January 01, 2010
mommy clock countdown

Blake is back home, and the Mommy Clock has resumed. I can't say that I maximized my time, although I did buy a lot of crafting supplies that weren't yarn (and also bought yarn) and I did go to the gym until it made me violently ill. I shall have to complete the remainder of my marking in the dim hours after Blake goes to bed and before I collapse, which – hey! – makes my life exactly the same as it is when I'm working. Except I don't have to wear keys around my neck or pack a lunch, I suppose.

New Year's Eve was low-key, as befits the end of a decade that began in such fear and hope. When I showed up to Stacy's house ahead of the crowd in 1999, I was wearing a green velvet evening dress, a month-old engagement ring and a prominent hickey. When I showed up to Stacy's house ahead of the crowd in 2009, I was wearing a BSS t-shirt and my rings were at home, awaiting refinement to become some more relevant piece of jewelry. I left Mason sick in bed, but there was very little guilt; I was pretty sure that nuclear silos weren't about to malfunction and separate us forever. I limited myself to one beer, so that I could get home to hold hands for the countdown. And I brought knitting.

New Year's Eves in the new normal are a mixed blessing. I always have Blake until Christmas, but lose him on Boxing Day until the next year. I appreciated the chance to "cut loose" or whatever, but I still miss Blake in the midst of it all. Especially when I'm around other parents who have babysitting for the night, and didn't have to wait a full week to see their children.

(I'm not even going to get into how depressing it is to see all of my friends from ten years ago with or expecting a second baby. I can forgive the Boy many things, but I still have trouble forgiving the shuck-n-jive of so many years before he admitted that he never wanted kids in the first place. He's not the only reason why I still have just one kid, but he's a very convenient scapegoat.)

I wouldn't have left the house at all if it weren't Stacy's birthday the day before NYE, and if I hadn't spent the better part of two days working on her present. A last-minute inspiration really elevated this; who wants a regular elder god when they can have Cthulhu Bride? Behold!!

(We went to my grandfather's for lunch yesterday, and I was sewing on limbs as we visited. Everyone but Mason was puzzled by the project but I decided not to explain; what is it? is a better question than why would you bother? Stacy understands, I'm sure.)

The feature no one was asking for: a decade in review! Let's begin.

2009 was all about getting healthy. Lots of exercise with my brother, taking vitamins and oil of oregano (which for us was a game-changer). Lots of dancing in the fall, our troupe moving on from one-performance wonders. Lots of good food and cutting back on all the great beer. Greatest teachers: Valizan & Nic.

2008 was being single, really single. A single mom with a mortgage and a full-time job. Turns out I liked it a lot. Started bellydancing in January, discovered ATS, met Juuki, fell into her troupe. Started dating Mason in May; the summer was a whirlwind of late-nights, early mornings, new music, incredible food, and kissing. Visiting his condo was like taking a vacation from my suburban life. I fell in love with a current band, then all the associated bands. Lots of concerts, taking advantage of new custody agreements. A dance performance that didn't suck. New, local friends with common interests. Greatest teachers: Mason & Juuki.

2007 was splitting up with the Boy and fighting it with every particle of my being. Therapy, self-help, biting my tongue, lowering the bar, going to bed right after dinner, starting depression meds again. Bought a new house and had two months to enjoy being out of the fucking basement before everything else fell apart. Helping with Poppy's twins, trying to get pregnant to forestall the separation. Lots of crying. Greatest teacher: the Boy, who made me find myself again.

2006 was a new job in the best school I'd ever been in. Feeling like a good teacher again, being in love with my department and my job, meeting people who were more than colleagues and became friends. Camping with Blake & the Boy at StanFest. Social knitting for the first time, and getting hooked on monthly get-togethers. Greatest teachers: all the other knitters I met, celebrity and otherwise.

2005 was my first year as a working mum. Redefining work and home time, learning how to parent a person and not an inarticulate doorstop. And tonnes of knitting, once I learned how. Oh my god, the knitting. Greatest teacher: Debbie Stoller, via her books.

2004 was one word: mother. Making and losing friendships with Toronto mothers, trying hard to connect despite my new basement address. Trying out local mothering groups and feeling lost. Seeing old friends and being the first with a baby. Lots of frustrations, lots of love, very little sleep. Greatest teacher, again: Blake.

In 2003 I was adrift. I was recovering slowly from the previous year, but not losing weight or feeling happier. Got pregnant and went to Holland, in that order. Got off the depression meds and then spent the rest of the year reading up on parenting and getting used to the idea of living with my parents while my husband finished his undergrad degree. Greatest teacher: Blake.

2002 was the worst year of my life. Starting in November 2001, my teaching degree started to shake as my host teacher and evaluator treated me like an idiot for completely opposite reasons. Help appeared from every direction, but I barely squeaked through to the spring with my sanity intact. My new job in Ontario seemed heaven–sent, but after our exhausting August move cross-country, the Hosgboro administration in my new job made my host teacher look like Glenda, the good witch of the North. The camel's back being broken, I tried therapy and finally lots of drugs to get through the day. The new drug took away some of the depression and gave me twenty extra pounds in return. Started exercising, stopped eating meat and tried to turn it around. At the same time was trying to fit ourselves back into the social scene by clubbing with the young kids who now surrounded the Boy in university. But also there was Convergence 8, the last great dress-up, travel, punk rock bender of my youth. Greatest teacher: Theresa, who made me feel normal.

2001 was all about church. Fell in love with Wolfvegas and built a social life around the local United Church. Halifax visits for fun and sushi. Returning home, we were showered with love and glory for days. Discovered that the train was truly the best way to travel after 9/11 cancelled the planes. Slowly becoming a wife. Greatest teacher: Rev Robyn.

2000: Prepping for the big day, living in my parents and taking extra courses so I could go to teacher's college. Going to the city on weekends, living in the Boy's increasingly-shitty apartment. Married two weeks after my birthday and moved to Nova Scotia two weeks after that. Intense loneliness and even more intense bonding with the Boy. Slowly discovering the local community, and how supportive it could be of outsiders. First student-poverty, then the Boy's new job, and his days away on the back roads of New Brunswick. Missing pizza, clubbing and all of our friends. Greatest teacher: the Boy.

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