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just another manic… week

November 22, 2016

What a week! And it’s only Tuesday. I’m afraid I must choose sleep over writing tonight. I’ll be back tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s the Jeopardy theme tune.

people watching (2010)

November 21, 2016

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He arrives on the scene drunk. His hair disheveled, short, curly, salt, pepper. His lips the size of collagen implants. He wears a jean jacket with his shirt untucked and unbuttoned down to his navel. He grabs a seat in front of a man who is reading a book and smoking a cigarette and wipes the wet table with his hands. The man with the book gives him change to buy a coffee. He takes a puff of his cigarette, looks around then goes back to reading his book. He wears a green ring on his little finger. He has ears the size of an elephant’s. The drunk man stumbles into the café and buys a coffee, then comes back with a cocktail napkin and starts to wipe the table again. He spills water in the ashtray, on the man’s cigarette. The cigarette is soaked. The table is soaked. The napkin, too, is soaked. The drunk man keeps wiping the table with his hand. The other man gives him a crossword puzzle and a pen. They both light a dry cigarette and drink their black coffees. The drunk man answers a crossword clue, osier, and passes it on to the man with the book.

They must be brothers for their features are too similar. One reads The Education of Henry Adams; the other looks like he spent the night in a cardboard box. They take turns filling in the crossword puzzle. Very little words are exchanged except those on the page.

I’d like to say that I remember what happens next but the year was 2010 and the entry ends there. However, I wouldn’t have remembered this scene at all had I not written it down. I love that about writing. That I can travel back to a day in the spring of 2010, to that Second Cup café on Mont Royal, and spy on a couple of strangers at the next table over. Writing is my time machine. A pen and notebook, my constant companions.

a day in the countryside 

November 19, 2016

Today in images. Quintessentially British November day. In reverse chronological order: 7pm to 7am. Black and white, just because.

Hope you’re all having a lovely weekend. 

on parenthood

November 18, 2016

I heard the Jamaican man shout before I saw him. From my vantage point, snooping from the living room window like an elderly lady with too many cats, I saw him yank a 3-year-old boy out of a car while shouting at the girl — presumably his girlfriend — with ridiculously long fingernails and breasts pushed up so high that they nearly touched her chin. He opened the door on the driver’s side and lunged at her and she tried to back up with the door wide open. The little boy was stood behind the car and she very nearly hit him, which led to another barrage of insults, the likes of which I couldn’t understand, but which ended with fassyhole and dutty stinking gyal.

He walked off, pissed off, with the poor kid trailing miles behind. And I thought, “What kind of a chance does this kid have?” I’m very much aware of how habits and words and negative behaviours trickle down from one generation to the next. His anger was probably his father’s and his grandfather’s before that. My grandpa’s impatience was my dad’s impatience, is my own. It takes a lot of hard work to break the cycle.

I often think when I shout No! at Wren after she’s tried, for the fourth time, to rip the nose off my face, “Hey, could be worse, my kid could have that Jamaican guy for a dad.” Or I could be the mom who only feeds her sugar and let’s her sit in front of the TV all day. But that’s just me justifying my own behaviours when they don’t feel right, when Wren pokes at that Caron impatience, which I’m working so hard to eradicate from my life. I’ve always said that she’s my little guru and I have a feeling she’ll keep poking until I sort it out.

And yes, Wren could have that dad. And yes, she is far better off than most. She’s privileged compared to so many other kids, even compared to me when I was a child. But no amount of privilege is going to teach her patience, humility, resilience, confidence, compassion, kindness. These things I have to teach her.

And in this world, where (some of) our leaders, let’s be honest here, haven’t evolved much past the Cro-Magnon age, and represent the very opposite values of those that I’m trying to teach my kid, I have my work cut out for me. I must lead by example with a huge, open heart, and hope that the seeds I plant today will grow into something beautiful tomorrow. And it’s not easy to have an open heart. Over the years, things happen, hearts calcify.

I don’t know why I started to write this post and I don’t quite know where it’s going. I just know that I’ve never had to take such hard looks at myself as I have since becoming a mother. The consequences of my own short-comings and inadequacies used to only affect me (and my poor husband). This is no longer the case. I now have a little pixie following me around and imprinting on me every second of the day.

My cousin and I often joke that the Caron impatience gene stops here, with this generation. When Wren sees me react to something in frustration, disdain, fear, anger, impatience, she is learning that’s how one must react in that situation. I have to constantly keep myself in check while also accepting that even though I’m trying to react to situations the “right” way, they may not be the right way for her. Holy fuck, eh?

Compassion, love, acceptance. Repeat.

tea and biscuits

November 17, 2016

I never do this. Brew a cup of tea, grab a couple of ginger biscuits from the tin and flip trough a magazine or journal until I’ve stuck the last few cookie crumbs to the tip of my finger and sipped the last drop of tea.

Those couple of hours in the day when Wren is sleeping are usually my Go-Go-Go hours. There’s a drill sergeant up there, calling the shots. Go, NOW! You have two hours, soldier, TWO HOURS (if you’re lucky) to get ALL THE THINGS DONE. Clean the house for the real estate agents, make the phone calls, apply for the jobs, reply to the emails and the text messages, research the nurseries.

But today, I stopped. It is blowing a hoolie out there. Yellow leaves are flying past my window. The sky is grey. The tall tree across the street is almost bare. I didn’t even notice it slowly undressing, so busy I was with the busyness of doing. And so I lit a candle, brewed a cup of tea, grabbed a couple of ginger biscuits from the tin and flipped through A Year Between Friends. I took 20 minutes for myself without an agenda and, most importantly, without thinking about what I should be doing. Those 20 minutes were like a balm for my soul. Sometimes, I simply looked up from my book and watched the steam rolling off my cup or the sun poking out from behind the clouds and traveling up and down my wall. The flowers in the vase, the faded lily, the bunting that has been up (and really must come down) since June, the old clock that doesn’t tick, the hole in my sock where my second toe sticks out above all the others, the family photo, the wool blanket on the couch. A Year Between Friends* makes you stop and pay attention to the beauty in your own ordinary world. And it is such a wonderful stroll through the seasons. From pink blossoms to corn on the cob to piles of leaves at your feet and snow-filled forests. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make me miss home. But although it was the catalyst, it was also the antidote to homesickness. I really must take 20 more often.

What small ritual do you do to take time for yourself?

*I wanted to make this book last, I really did. I wanted to taste just a bit of it every day. But I totally devoured it in a couple of sittings and now, I want to bake all the cakes and make all the crafts and live in all the photos.