Go west, middle aged woman


It seems as though I have been restless for the past while. By ‘while’, I mean my entire adult life. I have a tendency to hop from place to place every few years, starting fresh each time. Others may look at this behavior and think I am crazy, but I like to live a nomadic life and I like beginning new adventures. Sometimes I feel a little bit like Dr. Sam Beckett on the excellent TV series, Quantum Leap, only I control where I land. For the past four years, I have lived in Southern Quebec, which, when I left last week, looked like this.

snowplow

At the age of 47, I have come full circle. Last week I moved back to the British Columbia town in which I was born. It welcomed me with rain (but, as those in B.C. are fond of saying, “at least you don’t have to shovel it”). The past few days, however have looked more like this.

bcspring

It’s that time of year when the snow drops and the daffodils are both in bloom, the leaves are coming back onto the trees and the air smells clean and fresh. A wonderful time of year to start anew.

I am back to looking for work, but at least this time I don’t have to do it in more than one language and walking all over town doesn’t feel like such a chore. I am looking forward to my adventure here, wherever it takes me.

Dream a little dream


The Dream by Salvador Dali

Ever since I entered menopause, I have been having the weirdest dreams. Vivid, colourful and disturbing dreams. Apparently this is a normal symptom of menopause along with insomnia, hot flashes, memory loss, loss of sex drive, night sweats, vaginal dryness, irregular periods, memory loss, mood swings, depression, irritability, fatigue, hair loss, growing of facial hair, incontinence, bloating, memory loss, brittle nails, breast pain, joint pain, headaches, itchy skin, tingling extremities and memory loss among others. Oh yes, menopause is a wondrous time of life. I am going through this next phase of life naturally, as generations of women before me have. Going with the lack of flow, as it were. I’m one of the lucky ones, my most disturbing symptoms are the weird dreams, insomnia (which has finally passed after two years), the occasional hot flash (which also seems to have passed) and memory loss. The memory loss is the most frustrating if only because I have always prided myself on my great memory and tremendous vocabulary, and now I continually find myself grasping for words that would once come trippingly off my tongue. It is for this reason that I have been calling this stage of my life MENTAL PAUSE.

Getting back to the weird dreams. Last night I had a doozy. I dreamed that I had fallen asleep and woke up to find that my face had been tattooed. Not just a small, cute tattoo either. A large rectangular tattoo the size of a tarot card starting at my left cheekbone and ending just below my jawline. The image was of skin being pulled off my face, to reveal a beating red heart (the organ, not the Valentine’s Day shape). Yes the heart was animated and beating. I was in a warehouse and I wandered around looking for someone, anyone who could explain what had happened. There was no one around, but there were mirrors everywhere I looked, so I couldn’t help but look at this thing on my face. It was then that I woke up and tried to shake the image from my mind to no avail.

If anyone knows anything about dream analysis, I would be very interested on your input. If you are also a menopausal woman who has weird dreams and want to share one of yours, please feel free to do so. For now I’m chalking it up to hormones and will try to go on about my day as usual.

Confession: I love being alone


I am single. It’s not sad. It’s not anything to be pitied. I love being single. More than that, I love being alone. I don’t understand why it is that people think this is such a horrible fate. When I am asked if I’m married and the person hears the answer is no, the response is invariably something along the lines of, “Well, don’t worry, you’ll find someone.” I have news for you. I’m not worried, and even more radically, I don’t want to find someone.

No I am not depressed. No I am not lonely. No I am not bitter. No I don’t sit around all day crying. I am living MY life the way I PREFER to live it… by myself.

I like only taking care of myself. I like a life without arguments or compromises. I like doing what I want to do when I want to do it. I like travelling alone. I like going to the movies alone. I even like eating at a restaurant alone.

I have tried marriage. It doesn’t work for me. Before you ask, ‘What about love?’  That’s what my family is for. I hear you thinking, ‘What do you do about sex?’ Not that it’s any of your business, but I prefer doing that alone too. (at least I know the job will be done well). As for companionship, I have relatively no need for company… other people just mess things up. Conversation is wonderful when it’s intelligent and productive, which, sadly, is rare and preferably done over the phone or online.

For me being alone does not equate to being lonely. Being alone equates to being free.

But Off


 

I am sick and tired of people starting sentences with things like I hate to say it, but… or I’m not a racist, but… or You know I love women, but…

If you hate to say it, don’t say it. I suspect what you’re really saying when you say things like, “I hate to say I told you so, but” Is “I love to say I told you so” In fact it makes me think you love to say it this much.

 

If you start your sentence with “I’m not a racist, but” it just makes me 100% positive that the next thing to come out of your mouth will be the most racist thing I have ever heard and will make me think that this guy is your new best friend.

When you say, “You know I love women, but” my hands will involuntarily ball up into fists, because I know that the only thing that can follow that lead in is  something that will make me want to punch you in your sexist face. I know that what you are about to say will be the verbal equivalent of this image.

I guess the point I’m trying to make with all of this is, you are not fooling anyone by cloaking your smugness, racism or sexism in a denial followed by the word BUT.

The good old days


The other night, I was really looking forward to watching a movie I remembered very fondly as being one of my favourites from my teen years, Little Darlings. I remember watching this movie multiple times in the theatre and just loving it. So I settled in and started watching. What was I thinking? Were the hormones that coursed through my veins making me insane? This movie was one of the worst pieces of schlock. I couldn’t even sit through the first 30 minutes before turning it off. Then I remembered a truism I had conveniently forgotten. Just because you remember it, doesn’t mean it was good.

People have this annoying habit of looking back in time and only remembering what they liked about an era. For instance, Americans are always hearkening back to the 1950’s as the time when America was perfect. From the fashion, to the music and the cars, the 1950’s were the good old days. I’ll give you the fashion, clothes were beautiful and flattering then, but undergarments, weren’t so cute… or comfortable. Men had to wear suspenders to hold up their black dress socks.

And women were wearing foundation garments like this.

Then there was the music. The beginning of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, so much good music. But the 1950’s were also the decade that gave us novelty songs like How Much is that Doggy in the Window? and Purple People Eater and spoken word songs like What is a Wife? and Big Bad John.

The cars of the 1950’s were some of the most stylish and impressive in the history of cars, the Thunderbird, Cadillac and Chevy’s of that era are considered American classics. But then there’s this.

Sure the 1950’s were a good time in American History if you were a white man. The American dream was within your reach. If you were a woman you had this kind of existence.

If you were black, America looked more like this.

And the above image is a kind example. I could have shown a lynching.

So what is the point of all of this, you ask? When looking back, take off the rose-coloured glasses and understand…

JUST BECAUSE YOU REMEMBER IT DOESN’T MEAN IT WAS GOOD.

Never promise me a rose garden


 

Love songs, poetry and Valentine’s Day cards are all considered romantic ways of wooing a woman. These things might work on girls, but women want more. Well, actually, women want less. Less crap. We all know that when you say, you’d climb the highest mountain, or swim the deepest sea, just for one touch of our hand that it’s a line of crap. Those types of sweet nothings mean just that to a woman… nothing.

If you really want to impress us, instead of promising to cross a desert why not promise to leave the toilet seat down? Instead of saying you’d walk 500 miles for us, how about picking up your dirty clothes off the floor and putting the in the hamper… or (gasp) actually washing them yourself? You tell me that you’ll give me the moon, when all I really want is for you to listen to me.

Men spend a lot of time working on their “game” in order to get a woman. And women, I’m not cutting you any slack here either… you’ll believe anything as long as it’s what you want to hear at the time, then wonder why your relationship isn’t what you want it to be. I have news for you. Once the wooing is over, real life begins and no amount of roses will make up for the fact that the dishes need to be done.

For you married couples out there who wrote their own vows years ago, don’t you wish that instead of promising each other a lifetime of eternal love, you’d promised to always put the cap back on the toothpaste,  promised to share the carpool duties equally or promised never to go into more debt than you can realistically handle? I know that these things may not seem like romance, but in the long run they mean so much more.

Romance is for teenagers who are too naive to know better, but when we reach adulthood, romance becomes outdated and impractical. If we entered into our relationships with even half the amount of thought that we entered into choosing what car to drive, we’d all be having much longer relationships.

So don’t tell me how much you love to cuddle, tell me that you know how to fix the plumbing… now that’s romantic!

 

Are we married or aren’t we?


 

 

 

 

Yesterday the news that gay marriages performed in Canada to couples who don’t live here may not be valid, swept the internet news sites and the blogosphere alike. As a Canadian and a supporter of gay marriage, the news made me a little sick to my stomach. This was the first article I saw on the story. In the last paragraph, the article quotes family law attorney Andrew Feldstein, of Toronto, as saying, “Where the Harper government should have approached this is: you are not a resident of Canada, you are not a taxpayer in Canada, why should we be using the court’s time, money, resources, taxpayers dollars for people who don’t live in Canada?”

My response to this comment is, it’s not taxpayers who pay for divorce proceedings, it’s the couple in question. Is Canada now so allergic to money that we will decline it just because it comes from another country… or is this a gay issue? Is gay money somehow not worth as much as straight money? And what about all the tourist dollars we get from the gay couples from all over the world who come here to get married, some with an entire wedding party in tow? Are we, as a country really in a position, in this economy to turn away revenue? I am purposefully responding to this topic from a financial view-point because that’s the only thing that lawyers and politicians seem to respect and understand. Financially, this just doesn’t make sense.

What about Canada’s reputation as a tolerant country? We are a country that famously touts our multicultural  status as something to be proud of… and it is. We are ahead of the curve when it comes to Human Rights… but Gay Rights ARE Human Rights.

One month ago, almost to the day, former Prime Minister, Jean Chretien posted a letter to the Liberal party website. In it he said, “The Conservatives already ended gun control and Kyoto. Next may be a woman’s right to choose, or gay marriage. Then might come capital punishment. And one by one, the values we cherish as Canadians will be gone.” Did he know something the rest of us didn’t? Of course the liberals are jumping all over this hot button issue. Interim liberal leader Bob Rae was quoted as saying. “It’s quite clear that we have enabled and allowed people to come to Canada to marry in Montreal, in Toronto and everywhere in the country. People came from the U.S. and elsewhere and that means very clearly they have the right to marry and have the right to divorce,” and he’s right.

Just one day later, the Federal Government has decided to change the law.

“We want to make it very clear that in our government’s view, these marriages should be valid,” a senior government official said on Friday. “That’s why we will change the Civil Marriage Act so that any marriages performed in Canada that aren’t recognized in the couple’s home jurisdiction will be recognized in Canada.”

This is fantastic news and I’m sure it will be implemented quickly so as to nip this scandal in the bud.

I must admit I’m a little confused by something. Using the United States as an example, what about gay couples who marry in Vermont, but live in Florida? Their marriage isn’t recognized in the state they live in, so if one partner is in the hospital, for example, the other isn’t considered a family member, regardless of the marriage licence issued by Vermont. If this hypothetical couple wants to divorce, doesn’t the same problem rear its ugly head? Are they only married in Vermont and the other 5 states that allow gay marriage, but not married in the other 44 states that don’t?

It’s questions like these that I hope the GLBTQIA community south of the border is asking itself. I sincerely hope that this issue spurs more activism in the United States and around the world.