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transcending the lessons of our childhood

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i turn on the tv and trip over oprah interviewing rosie o'donnell. i've caught the interview underway, they are talking about how she was raised and what impact that has had on her parenting. she says that she wanted to be a better parent or at least to offer what she had lacked and it resonates with me. of course, i am not a wealthy celebrity, so the financial aspect is
different, but i think that my son didn't want for anything (especially hugs) without
being extravagantly indulged.

my mother was reared by stoic and aloof parents and herself was cooly inaccessible, what i knew of her. my father came from abuse. it seemed neither of them were unprepared and ill-equipped for the rigors of parenthood. when the family split, my father disappeared and my mother began to date. we spent a lot of time with sitters or amusing ourselves. for all intents and purposes they had both moved on. when we were apprehended by social services, my mother was relieved and my father was still nowhere to be found.

abandoned into the system my brother and i were consigned to foster care and eventually a foster home. the sort of foster home that are the stuff of movies, the bad ones. we were to be seen and not heard; to obey without question. most of my childhood was devoted to the service of the household, in more ways than one. i cooked, cleaned, did the laundry and all was to be done without complaint because to do otherwise would be seen to be "asking for it". 

as a result, i had no model for parenting when i became one, all i knew was that i did not want to be the sort of parent who yelled and screamed, who shut her child down with "because" she said so, or worst of all, used arbitrary violence instead of compassion, understanding and teaching. and i know i overcompensated. i spent a lot of energy explaining to my young son the why instead of saying "just because". i wanted to be sure he knew the why behind everything. when he got older he would roll his eyes and say to me "the short version, mom, the short version". coincidentally or not it turns out she has done a documentary
for hbo about families. i won't be able to watch it, of course, until it is released onto video or perhaps as a late night showcase entry.

special delivery?

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Purolator attempted to deliver a package to me the other day. I use the terms "attempt" and "deliver" very loosely because they did neither. No one buzzed my front door nor made any attempt to deliver it to me personally, which makes
this whole idea of door to door delivery a complete misnomer. And apparently Purolator has a new policy: They no longer leave the delivery notice tag on
an apartment building. I'm not sure why; they blow away? People
rip them off? Paranoid customers think that some stranger can claim
their stuff? First thing they should do is give people the option to accept delivery in the first place. Ring the bloody buzzer! That's what it's for.

So, I got a call from what they like to call the local depot to tell me where to pick up my package.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but why should I have to embark on some sort of trek to retrieve an item being "delivered" to me. It means road trip for me. But not the fun kind in a
convertible with the top down, hanging with my peeps, wind blowing in
our hair. It means figuring how to get to this place by transit, and I know a
bus has to be involved because the address is out in no man's land somewhere
on Market Crossing which I can't even find on a map. The message left informs me I have 5 business days to come and get the item before it is dispatched to the central depot. God only knows where that is. Or, I do have the option of actually having it delivered to my door, but will be sometime between the hours of 9-5 on some future appointed day thus making the assumption that everyone has the luxury of having their days free, which has always peeved me. Not that I get a lot of packages delivered, but when I do it is always a hassle. And, as it just so happens I do currently have my days free, but what I lack is the desire to linger in my apartment for an entire day to wait for this special delivery, and if memory serves the last time I waited all day for Purolator the driver never did show up.

The bus lets me off at my stop which has been stabbed in the ground like an afterthought. It turns out Market Crossing is just a charitable way of saying two
streets intersect and there are stores there. The handful of riders that get off with me at the same stop all we all dodge traffic to get across the street to the oases of shops on the other side. No pesky crosswalks here. There's an enticing array of stores at this Market Crossing, but not enough to seduce me down here on a regular basis. I was relieved to find a mcdonald's so I could kill time with a cheap coffee before the next bus came by to get me back home again. The package is worth the trip, a replacement coat from Columbia, something I've been working on for almost 4 months now.

Day in the life of a (p/t) working girl

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Dinner is going to cook while we are at work. I did the prep the evening before, but the last stages of prep; browning the chicken and assembling it in the cooker, still chew up too much valuable morning time.

What to wear? I washed my preferred trousers and neglected to iron them and now it is not an option. I could wear the pants that are too long, listen to them drag as I walk or the pants that are a titch too short, a pet peeve of mine. I loathe the whole "business casual" office repertoire. Mostly because I can never find anything that fits or flatters. I pause and imagine what sort of
office I’d rather work in; contemplate yet again the sort of work I want
to do, not in an office or someone else's office. Or one with a dress code.

I tussle with my contact lenses to get them in. Why today? I'm already running behind. I'm wearing them out of vanity (not entirely) but of convenience. It's a hassle pushing my glasses up my nose over and over again as I squint over papers.

Breakfast is a hastily prepared smoothie, gulped quickly in the few minutes I have before I need to get out of the house. Lunch will be a similar affair; I'd meant to prepare something the night before and came up with
nothing. I end up grabbing a packet of
carnation instant breakfast and tossing it into my bag on my way out the door.

I sprint out of the house into the crisp morning air. My eyes are assaulted by a blinding sun slung low on the horizon. The morning air bites hungrily at my fingers. It's a rude awakening. Even though most mornings I am out of bed at this hour (my new habit so as to discourage sloth), I am rarely outside. There was a time when I went for life affirming brisk walks first thing. Not anymore. Why the glow went off it so quickly, I don't know. Maybe because even though I strode with purpose it was like I had none.

The train seems full, but I find a seat shrouded by the figure of someone standing in front of it. Why the kind stranger couldn't indicate this fact rankles me a bit, but that's just the way it goes so.I manoeuvre around him, settle in and throw open my book, eager to jump back in where I left off. I don't normally read in the mornings; merely plug in and tune out, but I've only got this book for 14 days and I am captivated by the story.

It’s one of those magic mornings where you might imagine what you would do next if you were on holiday. I am striding down the hill from the
skytrain to my workplace, pulling in deep inhales of the cool and fresh air; blowing out plumes of steamy warm air. I am working out the math of the trip length in my
head. And I marvel, how can it be that I left the apartment at 8 and waited almost 10 minutes for the
bus at the end of the block to take me to braid station and still arrive only 10 minutes later
than if I had left at 10 to eight and walked the 8 minute walk to
sapperton and took the train directly from there? I’m baffled. But first things first. I skip across busy Grandview and retrieve a Tim horton’s Coffee (my second coffee of the day) and a banana from the gas station. This will be the highlight of my day and will sustain me until I take my customary later lunch.

On the return trip, I notice the cost of gasoline and marvel at the cost of gasoline. 112.9 …That’s what? $4.50 a gallon. How does anyone afford the cost of driving? I remember when we heard that gasoline in Europe was less and everyone thought that it was scandalous.
I knock on the side door of the building until someone hears me. The woman who generally answers sits closest to the door and is always chirpy and friendly. I hang up my jacket and notice it smells of fried something. I can't stand that; another of my pet peeves.

I turn on the computer and go off to fill up my water bottle while it lumbers to life. I settle in, take a few sips while I check my email. None of it pertains to me. I get up go right to work and my back protests with pain after just a few minutes of bending and stooping. Again comes a moment of decisiveness that I have GOT to get a glimmer, a clue and some motivation to get onto a more desireable career path. A little more stunning clarity wouldn't hurt.

Later in the day I have a bit of a training session; for specific tasks beyond what I've learned already. I thought I had it nailed, now I feel myself begin to shut down; suffering a bit of information overload. I take copious notes but I can't read them within a few minutes of scribbling them down.

I leave the building, immediately feeling buoyant and relaxed. My evening is now my own. I see a train pull into the station, and know that if I keep walking this pace, I will only have to wait a few minutes for the next and there's no need to hurry. I decide I will take the train all the way to my stop and take the short hilly route home, instead of transferring to one of the buses that will drop me at the end of my block. 

I think to myself as I walk the short incline home, that it would be lovely if a person could sustain themselves on such a mere amount of toiling. I sigh and give my head a shake. My day isn't entirely over, there's dinner to prepare.



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