Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I've been defeated by bread

Here have some non-sense from a sleep deprived pseudo-vegetarian with a kid with food allergies foraging for food in the snow:

So this morning I have both kids home sick from school, though I suspect they will both be going back tomorrow for the sake of my sanity largely but also because they are legitimately being little pains in my rear end today which is a surefire sign that they are on the mend.

So I decide in my infinite wisdom that we need to eat, and because my fridge is garbage I don't actually have any food in the house, they eat at my mothers or we eat out quite a bit right now because of this. So what I have in the house is a loaf of bread that I bought ohhhhh 12 days ago, not really great on it's own right?

So I'm doing mental inventory of "what I want" and "where do I have to go to get it", while lying in bed this morning and decide that the local organic foods market which is mostly a glorified vitamin shop that also sells organic foods and a lot of vegan options is a great idea. It's only a $7 cab ride each way, it has what I want (smoked tofu and vegenaise) and I'll be able to pick up some basic foods stuffs for the kids. But because it's an organic market everything is unnecessarily over priced right? Well anyway, I convince the two still slightly under-the-weather minions that if they'd like to eat today we're going to have to go out foraging for food and I shove aside my maternal guilt and lack of better support system (you'd think I could have thought of someone to come sit with them for 45 minutes while I went to pick up food, but sadly it wasn't going to happen any time before dinner hour and you can't NOT feed kids all day, they get kinda bitchy, not to mention that whole "neglect" thing annnnyway) so out we go by taxi in the snow to the health food store.

Now this is the part where I put aside my principles of "I will not buy milk/bread/cereal/produce at the organic market because goddamnit I AM NOT PAYING $4 FOR A FREAKING TOMATO!!!" and decide that if I want to avoid making small sick children walk three city blocks in the snow and wind and -14C temperatures to the normal reasonably priced grocery store that I will have to buy my essentials there and pay extra just this once. So I carefully budget getting my smoked tofu and a jar of vegenaise (which is vegan mayo, which I justify buying both because it's cholesterol free so good for my heart condition and dairy free which means everyone in my house hold can actually eat it) and yes even lettuce and tomato at over twice the price of safeway, and then tell the kids they can pick out some food.

Baby-spawn who's been sicker than sick this week immediately wants milk and cereal, so I cringe as I pick up the organic soy milk that at safeway is $3 less, and we go on the hunt for cereal. Well as it turns out much like you can't buy normal mayo at the health food store you also can't buy normal bread or cereal, they have spelt bread, rice bread, gluten free bread, oat and millet bread, honey and brown rice bread, but there was no such thing as just a loaf of good old fashion rye bread and I had almost a whole loaf at home so I wasn't about to pay $5 for bread I knew I wasn't in the mood for. We moved on to the cereals and realized there weren't any cheerios or rice-krispies style cereals priced under $8 for what looked to me to be about 4 servings.

And this is the part where I am extremely grateful that while we do have a dairy allergy in the household we do not have a gluten intolerance or wheat allergy. Thank you allergy gods for sparing me the torture of $12 gluten free cereals.

So with her big giant pleading eyes I relented and picked up an $8 350gram box of "Natures Path Organic Oaty-Bites" and we headed out into the snow to wait for a cab home. 

Well we got home and the kids both wanted cereal of course and I tried not to cringe as I poured out two thirds of the box into their bowls knowing there was a high probability they wouldn't even like the stuff and then coated it in a nice layer of organic soy milk and gave each of them a spoon. And surprisingly they each ate about 3/4 of a bowl full which for sick kids and new cereal is pretty good odds, they were quite happy and even if the groceries cost more than eating out it was nice to think we'd had a normal family meal at home for a change and I started forming a plan to bring whatever was left of the groceries tomorrow to my mothers where they will last for more than 2-3 days (damn you broken fridge you are the bane of my existence) and I set to work making my wonderful glorious sandwich. I open the bread that's been on the counter, and... oh no, no, please don't be moldy.


I look over at the kids, who are curled up on their blankets, watching a movie cozy and content and contemplate making them put on parkas and snow pants, hats mitts and boots and dragging them to the end of the street to the corner store for bread...

And then I make myself a cup of organic earl grey tea with organic soy milk and organic honey and pour myself a bowl of "natures path organic oaty-bites" and douse them with organic soy milk and sigh defeated by a $2 loaf of two week old bread.

We will meet again bread, and when we do, I shall have my sandwich!!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

No one likes wax beans, generic KD and apple "beverage" aka my take on charity

 Last night I posted this to my personal blog, and because it received a good dozen comments and it was suggested I share it more publicly I am also posting it here. Please feel free to pass this one on to anyone you think would benefit from hearing my story of charity at Christmas time.

I'm going to get off on what I hope is a slightly intelligent, rather passionate rant and I'm hoping that those of you who think of yourself as progressive open minded adults will take something from this little rant.

We are approaching the holiday season, which for some is the good old American Thanks Giving, followed by Christmas, and others celebrate Hanukkah, Solstice or more traditionally these days what I like to call "Giftmas" which is some hybrid of the traditional Christmas and the over-commercialization that has come from a very spoiled upper middle class perspective.

Guy's we are SPOILED.

Now I'm not going to get off on a tangent about helping the needy or the less fortunate because gosh darn does Christmas ever suck when you're eating spam out of a can with a plastic knife on Christmas Eve sharing a king can of cheap beer with the misses. Everyone who has ever been poor can tell you it sucks to be poor, and I am in general of the opinion that helping people in need is not something anyone deserves a pat on the back for.

Unless you are giving up your life and all of your wealth for a philanthropic cause a la Mother Theresa you aren't getting a cookie from me for giving the homeless guy some change.

And while I bring that up, let me elaborate on why I routinely give the homeless people in my neighborhood in the realm of $8-$20 when they ask me for spare change (I usually carry between 20-60 in change on my person so when I'm asked I reach in for a handful of coins, and because I am Canadian and we have our $1 and $2 coins this can often amount to a decent sum of money) the reason I stand by firmly for this, is while it's all good to donate your time and your money to a shelter or soup kitchen, what very few people in a position of privilege fail to understand is that those places fill up, they run out of food and they run out of space. Men are put lower on the list than women and children, and even if you are a man with a child, you aren't prioritized (in most places) ahead of women. Shelters are not a perfect solution. Neither are soup kitchens. A lot of these places refuse to serve people with addictions, and some even refuse to serve people who don't believe in the religion that is being preached at that mission.

And on a lighter note I am happy to give the guy pan handling outside of the liquor store my change, because even if he uses it to buy booze not a sandwich, his life has got to suck more than mine, after all I have somewhere warm to sleep, and a bottle of wine in my pantry and I don't need to rely on the sympathy of strangers to enjoy a beer. The way I look at it, the guy outside the liquor-mart has more reasons to want a drink than I do, by a long shot.

So this is my basic view on giving, I think it's something you should do in any capacity you can, be it spare change, donations to charity, time spent volunteering or canned goods for charity whenever and however you can.

It's just good old human kindness, if you can afford a cup of coffee you can afford to help out from time to time.

But that said, you need to consider how you help people. Of course there is going to be some self satisfaction from giving to someone who needs it. But you need to also consider what you are giving.

Everyone has been to some event or benefit where they were asked to bring in a can of food for the food bank. and what do people usually donate, a random can from their pantry, often something they're unlikely to eat, canned ham, spam, wax beans, white rice, generic mac n cheese.

Let me derail this into a story about my own experiences receiving charity.

Once upon a time there was a 22 year old recently separated mother of two children ages 13 months and 3 years respectively. I had left my husband 6 months prior and was having trouble getting on my feet. My girls and I shared a very small one bedroom apartment, we had a very tight budget, I had no skills and an ex who didn't pay support, and really I had no idea how I was going to take care of us. So because I needed all of the support I could get I had joined a church a few months before I moved out on my own and had grown quite close to some of the people I attended "small group" (bible study group held Friday night) with. There was this lovely woman whom for the sake of this story I will call "E" who had 3 sons ranging from ages 13 to 5 and all of them were going to a very prestigious private Christian school. Their father was a former minister who now taught at a school and "E" herself was a teacher as well. They were a lovely family and did so much to make me feel welcome and supported and included in the church.

I was volunteering in the nursery at the church one Sunday about 6 weeks before Christmas when a woman comes into to the nursery dressed in her Sunday best with her toddler and drops her off, she chats a few minutes with the other women and then notices the hampers in the back room full of canned goods and she asks quite incredulously "what are those for?" and one of the other women in the room replies they're food hampers for the less fortunate for Christmas. And this woman is completely shocked, she replied "well surely NO ONE at THIS church would be that poor! I mean we don't live in poverty in this country, that only happens in Ethiopia and other places like that" this dialogue continued for awhile and I tried to hide my combined embarrassment and annoyance with her lack of tact and understanding, I had known plenty of people growing up who'd needed the assistance of a food bank and knew first hand how hard it was to make ends meet, if it hadn't been for credit cards I'd have been lined up at the food bank every week myself at that point (and eventually, they took away my credit cards and I was but that didn't come until later). Eventually the woman left and I tried to shake off the discomfort her remarks had caused me and put it out of my mind.

About a week before Christmas my dear friend "E" from church called me up and asked if she could stop by for coffee later in the day. Now to say I wasn't exactly at my best with my Charlie Brown falling down Christmas-tree and tiny apartment that had been thoroughly destroyed by two toddlers would have been an understatement, but because I adored "E" and wanted her to like me and somehow approve of me I of course invited her over for coffee, and spent 8 consecutive HOURS cleaning my house so that it would be up to her (and more over my perception of her) standards. So at around 8 at night I get a knock on the door and open it to find, much to my surprise that "E" and her three boys have arm fulls of boxes of things for myself and the girls. There is an entire box of wrapped gifts for the girls, and a few things wrapped for me, and three large boxes of canned goods and food bank food. "E" and her boys put the things on my kitchen table and beam proudly she turns to me and says "we were so happy to be able to deliver the Christmas hamper to you and the girls, we felt it was so very much in the spirit of the Church, Merry Christmas Ani!" and they beamed with the satisfaction of having done their good deed for the day, and with that she quickly ushered her boys out of my apartment, without so much as having take off her coat and went home to her perfect clean house in the suburbs with her perfect family for their perfect Christmas, complete with the lesson of helping the less fortunate.

Now, I was completely stunned, I mean I knew I wasn't doing well financially but I certainly wasn't destitute and I'd never thought of myself as "in need of charity assistance" and I most certainly hadn't signed up to receive a Christmas hamper. In fact I'd always been a very proud person and determined to "make it on my own" I really felt that the "surprise gifts" would have been put to better use donated to someone else. But there I was, in the middle of my first Christmas as a single mom, with two very little girls, surrounded by boxes of Generic mac and Cheese, Apple Beverage (not juice, apple beverage, which is 90% water with some high fructose corn syrup and apple flavour) about a dozen tins of wax beans, a box of half mouldy christmas oranges, two loaves of mouldy bread and about a dozen cans of spam.

I cried. In fact I wept. For the most part it was food I couldn't imagine feeding to my children or eating myself, and a good percentage of it was expired (and for the perishables, was spoiled) and in general it was not quality food.

Now I am familiar with the phrasing "beggars can't be choosers" and you know that's true and maybe my lack of gratitude was due to the fact that I hadn't asked to receive a Christmas hamper from the Church, and that I was in a difficult place to begin with emotionally that year, I didn't want to feel like someone's "feel good" project or that I was in need of saving, I wanted to be successful, or at least to feel like the people that I thought cared about me had faith in my ability to get through and survive and come out on top.

But my very long end point to this little story is that it's important to be mindful when you give, yes this is a season for giving, and that should extend beyond "what can I buy my loved ones" into "how can I help or make a difference" and whether I believe you should do that year round ( and I do) isn't so much the point. I suppose my overly convoluted point here is that in the spirit of giving you also need to be mindful of the gift.

So do me a favour, and next time you attend a function where people ask for a donation for charity don't reach for the minute rice or the wax beans that you know you're not going to eat, don't find the unlabeled can at the back of the cupboard, reach for your favourite tin of soup, or a jug of real juice or some healthy pasta, or the really yummy tomato sauce that you picked up three jars of on sale last week and consider how much MORE receiving that kind of generosity will mean to someone who does need the help, who can't always afford the real Kraft Dinner and who might want to feel that instead of getting a hand out from someone who wants to feel good about themselves, they are receiving a gift in the spirit of kindness and compassion.

And such is my two cents on helping those in need.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sporticus and the story of the great avenger!

So I sprained my ankle walking in flats this morning, (shows how rarely I walk in flats) so while I'm waiting for the swelling to come down so I can ya know, do stuff with my day (like find my ankle brace and then get groceries and um, clean stuff) I'm going to tell you a story...

With PICTURES... and MATH!!!


I told you there was math!!

So this morning I found out that Mr. Tall Dark and Brooding (Aka Wonder-Boyfriend) doesn't know what a spork is. Clearly this must be remedied. This came up when I suggested murdering someone by spork, but I'm getting ahead of myself, I'll get to the homicide portion of this post, but first some back story so it might make some sense.

So Mr. TDB's driving me home this morning  and we're talking about plans for the day and who we'd like to murder and how (this was pre-coffee conversation at it's finest) and just generally being goofy and trying to manage stress with humor which we're both good at, and I mention that my plans for the day may or may not involve chasing Mr. Ex-Boyfriend (who'd spent the previous night harassing me via phone) down and "sporking" him to death. At which point I get the raised eyebrows and "what's a spork" from Mr. TDB. So I tell him he's sorrowfully culturally deprived if he doesn't know what a spork is.
Wikipedia article on sporks which says "A spork or a foon is a hybrid form of cutlery taking the form of a spoon-like shallow scoop with three or four fork tines."

Behold the awesomeness that is spork technology at it's finest.

So now you all know what a spork is as well :)

But If I were to stab or bludgeon someone to death with a spork (which would require homicidal tendencies and psychosis I'm not even remotely capable of) it couldn't be just any spork. It would have to be a magical pixie, rainbow-tastic, glitter covered enchanted spork of awesome! Like one of these:

only better!

It would have to be the almighty spork of the infamous Ani-Uncensored, that rights all wrongs in the universe with it's seemingly benign looking metallic pixie glitter covered gaudy sporkiness. It would be the ONE TRUE SPORK OF LOVE AND JUSTICE.

And it would be awesome!!

So as the end of this story goes, I am not going to spork anyone to death (today) but I am likely not opposed to getting out the glitter glue and some sporks and creating spork wind chimes, or perhaps, some strange form of installation art, or writing a story about an imaginary character named "Sporkticus" (the magical spork of love and justice) complete with crappy illustrations by yours truly in an attempt to get my mind off of the raving lunatic that is my "ex-boyfriend".

How about you guys, any plans for the day? Bonus points if they involve creative uses for cutlery!

So life got away on me again

But because I've locked down my LiveJournal for the last 6 months or so and I'm busier than ever I've decided now is a great time to dust off the good old Blogger. So my plan is to copy/import some of my more user friendly and on topic posts over the last 8 months from good old LiveJournal and post them here and continue to update this thing liek I had originally planned on doing seeing as my writing skills aren't being put to terribly good use right now as I'm in between other gigs and desperately seeking some sort of brain stimulation less my feeble little mind atrophy further.

So without any further delay a summary update of what's been up with me lately:

  • I've been working. More than ever before! And they've given me more work, I'm now behind the bar serving drinks as opposed to on the floor, I've got to say internets, not being in ass grabbing range is rather a nice perk of this new gig, but as good old uncle Ben always said with great power comes great... tips? Oh no wait, it was that pesky responsibility thing wasn't it?
  • Both my darling daughters are back in the institution (and no I don't mean the nervous hospital) and bringing home all kinds of fun plagues just like the littler germ factories they are.
  • I've taken up a striking and wonderful romance with a man twice my age, how risque of me no?
  • And I am forever dishing out the sarcasm and brainspew over at LiveJournal where all of my deep dark throught get spewed violently at the internet in the pseudo-privacy provided by a filter called "friends only" if you're not a LiveJournal user (come on man I was blogging there before blogging was cool!) then you're more than welcome to sick around here and see what kind of mental vomit gets slopped along to this lovely little site.
And that's about it for me right now folks. Like I said, I'm headed for a major dump of cross posting glory and I'm promising to be better at my house keeping around here as I really do like the idea of blogging more publicly and Blogger is definitely the right medium for that. After all, my dear friends over at LJ once told me Blogging is the death of journalism.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

how my ass got stolen on the internet

So today, I was corresponding with a certain gentleman, he'd emailed me quite an amusing story and naturally this triggered in me, the need to respond with (what I thought was) an equally amusing story, about... my inability to get properly dressed...

So without further delay, the story:  (and my dear, if you are reading this blog, let me say, this story get's better after the part I emailed you earlier)

Just under two years ago when I started at my current job, I was a little "curvier" shall we say, I was doing some modeling on the side, mostly art-school ish stuff because I was attempting to bring in money in whatever way I could. Well I get this offer from a dear friend of mine, he has a product he'd like me to model some anime thing (this can't possibly end well). See there was a novelty given away with a certain DVD collection, the novelty item in question was a pair of teeeeeny tiiiiiiiiny panties that had "GOD" written on them. Fair enough, this isn't going to require any real skill on my part and it's just, no big deal right? So he brings me this garment and a t-shirt advertising his company and we make jokes about whether the panties in question were designed for emaciated 10 year olds or if they were intended to be put on the other way  thong-style. We mused and decided clearly the lettering should go in the back, this looked right, it made sense as a thong,  and after all the point was to make the product look good on me...

Well two weeks go by and my buddy calls me up and tells me we need to chat about this whole fiasco, what was supposed to have been a small project just for kicks kind of thing had made it's way to the parent company (via the internet of course) and they were complaining that the panties were on backwards and could they please re-take the photo just from the waist down with them on properly...


Thus ended my career as an impromptu underwear model.

So telling this story brought it all fresh in my mind, so I decided to google "God Panties" and lo and behold, the very first image that google displays is of my ass, with the God Panties, ON BACKWARDS. Awesome, evidently two years later I'm STILL a spaz  on the internet.

Now I was expecting that the image (which was not even the intended image for distribution, that one seems to have disappeared from the underbelly's of the internet, no the one I found was a test shot taken in my living room) would link back to the anime related thread on a message board that had originally gotten me the "uh they're on backwards" response.

Nope, where does it link to, you ask?

A Deviant Art page (this link is potentially not safe for the work place depending on how strict your boss is, it links to my ass in god panties...), where someone other than me, is claiming that is THEIR rear end in those backwards panties.

I suppose I could write to Deviant Art to complain and make them take it down, but really, someone else is willing to take credit for my stupidity, I'm almost tempted to let them. After all, it's not my face or anything.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Why I Hate January

I started this project, this blog, as a personal project, it's written for me, mostly I'm doing this because January is a very dark month for me, and I was hoping that if I could find something "TO DO" with my time, it would keep me from dwelling.

So with that in mind, here is a letter, to an unnamed someone, it probably shows too much, says to much and shares too much, but tonight, I need the distraction and I need to feel like it could possibly be read by the person it's intended for, even if I'm fairly positive that it wont be.

Dear Anonymous,

Nine years ago I had one of those moments in life where you see yourself from outside yourself, one of those experiences where you know your life has changed, and what has changed is permanent. I experienced this again when my daughter was born in 2004, a moment of realization that "What you thought you knew" was forever going to be altered by this experience.

What happened that night nine years ago yesterday, was that I was held down and raped in my own bed by someone I trusted, a man/boy who was up until that moment, my best friend in the whole wide world. 

Those words hurt to write, they make my skin itch and crawl, not because I have post traumatic stress problems, or because I'll never be ok, or because I'm a "Victim" but because while it was a defining moment for me, that moment, that event, does not define me. What makes my skin crawl is the fear that saying those words (or in this case typing them) will change how you look at me, and I don't want that.

The experience itself is something I've healed from in a great many ways, I have moved on beyond what I would have thought possible. But it is hard, to let an anniversary like that pass by without acknowledging it, that event shaped a lot of events that followed, in a great many ways, it made me who I am. How I've dealt with it, who I am, were changed by that event. But I am NOT a rape victim, and I'm not a "survivor" if you are, and that's how you choose to phrase it, I support you in that, but those words are not for me. I am simply me, and this is a fact of being me.

I get dark and down and moody this time of year. And a large part of the reason for that is that event.

I mourn the loss of that best friend, that betrayal, and in many ways a loss of innocence in some fashion.

Five years ago, I lost a baby in January, this also weighs heavily on my mind right now. It's just a very dark month for me. And every year I say "but more so this year than most because **insert reason here**"  but the ironic thing is, when I look back on my journals, on my emails, or my letters to friends, every year I say "this year is worse than most because..." so really, I don't think this one is all that different. I'm moody and reflective and not at my best and for that I am sorry.

Please though don't treat me any differently because I've told you this, I didn't tell you this to illicit sympathy or pity, I just wanted you to know, that I'm a little off my game right now, and it's not you, it's me. 

I give myself permission to feel like that for this one month of the year, and honestly, the rest of the year it doesn't often cross my mind, I go weeks sometimes without it coming to mind, and that is also progress, but this time of year is where I allow myself to and just.keep.dealing with it. Life is a process, LIVING is a process.

So now you know, a little more about me, about why this isn't a good month for me, and why I seem a little down, I hope that knowing this about me doesn't change how you look at me.


Monday, January 10, 2011

The often not so single single mom

So a bit of background on me. I am a self-proclaimed lesbian, who, dates men (let the flame wars begin). Hear me out here, I don't date men, in fact I don't date much of anyone really. I suppose if I had to pigeon-hole myself a sexual identity I'd claim I'm a "sapiosexual", my mothers brother (often referred to as The Optimist) claims I'm just "too brainy for men" and need to learn to "be less cerebral", I will credit him with something in this conversation, at least he knows what the word cerebral means.

Now as sarcasm doesn't translate well via the internet and I am, by nature, a supremely sarcastic person (and have been since birth, but that's a story for another time), I will tell you flat out, that my uncle and I don't see eye to eye on a lot of things, my love life however does tend to come up in conversation far more often than it should, and while I appreciate his assholery wisdom, I don't think we'll ever fully agree on how I should go about dating.

Now it is worth mentioning that I have two hellspawn children, darling, wonderful, amazing, light of my life, daughters, that do their best to love me despite my horrific personal failures character flaws and general inability to keep a clean house. I was also married to their father (I think I lose cool points for that one). I am now quite  blissfully divorced though, amazingly, I'm rarely single.

Tonight I am enjoying the single side, of my single life again. I am theoretically unattached romantically right now. I am living alone with my kids (and have been for half a year now) and I am a FULL TIME PARENT, with the exception of Saturday nights, where the amazing CookieMommy takes the girls for a sleepover so that I can put in one night at work without having to worry about who's babysitting, what time I have to be home and weather or not I'll have just finally drifted off to sleep when I hear "mommy, is the trash can on fire again?".

CookieMommy, you are my hero.

So single parenting is both fantastic and horrible all at once. You don't have to worry about weather or not your house looks like a war zone, if Cheerio's are an acceptable dinner food (and weather they go better with cheap Pinot Noirs or cheap Merlots), or if "I don't feel like it" is a reasonable excuse to simply not do any ONE of the 90bajillion things mom's have to get done in a day in order for the house not to explode spontaneously (these things include laundry (or in my house, the Floordrobe), dishes, cooking, and general house work). In fact being single, living without other adults, to some extent is like having the freedom to be a totally lazy teenager. Don't get me wrong, things still have to get done, you do have to take the kids to school, feed them, and do some house work to prevent eviction, BUT you get to decide what NEEDS doing based solely on your own ideas of "what is necessary to run a house hold".  For me, lately, this means that laundry and dishes get done on an "as needed" basis. Martha Stewart would probably pull a Linda Blair in the exorcist if she saw my house.

Of course there are the down sides to single parenting, working with only one income (and sometimes maybe a child support check, maybe... sometimes...), not having a car also is less than awesome, all of the grocery shopping and bank errands are done with small children in tow. Then there's the "what's an educated woman in her late 20's with an IQ in the 140's doing working as a stripper?" question, that I love so dearly. Do you have ANY IDEA how awful, expensive, and just down right frustrating it is trying to fine decent childcare for an allergy-ridden likely neurologically atypical 4 year old? We tried day care, it was a DISASTER. In fact, disaster was an understatement. Blame my overly crunch, granola-loving breast-feeding hippie-assed morals for this one, but HOT DAMN, good care is hard to find.

The short answer as to why I'm working nights in stilettos is that it was (and still is) the best choice for my family. What a crock of horse-shit that sounds like, even to me, and I'm typing it. But hear me out, when you've had nothing (and I've had nothing) for long enough, anything looks good. When I started this job, I used my last $2.30 to take the bus to the strip club and HOPED I'd make enough money while I was there to afford the bus ride home. It was a gamble, I had NO ONE to call, if I didn't make any money, or the manager didn't like me, or my shoes were wrong or WHATEVER, and I'd been asked to leave, I likely would have had to walk home, and where I was living at the time was the OPPOSITE end of town from the club I was working in. The gamble payed off, and eventually I started to climb out of the financial sink hole I was in, I went back to school, and got more of an education and came out the other side of the equation, two failed relationships later, with my kids still loving me, and my mind still relatively in tact and I realized that, working 20-25 hours a week, in the club, is giving me those moments with my daughters while they're still young. It's let me ALMOST have the illusion at times of being a Stay At Home Mom again. It's given me a chance to be a mother, not just a bread winner.

Time is the most precious gift I believe you can give someone. To me, if you spend an evening drinking wine with me and just talking, that's worth more than a months rent. To me, to be able to give my children my time, to be at home with them as much as possible before the academic monstrosity eats them up for 13 years is worth the sacrifice of having an unsteady income and a job that most people think is completely degrading and awful, and sometimes it is, but if everything in life were a f*cking bowl of cherries all the time I personally would be bored out of my tree.

I have a good friend, he likes to talk about risk vs reward, and I think most decisions in life are based on that premise, or at least they are for me, is what I'm getting from this situation worth what I'm giving up? For me, parenting is an instant yes. I wouldn't trade a thing in my life as a mother. As a person in this industry, I'm not sure, for now, the reward of being able to be present in my kids lives while we sort out some of the shit of early childhood (things like allergies and asthma and Aspergers syndrome) and still be able to stay off of government assistance is worth it to me. Are their other options, yeah, probably. Would they work as well for us? Maybe, I will admit to not knowing everything about everything. What I do know, is that right now, this is working, and until it's not, I'm unlikely to change it.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The super spawn

So I'm going to take a minute and babble about my darling daughters. This morning (well ok yesterday morning as it's Sunday now, but I had to race off to work before finishing this post yesterday) at the crack of 6:20 am, my 6 year old appears in the doorway to my bed room, and says "Momma, um, there's a fire".  Now to most people this would probably yield a ZZOMG jump out of bed and go running, now me, I understand that my 6 year old is very creative, and often very good at exaggerating. So I said, "what kind of fire hun?" and her response was "um, a burning one, come look".

So I sleepily rolled out of bed, walked to my deck door and HOLY SHIT there's a BLAZE O' GLORY buring away in the trash bin in the back lane.

AWESOME way to start my Saturday.

So I watch the fire for a minute, it's a pretty impressive sight, I take note of the tree nearby and the decision is made to call 9-1-1 and discuss the matter with someone with more expertise.

Within 5 minutes we hear the sirens, the fire department show's up and there's steam and what have you and next thing you know, the garbage bin is a smoldering pile of.... garbage.


God, I'm living in the hood.

I imagine how the poor firefighters were feeling, picture it:

They get the call, the bell starts ringing, the fly down the pole (hey fellow pole workers!) into their super-fire-fighter-suits, the jump in the truck and they're on their way, to fight "the blaze ! Only, this fire, that they've been woken up to rush to put out, is in a garbage bin, in a back lane, on a shitty street, in a not so awesome neighbourhood.

I'm thinking, they were probably asking themselves "is it the same garbage bin as last week?"

Poor poor fire-guys.

Sorry dudes.

The 6 year old, and her 4 year old sister, were however quite happy to have an excuse to play on my "fire-man-pole" (which we normally call a Pole Dancing Pole) in the living room all morning.


Oh yeah, I went there, I am *THAT* mother.

But hey, my kids have AWESOME fire safety skills.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Often when I write (which I have done in some pseudo professional form for over a decade now) I picture myself at a desk, in the summer with a glass of red wine and a cigarette burning away in an ashtray waving my hands like a maniac at the direction of a computer screen.  This is (in general) not usually the way my writing actually takes place. For starters I haven't ever really committed to being a smoker, sure there was that experimental phase in 2003 but a month and a half of smoking menthol slims doesn't really constitute a bad habit ya know? For example, tonight I'm lounging in bed (which sadly is where I do most things lately, I've been afflicted with some upper respiratory-bronchial plague of doom for over a week now and I have some other health issues that this viral blah blah blah is complicating nicely) with my 80 lb brindle mastiff lazing at my feet sipping on my *gasp* second glass of cheap Cabernet Sauvingion  wearing a Questionable Content T-shirt  and a pair of thigh high argyle socks.

So classy right?

But I guess that's the magical thing about the internet, you don't always have to be "on". I can sit here and type away and pretend like someone is out there on the receiving end "listening" to my rambles without putting on the cultural war-paint; mascara and lip gloss. You can exist, and be nothing more than what someone else imagines you to be.

Words are powerful that way. You can do a lot of creating with words, and of course they can be entirely misread.

I live some days more than a dual life. Some days I can't even count how many personae I put on and take off. I have myself the mother, who's sitting here in her socks and t-shit and nothing else, haven't even looked at my make up since before work on Friday, couldn't tell you right now where my shoes are or if that low cut blouse I plan to wear to the bar tomorrow is even clean. Then there's the waitress who's going to show up tomorrow and put on a blue dress and far too much eye make up, and a pair of 6inch see through light up stilettos (only one of which works) and prance around being some combination of flirty and caustic and hopefully not come home too drunk to stand. There is/was me as the student or office worker,with my dress pants and blouses that go out of their way to hide any assets one might have, the dress shoes and the forced washing out of my filthy trucker vocabulary. Somewhere in my closet is the hippie, the lesbian (yes I do own several plaid shirts thanks for asking), the daughter, the girlfriend, and I may even still have traces of the wife hanging around a box near the back.

I haven't been in a good frame of mind lately, sometimes I wonder if I put on a different disguise, another set of personality traits, go be someone else, or even just "settle down" and stick to one or maybe two of those titles/costumes for myself if I'd be happier.

The truth is, I don't think that's the case.

The title of this blog, is based on that fantastic saying "Everywhere you go, there you are". And it's very true, no matter what you dress up as for the day, at the end of it, you come home to yourself. Trying to outrun that is pointless.

I've said before that working in this industry attracts a wide variety of people, and I've also said I wouldn't recommend it.

I know a woman who's worked in just about every capacity in this industry, in various places, and she explained it very well one day by saying something to the effect of a stripper is not the person you are, it's a two dimensional construct designed to separate men from their money.

Most of the time I find this to be a brilliant way to look at what I do for a living, and other times, I think about it and the cynic in me takes over and I wonder if there really is anything more to me than that two dimensional creation.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Music and hookerware

I'm not going to pretend that there's any class involved in stripping. In fact as I recently told one of my regulars a "Mr. Tall Dark and Brooding" the great equalizer of all strippers is seeing them face down ass up writhing on the floor. No matter how much you payed for those tits darlin, no matter how much you spent on your hair, nails, costumes or other senseless trivials that you think make you so much "better" than then new girl, with no moves and no clothes and no skills, the playing field is completely leveled when you're sticking you ass in the air for a room full of disinterested drunks who for the most part don't honestly notice one girl from the next.

Sure you get your die-hards, the ones who notice every freckle and tattoo, the ones who have probably complimented your eye color or may ask you when you change your hair style, I'm not going to pretend that those guys don't exist. They do. And I suppose in someways those guys make up for the disenchanted drunks who only keep coming back because it's part of their routine, or they get on well with the bar tender, or (as pointed out to me by another of my favourite regulars) "It's the closest bar within reasonable stumbling distance to home". 

The thing is, like any other job, most of the strippers I've met like to feel like they do a good job of their "work". They choose their music based on what they like to dance to, or what kind of mood their in, their outfits reflect their personality to some extent - as an aside to that, one of my girlfriends recently quit dancing and offered me first go at her wardrobe, she has acknowledged this is likely just a hiatus from the job but didn't want the clothes cluttering up her space so I found myself with damn near and entire stripper-drobe of HOT PINK EVERYTHING. Now I'm not so much of a hot-pink leopard print type myself, though I'm trying to rock some of the more neutral stuff she's sent my way, I've gotta say it's made me realize just how individual a lot of the clothing and just general style each girl puts into her "work wear".

For me as a sometimes stripper (I believe my official title in the bar I work in is a "waitress" and the stripping part general only happens as a fill-in when dancers no-show or there's a gap in the line up), I find I can get away with mini-dresses and low cut blouses for the most part, where as the "real strippers" often have very elaborate costumes often costing them hundreds of dollars for "custom made" outfits, which really I'm quite convinced are not so custom made, and instead are just brilliantly marketed by the 2-3 women in the city who make costumes to fit most anyone on the "stripper spectrum" from the 5'1 100lb waif with a crack habit to the 6'1 curvy girl with the boob job. It amazes me how much of a range there is in the types of women who find themselves in this profession, and also, mad props to the women who make the costumes who can somehow do very little alteration to their garments and still have them fit women on both extremes of the spectrum.

The point of this post which I swear I am getting to was to be about the music, anything that makes the top 40 is obviously going to be in high rotation, also most things by Nickleback, or any other pop group that likes to ramble on about strippers (has anyone else noticed that pretty much all of Nickelback's Dark Horse album was stripper tunes?) and of course the hip-hop and rap get a lot of play time too. For me well I have a more eclectic taste in music, my favourite DJ (ok one of  my two-favourite DJ's) is pretty well guaranteed to have me dance to the Eagles Hotel California at least once in a night, which of course is my own private joke with myself about how addictive the industry can be.
Specifically this version.

Of course this begs the question "So what kind of music DO YOU LIKE?" I'm a jazz fan, I like my blues, my classic rock, and folk. Not exactly "hot sexy strippa shite". That's ok though, I don't intend to market myself as a stripper until the end of time.

In fact mostly because at this point I'm rather bored with my job I'm going to make it my goal for the month of January to dance to at least ONE song per shift, that I enjoy that wouldn't ordinarily make the playlist for the club.

I'm next there on Wednesday and I think my goal for then will be a song my best girlfriend has been subjecting me to ad nauseum lately the singer is Adele and the song is "Rolling In The Deep" it's brilliant lyrically and her voice is magnificent. We'll see what kind of effect this little experiment has on my tips for the month. My tips vary a lot from month to month anyway, but sometimes I do notice discernible patterns in increase or decrease depending on everything from my mood (amazingly enough bitchy strippers make less money), to what color I wear at what time of the month, to what I weigh, to what I dance to, and about 20 or so other variables that I've tracked over the two years I've been doing this job (and clearly have been under stimulated intellectually if I'm tracing this kind of shit, but really I have excel sheets and everything) so this will be my little experiment to keep me entertained for the month of January.

And as with this blog, and most things in my life in general, I feel I should add the disclaimer that I am doing this experiment (and blogging about it) purely for my own entertainment.

I will try my best not to harm any strippers or customers in the making of the blog.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Day one, day one, start over again

So I've started yet another new blog, I am somewhat hesitant to even pretend like this one is really going to out last the previous however-many attempts I've made at social commentary on the world at large, I mean really 10 years of blogs, online journals, opendiary's and home-made plug and play websites (Tripod and AOL Hometown, you haven't been forgotten!!) ought to have shown me that my ability to commit my often useless commentary to one solid medium or even one steady topic is at best wishful thinking.

But here I am, opening another page of the proverbial internet book, typing away on a Saturday night thinking maybe this time I have something to say. I do in fact have something to say. Many things to say.

First off I suppose an intro might be a good idea, though I am hesitant with that as well, I haven't published anything in a public setting since my marriage in 2004, having now officially earned the title (and piece of paper) stating that I am (fianlly) someone's ex-wife in mid 2010, I suppose I can breathe a little easier on the subject of public appearance, but even so you never really know who could stumble across your blog and make your life, shall we say, a little more interesting.

I am Andy, I'm a mother, though I don't intend this to be a mommy-blog, I'll leave that to the other awesome ladies on the web, they seems to have a handle on it, I'm a stripper, though that's not so much a defining characteristic of who I am, so much as it is a gold mine for social-political commentary and of course when you combine "Stripper" and "Mother" you're bound to get a whole lot of opinions. I fully admit I may seriously regret this blog idea once the first wave of "zzomg won't someone PLEASE think of the children!" starts pouring in.

I suppose I should start the disclaimers now: I do not advocate working in the sex industry. In fact, I would strongly discourage anyone ever from getting into it, in any way shape or form. Having children or not. Being pretty or not. Hooking vs. stripping, the merits of cam-girls, online pornography, vs. massage parlors, this is all sex work. And while I am definitely hypocritical for saying so, I would NOT recomend sex work, to anyone.

That said, it is the OLDEST profession in the book, ya know, that dusty old repeatedly translated book, that people like you think people like me have never heard of, or thought of or read, yeah I've read it, cover to cover, twice. I like to read. I love my kids. I'm not on drugs. I don't need or particularly want saving from anyone or anything, though sometimes I could see the appeal to being saved from myself.

What I'm going to try to do with this blog is blow the lid off of the stereotype of sex worker, I'm going to attempt to introduce you, the reader, to me, the writer, as a human, as a mother, as a student and as a woman, and ask that you take all of those ideas you have about sex work and just shelve them for a minute, read this for a bit, and let me know, if I'm what you think of when you hear the word "stripper".