Posts Tagged With: work

Monday’s words — A

Mondays. What do Mondays mean to you? As far as I’m concerned they are the day that you try to catch up on all the stuff that you didn’t get done on the weekend. If you work outside the home, I guess it’s different; when I went to work Mondays were okay, I didn’t have that big fear, the huge feeling of dread that some people get on Sunday night even. Monday meant I would see my work friends, I would get to buy a special coffee and listen to what everyone else did on the weekend.

Nowadays I see Mondays as that day to catch up. On sleep, on laundry, on unloading the dishwasher, on grocery shopping. Of course, it’s really just a mental illusion I create for myself. I don’t catch up. I might get some laundry done, I might go to the grocery store. I might not. I might read. I might just sit and watch television. Not that I didn’t watch television all weekend. Oh no. But that was different. There were other people around. Mondays – Mondays are the start of my week. HardWorker has gone to work and BoyGenius has gone to school. A new week has begun. It’s like a respite where you never thought you’d find one.

I’d like to start something on this Monday that I’ll hopefully be able to keep up for 26 weeks (but probably not in a row). I want to write a post featuring favourite words of mine. I don’t know that I’ll whip up some bit of prose or poetry every week; I might just list my favourites for any given letter. I don’t really know. I just really love words and sometimes just the sound of them or seeing them written out is enough to centre me, to calm me, to ground me, to send me soaring or crashing to the ground.

I figure the easiest way to keep track is to start with a different letter each week .. and since we have this neat little filing system called an alphabet, why not put it to good use? So let’s start with “A.”

  • awesome – meaning inspiring awe; I do often use it as meaning very impressive which is how the kids use it (how can I help it, I’ve got an 8 year old?), but I really like the idea of something being awe-inspiring.
  •  adept – an adjective meaning very skilled or proficient; I also like the related noun ‘adeptness.’ It just sounds cool to me.
  • aver – to assert or affirm with confidence; I like the idea of knowing something well enough to be able to aver it instead of just stating it.
  • antagonistic – hostile, unfriendly, acting in opposition; mostly I just like the way this one sounds … I don’t like acting antagonistically, but I can, and do at times.
  • abroad – in or to a foreign country or countries;I love the idea of going abroad and I feel posh just saying “I’ve been abroad.”
  • abrade – to wear off or down by scraping or rubbing; I also like abrasion. It’s the feeling that the word conveys to me when I say it or write it that puts it in my list.
  • alliteration – the commencement of two or more words of a word group with the same letter; I’m ever enjoying the employment of alliteration in literature.

I don’t just count these words among my favourites because of their meanings — sometimes it is simply the sound or feeling of the letters as they roll off my tongue. Sometimes the meanings take away from the word, but being able to use them in a sentence brings me joy.

How do you feel about words? Do you have favourites? Do you find yourself using the same words over and over in your day to day conversations? I remember hearing children complaining about adults using “their” words like awesome or cool. I remember finding myself using “absolutely” way too much when working with students on their reading. I remember hearing Erica Kane of “All My Children” talking about “people of their ilk” and thinking ‘no one really talks like that’ – that was probably close to 30 years ago and it has still got a place in my memory. Words are something that I cherish and I realized about 20 years ago that some people really do ‘talk like that’ and that I am one of them.

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in his blood?

So BoyGenius had his 8 year annual check-up at the pediatrician’s yesterday.  Both the nurse and our doctor seemed shocked that they hadn’t seen us in a year.  Then doc checked BG’s file and realised that it’s been that way since he was about 3 years old.  He had a three week cough once back then — and since then we only go once a year. Oh don’t get me wrong, we’ve been to the walk-in clinic a couple of times (seriously, a couple) and the ER four times since BoyGenius was a baby (two of those times for a broken left arm .. two separate playground incidents), but other than that, the kid’s fairly healthy. 🙂

Apparently, one of the things that happens at an annual check-up when you’re 8 years old is that the doctor asks you what you want to do when you grow up; you’re not allowed to say “I don’t know,” you have to be able to formulate some idea. HardWorker and I (and other people) have asked BG a few times over the years what he might like to be when he grows up and the most we ever got out of him is “a Rescue Hero!” … and that means Billy Blazes or Jack Hammer, not an actual firefighter or police officer. So Dr. Larry asks BG what he wants to do when he grows up and here’s what happens: BoyGenius thinks for a bit, not like he’s trying to come up with something, but like he’s actually given it some thought before and is just recalling it, and says very matter-of-factly, “a builder.”  “Hmm ..,” says Dr. Larry then asks “what kind of builder .. like homes or a ship or boat builder?”  “Airplanes,” says BoyGenius and smiles. He smiles.

Airplanes. I smile. See, I don’t think BG knows how amazing that answer is. He does know that he has a cousin who is a pilot for a major european airline. However …. I don’t believe he remembers being told that his Opa was a glider pilot. I don’t think he remembers that his uncle BlueEyes was a flight attendant for many, many years.  He has no concept of me actually working, so he doesn’t know that I spent 15 years in the travel industry, doing all manner of things related to air travel: booking, ticketing, contracting, sales & groups sales, planning and analysis. He has no idea that he has a cousin who is an aviation engineer and works for Airbus … building airplanes. ♥

Categories: family | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Words

I am a lover of words.

I’m not much of a talker.  I quip, I debate, I defuse potentially explosive situations at school council meetings.  I talk in my head, a lot … but that doesn’t really count for much.

I am a reader.  I read blogs, magazine articles, books, liner notes, movie credits, letters, cereal boxes and the occasional newspaper.

I am a writer.  Now, don’t worry, all you novelists and journalists and bloggers and such can stop shaking in your boots.  I don’t presume to present myself as a Writer; oh no, I am not capitalized.  I am a writer.  I write.  Some.  Sometimes.

My favourite class in school .. in all levels of schooling that I have attended .. was English or English Literature or CanLit.  I could read and write all day back then.  I didn’t.  I read whatever we had to read and finished it within a week and then waited until the night before the essay or assignment was due to start writing.  It worked for me.  I wrote because I had to.  Those other nights, after I had finished the book and should have been outlining my essay and fleshing it out and taking notes for my bibliography, I was more likely to be reading something else:  another novel; a biography; Tiger Beat magazine; the liner notes from “Band on the Run,” while lying on the bedroom floor with a speaker on either side of my head.  I don’t think I ever got less than a B+ on any assignment that involved a piece of writing.

In my “real-world” work the most I would ever write were letters.  They were good.  Letters of intent, complaint letters, replies to complaint letters, contract or agreement letters.  It wasn’t really my job to write letters, I’m just the one that everyone came to for that.  Now, as a sahM, most of my writing is still in the form of letters.  I write grovelling letters because my coupons have expired.  I write complaint letters because the ‘cheese’ in our cheese & crackers snacks is oozing out of the packaging or our peanut butter freshness seals have holes in them.  I write satisfied consumer letters.  I write fundraising request letters for BoyGenius’ school.  These letters don’t get me much … wait, that’s not right … they get me new coupons, free peanut butter, a better cell phone rate and oodles of donations.  That’s some satisfaction, right?

They don’t satisfy what needs satisfying, though.  That writing doesn’t satisfy my soul.  What satisfies my soul, keeps me from exploding is the writing that I do for me.  Poetry, random thoughts, love letters, comments, private blog posts; those are the things that satisfy my soul.  The writing that comes from the vibrating inside of me.  The writing that has to come out, that flows from my core up through my fingertips and onto the keyboard or into the pen and out onto the page.  Those words, those are the words that I love most of all.  Those are the words that soothe me, calm me, move me.  Those are the words that do the same for their recipients, if there are any.  Those are the words that I don’t necessarily want anyone to see but that I need to be read.  Those are the words that can either heal or do the most damage.  Those are the words that sneak back inside your soul and hurt you or make your spirit sing.

Sometimes it sucks being a writer. Sometimes it doesn’t.

Either way, I remain a lover of words.

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What’s in a friend?

Friends are easy to make but hard to keep.  Everyone says that, right?  Or someone famous said it.  Or someone famous heard everyone saying it and then said it and now everyone thinks that someone famous said it .. or vice versa.  It doesn’t really matter.  Because it’s not necessarily true.  For some people friends are easy to make.  For some people friends are easy to keep.  For me, acquaintances are easy to make; nobody is easy to keep.

I don’t really know how to define friendship.  Is it a relationship with someone for whom I will always be available?  … or is it a relationship with someone who will always be there for me?  I think it’s supposed to be a fine balance between the two but how many times in your life can you actually achieve that?  If you’re lucky, you’ll have at least one person in your life who can balance you while you balance them right back.  It’s amazing when it works.  Truly.

As a s-a-h-mother it’s actually trickier than you might think.  You meet a lot of people in the school yard; on the school/parent council; at the playground; at gymnastics.  You laugh with them, you discuss your kids, your kid’s/kids’ teachers, even exchange a recipe or two.  Does that mean you’ll be friends?  No.  Your children are in the same class.  Your children have the same birthday.  Your children get kicked out of take swimming lessons together.  Friends?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Your children are best friends and want to see each other all day, every day.  Friends with those parents?  It could happen.  Quite often it does not.  Here’s the other side of the scenario:  you get along great with so-and-so’s mom.  You have lots in common, lots to talk about but not a lot of time to get together.  Let’s set up some playdates!!  Fabulous idea.  Except for the fact that your son likes playing army and blowing things up and my son likes building with Lego.  OR you have a daughter and my son doesn’t want to be a prince every. single. time.  Even better, your kid bites my kid and then storms off slamming her bedroom door because my son doesn’t want to be a prince.  Sigh.  Oh well, on to the next parent.

I know what you’re thinking.  Didn’t I have friends before I had a baby?  Some.  Don’t they have kids that could concievably be friends with BoyGenius?  Some.  But you know what?  Where did those friends come from?  Work.  School.  Hometown.  Let’s take a look at these groups and see what happens.

  • Work.  I have in past, made some good friends at work or through work.  I say good friends because they are people who have been through things with me and with whom I have shared good times and bad.  However, we met at work, an artificial community.  We all came in from various corners of the city or from outside of the city in which our office was located and worked together.  We had work in common.  We had hatred of work in common.  I no longer ‘work.’  Some of them do, some of them don’t.  Some have children, some don’t.  Most of them don’t live in my little corner outside of the city.  I am still in touch with many of them, thanks to e-mail, facebook and cell phones.  I still get together with some of them, we have wonderful dinners and evenings out.  It’s not the same as when you all go for a drink at the end of a hellish day.  It’s good, but it’s sporadic.
  • School.  I went to school.  I made some friends.  Post-secondary education is another artificial community.  You meet people from all over the world who happen to be studying the same thing as you or living in the same complex as you are.  You study, you party, you make friends, you go on trips, you take people home with you, etc., etc.  Once you’re done your education (or leave to go to another post-secondary institution … or none at all) you hope that the connections you have made with these people will last.  They might.  They might not.  Thanks to the aforementioned technologies, I am in touch with a number of people I met at university.  Not many.  Come on, you’ve only got four years or so in this particular artificial community.  Grade school and secondary school are another story.  For many of us, those communities are far more real simply because those are the communities we grow up in, those are the people we grow up with.  So I’ll leave my thoughts on those people to the “hometown” category.
  • Hometown.  Well.  As already mentioned, for many of us our hometown(s), our public/grade school, our highschool communities are our true communities.  That’s how it is/was for me.  I’m from a small town.  I went to school with the same classmates from Kindergarten to grade 13.  That’s a lot of years.  I consider those people to be my friends.  Good friends.  Close friends.  Lifetime friends.  I hardly see any of them.  They are all over the world.  They are still at home.  They work or they don’t.  We keep in touch or we don’t.  With many of them, it doesn’t matter.  I can get together with them and talk for hours about what we’ve all been doing, what our siblings are doing, who’s parents are still alive, remember that time in grade 8 geography?, whatever happened to..?, and isn’t it funny that you’re a grandparent already and my kid is only 7!  It’s really nice to get together with a group or with a couple of individuals.  Some of these people I have known for over 40 years.  As hard as that is to believe, it gives me a warm feeling inside whenever I think of it.  These are the people who knew me “when.”

So again, I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking if I’ve got all these friends, how can I possibly be lonely?  I don’t know.  All I know is that the friends in those three categories are mainly not here.  The friends that are here, now, are those people in the schoolyard.  And while that community may be BoyGenius’ main community, it doesn’t seem to be mine.  When I walk through the yard, or to the park, or into the school I am greeted by at least 100 children who know me and 20+ parents/caregivers and almost all of the teachers and staff … (I feel like The King of Kensington) and my child is only in grade 2.  There are only a few I would actually call friends and perhaps two that I would call good friends.  There are only a few who are also s-a-h-parents.  We don’t always have time to get together.  The time that you do have, the time when your kids are in school, is the time that you’re supposed be doing laundry or vacuuming or getting groceries or painting the bathroom.  Once school is out, your “free time” is up because then it’s time for snack, homework, dinner and bed.

Friends are easy to make but hard to keep?  I think I’ve found that they’re hard to make but not quite as hard to keep.

Categories: friendship | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

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