere is hard on the body and the soul,"  she says. Yep. :p
  • I loved this article by a new mom, addressing all those clichés we childless/free folk know and love (NOT)(i.e., "I never knew what love REALLY was until I became a mom," etc. etc....).  She writes: "...now that I’ve crossed over from “nonparent” to “parent,” and with apologies to my fellow parents, I want to deliver this important message: You pretty much get it... I always felt like the idea that mothers and fathers are the only people that get love was bullshit, but I never had standing to argue with any of them until my son was born. Now that I’ve been on both sides of the fence, I’m very happy to report that things are just as I’d assumed they would be. That love is love, wherever you’re standing."  (Thanks for this one, Emily!)

Monday, February 9, 2015

#MicroblogMondays: Isn't it romantic?

So, this Saturday is Valentine's Day. Saturday nights are usually busy enough at the local restaurants, so I can just imagine what it will be like trying to get a table, even if we go early. :p  We are thinking of ordering in Chinese food.  Yep, this is what Valentine's Day looks like after 30+ years together, lol.  ;)  We usually don't buy each other presents, but we do exchange cards.

Our very first Valentine's Day came just a few weeks after we first started dating, at university, in January 1982. I don't remember what gifts we exchanged -- being broke students, I'm sure it wasn't anything too extravagant -- but I still have the cards we exchanged then (and every one since).  

I think my favourite Valentine's Day was a few years later, one of the first years we were married. We lived in a small, one-bedroom apartment in a renovated New York-ish brownstone building in midtown Toronto -- Yuppieville central at the time. There was a lovely little hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant nearby, featuring attentive, friendly service and fabulous food, including the best linguini with clams in white wine sauce that I have ever tasted, and wonderful tartuffo ice cream for dessert. We made reservations & went there on Valentine's Day with BIL & SIL (whose wedding anniversary is Feb. 15th -- it was likely their first or second wedding anniversary the next day, since Older Nephew had arrived by the time they celebrated Anniversary #3).  The place was lit with candles and filled with red & white balloons, and mellow music from the likes of Frank Sinatra & Sade -- not too loud -- set the tone. So lovely. It was our go-to place for birthdays & anniversaries and entertaining out of town guests and "just because" -- even after we moved way out to the suburbs. I remember slogging through a snowstorm after work on my 30th birthday to get there, and suffering endless delays on the train home afterward, because of the snow. But it was worth it.

Sadly, the restaurant is long gone, but the memories remain.

Do you have any memorable Valentine's Day stories to share?

You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here.         

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Ten questions

Melissa at Stirrup Queens tagged all of us who read her latest Friday Roundup with these questions

1. When was the last time you cut your hair? Did you like the haircut?

 I've worn my hair more or less the same way (sometimes a bit longer, sometimes a bit shorter) for years, and if I don't have a trim every 6-7 weeks, it gets too long and bushy and drives me nuts. :p  The last trim was two weeks ago, and yes, I liked it (and still do). :)  Sometimes she gets it just a wee bit short for my liking, and sometimes she leaves it just a bit too long and while I like it at first, I soon can't wait for a trim again -- but this was great, and so far, so good. ;)  I had colour & highlights done just before Christmas too, and they still look pretty good as well.

2. Grapes with seeds or seedless?

Seedless, definitely. I grew up eating mostly seedless. Dh & his family eat seeded grapes, seeds & all, all the time, and I either have to decline or find a way to discreetly spit the seeds into a serviette. ;)  I just can't bring myself to swallow the seeds.

3. When was the last time you went to a fancy party? What did you wear?

I haven't been to a "fancy party" in a long time. :(  While I wouldn't want to dress up every day, I think it's kind of sad that we get so few occasions to do so these days. (Dh looks so good in a suit, lol.)  The last such event I attended was probably dh's cousin's daughter's wedding in May 2012. I wore a (short, sleeveless, V-neck) dress that was a smattering of all kinds of different colours, almost like an artist's palette -- predominantly purple, but also some olive green gold, black & others mixed in. The next big "fancy party" will probably be our nephew's wedding in October 2016 (eeekkk!). 

4. What colour is your bedroom wall?

Beige. ;)

5. The worst smell in the world is…

I've been to a pig barn on a Hutterite farm. It was actually immaculately clean, but, well, it was a pig barn. Use your imagination. ;) 

6. Last thing you spat out.

A slightly gristly piece of chicken. :p

7. Do you sing when no one is around? What do you usually sing?

Yes, mostly in the shower. ;)  Mostly Broadway show tunes and 60s girl groups/singers.  I also love to sing along with the radio in the car. (Classic rock station.)

8. Your least favourite name (and it’s okay if it’s Melissa; I can take it).

I'm not sure I have a least favourite name, but Cindy was the name of my grade school bully and she has coloured my feelings about it ever since then. ;)  I also dislike some of the more modern names -- ones that sound like the parents made them up, or ones with weird spellings (Madisyn?? seriously??). (I keep wondering what that's going to look like on a business card someday.)(Although I suppose Lori looked equally weird to some people at one time.) 

9. Did you like the food served at the last dinner party you went to?

I'm trying and failing to remember the last dinner party I went to. The image that springs to mind is my aunt & uncle's 50th wedding anniversary party in Minneapolis last spring. My cousin's wife is a caterer and made all the food, and it was AMAZING!!  We also got to feast on the leftovers at their house the next day. The menu included garlic breadsticks, an awesome salad that included craisins, green beans, and an amazing pork tenderloin with garlic mashed potatos. Yum!!!

10. What is your most prized possession? Would you kill a unicorn in order to save your most prized possession?

I am very attached to some of my stuff, but my most prized possession would be the hatbox containing Katie's things, including the little outfit she wore, her footprints & Polaroids and my one ultrasound photo. Not sure I am capable of killing an animal, let alone a unicorn, but I would probably be up to a good wrestling match. ;) 

Consider yourself tagged if you read this. ;) Cut and paste the questions onto your blog, answer them, and let me know if you do, so I can read your answers. :)  

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Tales from the mall

I was in a children's wear store at the local mall this afternoon, browsing for possible Valentine's Day presents I could send to the Little Princesses.

(Yes!! -- whereas just walking past a Baby Gap once had the power to fill my eyes with tears, I have reached a point where I can now go inside a children's wear store and browse, gleefully even. It seems cute miniature dresses and leggings no longer have the power to hurt me.)(Much.)(Usually.) 

I was holding up a pink T-shirt that said, "Big Sister" and debating whether to buy it (there was also a yellow T-shirt in a smaller size that said "Little Sister") when an eager store clerk pounced upon me.

"Oh, do you need something for Pink Shirt Day? It's tomorrow, isn't it?"  she trilled. "My daughter was telling me she needed something to wear, and I thought, all the years I've worked here and you don't have one pink shirt you can put on??" 

"Pink Shirt Day?"  I repeated slowly, blankly. It was like she was speaking an entirely foreign language. I had NO IDEA what she was talking about.

Then I had a vague memory of seeing a post on Facebook about kids wearing pink shirts to school to raise awareness of bullying. Fine cause. But -- as a woman without children -- definitely not something on my radar.

I suppose I should be flattered that this woman thought I was shopping for MY KID (who would be 16, had she been around, and definitely not fitting into any of the things in this store).  These days, I'm just as likely (make that MORE likely) to be asked about grandchildren. (Not sure which is worse...!)

It wasn't an "ouch" moment, exactly. I was more bewildered and bemused than anything else. But I have to admit that this one brief exchange made me feel like a complete fish out of water -- and more than that, was yet another reminder (as if I needed one) that I don't belong to The Club. :p  That I didn't really belong in this store.

I beat a hasty retreat, and left empty-handed.

(I Googled "Pink Shirt Day" when I got home. I found various sites declaring it to be Feb. 25th, April 8th and May 4th -- I guess it depends on where you live?) 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

I didn't "give up"...

A Facebook find that had me shouting "YES!!"  ;)
(In retrospect, maybe this should have been my #MicroblogMonday post, lol.)  

Monday, February 2, 2015

#MicroblogMondays: Move over, November...

The fact that I hate November is no secret here (check out my tagged posts on the subject). 

So you may be surprised to learn that November is, in fact, my second-least favourite month. The honour of least-favourite month goes to February, the month we have just entered. Here are a few reasons why:  

*  It's the dead of winter in my part of the world, cold & dreary. Case in point:  when I woke up this morning, the temperature was -16C, with a windchill factor of -28C. (That's about 3 & -18 on the Fahrenheit scale.) Not to mention about a foot of snow, which dh is currently psyching himself up to go shovel. (We do not own a snowblower.) (Yet?)
*  Yes, there's always Florida (or Arizona, or Mexico, or Cuba, etc.).  But (a) February is also college spring break month -- & I'm not eager to share my vacation with a bunch of wild 20-something party animals; (b) this is peak sunspot vacation season = peak prices; & (c) not everyone has the time or money to escape to a warmer climate for a few weeks.  (We might -- but we just didn't think about it this year. Maybe 2016...) 
*  Traditionally, February was always right in the middle of that interminably loooooonnnnnnnggggg stretch between Christmas & Easter, with no long weekends to break up the monotony.
*  The introduction of Family Day in Ontario a few years back has made that a moot point -- albeit we childless/free must endure all the platitudes that come along with a holiday called "Family Day," which generally does not acknowledge families of two.
*  February 8, 1998, was my LMP date with my pregnancy with Katie (the first day of my last menstrual period, which became ingrained in my memory after I was asked to provide it at medical appointment after medical appointment). The cycle of remembrance & regret begins again... (Can it really be SEVENTEEN YEARS ago now???!!!)

Saving graces: 

* While February might suck, it's the shortest month of the year by at least two or three days.  So (technically, at least) there's less of it to loathe.
*  February includes Valentine's Day (which actually falls on the Family Day weekend this year). Dh & I don't go in for big Valentine's Day celebrations -- he will tell you it's a "Hallmark Holiday" -- but I still like the idea of having a special day to celebrate romance and love -- not just for your partner but also the other special people in your life. It's a little ray of sunshine in the middle of greyness.
*  As with November this year -- I'm not working. Even if the weather is crappy, I don't have to worry about slogging my way to the commuter train station (only to stand on a freezing cold platform, waiting for a train that is inevitably delayed or cancelled because of the weather).  Not working and having the freedom to set my own schedule & priorities was a big reason why November didn't suck as much this past year;  hopefully the same will apply for February, lol. ;)

You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here.