Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Crowded Island

It's February in Canada. Being stranded on an isolated tropical island, even if it were filled with water-borne diseases and cannibals (mmm, white meat!), doesn't seem so bad to me right now. At least it would be warm & sunny. And there would be no dress code. In fact, I don't even feel bad for the people on "Lost" at all. Sure, they have to scream and run for their lives a lot, but do they have to warm up their cars for 20 minutes so they can chip the ice off the windshield? I don't think so.

So while I'm imagining tropical bliss, I may as well have company while I'm there. No "Wilson" volleyballs for me! Since this is my blog and I can do pretty much whatever I like here, I'm getting stranded on a tropical island with some REALLY neat company. I proudly present to you...

Franny's Top Ten Historical People To Be Stranded On An Island With (and why)

10. Marie Antoinette - hopefully with her head. Seems like she'd know how to mix drinks, & I could try on her clothes.
9. William Wallace (aka Braveheart) - coconuts, meet broadsword. Oh, and Franny, meet broadsword.
8. Leonardo Da Vinci - imagine the sand sculptures!
7. William Shakespeare - to hone my art.
6. Napoleon Bonaparte - because we're gonna take over the world if we ever get off this island...
5. Sigmund Freud - to throw rocks at when we're all bored.
4. Albert Einstein - sure he's smart, but I need to know...can he cook?
3. King Arthur - for those days when I've worn out #9.
2. Cleopatra - for the pyjama party & moonlit pillow fights!
1. Galileo Galilei - to stargaze with, to dream with, and to figure out a way to get me back home. (*sweetie: For no matter where I am and how many miles and dead historical people there are between us, I would trade it all, just to be with you.)

Ahem! Sorry about that - -

Honourable mentions who didn't make the list: Mother Theresa, Gandhi, Anne Frank & Adolph Hitler. Why Hitler, you ask? Well Mother Theresa & Gandhi could make him feel really bad about himself and the horrible things he did. Then, when he's finally crying and really sorry and begging for forgiveness, they can hold him still while Anne Frank kicks the shit out of him.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Truth About Childbirth

DISCLAIMER: If you are expecting, or plan to be in the near future, do yourself a favour and DO NOT read this!

You know how your mom, upon finding dirty underwear (or worse) in your dresser drawer, would rant about "18 hours of labour and THIS is how you thank me!?" Well that's what I plan to do here today. I am in a mood so vile that it is time to write about what it is really like to give birth. None of that "miracle" stuff. None of that "you forget all about the pain" bull. I remember dammit!

For all of you men out there, I promise to spare you the gory, anatomical details.

When I was pregnant with Joey (now 4), I remember taking childbirth classes, yoga, aquafit, etc, in preparation for the 'big day'. Everytime I talked about the actual birthing, I would smile and pretend I was concerned, the whole time thinking: "how bad could it be, really?" In retrospect, it was like thinking:

"How much trouble could my husband's '82 Pontiac Phoenix be, really?"

"How much could the repair bill be, really?"

"How scary could this Freddie Krueger guy be, really?"

The answer, of course, is always ONE BAJILLION times worse than you could ever imagine in the confines of your tiny little brain! On the morning of my due date, I joked with my sister that I was in labour. An hour later, I wasn't joking. At the hospital, my mother-in-law, laughing giddlily, ran up to me and grabbed at my stomach with both hands during a contraction. I jumped back three feet, grew horns and waved my pitchfork at her while shreiking in a voice that was not my own: "IT'S NOT FUCKING FUNNY AND DON'T FUCKING TOUCH ME AGAIN!" The nuns in the hallway all crossed themselves.

When I am in pain, leave me alone. I am a wounded wolf in a dark cave - very dangerous - do not disturb. That was until the epidural guy came. When he arrived, he was a tiny, crazy-looking little man, about 30 years my senior with a sweaty countenance that rivaled Darth Vader, sans mask. When he left, I was in love. I think I proposed. All I know is that when the pain stopped I was as high as a kite. The world was wonderful again.

Until they shut off my meds to push. I remember telling people that labour was like having your feet hacked off at the ankles slooowly over 16 hours, and then pushing was like them asking you to run a marathon on the stumps. Yes I know, that's gross. And what a mess!

But that moment came when I realized that it was only up to me, no one could do this for me, and that if I summoned all my strength and pushed with all my might, I would (hopefully) die. The nurses tried to encourage me by shouting that in a few moments I was going to have the beautiful sweet baby of my dreams in my arms...my only coherent thought was "Who cares!? I'm gonna die! Sweet blissful death! Yippee!!!"

Four minutes before midnight on his due date, my son was born. They put him on my chest and he was as slippery as Vaseline, so I circled his tiny ankle with my thumb & index finger, just in case. My husband was crying. My mom was sobbing. The nurses were cheering. Sadly, I was a little shell-shocked. Yes, childbirth was like the first 20 mins. of "Saving Private Ryan". I still hear the mortar rounds and the screaming.

But I guess it also commanded my spirit to reach beyond what it ever had before. I see myself as just another soldier in the march of the human race. Another woman, following the path of millions of incredible women before me, against all odds, against all hope, against tides of fear and despair. And I still tell my mother-in-law, when we look back at that crazy day, that it was NOT funny.

But it was okay.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Cyanosis Makes Me Blue

According to the latest personality test, I apparently have a choleric temperament, which sounds a lot like I can give you cholera, but lets not get confused here. I do NOT cause profuse diarrhea, abdominal cramping, cyanosis, fever, nausea and vomiting.

Well usually I don't. And not on purpose.

It's pretty cool...I mean for a 5-question personality test, this one kinda hit the nail on the head for me. Those that know me well will understand. Those that don't will probably fear me from now on. I'd say 90% of this stuff is true about me, (the personality part, not the cholera) except for the part about me having no use for friends. What the heck was that about? And a narcissist? I want so badly to deny it, but it's hard to be modest when you are as incredibly bright & charismatic as I am.

And the whole using my mind as a "weapon" thing...well, I'll let the leagues of war wounded out there have that one.

You Have a Choleric Temperament
You are a person of great enthusiasm - easily excited by many things.Unsatisfied by the ordinary, you are reaching for an epic, extraordinary life.You want the best. The best life. The best love. The best reputation.
You posses a sharp and keen intellect. Your mind is your primary weapon.Strong willed, nothing can keep you down. Your energy can break down any wall.You're an instantly passionate person - and this passion gives you an intoxicating power over others.
At your worst, you are a narcissist. Full of yourself and even proud of your faults.Stubborn and opinionated, you know what you think is right. End of discussion.A bit of a misanthrope, you often see others as weak, ignorant, and inferior.

In conclusion, I am an intelligent, determined, optimistic, resourceful, passionate & influential little bitch.

What Temperment Are You?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Running Commentary

Walking down these hallowed halls today, I crossed the path of an old nemesis. What did she do to win this distinction? Well, let's just say that a transgression occurred while I was pregnant with the twins - and it was during one of those 'really bad news' moments when you are most likely to jump off a bridge - and this woman went out of her way to be unkind and cold to me. Not a shred of human pity or decency when it was so obviously, desperately called for.

I will never forget it as long as I live.

So, naturally, when I saw her again, I waved and cheerily said, "Hi, it's been a long time! You're looking great!"

What I was thinking was, "Get thee behind me, Satan!" I am not even kidding. I even laughed out loud after she walked away at how easily the unbidden words sprang forth in my mind.

You see, I am a person who is deeply touched by kindness. I see two strangers helping each other across the icy sidewalk and I feel alive. A small child hugging another crying child brings tears to my eyes. I am always noticing small actions of beauty, and try to use them to define my view of this often jaded world. But at the same time, I abhor indifference. Unkindness, when a kindness would have required just as much, or even less effort, is a truly hateful thing to me.

I will never understand how one can see an injured bird on the sidewalk in the dead of winter and not try to do something. Anything.

I will never understand how one can be asked for help, though the cost be nothing at all to them, and shrug.

I will never understand one who chooses principal over imminent, tangible, human need.

And yet, I have had the dubious honour of seeing all of this. But in a way, perhaps seeing people on their worst, most insensitive, most selfish behaviour has been a blessing to me and to all that I am and have yet to become.

For you must know that there is something to be learned from everyone that you meet, even if it's simply what not to be like.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Flying High

Someone asked me on Friday what my lifelong dream was. Without hesitation, I said "to own a flying horse". I even got all teary eyed as I talked about it - the childhood dream, the thrill of flying, the pooing on the neighbors' cars. What made it worse, I suppose, was this was my new boss who had asked me, and this was at work. After a few minutes of my blubbering about it, she felt compelled to ask me if I was aware that flying horses didn't exist. I think her next question was going to be "are you on drugs?"

Oh, the humiliation.

In retrospect, I think she was looking for me to tell her that my lifelong dream was to write the next great Canadian novel, to have a cottage up north or to adopt a child from some 3rd world country. But a flying horse? I think I can guess what transpired behind closed doors later that day.

My boss: "We need to talk."

Her boss: "Sure, just sit down in my leather wing chair and let me finish my bourbon."

My boss: "Yes ma'am."

Her boss: "Okay, so what's the problem?"(slurp)

My boss: "You know Franny downstairs? Um...her lifelong dream is to have a flying horse."

Her boss: (choking on bourbon) "WHAT!? What kind of freaky hippie did you hire?!"

My boss: "Well actually, you really liked her at the interview..."

Her boss: "Oh no, you're not pinning this one on me! And how was I supposed to know she was some drugged-out psychadelic wierdo exactly? She seemed so....so...."

My boss: "Normal?"

Her boss: "Shit, it's always the "normal" ones isn't it?" (sip, pause) "Where is Little Miss Acid-Trip now?"

My boss: "She's with - oh my GOD! She's with the students!"

Her boss: "No! Not the children! Someone's gotta stop that schizzed-out mad-woman!"

My boss: "I'll get the machete behind the photocopier..."

The rest of my day was pretty uneventful, thanks in part to the fact that the photocopier weighs 300 lbs. I think I got some wierd looks from my coworkers though. And I'm SURE they were talking to me very slooooooooowly and carefully... maybe they're fearful that references to abstract concepts like 'strategic planning' or 'departmental goals' will send the demented crackhead on her next 'cukoo' trip? Eg:

Them: "What do you see as our fiscal budget goals for 2007?"

Me: "Get these damn spiders off me! Oh my God, they're everywhere! Spiders! No! No! ARGHHHHHHHHHH!" (rolling on floor, scratching/screaming, etc...)

As I write, I am certain there is a committee of concerned individuals preparing an intervention. Just for fun, at the next really long, boring meeting, I'm gonna ask "did anyone else hear that? Sounded like neighing..."

Lucky for me, "wants a flying horse" is not grounds for dismissal according to the Ontario Labour Standards Act. I looked it up.

And for the record, I do not rescind my lifelong dream. I STILL want a flying horse. If they didn't really want to know, they shouldn't have asked. Poop away, Peggie!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A Detour

We had a big family dinner at my mom's last night, complete with baked tortellini, stuffed zucchini, pork tenderloin, salad and fresh baked semolina bread, bowls of fresh fruit and olives. Anyhow, the usual big Italian family dinner involves many screaming children and controversial, animated discussion (Last night's topic: whose kid will be the most beautiful when they grow up. Yes, it got ugly.)

So anyways, there I was, plotting my revenge against anyone who didn't agree that my daughter was God's gift of ultimate beauty to the world over and above all her mangy cousins. (Is everyone BLIND???!!!) Suddenly, we noticed my 2-yr-old son Nicky had disappeared. For those of you who didn't know, Nicky is autistic. A very wise person once told me to think of it this way: most children are like cars on a road. They swerve, they adapt to the conditions of their enviroment, they change direction when they want to do something else. They can drive alongside other cars/children. They can stop quickly when they must. Nicky is like a train on a track. One direction. One destination. Can't stop for miles. He has repetitive tendencies, is very solitary and doesn't "get" abstract concepts, like "bring me the cup so I can give you water". He'll stand by the sink crying instead, unable to understand what the cup has to do with the water that comes out of the tap.

He has problems with speech, and talks in single word utterances. He can only identify items he sees ("CAR"!) but not items he needs but doesn't see ("water"). This is very unlike his twin sister who is a chatterbox and a master manipulator. On the plus side, she instinctively takes care of him. When someone gives her a sippy cup with water/juice, she won't leave until that person gives her one for her brother too. Same thing with cookies, snacks, etc. When Nicky can't find his blankie, Natalie helps me tear the house apart looking for it. When he cries, she runs around saying "Nicky crying! Don't cry Nicky! Don't cry Nicky!" She even gives him his pacifier to make him stop. She is a patient marvel with her 'little' brother. (Can you see why she is so beautiful to me?)

Anyhow, I was worried about my son, so I called him back to the living room, which never works but I never stop trying. (He doesn't come when called.) Resigned, I got up to search for the little escapee, when suddenly he comes tearing around the corner, his face ablaze with victory.

"Mommy, I got the grapes! I got the grapes!"

Sure enough, raised high in his little fist was a handful of grapes that he had swiped from the dinner table. It was his first sentence. It was the first time he had "helped" himself.

I suddenly realized that in the contest for most beautiful, it was a tie.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

One Good Turn...

My heroic blog friend Paul turned me on to the HeroMachine site, where you can make yourself into pretty much whichever kind of super-hero/freak/Village Person you'd like. It was so cool, so I made myself into the fantasy heroine of my dreams. (Yes, I am aware that I have not looked like this since highschool. Okay, maybe I was never quite so richly endowed. But the other body types were ghastly and the face looks like me and I said FANTASY so shaddup there in the back row!)

The Legend of Franny: Though raised by the church in a strict and cloistered fashion, Franny always knew she was different. Nighttime urges forced her into the streets to explore the darkness while the others slept. Her life is changed forever when she overhears the falsely repentant confession of a heinous criminal. Outraged that the criminal is offered forgiveness by the church that raised her, she leaves forever to avenge his crimes and to protect the innocent. Over time, she becomes a patron of vigilante justice, skimpy costumes and ass-kicking in general.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Until I Get Mine...

I'm a marked woman. I’ve been walking around all day trailing bad luck in my wake. I know it's Friday the 13th, but everyone AROUND me has been injured, maimed, or otherwise incapacitated. Perhaps fate’s aim is a little off today? Maybe I am simply moving too fast for the hexes to catch me and they’re hitting other people? Consider the following:

- Leaving the library this morning, I walked out the “in” gate, which opened the wrong way for me without incident. But a millisecond later, the person going in the gate I had just exited was violently clotheslined by the gate that would not open – even though HE was going the right way.

- A student needed my help with her laptop, and I did my best. (She even joked about how useless her $1200 machine was.) I carelessly manhandled the laptop, trying to locate the problem. When I was done she took it back carefully, said thanks and turned around to leave and then dropped it with a big SMASH. It was in 3 pieces.

- Wanted to use interac, but managed to scrounge together just enough nickels to pay for my coffee in the cafeteria. After taking my coins, the cashier rammed the cash drawer shut on her fingers just centimetres from my own fingers. (Oh it hurt – I know because she was speaking in tongues while I ran to get ice)

These incidences are more than a little disturbing. The first guy will definitely never father any children, the second girl’s got some ‘splainin to do to daddy, and that poor cashier will be eating through a straw for some time. Oh of course, you’ll say I should hide in a soft, padded room until this bad luck passes. “Watch out Franny,” you’ll say “ those hexes have to catch up with you sooner or later!”

But those that know me well also know that I have a fatalistic yet indomitable spirit that cannot be intimidated by a little peripheral bad luck. In fact, until I get mine, I have much work to do. I’ve decided to call up all the people who have wronged me in the past “just to hang out”.

‘Scuse me, I have a date tonight with an old flame…

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Culturalizing the Kids

My three children can't get enough of the Wiggles. They bop to the Doodlebops. They think Dora the Explorer is a musical genius. Unfortunately, I've reached a point where even Raffi is wearing a little thin (sorry Baby Beluga). So I decided tonight was the night to "fix" my kids' taste in music with a little bit of MY taste in music.

"Hey kids, we're going on a magic carpet ride to the 70's, and that's classic rock baby!"

I dimmed the lights, closed the blinds, called my husband to make sure he would be home late, put on my favorite mixed CD and got ready to party with two toddlers and one preschooler. What started out as an optimistic experiment in culturalization quickly turned into an all-out humiliation. I have decided to share with you my children's reactions to each of the songs that I (once) held so dear:

Beth by Kiss
My daughter (age 2) squatted in the corner and took a crap during this song. Her twin brother thought this was a good idea too. It was synchronized crapping, with my four year-old son pointing and screaming "EWWWW" and complaining about the smell over the heart-felt lyrics and tender violin strains.

California Dreamin' by the Mammas & the Pappas
I changed diapers through most of this song. By the time we got to "stopped into a church", my four-yr-old decided this was a great song to toss the twins onto the couch to. And they would roll off and hit the floor, and then wail. And then eagerly do it again. And the whole time I was barefoot trying to encourage them to sway baby...groove man...stop killing each other you little...

Annie's Song by John Denver
"You fill up my senses, like a night with 3 children playing a game of let's crawl between mommy's legs while she is dancing and see if we can't trip her or have her fall on top of us leaving us frigging parapalegic for life!"

Desperado by the Eagles
This moving song moved my children into comas. My son (age 2) left the room and went to play in a corner with a thrilling ball of lint. My other son (age 4) started to scratch his tummy and whine that it was all red and then scratch it some more, etc, etc, etc. My daughter tried to shut the CD player off but she couldn't reach the button. While I was putting cream on my son's self-inflicted tummy wounds, she finally succeeded in pulling the plug out of the wall, which was recieved with high-fives from her siblings.

Landslide by Fleetwood Mac
Not one to give up, I turned the CD player back on to this song. That's about when the fighting broke out. I had never associated this song with aggression, but my children found a way. I will never, ever hear this song again without feeling all anxious and twitchy and hearing far-off Vietnam-type screams and mortar fire. Thanks a lot.

American Pie by Don McLean
By this point, everyone was pretty much forced to sit on the couch and frigging ENJOY mommy's goddamn music. And they were all giving me the dirtiest "you're a bee-atch" looks. Until the part where the tempo picks up. Then, one by one, they got up, and began to bounce. And then dance. And then laugh. And suddenly we were partying to American Pie in the silliest, most carefree way.

So eat that Wiggles! Sit on it Dora! I've broken your strangle-hold upon my children's musical tastes! Next week, we're taking on Classic (Best of) Queen!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Is Nothing Sacred!?

World of Longmire is a site I stumbled upon today- now I've read my share of bodice-rippers, so I can honestly say that Longmire teased and greatly aroused my funny bone from its long slumber. Anyone with a cynical sense of humor will greatly enjoy the revised romance novel titles based on their melodramatic cover art...thanks Longmire, wherever you may be.

Anyhow, in honor of that VERY good laugh, I have decided to blog my day, ROMANCE NOVEL STYLE! (Please note that the following events may not have happened exactly as described - I will try not to laugh, but forgive me if I do.)

Late for Work

She raced up the walkway, her heart pounding, her skirts swirling about her trim ankles. Today would be the day. Then suddenly, she saw him, his golden locks whipping in the winter wind. His coat opened to reveal his firm & powerful chest. His cool crystal green eyes surveyed her rumpled, hurried state disapprovingly, and she shied in spite of herself. As he moved forward to hold open the door with his muscled arm, she instinctively knew what was coming next.

"You're late." He hissed as she passed in front of him.

"So are you."

She couldn't believe the challenge that had just escaped her full red lips. He stood taller, a bemused look crossing his chiseled face. She cringed. Had she gone too far? Her heart thundered in her breast like a thousand galloping steeds, and she found herself nervously playing with her long raven locks as they walked together up the spiral staircase. He had always had this effect on her, since the day they had met. At first she had thought it was mere intimidation - his size and girth was stallion-like, with rippling muscles and a quick gait to match. She was tiny in comparison, and had trouble keeping up with his manly strides.

Soon though, she had discovered that there was something more to her feelings about this man. Something deep within her virgin treasure (lmfao!) knew a truth that her mind and heart still did not comprehend. Something was yet unsaid between them. Something was yet undone. Still, his silence was unnerving, and she hoped that perhaps he had nothing more to say to her. She was wrong.

"Leave all your things upstairs and meet me in the south wing at noon." He turned away abruptly, leaving her to wonder what his smile had meant.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Reverse Psychology Resolutions

Today was my first day back at work after the holidays. Everyone was eating apples and carrot sticks and exercising during their lunchbreak. By the end of the month, the lineup at Harvey's will be backed up out the cafeteria doors again.

Oh, the honorable intentions that a New Year brings forth.

It seems that whenever I make a resolution, the opposite comes true. (Eg: If I want to lose weight, I gain it. If I want to hex somone, they win the lottery.) So this year I'll outwit the universe and reverse-psychology myself into making this the best year ever. For 2006, I hereby resolve to:

*Have clean, lukewarm & innocent sex in private places.

*Have a lot more children...oooh, so many I can't even count 'em all!

*Vote Republican. No, not just vote for them, but kiss their pretty white asses! Especially those really extreme paranoid billionaires: I intend to throw all my support behind 'em and lay rose petals at their feet as I write sonnets about their legendary solomonic wisdom.

*Oh, and have more clean, lukewarm & innocent sex in private places.

If I can achieve all of these, it will truly be a rockin' year. Now who can I count on for bail?