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Santa Strike: Stuff That Won’t Get Done This Christmas

"Within you there is a stillness and sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself." ~Hermann Hesse~
“Within you there is a stillness and sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.”
~Hermann Hesse~

This is one of those Christmases. I’ve had very few of them, but this is going to be counted as one.

It’s 11:25 am, and I am still in my nightgown, staring out at a beautiful sunny sky, thinking of my to-do list, and giving myself permission to mentally rip it up and set it on the Christmas fire.

Having been an eager little elf in years past, people expect my bounding red, green and jingling-bell joy every year; the cards, sweets, treats, carols, and extra little gifties. They expect my home to be clean, neat, decorated and the door to be open. There is always wine and coffee and tea, and time to sit and visit in the midst of the lights on the tree and mantle.

This year, is not one of those years. Sure, the lights are up, there is definitely wine available, and tea or coffee if you prefer, but you’re likely to find me wandering around with a book of Rumi’s brilliance and braless until noon, and I’m ok with that.

You know what that means? That means you have to be ok with it too. Yep.

Instead of good old Bing and Ella belting out classic Christmas tunes, I’ve got Hozier on high, and Sam Smith. If you want treats, the ingredients are in the cupboard, and you can help yourself to my kitchen. While you’re at it, mama would like some Scottish shortbread and some macaroons. The floor could really use a scrub and the dishwasher needs unloading. Too much bother you say? I totally get it.

Sometimes you just have to take a break from being everyone else’s jolly elf. Sometimes you need to just forget about what you think you have to do, and do what your soul is telling you that you ought to do for your own well-being. I’m going to pioneer a new field of study; The Ethics of Self-Care.

Take it from the master of flipping-off-elf-class-101. I’m headed to the tub now for a long soak with my coffee, Patti Smith art book and Eminem. If you need me, you’ll have to drag my pudgy,wet, steamy body from the bathtub, and that won’t be pretty.

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Rockin’ The Art Gallery of Ontario

Not having ever been a Patti Smith fan, I poo-pooed the ‘Camera Solo’ exhibit at the AGO before I even had a look. Just great, I thought, another exhibit of work that isn’t worth looking at but for the name attached.  Gimme a break.

I was blown away by the images and poetry on display at the AGO, and have a new respect for Patti Smith as an artist, not just some washed up rock queen.

If you haven’t gone, here’s the info you need to get there: http://www.ago.net/patti-smith-camera-solo . If you can’t make it, I suggest a copy of her book Land 250. So amazing and beautifully bound that I just had to indulge and buy a print copy.

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Bring me your poor….but not your children.

English: Patti Smirh performing im Rosengarten
English: Patti Smirh performing im Rosengarten (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I pride myself in having exposed my child to the world of art and culture our local art gallery. Albeit entirely against his will, and almost entirely forgotten but for the delicious croissants served in the member’s lounge.

I also pride myself in not having had a wild jungle freak tearing art from the walls, fingering Rodin’s Adam, or running his own stroller NASCAR style around the galleries.

Please, I beg of you urbanite, let-them-explore-so-I-can-continue-to-be-a-child-and-buck-the-social-burden-of-parenting, keep your little monsters at home. Unless of course you’ve grown up yourself, and use the outing to teach etiquette and behaviour standards.

Today at The AGO’s Patti Smith, Camera Solo exhibit I had the good fortune of practicing patience and peace. Oblivion-feigning parents (because no one is that stupid) whose children were walking on the lounges, moving the art on the walls, and racing around the gallery  granted me a choice; I could either wallop the turds and tune them in about their ill-behaved selves and offspring, or I could take in the exhibit quietly, serenely, breathing deeply and being thankful that I have access to such wonderful art.

I chose the latter, simply because prison orange is not my colour.

In all deep spiritual practice, children are welcomed as a valuable part of the community. So, it leaves me wondering when I’m at a gallery or performance, just what side of the thick grey line do I take when parents (I don’t blame the children), do not respect the space (aural, visual and tactile) of other patrons?

I chose today to attend the local art gallery because tomorrow, Family Day, has been advertised by the gallery as a day to bring in children.  I’d rather guzzle a bottle of Absinthe and run the sub-zero streets naked, than dodge bored, whining, sometimes screeching, un-supervised children  thank you very much.

Admittedly, it is my generation of parents who’ve got it all wrong. If you’ve committed to children, you’ve sacrificed your ‘cool’ quotient.  Parenting is not cool, it is sincere work and bonding. Your children deserve parents who teach manners, get real about what is kid appropriate and what is not.

A children’s museum is kid appropriate. A dinosaur exhibit is appropriate. Watching airplanes take off and land is appropriate. Patti Smith??? Not so much inappropriate as dull as shit for toddlers and babies. Hell, some adults would be whining and picking at your sweater to get out.

I see parents still spoon-feeding their four-year olds, laughing at the little buggers when they press their fingers against centuries old paintings, and letting them run like wild rabbits in places where the only excuse for running or loud talking is if there’s a fire or gun-wielding maniac.

My generation needs to grow up and parent children to become the kind of human beings that other human beings want to share the planet with.

A word to the wise; be sure to visit the Camera Solo exhibit on a weekday to avoid sitting on a muddy lounge, or getting your shins scraped by, toddler-driven strollers.