Stress Level: Outer Limits – Part I

Our stress levels around here the past two weeks have been ridiculous. I know it’s not just us — BDH has said that so many people he knows are so very stressed out right now — but for us, being this consistently stressed out is pretty unusual.

We’re tired. Like, super-over-tired. None of us, not even That Girl, are getting good sleep. And our days, and the stress of them, are adding to the problem.

Nothing catastrophic has happened. As we talked about this morning, we have a roof over our heads and food on the table and we’re safe and healthy and loved. It’s not *that* kind of stress. It’s just… Life is conspiring against us right now in moderate ways to make us feel really, really stressed.

Our stress — let me show you it! Continue reading

There is a Crack in Everything, That’s How the Light Gets In

2016 is FUCKING FIRED, I am telling you truly. But this week? Is pretty fucking close, too. I HAVE HAD ENOUGH.

This week has been sucktacular. Really. Seriously. I mean, you KNOW how bad this week has been.

I’ve been struggling with holding it together through this week’s events. Have you?

I will admit, it’s not been my finest hour. Continue reading

Oh FFS, 2016

So, first it was David Bowie on Sunday. And now I wake up this morning to hear that the brilliant, funny, genuinely decent Alan Rickman has died. Also of cancer. Also at 69.

We are two weeks in, and so far 2016 is not impressing me. Seriously. To quote one of the brilliant peeps on my Rav LSG group, of which both Bowie and Alan Rickman are patron saints,

2016 is grounded and sent to its room, where it can sit and have a long, hard look at its decision-making.

Also, because it always bears saying… fuck cancer.

Not Done Yet

Apparently, summer is not done with us yet. It’s going to be 30 degrees and humid as fuck all week here.

So, although we are supposed to be preparing for school — getting back on schedule, ramping up our homework, reading, buying school stuff — we are instead spending our days swimming, playing games on PBS Kids, playing Zombie Dice and Yahtzee, and sleeping in a bit longer than is probably helpful.

Oh well. I remember fitting in as much as possible in the days leading up to school, in the sad anticipation of the end of summer holidays.

Besides, That Girl has been working hard at therapy and exercises and homework and reading all summer, so it’s not like a few more hours of work will be a game-changer. Continue reading

February. It Can Suck It, Man.

Ugh. February. If there’s one month of the year I hate, it’s February.  (Okay, I lied. I hate November too. And August. For different reasons entirely.) But still. Goddamn February, amirite?

Because, seriously. The darkness. Oh my dog, I have had ENOUGH of the waking up in the dark thing. I am DONE. Plus, because the weather is… well, WINTERY… it’s overcast and gray and darkish during the daytime, too. Sunshine is rare in February.

And it’s cold. Unrelenting cold. And here, in the armpit of southern Ontario, it does that unsettled weather thing, which means tons of snow and also freezing rain and wind and dog knows what else. Probably thundersnow and plagues of cold-resistant locusts or something. I wouldn’t be surprised.

But it is damp. Cold and dark and damp.

I hate it. Continue reading

Winter, Dammit.

Winter is here. Dammit.

Well, temporarily anyway. We’ve got blowing and drifting snow, we’ve got wind chills in the minus teens, and slippy, slushy roads. Mind you, it’s nothing like the 5 feet of snow dumped on Buffalo, so I can’t complain too much.

But I am complaining a little, because a) I hate winter, and 2) I hate driving in winter. These things are exacerbated by the fact that I haven’t got snow tires on my car yet. Because the dealership where I get my car serviced is likely being BOMBARDED by requests for appointments from dopes like me who left getting their snow tires on until much too late, and thus they are booking appointments WELL INTO DECEMBER.

But this is not entirely my fault, nor the other dopes without snowtires’s fault, nor the car dealership’s fault. Because SO MUCH SNOW WAY TOO SOON. It is NOVEMBER for the love of expletives. Continue reading

Letting the Side Down

WARNING: Incoming rant on a touchy subject. Probably some profanity. Gentler readers, click away now.

I’m a woman. I know, some of you probably thought I was some big burly guy doing 25-to-life somewhere. And some probably thought I was some socially inept guy in a barcalounger in his mom’s basement. And the rest are probably pretty comfortable thinking I’m just one of the endless army of angry pajama people, sitting around connected to life via the interwebs.

But no, I am here to assure you, I am a woman. And as a woman, lately, I am finding that there are a lot of other women out there who are letting the side down, exhibiting a lot of the stereotypical behaviours that men have used for laughs in comedy routines throughout the ages.

I’m not talking about bad driving, or nagging at spouses, or shoe obsessions. All good rants for another day, I am sure. No, this is something more fundamental to our gender that, as I get older, I am noticing has no age limits or social boundaries.

And while it made me roll my eyes for awhile, now it’s just pissing me off.

I was in the grocery store today, and I turned into an aisle, and coming the other way I saw a neighbour. Now, by “neighbour” I mean “someone who lives on my street”, but actually she lives at the bottom of our hill whereas I live near the top. She’s got two kids, and she runs a daycare, and when Stinkerbelle and I have been out walking in the last four years and she’s been out with the kids, we’ll stop and chat with her and the kids will play together.

She’s always been nice, and friendly, and we get along, and she’s always very nice to Stinkerbelle. I like her well enough. So today, I stopped to chat with her.

And I asked her, flat out, why it was that, sometime this week, she and her family decided to put their house up for sale.

The answer: Bullying. Not bullying, as you might expect, of the kids. But rather, she’s being bullied BY OTHER MOMS IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD.

Grown women. BULLYING.

She’s been taking a fair bit of bullying in the last four years. I’d heard about it before, and noticed it, too. Her neighbour moms also run day cares, and they are all outside in a communal area on the street in the afternoon so the kids can play, and I have noticed that the other moms will completely ignore her. Like, to the point of refusing to answer her when she asks them a question. They’ll even turn their backs on her and then talk about her.

But it has been escalating. They’ve started spreading rumours and lies about her and her family. They’ve been spreading lies about her daycare to the point that she may not be able to continue to run it anymore. They have blamed recent changes in the parking ordinances for the street on her and have whipped up anger against her and her family for “causing the problem”.

And, what is most shameful of all, they’ve been telling their kids and the kids in their daycares that they are not to play with her kids because “her kids are bad kids”. It’s gotten to the point that her five-year-old son won’t go outside anymore, because the other boys (and there are many of them) will not play with him anymore.

She can’t handle being ostracized and badmouthed anymore, and having her kids mistreated and her business go under because of a bunch of bitchy women. So they’re packing up and leaving and starting again in another neighbourhood.

And it makes me angry.

I have a problem with women. I have noticed that women, not just in our neighbourhood but everywhere, feel the need to feel superior to other women, and will be vicious and judgmental and bitchy to do it.

Put down someone’s physical appearance. Make jokes at their expense. Put down their job or their husband or their kids. Spread hurtful gossip. Be all Judgy McJudgypants about parenting choices.

I have done it. And I look back on those times with shame and regret. It smacks of immaturity and power playing and idleness and… high school. It’s all so very HIGH SCHOOL. And, sadly, it’s not just here, but everywhere.

I just don’t understand why middle aged women are still stuck in this high-school mentality. I’ve graduated and grown up and moved on. Why haven’t they?

What scares me most about these women down the street is the pack mentality. They see a weaker member of the herd and they work together to bring her down. They KNOW they’re doing it, and they’re doing it TOGETHER.

But these are grown women. And I just don’t understand WHY. Why do women feel the need to do this to one another?

I feel bad for this acquaintance down the street. I know this neighbourhood is full of bitches and cliques and nastiness. We’re fortunate to have some distance between us and the worst offenders. Our neighbours are by and large good folks — not without their annoyances and quirks, but generally good people. Sure, the woman two doors up from us is possibly the most vicious gossip on the street, but over the years I think she’s learned that I have absolutely no fucks to give for her and her childishness, and that I have her on ignore.

But this acquaintance at the bottom of the hill is actively, overtly hated by her neighbours on all sides. And nobody who is just trying to live her life should have to deal with that on a daily basis.

We as a society are all up in arms trying to stop bullying among children. I find it ironic, since I see women, who teach children right and wrong on a daily basis, are habitually bullying members of our own gender all the damn time.

I wish these women, women in all walks of life, would stop gossiping about each other and pitting ourselves against one another and proving these horrible stereotypes of our gender. How are women EVER going to be taken seriously and equally when this shit is constantly happening?

I’ve been resolving over the last ten years or so to kill the negative, gossipy inner bitch I noticed inside. And I hope if you ever notice one creeping into your brain, you can do the same.

And to the rest of the bitchy, hateful, gossipy females out there: Grow the fuck up. Knock it off. You’re letting our gender down.

Canada, I Am Disappointed

I know it’s Tuesday, but… Last night, as a nation of voters, Canada demonstrated an appalling amount of stupidity, voting in a Conservative government that has done nothing but show utter contempt for this country and the rights, wishes and needs of its people for years. A MAJORITY government, no less.

After a campaign of outright lies, election fraud and ugly politicking, we’re staring into four more years of soft despotism.

I am just so disappointed and disgusted right now.

“I hear you say the truth must take a beating
The flag a camouflage for your deceiving
I know we all make mistakes
This is not a case of blurred vision,
It’s a case of black holes, pocket holes, soul holes”

Sing it, guys.

Change has GOT to happen, and we have to start NOW. Proportional Representation would be a good start. Review of election law would be another.

(It’s too much to ask for more politicians with integrity and conscience and vision. Yet. Maybe someday.)

No time like the present to get educated, get active, and make a change.