Me and Farty McGee

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Barack Obama said that today. It covers everything and I’m completely not averse to it. Haven’t blogged in a long time and even though there’s nothing interesting to say, I figured now was as good a time as any to say it since I’m kind of bored. I know, who’s bored on Christmas Day? I am. Every year.

  • Every year we have our  Christmas Eve dinner. I grew up celebrating the season on Christmas Eve, gift opening and all. It’s a Chilean thing. When we were little and growing up in Canada, we’d go to the movies on Christmas Eve after dinner. We’d be in the car leaving, and my mom always forgot something and had to run back into the house and take a long time. We’d go to the movies and come back home, and Santa always had come while we were out. Christmas day was about sleeping in. Now my kids are half-Chilean and half-Canadian and when we still had Santa, we’d have our big party on Christmas Eve, they’d get to open their presents from my mom, and Santa would come overnight. Now they open lots of gifts on Christmas Eve but the bigger ones are left to the morning.  At least they sleep in now. Anyway, we had my family over last night and we had a meat fondue. That’s right, I made them cook their own dinner! I know, I’m a genius. Sides are a big deal with fondue, and I tried making this wild rice salad I’d never made before that turned out to be really disappointing. The rice was too soggy. People were very nice and ate it anyway.
  • So the rest of the kids’ Christmas tradition is that on Christmas Day they go to their dad’s for the evening. They just left and now I’m on my own until tomorrow. The BF is away and it’s just me and Farty McGee right now. My dog. She got a new bone last night, and this particular variety of bone, which I think is cow femur, always gives her the world’s worst flatulence. I have all the candles on right now. ALL THE CANDLES. Still, it’s a small price to pay for having her preoccupied with it so the rest of us could enjoy enough peace to have dinner last night.
  • So other than wracking my brain figuring out if there’s a clothespin somewhere in this house for my nose, the biggest thing on my mind right now is whether or not I’m going to start parting my hair in the middle again. I have to wash it today and no one’s going to see me anyway so it’s a good time for the experiment.
  • I do have a couple of invites from some lovely friends to have dinner at their houses tonight. I think I’m coming down with something so instead I’ll just stay home with Farty McHyper and enjoy my own company. I’m actually not terrified. I usually hate not being around other people, it only takes me about 15 minutes of solitude to recharge my batteries and need interaction again, but I’m actually looking forward to this. Maybe I’m growing up.
  • One of the gifts on my daughter’s wish list was a book called The Smart Girl’s Guide to Starting Middle School, which she’ll be starting next fall. She has been talking about middle school since last summer. We had a serious conversation this morning about the things she will need, including a wristwatch and a mirror and organizer for her locker. I said, “You’re really looking forward to having a locker, aren’t you?” And she said, “Mom, it’s what I’ve been waiting for all these years.”
  • How I Met Your Mother seasons are on Netflix so I’ve watched a few of those today. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the guy who plays Ted do a talk show. I watch a lot of talk shows so I’m pretty sure about this.
  • I’m also sitting here in my jammies, thick socks and a new pair of black patent flats that I’m trying to stretch out.
  • This post has taken hours longer than usual. I’m trying to find stuff to talk about. One thing on my mind lately, like for so many other people, is the latest mass shooting in the U.S. Obviously this blog is not the forum to get into a gun-control debate of a country I don’t even live in. It doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions though, and I’ve posted a few of them on Twitter. This led to some “conversations” with tea baggers after hashtagging a few tweets with #NRA or #NRAlogic.  And weirdly, some new conservative pro-gun followers. People are obviously not taking the time to scan my tweets before blindly following. As a matter of fact, the other day I sent a tweet about Bill O’Reilly.  A couple of days later, Twitter sent me an e-mail suggesting to follow people “like Bill O’Reilly.” Including Donald Trump! Dismissed it as weird or that Twitter obviously has an outrageous sense of humour. Then a couple of days later, O’Reilly appeared on my timeline. I went to my “following” list and O’REILLY WAS ON THERE. What the. Somehow I was following him. I have no explanation for this. (He’s not on that list anymore!!!)
  • Speaking of bored, every time I say I’m bored (which is very rarely), I remember the time I was visiting a lawyer’s office with a couple of friends to sign an affidavit. He came to the door to get us and asked us to follow him to the boardroom. I said, “I hope that’s not spelled B-O-R-E-D!” He didn’t even attempt a smile. It wasn’t that tough a room though because my friends laughed. Or I know for sure one of them did.
  • We found out last week that the NHL cancelled games though January 14th. I don’t care. A couple of months ago, I really cared. I absolutely don’t care anymore, and at this point, I hope they don’t come back. Only reason would be to play some half-marathon half-season just to make some money this year. The only thing I care about is that I’m afraid they will play that half-season and that would really piss me off.
  • I am, however, really excited for World Juniors hockey. I am every year, but this year more so because I haven’t watched any hockey since May. I think this means I have to be up at 4am tomorrow to watch.
  • OK so it’s a few hours later and the “I think I’m coming down with something” is most definitely a cold. Just a sore throat and some sniffles, nothing to worry about. I’ll tell you what it’s not, and that’s the flu. I haven’t had the flu in years. I also never get a flu shot. Well, I actually got a flu shot about six years ago even though I never got the flu, after being guilted into it by a co-worker who told me I would get the flu and make my children sick. So I got the stupid flu shot, and guess what – I got the flu. This is definitely not a flu.
  • I’m starting a course next month to get a certificate in editing. I know that you probably think from this blog that I’ll never get it, but I actually love editing. I just don’t edit this. You’re supposed to blog in your own voice, and if you know me you know my speech is rarely punctuated.
  • Oh wow Barney finally met his dad! It’s the preacher dad from Footloose. I want to say Jon Lovitz but that’s not his name.
  • The kids made me Christmas presents this year. My daughter wrote me a letter and put it in a frame. My son wrote me a story in which my 2 brothers were the protagonists, and they saved Christmas and Santa with the help of my mom and a voodoo doll. Best. Christmas. Presents. Ever.

No one’s reading this. I hope you’ve all had a great time with your families and loved ones! Tweet you at 4am, everyone! Oh yeah, and here’s our family photo from last night. Merry Christmas!

photo

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The Blue, the Orange, and why I’m like Barack Obama (I’m serious)

I know I said I wouldn’t be cranky this time and I really didn’t want to be. I thought about not even posting this. But. Like the title up there says, this is about anything and nothing, and what it doesn’t say but should, is the opinions expressed here are exclusively my own, bla bla bla. Anyway, prepare to be alienated.

Did you hear? Canada elected a Conservative majority this week. ON PURPOSE.

So ladies, lock up your uteruses, because Mr. Harper is gonna set us all back a few decades and tell us what we can and can’t do with them, if he has his way. He can, you know. He has a majority. The religious right helped elect him, he’s gotta listen.

Also, more good news is that soon the scrapping of the gun registry will make it way easier for more of us to have death weapons, isn’t that terrific? You know, so we can kill people, animals, heck, anything you can shoot, either on purpose or by accident, doesn’t much matter how, as guns are designed for nothing else. Well, OK, they’re also designed for maiming. Hey, remember how Stephen Harper once loved the registry? When he was in the Reform Party? Well, he flip flopped and now he doesn’t like the registry…whatever floats your vote, eh.

And maybe you’d all better book your doctor’s appointments under universal healthcare now. Just a suggestion.

Alarmist? Perhaps. And my emotions are still high, I mean, obviously.

But just as some of our neighbours south of the border freaked out at the mere notion of falling into the dreaded, dark abyss of “socialism” – a highly incorrect term as such, but the bastion of civilization and protection of basic human rights & respect enjoyed by the likes of Switzerland, Sweden, France, etc., etc., etc., – after Barack Obama was elected, I am terrified of the Canada I know being “reshaped” (as promised by Conservative MP James Moore) by the Conservative majority.

Mr. Harper has made no secret of wanting to take us further to the right. His efforts had until now been thwarted by his having a minority government. I have always been so proud of our demonically “socialist” values, and our liberal personality. I cannot imagine a Canada that is set back, but I fear the possibility. I will save my sincere freaking out, however, until Mr. Harper makes good on his intentions. Although, as we say in Chile, I “don’t even believe his prayers,” I do believe he will attempt whatever he has to to set us back. I get the sense from him that he’s been patiently waiting to punish us for our folly and now he finally has his chance.

Just my personal feeling. His vision for our nation. It makes me a little queasy. P.S. I’m feeling opinionated.

Still and all, there’s no other country in the world I’d rather be a part of. And although Mr. Harper achieved his majority, it wasn’t the literal majority of us who actually wanted him. And in B.C., for all the butt-kissing Mr. Harper did here during the campaign, we voted NDP in the biggest way since 1988. B.C.ers weren’t buying what he was peddling. I mean, yeah, there are a lot of blue ridings, but the “orange crush” had a very strong resurgence. It’s encouraging. I remember how Sean Penn, or someone like that but I think it was he, talked about how happy he was when Barack Obama got elected, and that he was happy such a gentleman had been elected President. So no matter what happens here in the next 4 years, we still have an opportunity to change things if we don’t like them. I mean, in 4 years.

Speaking of Barack Obama, here’s why I’m like Barack Obama. I’m serious.

It was in September last year, when Barack was going around the U.S. giving speeches at huge open air gatherings. We probably all saw the clips of him giving the metaphor of digging the Republicans’ car out of a ditch, only to then be asked for the keys back – Barack’s delivery was good, Bill Cosbyish, even. “I don’t wanna give them the keys back! They don’t know how to drive!”

It was a good little speech, illustrating that no matter what he and his administration do, those who don’t like him will never be happy with what he does or how he does it, and they’ll just want the power back.

But it was when he went on, joking but serious, to say, “If I said the sky was blue, they’d say no. If I said fish live in the sea, they’d say no.”

This made me sit up straight. And I was alone in my living room, but said aloud: “Oh. My. God. I’m BARACK OBAMA.” Not to be dramatic.

We all know a contrarian or two. The people who no matter what anyone says, no matter how innoucuos, meaningless, or inconsequential, the contrarian will say “no.”

There is one such individual in my life. It doesn’t matter what I say or how I say it, this individual will argue the opposite. Barack’s statement, after making me think holy crap!, made me laugh. Because the sterling example I always think of when I think of this individual is the time I said, “What a beautiful day!” Innocent enough, right? It’s sunny, it’s warm, the birds are chirping, it’s a reasonable thing to say. I was countered with, “No, it isn’t! There are clouds out there!”

No it isn’t! No you don’t! No you’re not! …arguments for argument’s sake. Responses to things you say that you never even intended as an argument, never thought merited challenge. Over everything. Everything. How exhausting is that? And unfortunately, though I strive to waste as little time as possible on this person, I am stuck with them in my life. Like Barack will never be rid of the Republicans, and would probably faint if they ever said, “yes, you’re right.”

The comparison goes on with this week’s developments with the death of Osama bin Laden. No matter what Barack does, the contrarians will be unhappy and find something wrong with it, twist it, manipulate it to suit their agendas. Gotta be unhappy somehow about how bin Laden was found, how he was killed, and wait – was he even killed? Barack is a liar. A liar! As a matter of fact, none of this is thanks to Barack Obama at all, because he is so utterly useless. Bin Laden’s discovery was thanks to George W. Bush. Of course! Thank you, President Bush! According to Alaska’s Ms. Sarah Palin, anyway. So you know it’s gotta be true.

What a dull existence. Not for Barack, but for the other side.

Like Barack, I put up with my contrarian, and just keep on keeping on. I don’t buy their garbage, know who I am, and live my life. No matter what one does, no matter how one tries to solve problems, or solve the problems of others to the best of their ability, the other side will be furious. So just leave them to their little rainclouds. I prefer the sunshine, myself! And I’ve got a lot of it. 🙂

(No you don’t!!)

Yes, I do.

Just a Thought.

Here’s 2 cents from an outsider. I’m a Chilean-born Canadian. I’ve never lived in the U.S. I’ve visited on numerous occasions, but have never been there longer than a week. It’s a beautiful country and despite their sometimes bad rep, all the people whom I’ve personally met from the States are completely, 100% awesome.

I can’t knowledgeably speak to what it is like to live there, obviously, but thanks to 24-hour news channels and numerous talk shows on the major networks, it’s clear there is a growing polarisation in the country due to politics, in what seems to be an exponentially aggressive climate since Obama took power, with all his talk of change, universal healthcare, and the like. What I know about U.S. politics is only a thing or two and barely scratches the surface of complex issues.

I do, however, know what it’s like to live in a country where politics divides people. I’m from Chile, as you know, and I lived there during a politically charged time when the military dictatorship was unravelling and a plebiscite was called for free elections. The left and right are very marked in Chile, going back to the time when the military dictatorship took power and people took sides.

A lot of people I know were initially in favour of the coup, which ended a Marxist (elected) government that was failing spectacularly. Facts that arose subsequent to the coup, however, including the CIA’s involvement, the year-long sabotage of the elected government, and the blood-stained hands of the military dictatorship in its quest to eliminate opponents to the regime, changed the tune of many.

However, during the dictatorship, a lot of people got very wealthy. Those people were very pleased with the regime, obviously so. In my own family, my immediate family is the only one from the ‘left’, who ever opposed Pinochet and the dictatorship. The rest of my aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents are all decidedly ‘right-wing.’

I went to school with numerous ‘right-wingers’ as well as many on the left. During the transition to democracy, you couldn’t go out dancing, to a party, or for dinner without conversation turning to politics. Even though we were just kids, it was an incredibly interesting time.

Here’s the thing. Although the country was ‘divided’ by its politics, I never participated in or witnessed a conversation that ended in a screaming match or violence. Not once did any politician, radio or T.V. personality or even military man use incendiary or hateful language on the news or in interview. Even demonstrations where the good ol’ molotov cocktails came out and the water cannons or tear-gasser showed up (ah, memories) were not designed to injure or kill, but were a sign of the majority of the population standing up to reclaim the right to democracy. Politics was politics and fodder for debate, end of. My own two best friends held OUTRAGEOUSLY right-wing views. Our pet names for each other were ‘fascist’ and ‘communist.’ You can guess which one was mine.  And we still loved each other as much as we ever did.

But, civilians in Chile neither own handguns nor have any reasonable access to them. Guns change everything. In the hands of the mentally unstable or even just angry people, they kill. Duh. And how many people are killed by mistake, a family member mistaking them for an intruder, someone else who doesn’t know the firearm is loaded, etc.?

Now say you’re someone who doesn’t have proper command of your mental faculties. And say you live in a country and a time where there is non-stop exposure to often ignorant and hateful, and sometimes dangerous rhetoric from political sides, and you happen to have access to an automatic weapon and happen to know where a politician who happened to support DEATH PANELS WHO WERE GOING TO KILL YOUR GRANDPARENTS was going to be speaking in public. GUESS WHAT.

By now everybody’s said it, but the horrifying shootings and murders in Arizona this past weekend haven’t been proven to have any connection with crosshairs on a map (one of which targetted the Democratic congresswoman who got shot) on Sarah Palin’s website, or her call to “reload!”, or Rush Limbaugh’s furious bloviating, or for example, Speaker of the House John Boehner’s words on the Democratic Rep from Ohio who voted for ‘Obamacare’: “He may be a dead man…he can’t go home to the west side of Cincinnati.” No logical reason to conclude they in any way had an impact on an obviously deranged killer with an automatic weapon. But they don’t help.

Every reasonable adult has a responsibility to use careful language with even the smallest of audiences, and this responsibility is magnified when you have an expanded audience. Gabrielle Giffords, the congresswoman who was shot, said it herself when Ms. Palin’s ‘crosshairs’ map was published. Ms. Palin, who hurriedly took down her map only moments after the news of the shootings, is quick to tell us that she hates violence and was never promoting the mass murder of opponents. I believe her. But it’s an awful coincidence that instead of say, Xs, arrows or bunny-rabbits, she chose to use crosshairs targetting those who voted for accessible healthcare for those who can’t afford it. Crosshairs, you guys. And Ms. Palin is a very unique combination of complete moron and savvy pitbull. She knows exactly who her audience is, and exactly what to say to them to get them fired up. Again, just saying. It hasn’t been proven that this crazy shooter in Arizona was politically motivated, despite showing up at a political event with an automatic weapon with murder on his mind. But still.

It’s obvious to anyone that what needs to occur RIGHT NOW on both sides of the political coin down south is NO MORE RHETORIC. And: Gun Control!!! Better yet, no guns at all. No guns! Use your brain to thoughtfully debate and make a difference. Handguns and automatic weapons have but one purpose: to injure or end human life. Duh.

I know it’s unrealistic to believe this will ever happen and I know it’s very easy to sit up here north of the border and make opinions and offer naive, Pollyanna-ish solutions to incredibly complicated problems, but I am anyway simply because it is so easy. It’s possible to live in a politically charged climate civilly, I’ve witnessed it first-hand, so that, I can knowledgeably attest to. But that one was in a climate that did not have gun-control issues. So perhaps the baby step that is so easily accomplished can be a start: Choosing responsible language. Even if irresponsible rhetoric is not to blame for the tragedy in Arizona, it’s a terrific time to turn a new leaf. Playing nice can never hurt.

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