Saturday, October 31, 2009

Haven't You Always Wanted a Monkey?


88 Lines

1. I'm addicted to iTunes. 

2. I was downloading random 80's songs today, and grabbed me 88 Lines About 44 Women by The Nails. It's a classic, you should check it out.

3.  It inspired me to make a list of my own.  This one is not about 44 women, though.  It's about me.  Deal with it.

4. My favourite actor is Johnny Depp, has been since I was about twelve and watched 21 Jump Street for the first time.  I admire his craft, yes.  But, also?  Look at him.  Wow, but he is one fine specimen of male, is he not?

5. I love pie.  Apple, peach, strawberry rhubarb, key lime, whatever.  I love them all...

6. ...except for the time my friend Nikki's Aunt Nola fed me a piece of her homemade pumpkin pie.  She waited until after I took my first bite to inform me that she makes it without sugar, because her husband is a diabetic.

7.  I was raised to always be polite.  And I ate that damned piece of pie.  Every disgusting, lumpy, unsweetened bite.  Everyone else had a good laugh, because they snuck away and threw their pie in the bush.

8.  Making lists comes very naturally to me, so I figure this post should be a breeze.

9. I'm a little OCD sometimes.

10. You would think I'd do a better job of cleaning my house, but I guess my own germs don't bug me as much as other people's.

11. I don't watch much TV.

12. How could I?  I spend almost all my free time online.

13.  I'm kind of addicted to Facebook.  And email.

14.  I don't Twitter, though.  Or text.  Had to draw the line somewhere.

15. The only show that I watch by my own choice is Grey's Anatomy.  Patrick Dempsey is not really that good of an actor.  But look at him.  Wow, but he is one fine specimen of male, is he not?

16. I seem to have a thing for guys with dark hair.

17. I married a man with blondish-brown hair.

18.  He does have blue eyes, though.  And I like those, too.

19. I have smoked pot and hash.  I have tried LSD, magic mushrooms and speed.

20. But I haven't had anything stronger than a good, stiff drink in over ten years.

21.  To quote Martha Stewart, "It's a good thing!".  But I don't think she meant that phrase to be used in quite that way.

22.  My sister-in-law saw me naked, once.  And it wasn't even awkward.

23. I can't think of what my most embarassing moment would be.  My biggest fear is that somebody, somewhere, saw me do something completely mortifying, without me even realizing that it happened.  And now, every time they see me, all they can think about is that horribly embarassing thing I did.  And I don't even know.

24. I need to get out of my own head a little more often, don't I?

25. When I was younger, I used to tell myself stories (silently, in my head) while I was laying in bed, waiting to fall asleep.  The stories always starred a better version of me, living a greater and more exciting life.

26. I still do this sometimes.  Is that weird?

27.  If I had to pick my best talent or special skill, it would have to be that I am really good at reading stories out loud for my kids.  Nathan is nine, and he still likes me to read to him sometimes.

28.  I have many Doctor Seus stories memorized.  Nathan isn't interested in these tales any longer, and that makes me sad.  Thank goodness I have Will graduating beyond ABC board books now.

29.  My favourite quote ever is "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans".  It's from a song by John Lennon, called Beautiful Boy.  That song can move me to tears...

30.  ...except when it's the cover version by Celine Dion.  What she has done to that song should be illegal.  Seriously, she should be incarcerated for that crap.

31.  The Ben Harper version is okay, I guess.  It neither inspires me to rip my ears from my head, nor fills my heart with emotion, though.  I'm not sure if bland is better.

32.  When I die, I want "Blackbird" played at my funeral.

33.  You'll have to buy the CD, though.  You can't get any Beatles songs on iTunes.

34.  Well, you could download the Sarah McLaughlin version, which isn't too bad actually.  But she's no Paul McCartney.

35.  I do not wish to be buried when I die.  To quote the beautiful song Naked as We Came by Iron and Wine "If I leave before you darling, don't you waste me in the ground".

36.  Cremate me, please.  And whatever you do, don't keep my ashes in an urn over your fireplace.  That's creepy.  Find a beautiful spot - I want trees and water and green - and let my ashes ride the wind.

37. Oh...make sure you harvest my organs beforehand.  I have signed my organ donor card.

38.  But I've never given blood, and I feel guilty about that, because I probably should.

39.  I have one of the rarer (is that a word?) blood types out there: B negative.

40.  I am lucky to live in the time that I do.  Not that many years ago, women with my blood type were often unable to carry babies to term, due to blood type incompatabilities.

41.  My two babies were not only carried to term, they were insanely huge and healthy.  Nathan was nine pounds, fourteen ounces at birth.  Will was nine pounds on the nose.  Next to the other newborns in the hospital, they looked like they should get up and drive themselves home.

42.  My mother had a baby before me, before she was married to my dad.  She put him up for adoption (the baby, not my dad!), and she never told me or my sister about it.

43.  My dad had a few too many drinks one night and shared the fact with me.

44.  My sister read about it in my diary.

45.  My dad had a few too many drinks on another night (that was kind of a theme in my youth, actually) and told my mom that my sister and I knew.

46.  My mom was very angry.  She apparently told my dad that it didn't matter anyway, because the baby died.  Did the baby die?  I asked him.  No, he replied, but believing that he did probably makes her feel better.

47.  My dad knows a lot of stuff that happened to my mom when she was younger because they actually grew up next door to each other.  But he is seven years older than her, so when they were young they didn't really interact with each other that much.

48.  My parents each married someone else, before they married each other.  In fact, they were still legally married to others when they moved in together.

49.  They did manage to obtain divorces, and make their union legal before I was born.

50.  Although I was at the wedding.  (I was behind the bouquet.  *wink*)

51.  I have been a bride, a maid of honour, a matron of honour, and a bridesmaid.  One time each.

52.  I wore white, a flower-print sundress, dark purple, and light purple, respectively.

53.  I only ever wore the sundress again.

54.  It cost under $40 and was from Suzy Shier.

55.  I never got my wedding dress cleaned after the ceremony.  I just stuffed it into a garbage bag.  After lugging it along for a couple of moves, I finally freed myself of the guilt of never cleaning and preserving it.  I donated it to Goodwill.

56.  I love Goodwill.  I always like to check out what's in stock, if I have the time.  One person's trash is another person's treasure!

57.  With a motto like that, is it any wonder that I always seem to have enough stuff for a garage sale every year?

58.  Coming up with 88 lines is harder than you might think.

59.  But I'm over half way done, and I will persevere.

60.  Even if it does mean that some of the lines are lame-o ones like this one.

61.  When I was in school, my favourite subject was always English.

62.  My least favourite?  Math.

63.  At work each day, I spend the majority of my time with numbers.  How does this happen?

64.  In just a little over ten hours from now, I will be free to start my NaNoWriMo novel.  I am a little afraid of failing, not meeting the goal of 50,000 words by the end of the month.

65.  Even more than that, I am very afraid of giving up.  That would be one hundred times worse.

66.  Sometimes I am almost overwhelmed by the feeling of words, trapped inside me, wanting and needing to get out.  To be twisted and tamed into sentences and paragraphs.

67.  Sometimes I have absolutely nothing to say.

68.  I am learning, through keeping this blog, that the more that I write, the more words that I set free into the ether...the more words seem to spring up behind them.  Rather than exhausting the source by issuing these daily ramblings, I seem to be encouraging it to grow.

69.  Hahaha.  69*snicker*

70.  Will's nap will be done at any moment.

71.  If I want to finish this list, I must hurry!

72.  My favourite movies are, in no particular order, The Princess Bride, The Breakfast Club, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

73.  I hardly ever watch movies anymore.

74.  Unless it's with the kids.  I watch movies with them all the time.  Does that count?

75.  Earlier this week, I was talking to a very pregnant friend of mine.  She shared with me the the sad fact that she was having a few problems with urine leakage.  Laughing, sneezing, coughing...DANGER.   I sympathized.  Or empathized.  Whatever.  I've been there too. 

76.  Darn babies.  They ruin our bodies while they perfect our hearts.

77.  In highschool, I played the French Horn.

78.  I wasn't very good.

79.  My music teacher was the first teacher I ever heard swear in front of her class.  She said shit.

80.  I was in grade nine.  It was epic.

81.  I can't believe I just used the word epic.

82.  My nine-year-old's vocabulary is starting to rub off on me.  This is sad, as I'm way too old to pull off that kind of talk.

83.  Nathan keeps wandering in here to chat and I keep shushing him.  Gotta finish this list before Will wakes up!!

84.  Oh no! I hear muttering from Will's room. 

85.  I have a bad feeling about these last few lines.

86.  Oh yes, a very bad feeling.

87.  I don't think they will be very deep or profound.

88.  And I'm about to hit the "Publish Post" button.  Without even proofreading.  Yikes!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Hey Pig Piggy Pig Pig Pig

In the spring, when talk first turned to Swine Flu, I held it together pretty well.  The Swine Flu actually has a lower fatality rate than the regular seasonal type, I would tell people.  But that doesn't sell papers, I would add, so you won't hear about that.  And mentally, I'd pat myself on the back for being so rational in the face of the media hype that was essentially trying to convince us that the end was nigh.

After a couple of weeks, the story seemed to fizzle out.  People got sick, but then people got better.  And then people stopped getting sick at all.  The whole event kind of turned into a non-story, and quietly disappeared.

With the onset of fall, and flu season on the way, H1N1 started creeping back into the news: the Second Wave Was Coming, the media warned us.  And like a bad horror movie sequel, it would be worse than the first.

Still, I remained calm.  If you know me at all, or have been paying attention to my posts, you'll already have realized that I am slightly germaphobic (is that a word?!?), and while the focus of my phobia is usually the old gastro-intestinal virus, I'm not above getting a little weird about other germs too!  So for me to hold on to my sanity in the face of this new Super Flu was pretty impressive.  I fully intended on vaccinating my kids and myself - we get flu shots every year, and I saw this as being no different - but  I wasn't freaking out about it.  The vaccine was on its way, we'd get it, we'd be fine, The End.

And then Evan died.

All of a sudden, the availability of the vaccine and how and when I will obtain it for my children has become an all-consuming quest. The limited access to clincs and five to six hour waits are daunting. I am constantly on the york.ca website checking for updates, and obsessively track cut-off times in an effort to gauge demand. I call my family doctor and my kids' pediatrician every day ("No, we don't know when we'll have the vaccine available"). I have even tried to get my kids in at a friend's pediatrician, one that does have the vaccine and is booking appointments ("Sorry, regular patients only.  You'll have to go to a public clinic").  I know where all those public clincs are, and what their hours are.  I considered hiring a teenager to hold my place in line.  In the end, I've decided to hold out until Sunday, when J and I are both off work and can share line-up duties.  But what time should I go?  And when should we have the kids there?  And what if they deny Nathan a shot, because he's nine?  And, and, and...

I like to consider myself fairly intelligent.  I'm no genius, but I do okay.  And I know that the papers are preying my biggest weakness: my children and my desire to keep them safe.  I know it.  But logic doesn't always play a part in our thoughts and actions, does it?

Some call it H1N1. Some call it Swine Flu. I call it my obsession.

November Rain

Dear November,

I see you there, hovering on the horizon. Waiting to pounce on us, just as we're at our weakest: coming down from Halloween's sugary high.

November, you are a horrible month. You don't have any long weekends and your weather sucks. Cold, dreary, November - what can you offer me besides bare branches and biting wind? Perhaps some drizzle and early snow flurries? Well, guess what? I don't want them!

In my experience, November, you are a very germy month. My kids always spend your thirty days fighting virus after virus. Last year, my baby spent a night in the hospital during your stay. I blame you, November. You infect us with your wretchedness in more ways than one.

In your defense, I suppose there could be worse months out there. Well, maybe one: February is the only one that could possibly rival you in unpopularity in my house. Of course, we do get a long weekend in February now, and there are two fewer days to suffer through...

Okay, I take it back, November. There are no worse months.  There is only you.  You win the Most Miserable Month award.

I hope you're happy, damn you.

Most sincerely,
Me

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Monster Mash

Tonight was the Halloween party at Cubs.  It was a rousing success.  The kids had a blast running around in their costumes and stuffing their faces with junk food.

This is Nathan, with two of his buddies.  Nathan's the one on the far right.


And just for kicks, and because I'm feeling a little crazy, here's a picture of me...make sure you enjoy it, because you're not likely to see another on here!  Not only am I trying to keep this blog somewhat anonymous, but I absolutely HATE having my picture taken.  Oh, and for what it's worth...that's a wig on my head.  I do have issues with my hair from time to time, but it's not usually that bad!


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Best of What's Around

I've been wanting to do this post for a while.  It seems a little like a lazy way out of putting together something original, but here we go anyway! 

This is a list of some of my favourite blogs/websites.  There are always others (I spend way too much time online, so there would have to be!), but this is good for a start.

Post Secret - If you have never checked this site out, I thoroughly recommend it.  My favourite part of the weekend is when I crawl into bed with my laptop on Sunday evening to read the "Sunday Secrets" that are posted each week.

Attack of the Redneck Mommy - This is a blog written by the most incredible woman that I have never met.  I have been lurking around her blog for a couple of years now.  She makes me laugh, she makes me cry.  She's a damn fine writer.  And she's Canadian!

Awkward Family Photos - Yes, this is exactly what it claims to be.  People submit the oddest photos to this site.  Each day, at least one picture is added, so you'd want to check back regularly if you like this kind of thing.  I have a weird sense of humour, so this site is one that I make sure to check out frequently.

BHJ - This guy used to have a blog called The Wind in Your Vagina, which he retired and, if I'm not mistaken, removed it from the internet.  I was really sad when this happened.  BHJ (which stands for Black Hockey Jesus, and no - I have no idea why he calls himself that!) is a fricking genius.  His writing style is completely different from anything else I've ever come across.  He writes about anything that crosses his mind, no holds barred, and he frequently merges reality and fantasy in a way that must be experienced, because I can't explain it.  When I discovered he had started a new blog, it totally made my day.

Whiskey in My Sippy Cup - I hate the term, because it seems sort of demeaning, but I guess you would have to call this writer a "mommy blogger".  This woman is so funny and talented, I don't think it's necessary to have kids to enjoy her writing though.  Since I've started my own blog, I've come to realize just how darn difficult it can be to string together a few words every day.  As a result, I have a whole new appreciation for what this woman does.  She posts almost daily, she's totally hilarious, she's a great writer, and she makes it all look effortless, which I am most certain it is not.

So there you have it: five of my favourite online places to visit. 

Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Death Will Never Conquer

I got an email yesterday about an ex-coworker of mine.  She passed away on Friday and the funeral was to be held today.

I've worked at the company that I am with now for seven years, which might seem like a lot.  But  I worked for my previous employer for ten (and yes, I'm only thirty-six.  Can you tell I'm not big on change?).  I haven't seen this woman in a while now, but we did work together for so long, I felt that it would be the right thing to attend the service.

The circumstances of her death are so sad.  The woman (I'll call her Jane - a good, all-purpose, alias) was morbidly obese.  This is a medical term, people...please don't think that I'm judging her, because I am not.  She had a number of health problems related to her weight and eventually had to go on medical disability as her mobility became an issue and her health had deteriorated substantially.  In the end, she developed pneumonia and essentially, drowned on dry land.  Her nineteen-year-old son was with her, performed CPR in her dying moments, and called 911.  But it wasn't enough.  And, I should mention one more thing: Jane?  She was only forty-eight years old.  So unfair, and so sad.

In my aimless web-surfing today, I stumbled across a wonderful sentiment.  I don't remember the exact words, but the gist of it was this:

Dream each day like you are going to live forever.  Live each day like it's going to be your last.

I came home and hugged my kids.  Whether you have forever, or just a day...you can never give your children too many hugs.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Call Your Boys

I think I may be spending too much of my mental resources in my blog and not enough in real life.

I was talking to a co-worker today about my weekend.  Pretty inane stuff, just what me and my family had been up to.  And do you know what?  I almost called my children by their fictitious blog names instead of their real ones!

I wonder if that's common, or if I am the only one who has difficulty keeping track of the line between blog and life?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Boy Who Could Explode

Someone, somewhere, is having a big old laugh at my expense.

As you may recall, Nathan had the dreaded barf-bug last weekend.  And I have a small vomit phobia...

The week passed, and none of the rest of us got sick.  With each passing day, I breathed a little sigh of relief when no one developed a poopy bum, or a technicolour honk.  We escaped, relatively unscathed.  Phew!

Today was "Family Day" at Will's swim class.  I have been looking forward to seeing my baby in the water.  J had reported that, after some initial trepidation, he took to the water like a fish.  This week was going to be my chance to witness it for the first time.

We took two cars to the pool, because Nathan's guitar lesson was only 30 minutes after Will's swim class (yes, the children have busier social schedules that we do!), so J set off with Will  and I followed behind with Nathan.

A few minutes into the car ride, Nathan announced he wasn't feeling well.  I figured he meant he had a headache or a sore throat.  No, he insisted, he really wasn't feeling well. 

We got to the pool, I explained to J that I'd be taking Nathan back home, we wouldn't be able to watch Will's swim class after all.  I handed Nathan a plastic shopping bag (can't say we don't reuse in our family) and pointed the car towards home, praying that we'd make it in time.

We pulled into the driveway, Nathan stepped out of the car, and promptly threw up in his plastic bag.  I ran inside, got the "puke bucket" (doesn't every family with small children have one of these?) and traded him for his plastic bag.  What do you do with a shopping bag full of barf?  I wondered.  My solution was to gingerly tie it closed and leave it on the front porch for J to deal with when he came home...because I'm thoughtful like that.

Have I mentioned I hate puke?  About a dozen times?  Oh yes, I have...

Ugh.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

All the Pretty Girls

Yesterday when I picked Nathan up from the sitter's, he had an announcement to make: "Katherine has a crush on me!"

This in itself was not big news.  The girls in Nathan's school are very precocious, if you ask me.  And Nathan is a pretty cool kid, and not bad looking either.  He has had a fan club since grade one, at least (One long-time love, Olivia, has carried a torch for him for three years now.  When she discovered that, for the first year ever, she wouldn't be in his class, she wrapped her arms around her friend and cried out in dramatic fashion that this would the worst year EVER).

No, the fact that girls are crushing on my boy isn't new at all.  But what is new is that now he cares whether the girls have a crush on him.

I made vague "keep talking, I'm interested" noises while I strapped Will into his car seat, and more of the story unfolded.

"She denies it, but I know that she does have a crush.  Because she's always trying to be near me, and she always blushes when I'm around.  And I've noticed that she looks at me all the time," he informed me.

"Well, buddy, sounds to me like you might have a little crush on her as well.  You're awfully interested in all of these clues.  And you couldn't have noticed that she is always looking at you unless you were always looking at her," I pointed out.

"No!!  I do not have a crush on Katherine.  I'm way too young for that kind of stuff!" he retorted.  I told him that he was getting older, and it would be perfectly okay if he was kind of interested in Katherine, but that if he wasn't, that would be fine too.  I agreed that he was still pretty young, and that there was no rush to get a girlfriend or have crushes.  And I changed the subject.

Just before bed, Nathan shared a story about something that happened in drama class that day.  Naturally, Katherine's name came up yet again.

"Boy, for someone who's not interested in Katherine, you sure have been thinking about her a lot today," I gently teased.

"Mommy, please don't tell this to anyone, okay?  Not even Daddy.  Especially not Daddy.  But do you know what?  I think I might actually be a little bit interested.  I don't want a girlfriend!  But...Katherine is really nice..."

And with a goofy smile on his face, he said goodnight.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Heads Will Roll

A private chat with my boss has confirmed my fears that our department is targeted for layoffs, and it's even worse than the rumours I've heard had suggested.  Out of fifteen people in our department, five will be let go.  That is one third of the people that I work with each and every day.

"Is my job safe?" I asked him.  He told me that yes, it was (Phew!).  But then he added with an ironic smile "Well, that's assuming mine is!"

He went on to tell me how important I am to him, and how much he trusts me.  Trust.  There isn't a whole lot of that around my office these days, so I can see why this would be a valuable commodity for the man.

My emotions are so torn right now.  On the one hand, I am so relieved to know that, at least for now, I still have a job.  On the other, five people will not.  These are people with kids and car payments and mortgages...

My boss was so relieved to finally have permission to discuss this with me.  The monumental task of choosing who will stay and who will go has been eating him up inside, literally making him sick.  He has not shared the details with me, but knowing the department as I do, and knowing him as I do, I am fairly confident that I can guess where the axe will fall.  Of the five people that report to me, I think only one will go.  More guilt on my part when I think about how I will only have to sit in on one termination while he will need to sit in on five.  He'll have to look five people in the eye and tell them they are no longer necessary.  Redundant.  I just have to sit by and watch one of them.

I would not want to be in his shoes for all the world.  Many years ago at my previous job, I had to let someone go.  I had bad dreams for weeks about it, I felt so horribly sorry for the poor woman, and her termination was performance related and with cause.  The folks affected by this restructuring are, for the most part, just casualties of Big Business.  It almost boils down to bad luck, and that hardly seems fair.

For the next two weeks, I'll have to look my staff in the eye and profess ignorance when they question me on the future of the company and the future of the department.

And then...the pain and guilt begin.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Everyday

I promised myself to write a post every night.  And most nights, I do.  Many times, I think I've got nothing to say, and then once I open up the New Post window, the words come out.  Sometimes quickly, sometimes not so much.  But they come.

Other nights, I stare at the empty window.  I start and I stop.  Type and backspace.  On those nights, I tend to give up...but I don't go down without a fight.

I'm practicing. 

In just a few short weeks, I'll be starting my novel.  In order to meet my goal of 50,000 words by the end of the month, I'll have to output 1666.6 words per day.  There can be no giving up in November.  The show must go on.

I'm not sure whether I'll keep up with the blog next month or not.  On the one hand, it may just be another way to procrastinate and avoid my daily goal of 1666.6 words.  But on the other hand, it might be nice to have somewhere else to turn to, a different direction to take.  So we'll see.

But until then, there will be a blog post every day, come hell or high water.  Because I must get into the habit of forcing myself to write.

Today was easy - I never seem to have a problem writing about the fact that I have nothing to write about!

Tomorrow might be a different story, though...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Skinny Love

It's been almost three weeks since my gall bladder surgery.  I had my follow up appointment with the surgeon today (strangely, the carpet in his waiting room looked exactly like my blog background.  Weird!).  So the good news is that everything looks great and I'm healing very well.  I've resumed all my normal activities - physically, I feel strong and well.

There is this one teeny tiny problem though: I can't seem to eat much.

Well, perhaps I should clarify that.  I can eat.  But my body rebels (don't worry - I'll spare you the details!).  Sadly, I have been forced to give up almost all fats since my surgery.  Monday, I realized that I can't even have my Tim Hortons extra-large-double-double (sob!), so for the time being, I've given that up too.  I've felt much better for doing so, but DAMN, I miss my coffee!

There is an upside to this enforced low-fat diet.  I have lost over ten pounds already.  I can pull my favourite jeans down without undoing them.  I now weigh less than I did when I got pregnant with Will, and can fit into pants that haven't come out of my closet since he was nothing but a wish in my heart.

Of course, I could still stand to lose a few more pounds to get down to my pre-quitting smoking weight.  And a few more to get down to my pre-Nathan weight.  So I'm certainly not fading away to nothing here!  But I have seen numbers on my scale that I never thought to see again, and that makes me happy.  Even if I haven't been able to eat any of the available-for-a limited-time-only Pumpkin Spice donuts from Tim Hortons that I love so much.  *Sigh*

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Forever

A visit to Dollarama last week turned up a Robert Munsch book called Love You Forever.  I added it to my basket (even though it was two dollars.  I think this is a business that showed a marked lack of forethought when they chose the name "Dollarama"...I tend to refer to it as "Unlikely-to-be-a-Dollar-ama" these days.  But I digress).

Anyway - Do you know the story?  It is fairly short, so I'll summarize: a mom rocks her brand new baby and sings to him "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living, my baby you'll be".  The baby ages - two years old, nine years old, a teenager...and at every stage, she sneaks into his room when he's asleep and rocks him, while singing that same song: "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living, my baby you'll be".  The kid grows up, moves across town, and (this is mildly creepy, actually) the mother drives over in the middle of the night with a ladder strapped to the roof of her car.  She sneaks into his house, and rocks him while singing that song.

But that mother gets old.  She calls up her kid and tells him to get on over, because she's pretty old and sick.  The son shows up, she tries to sing the song to him, but she's so old and sick, she can't do it.  So he pulls her into his lap and sings to her: "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living, my mommy you'll be".  (It is at this point, without fail, that my voice catches and tears spring from my eyes.  Every time).

In the end, he goes home and picks up his own brand new baby out of her bed and sings her the song (more tears here from me).

Naturally, Will loves this book and wants me to read it every day.   He is oblivious to Mommy's tears at this point, however Nathan gets a big kick out of this.  He doesn't understand why I cry. 

How can I explain to my child that I cry because, one day, I will leave him?  One day, he'll be a grown man and he'll have to say goodbye to me, but as long as he lives, I'll be his mom.  Whether I'm there to remind him or not.

So I just tell him a different truth.  "Your mommy is a softy, kiddo.  I cry easy."  And when he laughs and tells me "But that story isn't even that sad!", I just smile.  He'll get it some day, but probably not until after he has a child of his own.

Monday, October 19, 2009

1-2-3-4

My nine-year-old, Nathan...he's smart.  He started talking really early.  I remember the day he uttered his first real sentence.  He'd been combining two and three words together for a while, but one day, he just came out with this gem: "Look, Mommy.  I see birdies in the trees!".  He was 21 months old.  And he hasn't shut up since.

When he was six, he taught himself multiplication.  Seriously.  Because he thought it was interesting.  And he reads way ahead of his grade level, and has every year.  He screened out of the gifted program (his teacher was shocked, his father was relieved), but he's always on the academic honour roll.

Seven years after Nathan arrived on the scene, Will was born.  Will, my big, sweet baby, who does everything late.  He sat up late, crawled late.  Didn't walk until he was fifteen months old.  At eighteen months, he only had three words (and no one understood them but us).  Even now, at 26 months of age, he only combines three or four words together, and none of them are pronouns or articles (and still, many of those words are only understood by us!).  I was kind of worried about the child, I'd be lying if I said otherwise.  Sweetest kid you'd ever want to know, I would think to myself.  But...maybe developmentally delayed?

Is that horrible?  I hope not!  It's not like I ever loved him any less...I just worried about him.  And the doctor watches him a little closer, too.  So I know it's not just in my head.  He always reassures me (he likes the term "late bloomer", I hear that a lot), but I know he's watching.  And I worry.

But just this past week, I saw him playing with his bead maze (you know, those things they always have in doctor's offices, with the wires you can push the beads around on).  In his mispronounced way, he correctly identified red (ded), blue (boo), green (geen) and yellow (wawo) beads.

And last night, I discovered that the child can count to four.  Four!  We counted everything we could find (only up to four, of course!) and he was so pleased with my enthusiasm, he humoured me...although I'm certain he bored of the game before I did.

Ok, so two-year-olds learn primary colours and basic counting skills every day.  Does this mean he's a genius?  No, of course not.  But (and this is the kicker), despite all the crazy skills that Nathan developed at a young age, I was terrified he was colour-blind until he was around three and a half, when he finally started correctly identifying basic colours.  And when he started JK, even though he could count to ten, he almost always forgot about six.

I know my boys are different.  I know.  But I always have to remind myself not to compare.  They'll each do their own thing, in their own time.

And it will be the right time.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Break the Night with Color

Ugh.  What a wake-up call this morning. 

Nathan, crying out to me at 4:40am, in between spewing all over his bedroom floor.

Thank goodness we have hardwood.  I'd hate to try and get that out of carpet.

When he was sufficiently recovered to move, I sent him to the bathroom (of course there was nothing more to come out at that point, but it seemed the right place for him to be), while I cleaned up the mess that was all over the floor. 

(Have I mentioned how much I hate puke?  I have?  Okay, just checking.)

Anyway, it is at this point that Will decides that it must be time to get up now, because he hears some kind of action going on.  So, to his credit, J rolled out of bed and dealt with the toddler (the news that his older son had just puked all over the floor was greeted with "Really?", before he rolled over and went back to sleep, but I guess he quickly realized that dealing with the toddler was the preferred of two options and acted upon that thought pronto, before he was reassigned to puke-mopping, instead).

Nathan informed me he felt better, but was too awake to sleep.  I sent him back to bed anyway, with instructions to read or play his DS.  J took Will downstairs and I tried to go back to bed. 

Forty-five minutes later, Nathan was back in the bathroom, calling out my name in between bouts of dry heaves.

Sometimes being a mom kind of sucks, really.

(EDITED 3.5 HOURS LATER TO ADD: Nathan, never having experienced dry heaves before, tried to explain the concept to me as he ate his breakfast (yes, the kid has an iron stomach, apparently!), he said "It's like I was constipated, but in my mouth!".    And then he laughed so hard, he accidentally stuffed his toast up his nose.  Yes, sometimes being a mom kind of sucks.  But sometimes, it can be damn funny, too.)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Girl

ONCE UPON A TIME, there was a girl who started a secret blog.  She thought that the blog would be a private place, where she could share any little thought that popped into her head.  She found the idea of this public privacy intoxicating.

Days went by.  Weeks, too.  No one read her words, and she was sad.  She was kind of proud of some of the things that she had written.  And while her posts might not be Pulitzer Prize worthy,  some of her carefully crafted paragraphs called out to be read by eyes other than her own.

One day, the girl decided to take a chance: she left a clue with a friend, a clue that led back to her secret blog.  Her friend followed the clue and now she reads along, sharing her own blog, too.

Then, a new follower appeared on the scene.  A spontaneous follower!  The girl was happy.  But the problem with a secret blog is that you can't share exciting news like having a new follower with people without sharing the secret of the blog itself.  So the celebration, while heartfelt, was secret, too.

The girl wondered: Do others secretly read my words?  I suppose it is possible...  The thought made her happy.  Who knew the girl was so narcissistic?  No one was more surprised by this development than she was, I can assure you.

The girl found herself at a cross-roads, however.  This private, secret blog might be seeping out of the darkness.  It could be discovered by more friends.  After much thought, the girl decided she was okay with this prospect, because while some things that she had written were sort of private, nothing was too embarrassing, which would have been more than she could bear.

But no longer is her blog a place where she can share any little thought that pops into her head.  Because some day, that might come back and bite her on the arse.  So she walks a line, a fine line.  Yes, she shares her heart through her words.  But not her whole heart.

She hopes it's enough.

THE END

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hungry Like the Wolf

Tonight was my investiture ceremony:  I am officially a Cub leader now.  My name is Raksha, which means "mother wolf".

When I decided to volunteer, my first thought would be that this would be a nice activity for just Nathan and me.  Since Will came along, Nathan and I don't always get as much one-on-one time as either of us would like, so this seemed like a perfect opportunity to share something with him.

My next thought was that volunteering in a group like this is a good way to give back to my community, and to a fantastic program that Nathan has been involved with for several years now.

I expected to enjoy myself, but it really is surprising to me just how much I'm enjoying myself.  The kids are fun, of course.  The age range is awesome (eight, nine and ten year olds), and while girls are welcome in theory, none have been brave enough to join our pack, so it's all boys - which is great for me, because I am so used to boys and know them pretty well. 

The main thing I didn't expect or consider is the bonding and friendship I am finding with the other adults in the program.  We have three other full-time leaders, and two part-time leaders.  Plus we interract with other sections frequently (Beavers and Scouts), as well as administration.  It's a big community, almost a family.  And I've been welcomed with open arms.

As an adult, it gets harder and harder to meet new friends.  I'm not sure why I didn't realize it earlier, but joining Scouts has placed me smack dab in the middle of this big group of people.  And these people are nice.  It feels really great to be a part of things, it feels wonderful to belong.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town

Today as I drove the streets of Newmarket on my way to pick the boys up from the sitter, I saw an old woman making her way along the sidewalk, slow and steady. 

She was wrapped from head to toe against the cool air.  In fact, she was wrapped so well that from a distance, I wasn't even sure if she was a she.  But when I drew closer, I saw that her features, while very wrinkled, were definitely feminine.

With each step, she planted her cane firmly in front of her, pulling her body along behind, bit by bit.  A faint smile on her face and a shopping bag over her arm, and like the tortoise racing against the hare, she made her way along Davis Drive, neck and neck with the stop-and-go traffic.

I watched that woman, and tried to envision my features on a wrinkly face.  I wondered what it would feel like to have a body that would not obey the brain's desires to rush everywhere, all the time.  And I imagined a day when all of my grocery needs would fit in one small bag on my arm, instead of filling the trunk of my car.

I'm thirty-six years old, and likely halfway done my life.  It strikes me as funny how my definition of "old" seems to change right along with me.  It isn't all that long ago that I would have been shocked to think of myself has having stretch marks and the odd grey hair (which, sadly, I do!), yet today I can look at a woman in the twilight years of her life, and not be afraid or disturbed by the fact that one day, I'll be hobbling down the street in sensible shoes with the aid of a walking stick myself.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Celebrate!

I am really good at starting things.  I can't even begin to list the numerous obsessions/hobbies I've decided to take up that kind of went nowhere (a few of note: taking up knitting, stencilling, cross stitch, teaching Will to sign, joining the gym - twice!  The list truly does go on and on).

Yes, I'm good at starting things, but not so good at seeing them through.

But...

Yesterday was my fiftieth post.  Fifty.  Wow!

Ok, for some long-term bloggers out there, fifty seems pretty insignificant, I'm sure.  But for me, this is a big thing.  Over the past two months or so, I've sat myself down and put something together more nights than not.  I've made a commitment to myself and I've stuck with it.

So, hurray for me!  Now let's just see what I can do about coming up with the next fifty posts...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sick & Beautiful

Three of the last four nights have seen Will end up in my bed.  Last night, he didn't even make it two hours in his crib before I broke down and brought him in with me.

The poor child seems to have been hit with a nasty ear infection, on top of everything else.  He's had the odd ear infection before, but never one like this.  Previous diagnoses have come as a surprise - the doctor peeks in his ears and informs me they look "a little bit red", and I feel like a jerk because I hadn't noticed (granted, I'm usually so focused on the fact that he can't breathe that little details like that may escape me.  What can I say? I'm only human!).

But last night...ear pulling, tugging, covering (I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when he would put his Blanky over it, only to discover that this magical object was powerless to stop the pain).  Telling me "Will ear hurt" and "Will ear owie" and "Will ear HOT" in between tears of pain.

I watched the clock, waiting for the time to administer his next dose of Tempra.  I rubbed his back and kissed his cheeks and whispered nonsensical words of love.

And when he finally dozed off, I studied the lines of his face, bathed in the glow of the light from the television, and my heart caught in my throat at the sight of such fragile beauty.

Be well, sweetheart.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

(Everyday is) Halloween

Today, Nathan and I went shopping for Halloween costumes.  Now, I have not put on a Halloween costume in something like twenty years.  But all the other Cub leaders will be dressing up for our Halloween party, and I don't want to be left out...

...so off we went to Party Packagers.

Nathan picked out his costume in fairly short order (the Emperor of Evil, #77, if you care to look it up), and accessorized with some type of plastic sword thing.  Once that was settled, we headed over to peruse the wall of women's costumes.

Wow.

Let me tell you, I was stunned by the lack of "family friendly" fare when it came to adult costumes, women's costumes in particular.  Slutty nurse, slutty devil, slutty witch, slutty vampire, slutty fairy...on and on and on.  Now perhaps I'm a little bitter, seeing as how I don't have either the body or the function suited to this type of costume.  But don't moms deserve a decent costume selection, too?  Geez!

Anyway, I finally ended up settling on a fairly conservative Vampire dress (Blood Vampiress #323, for the curious), a black wig and some fangs.

Boo!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Way You Are

Last night, in the wee dark hours between midnight and dawn, I breathed in the smell of my baby's head and thought about the age old question of nature versus nurture.

My two boys are so different from each other.  Not just in appearance, but in personality.  On the surface, one would think that it would all boil down to nature - the genes they were dealt at birth, whatever mixture of me and J was produced, must be just that much different.

But maybe not...

Yes, my children have the same biological mother and father.  But the people we were nine years ago when Nathan was born are long gone today, and for better or worse, the "nurture" element comes into play.

Am I a better mother now than I was nine years ago?  In a lot of ways, I think so.  I am calmer, for one thing.  Patience - or a lack of it - has a very pronounced effect on a child.  I would also like to think that I'm a little less selfish now.  I learned a long time ago that Mommy's needs come after everyone else's, and it doesn't even bug me that much anymore (usually!), so I'm more peaceful in myself and my place in the family. 

But I'm also older, and busier, and much more tired than I was nine years ago.  I'm more likely to look the other way when a toy is thrown or something off-limits is touched.  I'm more likely to give in when my two-year-old wants yogurt and pears for dinner.  And I'll usually read every book Will can find (and he can find a lot) if there's nothing more pressing to do (and sometimes, even if there is!), rather than encourage him to find a little independence and entertain himself.

And in the wee dark hours between midnight and dawn, I'm more likely to be sharing my bed with a toddler who wanted "Mama's room" when he woke up in the night.

Nature versus nurture...It just doesn't sum it up for me.  The relationship is not so much linear as circular, the impact we have on our children is also dependent upon the impact they have on us.

Or maybe I'm just sleep-deprived, and rambling...?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Forgive Me

Yikes!

I really let it all out yesterday, didn't I?  Sorry about that!

Once again, it's a case of being stuck in my own little world and feeling sorry for myself.  Awful.  I look back at yesterday's post and want to delete it.  Really...if those are my biggest problems in life, I have a lot to be thankful for!!

So...we now return to our regularly scheduled program.

It is my plan to attempt heading into the office tomorrow.  Assuming that I can find some clothes that won't irritate my incisions (did you know with laproscopic gall bladder removal, you get four small incisions instead of one big one?  It's a fact!), and as long as I can make the drive okay, actually being at the office should be tolerable.  And now that I've thrown that icky Percocet away, I'm legal to get behind the wheel of a car, so that's a good first step.

Today, I'm going to close my eyes to the Mess in my house (yes, it deserves capitalization.  It really is that big!), climb into bed and enjoy my book.  And I'm going to do it while feeling as little guilt as possible.  And finally (and most importantly)...no more pity parties!

Monday, October 5, 2009

It's Beginning to Get to Me

I'm not sure exactly why, but I'm feeling kind of weepy this evening.  I haven't cried yet, but I feel like I could do so at the drop of a hat.

Part of it has to do with the rotten night I had.  Any good things I may have had to say about Percocet - well, I take them all back.  Two Percocets before bed last night was a majorly bad idea.  When I did manage to sleep, I had horrible dreams, almost verging on hallucinations.  At 3am, I was composing a post in my mind, it had to do with drugs...I don't remember it now, but I can only imagine that the gist of it was this: Just Say No.

My day was uneventful.  I floated between surfing the internet, reading, and napping.  All three activities are things that I love to do, and rarely have enough time for.  I should be relishing the chance to enjoy them, right?  So why is it that I find myself so frustrated by my inaction?

I look around and see the disaster that is my house and feel like I should be doing something about the big mess.  Laundry needs folding, floors need sweeping, dishes need doing...and that barely scratches the surface.

Will has totally grasped my weakness and plays upon it.  I let the child eat cheese and a Bear Paw for dinner tonight, for goodness sake.  Just because I had no energy to argue the point.

I called my parents and told them I was cancelling Thanksgiving Dinner.  While it is a huge weight off my shoulders knowing that I don't have to cook, clean and entertain this coming weekend, I feel like a bit of a failure nonetheless.

And worst of all, I'm counting over my sick days and wondering how to cover this absence from work.  Weighing my need to recover with my need to earn a paycheque.  And let's not forget the uncertainty at the office these days, either.  

So yeah, I'm feeling a bit glum tonight.  Hopefully things look a little brighter in the morning after a good (and drug-free!) night's sleep. 

Sunday, October 4, 2009

How We Operate

Sometimes it is amazing how quickly life can take you in an unexpected direction.

Friday afternoon, Nathan and I grabbed an early dinner at McDonalds on our way up to camp.  We got to the campground about 5pm and got all of our stuff organized.  Many people had been up earlier in the day, so there was actually very little to do: tents were up, kitchen area arranged, water station organized...

By 6pm, the kids started to arrive.  We got them registered and assigned to a tent, and let them run around and burn off some steam.  I tried my best to be a part of things, but I felt really crummy.  My stomach was killing me, but in a way that I've never experienced before.  I figured the Rotten Ronnies I'd eaten earlier didn't agree with me and decided I'd walk it off, push past it.

Around 7:45, we went for a quick hike.  One of the cubs, Jordan, latched on to me (figuratively speaking, of course...I think he was a little afraid of the dark!), and talked my ear off the whole way.  It was all I could do to listen to him with half an ear and agree with whatever he was going on about.

After the hike, I decided that I was done - there was no way I'd be able to sleep on the ground in a tent, not feeling the way I did.  I felt really bad about the way things turned out, figured for sure the other leaders would consider me a big wimp - bailing on my first camp before the first night was even over.  But, I just couldn't see any other option.  So I drove myself home.  In retrospect, I probably should not have done that, but I made it home ok.

After lying in bed for about half an hour, I decided that something was not right and drove myself to the Emergency Room.

Several hours later, after experiencing pain like I have never felt before in this life (and I have given birth to two ginormous babies, so I am no stranger to pain!), I was told that I needed my gall bladder out.

I had the surgery Saturday around 4pm, and got discharged from the hospital this morning about 10am.  Boy, they don't let you hang around there at all!  Not that you'd want to, I guess.  The food sure does suck.

So I am home now, and likely to stay here for a few days.  Boy, the lengths I'll go to in order to get out of a cold, rainy camping trip, huh?

Friday, October 2, 2009

It's a Good Life if You Don't Weaken

Nathan's Cub pack is camping this weekend, and as a newly minted leader, I will be accompanying them.  Back in July when I signed on for this leader-thing, it seemed like a really good idea - bond with my son, give back to the community, better myself, blah blah blah...

Now that I'm faced with a weekend of incessant rain and near-freezing temps (and we're sleeping in tents, no cabins for us!), I have begun to doubt the wisdom of this decision!

I left work early today in order to run some errands and pack up the car.  I have to admit the poor weather forecast had put a damper on my mood, and as I crossed things off of my to-do list, I was in a bit of a funk. 

As I came out of the grocery store, arms weighed down with my purchases, and likely a frown upon my face, I was greeted by a man standing just outside the door.  He smiled the most beautiful smile, looked in my eyes, and with heartfelt sincerity told me "Jesus Christ loves you".  "Oh...thank you," I replied, a little suprised to receive such a message, to be honest.  I looked for signs, pamphlets, and/or collection boxes.  There was none of that to be seen.  As I moved on past, I heard him greet the man behind me: "Jesus Christ loves you, sir".

Now, I'm not an overly religious person.  While I do believe in a higher power, I have often been heard to joke that our family's religion is "Heathen", because we don't attend church.  But something about the honest enthusiasm this man had for his message, and the fact that he was looking for nothing in return, really touched me today.

Sometimes it takes the most random event to put you back in your place, remind you to look beyond your own nose.