Archive for September, 2007

Do you read your spouse’s mail?

 The View

I watch The View almost everyday and my favourite part of the show is the Hot Topics segment.  The ladies pick any hot topic from the news or celebrity gossips and they would discuss it.  They sometimes agree and they sometimes disagree.  They usually have different opinions on certain topics and that’s why I like it.  I enjoy watching them express and defend their opinions.

After a tumultuous season with Rosie O’Donnell last year, she left and the producers of the show replaced her with Whoopi Goldberg.  And another seat on the table has been added and was filled by Sherri Shepherd.  I have to admit that I was quite saddened when Rosie left.  She had very strong opinions and she made the discussions quite more interesting than usual.  But after watching Whoopi and Elisabeth Hasselback exchange different views and opinions in a non-confrontational way, I think I like this set of hosts better.

Well, anyway, Sherri is separated from her husband and she had mentioned this quite a few times before when she would come over to the show as guest host.  Last week they were discussing about how she is going celibate now that she is separated.  But that’s not what I’m discussing here now.  That’s a totally different post.  I was reminded of that show when she talked about how she caught her husband cheating.  I knew I had written a draft on this topic.  So I found myself digging through my pile of notebooks.  It was one of those posts that have not been developed and have been buried because I found it hard discussing the topic without getting too personal.  But I am at that point in my life now where I don’t care what people think about me anymore.  Oh well, maybe I still do care.  But I realize that people will think what they want to think.  It’s something that I can’t control.

I found the page in one of the notebooks.  I must have scribbled it there sometime around December 2006 to January 2007. 

Sherri talked on The View about how she left her husband because she caught him cheating.  When he was taking a shower and the sound of his computer went off, she checked his e-mail.  And she saw this message from the woman he was seeing.

About three or four years ago, I was also on the computer when this message popped up.  So I clicked on it and it turned out to be for my husband.  It was from a woman and the message went something like this:

“Hi ____, where have you been?  Did you eat already?”

Now, don’t you ask this kind of questions only to your other half, family members or close friends?

I hesitated but I answered the message:

“Hi there, ____ is not here.  This is his wife.”

It took a while before another message popped up:

“Oh! Hi there.”

And she proceeded to explain that there’s nothing going on and she was just a friend.

As a matter of fact, I wasn’t really jealous.  And when my husband entered the room, I asked him who this woman was.  He said that he met her through some music sharing website.  And that she lived in another province.  And that was it.  No more questions asked.

Other than that, I don’t really check his emails.  Okay, probably, there was a short span of time when I did.  But that was only because he wouldn’t communicate with me and I wanted to know what he had been telling his family.  And what stereo component or parts he had ordered again and how much they cost because he wouldn’t tell me.  But that was then.  Now, I don’t bother anymore.

What about you?  Do you check your spouse’s e-mail?  Letters?  Or do you snoop in their personal belongings.

I, for one, don’t like it when my (snail) mail is being opened.  I don’t open his.  I wait for him to come home and open it himself and then I take a look if I’m interested.  Whether it’s a letter from his family or a statement or bill from his credit card company.  So when I get a letter from one of my high school friends or cousins from back home, I don’t like anybody else opening them.  They’re personal.  At least let me read them first and I will let him read them if I wish to.  Nobody’s opening anybody else’s letters now.  I’ve got my point across.

Why do I feel this way?

Well, you see, when my sister and I were teen-agers, my mother left us to live with relatives when she went to work abroad.  My mother and her sister (my aunt who looked after us) had issues with the money that my mother was sending us and there was a time when my aunt would open Mama’s letters before she handed them to us.  Sis and I thought that that was such an invasion of privacy.  Please don’t get me wrong.  I do love my aunt dearly and I am grateful and will always be grateful to her for keeping sis and me under her wings when both our parents couldn’t be there.  But I still think that opening somebody else’s letters is wrong.  I don’t even open my son’s letters.  I also wait for him to get home and open it himself.  And of course, I also ask if I can read it. 🙂  But I want to show him that I respect him enough to let him open his own mail.

Back to Sherri.  She admitted that her husband had been through a lot.  They were on fertility treatments trying to have a baby for a few years.

I also admit that my husband and I have been through rough patches in our relationship and I have not been an ideal wife.  But I don’t think that should be reason enough to find comfort in outside parties.  As Dr. Phil has always mentioned in his show, you have to face your spouse instead of seeking attention and love from someone else.  If you can’t fix the problem and you want to leave, then leave but don’t cheat.

What do you think?

September 24, 2007 at 9:03 pm 35 comments

Autumn in Winnipeg

We’ve had a rainy, cold and gloomy week. And what a treat to see the sun shine today and I was out there walking for close to an hour enjoying the wonderful colours of Fall (Autumn). Here are just some of the pictures I took. I hope you enjoy them.

yellow tree

Autumn sight

yellow tree and motorcycle

Do you see the yellow motorcycle in the last picture?  It matches with the tree, eh?

September 22, 2007 at 11:19 pm 14 comments

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September 20, 2007 at 9:09 am 1 comment

My 2007 Summer Movies – Part 3

Let me wrap up this series before summer ends.  Coz although fall doesn’t officially start until September 23rd, we’ve been experiencing cold temperatures here in Winnipeg for the last couple of weeks.  We’ve been wearing our sweaters and warm jackets and the leaves have started to turn colours.  But that doesn’t mean that I won’t be writing about the movies that I have seen.  You might still see a movie post here and there.  Only, they won’t be titled My 2007 Summer Movies. 🙂

Blood Diamond

Blood Diamond

The story is set in the 1990s during the Civil War in Sierra Leone and it centers around this rare pink diamond that Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hounsou), a fisherman, found while he was captured by the rebels and was forced to work in the diamond fields.  While he is in prison, Danny Archer (Leonardo DiCaprio), a smuggler, learns that Solomon has hidden this stone.  Later on they join in a quest to recover the diamond with Danny promising Solomon that he’d help find his son who has been captured by the rebels. With the help of Maddy Bowen (Jennifer Connely ), the American journalist, they trekked through rebel territory.

I don’t usually watch action films but this one stars Leo.  And you guessed it right.  A Leo fan here.  I watched him the very first time he appeared in the hit show Growing Pains and I just fell in love with him.  I thought I’d check out this movie because he was nominated for an Oscar and lost to Forest Whitaker.  I mentioned this in my comment on Wil’s post The Last King of Scotland, and there were a couple of people who reacted on my comment.  Anyway, it’s all good. 🙂  We all have our reasons for wanting to watch certain actors and films.  And from Wil’s description of the disturbing scenes in Scotland, I don’t think that I’ll be watching it.  Sorry, Wil.

Blood Diamond also portrays how the children are trained to be soldiers and kill people, even their family.  I was deeply touched by that scene when Dia, Solomon’s son, has the gun pointed at his father and Solomon tries to talk to him telling him he is a good boy and that he loves soccer and school and he is sorry that these men made him do bad things and that his mother and sister are waiting for him back home.  And that he loves him. And tears are falling on their cheeks.  Ah, it’s so heartbreaking.

I think both Leo and Djimon gave very good and intense performances in this film.  I also like the way it ended.

My favourite quote (And I’m sorry if I offend anybody with this):

“Well, off the record, I want to get kissed before I get f*cked.”

Don’t we all?  🙂  And you expect to hear that line from a woman.  But it was Leo who said that, in his South African accent.

Fracture

Fracture

This is a cunning cat-and-mouse game between the accused (Anthony Hopkins) who confesses to killing his wife and a young prosecutor (Ryan Gosling) who cannot find the evidence.  I love dramatic thrillers like this.  It keeps you guessing as the story unfolds.  Yes, Sir Anthony is a remarkable actor, but I couldn’t take my eyes off Ryan Gosling.  I think he’s a fine actor, too.

Memorable quote:

Ted Crawford: My dick has evidence.
Judge Robinson: Excuse me?
Ted Crawford: My dick… my private investigator. I call him Dick.

Half Nelson

Half Nelson

What a gripping performance from Ryan Gosling!  He plays a teacher at an all-black inner-city school who is trying to kick his habit of smoking coke. But unlike his ex-girlfriend who is already clean and who recently paid him a visit, he’s not quite there yet.  He’s still struggling with his addiction.  Apparently, the title, Half Nelson, is a wrestling move where you are caught in an uncomfortable position.  And that is indeed what happened in one of my favourite scenes.  Ryan’s character, Mr. Dunn, is in the girls’ locker room (he coaches the girl’s basketball team too) when Drey, one of his 13-year-old students, catches him sitting on the toilet, all sweaty and high from cocaine.  I love that expression on Ryan’s face and also that of the girl’s (Shareeka Epps).  She seemed afraid and confused.  Because what do you do when you catch your teacher like that, eh?  In that scene, he asks her to help him get up, to stay for just a minute and give him water.  Because of this secret between them, they form a special bond.  He would give him a ride home after school or basketball practice, making sure she gets home safely.  And she is worried when he doesn’t show up at school the next day. Knowing that he must have been smoking pot, she goes to his house, making sure that he is all right and picking up after himself.  I love Ryan.  I first noticed him in The Notebook.

Memorable quote:

Change moves in spirals, not circles. For example, the sun goes up and then it goes down. But every time that happens, what do you get? You get a new day. You get a new one. When you breathe, you inhale and you exhale, but every single time that you do that you’re a little bit different than the one before. We’re always changing. And it’s important to know that there are some changes you can’t control and that there are others you can.

Disturbia

Disturbia

Kale (Shia LeBeouf) has recently lost his father to a car accident and he has become withdrawn and troubled.  When his Spanish teacher insults him in class and mentions his father, he loses it and he punches him in the face.  Since he is under 18, he is sentenced to house arrest instead of going to jail.  He has to wear an ankle bracelet, ala Martha Stewart.

To kill his boredom while being stuck in the house, he starts watching his neighbours through his binoculars and video camera. He suspects that one of his neighbours might be the serial killer that is all over the news.  But is he really?

Boy, that Shia LeBeouf is hot, huh?  He has grown up a lot since the Disney movie Holes.  And boy, can he kiss?  His girlfriend Ashley (Sarah Roemer) is hot too.  I can’t wait to see Shia in the new Indiana Jones movie.

Running with Scissors

Running with Scissors

This film is based on the personal memoirs of young Augusten Burroughs (Joseph Cross).  His father (Alec Baldwin) is an alcoholic and his mother (Annette Bening) is cuckoo.  She has a bipolar disorder.  She has been trying to get her poems published in the New York Times and other leading newspapers but she keeps getting rejection letters.  When she and her husband divorced, she leaves the 14-year old Augusten to live with her psychiatrist, Dr. Finch, and his eccentric family.  The doctor has three adopted children.  All of them were adopted from his previous patients.  There’s Hope (Gwyneth Paltrow).  Augusten writes in his journal that she is Dr. Finch’s favourite daughter, because Dr. Finch would tell her, “Hope… You are, by far, my favorite daughter.”  And he’d say this in front of the other daughter, Natalie (Evan Rachel Wood).  Natalie wants to go to college but can’t because the doctor has spent her money and he is in trouble with the IRS.  And then there’s Neil Bookman, the schizophrenic son, who is living by himself and from whom Augusten has found love.  Yes, they are both gay.

Augusten writes about his painful childhood with such humour.  It reminds me of Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes.  If only Angela’s Ashes (the movie) were done in this kind of perspective, I wonder how it would have turned out.  When I was reading McCourt’s book, I found myself laughing a lot.  But the movie was depressing to watch and didn’t engage me that much.  But then, that’s just me.  I think the movie was received quite well.

Running with Scissors also reminds me of The Royal Tenenbaums, which also stars Gwyneth as an eccentric daughter too.  By the way, I just saw Evan Rachel Wood on Oprah.  She’s also grown up a lot since the hit ABC show Once and Again.  She is in this new movie Across the Universe, a musical featuring all Beatles song. I think I’d like to watch that on the big screen.

I enjoyed watching Running with Scissors.  And I think the actors were also great.

My favourite quotes:

Where would we be without our painful childhoods?

I want rules… and boundaries… because… what I’ve learned is that… without them… all life is… is a series of surprises.

Warning:  Spoilers in the comments section

September 17, 2007 at 10:55 pm 19 comments

Do beauty queens eat ice cream?

Little Miss Sunshine

One of the movies I watched this summer is this charming Academy Award winning film called Little Miss Sunshine.  This is a story about a family who goes on a road trip from Albaquerque, New Mexico to California when they learn that seven-year old Olive made it to the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant. Their yellow VW bus breaks down and they have to push it before it would go and then they had to jump into the van.  Oh, it is so funny.

I like road trip movies like this.  It’s usually not just about the trip itself, but also about the transformation and life-changing experiences of the characters.  And the ones in this film are in a dysfunctional family.  We have the cocaine-snorting grandpa who has been coaching Olive with her dance moves for the talent portion of the pageant.  So you can just imagine what kind of dance moves he has been teaching her.  There’s the uncle who had just tried to commit suicide, the teenage son who hates everybody and has taken a vow of silence in preparation for taking a flight course, the dad who is a motivational speaker and talks about winners and losers but it looks like he actually belongs to the second group.  And there’s the over-stressed mom who can’t see eye to eye with the dad and fights with him a lot.  Oops.  Did I just describe myself? 🙂

This is a hilarious movie but there are also moments that will make you cry.  It’s got great casting too.  Greg Kinnear and Steve Carrell are both lovable, Abigail Breslin as little Olive is so adorable.  Add to that Toni Collette and Alan Arkin, both good actors.  And Paul Dano as the teen-aged son is not bad either.

Little Miss Sunshine, being about a beauty pageant, tackles the weight issue.  And that’s what I want to discuss here.  Not just weight, but also body image in general.  You have probably seen how the contestants in these children’s beauty pageants look like.  As my nine-year old son said, “Ha ha ha.  They look like toys.”  And I thought that they look like miniature adults, with their faces heavily made up, hair teased, their wide-toothed and rehearsed smiles, and adult-like bathing suits and gowns.  But Olive is so unlike them.  She did her own make-up, applied very conservatively and her hair just simply straight.  Olive is a cute little girl.  She’s not skinny but I won’t even call her chubby.  She’s a healthy seven-year old girl with a smile that is so genuine and honest.

One scene that strikes me the most is when they were at the diner and Olive ordered ice cream.  Her dad made her think twice about that.  Did she really want to eat ice cream before the beauty pageant? He was insinuating that ice cream could make you fat.  But the mom has something to say about that. And I can relate to that difficult situation when she did not want to contradict what her husband said in front of the child and yet she did not want her to have that wrong impression about food and weight.  So when Olive asked her if beauty queens eat ice cream, she told her that she could ask Miss California herself when they get there.  And when they all start digging into that bowl of ice cream, Olive did too.

And yes, Olive did ask Miss California if she eats ice cream.  And her answer was, “Yes. My favorite is Chocolate Cherry Garcia… except technically I think it’s a frozen yogurt.” 

Britney Spears at the VMA Awards I also want to share the discussion the ladies at ABC’s The View had the other day.  It’s about Britney Spears’ appearance at the recent VMA awards.  I’m not even referring to her disastrous performance but how people have been calling her fat.  Come on.  I think she looks good.  Of course, she’s got a little bump in the middle, but that’s because she gave birth to two babies.  I think it was Elisabeth Hasselbeck (from The View) who said that it could probably be her choice of wardrobe (sequined pair of bikinis) that people didn’t approve of.  And Whoopi Goldberg said that it could have been our fellow women who were being hard on her.  Because have you heard any criticisms from the men?

I think I agree with Whoopi.  Us, women, can be really hard on ourselves.  Yes, we see these skinny models on TV and magazines, but it doesn’t really mean that we have to look like them.  We tend to put pressure on ourselves.

I admit that I have also been putting pressure on myself with regards to this weight issue.  I have been cutting back on portions at dinner and have tried daily walking in the hopes of losing weight (I am still unsuccessful).   And I didn’t realize how this is affecting my children, especially my nine-year old boy, until I had this conversation with him a few months ago.  This was around the time when I would still carry him downstairs to breakfast in the morning.  And I was complaining that he’s getting heavy.  But he still wanted to be a baby and be carried downstairs. 

Him:  I want to lose weight.
Me: (Surprised) No you don’t.  Why would you want to lose weight?
Him:  Because you said I’m heavy.
Me:  Oh, that’s because you’re growing taller.  You’re supposed to get heavy.
Him:  But you’re not growing, mommy.
Me:  Exactly.  That’s why I want to lose weight.  I’m not growing taller but I’m getting heavier.
Him:  You mean fat?
Me:  Yes, now do you get it?  You don’t need to lose weight.
Him:  (Chuckles) Yes.

And no, I don’t carry him anymore.  He’s gotten too big for me.  And he realizes that, too.

By the way, if you’re planning on watching Little Miss Sunshine with the family, I just want to warn you that this is Rated R in the U.S. and I think 14A here in Canada.  I forgot to check the rating before I let my nine-year old watch it with me.  It wasn’t even five minutes into the movie and there are already about ten F words that have been said.  And I had the caption on.  I had to pause and remove the caption and explain to him that, “you don’t say that word and you know that, right?”  Anyway, he knows that he’d get in trouble if he does.  I had to make him cover his eyes a few times too – drug and sex content.

September 12, 2007 at 10:58 pm 16 comments

My 2007 Summer Movies – Part 2

Here’s another list of the movies I watched this summer. And as I’ve written in my comment in my previous post, I didn’t consider my entry as movie reviews. They were just summaries. But since I know you guys will still call these reviews, I have added a little bit more critique and opinions this time. 🙂

A Good Woman A Good Woman – Every saint has a past.  Every sinner has a future.

This is a charming movie set in the 1930s in an island in Italy.  Mrs. Erlynne (Helen Hunt) has the reputation of being, what we call now, a gold-digger.  She has been the subject of gossips when she was often seen with a wealthy American married man, Robert Windermere (Robert Umbers).  Meanwhile, Lord Darlington (Stephen Campbell Moore), a notorious playboy, is flirting with his young and beautiful wife.  And when Mrs. Windermere (Scarlett Johanssen) suspected that her husband is being unfaithful, she thought of running away with Lord Darlington, but Mrs. Erlynne saved her from making the biggest mistake of her life.  A secret and a wonderful surprise is revealed in the end.

I like Scarlet Johanssen.  I think she is one of the fine actresses of our time.  Helen Hunt is good, too.

The Number 23 The Number 23 – Be sure your sin will find you out ~ Numbers 32:23

This is a psychological thriller about Walter Sparrow(Jim Carrey) , a dog-catcher, who receives a second-hand book from his wife called the Number 23.  As he reads the book, he becomes obsessed with the number 23.  He sees people wearing shirts with 2 and 3 on them.  He sees the number 23 on the clock.  He adds up the numbers in dates and they add up to 23.  Etc.  He also notices that the novel mirrors certain events in his past and that it could very well be about him.  But the thing is, the people close to the main character in the novel ends up dead and Walter believes that he might also end up doing the same crime.

Jim Carrey is more famous for being funny but he can also act in dramatic roles.  This film was just okay for me.  I like his other film, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a lot better than this one. 

A Good YearA Good YearA Good YearA Good YearA Good Year 

A Good Year

It’s nice to see Russell Crowe in a lighter role in this romantic comedy.  He plays Max Skinner, A British investment broker, who learns that he has just inherited his Uncle Henry’s vineyard in Provence, France, where he spent part of his childhood.  He goes back to Provence with the intention of selling the property.  But memories of his childhood and meeting a beautiful woman gave him a change of heart. 

It’s always a delight to see Freddie Highmore (although I’ve only seen a couple of his films) who plays the young Max.  It’s also nice to see the beautiful scenery of the countryside in France.  Russell was very charming in this movie.

Memorable quote:

You’ll come to see that a man learns nothing from winning. The act of losing, however, can elicit great wisdom.

Breaking and Entering Breaking and Entering

Will Francis (Jude Law) is an architect who has just relocated his office with his partner to King’s Cross where they had a couple of break-ins.  One night he followed the teen-ager who stole his computer and he met his Bosnian refugee mother, Amira (Juliette Binoche).  You see, Will’s marriage is already in trouble and he enters into a relationship with this woman.  And when Amira learns that Will might have pursued her only because her son stole from him, she thought of blackmailing him so he won’t tell the cops.  And yes, I was surprised to see Juliette Binoche take off her clothes.  They do a lot of that in movies now, eh?  But in the end, the characters pretty much redeemed themselves. 

Jude Law is great.  It reminds me of his performance in Closer.  Juliette Binoche is very convincing as a Bosnian refugee, with the accent and all.

Babel Babel

Tagline – If You Want to be Understood…Listen

This is a very compelling movie about four different stories that happened in four different countries.  There’s Richard and Susan (Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett) who are vacationing in Morocco and trying to work out their marriage.  Then there’s the Moroccan father who bought a gun for his two teen-aged sons so that they could keep the jackals away from his herd.  One of the boys aimed the gun at a tour bus and accidentally shot Susan.  And the media people speculated that this was a terrorrist attack. Meanwhile, back in the U.S., Richard and Susan’s children are left with the Mexican nanny, who brought the two children to Mexico when she attended her son’s wedding.  She and her nephew were questioned at the border on their trip back and the nephew, being intoxicated, panicked and drove away from the officers leaving the nanny and the kids in the desert.  Also, in Japan, the original owner of the gun was tracked down to this man who has a deaf daughter who is dealing with the death of her mother. 

The plot is very intense and so are the performances.  I just can’t help but notice the lines around Brad’s eyes.  I’m not sure if those are real or just make up.  Well, anyway, it’s not about his looks now, but rather his acting, right?

Hamlet Hamlet

The first time I watched a Hamlet movie was a few years ago when Lisa, a girl I shared a cubicle with at work, lent me her tape.  It was the one where Mel Gibson played the main character.  But I slept through the movie.  I guess I was tired and I watched it late at night.  So when I saw this Ethan Hawke starrer at the video store and read at the back cover that it was a modernized version, I thought I’d give it a try.  After all, I enjoyed watching Ethan deliver his witty lines in Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. But guess what?  I also slept through this Hamlet.  I guess I was also tired and it was late at night when I watched it.  I have nothing against Shakespeare.  I actually read some of his works and I happen to like Romeo and Juliet (Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Michelle Pfeiffer and Rupert Everett).  And I didn’t sleep through The Merchant of Venice (Al Pacino and Jeremy Irons).  I guess the thing is, I didn’t watch these movies late at night.  I have a tape of another Hamlet movie (Campbell Scott) that is still sealed in plastic and I haven’t seen yet.  Note to self:  Don’t watch Hamlet late at night.

Famous quote: To be or not to be – which Ethan recited in a Blockbuster video store.

September 8, 2007 at 10:24 pm 19 comments

A Doll Story

I wasn’t planning on writing about my garage sale, other than that plug post I did last week.  I have already written about how I held a garage sale two years ago.  And as usual, I met a few interesting people.  I didn’t encounter any French-speaking people these past two weeks, but there were a lot of Spanish-speaking people – from Colombia and Guatemala.  There was a newly arrived family from Colombia who has been here in Winnipeg for only 40 days.  None of them, except for the ten-year old boy, knew how to speak English.  So he translated for us and they were actually my biggest sale.  My Spanish is quite rusty but I managed to explain to this guy, not from this family, that the price tag in one of the items is 75 cents and not 75 dollars.  Setenta y cinco centimos.  Si.  You see, I could easily say cincuenta centimos (50 cents), but it took me a minute to pull setenta out of my aging brain.

Okay, I don’t want to go any further away from the topic at hand.  My last day of garage sale was last Saturday.  It was really a slow day, unlike the two days last week.  It was around 11:30 when this very nice lady came over and introduced herself. 

“Hi!  I’m Rosemary.  I’m your new neighbour.  I just moved in next door. What’s your name?”
 
“Oh hi!  I’m Irene.”

“Nice to meet you, Irene.”

“Nice to meet you, too.”

So we chatted a little bit.  She said that she’s occupying the second floor of the duplex next door.  And I told her that I live on that side of this side-by-side duplex and that my sister lives on the other side.  She took a look around my merchandise and picked a couple of items for her grandchildren, she said.  Her daughter is in B.C.(British Columbia) and they sometimes drive over there.  She noticed that I have mostly boy toys and stuff.  I told her that’s because I have three boys.  Then she spotted this 32-inch walking doll gift set.  And she said, “Aww! That is so pretty.  How did that get here then?”

walking doll So I explained to her how I happen to have this walking doll.  My mother saw that walking doll at a factory where she usually buys stuff for Christmas presents for her grandchildren.  She told me about this walking doll which was on sale for only $20.00.  Where will you ever find a walking doll like that now, eh?  I never got to play with dolls, much more so a big doll like that, when I was growing up.  And I guess I wanted to make up for that now that I could afford it.  So I asked Mama to buy it for me and when she brought it home, I immediately took it out of the box, held one of its hands and watched it walk with me.  I then put it back in the box and never took it out since then.  It has been sitting in my bedroom ever since and I would dust it every weekend when I clean my room.  It has been there for the last five years or so and I thought that it was about time to get rid of it also along with our other unwanted stuff.  I don’t really have a daughter who could play with it. I only have boys.

I related all of these to my new neighbour, matter-of-factly, without any hint of emotions.  But she was somehow touched.

“Oh, that is so sad, Irene,” she said.

“But it’s okay,” I said.  “Really, I don’t feel sad about it.  It’s alright.”

I know that story may seem sad to some, especially those mothers out there who don’t have daughters.  I know there are some of those who long to have daughters.  I, for one, was crossing my fingers, literally, when I was awaiting what the technician would say when I was ordered by my Ob-Gyn to have a fetal assessment when I was pregnant with my third baby.  I already had two boys and at that time, I was anxious to know what the gender of my third baby was.  So I had to ask.  I thought it would be nice to have a little girl in the family, to buy some pretty pink stuff and frilly little dresses.  But at the same time, if it was another little boy, I would have been more than fine with that.  But if it was a boy, I wanted to know before he came out because I didn’t want to be disappointed at the time of birth.  I didn’t want disappointment to be my first feeling the first time I would see this baby.  And I was glad that I knew beforehand.  I never felt disappointed by having a third boy.  And look at him now.  He is just the sweetest boy I ever knew.  Now, that got me emotional.

But I wasn’t feeling sad when I was talking to my new neighbour that Saturday.  I have experienced many sadnesses in my life, but none of them was caused by not having a doll or fancy toys when I was a little girl nor have they been caused by not having a daughter.  Because why would I feel sad when I have three boys, three special and unique, wonderful boys?  Yes, there were times when I would wonder if I would get a lot more help around the house if I had a girl.  Like last New Year’s Eve, when I was up on my feet for hours making lumpia (spring rolls).  None of the boys were interested in rolling up those lumpia wrappers around that mixture of ground meat.  But that was just a fleeting moment of wondering what if.   I asked my sister once (she has three daughters and four sons) if it makes a difference that she has three girls.  Does she think that it’s better that she has girls when it comes to chores?  She said not really.  So there you go.

And of course, there was also my post, Of sons and daughters, wherein I talked about how my nine-year old niece just hugged me for no reason at all.  At that time, my ten-year son was starting to pull away from my hand when we’d cross the street.  But I guess that has more to do with a growing up thing and not about being a boy or a girl.  Anyway, I still get a lot of hugs from my youngest son.  And you bet that I will hug him as long as he would let me and I relish every moment of that.

Okay, enough of that sentimental stuff.  Because I’m fine, really.  It was my neighbour’s reaction that had me thinking about this stuff again.  I have accepted the fact that I wouldn’t have any daughters of my own when I had that fetal assessment and the technician told me that it was a boy.  As I’ve told my children when they would ask me if I ever wanted a girl:  “I will have a daughter when one of you gets married.  I will have a daughter-in-law.  Probably three, when you all get married.”   And then one of the two younger ones would say, “Eww!  I would never get married.  I’ll stay with you here forever, mommy!”  Ha ha!  I will remind them of this conversation when that time comes that one of them tells me, “Mommy, I love this girl and I want to marry her.”

Okay, back to the doll. 

My neighbour couldn’t take her eyes off that walking doll.  I knew she wanted it.  I have it tagged at $5.00.  She already paid for the two items that she picked.

She said, “I want it but I don’t have enough money left.”

I asked her, “How much do you want to pay for it?” 

She asked back, “How much will you give it to me?”

I asked her, “How much do you have left?”

Then she jokingly said, “You want all of my money?”  She opened her wallet and showed me how much she still had.  I saw a couple of loonies (dollar coins) and some loose change.

She finally said, “What about three dollars?”

I pretended to hesitate a bit and then I said, “Yeah sure, why not?”

I asked her, “Can I first take a picture of the doll before you take it home?”

Now she got me feeling all sentimental. 

She said,  “Aww, Irene!  Of course you can.  And you can come over to my place if you ever miss it.”

And then she hugged me and I hugged her back although I knew I smelled of sweat.  It was a really hot day.  But isn’t she sweet?

She called her husband from over the fence and handed him her purchases.  We said our goodbyes and she said that we could talk again sometime. 

She kept saying my name.  That is so sad, Irene.  Let’s talk again sometime, Irene.

And although I was embarrassed, I said in the end, “You know what?  I’m sorry, but I’ve already forgotten your name.  What was it again?” 

She said, “Rosemary.”

I said, “I’m really sorry, Rosemary.  Bye and I’ll see you later.  And thank you, Rosemary.”

September 2, 2007 at 11:14 pm 19 comments


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