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Genki des!



parenthood and the pursuit of happiness

On grieving
Grief is an interesting emotion, if you can call it that.

Grief, I think, is more of a state; a weight of mood, an anchor that colours your otherwise normal emotional range, alternately flattening, deadening, and enlivening otherwise standard feelings. For instance, what I would normally rage at becomes merely annoying; what I would normally chuckle at becomes hysterically funny.

What is more interesting, I suspect, is how grief changes from person to person. The grief of losing my mother is different from the shock and absence of my brother’s young death. Instead of the sudden tearing and open loss, this loss is slower. This grief is different from what you might expect from grief because my mother was so noticeably absent from my life in so many ways for a long time.

I’d guess I began to lose my mother about five years ago, when her illness slowed her so much she couldn’t help me with my young boys. Her inability to take care of her little grandsons, even for three hours, was the first way she exited my life. As losses go, this wasn’t huge (I can pay a sitter!), but I felt her sadness at her body’s disability. So, she tried to help me, a working Mom, by cooking meals for me when I was too busy to prep dinner or was about to have a baby. Her gifts of food were her way of being Mom and Grandma.

Then, over time, her ability to do even that disintegrated, and I began to cook for her, not that she liked much of it. Alas, we are very different kinds of cooks. She liked her spaghetti mushy and salty, okay? I’d try, but I could never get it mushy or salty enough for her taste. Her frustration at being increasingly housebound and chairbound, with only the TV for company for much of her day, made her less and less interested in the world around her. This was compounded by her fear of her oxygen tank losing power and her increasing reliance on anxiety meds. She’d come to my house four times since we moved in 2 ½ years ago, and she’d never been in the lower level. She only sat in the kitchen or attached living room.

She left me again when she lacked the ability to even join family dinners. The past year, she’d only know in the hour or two before the dinner whether or not she had the energy to participate in it, whether it was planned at her house or ours. We’d go there; I’d pack up a giant turkey and all the fixings my Dad didn’t want to make, and we’d truck it all over there. And this was just fine with me. She felt guilty about it, though. I could tell, and she did eventually tell me as much. The worst part of this last stage of leaving was that she found the kids overwhelming, too. Long periods with all of us were too much for her, so even when I had time to visit during the day (when it was just me and a boy or two), I couldn’t visit: if they had a cold or were too loud, they’d get her sick or disrupt her daily routine. She was scared of them getting her sicker, and she knew they were growing timid of her frail frame and bony hugs.

A few weeks before she died, at Thanksgiving, she lacked enough breath to speak more than a few words, and her eyes hurt if she kept them open too long. I sat next to her as she concentrated on breathing. I tried to talk a lot, telling her as much as I could, so she didn’t feel like she had to make conversation. She could only talk enough to give me the essentials: The “How Are the Boy?”s. The “I love You”s.

When she died, it was a surprise, and it wasn’t a surprise. Still sudden, but she was deliberately oblique about how she felt in her body during the last week leading to her soul’s departure. She was independent that way; she always had been, and the hospital was not a place she wanted to be. In the days following her death, there was a lot of peace, a lot of quiet. And I’m grateful for it.

I’ve witnessed large families deal with death. Everyone gathers. Last spring, my friend’s grandfather passed away, and I stopped by with cookies and to give her a hug. There were so many cars parked in the yard, I had to park half a block away. There was so much noise coming through the closed windows that I could clearly hear it from the porch. This hubbub is foreign to me. To illustrate, one of my friend’s (also from a large family) came to my house to bring us a meal the week my Mom died, and when she arrived, my entire house was silent. I was the only one home. (The boys had gone out to play with Ben.) And she seemed visibly shaken by the total lack of people, of family, of flower baskets, of fruit trays, of sandwiches, of inappropriately raucous kids and sullen-faced adults. She didn't understand it, and she was sad for me. I can see why, but I don’t really know any other way. I have no living siblings. My extended family lives far away, and I had no wish to play hostess to people who I love, but that I only sort-of know. My grief is too personal.

So, yes, it was just me. Me and my very loving Dad. I don’t know any other way to do it. The day of my wedding reception, I set up the décor in the venue by myself, alone. The two dear friends I asked to help me out were dealing with their own emergencies and couldn’t be there early. The caterer thought I was the Mother of the Bride. (That stung on a few levels, I admit.) On another occasion, a friend had planned a birthday party for me at a local restaurant, and when I showed up, I sat there alone at a table set for 12 for over 15 minutes before I finally left. I later returned when three people showed up late. These incidences taught me an important lesson about relying on people to show up for you: that is, it taught me not to count on anyone. People don’t gather for me; despite my genuine love of people, I’m not extroverted enough, I think. So, as you see, even on happy days, I am quite often alone. And this doesn’t make me sad, and it shouldn’t make you sad, either; it is just the way it is, and it has been this way for a long time. I am alone.

And I am not alone. I’m startled and amazed by the affection given to me by friends and acquaintances in the community that know me and knew my mom. People who I don’t see on a regular basis who have randomly hugged me in the middle of the street and told me how sorry they are that she passed away. And then they usually share with me the story of their own recent loss; their own relief at the end of long illness or the ways they remember their own mothers. I’d have to ask my husband, who has lost both his parents and one sibling, but I suspect that the loss of one’s own mother is probably one of the deeper losses (if grief can ever be compared that way).

More importantly, I am not alone because I had a wonderful mother who is always with me in my heart and in the beautiful spirit world where she now dwells. And for all this, I am extremely grateful.

Ezra is six.
Dear Ezra,

Today we had your birthday party. Your real birthday was yesterday. You are still so earnest about birthdays that it breaks my heart and exasperates me at the same time. You’ve been talking about it since Christmas, and I’ve had to remind you that your birthday wouldn’t be here until after the snow melted, the leaves came and flowers bloomed, and after grade one began. It was decade for it all to pass and for this week, this day yesterday, and today, to come.

And today…today. Today you were Ezra. You were sensitive and belligerent and overwhelmed and angry and shouting and smiling. I had to put you in a five minute time out half way through your party because you were so wound up that you were posturing up to knock your little brother’s block off. And as October passes, I realize the same crappy behaviours you displayed after being at school awhile last year are coming back: edginess, shouting, constant whining, emotional manipulation, and the list goes on. At the end of summer, these were 90% gone. (The other 10% was just personality mixed with being five years old, I suspect.) I’m going to have to talk to someone at school about this. You come unglued from, I believe, spending so much time with the older boys at school. At home, you only have to worry about one older brother telling you what to do, providing hypercompetitive play and invading your space. The onslaught of that many older boys is too much, too soon; it's too much time trying to be something you're not (yet).

And you need space. You, my dear boy, are like me. You need time alone. When you get home from school, you run downstairs where your brothers are not, and play video games or watch Different Strokes. You need to zone out in a way that your brothers do not. I can hardly wait for you to learn to read; I think you will find everything you are looking for in books: adventure, advice, peace.

Ezra, yes, you are sensitive. You are sensitive in a way that is honest and good. Your kindness and consideration to guests is legendary. You tune into people quickly and sort out what they need. You find out how to give it to them. Still, you are just as easily overwhelmed by new situations. Your generous sensitivity turns against you when you least expect it, and you wind up hiding behind a camp cabin, refusing to come play with other new-and-unknown kids. I wish I could teach you to hide that sensitivity in a place where others couldn’t run over it so easily and turn it into rage.

You’re growing into a magnificent little boy. I’m so proud to be your momma; I’m proud when you’re whiny, when you’re angry and when you’re hating me, too.

I know you’ll grow into a fantastic adult.

All my love,

I once read some random advice article about how to spice up everyday life. It recommended, among other unmemorable items, eating a new vegetable each week.

Well, that'll spice things up, I'm sure.

I had no faith in that one.

But I started to actually become interested in this idea, again. I say again because the last time I got really adventurous I moved to Japan. And lately, I've had the urge to take off (with my family). I think the urge to frequently move house, move province, move country comes from rather nomadic (locally nomadic) upbringing. I'm not naturally one for surprises, but I like a nicely planned move to new surroundings. Uprooting three kids, a set of grandparents, and an 80-lb canine is tough though, and it requires a level of commitment neither Ben nor I have quite yet.

So, daily local adventure it is: learn something new, do something new, go somewhere new, eat something new, meet new people, and so on.

Lately, I've been involved with a local community market, which I'm looking forward to help grow, so for me, it counts as new. And, I meet new people.

Life is already more adventurous.

Add to this, I've been tying my shoes a new way. This is tricky people; I've been tying my shoes the same way for over 30 years. I'm retraining my brain! I watched a TED Talk with Terry Moore on shoe tying, and I think it's possibly one of the most immediately effective TED talks I've watched (and I've seen a few). I took action on this right away.

Watch it. It's 2 minutes and 38 seconds you'll never regret.

I've been trying to say yes more, too. And I said yes to horseback riding the other day. This was slightly scary, but not frightening. I took it in stride. took the boys. Might do it again.

Adventure does make life more enjoyable, and it does not require new vegetables.

eight years wed
I am a very lucky woman.

I am lucky because I married a man who cared about being married to me.

Right now, I'm not entirely sure why, but I suppose it's just the life stage people seem to be in right now, I know many people in the midst of marital distress. Divorcing. Separating. Cheating. And so on. I have no judgement of that place at all, and indeed, as one of my friends put it -- "there is no marriage in this world that is safe." There but for the grace of God go I, etcetera and etcetera.

But also right now, my marriage is really great. I mean, I may have just shouted at my husband the other night for asking me a stupid question when I was telling him about my day, but that's just run of the mill stuff. This man cares about being married to me. And what I mean by that is he comes home from work, plays with his kids, helps with supper, cleans up the kitchen, fixes me a drink, and watches Jimmy Fallon with me by the light of the Zen Yoga scent diffuser. He is my partner. We've learned how to give each other space, and how to be together. It's work, and it's not work. It's life, and we do it together. And it is good.

And when people ask why he's such a great partner now (and he is a really, really good husband), it's because the first two (maybe three) years of our marriage were fucking horrible. It was a goddamn trench war full of miscommunication, faulty expectations, money issues, latent anger, and growing the fuck up. Most of the (seemingly) good long-term, live-in relationships I know of had that kind of start, and the great thing about that kind of start is that if you emerge unscathed, you actually begin to figure out how to make the other person happy, which is actually the point of most romantic relationships -- to make someone else happy, which in turn makes you happy, too. (Or not, right? And then you board the D-Train.)

Eight years is not such a long time, I know. There is much more to come.

But, I'm happy to say that I'm happily married and looking forward to decades more with my husband, a man who knows how to husband.

A selfie at Lac La Biche's "finest" restaurant on our 8th anniversary 💗

Genki des!
So, I turned 38 a few weeks ago, and honestly, I might as well be 40 already.

When I'm at the doctor, he notes my age, saying, "Oooooh, you're getting closer to whole new set of screenings."

Yay. Mammograms! Colonoscopies! Oh yeah.

Yay, me. So, I'm not yet 40, but people react as though I already am. And then I mention that I graduated from high school 20 years ago. Twenty whole years.

The first time I taught one of my high school colleagues' kids at the college, I remembered how long it has been since I left high school. And I don't find this frightening in an existential sense; I am not marching closer to death! Rather, I find it hysterical. It makes me giggle; I couldn't possibly be 20 years out of high school. Pshaw. And these young adults think I'm old and worldly or some shit like that. I was 16 years old, like, yesterday. In many respects, I still am 16 years old. I am a 16-year-old with a frown lines, a mortgage and three children. That's adulthood.

All said, though, I'm probably in the best physical shape of my life. Okay, I can't run on pavement for exercise cause my knees ache and my bursitis acts up, and I have the bladder of a woman who has given birth to three children, but I'm maintaining my weight and keeping strong; I go to the gym regularly, I do my yoga and I take my supplements. So, 40 is looking pretty good to me. Aside from the physical, I also feel like I know myself a lot better, and I have some patience with my own views and the views of others. That is, I know my own mind, and while I'm not afraid to change an opinion I hold (I am flexible enough to learn), I know exactly why I hold the opinions I do, and I'm not afraid to defend them. And that feels good.

I've never been so authentically myself, and this is the beauty of "almost 40". At my age, you can actually feel the persistent momentum towards internal stability and away from the upheaval of the 20s and 30s. This is not to say I know how to deal with all the adult crap that pops up, but I know enough to seek help and to formulate the questions that need to be asked in order to deal with that crap.

A few months ago, before my 38th birthday, I decided that the next two years will really be about this idea of "authenticity".

It started with my hair.

That, my friends, is my actual hair colour. No dye, no highlighting shampoo, no nothing. It has been lovely to see it. Lovely. And what's even more interesting is the way people react when they see it; it's like they're not quite sure why I would choose such a dull colour. And then I tell them it's my ACTUAL hair colour, which is like daring them to insult my natural beauty. Ah, joy. Similarly, I'm being real about my body. As I said, I'm in the best shape of my life: Will I ever be thin? No. And, I don't want to try.

The quest for authenticity is moving through my relationships, too. This is not to say I'm cutting people out of my life, exactly. It's just that I'm being honest about what my relationships are and are not, and I'm acting accordingly. For example, I have one friend I've known for years that while I like her in person, I loathe her on Facebook. This is what the "unfriend" button is for, I remembered last week. I can converse with her in person and like her, but her absolute thoughtlessness in her posts on Facebook, I cannot bear. So, I'm not bearing them. Will she notice my absence in Facebookland? No, probably not. Yay! I'm also gathering people that I actually like -- that is, people whose thoughts and opinions mesh with my own -- closer to my daily life, now that I'm finding them.

Authenticity at work is coming along: I have complete clarity that the college will never offer me a permanent full-time job instructing (despite the fact that I consistently teach a full course load), so I'm thinking about what I want to do when I grow up. Write a novel? Go back to school? Get an admin job? I'm not one to go rogue and start my own business, so we'll see where the next two years takes me. I just know that I'm tired of panicking about whether or not I have enough classes running next semester to afford daycare. And that's it, really: I'm tired.

I'm not sure if the desire to be authentic comes from exhaustion, but I suspect it does. I'm old enough now that the continued quest of the 20s and 30s to become something you're not is tiring. And I'm tired of spending time and effort on trying to be what I'm not already, whether it's colouring my hair or pretending not be offended by the offensive.

I'm looking forward to this.

It's going to be great.

the last boy learns to ride a bike
This one learned to ride a two-wheel bike four days ago.

The day after he finally mastered pedalling and balancing, he entered the Pow Wow Days triathlon, coming in 10th (with extra Dad Points for showing people how great it is to fall off your bike, not cry, and keep going.) He didn't once stop to suck his fingers. Not once.

Another milestone reached for the last baby. *sob*

He hasn't peed in any weird places lately, so that is also good. I'm hoping the garbage can in the TV room and the bucket of detergent are his last hurrahs. Interestingly, he has a hard time peeing in the lake. He can't seem to keep his swimming shorts on and pee at the same time. No trouble pissing in expensive dry detergent, but through his trunks, nope.

Ah, well, maybe when he's a teenager, he'll be able to explain what he was thinking back when he was four. Or not.

taking turns
With two siblings each, my kids are learning to take turns. They take turns with hockey sticks (until the stick gets taken away because someone eventually whacks someone else on purpose.) They take turns picking the restaurant (which usually defaults back to me as the complaining from the others turns into a shouting match and so no one gets to pick but Mom.) They take turns feeding the dog. (And this, oddly, goes smoothly these days.)

Unfortunately, they take turns being the total shit of the year, too. I say year because it usually ends up that that one kid is the squeaky wheel on and off for pretty much a whole 12 months. Sure, there are good days, weeks even, but on the whole, the kid is a total shit for a year.

This, my friends, is Ezra's year. Now, to be sure, Taylor is developing a habit where he just beats the crap out of whichever brother is pissing him off the most (which might be tougher to break him of than finger sucking), and Andrew is, well, really good at being Andrew. (When will the ADHD assessment office call for feck sakes???) So, all my dearly loved children have their struggles (as all kids do). But, Ezra. OMFG. Ezra.

Ez had a friend this year that taught him (through near constant proximity and thorough demonstration) some very bad mannerisms and manipulations. And, yes, I am totally blaming this other kid. I have seen this kid do all these things IN MY OWN HOUSE. And now Ezra does them. All the time. Cause apparently they're effective everywhere, everywhere except where I am.

I list them now in no particular order.

1. Talking in a baby voice.
2. Tantruming (crying, shouting) and sulking when he doesn't get his way or hears the word "no".
3. As an extension of sulking, walking away from his friends and locking himself in a room in order to get people to stop what they're doing and give in to whatever his demands are.
4. If he doesn't get his way, he goes out of his way to kill the experience for everyone else by whining constantly and haranguing everyone with requests.
5. Clutching at other kids while playing and invading others' space.

I can't stand this kid anymore (and he was once my easy Ezra). You know that feeling when you really can't stand your own kid? I hate that feeling. In the normal course of life, it usually happens in short fits that pass in minutes. But Ezra has kept up all of the above ALL day EVERY day despite all attempts to make him aware of his behaviour and to stop it. (Believe me, I've tried.) And so, that feeling has persisted every day.

It's taken me a while to realize it, but it is indeed Ezra's turn. It's his turn to drive me crazy. So, it is Ezra's turn to be extra loved. As I learned with Andrew (or rather, as he and a psychologist taught me), whenever I can't stand a child the most is when I have to love them the hardest. I have to hug them longer. Read them bigger books. Sing them louder songs. Look them longer in the eye. Play with them longer.

It's the only survival technique that works in the parenting jungle.

Brace yourself grumpy boy.

The dog's joy was boundless. And then there was Ezra. This has been this kid's expression the whole month of July. There is no joy in anything for this one lately. Poor kid. #nofilter #summer #beach #rescuedog #laclabichecounty

It's the 80s all over again.
Genki des!
Taylor is officially four years old.

He is well beyond toddlerhood, but he still asserts his status as the baby of the family by taking advantage of the rules, like slipping out of bed to watch Jimmy Fallon with his parents after his roommate falls asleep, and like watching movies all afternoon while Mom works at her computer. Both benefits only conveyed upon the youngest child mostly because Mom can't be bothered with the struggle and bother anymore; the struggle to get the very awake preschooler back in bed or the bother of finding a new set of mom friends at the afternoon playgroups. I'm tapped out. I'm parenting like it's the early 80s. It's TV and videocassettes on the VCR and free play and snacks all day around here.

The upside (and well, it's mostly upside with only one kid at home) is that Taylor and I get all kinds of Mom-and-Tater time, which I love. He is amazingly astute. He watches everything that happens and when he's unsure, he'll just ask. Today, he checked the No People Food for the Dog Rule with me. It's a rule Taylor finds it particularly difficult to follow; the food drops nonchalantly from his fingertips to the floor at the dogs feet without a hesitation from plate to fingers to floor.

He says, "Mom. So. I can feed the dog, just when you're not watching, right?"

I answer, "Who told you that? Grandpa?" It'd be a Grandpa thing to say.

"No," he replied, "You did."

I ponder this. Wait. Yes. Yes, I did. Because I am tapped out (see above), I am pretty honest these days. I believe it was just last week when I told him, "I know you're going to feed the dog anyway, so just make sure I'm not watching."

Yes. Mother of the Year, that's me!

Taylor's new "thing" is mixing inappropriate responses with appropriate tone of voice.

And, man alive, it's hysterical. It catches me off guard all the time.

Take, for example, last night's gem.

I walk into the TV room and Andrew his just turned on some "Teenager Show" or other. Drew always does this, and Taylor usually shouts, "MOM, ANDREW TURNED ON THE TEENAGER SHOWS AGAIN. AAARGHHHH."

This time, Taylor paused, and in an excited and happy tone, says, "WOW! *pause* I really hate this show." All uptempo.

Andrew, who had been turning sideways to smile at Taylor, stopped midway and cocked his head to the side, not knowing what to make of it.

He does this everywhere: grocery store, shoe shopping, soccer tournaments. I love it. It's the sarcasm of the early years and this will serve him well.

I am so proud to be his mother.

My children are not white. They are brown, and because of them, I am almost daily impacted in a tiny small ways by racism. Tiny ways have impact; it’s an impact that is more easily dismissed than outright prejudice and discrimination, but it is there nonetheless. As a white person, I can more easily rise above it than my husband and sons, which makes me privileged, but not unaffected.

If you’ve followed this blog at all over the past 8 years, I will occasionally note the odd experiences I have when people try to figure out exactly what race my children are, and where I might’ve gotten them from, as though they were a rare breed of dog purchased from a foreign breeder. Once they realize that they came from my vagina, the question marks leave their eyes; they have figured us out.

Though I try to write them as comedy, depending on the lens you view these experiences through, they may or may not be read as racism. Maybe they show others’ ignorance, maybe stupidity, maybe prejudice. My children will come home with stories about what other kids say at school. Like the time Andrew was told he was “brown like shit, yeah, you are shit” on the playground. Or when the kid on his soccer team told him he couldn’t do anything right “because he is black.” And last week, when the little white girl told the East Indian kindergartner that she “didn’t kiss brown boys”, and Ezra heard and Ezra’s friend heard, and then several kids at the table picked up on the theme and said, “Yeah, we don’t like brown people”, and Ezra heard. He heard that. It crushed his little heart.

When I spoke to the teacher about it, she said she’d dealt with it and had a conversation with the kids. And while I agree with her that it is certainly true that kids don’t often connect colour with racism, and that children pick on the difference they can clearly see and use it as a weapon, there is just no way to undo that kind of damage in a kid like Ezra. He absolutely understands that those kids see him as different, and he no longer talks about them like they’re his best friends. Racism is there, even if it is intended to be there. And, yes, it affects me to. I am not just a bystander. The way it affects me is a lot less direct, but ultimately the same.

More recently, my son was telling me about all the many sleepovers his friends are having with each other. Now, I’m not a big fan of having kids sleep over at my house that I don’t know, and many kids his age just aren’t ready for sleep overs, and I just could NOT deal with the other people’s kids homesickness at 3 am, so I nix his ideas of issuing sleepover invitations pretty quickly.

It just dawned on me the other day, though, (I am so whitely oblivious), that he has only ever been invited to sleepovers at his black friend’s house. I had previously just sort of figured that other Mom’s were like me; they just weren’t up for that shit. But, it appears they are. And… Andrew is not invited. “Why not?” I thought. Why wouldn’t they include him? He’s not that obnoxious at other people’s houses, I think. I’ve heard only that he’s polite and happy and generous during neighbourhood playdates. Is this wrong? Am I being lied to? Is there cliqueish Mom crap happening? (Mom’s are cliquey around here. For reals.)

Then I recalled how many people behave when they’re around my very lovely, very black husband. When they’re around me, everything is comfortable; around him, there’s awkwardness. And racism, more than anything else, is about awkwardness. It is awkwardness and suspicion and just-not-quite-sure-about-that-ness. It’s discomfort. It’s a discomfort that excludes children because they have a black parent they’re just-not-quite sure about.

It’s a discomfort that we are all equally guilty of at one time or another.

As the white wife of a black man, I can feel other’s discomfort and this has internal consequences for me. It makes me shy, more insular and protective, and not at all willing to issue invitations for white kids to sleep over. I’ve discovered that I don’t trust their distrust. Might they want to invite Andrew? Maybe. Would they be comfortable with my reciprocating? Probably not.

So, if racism affects me, it affects me because over the past nine years, it has instilled in my soul a simmering distrust of white people. The distrust my husband feels is much more generalized, as he is blatantly mocked, and on at least two occasions, verbally and physically attacked on the street because of his colour (by Aboriginals, particularly. No, really. That’s true.) Unlike me, who used to assume people weren’t bigots until they proved otherwise, he leads with the contention that everyone in Canada is a bigot, until they show him otherwise. Because of this, when our children bring us these stories, I answer in my typical white-privileged way, “Oh, Ezra, your friends didn’t mean anything bad about that! I’m sorry they were mean.” But, Ben is better at these conversations, and the kids know it.

When he talks to them, he reaffirms the strength of their colour, the wrongness of what the kid said, and tells them what to say in the future. This is something I don’t have a rubric for; white life has not given me the necessary skills or wisdom teach it. And Ben is not shy about making me aware of it. When I talk to him after he talks to our boys, reminding him, like Ezra’s kind teacher, that “kids are kids and they see differences”, he just shakes his head in disbelief, as though my white naïveté is a gift that offends him, and he says, “You don’t think those kids hear that crap at home? That they don’t pick it up at home and take it out there to our kids? Really?” And he shakes his head.

The groove that racism has worn into him, and so many other non-white people, is slowly – much more slowly – wearing its groove into me and into my children, too. I only hope the groove makes them kinder, instead of slowly wearing them down.

I've been thinking this conversation for a month. On replay.
Genki des!
As God as my witness. I will not pay $38.95 for a Princess whatever napkin holder.

I will not.

I will wait until I find it at a rummage sale, discarded by someone who is less a fan of the trellis leaf pattern than even I am (cause let's face it, it's frilly and girly and not normally my style,) which is why I feel I can't pay $38.95 plus shipping and handling for it.

Like that time my friend found the overpriced Tupperware retro orange sugar and creamer set at a garage sale for $3 and nabbed them for me. It was so thoughtful of her, I'd have married her if I was single. And lesbian. Or bi.

But the odds of that happening again are slight, so maybe I should just cough up the money and order it...? Cause really, the weighted press clip thing on the top is just ah-maz-zing.

I want one.

But can I say, really, that not even Hilary Clinton should need to pay $38.95 for a good napkin dispenser. Yes, I guess it IS more of a dispenser than a"holder", as it holds them down, while allowing you to tidily remove one single napkin without the others spilling out.

I don't use proper napkins, I should mention. But I don't because I don't like napkin holders, and so I buy paper towels. I wouldn't buy so many paper towels if I had a decent napkin holder, wait, dispenser. And then I could buy pretty printed napkins, disposable or reuseable.

Nope, still can't spend $38.95.