Monday, 22 July 2013

This Is Totally About My Hair

Alright, so who wants to read about my hair?

Not you?

Too bad! Because that's what I'm writing about!

I think there might be some sort of atmospheric distress surrounding me right now, because shit is going missing. I can't find anything! Things are getting lost or robbers are breaking into our home and stealing the most inconsequential shit just to mess with my mind, and one of those things is my hairbrush. Anyhow, I haven't had a hairbrush for...a couple of weeks. That means I haven't brushed my hair...for a couple of weeks.

THE HORROR.

(Once I was in Blockbuster and shouted across the store to my friend asking if she wanted to rent a horror, except it really sounded like I said, "Hey! [Friend]! Want to rent a whore?!" The advice I'm giving here is really make sure you enunciate every syllable of the word 'horror', otherwise lots of people will laugh while others shield their children's ears. Back to the story...)

THE HOR-ROR.

It's true, I haven't brushed my hair for two weeks because I kept forgetting to buy a brush.

Robbers stole my damn mind too, apparently.

But it's not as bad as you think. (It is.) It's not. (It is.) You see I have, to use scientific terminology, 'slippery' hair. A hairdresser once told me this, in a lot of distress, as she tried to curl my hair but the curl kept falling out. "Holy balls girl, you have the slipperiest hair EVER. I have to back comb this shit just to get it curled."

She was really professional, too.

So even though I didn't brush my hair for two weeks, it wasn't knotty. Or even tangled. That's what happens when you have slippery hair.

Weird, right? Well, it was a weird time in my life.

But I bought a brush today, and I'm glad I told you all about it.

The End.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

On Raising A Daughter, Part II: You Don't Have To Change Your Name

You can see my first post in this series right here, which provides a bit of background on why I feel it important to do this series.

***

When Dan and I got married, I didn't change my last name. In fact, I didn't even consider changing my last name; I saw no reason why it was necessary, to be honest. What surprised me, though, is the amount of comments I got on this decision and the fact that nearly everyone thought that the fact I wasn't changing my name was weird, radical, and pig-headed. I heard through the grapevine that some people in my family had told others that they wouldn't be okay with their wife not changing her name. One of Dan's friends told me he would need his wife to change her name, and he straight out asked what was even the point of us getting married if I wasn't changing my name.

I was pretty baffled by that comment.

And the comments don't end there:

Dan's brother is getting married later this year, but he and his fiancĂ© have had a fairly long engagement, so when they were out visiting us a couple of years ago some of the family over here were asking my soon-to-be-sister-in-law (wow, that was a lot of hyphens!) if she was changing her name when they got married. She confirmed she was and the response (in front of me) was: Oh good, that's how it should be.

The fact that I didn't change my last name ruffled a lot of people's feathers, and I don't get why. My decision wasn't any of their business--it doesn't affect them in any way--so why did they care SO MUCH? Why were so many people so adamant to directly, and indirectly, let me know that they heartily disagreed with MY DECISION.

In fact, I have a doctor here who commented on the fact that Dan and I don't share a last name every single time I saw him until I basically had to tell him to drop it.

Of course I understand that a woman changing her name upon marriage is a very, very ingrained part of the tradition of marriage in a lot of countries, but this isn't the tradition for all countries and cultures. Marriage traditions aren't uniform across the board for the whole world, and cultures across the globe have historic differences on how and why people are joined together. For example, I know a guy who spent a number of years in Japan and he filled me in on some pretty cool facts about Japanese culture, and one thing he told me is that if there's a family who doesn't have a male heir, and if they are a prestigious family (Japan is a really old society, don't forget), it's not at all uncommon for their daughter's husband to join her family rather than the idea that she is joining his family. This is to keep that family's lineage going.

But yeah, in Canada it's rare for a man to take his wife's name when they get married. The tradition is that a woman will change her last name, but that wasn't a tradition that worked for me.

I like my last name, plain and simple, and I wanted to keep it.

Also I want to clarify here that this isn't a tradition that worked for me. This isn't a diatribe against all women changing their name. Just as I wished people would have/had more respect for my decision, I also respect people's choice to change their name. Let's be honest, there's a host of reasons why people might want to: maybe they came from an incredibly dysfunctional family, and getting married and changing their name was a chance to symbolically start anew; maybe they had a really terrible last name they could hardly wait to be rid of (the Swiss hockey player on the Zurich team whose last name is Cunti comes to mind...); maybe they have been banned from the local mall and really just need a new name so they can hit up Orange Julius again.

The point is, who knows! It's their name, their choice!

But what I want LB to know is she does have A CHOICE.

She does not HAVE TO change her name if she wants to get married, and her choice is hers. Also, I would hope that she isn't with someone who would say "it's not okay for my wife not to change her name." I mean, what?!

I did tell Dan when we got engaged that I wasn't changing my name, and the key word here is I told him this. I didn't ask if it was okay.  The reason I say this is because society as a whole wasn't expecting Dan to change his name; in fact, let's be honest, if he did we probably would have heard one collective, misogynistic, cracking of the whip. Because that's the only reason a guy would change his last name, right? Because he's proverbially whipped by his shrewish wife. Yeah, that's the only reason; not because he might, in fact, be sensitive to a number of reasons why changing her last name wouldn't be an option for her. Maybe one reason being she's more successful than he is and is widely recognised under her last name and changing her name would be career suicide.

Hahaha! Just kidding! That would totally never happen in real life, right guys!

So, yeah, I didn't expect Dan to change his last name, just as I didn't expect for him to expect me to change mine. And where does this leave us with our sweet LB? Well, she has Dan's last name. Yes, we toed the traditional line on that choice. People once asked me what I would do about my last name when we had kids. Would I change it then?! I would, right?!

RIGHT??????????????????????

At the time I said when we had kids maybe I would think about it.

Well, it's still not working for me.

I still don't want to change my last name.

BUT WE AREN'T A FAMILY IF WE DON'T HAVE THE SAME LAST NAME.

But what about this? What about parents who divorce, the mother remarries and changes her last name to her new husband's, but her kids still have her ex-husband's name. Are those kids any less her kids? Or is it more understood because she's changed her name, once again, for marriage?

I carried that girl for 8.45 months (she was a touch early), she is MY girl. In blood, in DNA, in eyes, and in that quirky way that she's so damn happy all the time (she gets that from me...not her dad....). She's my daughter. Having the same last name doesn't make her MORE my daughter.

So for today, this day, July 10, 2013, I still don't feel like we need to have the same last name.

Maybe I will in the future. I don't know, and I'm not going to make an absolute declaration that I will certainly never change my mind on this issue for our family. Remember, I'm not opposed to women (or men) wanting to change their name; I opposed to women thinking they HAVE TO change their name.

Maybe one day the issue of my last name might become a pressing concern for LB, and we will talk it out and I will tell her why I didn't want to change my name, and that--even though it's not the societal norm--a woman doesn't have to change her name upon marriage and no one can make her do this. And more importantly, since it's a glaring double standard, no one has the right to make her feel like she should do this, just because she's the woman.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Baby Woes


I'm just a baby, standing in front of cat...crying for her to notice me

A great deal of LB's day involves trying to get to Poppy. A great deal of Poppy's day involves being comfortably out of reach, snoozing contentedly, while most definitely thinking, "Neener, neener, neener, you can't touch me."


Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Family Ties

This weekend we were hoping to get up into the Alps for our first hike of the season, but alas: Saturday it was pouring rain and cold enough that we could see our breath. In the afternoon. In June. The forecast for Sunday also wasn't great, but we were pleasantly surprised to wake-up on Sunday morning and see the sun.

Hello, old friend! I've missed you!

We weren't organised enough to go hiking (seeing as we'd assumed the whole weekend was a write-off) so instead we quickly packed a picnic lunch and jumped a train to Thun so that we could hang out by the lake for the day.

It was so glorious.

All three of us, Dan, LB, and I, were like reptiles lying in the grass and absorbing as much warmth and Vitamin D as we could. Then one little reptile decided she had enough lying around and spent the rest of the afternoon keeping her parents on their toes as she continually tried to crawl off the grassy knoll and into the lake so she could get to the swans.

Babies, yo.

Then we wandered over to a park to swing on some swings and try to avoid staring at the nude sunbathers who were right across the park lane, in full view of everyone, including the tourists on the ships that were sailing by.

Europe, yo.

People here are not afraid to get naked.

Here's some pictures of our day (minus the nudes, because obviously):
 
Thun
 

The train is so awesome!
 
Thun Thun
Classic Thun

Thun
Feeding the ducks before we got going.
Bread provided by the local 'duck guy'.
He's sort of like the pigeon lady in Home Alone 2, but with ducks.
 
Thun
Getting organised in the Ergo so we can start our walk.
 
Thun
Hello view. You're so viewerific.
 
Thun
You're not bad yourself.
 
Thun
Spot where we picnicked.
View to the left.
 
Thun
View to the right.
 
Thun Thun
Viewing the swans.
 
Thun
Swimming area, if you were brave enough to go in.
 
 
Thun
Heading home.
 
Thun
A ladybird.
 
A truly restorative day topped off with ice cream bars when we got home.
 
Oh summer, don't be afraid to stay for awhile.