Wednesday, November 18, 2015

I've got 99 problems, but a gnome ain't one

I have this problem lately. I find it absolutely hilarious to make people think I'm plotting to steal things. 

I do it constantly - - in a restaurant if I like the pretty glub glub fish shaped water jug I'll make room in my purse, and that swizzle stick with the colorful wooden bird on top, oh yes, that will fit perfectly up my sleeve. Where else would I get a parrot stir stick? I have to take it. No question. And that tiny little wine glass perfect for orange juice when I'm feeling fancy, yep, I'll have that. My ongoing commentary of the things I intend to steal makes my partner nervous and I find that even funnier. I'm all "So, I'll be taking that funky chair over there by the door when we leave this restaurant so be a sugar lips and pull the car up while I create a diversion." " can't just take things", she says*. Ppppfffftttttt. I say if I paid for my meal, the cutlery should at least be mine now. And I really need a good steak knife. Give me yours too. 

The pure joy I get from seeing her mind racing, questioning whether kleptomania is yet another issue we have to tackle is slightly twisted I know, but real. 

All summer we walked Dixie the wonder dog (furry addition to the family) past this house in my neighborhood where there was a sleeping garden gnome. If you read the "about me" section of this blog you'll know I used to have a fear of garden gnomes. If you haven't read it, don't do it yet. I have to update it. Whoa. Hold on. I said no! Get back here. Not yet. In the meantime, can I get a "Hells yeah" for overcoming one of my 6 bonkatrillion fears? Because I've developed a fondness for the gnome my lovely readers. 

And I want to make that napping gnome my own. 

He's just chilling out in the garden 

He's my kinda gnome. 

So I started out telling the kidlets and my partner how I am going to take the gnome because the family already has about 15 in their yard and they wouldn't even miss that one. In fact they'd probably WANT me to have it. They can't take care of all the gnomes. It's neglectful.  It's impossible. I'd be doing the neighbor a favor. See how his gnome hat is getting all chippy? I'll paint that bad boy up. He'll be the envy of all the gnomes. 

Each day that we'd walk past, my love of the lazy garden gnome grew and I'd get a little more detailed about how I planned to gnome-nap it. I'd run up to the fence and hang off the side and talk about how I just needed to work on my cardio to make the leap right over over under the cover of darkness. 

The wise, but foolish, eight year old asked why I didn't just buy myself a garden gnome. Silly child, this napping gnome and I have a connection and no other gnome will do. The eleven year old would walk far ahead and pretend he didn't know me (not unlike any other non-gnome-thieving-day) while I rambled on about my gnome relief mission. I'm actually rescuing the gnome; I have a much better spot for him in our Momma garden. Even she would want me to take the gnome! Yeah, that's right. I brought my momma into it. Sure, she is not here to defend herself but I did pack her house and I happened upon a few sugar dishes I'm quite certain once belonged to the Steak and Stein. So yeah, she'd be on board. 

Sensible eleven year old underestimates me and suggests I do it when the eight year old is not with me because she can't run fast enough. I said oh ho ho eleven year old, not to worry, I'm not going to get caught. There will be no running required. I'll be stealth like. A gnome stealing ninja. But you are correct that there can be no accomplices. This is a mission I must complete on my own. 

We walked past the house again recently - bundled up in mittens and hats now because Nova Scotia (!!!) - and what do you know... the napping gnome is gone. 

The eight year old's face was a combination of shock and curiosity. Would her mother be sent off to the clink?! 

I whisper, "See, I told you that gnome would be mine." 

They nervously laugh and ask where the gnome really is. I say "He's in our shed of course, he can't come out until next Spring. He'd freeze his little gnome pants off." The kidlets look at each other with one of those 'our mother is batshit crazy' looks that I love so much because these moments, when your kids think you may have stolen a napping garden gnome, are the stuff the really good memories are made of.

My partner continues to say she's going to check the shed with her worried eyes and brow furrowed, secretly hoping there are no Ruby Rose look-alikes in the local jail and wondering how she'll fit trips to the penn into her schedule when her girlfriend is arrested for gnome theft. 

Only time will tell...

*Yes, you read that right. My partner is a she. And SHE is spectacular. But that's for another day.  

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Friday, November 13, 2015

And then she took a nice long soak in my bathwater

When I was a little girl, I clearly recall getting into my mother's bathwater AFTER she bathed. I would play with my Barbies while she got ready to leave for work as a bartender, our face cloths laid out on the sides of the tub as beach towels and the tub the Barbie's ocean; I can still smell the Ivory soap and her Patchouli perfume and remember how I longed for my cheeks to be all bronzed and glowing like hers - yep, she "highlighted" long before all those YouTubers taught us how. 

As I got older, I realized I was basically bathing in the filth she washed off her own body but at the time, it was perfection. 

And then last night I was soaking in the bathtub covered in bubbles and my daughter popped in to tell me three riddles because a peaceful bath is non-existent with children. After a discussion about why I cover my boobs with a cloth (because they get cold peeps!) - she asked to get in my water after I got out. At first I thought...eeew. Hells no. And then I thought damn water bill was outrageous this month (because I'm pretty sure my sister is stealing my water) and it never killed yes. 

While she bathed - which included a full 360 naked spin with legs in the air - we talked about make up and skin care and she asked me to braid her hair into tiny braids for curls the next day - and I wondered what my mother and I talked about when I was exactly my daughter's age, taking a nice long soak in her dirty bathwater. 

Enjoy the little moments, my sweet readers. Even if they're soaked in dirt.   

Colie xx

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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Things I'll Never Say

My father died.

My biological father. Just like that. We had just spoken in the weeks before. By email of course. Because that was the relationship we had. A life in writing.

He joked that my emails were longer than Tolstoy. I joked that he should grab a snack before reading.

I don't think I replied to his last message. We talked about lawn mowing I think. His fondness for it. Enjoying the mindlessness of it. My hatred for it. Given my hell lawn. But I didn't reply.

Because I thought I would have time.

Our messages sometimes started mid sentence and likely would make little sense to anyone but us. His shenanigans often made me laugh out loud. Our emails read much like the ramblings of a crazy person with a lot of "..." and never ending sentences. And they could not have been more similar. I could read an email he wrote and think it was my own writing.

But the last one, I didn't reply.

And then he died.

Leaving me no more time to show him that I am good enough to be included among the daughters he left behind. Good enough to tell the whole town who loved him, that he had more than two daughters. He had more than two grandchildren.

By his choice, for his own reasons, he never met my children. My almost 12 year old son. My boy who has the same little cleft in his chin which my father kept covered by a beard, he never saw that he has his blue eyes with a puff of skin underneath like he's tired no matter how rested, he never met my boy who is an amazing artist with the kind of humour that would have lit him up. And he never met my daughter; my dramatic, adorable, funny, compassionate little eight year old. He never looked in her eyes that are the exact same brown as mine, or heard the way she loves telling stories, often exaggerated to make them a tad more interesting,  just the way I do. The way, I think, he did too.

He chose to have no funeral which is quite fitting for someone who hid in the attic when company came to his house. Not unlike my own personality. But in choosing no funeral, I was left floundering. Confused. Unsure.


So I went to his town. I walked the streets he walked. I threw a stone in the ocean for him. Offering peace. Remembering the many stories he told me about his office, his work, all the people in his life. He had told me all about them over the many years we wrote. Twenty five years. And some years, we wrote every single day. Several times a day. I feel like I know his colleagues, his wife "the sensible one", his in-laws, his daughters, his grandchildren. He told me about them often.

And he told them nothing about me.

And so I'm left alone in my sadness. The only one in my life who feels this loss.

Left wondering as I have since I was eighteen years old and my whole identity changed in an instant. Left wondering why I wasn't good enough for him to talk about? Left wondering why he would leave me out of his obituary that he wrote himself? Knowing, surely knowing, that it would cause another little piece of me to disappear. That it would cause my heart to break into a thousand pieces.

I'll never know. I can't ask him. But I do know what he would tell some point, everyone feels like they don't belong. Because he felt it too. He knew.

I should have insisted that he meet my children. They are so worth knowing. I should have visited. I should have...

I know he would tell me to write more. And to publish my writing. Which is so much like his. In one of the last messages he said to me "you are hilarious you know......somewhere out there is a magazine that would publish your material..." Words he had said to me many times before. Publish. Write. Publish.

I wonder now if I had published my writing, would he have said my name in his final words?

I know now that someday I will hunt down that illusive magazine he swore was out there, just waiting for my writing.

Until then I'm left with these things I'll never say...

That I was his daughter too.

That I loved him.

That every word he wrote to me was important and special and that I will miss him. My confidant. My friend. My father.

Every single day.

We saw a hummingbird on one of the few times we saw each other in person. Him in his ever present Tilley hat. Me nervous and rambling. Since then, we've sent each other gifts and little reminders with the tiny bird a symbol of that day in the park together. He sent me a hummingbird necklace and joked it was so ugly that I'd never wear it . But to me, then and  even more now, it is beautiful.

"Legends say that hummingbirds float free of time, carrying our hopes for love, joy and celebration. Hummingbirds open our eyes to the wonder of the world and inspire us to open our hearts to loved ones and friends. Like a hummingbird, we aspire to hover and to savor each moment as it passes, embrace all that life has to offer and to celebrate the joy of everyday. The hummingbird’s delicate grace reminds us that life is rich, beauty is everywhere, every personal connection has meaning and that laughter is life’s sweetest creation." - Papyrus 

Savour each moment my lovely readers. Do the things that make you happy. Now. Always. Life is short but even in sadness, there is love. I remind myself today that even if I remain unknown, even if I am completely alone in my grief,  our connection had meaning. And that is enough. 

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

A birthday letter to my Mother

Dear beautiful Momma:

It's been four short years since I've heard your voice saying how much you love me. Next week you would turn 75. Or maybe fake 66? But don't worry, I'll keep that on the down low (read: share it with the worldwide interweb, just as you would have wanted).

True love
Your birthday is strangely all wrapped up in the day you last said goodbye but because you wouldn't want me to focus on the weight of that sadness, I will celebrate your very full, strong life instead of mourning the end of it. Taken far too quickly by such an awful disease, it is so easy to get lost in the sadness. To be honest, sometimes it's a celebration with a l'il side of the ugly cry. I can still hear you asking Sissy "What is WRONG with her?" all hysterical, while clutching your heart dramatically, whenever you witnessed the infamous Colie ugly cry, because my pain was your pain. And that is the love of a mother.

And you were a bit of a nut.


To celebrate your birthday this year, we're having a girls night (we'll miss you bro!) at the Comedy Festival (good one, right?) because that was your favorite. Well, that and gambling but you know how that gives Sissy heart palpitations. So in honor of you, I will laugh too loud and possibly blow my nose during the one moment when the entire place is completely silent. Because that's how you rolled. I'll also overdose on poutine, fake lose my keys at least 32 thousand times, encourage everyone to go to the casino, and secret eat some cheesecake at 2 am. Because there's a little lot of you in me.

Missing our (crazy) glue but sticking together. 
I want you to know I am okay. In fact, most of the time, I'm really happy. I have a lot less chances of getting shot at work now. Oh how I wished I could call you with my super spectacular new job news. But I sort of feel like maybe you had a hand in it? Life seems to be falling into place. Maybe I'm just ready?

I know, I're getting confused by the errrr...switcheroos (for lack of a better word) that I've been pulling in the romance department...and yes, I maaaaay have too many balls in the air at times (hardy har har)...which I'm sure would have you on the phone daily to my sisters and brother talking about how I need to "get a grip" but...I'm finding my way, Mom. I'm living my life with passion now, and with love. I like to think you'd understand.  

Over the years, I've taken your locket of ashes with me to New York City, Italy, Paris and lots of smaller stops in between on this crazy road I'm travelling. Maybe Hawaii next? Sometimes I bring you along because I think you would love to be there experiencing it with me - to see the Eiffel Tower all lit up and flickering for just a brief moment, to see Times Square bustling and taste the thrill of the city in the air, and to see Italy, to just soak it all up...the art, the churches, the amazing food. I know 3 gelato a day was a bit much but hey! I was grieving. More often though, I bring you along when I feel like I need you. And I do. I still need you. 

The coolest kid EVER! He misses you.
I know you would be his biggest fan - bragging about how talented and funny and brilliant he is to all your friends
(and of course, strangers on the street)
I need you most when I'm ready to pull my hair out as a mother hear you laugh at my stories and wash away all my self doubt. To remind me that I can do it and that I'm a really good mom. And of course, to hear you moan about how you had to do it with FOUR children all alone. I know now how hard that was and that you did the very best you could. Leaving us all with enough of the crazy to make us a little more interesting and with enough love to last us long after you've gone.
Look at her now! Oh how you would laugh together Momma.
She is me.
She is you. 
So...happy happy happy birthday my irreplaceable Momma. I miss you. I hope you're proud of me. And I love you more than words could ever say. 

I carry your heart.

I can still hear you singing this one

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Ten Is The Coolest Number

Happy 10th Birthday to my favorite guy. My sweet, sweet son. For ten wonderful, challenging, very fun years I've had the privilege of seeing your smile and hearing that perfect little giggle. YOU are my favorite boy in the whole world.

Its amazing how at 10 years old you are such an incredible person, you and I have a very cool connection where you know what I'm thinking before I say anything and just one tiny change in the expression on your adorable face tells me if you are happy or scared or don't feel well. And oh how we laugh together. You have the BEST sense of humor.

Someday I hope you'll read all my blog posts and learn a little more about my shenanigans and maybe see yourself in me...and know that through all of the ups and downs, you and your baby sister are my biggest achievement, my reason for being, my whole heart. honor of you hitting the double digits - WOO HOO!! - here are 10 things I love about you, my beautiful boy:

1. You are super sensitive and while it sometimes upsets you because you feel things deeper than others do and you worry more (like me), it actually makes you more thoughtful, more in tune with others, and more caring and pure and kind. Please don't ever try to change that. People will tell you that you're too sensitive and will see it as a flaw. It isn't. It is what makes you special.

2. You love making people laugh and just between us, I think you most enjoy making me laugh. With you I have that loud, belly busting kinda laughter. I hear my mother when you make me laugh. You are a fun, funny kid. You do the best British accent ever and have some kick @ss dance moves. I like to think you get your humor from me. Probably a bit from your father too though. He can be pretty entertaining as you know from all the stories I'm sure he's thrilled that I tell you ("Declined! Declined! Approved!"). But always remember...and this part is very important...I'm much funnier than your Dad.

3. You are the most creative, talented boy I've ever known. Your artwork amazes me every single day and the ideas you come up with simply blow my mind. You are truly an artist. A creative soul. I could not be more proud. I can't wait to see what the future holds for you.

4. You pay attention. You know my favorite chocolate bar(s), the things I hate (especially Ketchup), my style of jewelry (your future girlfriend will be very lucky!), and I can say I love some little thing in a store in passing and you remember and drag your Dad out to get it for me. The latest being a comfy, warm, purple polka dotted robe that I now live in. It's like being wrapped in your tiny little arms, all filled with love.

5. You remember EVERYTHING. Every gift ever know who gave it to you. Every one's birthday. Every detail of fun trips and crazy stories. Like me, you love to re-tell those stories, re-live the moments and laugh. Our recent favorite being the time I pretended to be Elf, covered my eyes, ran and slammed into the closet door while accidentally sending your sister flying into the air. Oh the laughs we've had re-enacting that little stunt. The 6 year old doesn't find it as funny. Weird, eh?

6. You cherish the little things. Cards and tiny gifts you've received from your Grammy since you were born all saved in a special box you love to look through, everything from my mom (your Nanny) remains important to you from stuffed animals she picked just for you, to old coins and antique keys, and you find special places in your room for all those memories (slightly concerned about hoarding tendencies but you make up for it with your sweet sentimentality). Nanny would be so happy to see that she lives on in your heart and I am certain that your Grammy is over the moon proud of you.

7. When you get angry or frustrated (mostly at your baby sister), you manage it with sarcasm and humor and perfect when your sister introduced her imaginary friend Liz simply to bug the crap out of you for a day and then flipped out because she couldn't get Liz buckled in the car, I heard you mumble "If I could SEE Liz, I would totally punch her in the head right now". Oh how we laughed. You still ask about Liz, but now it bugs the crap out of your sister. You kill me.

8. You pretend like you hate your sister because that's what big brother's do, and then you make her gifts and teach her things with patience and laughter, and you yell "love ya" from your room when you say goodnight. You are the best big brother ever. She's so lucky to have you.

9. When you're scared, you tell me. First you make sure that your sister can't hear because you're protective of her but you gather up the courage to admit when something scares you and you snuggle into me and listen as I reassure you that whatever the latest story those grade 4 kids are spreading around is not true and there is no "Bloody Mary" or dog that smiles at you before it kills you. Side note: those story telling kids are making me crazy/crazier.

10. You are my sunshine.

So happy, happy, happy birthday my 10 year old boy!!!! I'm letting you play hookie from school this afternoon (after you get your birthday pencil and "custom" card and b-day announcement at school this morning, of course!)...we will do whatever your heart desires and I can't wait to share this day with you.

The Big Day
I adore you.

Your Mom

PS: You can do anything.

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