Friday, October 31, 2008

Crazy train

I see your train of thought.

I see it. Right there. Upended and smoldering in the ditch, having been derailed from the tracks of logic.

200 dead. Good for you!

**********

Query: What is $180 less $144? Is it not $36? And if it is, then why did I lose 3 marks?

Query: When one's child has a meltdown and refuses to go pee-pee before bed, is it wrong to threaten to siphon his urine manually with a homemade catheter?

Query: Is it prudent to leave lit candles unattended on your wooden porch when your neighbourhood nearly burnt to the ground less than three weeks ago?

Riiiiight.

**********

The above list is not exhaustive, and may be revised over time. Meanwhile, have you anything to add? Questions you would like answered? Or simply restatements of the blatantly obvious?

Please share. I'd like to know it's not just me.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Puff the magic dragon

I shouldn't write when I am in a negative headspace. The dark and broody stuff just comes out then. And really, this blog is supposed to be fun. I try to post the fun and comedic and leave the dark and broody posts alone as much as I can. But there are times ...

Hmm ... Perhaps I need a separate dark and broody blog space for that stuff. I'll give that some thought.

In the meantime, we are now back to normal over here. And to celebrate, I present the following:


Happy Halloween!!

Another day for you and me in paradise

I warn you. This post is a little darker than our norm. I blame Mama Kat. It's her assignment, after all.

**********

Bound by professional ethics, I am not permitted to screw with your taxes. Much as I would like to. And that is the cross I bear.

**********

I was an unpopular kid. A bookworm and a tomboy who enjoyed classical music and excelled at math and creative writing. A late bloomer with crooked teeth, big glasses, and unfashionable clothing. I didn't make friends easily. At one time friendly and outgoing, I ended up withdrawn and shy.

Trust no one. Don't try to fit in. If you put yourself out there, you only get it worse. Just duck and cover.

Some days, it feels like a war zone. But with fewer guns.

**********

I had a couple of close friends. We'd met when I was about 4 years old. They were at all my birthday parties growing up. We played together on an almost daily basis. We sat together in classes. We were inseparable. My two best friends. I loved them, and I trusted them. But they were boys, and I was an awkward and gawky girl. Suddenly, we were teenagers. Suddenly, all bets were off. Suddenly, they didn't want to know me. And more to the point, they joined the others. But they were even worse. Crushing insults and cruel violence. Thanks for the memories.

Betrayed. I trusted you. I believed in you. I had higher expectations of you.

**********

I was not an athlete. But I remember spending a lot of time running. Trying to get away. Hiding in bathrooms. Tears. Feigning illness so I wouldn't have to go. I couldn't face it. I couldn't. Please. No more.

Oddly enough, the mental anguish stands out more than the physical abuse.

**********

Oh, how you would laugh. No opportunity was ever wasted.

"She's ugly and has funny teeth."
"Are you pregnant?"
"Hey sweetheart, anyone ever tell you you're flat?"

Teachers couldn't protect me. They tried, but they couldn't. Bullies are creative, and they find a way to get you. If insults don't work, they escalate. And escalate, and escalate, and escalate. First, they're tossing barbs, telling you you're stupid and ugly and untalented. Next, they're excluding you from participation in group projects and suggesting you can't sing and must have slept with an instructor to get into choir. Soon, they're vandalizing your artwork. Now, they're chasing you down at the annex and hitting you, just to see if they can make you cry.

Yes, you were all just lovely. Good times. Thanks for that.

**********

But it's just a typical day. A part of growing up. It's just junior high. Forever burned in my memory.

And you.

**********

Many years have passed, and I think of you often. I wonder what's become of you. I look you up, but when I see your name, my eyes burn. It appears that karma has not yet caught you. You are wealthy. Admired. Respected. And I wonder if you beat your wife or kids, as you did me. It seems something you might be capable of. I hope not.

I see your name on a file, and I have it sequestered. I cannot work on your file. I can't even see it. I recognize that I am not unbiased, cannot be unbiased, and I am always a professional. So I grit my teeth, and I protect you. Because I know that this is the right thing to do.

This is the right thing to do. And apparently, I will always do the right thing. I did it then, and I do it now. It's who I am.

I never gave you reason to mistrust me. I never gave you reason to fear me. Why should today be any different?

**********

Yes, I know this post has a sad, heavy kind of tone. Don't blame me. It's the fault of Mama Kat over at Mama's Losin' It. She picked the prompts.

So head on over and check out this week's writing assignment. What speaks to you? And for heaven's sake, try and have some fun with it!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

How much is that doggie costume in the window?

I've got a couple of photographer friends. They have a great eye, and sometimes they get some really beautiful shots. Oriana Bella, for example, has several pictures that I would just love to have framed and hung on my wall. My favourite to date is this amazing shot she took of three pigeons perched on an electrical wire. The lighting is perfect; birds and wire in glorious silhouette against an overcast sky. I've never seen anything quite like it. (I don't really want to link to it here because of, you know, copyrights and stuff. So you'll just have to trust me that it is gorgeous.)

Oriana also really loves taking abstract shots, which can be quite breathtaking. And sometimes, she photographs amazing oddities.

She recently managed to nab this picture (reproduced here with her permission). Apparently, she got in trouble for taking a picture of an item for sale in a store. But seriously. How could she possibly have resisted this?


This crazy Halloween costume, designed to be worn by a dog, is clearly geared toward proponents of overkill. For many people dress their dogs up as hotdogs. And pumpkins are, of course, a traditional Halloween costume. So someone evidently thought ... why not combine two great ideas into one, and dress your dog up as both?

Now, I know that Cute Overload and Martha Stewart have teamed up to run a Pet Halloween Costume Contest. But seriously? Would you put this crazy outfit on your dog? Even for Cute Overload and Martha?

"This Halloween, Bowser is going as a pumpkin wearing a hotdog costume."

The pumpkin wasn't Halloweenish enough all by itself? The pumpkin needed its own costume, did it? Does this seem like a realistic costume choice? Does anyone ever make a point of getting a special Halloween costume made, just for their pumpkin to wear? And if so, how did such a person end up with a great abundance of cash to spend on outfitting a pumpkin, when said person clearly has absolutely no common sense whatsoever? And since this person has such a great abundance of cash and lack of common sense, do you think he or she might lend me five bucks? How 'bout fifty?

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Smashing pumpkins - part deux

Yesterday, I carved a Jack-o-lantern. It was my very first attempt at carving a Jack-o-lantern, and I think it turned out rather well. I posted about the experience here.

We took no photos of the carving being undertaken, because ... well, read about it and you'll see why. But some people will accept no such excuses. Some people demand that photos be posted. *

Yes, I am speaking of you, Georgie.

Georgie is a total sweetheart. She writes Decisionally Challenged. She is presently organizing a bloggers Secret Santa exchange (I can't participate, being a foreigner and all, but still). And she specifically requested pictures of my masterpiece.

So here you go, Georgie. I hope you enjoy the pictures. :)

Here is the Jack-o-lantern.


He was so darned cute, we had to see what he would look like all lit up. So here he is.


J loves the Jack-o-lantern, and treats him like a new friend. He insists on giving the Jack-o-lantern hugs and kisses. And he wants the Jack-o-lantern to sit on the living room floor and play with him. J is eager to share all of his toys and stuffed animals with his new friend.

Sure, it's cute now. But J will be heartbroken when his friend gets all mushy, as veggies are wont to do in time. And we'll hear about it for months.

J: Where's my Jack-o-lantern?
H/T: We had to throw him away, J. He's at the dump.
J: Oh noooooo! (sob) What will I dooooooo?


We are getting used to these kinds of discussions. Sadly, they occur all too frequently. J seems to get quite attached to inanimate objects, and he has trouble letting go when it is time to part.


* Okay. In all fairness, Georgie didn't so much "demand" as "politely request". And I did say I'd probably post photos. And I totally would have done it anyway, because the pictures are cool. But I wanted to link to Georgie, and this approach worked well.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Smashing those damned pumpkins

First, let me just say this.

gmbmbadge.jpg

That's right. We were featured on Good Mom/Bad Mom today for BS Sunday.

Okay, fine. I submitted the dark, heavy post in question myself. But they read it and decided to include it. I think. Unless Jenny was really busy this week and just grabbed any and all links. Which I suppose is equally possible. But hopefully they read it. I believe they did. And now, we have a lovely badge that we can wear with pride. And really, isn't that what counts? Of course it is!

Now, down to business.

**********

One of my favourite blogs is Steenky Bee. If you haven't read her yet, you've obviously just climbed out of a Biosphere. A crappy, out of touch Biosphere. One with no Internet access whatsoever.

Seriously. Head over there. You must read Steenky Bee. She's fabulous. A wonderful mother, a gifted dancer, and she always has perfect hair. I'd link to individual posts that I love, but then I'd just be linking to every page, and that's kind of weird.

**********

So earlier this month, Steenky Bee posted about undertaking a fun family activity. Inspired by her genius and creative prowess, we decided today to participate in a fun family activity ourselves. But sharp scissors and hot irons seemed like a bad idea for our 3-year old. He might get hurt.

So we used knives.

Pumpkin carving! Perfect! Halloween is just around the corner. Why not?

Not having pumpkin patches this far north, H and J had earlier trotted off to a garden centre to pick out the sorriest, most deflated and lopsided looking excuse of a perfect pumpkin, which we would carve together, as a family.

I pulled out the pumpkin carving kit. J was very excited. I put the pumpkin on the kitchen table. J was totally enthused. I let J pick out the design for his Jack-o-lantern. Happily, J picked out "The Angry Face". (It should be noted that there were two "Angry" faces, of which J wanted "The Really Angry One"! Which is also the hardest face to carve. But whatever.)

As J finished dinner, I cut the lid off the pumpkin. And then, when he was done eating, I gave him a little scoop, so that he could help me clean out the pumpkin innards. He quickly branded this activity "icky", and opted instead to hold the garbage bag for me. For about five seconds. Before he decided to abandon me entirely in favour of pretending to be a doctor who needed to give everyone needles. And how convenient that the little stencil marker tool beside me looked sort of like a needle! J promptly stole it and ran through the house, leaving me to scoop out the pumpkin guts myself. H cleaned off J's plate and put the food away.

Meanwhile, the previously contentedly sleeping N awoke. H went to rescue him. H returned to the kitchen and sat at the island holding baby N, and J climbed up in H's lap to give H and N each a "needle". Buried under children, H watched me, sitting at the table by myself scooping pumpkin innards into a garbage bag, and said:

H: Honey, this really wasn't what I had in mind when I thought about a fun family activity.

I told J that I needed his help and that, if he wouldn't help me, I would have to carve the whole pumpkin all by myself. His response?

J: Okay. Do that.

And then, J shouted out that he was "The Sock Stealer". And he ran around the house in search of socks to "steal". All socks, once found, had to be worn on his left foot. In layers. So J ended up with one bare foot and one foot that appeared to be sporting a very unusual thick cast made entirely of socks.

It was then that I took a hammer and smashed the stupid pumpkin to smithereens small break to feed N and make him all nice and happy. J used this opportunity to fight with H about bedtime and sleepwear. H wanted J to sleep in his blue pajamas. J wanted to sleep in his dragon costume. Or at the very least, the dragon head. Kicking and screaming, the headless J was dragged upstairs. (Not really, but I couldn't resist that last sentence.)

As H got J ready for bed, I taped the stencil to the pumpkin. J ran down at one point to provide me with some assistance. Tearing off large amounts of tape and attaching them to various parts of his face and body was most helpful, I assure you. H watched, gritting his teeth, and then gave J a glass of milk.

Once the stencil was taped in place, I got J to make a couple of pokes in the black area with the little stencil marker that J thought was a needle. And then H put J to bed while I outlined the rest of the stencil design, removed the stencil from the pumpkin, and cut out the face.

No pictures were taken of the progress. Sorry. No one had a free hand to spare for operating the camera.

So anyway, after I had completed our fun family activity by myself, H and I discussed the outcome. And we concluded that it would probably be a better idea to just buy a pre-cut Jack-o-lantern in future years.

We may post a picture of our my creation eventually. But for now, let me just say this.

It's my Jack-o-lantern! Mine! Mine, mine, mine, mine, mine!! I made it, and I'm keeping it!!!

Yeah. Whatever. Mine.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

And I cannot handle pressure

I should probably have just dropped the class when my world began to implode. But I didn't.

I had a drop deadline. Can't remember what it was just now. Didn't want to use it. Dropping the class costs a bit of cash. And I'm somewhat miserly. And stubborn. There was a possibility that I could still cope. I can't admit defeat when there is still a possibility of success, however slight.

I had until October 23 to decide to take an elect to re-enroll. But an ETR costs a sizeable amount of cash, and I wasn't willing to part with it. So I didn't take that option either. Instead, I opted to plough forward in a course that I am not understanding, for which I have no time, and in which I am woefully behind.

In short, I decided that my sanity was worth less than the course drop fee. So now I'm stuck with it.

What do they say again? There are none so blind as those who will not see?



J keeps stealing my post-it notes. How am I supposed to study effectively with no post-it notes, I ask you?

Friday, October 24, 2008

That's entertainment

Edited: Saturday, October 25, 2008 @ 9:25 a.m. **

I am a person with varied interests. Music, darts, theatre, children, computer programming, animals, pool, law, pinball, math, ... My tastes are eclectic.

T: Do you have Captain Tractor? Or Offspring?
Used Records Employee: Who listens to Captain Tractor and Offspring?
T: Well, me ... and the people who stole my car ...
URE: ... or at least they do now ...


When it comes to entertainment, I like mindless comedy. I also really enjoy drama. And musical. Action is okay too. Horror is one genre I frankly don't much appreciate. Basically, it's good if it makes me think. Or laugh. Or cry. It can be based in reality, if it is tastefully done. Tragedy is okay, if I am in the mood for tears. Gory messes do not appeal to me. Harm cannot befall a child, or an animal, and it would be best if things ended on some sort of positive note. If I want anything too real, I'll watch the News, thanks anyway. (I should note that I do not watch the News for entertainment value; it's for information purposes ... it's for education ... learning what to do, what not to do, and shaping opinion.)

Really, I like a little bit of almost everything. Almost ...

My idea of the worst kind of entertainment? Violent, graphic, gory, tragic fiction that could really have happened (but didn't; hence, "fiction"). I don't understand these kinds of shows. I don't grasp their entertainment value. Why would I want to watch graphic depictions of horrible things happening to reasonably decent fictional characters while at the same time learning nothing? I don't get it.

But H, who is like me in many ways, dramatically differs from me in this one area. H actually really enjoys what are, in my view, awful programs.

This, as much as anything, is why we have two TVs.

Now, I can watch reruns of "Friends" and "Seinfeld", or new episodes of "The Big Bang Theory" and "Two and a Half Men", or whatever else appeals to my teensy little brain. And at the same time, H can retire to a different room to watch "Life", "24", and "The Shield", and presumably take pleasure in the fictional suffering of others. He really seems to enjoy it. I am mildly disturbed by this.

Tonight, H decided to attempt to watch "Life" with me sitting nearby. An ex-con whose 10-year old son had been murdered by a newly escaped felon was then himself graphically murdered by said newly escaped felon in front of the police, who were trying to protect everyone. They showed all the blood and everything. It was way cool.

Here we have practically everything I hate ... violent, graphic, gory, tragic fiction that could really have happened (but didn't; hence, "fiction"). And a child being harmed to boot. Fabulous! And as they cut to commercial:

T: How can you watch this?
H: I didn't know that was going to happen!
T: It happens every single week!
H: No, it doesn't.
T: Okay. Not that exact thing. But something very similar.
H: But ...
T: Seriously! How can you enjoy this?
H: ...
T: Watching some poor likeable guy get shot in the head.
H: ...
T: Well?
H: Would you like me to watch it upstairs?
T: ...
H: Fine! (grumble, grumble, mutter, mutter) *


(Ordinarily, I might have just left the room. But the knee isn't fully healed and I still don't do stairs so well, so there aren't many places I can go just now without considerable effort. And it's his stupid show anyway, so ...)

I'm going to sleep now. With visions of sugar plum fairies and violent showers of gunfire dancing in my head. And I hope to not dream about some fictional dead guy and his equally fictional, equally dead 10-year old son.

But I sure hope H enjoyed his remaining 50 minutes of mass destruction.


* It should be noted that H didn't really grumble. Much.

** Edited to add: I have just learned that H actually slept through the disturbing scene in "Life". And that, even though he was exhausted and sleeping through the show anyway, he still left the room to watch the rest of the show, rather than just letting me change the channel to something we both would enjoy. And he stayed up an extra hour after "Life" was over to watch an equally disturbing episode of "The Shield"!!!

My husband has no sense whatsoever. Could somebody please organize an intervention?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

More than words

I write to warn you.

My warning is not a prophecy of things to come. It is much too late for that. For the evil already enshrouds us, inherent in our very being. An evil so base, so fierce, it takes no prisoners preferring instead to slay all who cross its path. There are those who would experiment. Taunting it. Daring it to touch them. They think it might be fun; the highs, the lows. They are the invincible, holding steadfastly to their belief that nothing can touch them. "It won't happen to me", they think, and they laugh at the voice of experience. But we know better. We have been there. We have experienced the pain of addiction and recovery firsthand, and we see what you will become should you let the demon overtake you.

Don't do it. Addiction is devastating. Relationships have been forever damaged and lives taken. Don't even try it. I beg of you.

Demon, thy name is Scrabble.

**********

It began innocently enough. Three friends, one piece of cardboard, a bag of tiles, and a dream. One would best the others. One would emerge victorious. Yes, one and only one would be crowned the victor. And to the victor go the spoils. (The spoils being completely imaginary, you understand.) A battle of wits. To the death. (Okay, maybe not to the death, but two people would feel sort of linguistically challenged when it was all over. And that kind of mild ego bruise is really painful to nerds like us, I assure you.)

**********

Jessica began the game. The first word. The coveted default double word score. Leaning forward with an evil sneer, she began placing tiles on the board. Both of us dying a little inside as each new tile was positioned. A. N. I. E. S. T.

And then, with a hideous evil laugh and a flourish, she laid the first tile. The coveted "Z". "Zaniest". For 102 points. The deep intake of breath could be heard for miles. Well played indeed, Jezebel.

**********

A few more turns. Staring. Glaring. Each working to undermine the confidence of the others. Each trying to top the previous score. The malicious name calling. Yes, Delia, I am speaking to you. Coy as you tried to be, we all knew exactly to whom you referred when you played "Fathead". Staring right at me, with open hostility. And then you batted your eyes at me demurely, and ... well, you certainly earned that black eye, didn't you? For not only did you openly insult me, but you took my spot! I stand behind my actions. No judge would convict me.

**********

Nearing the end of the game. No more tiles in the little bag. Everyone needing to use up the tiles that remained on their wooden shelves, lest a penalty be incurred. Double letter value deductions was our rule. Double! And me with seven letters, while Delia, sitting there icing her eye like some kind of "victim", had only five.

She did not deserve the title. I had to beat her. I must win.

My turn. I took a deep breath, and ...

Building on "ZOO". I knew I could do it. I laid down my tiles, slowly, casting sideways glances at my opponents. K. E. E. P. E. R. S. Triple word score. Double letter beneath the "K". And as an added bonus, the "S" that had landed on the triple word score completed an adjacent word and made "Hybrids". 48 points for "Hybrids". 90 for "Zookeepers". And a 50 point bonus for the Bingo. A total of 188. The game was done. I had won.

I laughed. A malicious, evil laugh. But my glee was short-lived, as one grabbed me by the throat and the other forced me to eat the "K".

**********

I've lost more friends this way. Really, it was just a typical Friday night.

**********

And in case you need more evidence of the evils of Scrabble, I present you with this Canadian Vignette. (Well worth watching, I assure you.)

**********

Mama Kat writes one of my favourite blogs, Mama's Losin' It. Head on over and check out this week's writing assignment. Lots of fun to be had!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Paradise by the dashboard light

Well, that last post was uncharacteristically deep, wasn't it? We won't do that again for awhile. It's too hard.

Time for a kidlet anecdote!

J is very inquisitive. And H likes to explain things. But sometimes, it's hard to put things in terms that the J will understand. He's only 3. He has very little life experience. He doesn't understand many things. Like taxes. Or politics. Or why we can't drive with the dome light on.

J: Turn the light back on.
H: No, J. The light needs to stay off.
J: But I can see better with the light on.
H: I know, J. But the light needs to stay off.
J: Whyyyyyy?
H: Because Daddy can't drive with the light on.
J: Whyyyyyy?
H: Because it's illegal.
J: What does "illegal" mean?
H: It means the police might give Daddy a ticket.
J: What's a ticket?
H: It's kind of like a spanking. But instead of slapping your bum, they ... ah ...
T: ... pinch your wallet?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Fifteen long years

It's been 15 years. Has it really been that long? Time has marched on, and now here I stand, 15 years later and still no nearer to comprehension.

**********

Hey. Remember when our friends lived in the top story of that decrepit old rooming house in Scary Central? Infested with mice and bugs, with the slanted roof and the tiny windows, both guys over 6 feet tall, constantly knocking their heads against the roof if they didn't remember to duck in time. The shared bathroom that never had any paper. And the fire escape doors nailed shut, with the uneven stairs that scared any sane person to death. I remember that in coldest winter, the place was freezing so that they had to turn on the oven and open its door just to stay warm.

Remember that locked front door with black leather strap, and no way in save for the sign that read "KNOCK LOUD!!"? What was the point; no one could hear you anyway. So the guys rigged up a doorbell of sorts, with an old can and a couple of utensils inside one window, attached to a string that ran to the top of the rickety fire escape rail, and you had to climb to the top and shake the string for all you were worth so they could come down and let you in. And then there was that defining moment when they got all Jack Torrance crazy and kept running around trying to stab a mouse with a fork.

You and I, horrified that people would actually be living there eating a Christmas meal of Kraft Dinner. And I remember how we heated up plate after plate of Christmas fare that you'd managed to doggie bag from all sorts of Christmas parties, loading foil covered containers into a towel lined box in the hatch of my old white and green Omni, and driving over to make their Christmas a little brighter.

That was you all over.

**********

Hanging at your little two bedroom apartment, just big enough for you and your baby boy. 'Til the squatters moved in. And brought pets. And more squatters. And more pets. And more, and more, and more, and I don't even know how many people were staying with you at any given point in time. Me, the donut shop muffin baker, showing up at your place after shifts, and all of us hanging out in the living room, crammed in tight as sardines, backs against the walls, smoke clouds filling the air, as we played game after game of cards with something like 5 decks combined into one so there'd be enough to go around. "Asshole" was the game. A game for 4, played with something like 20 people. Coming up with new positions for each person, and trying desperately to keep track of who was who. Never knowing what time it was, because that ridiculous pink paper clock with the red handle would freeze, cease, stop, and then run in reverse for awhile? But eventually, I'd go off home and you and the squatters would sleep. I think.

Click-Clack. I still have that clock. It makes me think of you. Good times. Great times.

**********

Stupid road trips 101. Going to the mountains for a day, and the car breaking down. Suddenly, a one-day excursion became two, as we worked to get a radiator shipped down. And then the baby's cold turned croupy overnight, and we steamed him to ease his breathing. Crazy pictures and tired eyes. Everyone singing that ridiculous "Forever Young" song, over and over ... just the same two lines that I had stuck in my head for something like 8 months, and eventually managed to get stuck in everyone else's heads just as it left mine.

How about the drive across lines just to see your boyfriend, who was trucking at the time? And turning into that town that had nothing but miles and miles of Parkades. And a prison. Had we known then what was to come with that guy, I'm not sure we'd have bothered going to see him. But it was good fun, and made for a good trip, even though you were so sick.

And then the time we went on the ridiculous gravel road trip across two provinces and away up north to help two friends get home when they were having vehicle problems. We really just wanted the drive; otherwise, we'd have wired them cash. But drive we did. And you nearly killing yourself when you unbuckled your belt to check on the baby while I was driving on deep gravel and hit that trench and went into the ditch. Fortunate that we were alright. Weird little town ... nothing but trailer parks. But it was interesting to see.

**********

I'd write. Always writing. Writing was the norm. Inspired when driving, I'd often show up at your place with the announcement "Paper! I need paper!" You were always happy to comply. Not my biggest fan; really, my only fan. You always made me give you a signed copy of the new lyric sheets, saying they'd be worth something some day.

Music assignments. Me writing frantically, while the war waged around me. Finally we'd break out in giggles. The whole thing was so stupid, there was no other option. You helped me unwind when I'd be so stressed I thought I would chew my face off. Thanks for being there and believing in me so fervently. It helped.

**********

The fights. The squabbles. The missed weddings. One that I refused to attend, because the guy quite frankly didn't deserve you. And then the other, where I couldn't come because of that stupid little legal proceeding of the ex-casual-girlfriend of your betrothed who I still think was a little bitter and I still don't know quite what happened and how I ended up involved. But it always happened to me, didn't it? Wherever there was trouble, there I'd be, smack dab in the middle of the mess. You were good at getting me out of it and forgiving me my failings.

You were good at getting everyone out of a jam. No matter who was in trouble, you'd find a way to lend a helping hand. You could always see the good.

**********

Your husband. Your precious young son and daughter. Your family. Your friends. We never saw it coming. We were so blind.

**********

I didn't know much about Juvenile Diabetes. I only knew that you had it, and that you needed regular insulin injections to combat it. I always knew there was a problem if you were sleeping at an unusual time. And if there was sweat on your upper lip, you needed sugar. The dosing was difficult. I remember coming by on more than one occasion and finding you in such states. You used to say I was your guardian angel, how I'd arrive when you needed me and help you. I liked that.

I never knew quite how you acquired liver disease. You never seemed inclined to talk about it, and I didn't pry. I knew it was there, but we never discussed it, and I was able to turn a blind eye. I all but forgot about it.

When you got gallstones, I wasn't alarmed. Pretty routine. So when you went in to have your gallbladder removed, none of us could have dreamed that you'd not return home.

Tears shed. Court battles. Immeasurable pain as everyone lashed out, all of us trying to cope with our own personal losses. No one doing well with it. Too much pain.

**********

Today, I stood in that cold space, as dusk turned dark and the wind blew by. There were no flowers today, though I'd gotten them to repair your vase after my last visit. I thought it was sad that there were no flowers. They used to be there, in abundance. But it's been 15 years, and people have moved away and moved on. Next time I visit, I promise to bring you flowers. Maybe the cheap single 7-11 rose like I used to buy you when you needed a quick pick-me-up. Sentimentality was never lost on you.

Today, I stood still, the running vehicle nearby, and I cried. The wound is no longer fresh, but there are some things that never fade completely. Not you. Not even after 15 years. You'll never fade.

My only fan, I stood and sang to you. Your song. I think you would have liked your song. You would have kept a signed copy, in with all the other slightly crumpled lyric sheets, and you would have found it funny that it was originally written in a church parking lot on the inside of a cigarette pack. But you wouldn't have cared about its origins. You weren't like that.

**********

Song for 'Chelle

Standing on an empty space
Alone without a clue.
Looking for a friendly face,
I looked back and there was you.

And I, sometimes I wondered
What it was that saw you through.
And I, sometimes I wondered
'Bout the friend I'd found in you.
And I, sometimes I wondered
If you'd really be alright,
And I wonder if you're somehow here tonight.

Fearing that your heart would break
If you didn't take a stand.
You took all that you could take,
But you still held out your hand.

And I, sometimes I wondered
How you kept your peace of mind.
And I, sometimes I wondered
How your soul could be so kind.
And I, sometimes I wondered
When your patience would run dry,
And I wonder if you'll soon be stopping by.

Standing on an empty space
Staring through the miles.
So much time I had to waste.
You're gone, but I still see your smile.

And I, sometimes I wonder
If your spirit's in the wind.
And I, sometimes I wonder
If the hurt will ever end.
And I, sometimes I wonder
If you really are alright,
And I wonder if you're somehow here tonight.

I wonder if you're somehow here tonight.


**********

It's you all over.

I miss you, my friend. Always.

STOP in the name of all that is holy

Don't you hate it when the signage is totally unclear?


Oh dear! The signs seem to be saying something. But what? What to do, what to do?

We saw this charming little display while waiting in the drive-thru line at Second Cup. Now, I don't know exactly what happened here. Perhaps someone decided that their job was to put a sign up but it's someone else's job to remove a sign that's fallen? Or maybe the job was just triple booked? But whatever else happens, I think they want you to stop here. A lot.

Shelle over at Blok Thoughts is hosting the "Don't You Hate It When" contest. Go over and check her out. Play along. Vote for me. Or someone else if you prefer. Whatever you like.

Also: Stick around here if you like. Check out N's photo retrospective from yesterday. Baby is 5 months old now. They get so big so fast!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Time in a bottle

N is 5 months old today. I did a 5-month retrospective with pictures of J at this time three years ago. (It's here, if you want to see.) Thought the same type of thing would be appropriate for N. So here we go:

N at birth:


N at one month old:


N at two months old:


N at three months old:


N at four months old:


N at five months old:


They get so big so fast. I love you, baby N. No matter how big you get, you will always be my baby. Happy five month birthday, my sweet little man. Big sloppy kisses!

Who got no regrets?

I feel badly for J. I was a really uptight mother with him. He has taught me well, and I'm much more laid back with N.

When I tried to feed J cereal, I followed all the expert advice. I read books. I spoke with doctors, dieticians, and community health nurses. I was neurotic to a flaw. I'd forgotten how upset I got when he refused to cooperate. Thankfully, I have this blog. If you want to see the insane neurotic ramblings, they may be found here. I'm quite surprised no one said "Take a pill or something, T! It's just rice cereal!!" But everyone handled things with good natured advice and understanding. Score for good friends who let me be me, crazed though I be.

N started cereal tonight. I paid no heed to books this go-round, and trusted my instincts. Not because I'd forgotten all the good advice, (though I had). And not because I didn't care as much, (because I sure do). I just went with what was easiest and what seemed natural. Whatever.

I strapped N in his highchair. He was good and hungry, as I hadn't breastfed him beforehand. He was unimpressed with being hungry in the highchair. I mixed his cereal up, in a randomly selected bowl. It had a picture of Pooh bear with his head stuck in a honey pot. I mixed up the cereal with formula, using a randomly selected plastic-covered baby spoon (it was purple). I measured nothing. Poured rice cereal into the bowl until it looked like about a tablespoon, then added room temperature formula until it was runny. It was too runny, so I added a bit more cereal. Stirred it up, grabbed a plate of pizza for myself, and headed to the table to the screaming N.

I spooned a couple of mouthfuls of cereal into N's screaming open mouth. Then when the cereal started to fall out onto his sleeper, I sent H in search of a bib and baby washcloth, both of which I'd forgotten. As N didn't calm down, I pulled him out of the highchair and cuddled him close. I fed him the rest of his cereal and simultaneously ate my dinner as he cuddled in my lap. I never did get around to putting the bib on him, as it was easier not to worry about it. N ate the whole bowl of rice cereal without issue. He still seemed good and hungry. So I washed his face and hands, and offered him some formula. He polished off the entire bottle of formula. And then he breastfed for a bit until he nodded off.

He sleeps happily in his swing now.

I wish I'd been more easygoing with J. I would have had an easier time of things. So would he. But I was so overwrought and out of my element. Suffering from PPD, scared to death of life with a newborn, and stressing about every lttle thing. If I could go back in time, I'd do it differently. I wish I could. Maybe J would be a better eater now had I been a better mother then. But I wasn't. And so J suffers from eating difficulties and doesn't grow, and I blame myself.

I can't undo it, and I wish I could.

**********

N is 5 months old today. There will be a photo retrospective coming, so stay tuned!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Ooo knows how to make love stay

J has decided that one of his favourite songs is "Who Knows How to Make Love Stay" (by Doug & the Slugs). We have it on CD. Every time it comes on, J says:

J: And what do we remember about this song?
H: That we can't turn the car off until it's over.
J: That's RIGHT!

Seriously. If you turn the car off at the wrong time, J will pitch a fit. A longstanding, high volume, sounds like you're torturing POWs, McFit. Most unpleasant.

J rarely gets song titles right, preferring instead to refer to songs by whatever name most appeals to him. This one, he calls "Help Me 4". He likes to sing along:

"Ooo knows how to make love stay
Help me 4 ... that's a way
That's the quest ... on a day
Ooo knows how to make love stay"


J is always busy learning and imagining. He's getting pretty good at both, as can be seen by these recent discussions that have taken place in our household. (J has a very expressive voice; hence the italics.)

J: When the angler fish in Nemo gets angry, he gets angular.

J: Are I awake?
H: Yes.
J: When I go to bed, I'll be sleeping. And snoring.

J: Did you go to the potty?
H: Yes.
J: Yay!! Now you can go to the preschoolers' room!!

T: Got your nose.
J: Give it back to me.
T: No. I'm gonna keep it.
J: But I need my nose. It's where I get my boogers from.

As an aside, when our car stereo is set to "radio", the display shows the current song title and artist. Often incorrectly. The display apparently believes this song is called "Who knows how to make love?" By Doug.

Doug: If you don't know the answer, we really can't help you. Perhaps you could find some tips via your friendly neighbourhood adult bookstore.

Friday, October 17, 2008

It's gonna be a bright sunshiny flipping day

Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind.
It's gonna be a bright, bright sunshiny day.
- Johnny Nash

People say don't ever look behind.
Happiness is just a state of mind.
- Triumph

Piss off, both of you! What do you know?
- Momma Trish


**********

The good thing about having a child who doesn't eat is that when his growth becomes severely stunted, you get to spend a lot less on Halloween costumes.

Yes, the 3-1/2 year old J, weighing in at 26 lbs, still fits the same size 18-24 months costume that he wore last year. He is on an appetite stimulant and iron supplements to try and get him motivated to eat and put some weight on the kid. The doctor continues to feel that J's small stature and failure to gain any weight whatsoever are cause for concern, and he is apparently completely unmoved by my "high cost of Halloween costumes" argument. Which is unfortunate, 'cause it's all I've got.

Meanwhile, young N who is about to be 5 months old weighs a whopping 14 lbs 9 oz. N wears a sleeper sized "Newborn 17-22 lbs". Which begs the question, what kind of scary growth hormone ingested newborn would that be? 'Cause ... Ow! Anyway, the doctor has no concerns about N and suggests we start him on cereal and establish a set bedtime with corresponding routine. He doesn't want us to have one child with eating problems and a second with sleep problems. Good point, actually. And it's just exactly the kind of thing that would happen to us. We will follow the directions provided.

**********

Dear Student Advisor,

At the beginning of the term I broke my knee and required surgery. The resultant painkillers make me very groggy, and I have been unable to focus on my readings and have fallen behind in the course as a result. In addition, my birth mother has been diagnosed with inoperable metastatic pancreatic cancer and is receiving chemotherapy treatments. Further, in September we were compelled to put down our cherished pet of 17 years. We have a teething baby and a 3-year old with an eating disorder that has raised serious concerns. Finally earlier this week, our family fled from the property when a large fire broke out on our street, claiming the homes of several of our neighbours; they will require some neighbourhood support as they try to rebuild their lives, and we would like to support them in any way that we can.

In light of the foregoing recent raining down of hellfire and brimstone on all of our lives, would you perchance see fit to grant me a one week extension on my third assignment?

Regards,
Momma T

**********

When does this year end, again? Seriously! 2008 is cordially invited to bite me.

(I am mostly being facetious here. And I recognize that 2008 has had its great moments too. Like the healthy birth of N, which was nothing short of a miracle. But it is a little ridiculous, no?)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ooooo-ooh, FIRE!

Edited to include a few more photos.

Note: The following photos (with the exception of the last one) were taken from various media sources in our area. We did not take these pictures ourselves. In the interests of protecting our privacy as best we can, we have not linked back to the media sources in question. We have made a note of who took the original photos. If you are one of the photographers and would like for us to take down a photo, please contact us to request the photo's removal.

**********

They say it started with an explosion.


Apparently, it was initially in a garage. A beautiful garage of a beautiful house. The new owners had just recently moved in. H and I love that house. We have walked past many times. When we saw the for sale sign over summer, we called right away. But it was already pending.


Investigations are ongoing. Arson is suspected.


The winds were gusting at great speeds overnight, and the fire spread rapidly to neighbouring properties. Including the home of one of my childhood friends.


Her car was out back, in the detached garage.


I awoke in the wee small hours of the morning to the sounds of sirens. And then more sirens. And then even more sirens. Initially disoriented, it took some time before I realized the emergency vehicles were right out front. But then I rushed to the window to see what might be happening on our street.


Orange smoke was billowing. Flames leaped into the sky, as the sparks flew. This looked bad. Really bad. And it looked close. Really close. The hydrant on our stretch of road was being used to combat the flames. I awoke H, who left to see just how close the fire was to our home.


When he returned, it was with bad news. Three houses were already engulfed. Several garages were aflame. H had watched as the flames leaped from the third house to the fourth, and then saw another garage catch fire. No one was working on garages. Saving houses was the only priority. Just as it should have been. The fire was close. Too close. And the winds were pushing it toward us.


As firefighters worked to contain the blaze, neighbours fought to keep the flames from claiming their own homes. Garden hoses were employed, and houses and garages were hosed down. Neighbours woke one another, and assistance was offered as needed. No one wished to lose so much.


The winds continued to gust. The fires continued to blaze. And as the sparks flew and the flames spread, we began to worry for our safety. The fire continued to move toward our house. It was moving rapidly.


Even though firefighters were at work trying to contain the blaze, we did not feel secure in our home. At 5:30, we decided to evacuate. I think that was the safest choice.


The fire was contained in our absence. Our house is unaffected. Several of the neighbouring houses, cars, and garages are lost. Others have suffered significant damage. But no lives were lost. No residents were injured. And any emergency worker injuries are classed as minor non-life-threatening injuries.


Yesterday was Canadian Thanksgiving, and I have a great deal to be thankful for.


Today, I am thankful that all lives were preserved. I am thankful that everyone got out in time. I am thankful for the emergency workers, for their skill and their quick response time, which prevented the blaze from spreading any further. I am thankful that we had a place to go when we needed to evacuate. I am thankful for my home, which is still standing strong. I am thankful that the beautiful house that we had liked so much was already pending when we called about it. I am thankful that my friend, whose home was lost to the blaze, has family who will help her. I am thankful for the outpouring of concern and caring by my wonderful family and friends, and for all of the phone calls and emails from people who wanted to know that our family was okay. And I am thankful that we have something worth protecting and preserving, and that we can recognize exactly what that something is.


It's a good day to be thankful for stuff.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Now it's Turkish delight on a moonlit night

Today is Canadian Thanksgiving. In our household, it goes something like this.

**********

H: J, put your shoes on please.
J: I got the green!
T: J, can you please move that toy?
N: WAAAAAAAAAH!!!
J: I wanna take this hammer!
H: Fine. But put your shoes on please.
N: WAAAAAAAAAH!!!
T: J, I really need you to move this.
H: Please do what your mother tells you.
J: I got that green, too!
N: WAAAAAAAAAH!!!
T: Come on! I need to pee!
N: WAAAAAAAAAH!!!
H: Why did you take your pants off, J?
J: I ... um ... can't remember.
T: I can't get around that toy, J. It's too big.
N: WAAAAAAAAAH!!!
J: N's crying.
T: J! Will you please move that toy!
H: J! Pants! On!
T: Honey, you're confusing him.
J: I wanna take this saw too!
N: WAAAAAAAAAH!!!
H: N, please stop.
J: I want chocolate!
H: No, J. We're going to have dinner.
T: Pants! Toy! Now!
N: WAAAAAAAAAH!!!
J: But I want chocolate!
N: WAAAAAAAAAH!!!
T: Please? Please move the toy?
H: No chocolate! Listen!!
T: (Singing to N) Rock-a-bye, baby ...
H: J, put your pants back on.
J: Why?
N: WAAAAAAAAAH!!!
H: Because I asked you to!
T: ... when the wind blows ...
J: But I want ... um ...
N: WAAAAAAAAAH!!!
H: I am tired of you saying "I want"!
N: WAAAAAAAAAH!!!
T: ... the cradle will fall ...
J: But Daaaaadddddyyyyy!
N: WAAAAAAAAAH!!!
J: I want ...
H: Stop saying that!
T: Please stop crying, N? *sob*
J: Whyyyy??
T: H, can you move the toy?
H: J! Move that toy!!
N: WAAAAAAAAAH!!!
T: J? Please?
H: Why won't you listen, J?
N: WAAAAAAAAAH!!!
J: I wanna watch "The Incredibles"!
N: WAAAAAAAAAH!!!
H: N, please stop crying!
T: What?! No! We are not watching a movie!
J: But Mooooommmmyyyy!
T: I said no!
N: WAAAAAAAAAH!!!
H: J! Put your pants on!
J: Umm ... I ... I wanna ... umm ...
N: WAAAAAAAAAH!!!
T: Enough! I need to pee! Move the toy!!
J: I give you the toy!
H: Good, J. Now please, put your pants back on.
T: Thank you, J.
N: WAAAAAAAAAH!!!
J: You're welcome, Momma.
H: N! Please?!
J: Can we watch "The Incredibles"?
N: WAAAAAAAAAH!!!
H: No, J. It's time to go!
T: How are you doing, honey?
H: Just great! J?! Now!!
N: WAAAAAAAAAH!!!
J: But I'm just spinning!
T: I'll be right there!
N: WAAAAAAAAAH!!!
T: Okay. Can we go?
H: J! Pants!
J: Um ... oh! Okay!
H: Thank you, J.
T: Okay. Now can you put your shoes on?
N: WAAAAAAAAAH!!!
J: I want my boots!
T: No. You need to wear shoes.
J: But I want my boots!
H: No, J! Shoes! Put them on!!
N: WAAAAAAAAAH!!!
J: WAAAAAAAAAH!!!
T: ...
N: WAAAAAAAAAH!!!
H: ...


**********

Today, I am thankful that H didn't just drive off the embankment on the way to his brother's house for Thanksgiving. Thanks, Hon!

And Happy Turkey Day!!

Don't you hate it when ...

Don't you hate it when you get stuck behind this guy in the drive-thru?


What on earth could he be getting? It's taking forever! And he's so short, he can barely see through the windshield. Plus, he cut me off driving into the line. Jerk!

Shelle at Blok Thoughts is running a contest. Wanna play?

A little knight music

J likes to pretend that I'm a princess. He calls me "Princess Mommy". And then I get him to perform all the household chores, 'cause I'm royalty and he is my willing servant. Don't judge me. You're just jealous that you didn't think of it first. Shut up.

Actually, at these times, I call him "Sir J". And he usually builds things for me. Like tall towers of blocks. "This is your tower, Princess Mommy", he'll say. And then I'm supposed to live in the tower. Just like Princess Fiona from Shrek. Only without the dragon. (We do have a scary-assed dragon, and I asked him about it, but he said the dragon does not guard Princess Mommy's tower.)



Today, J decided that he would use his Fisher Price violin to make beautiful music for Princess Mommy. He played several songs, and I liked them all. I expressed appropriately demure Princess-like appreciation at the end of every number. But when I asked if I could hire him as the Royal Music Man, he declined. I assume this kind of employ would interfere with Sir J's artistic integrity.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Don't be afraid of the dark

The irony of this situation has not escaped my attention.

**********

H: Goodnight, J.

J: I'm scared.

H: What are you scared of?

J: There's a monster in the closet.

H: There's no monster in the closet. Look. (opens closet door)


J: But there's a scary lion. And a scary noise.

H: There's no scary lion and no scary noise.

J: But ...

H: Mommy and Daddy would never ask you to stay in a room with something scary in it, J.


J: But I need you.

H: But Mommy and N need me too. I've done everything you've asked me to. I read your stories, and I snuggled you, and I gave you your water. And now Mommy and N need me. You need to go to sleep.

J: But I want you.

H: Here. (Hands J the toy that J picked out all by himself at the store and insists on keeping in his room every single night) Two-headed dragon will protect you.

J: Two-headed dragon will eat the scary people?

H: Yes. There is nothing scary in the room, but if there were, two-headed dragon would eat it.


**********

Yes. That's right. There is nothing scary in the room. Except for ...


... J's staunch overnight protector. Which even scares the crap out of me.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Things you never thought you'd hear yourself say

"Honey, why is there a barbecue lighter in the freezer?"

Friday, October 10, 2008

Don't get around much anymore

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to find blogging material when you are a shut in? Seriously. What am I supposed to write about? Television programming? The colour of my couch? What?

I got nothing.

I need fodder. I have no fodder. I've begun several posts today that I've been unable to finish. They were dull. And then I ran out of thought.

(The couch is blue, by the way. And daytime TV sucks.)

I don't have a large audience, but I don't wish to lose the few readers that do come here. Dull posts dry up a blog pretty fast. So I will come up with something to write. Something interesting. Reflective. Thought provoking. Amusing. I'll lie if I have to. But there will be material, and it will be good!

I take requests. Anything? Anyone? Bueller?

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Unbreak my leg

I have been healed. Made whole. Reborn. Well ... maybe not that so much, but ...

The orthopedic surgeon said what was broken has now been made whole. And the orthopedic surgeon said "Arise and walk". And yea, I arose. And took those first steps. And would have fallen flat on my face had my husband and three nurses not rushed to my side to provide support.

And the nurses saw that it was not good. And the nurses handed me the crutches and provided the updated demonstration on their proper usage. And I walked out of the hospital. With grace and dignity. Sort of.

But at least I did not fall down. And it was good.

**********


The knee is substantially healed, and I am allowed to weight bear once more. But the knee buckles when I walk, so I still have to use the crutches to provide some stability. Soon, I will be able to downgrade to a cane. And then, I will be able to walk unassisted. If they don't have to open the knee back up in another six weeks or so to remove some of the glue and hardware that has become problematic and has resulted in a swollen lump on the side of the knee which impedes its movement.

For now, I work on learning to walk again. And I work on catching up on school. And I am tired and grumpy, so I work on my attitude too.

These are the things that need work.
This list is subject to change without notice.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

He could paint with all the colours of the wind

J loves crafts. He makes many pictures, and he always presents them to me and says "I made this picture special just for you, Mommy". I love this. H thinks it's cute, but also wishes some of the pictures were for Daddy. They are not. And if H touches the pictures, J generally snatches them back and tells H that the pictures are for Mommy. H tries not to be offended.

These days, J is especially fond of finger painting. He uses washable paints. But we don't like to create additional laundry when we can just prevent paint accidents. So J has a choice of smocks that he can wear for painting. He can wear black or white. Both smocks are old "Hard Rock Cafe" t-shirts. J doesn't care. He runs over, grabs a "smock", puts it on, and merrily paints. He uses lots of paint, and makes beautiful 3-year old designs. Always special. Always just for Mommy. And they always go into the art bin when they are dry, presumably so that Mommy can pull them out later and admire their beauty.


J: I need my ... my ... mosque ... wait ...
T: Smock?
J: Yes! I need my smock!

J's likes also include "grabbing" things. He got this tendency from a Backyardigans DVD ... The Tale of the Mighty Knights. Austin plays the Grabbing Goblin. J loves the Goblin, and emulates this character. So J will reach out and "grab" things that appeal to him. Mostly things that are green. Or shiny. Like the orange light on top of the camera that starts to blink just before the picture snaps.


This is how J "grabs". He just holds his open hand up, then closes it in a grabbing motion and says "I got the light!" We find it endearing. Unless it's time for hand washing. Then, not so much. At that moment, J will refuse to open his right hand. It is his grabbing hand, and he can't open it because "Everything is in there." H or I have to hold "everything" for J, and give it back when he is done.

Anyway, J loves to paint. And usually, this is fine. But lately, J has wanted to take his finger paints with him every time he leaves the house. And we just can't have that. Finger paints are for craft time. And they remain on the craft table. Tantrums abound as J tries desperately to pester us into changing our minds on this subject. Already a gifted negotiator, J tries in vain to reach a compromise. "I promise I'll only take the green one". But beyond that point, he is unmoved. Our proposed compromises are insufficient for his purposes.

"How about if you take a green car instead?"
"NOOOOO!!!"

He feels our stance that absolutely no finger paints can leave the house is quite unreasonable, and he simply does not understand why other people may not have a craft table and a lovely assortment of smocks at his ready disposal.

And so, I write to respectfully ask that you explain yourselves. Why do you not have a craft table and a variety of smocks for our 3-year old to use when he visits you? Your poor planning in this regard is making my life difficult, and I request that you kindly remedy the situation at your first available opportunity.

Or, you know, don't.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Swing low sweet chariot

And the saga of last week's post continues.

Don't you hate it when the ridiculously necessary baby swing's motor dies at 4:00 on a Sunday afternoon and the stores close at 5:00, and you've got family in from out of town who are visting with you while the baby refuses to quiet because he misses his swing, so your husband packs up your over tired 3-year old and heads to the store to hunt for a replacement baby swing and he finds a sweet deal on a travel swing and, after confirming with you that you can get the baby out of the shorter swing even while you are laid up with your broken knee, he buys the new very cute travel swing and brings it home where he discovers several more family members who have all shown up to visit, and then he decides to noisily put the new swing together with the help of the crazed 3-year old who tries his very best to scratch up your laminate flooring with the metal pieces of the new swing which takes C-batteries whereas the old swing took D-batteries and you have no C-batteries in the house, so your husband buys new C-batteries and installs them in the new travel swing and then discovers that the brand new swing doesn't work, and it's now after 5:00 and the stores are closed, so you make a few frantic phone calls and round up a working replacement swing that you can buy and that can be picked up that night, but it's out of town, so after dropping off the visiting family member at her hotel you all head off to pick up the new swing which it turns out was being stored in a shed with a lawnmower and smelled so strongly of oil that the nice folks who are providing it to you became concerned and sprayed it with Febreze and, after getting it home, you discover that you are apparently allergic to Febreze and you end up with a migraine headache from the smell, so you try to mask the odour with lime air freshener and then put the baby in the seat, where he fusses, and when you pull him out you find that both the swing and the baby now smell like a combination of oil, Febreze, and lime, which combination actually seems to worsen your migraine, and so you have to strip off all the fabric from the new swing and use the seat covers and mobile attachments from the old swing, but then you notice that the smell is also firmly embeded in the swing's security straps, which are not interchangeable, and so while the smell no longer annoys the baby anywhere near as much, it still gives you a pretty nasty headache, such that you cannot read your textbook and get caught up on the course in which you are already a week and a half behind?

Right. Me too.

You can still play too.

Don't you lose my BIL and Li's number

Update: My business case marks have now been posted. They're early. I got 100%. Sweet!!

Three weeks since my business case was due and five since I broke my knee. Still waiting on both counts. Oddly, it only takes six weeks for a broken knee to substantially heal, but it takes up to eight weeks to mark a business case. Eight weeks? Yes. Eight weeks. Seems excessive, doesn't it? I would really like to know that I passed.

I really need to work on my current course. Very very behind. But every time I get a chance, my phone rings. The ringing phone wakes up the baby. And the baby needs to be cuddled, fed, and lulled back to sleep. Every single time. J was never such a light sleeper, but N really doesn't like noise. I can do many things while holding N. I can one-handed type, or play on the Internet. But I cannot focus on my readings while holding a squirming baby and trying to lull him back to sleep.

And so the ringing phone annoys me, because it prevents me from doing what I really need to do.

It wouldn't be so bad if the calls were for me. Or for anyone else in our household, for that matter. But they are wrong numbers. Every last call. All wrong numbers. All from the same person.

I can't turn the ringer off. And I can't just not answer the phone. And it's not because I have some odd form of telephone-related-OCD. It's nothing so complicated. Quite simply, I have to answer the phone because of who is on the other end of that line.

I love my mother-in-law, and it hurts me to see her memory fading like this. She cannot remember the new phone number of my brother-in-law and his wife, Li. And so she phones the number that sounds the most familiar to her, expecting to reach them. The result is that she calls me several times a day, expecting to reach BIL and Li. Every time, she is surprised to reach me. Every time, she makes a point of writing down their new phone number. But it never sticks. She remembers calling me. She remembers that I gave her BIL and Li's number. She remembers that she wrote it down. But old habits die hard, and she still instinctively calls our number instead. Up to 20 times a day.

She has told me that she was writing BIL and Li's number in her phone book. She has also told me that she is writing it really big and posting it on her fridge. But she is confused. Names are problematic for her now, and sometimes she writes BIL's or Li's name beside our number. The result is that all numbers in her phone book seem to point back to ours, and she can't differentiate. As to posting it on the fridge? We don't know what happened ... maybe little fridge elves broke in and ran off with it, but the number is apparently not on the fridge.

"It's in your phone book, Mom."

She will look, and find yet another reference to our number.

"No, Mom. That's my number again."
"Is it this one, then?"
"Still my number, Mom."
"But it says BIL! It says 'BIL & H' ... Oh!"
"Yeah, see. It's not his number, Mom."
"Well, let me write it down again."

She calls. I give her BIL and Li's number. She then hangs up and proceeds to phone me again. And I answer. Every single time. Even though I know that it is the same person, calling the same wrong number, over and over again. I answer. Because I love her, and I realize that it is not her fault. She's not doing it on purpose. She is doing her best. She just needs some help.

But so do I.

It's too often. It is just too much. Too many times calling and waking N. Too many times disrupting my studies for too long a time. Too far behind in my class, and too much to do to catch up. Too many distractions and interruptions. I need for N to sleep. I need for the phone to stop ringing. I have to turn the ringer off. There is no other option. But I have not been able to bring myself to do so thus far.

She called again today. I saw her name on the phone. I didn't even say "Hello" when I answered. I just answered, and said "Mom, their number is ..." and I began to give her the number. She cannot remember how a phone works. So she started dialing the number while I was giving it to her.

"Mom, you can't call them while you're on the phone with me."
"No?"
"No. You have to hang up first, and then call them."
"Oh, okay. Well, give me the number."
"Ok. It's (provides number)."
"I don't have a pen, so I might not remember it."
"You said you were putting it on the fridge last time."
"I think I did that. Let me look."

...

"I put it on the fridge. But it's not there now. Let me get a pen."

...

"What's the number?"
"It's (provides number yet again)."
"Okay. I've got it now."
"Mom. I hope you do. Because I'm turning the ringer off the phone now. Every time you call, you wake up the baby. I can't have you do this any more."
"Okay. Bye."

This time, she actually recited the last part of the number to me while I was giving it to her. So that's progress. Maybe it's starting to sink in now. I hope so in any event. Because I just can't do this any more.

It's not her fault. But it's not my fault either. And I need to function. It has to stop. Now. Today. It has to stop.

It makes me sad. She is a nice lady, who should not have memory loss. There is something wrong in the world. These things should not happen.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Confused? Just call 867-5309

Directly stolen from Bonemot, but I don't care!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

You've got the entire face of a stranger

Oh, don't I wish!

And on a considerably less flattering note.

Make it stop?

I found the site through Jenny the Bloggess. Go. Make your own morph. They're fun.

Update: To get your own morph, go here and click on "Celebrities".

Friday, October 03, 2008

Those magic moments

He screams. He cries. He wants to be held. Changed. Fed. Then, and only then, will He drift off into peaceful slumber. If He so chooses.

He appears in all respects to be a normal baby. But He has a special gift. A sixth sense, if you will. His instincts tell him when Mommy has opened Textbook. Such an indignity is this that it requires instant awakening, screaming, and demanding of the cuddles.

Yes, his nemesis is named Textbook, and the subservient Mommy shall not venture too near the heinous beast lest it eat her. Or something.

Thus, Mommy is not permitted to do her module 3 readings, and no further assignments shall be completed. He has so decreed it. He is unable to provide a note for school, as He can neither read nor write.

Suck it up, Mommy. Thou shalt not prevail.

**********

This kind of thing is a significant part of my life just now. But you know what makes it all worthwhile? It's those special heartfelt moments. Those wonderous and magical times. Like when you lie down, and the baby lies on top of you, tummy to tummy, and he looks down at you, gazing deep into your eyes, his little face full of love, and then he throws up right into your mouth.

That's the kind of precious memory that's all kinds of awesomeness. But you know what would be even better? That's right; no vomit!


He means business!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

A crimianl mind

What kills me about this sign? This sign and many others almost exactly like it are spaced out evenly throughout an entire subdivision. The only difference between them is that all the other signs contain correct spelling. This one, however, appears to have been custom made for some special purpose. Perhaps it is geared towards dyslexic dumpers.


Everybody sing!

A crimianl mind is all I've
All I've ever had.
Ask one who's known me
If my spelling is bad.


Yeah. It is.

Also: "survellance"??

Did someone sue, sue, sue da-you?

This sign, brought to you by our legal department.


Let's see. Are there any times that we missed? What if there's a full moon? With a tornado warning? When the sun is in the third house of Jupiter? And the Shrine Circus is in town? During the Indy 500?

Or would that still fall under "Normal Days"?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Let a little white pill be your umbrella

I tried going with no pain meds night before last. Thought I'd see if the pain level was bearable. I hate over-medicating. I wasn't sure if I still really needed the medication or not. So I thought I'd try without, and just see.

Percocet is a powerful narcotic.

Let all the pain meds leave your system. Then you can properly assess your level of pain. Now ... Is it really all that bad?

Percocet is addictive.

Yes. Yes, it is. I paid for my decision all day yesterday. Throbbing and creaking deep in the knee joint. Periodic cries of pain. Just don't move ... stay perfectly still ... it feels much better that way.

Percocet can cause nausea, vomiting, and constipation.

Medication is still required. Very much required.

Percocet can cause hallucinations, headaches, and a false sense of well-being.

So I took my Percocet again last night. Because at the end of day, having imaginary parrots sing "Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella" to you while hippos dance behind them in a whirl of rainbow colours is still preferrable to severe knee pain.

Percocet can cause tiredness, blurred vision, and unusual dreams.

I stand behind my decision.