Slow Burn

July 30, 2010

This week I was starting to feel a little guilty about not liking the MIL.  Dinner on Monday wasn’t as craptastic as usual and her company was almost pleasant.  This happens sometimes when the Monday dinners go reasonably well and I start to think that maybe I’m being too hard on her.  Maybe she’s not as bad as I think she is.  But then, something ALWAYS happens and I realize she’s worse than I thought.

Last night DH called her and early on in their chat it became pretty clear she was angling for something.  Turns out her BFF’s husband’s mother had died and the MIL, via the BFF’s husband, wanted DH to be a pall bearer.  Now, I’m sure this is going to get me flamed and I mean no disrespect to the dead woman, but here’s why I am angry and 110% against this. 

DH has never mentioned the woman who died EVER.  She  may have, like a whole bunch of other old Greek ladies, looked after him when he was a child, but in the five and half years we’ve been together her name has NEVER come up.  Which to me, means that she hasn’t played a big role in his life for at least 30 years.  Also, the MIL has never mentioned her.  And this is the woman who was the MIL to her BFF.  If they were close, my MIL would have talked about her.  Believe me.  So DH’s “family is important to me” refrain doesn’t ring true here.  More importantly, I could tell he was hesitant about agreeing to do this.  He danced around saying no until she basically dragged a “I guess” out of him.   This is another one of those “for the show” events.   Which means that everyone has to do something they don’t want to do because it will look good.  Damn the consequences, they’re providing a united front and making everyone else in the local Greek community jealous.  Please.

All that aside, and this is the real reason I’m aginst the pall bearer thing, DH does not deal well with death.  Not at all.  Even the death of a distant relative/family acqaintence he hasn’t seen in many many years will make him maudlin.    So he will be a mess for at least a week over this.  A hot-I’m-going-to-sit-in-the-basement-and-listen-to-The-Smiths-and-play-with-razor-blades-and-pout mess.  And I’m the one who will have to deal with it.  Who will have to try and jolly him out of his melancholy.  If this was a close friend of the family or someone who meant a lot to the DH I’d be ok with him being a pall bearer.  And I’d be ok with the whole basement-Smiths-pouting thing.  Not happy about it but I’d deal because that’s what marriage is about…for better or for worse.

But what really burns my ass is that MIL knows how DH is with death.  We’ve had a few discussions where I’ve told her flat out to stop asking him to do this stuff.  I’ve told her how upset he gets and how hard it is for him (and me) for days after the funeral.  She nods and agrees and then proceeds to keep asking him.  And I proceed to pull out all my hair.  Her excuse is that if she’s asked by a family for DH’s pall bearing services, she can’t not tell DH  because he’s the one who needs to decide.  Except he’s going to say yes because he’s looking for approval (which never comes) from his parents.  He wants to be the dutiful son, even when he doesn’t want to be dutiful.  It’s a lose-lose situation for everyone except his mother who gets to preen about her son and how devoted he is and all the rest of that crap.

I’m not against DH going to the funeral.  Fare from it.  In fact I’m all for it.  Especially since I don’t have to go.  What I don’t like is that his mother has completely disregarded my wishes and has bullied him into doing something he’s not really comfortable doing.  Plus she’s not going to be there for the fallout afterwards – the moping and complaining and pouting that will go on for days. 

But, I guess that second part is his problem.  He’s got to realize, that as his parents and their friends age, funerals are going to become more and more common and he’s just got to deal with it.  Death isn’t always sad and tragic, especially if the person has lived a long and happy life.  And if he doesn’t want to play an active role in the funeral, he’s going to have to speak up about it. 

As for me, I’ll bring it up with the MIL the next time I see her.  Another “gentle reminder” probably won’t change anything in the long term but my MIL is passive-agressive and doesn’t like it when people stand up to her.  And making her miserable pretty much always makes me happy.  Especially on this particular matter when it clearly upsets the son she professes to adore. 

Since I’m not going to the funeral I figure I’ll spend my day in the garden, surrounded by living and growing things, listening to happy,fun, upbeat pop music, doing something I want to be doing.  Afterall, one of us should be happy on this long weekend and it may as well be me.


I have a dream

July 21, 2010

Yesterday I called in sick to work.  I was sick.  Sort of.  I had some GI issues and I’ll leave it at that.  Nothing too unpleasant, just uncomfortable.  And I needed to sleep in.  And clean my bathrooms.  And do laundry.

Which is exactly what I did.  And you know, despite the fact that I’m not house proud, I enjoyed every minute of it.  Including the 2 hours I spent scrubbing down the bathrooms.  

I don’t know why, but I’m much more productive on my “sick” days than I am on the weekends.  On “sick” days I generally don’t mess around on the internet (that’s saved for work ha hahaha!) and I don’t often knit, unless I’m under a deadline.  Turns out, I don’t mind cleaning the house and I and I enjoy making fiddly dips and breads when my time is my own.  I even like ironing and weeding the garden.  I know the cat REALLY likes it when I’m home.

For a long time now, DH and I have discussed me not working a full week.  I have always been on board with this and would happily work three days a week, although it looks like four days will be the way it goes when it does come to pass.  Unfortunately, with a pay cut and starting a fundraising campaign at work, it’s not going to be feasible this year.  Or next year for that matter.

But it will happen.  I am already dreaming of the things I will get done.  I’ll have a clean house, an organized home office and I will even have time to sew again.  I also imagine that my freezer will be stocked with soups and casseroles and home made breads.  I will finally have time to spend with my nieces and I hope to read books again.  Maybe even catch up on that huge stack of magazines and cookbooks I have beside my bed.

But then again, maybe I’ll just sit my self down and knit on my days off.

Reflections on la Belle Provence

July 19, 2010

Well, ok, actually just Montreal.  But la belle provence sounds so much prettier.  DH and I went to Montreal a few weeks ago for an extra long weekend.  We rented a beautiful condo from VRBO that was nicer than our house and walked until our feet bled.  Or rather my feet.  Yes they actually bled.  When will I learn that any holiday with DH means death marches and pretty shoes just won’t cut it?  Comfortable really does trump cute when I’m walking 20km or more a day.

 So I’ve always put off going to Montreal.  I don’t speak French well and I’ve always been intimidated by the fact that the women are said to be beautiful and well-dressed.  I have some good days for sure but my well-dressed days are behind me.  I work at a not-for-profit, I wear yoga pants some days.

But on this trip I had a lot of illusions shattered.  The women are pretty much the same as women everywhere…some are beautiful, most are attractive and some are “breath taking” a la Seinfeld.  And as for being well dressed….I saw a lot of cute sundresses but nothing that knocked my socks off.  I could have been in Toronto to be honest for all the fashion forwardness I saw.  Sure people looked nice but they looked like people in any large city anywhere in the developed world.  There were NO goth/emo types though and that was quite refreshing.  When it’s 40C+ the last thing I want to see is some idiot parading around in black and purple tights and a leather trench coat.

I did notice that Montreal has a lot of white people walking around though.  And we were all over the city not just in the touristy areas.  Yes, I realize that there is a large Hatian, African and Vietnamese population but they weren’t that noticable when we were there.  Or maybe I’m just used to seeing more ethnicities in my province.  It was kind of weird to see so much homogenaity (is that a word?  if so did I spell it right?).

And English is spoken just about everywhere.  We were in some predominantly franco areas and DH (who is pretty fluent in French) began speaking and immediately people switched over to English.  Not sure if this is because his accent is so bad (a possibility) or people just want to practice their English.  Maybe a bit of both.

The one thing I really enjoyed though was the food.  Hands down we ate well.  The markets are wonderful and have so much cool stuff.  We stayed by the Jean Talon market and I could have walked around for hours sniffing and squeezing and tasting.  We ate our fill of boar, deer, bison and lamb sausage every time we were there.  And the ice cream is to die for.  I have no idea what the store name is but the ice cream is divine.  Creme brulee flavour is the best (and I sampled them all) and I have yet to recreate it in my ice cream maker at home.  But I’ve had fun trying! 

We went to Schwartz’s, a Montreal tradition, despite the fact that I will not eat smoked meat.  I got the side eye from the waiter when I said no to the sandwich but I can heartily recommend the cole slaw and pickel.  And no trip to Montreal would be complete without a dozen (or more) Montreal-style bagels.  We went to Fairmont and then went to see/hear the tam tams at Par Du Mont-Royal.  This was not my favourite part of the trip (do these guys know any other songs?) plus it was getting humid and a giant dog kept trying to get at our lox and bagels. 

But the best food on the trip was at Le Milsa, a Churrascaria which is kind of like a steak house.  Except they bring all the steak (and nine other kinds of meat) you can eat to you on skewers.  Now I have eaten my fair share of Argentian and Albertan beef.  And this place was head and shoulders above.  The meat just melted in your mouth and had the perfect meat/sale/fat ration.  It was 100% delicious.  If you are a hungry meatavore and are in Montreal this is a can’t miss kind of place.  Plus the scantily clad Carnavale dancer didn’t hurt in DH’s opinion either.

So in a nutshell, the women are not intimidating, no one dresses like they stepped out of Vogue, English speakers are everywhere and food is delicious.  As an added bonus there are a ton of yarn stores, just don’t try to go to them during July and August when the proprietors seem to go on vacation.  I can see Montreal will be a regular long weekend destination for us from now on.

Like chalk and cheese

July 15, 2010

DH and I go to the outlaws’ house twice  a month for dinner.  He goes more often, by himself, but twice a month is more than enough for me.  I’d go, well, never if I could but I understand that sometimes you are the bird and sometimes  you are the statue (I’m the statue in this particular example) and you can’t always get what you want. 

Mostly it’s better than I think it will be.  I mean the food is almost always awful…overdone, dry, too oily, not enough salt, too much oregano….I could go on.  But most visits are fine.  We stay far too long in my opinion, but rarely is there drama these days, and bad food aside, it does make them happy to see us.  But I still dread those every-other Monday dinners.

Last night we went to DH’s (ex)aunt’s house for dinner.  We’ve invited her and her second husband for dinner to our house a few times and she felt the need to reciprocate.  She’s a very nice lady and I enjoy her company.   Her husband is a bit old school but whatever, it was dinner, how bad could it be?  Especially as I endure the outlaws’ house twice a month. 

Now, I’ve heard all about how his aunt is an excellent cook and I’ve not believed it, seeing as how it was DH telling me and no word of a lie, he’ll eat just about anything and not complain.  I do know that she makes far and away the best shortbread and meringue cookies in the world so while I was looking forward to seeing the aunt, I was a bit wary about dinner.  You never can tell with DH’s family….they’re talked up a lot and I’m often sadly disappointed with the cooking results.

I can say that over 12 hours later I am still full from dinner.  And it was DELICIOUS.  In fact, I’m thinking about asking DH to go once a month to see his aunt so she can feed us.  Not only is she a good cook (a REALLY good cook), she’s a hands-off relative.  There’s no “you’re not eating the rice?” meant-to-induce-guilt-comments (although hers was stellar and I don’t care for rice) or “eat more you’ve only had two porkchops” (for the record I had one….and a piece of chicken) or “why aren’t you eating this, I cooked all day” crap like we get at the outlaws.  There was salt on the table and real dessert…two kinds of cake AND coconut pie…not picked over fruit like at the outlaws.  DH doesn’t eat dessert unless it has chocolate on it and there was no recriminations.  You don’t want to eat at the aunt’s house, you don’t have to.  You have no idea how refreshing this is.

If I could only figure out how to get the aunt to cook for our twice-a-month dinners at the outlaws I’d be happy.  Fat but happy.

It’s just, well, you know.

July 8, 2010

I’ve often used this site to whine about my weight.  It’s my blog and I’ll whine if I want to. 

Now, I know full well that no one made me eat those bags of Doritos and cheesies and all that other salty, greasy crap that is so bad for you but tastes so good.  Also, I know that I am the only one holding me back from dropping that weight.  Which will have to happen sooner rather than later as I suspect my mammoth ballooning swollen ankles will disappear once I drop some poundage.   Neither of these points are in dispute.  I am the architect of my weight gain and will be the architect of any weight loss.

But none of it will happen by Saturday.  Which is when my entire family will be celebrating my grandmother’s 98th birthday (yay Baba!!) at my sister’s house.  Where a new pool has just been installed.  And it’s quite literally hotter than the surface of the sun right now (and will be for the forseeable future I think) so I desperately want to get into the pool.  And my sister is on a big exercise kick and has dropped a ton of weight and looks great.  Awesome. 

Despite the fact that I will be surrounded by my family (none of whom are particularly thin) I am already feeling anxious.  And crabby (which makes me want to eat salt and grease which further compounds the problem).  And wish that women still wore those old style full length bathing suits that covered EVERYTHING.  Ah well, maybe I’ll make DH drive and just get so loaded that I don’t care what I look like.  And start hauling my ass to my local pool.  Swollen ankles aside, it can’t hurt to get my sorry self back into shape.  Even if it’s only to look good while swimming at my sister’s house.  Bring on the wine….it’s gonna be a very long day on Saturday.  I need to start early.