Tag Archives: happy

My Friend Jen

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The first time I met her was at a bus stop in front of Lakeport high school at night.  I was headed to my first high school dance.  It was grade nine, and my christian high school didn’t have dances, for whatever biblical reasons, and I was nervous.

Jen was already too cool for school dances.  She was leaving the dance–she had better and more interesting things to do and cooler people to hang out with.  She was dressed in all black, the jeans tight on her skinny legs, her long red hair had a slight feather to it and the wings of her eyeliner were extended further than I had ever seen on anyone since the 80s.

Her tough exterior and aloof coolness were intimidating to this square and dorky church girl.  The friend I was with introduced us, and I felt lame.  I was definitely not as cool as this girl and there’s no way she’d want to be friends with lame preppy little me.  She was rock and roll.  She was Jen Hatcher.

The following  year, I transferred schools, and started attending Lakeport myself.  But badass Jen had already been kicked out of Lakeport or some shit, so our paths never really crossed again, until much much later.  That brief meeting must have made some impression on the both of us, though, because years later we met up again, and there was no question that we knew each other.

I was in university at the time, and had landed my then dream job, working at Scizzions as the receptionist.  Jen was working as a stylist at the same salon, and was a bit standoffish at first.  I’m certain she had kept her distance because of my lame quotient, but running into me at a Sick Boys rock show upped my cool factor by about a million.  So then we were friends.

We worked together almost every day for 5 years, along side our other co-workers, and I often describe that time as “working with my best friends everyday”.   The pranks we pulled were outrageous and often ended in uncontrollable giggle fests while clients were left waiting for their hair cuts and colours.  We took liberties with each other’s personal property that no coworkers should ever take but our senses of humour made it work.  The laughs and our friendship extended far beyond the walls of the salon as we often spent our free time together too…smoking cigarettes, sharing secrets and spilling drinks for hours before passing out on each other’s couches.

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I learned a lot about Jen in that time, and we became very very close friends–Another unique friendship with a special soul that I have been so fortunate to collect in my lifetime.  So please, let me tell you all about her.  My friend, Jen.

My friend Jen was born in the 70’s and grew up in the 80’s.   She’s always loved (hair) metal, which is totally weird for someone our age.  I liked metal for a spell in the 80’s, when I wanted to be like my babysitter.  I listened to Motley Crue’s Theatre of Pain, maybe more than most 8 year olds, but Jen loved it all.  Motley Crue, Quiet Riot, even Ratt.  She’s been to more Cinderella concerts than is even conceivable for someone in their 30’s and if there was a world record for use of the kyuss  in everyday life, she’d own it.  Jen is a skid.  A rockin’ 80’s skid.

But beyond her skiddy tastes in music, is a beautiful and loving sweet soul.  She is the kindest, most gentle human you’ll ever get the chance to meet.  She is friendly and cheerful, and has hoards of friends.  She is bright and sunny and motivated and ambitious.  She’s even sensitive, though she’s not likely to admit it.  She is empathetic and loving and wonderful.  She is the truest of the true, the bluest of the blue and the best god damned friend you could ever ask for.

Jen Hatcher has been there for me in some of the most difficult and trying times in my life.  Always offering a shoulder to cry on, a hand to lend, or pages of words encouraging me to do something with my life.  Urging me to follow my dreams.  Pushing me to turn my life around when there was no one else that could do that for me.  She was there cheering me on and chairing my fan club when I felt alone and scared and was ready to give up.

She’s tougher than tough, stronger than strong and has endured some extremely challenging times in her life–things that could literally crush anyone’s soul. And she has lived through it all with remarkable grace and poise and patience.  The world would be a better place if we would all strive to be just a little more like her.

I could go on for days, and it still wouldn’t do her justice.  I am so lucky to have such a incredible and amazing friendship with Rock and Roll Jen.  I never saw it coming that cool autumn some 20 years ago as Meatloaf blared from the high school gym.  But beyond the eyeliner and tight jeans was an extraordinary spirit so unique and special who has come to mean so much to me.  Ultimately, I’m writing because I’m inspired by her and I’m grateful every single day to have her in my corner.

 

My friend Jen.  Keep on rockin’, you skid.

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Just Me and My Parkdale

Every once in a while, all things align to make for a great day. A really special day. The best day even.

A day where plans are loose, some freedom is in sight, and your best pal is in town.

People on the streets are happy and the air is light. No where to be, no one’s schedule to follow and the day just unfolds itself for you with almost no effort.

And at the end of the day you just can’t seem to fire your way into the number one spot for all time galactic hero, but it doesn’t matter because there’s still the walk home. It’s quiet and oddly bright and it feels like you have the night all to yourself. Just you and your Parkdale.

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Songs on Repeat: Modern Girl

I think I always knew about Sleater-Kinney, but I never really listened to them before I heard this song.  Like really heard it.

Sunny days and nights

Sunny days and nights

If I had to guess, I would say that the song is probably supposed to be sarcastic in undertones, judging solely on what I’ve learned about Carrie Brownstein’s sense of humour on Portlandia.  And since they’re sortof punk rock, it might just be a commentary on how people rely on material possessions to bring them happiness.  Here’s what comes to mind when I put it on repeat.

Listening to Modern Girl reminds me of the way I felt about Hole’s “Violet” back in the 90s.  It makes me want to wake up really early, drink coffee and smoke lots of cigarettes while I drive a really long distance shouting the lyrics at the top of my lungs.  This song picks me up, it perks me up and makes me feel like I can face the world.  The entire world.  It doesn’t matter to me what social commentary Sleater Kinney meant to disseminate with Modern Girl.  I blast this as my anthem–not because I’m a punk rock socialist. It is my anthem because my life, my whole life, IS a picture of the sunny day.

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I have a beautiful baby who loves me.  I have an amazing husband who loves me.  I can get a really fucking awesome donut if I want, and buy a television if I really wanted to.  And even if I didn’t have any of those things, my life would still be full of sunshine.  Because that’s how I want to see it.

There are so many things that can stand in the way of happiness.  Things that seem so important to the value of our lives, but instead of propelling us forward, they push us down or hold us back.  Negative thoughts and actions have no purpose, but rather, they simply sap your drive to live and your will to see all that is good and lovely.

I don’t live in some weird euphoric utopian paradise zombie state, though reading back on what I’ve written, it may sound that way.  I hurt and I cry and sometimes I think I simply can’t go on.    Dwelling on those horrific feelings, while it seems to temporarily offer comfort and relief, doesn’t really offer any value, to me or anyone else.  It simply draws energy away from the things I want to accomplish in this life.

Kensington Sunshine

Kensington Sunshine

I grew up in a pretty negative environment, surrounded by some pretty significant negative influences.  I was so negative I can remember an era in my life where I would actually say to people that I didn’t want to live past 30.  My first thought now is to laugh at such immature rationale, but when I really reflect on the implications of those things I was saying, I get scared.  If things hadn’t changed and I hadn’t made a conscious effort to shed the negativity, I might not have made it to 30.  And I never would’ve been able to enjoy this extraordinary life that I get to live today.

Happiness is a choice, and several years ago I made that choice to be happy.  Surely I have days now and again where again I find myself smack in the middle of misery and despair.  But I try to remind myself about the choice I made as quickly as I can.  Rather than slowly wasting away in the dismal and gray, I can choose to live on and thrive in the shining sun.

Peruvian Sunshine

Peruvian Sunshine

Thank you, Sleater-Kinney, for writing and recording Modern Girl.  It helps me remember to make that choice.  Over and over again.  And that’s what makes me a modern girl.

When the rain clears and out comes the sun, it's accompanied by a rainbow.

When the rain clears and out comes the sun, it’s accompanied by a rainbow.

Anniversary Traditions

I just looked it up.  It was actually March 5th.  Turns out that’s actually my pal’s Parks’ birthday…funny coincidence.  I didn’t even know there was a Park’s when I moved to Toronto.

In 2006, I made a pretty significant life decision.  I quit my job, packed up my shit and moved here.  I had exactly 4 friends on the north shore of Lake Ontario.  And now, this is my life.  Lake Ontario at the bottom  of my street, and Queen Street is just steps to the north.  I listen to Parkdale sounds as I fall asleep at night, and I wake to Parkdale sounds in the morning.  Deep in the throbbing heart of Parkdale, I am at home in my Parkdale House Of Dreams.  Until 2006, I didn’t even know what a Parkdale was.

West Queen West upon entering Parkdale  “You’ve Changed”

Coming to the decision to move away from my friends, my family, my love, was actually easier than I thought it was at the time.  I had been to visit my dear Kindred on several occasions, and cried whenever I left.  So I moved, and my life changed. Of course I miss my friends, and it was challenging to make new ones, so that part wasn’t easy. But the rest really was pretty simple.  It didn’t matter that I was surrounded by tons of really rad people who I really really really  love a whole lot, I always felt lonely in the Cath.  I knew that if I stayed in Niagara I would live a sad lonely life.  I needed things to change.  I needed to be alone to end the loneliness.

I had some ideas about what I was walking into by leaving, but I can assure you that those ideas are so vastly different than what I found once I arrived. There was this thing that was happening when I moved here, and I’ve realized that time was standing still for me then.  It was standing still for all of us. I really wish that I could actually paint more than just paint by numbers, because I would paint it all as a giant mural.  And it’s a big fucking party mural.  A really fun party.  The one night only affair that lasted for years, that still finds itself revived in a pub or on a deck, or in a kitchen–over a hot stove here and there.

The Cloak
The cove children

I don’t actually believe that things happen for a reason, and I don’t really believe in fate or pre-destination.  It doesn’t actually matter, fate or no fate,  when you’re too busy living.  Sometimes the universe owes you a favour–you simply accept its kind offer of amazing and be thankful.  So, thank you, universe, for this, and all the other things that have followed.
There hasn’t been much else in my life more right than that move I made in ’06.  A few things, but not many. Anyways, I’m big on anniversaries, and starting annual traditions and reflecting on special times in my life.  It’s all very special and amazing.  I do love it when there are things to celebrate.  Birthdays, New Years Day, Thanksgiving, Mondays.  Celebrations truly are some of the best times of our lives, wouldn’t you say?

There I was yesterday.  Here I am now and where I’ll be tomorrow–ever so much to celebrate!  I know March 5th, 2013 has come and gone, but each year I try, at the very least, to remember the time with celebratory thoughts.  I try to remember how I felt then, and how it feels more right every day.  

From Rancho Relaxo, to the Starbank, The Market, Neutral, Maggie’s, the Cloak and Dagger, the backdoor of 106, Croft, Sneaky Dees, The Magpie, The Press Club, Euclid, Roxton,  to the corner of Grace and Harbord.  

The Dakota, Lakeview, The Gypsy, The Park, 909 and my dress, the dog bowl, Squirrelys, The Paper Place, Preloved, Queen and Dovercourt, The Cock and Tail, The Gladstone.  The Dufferin jog, the now bricked up stairway under the GO overpass. Streetcars, Lamport, the amphitheatre, the Caddy, Salvador, the Rhino, Meher’s deck, Capital, Not my dog, The Village of Parkdale mural, Thrift Town.  Mezzrows and Tibetan protests.  The CN Tower. Going Steady.  The Golden Dogs, White Cowbell Oklahoma, and the Wednesday night residency at the Cameron. Bikes. The people.  The people on bikes. The transit.  The vibe.  The sounds.  The weather.  The fresh flowers on the street corners.  I look around me at the city and I am in love.  In love with the people and the places.  I have never in my life felt more at home.

On the sunny Sunday afternoon that Cindy and Juliee drove me into town, this song by Bjork came on.  Just as it was supposed to–this song played and I laid eyes on the city that had become my new home just at the moment where Bjork says “this is where I’m staying.  this is my home.”  In March 2006 I came home for the first time. Happy anniversary, Toronto.

Roommates Ruling Supreme

Every spring I used to plan a party with Gord to celebrate another year of us ruling supreme as roommates.   This spring, I’m planning a different kindof party.  A party that I’ll surely celebrate for the rest of my life.  I look forward to the traditions that will follow.

You Wanted a Hit.

If you want a hit, you’ve got to make it happen.
I fuck things up all the time. Like seriously, all. the. time.
Somehow I keep doing the exact opposite of what I want to do. There are things I want to be better at. 
Things that I want to improve. And for eff sakes, it takes a lot of fucking focus and determination.  Mostly it’s just shit that only I notice. The impact on others is minimal, I’m sure. Maybe it’s not. Who knows.
The bottom line is that I have a lot to do and I’m having a hard time staying on top of life. I don’t mean menial daily tasks–I washed the bathroom floor with baby wipes while Marigold was in the bath the other night. Wait, does that make me a bad mother?? Whatever, it was efficient.
I’m talking about personal improvements, quality of life goals. Making things better for other people. Having an impact. Living an extraordnary life. And doing it all in a way that makes sense for my little family.

I want a hit. And maybe just wanting it is enough? Because I still feel pretty good.

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Let’s File this Under: "Things I want to remember forever"

Sometimes music changes things.  Sometimes walking changes things.  Sometimes time changes things.  Somehow, I have become increasingly content.  Maybe it’s not contentment, but things just feel right.  I would probably be a lot happier right now if Marigold hadn’t torn the “A” key off my laptop a few months ago.  It is making this typing incredibly difficult.

Ron Leary : The Road in Between
The walking, the living, the family, the job are all things I’m really enjoying.  I get to see my friends a lot. My skin has never looked better.  I dare say, I have never felt better…

Maybe it’s all the lattes.

Anyways, I really like that song by Ron Leary. It makes me happy. And I want to remember it forever.

Work-a-hol, not nearly as good as Alch-o-hol


I guess the first step is admitting it. I’m a workaholic.

And, I’m exhausted.

Over the last few months, I have been spending my days watching Marigold learn to grab things with her hands, learn to roll over, and learn to stick out her tongue. Not high in stress levels to be sure. Don’t get me wrong, staying at home and looking after a baby is very tough, but not incredibly challenging. At least not for me. I love my little baby so much and think she is the most amazing thing in the world, but spending every day all day with her (at this age at least) probably just wasn’t in the cards for me.

Leaving her to go back to work was heartbreaking, because I knew I’d miss her. I’ve spent 24 hours a day for the last 150 days with her, save for a few hours here and there. She’s my best friend. I’m her best friend, of course it was going to be hard. Fortunately, she’s staying home with her other best friend, her daddy, who loves her just as much as I do. Thank god.

The transition for all of us wasn’t as difficult as I thought, or at least not in the way I anticipated it to be. I thought I would spend the first day crying in my office because I missed her so much, and that she would be wailing and whining all day waiting for me to come home. Not so much.

I was also worried (and I can say this, because I know Martin doesn’t read my blog) that I would come home to a disaster house everyday. That I would be the one to walk in the door, clean the house, make dinner, do the laundry, look after the baby etc etc and then fall into a nervous exhausted mess and end up locked up somewhere. I have been surprised everyday, that this has not been the case in the slightest. And in reality, it would’ve been impossible, because I just don’t have the energy.

Of course I have high expectations for my home, and men often just don’t get it when it comes to having a tidy house. But that’s ok…I knew I couldn’t expect things to be done my way any more than I could expect Margiold to be dressed clothes that match. Let’s be serious.

He’s doing an excellent job. Accomplishing more than I thought any stay-at-home-dude ever could! And she loves being with her daddy, and he’s great with her. The dishes might not always be done, and she might be wearing a yellow striped onesie with pink polkadot pants, but the house is still standing. And frankly, I’m so happy to walk in the door when I get home, that I really don’t care that much that things are not done the way I would do them.

You see, this is a really big step. I am a boss, a manager, a director. Not just in my job, but in my home life too. To let this go is an amazing accomplishment for me.

So that being said, the whole transition was more difficult for me than I thought be in a way that’s different than I thought it would be. Does that even make sense? Let me explain.

My day goes like this…times are approximate
630-wake up feed the baby from one side, then pump the other
7-745 shower and get ready
745-8:30 Drive to Richmond Hill
830-12ish go go go go work work work work
12-1230 pump
1230-4 go go go go go work work work work
4-430 pump
430-5 clean up any last bit of work before I leave
5-6 Drive home
6-7 Feed the baby and spend time with her while Martin preps dinner
7-8 have dinner and mind the baby
8-10 try to relax and spend time with Marigold and Martin
10-1030 Nurse the baby to bed
Sometime after 1030–go to bed.

There is not one second in my day that is for me, except for maybe when I go to the bathroom. And before you jump on me and tell me to get used to it, fuck you. I’m sick of people telling me it’s only going to get worse. I know this is the way it is when you have kids, but I’m just telling you how it has been for me, ok?

Furthermore, my maternity leave Employment Insurance deposits were screwed up, so I haven’t received the proper payment in close to a month, and we made an error in budgeting for Martin’s last pay, so we are incredibly broke. Which, if you’ve been broke before, know that it’s one of the most stressful things in life. I don’t know how people do it regularly. We’ll be fine and it will all work out, but it’s just one more thing to add to the list.

On top of that, my job is pretty demanding, so when I’m not working or doing anything, I’m thinking about work. The problems, the solutions and how we’re all going to get through all the bullshit that goes on are always on my mind. My day is filled to the brim with things that need attention immediately, which leaves little time for planning, evaluation and staff development….and in my opinion, these should be the key functions of my position. So, that is how I spend my free time. Thinking about work.

I was anticipating that I was coming back to a changed workplace–that things were different now. This is what I was told. Unfortunately, the differences are small and the issues that I felt needed to be addressed, hadn’t in my departure. In fact, in some ways, things are worse, since neither of the two people that were hired to replace me, worked out.

That being said, I have a team of 5. Three of those teammates were there prior to my departure, and have made me very proud. They have worked so hard in the face of adversity, surrounded by crazies and lazies and have managed to come out on top. The amount of effort, time and dedication that I see in my employees, I think, is unparalleled. This is the most rewarding part of any job that I have ever had, and this is why I am a boss. Seeing people change and grow with my guidance is more pleasing than any other accomplishment in my life and it is so worth the investment of my effort and time. And the fact that they were able to keep the ship afloat in my absence is thoroughly impressive. More than anyone else could ever know.

I find it difficult to leave the office every night. I am almost exasperated because in order for the necessary changes to take place to improve our workplace, I feel as though I need to put in the hours like I used to. I can’t do that anymore. I have a life, in fact, an excellent one. And I need to enjoy it…and staying at work till all hours of the night will not allow me to do that.

I’m not bragging here, but I have a fucking awesome position at a rapidly growing company, I have a nice home, and I have a handsome soul mate who is perfect for me in every way who loves me and our little family more than anything. He is faithful and loyal and committed to me and our family in a way I’ve never seen from a man in my life ever. I have a beautiful, healthy and hilarious daughter with a super rad name. I have my health, and I am pretty and sexy (though, a little flabby), and I’m funny, nice and generous and smart and successful and people like me (I think). I have what so many people want in life. I am so lucky. And I don’t take it for granted.

But I am a workaholic. And fighting that addiction is pretty tough. It’s not like heroin or anything, like I’m not going to die from shooting some bad dope into my veins, and the risks are not nearly as bad. But, hurting my little family is too high of a price to pay to see someone else’s company succeed. I’m not giving up on my job by any means, I’m just working at making work priority #2. Martin and Marigold need to be #1. And that’s the part that I’m struggling with inside. My job defined me. My success and dedication have been who I am for the last 10 years, and especially the last 3. The party Peattie that everyone knew and loved in my personal life is gone now too.

The hardest part of any of this is figuring out who I am now and who I want to be. The non stop party days are over. The work till you drop days are over. I have to find the right life/work/party balance that works for my new life….a balance that Marigold will love, admire and respect when she’s old enough to figure it out.

Moving to Scarborough

As Marigold continues to grow, I have less and less time to write. She’s requiring more attention to keep her amused each day, which means, less time for me to do the things I want. That on top of household chores that are mostly getting done at the bare minimum leaves me with only a few minutes to surf the internet, and play video games. And I’m going to learn to knit plus I want to learn to sew. God, if only I was one of those people that could get by on 4 or 5 hours sleep then I might be able to do the things I want.

I keep being faced with decisions that I really don’t want to make. We are constantly making easy choices from the minute we wake up in the morning and often we don’t even give it a second thought that we have a choice. Getting out of bed, brushing our teeth, what to eat for breakfast, what to wear for the day and the list goes on. And on and on and on. Then there are the larger life decisions: who you are going to marry, where you are going to live, what you are going to do for a career. But sometimes, an unexpected quandary presents itself before you and suddenly you have to make a decision about a situation you have no prior experience with. Or sometimes you are faced with a decision you have made many times before, and you need to be reminded that you’ve done it before on blind faith, and it’s worked out in the end…hasn’t it?

It would be great if every time you had to make a decision that the only person affected would be you, and you alone. I think this is the reason why decisions become so difficult–the outcome has a great impact on someone around you. And it’s typically someone close to you. Someone who you love very much. I always think back to moving to Toronto, the biggest decision of my life thus far. Again–my decision to move meant leaving Matt (and dumping his sorry ass–I can say that now, it’s been long enough) and hurting someone I loved very much. I was leaving behind my friends and family and the only life I had ever known, but on the other side of that decision was tremendous opportunity which I would not have had otherwise, and I’ve been reaping the rewards ever since.

The last unexpected quandary I faced was a high impact/low return type of decision. My decision, in fact, has permanently damaged a friendship, and hopefully most of that damage will be repaired, though I’m sure some scars will remain.

Sometimes you just need to stand up for what you believe in regardless of how much it might hurt someone and regardless of how supportive you really want to be. It makes me sad to think that I had to choose at all let alone make the choice I made. And though my decision is hurtful, I hope it makes a strong statement. Because after this, I’m not going to beat the dead horse, because the horse is already dead, there’s no sense in that. And beating dead horses just makes a bloody mess that becomes pretty impossible to clean up. I’ve said my piece and voiced my concern. I’m going to let the issue die and rest in peace. At the very least I can show my support for moving forward.

God, disappointing people sucks so bad. And I really fucking hate letting people down. I want to make everyone happy all the time, which is probably why I’m so great with customer service. But, I know deep down that making EVERYONE happy is an impossibility. I have to think now of how my decisions–high impact/low return, or high impact/huge opportunity will affect Martin and Marigold first and foremost. I have to do what is best for our family, even if that means letting other people down that I care about very much. I have to make sure that the choices I make are ones that Marigold will admire once she’s older.

You can’t take a mulligan. There are no do-overs. Life was so much easier when it was just me. I don’t mean because of the extra work of taking care of a family. I mean that if I fucked up, the only person that faced the consequences was me. Gone are the days of risking my job with people calling in sick for me because I was passed out on a toilet in the bar’s basement bathroom the night before (Thanks Peter Peattie). Gone are the days of complete and utter irresponsibility. Now MG and MM are in the line of fire, and I just want to do what’s best for all of us, even if it means moving to Scarborough**.

I want to be someone she is proud to call her mother. And sometimes that means closing some doors and opening some windows. Right now I’ll just wait for the window to open, and decide whether or not it’s time to close the door, and try not to get black out drunk while I’m waiting.

**For the record we are not now, nor ever moving to Scarborough, it’s just a phrase I use now to demonstrate just how much I’m willing to sacrifice for my family.

His Name is Rico, and He Likes to Party


My first mother’s day, and I’m feeling nostalgic. Mostly because of the music.

I’m remembering how I used to do this all the time–sit around and listen to music and write crazy things about my life. I was reading back some of those things and I really did have a crazy life…like the pantsless dancing night with AJ. That seems like such a long time ago.
We’ve been watching the Sopranos–we’re almost done the entire series–and yesterday Tony Soprano said “Remember When is the lowest form of conversation”. While I love reminising as much as the next guy, I completely agree. I love my memories, but there are much more impending things to discuss, no? I guess you can’t make new memories by talking about old memories.
While I know today is mother’s day, I’m not going to write about my mum. Nor am I going to write about being a mum or brag about how I’ve carried a baby for nine months, or slept with a baby on my chest blah blah blah.
I’m thinking back to a day I can’t remember. Well, I guess I can remember it, just not the details. Normally I know what I was wearing, what song was playing and what I was drinking, but not this night. I was standing at the bar at the Cloak, on a Sunday night, I had just dumped one guy, was pursuing another and I was introduced to a young fellow by my good friend Brian. I thought nothing of it at the time, I was obviously preoccupied. I do remember it being a supreme night at the Cloak–I think it was a long weekend, as I didn’t have to work on the Monday. I wish I could remember the exact date. It makes me crazy that I can’t.
Fast forward to a year or so later. I’d had the “one last disastrous Peattie heartbreak” that I’d predicted when I parted ways with Mr. Ribs, and things with the One Who Loved Me just were not going to work out. I was single again, on the prowl, and I was invited to a birthday party at the Duke of Gloucester…again, Brian’s doing. Brian told me that his friend who was having the birthday had asked specifically for him to invite me. It was the young fellow I had met at the Cloak the year or so prior. I had completely forgot that I had even met him…forgot that he’d even existed. I’m still not sure to this day if Brian made that part up, but I guess it doesn’t really matter now. Anyways, I was shocked that he remembered me but figured it would be a blast either way, so off I set to this birthday party. The birthday party that changed my life. I spent the night, after many shots of jager and tequila, leaning against a wall staring into the eyes of the birthday boy like nothing else around us existed.
Today I see those same eyes staring up at me as I feed my baby.
After a couple of dates with him, I didn’t really see a future for us. I figured he was going to be another flash in the pan that was my social life. He seemed eager, sometimes too good to be true, and really, he wouldn’t stand for my snarky side, so he wasn’t going to last…this I was sure of. He could read my signals though, and that’s for sure, and I don’t mean in a sexy kindof way. He backed off when he needed to and advanced when the light was green. He knew all the right things to say and all the right moves to make. All the right moves for me.
Suddenly I’d found someone who was good enough, smart enough, and dog gone it–he liked me! His list of favourite bands was more than acceptable, he had a pretty good fashion sense and he was just as cool as me. It took me a while to learn all these things about him, but eventually I came to know that he was the one for me, and that I was in love.
I’d fallen in love so many times before, sometimes a couple of times a day. I was boy-crazy, but falling in love this time was the end of all that craziness. I’d met my soul mate, my life partner, my future husband. He’s perfect for me in every way. While I loved that craziness that was my life, it was worth giving it up for him. For the contentedness I’ve found in him and our relationship. He’s with me till the end of this extraordinary life, and he’ll be game the whole way.
I sit here and look at him reclining in his torn dad-type chair, wearing his fatherly checked shirt, with his dad-like hair cut, snacking on potato chips and playing video games and I’m so thankful. It’s because of him I celebrate mother’s day.
Thanks Martin.

Until the Moment’s Gone


For Christmas this year, we got satellite radio, and what an excellent gift it was for us. There’s about a dozen channels that we listen to on a regular basis, one of them being “Lithium”, the 90’s station. Try listening to 90’s radio and see what it does to you! It’s funny how many songs I hear that cause me to think of certain people, or certain times in my life.

The first three days of this week were complete hell. Don’t get me wrong, I have an excellent baby. She is absolutely amazing–she sleeps well, most of the time and more during the day, she doesn’t cry a lot, she latches on well and she’s generally a happy baby. For the most part I’ve felt fairly rested, although the “sleep when the baby sleeps” business doesn’t really work for me. She spends her time sleeping through the day, when it’s sunny and bright and when I have lots of energy to get shit done or play some video games (I’ve made it to level 6 on Burger Time). I’ve even managed to have a shower everyday since she was born (save yesterday). I really never wanted to be “one of those people” who complained about the sleep they weren’t getting or the fact that they hadn’t showered in days.
I know now, that those people are likely complaining about not having a shower or sleeping, because it’s too taboo to discuss how fucking depressed/paranoid/freaked out/irrational/inadequate you feel as a new parent. And that’s the short list.
My biggest problem is that Marigold falls asleep when eating. Like completely crashes out. And trust me, I’ve tried everything to keep her awake. I take her clothes off, I blow on her, I stroke her feet, I yell at her, I change her diaper, I stroke her cheek, I squeeze my boob, I tickle her, and I even use the torturous cold cloth on her. NOTHING WORKS!!! I hate having to be so mean to her, but if she had her way, she wouldn’t eat at all until it was dark out, then she would be attached to me non stop until daylight.
We had another doctor’s appointment on Monday, and Marigold had only gained 80 grams in a week. Typical baby growth is between 100-200 grams a week. I knew we had had a bad week before, but it was starting to get alarming because she was falling behind. Dr. Mcgee (our family doctor) consulted with Dr. Karlinsky (our OB) on what we should do. Without much questioning, they decided that my milk production was low and suggested I take domperidone to increase my milk flow. I was adamant that it had nothing to do with my milk flow (as that was suggesting that I was inadequately providing for my child). I just felt I needed to be more diligent in waking her up, especially at night where should could sleep for more than 5 hours if I let her.
I left the doctor without a prescription but with another appointment a week later–I just wanted to wait and see. In life, much like Homer Wells, I have become an expert at waiting and seeing. However, discussing it with Martin, he had a different opinion. He felt as though we have waiting long enough and that we hadn’t seen the results that we wanted, so it was time to change our approach. Martin suggested that I start taking Fenugreek which is a natural supplement to boost milk production that typically has rapid results.
After some consideration, I thought maybe it was possible that I wasn’t producing enough milk. I never got super engorged (I mean they’re a bit bigger and harder but that’s it) and I never experienced the horrible pain that a lot of women experience (they’re sore, but I can deal) and I never felt that “Let Down” sensation that everyone is always talking about. And then it hit me….Oh my god, My BABY is STARVING to DEATH and it’s TOTALLY my fault. Cue 3 days of absolute desperation and waterworks. Oh, at around this time, Marigold has decided that she is going to act like the hungriest baby on the planet and not sleep at all between 8pm and 5am and the only thing that will comfort her is being at the breast (a breast that I’m convinced is completely void of milk). Now cue PANIC.
There’s nothing worse than not being able to enjoy your baby because you’re so distraught that you’re completely incapable of thinking about anything other than getting food in them, punctuated with the feeling of failure. Oh, and did I mention how alone you feel? None of my closest or kindred friends have children yet–of course I have friends that are new moms, but really, the desperation that you feel is so shameful that really, you can only share it with someone who knows you the very most for fear that anyone else might think you’re completely crazy.
I have read almost everything there is to read on the internet about breastfeeding. I saw a lactation consultant, I was going to the doctor regularly, but there wasn’t just ONE answer. I just wanted someone to fucking tell me what to do. All problems have solutions–and it is in my character to LEARN what to do, when something isn’t going right and that there must be an obvious answer. The truth is, when it comes to this–there really isn’t just one answer, and you’ll not get the same answer from different so called experts.
Oh sure, you’ll get lots of advice. Unsolicited advice. But really, the advice doesn’t help, unless you’ve asked for it. Plus the NEGATIVITY you get from people about this stage and that stage really doesn’t help anyone.
Moving on–the doctor called Wednesday morning to tell me that they felt it was best if I start supplementing the baby with formula. As if I wasn’t feeling shitty enough, now I had to poison my baby with formula that was going to cause digestion problems and colic and then she wasn’t going to take breast milk and again I was a failure. How could I NOT be able to do this??? When I was working I was managing more than 10 projects at a time, conducting training sessions, managing a support department and basically doing everything successfully, but I couldn’t fucking get my baby to eat or gain weight. What is WRONG with me??
Well, nothing, exactly. She isn’t starving to death in the least. All of these problems I’m experiencing are my own bullshit. My own guilt, and my own fears. Yes, it stems from my little Miss Marigold not eating and gaining weight, but she’s still happy. Martin isn’t freaking out, the doctors aren’t freaking out, and most importantly Marigold isn’t freaking out. It’s all me.
When I was pregnant, Martin and I were both very easy going about breastfeeding. While we wanted to do it, we weren’t dead set on doing it if it didn’t work out. Somehow that changed once I had her and I really felt that I absolutely didn’t want to give her anything but breast milk. When the doctor told me that it was time to supplement with formula, it was like it was all over. I had failed and she wasn’t going to need me anymore, because once I started with formula, she wouldn’t want the breast anymore, or me anymore.
It was a hard decision…Which to me is pretty ridiculous now, because, in total, it’s four ounces a day. I was agonizing over four ounces a day. We breastfeed, we supplement two times. Big deal. It was Martin who helped me move forward with this. And though we had agreed it was the right thing to do, it was still the most painful thing in the world to watch him try to give her her first bottle. (For the record, we’re using a bottle and cup to feed her formula–she doesn’t really like it). I was the sole person responsible for her nourishment for the last 10 months and all of a sudden, someone else was taking on that responsibility.
We’re not too concerned about nipple confusion–she latches really well on the breast, and the reality is that I’m going back to work in a couple of months, so she’ll have to deal with the bottle anyways, as I can’t imagine Martin cup feeding her 5 times a day.
So we did it. We started supplementing and I started taking the domperidone in conjunction with the fenugreek.
The overwhelming support that came to me via the internets was absolutely amazing. Like I said, unsolicited advice is the absolute worst, but hearing other mom’s stories of their irrational emotional breakdowns was a lifesaver. Everything always looks perfect from the outside, I guess, so you don’t really know what people are going through. I heard stories similar to mine, and I heard some waaaaay worse. Friends that were screaming in agony on top of all the shit I had to deal with, or colicky babies that cried non stop WHILE you were trying to sort your shit out. To those that reached out with their stories–you are all TOPS! Keep doing what you are doing and rewards will be reaped.

After all this, we went to the doctor’s again yesterday and Marigold had gained 50 grams in 3 days, so we’re back on track. And I’ve regained my sanity temporarily. I’m learning what works for her–feed her for ten minutes, put her in her bassinet, she cries, feed her again…set my alarm in the night to wake up to feed her…learn to adapt. Be flexible. Oh god, I hope I remember this in about a week when I start to lose my mind again.
So in all this, what I’m trying to say is that like the 90’s, this will come and go. Like the last five years of my life has come and gone. Times change, and people change and certainly your lot in life will change. There’s a line in the movie “Dazed and Confused” that says something like “If I start referring to my high school years as the best years of my life just kill me”. Well, 10 years ago, my high school years were the best years of my life. Then my years working at Scizzions were the best years of my life. Right now 2007-2010 are the best years of my life, but really the best is yet to come. You can’t get too Stuck in a Moment (yes, I’m quoting U2) because in a moment it will all change.
One of my goals in life is to celebrate each moment, each era, and make the most of it so I can reflect on it fondly. Because I don’t want to forget any of this and I want to spend the rest of my life remembering with pictures and words and musical memories. I know in ten years I’ll hear songs that remind me of now and make me feel nostalgic the same way I can hear Treble Charger and think of driving in Cindy’s car, the same way I can hear the National and think of the end of 2008.
A week before my due date I went to see Gord and Meher play at the Press Club. Gord sang my favourite song of his, “You Never Know”, and of course I cried while he sang it. The song says:
“You never know, never know, never know until the moment’s gone. Then you have to live with what you’ve done. You’re not alone, not alone, not alone in your blindfold in the dark….firing at the dartboard of your love”


Of course there’s moments of my life that are gone that I’ll miss, and I didn’t know how much I would miss them at the time. I’m not sure how much I’m going to miss the agony of now, but I’m sure I will look back fondly on my little tiny baby bird, Marigold and forget the despair….because I’m not alone in any of this. Millions of women have gone before and millions more will in the future. Each of them choosing to do what’s best for them and their family, and living to tell about it.
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