Saturday, March 21, 2009

The next chapter

Last week my parents made what has become a fairly regular trip from their home town to a small city in Southern Alberta. Usually this trip involved stocking up on groceries and the like from a popular big box store. Occasionally they would stay overnight and treat themselves to a nice dinner out. 

This most recent trip was not such a treat. My mother and father had the unenviable task of taking their youngest child to court to face criminal charges. 

Since over a year ago, when the charges were first laid, and my brother was released on bail, my family has been playing a waiting game. Court dates were scheduled, then delayed. Moved later and later. My second- and third-hand information was that the Crown wasn't prepared to proceed. Trial would have to wait. And wait, and wait. 

Finally, over a year later, my brother's lawyer delivered the much anticipated and much dreaded news - an actual court date. Early in March, my brother stood in front of a judge and pleaded guilty to drug related charges. The judge accepted his plea and sentenced him to 2 years in a federal facility. And then my parents watched as he was escorted out of the room, and off to a correctional facility.

It's been a difficult thing around which to wrap my sheltered brain. I know what he did. He's guilty, without a doubt, but I still can't seem to accept the fact that my little brother, the baby of the family... is now a convicted criminal.

My emotions have bounced from anger at his stupid, selfish choices, to sadness over the pain my parents must be feeling. Part of me is happy that he's facing consequences for his behaviour, and yet I'm scared that being in jail will open up a whole new avenue of criminal behaviour for him.

I can't claim to understand how it must feel to see your child taken away like that. My parents lost a baby to a heart defect over 30 years ago, and I often wonder if this weighs as heavily on their hearts. 

I have 3 young children of my own, and as I stand quietly, listening to the sounds of their breathing as they sleep, I say a small prayer that they will be strong enough to make wise decisions in their lives. And then I say another prayer of thanks for having them in my life at all.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Hair-raising Decision

Gimme head with hair
Long beautiful hair
Shining, gleaming, 
Streaming, flaxen, waxen

Gimme down to there hair
Shoulder length or longer
Here baby, there mama
Everywhere daddy daddy

I admit it. I like my hair. A lot. It's long and shiny and pretty healthy. I don't really have to do much to it to be happy with the 'do. It wasn't always that way, and I've got lots of high school year book photos to prove it! I had my share of '80's teased-out, hair sprayed, poorly dyed, badly permed hairstyles. Hell, I've probably had your share too! 

It started in 1982 - I was an aspiring figure skater, and I hated the early morning ritual of having my mom pull my long hair up into a pony tail. She was from the school of "pull it so tight you look like Joan Rivers post-surgery" pony tails. It was painful. I whined. A lot. So my mother, in her frustration, convinced me to get the Dorothy Hamill mushroom cut. There was even a shampoo for all the girls with "short n sassy hair". That was the beginning of many, many bad hair years...

Probably number one on the list of hair disasters for me was the home permanent. (remember Toni? Remember the smell? And the burning...dear lord, the burning....). Again, my sweet, loving mother, after tiring of my complaints about my mane, stepped in to help. She meant well, I'm sure, but the results were less than attractive, to say the least! I was a buck-toothed, brunette version of Krusty the Clown. Traumatic, to say the least! 

As the years passed, and the perm grew out, I progressed to the ever-popular mullet. Got braces. And glasses, tragically. Imagine a barn owl with a Bichon on its head. Now imagine that in a lovely shade of orange, courtesy of my blonde best friend's bottle of "Sun-In". For those of you who may not be familiar, Sun-In is a product intended for blondes to get that "California look" of sun-bleached hair. Little did I know the effects it would have on dark brown hair... (insert mental image of The Great Pumpkin here...)*sigh*

Then there were the "spiral perm" years. HOURS upon HOURS spent in a hairdresser's chair having my long hair rolled onto hundreds of tiny rods, in an attempt to have hair like telephone cord. Truly the pinnacle of the "big hair" years for me! 

In recent years, there have been short do's (picture Jamie Lee Curtis) and the choppy, layered look that many women can identify with as a byproduct of trying to grow out the extremely short hair cut. 3 pregnancies and litres of hormones later, after the bouts of luxuriously thick pregnancy hair, followed by the months of, "oh-my-gawd-all-my-hair-is-falling-out-these-crazy-hormones-are-making-me-go-bald", post-pregnancy hair, I have come full circle, follicularly speaking.

I am now the proud owner of a lovely head of long, brown hair. Well, mostly brown, at least. Which brings me, finally, to the motivation behind this posting. Everyone loses hair; I heard somewhere that the average is 100 per day. Most people regrow those hairs, with the exception of those lucky enough to have some baldness gene graciously handed to them by an ancient family member. I have no such gene. My hair sprouts freely on all quadrants of my scalp. Maybe it's my fertile mind that keeps it growing... (insert farm animal-related fertilizer joke here)

I have noticed of late that the new growth is, shall we say, of a much lighter shade than the original hair??? Ok, I'll admit it. I'm going grey. It happens to the best of us. But unlike many of my family members, who shall remain nameless (you can thank me later) I have made the decision to let nature take its course. That's right. I have chosen not to dye. Granted, I will occasionally pluck out a particularly brazen grey strand that insists on poking straight out of the crown of my head like a beacon for passing aircraft. I am always amazed at the texture of these little devils, too... more like a twist tie than a hair, really. Why is that? 

What about you? Are you content to let the years come streaking through your locks, or are you taking a more artistic route through the aging process, via some strategically placed colour?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Not another NOOB!!!

This is a new adventure for me. Like many at-home-parent-types, I've decided to make the jump from Facebook, to Twitter... and now here. I'm not really sure what I'm doing, or what I want to say. I just feel the need to dump my brain occasionally. Call it cheapskate self-psychotherapy. Call it hubris. Call it what you like, but please do read on! I hope what I have to say will provoke you in some way. I guess I'm a bit of a shit disturber. I like to put things out there and see what kind of reaction I'll get.