Friday, December 25, 2009

Deck the halls with your questionable photos?? No. I don't think so.

Merry Christmas!

Today, a spammer posted a random porn link on my blog. On an old post, all about how my darling husband parodied an ABBA song to help our son with his potty training. Yup. Lots of references to fecal matter in that one. Just screams "porn", doesn't it?

Ho. Ho. Ho.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Because mouse poop is funny

So apparently, if you don't post for a few months, the spammers come and get you. They put comments in random posts, thinking you won't notice.


So for the sake of dissuading the spammers, I shall post. Though I've still not a great deal to say. I'm going through something of a depressive period, and I can't organize my thoughts coherently. It's easier not to write. But write, I shall. For it is now apparent that the penalty for writer's block is spam in droves, and that is unacceptable to me.

Feel free to skip this nonsensical post if you like. I just haven't got much to say.


First things first: I got scholarships! Two scholarships! One of them is a coveted national award. Annually, there's only one of these granted in each level. And I took it for Level 4. So I'm happy. There's cash involved. Now I can afford to buy tires. Because they continue to be punctured on a fairly regular basis. I still don't know why, but continue my conspiracy theories.

Secondly, J was moved into Pre-Kindergarten at school. I thought I had another year of preschool, but Pre-K is here. I'm getting used to it. He likes it a lot.

J says many funny things these days. But by the time I get to my computer, I've usually forgotten. I live in something of a fog lately, I'm afraid. But off the top of my head:

J: When I get big, I'm going to paint all the street lights green.

J: Can we go to the AC/DC Centre?
Note: This is J's term for the "ACT Centre", a pool and rec centre that he really enjoys.

J: Today, we talked about our favourite books at show and tell. Thali's favourite book is called 'Diarrhea Mouse'.
T: I think you mean 'Diary of a Mouse'.
J: No. It's 'Diarrhea Mouse'.
T: 'Diary of a Mouse'?
J: No. 'Diarrhea Mouse'.
H: J. Is the book about a mouse that sits on the toilet all the time and does absolutely nothing else? Or is it about a mouse that writes in a little book?
J: Oooooh ... [giggle] It's about a mouse that writes.
T: Ah. 'Diary of a Mouse'.

The final thing that I shall report on is N. Who is sick. Constantly. He's having teething issues. He had a flu bug a week or two ago. He now has a cold with fever. He is rather inconsolable. Last night, he even cried during bathtime. Poor little Pineapple.

There. I posted. Now quit spamming my comments, you nasty robots!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My apologies

I wish to take a moment to apologize for the rather severe case of writer's block that I have experienced of late. I promise that there will be new posts, just as soon as I can come up with something worthwhile to write.

I will be back. Sometimes, it just takes awhile.


Monday, July 27, 2009


Just a quick post to update.

J saw a pediatric gastroenterologist today. They think he has a reflux issue. He'll start getting treated with some meds. Hopefully, if food stops making his tummy hurt and he stops gagging and throwing up, he'll be more inclined to eat. I think his eating is slowly getting better, and I think his time is starting to improve also ... it no longer seems to take the boy several hours to eat a quarter of a sandwich. So that's good.

What's great, though? He's in the 25th percentile for height and weight! We've gotten so used to a struggle - used to hearing bad news ... he's below the 5th percentile ... try this nutritional supplement ... he's too small ... if he won't gain, we'll have to do a G-tube ... failure to thrive ...

So yeah. Today was such a welcome change. Today, we got good news. He's smaller than averaqe in both height and weight. But at last, he's on the charts. He's not a malnourished starving kid who needs to be tube fed. He's not stunting his growth by refusing to eat. He's in the normal range, at last!

Now the trick is keeping him there. But I am feeling optimistic now. Sweet little J may be okay yet. We keep plodding along, and do our best.

It's all we can do.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A quick non sequitur

H: I think I'm right.
J: Well, I think I'm right.
H: So you think Daddy's wrong, then?
J: Yes. You're wrong, and I'm right.
H: No. You're wrong, and I'm right.
J: No. You're wrong, and I'm right.
H: But I'm the Daddy. So I'm always right.
J: But we have a Daffy Duck movie. So I'm always right.

Yup. Makes perfect sense.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

RTT: Because I'm sick and the baby's angry. Apparently.


Make the baby stop crying. Make the baby stop crying? Make the baby stop crying!

Debt sucks. Just sayin'.

The Reese's peanut butter cup commercial mocks me, since I am out of peanut butter cups. Oh, delicious peanuty goodness, why do you taunt me?

New class, new policy. I no longer answer questions on the student collaborative board if they are addressed to me personally. I'm not the course tutor, and I won't give out my assignment answers. That would be called "cheating". So just stop asking, and we'll get along much, much better. I promise.

OMG! "Vision Quest" is on! And I'm watching it!

Sick as a dog yesterday. Slightly better today. Hopefully I'll be all fine tomorrow.

There are dishes to be washed, but I'm still lacking energy. Tired and sick. Must rest. Maybe later tonight, I'll be up for some chores. Just now, I need to nap and try to knock out this cold virus. But it's totally not working. I just can't nap. And why can't I nap?

Make the baby stop crying. Make the baby stop crying? Make the baby stop crying!


Head on over to Keely's. Grab a button. Create your own Random Tuesday Thoughts. Do it. You know you want to.

'Kay, I gotta go. Obviously, the baby's crying.


Thursday, July 09, 2009

It's educational, because I didn't know Maleficent was British

First, a word of caution.

Please ignore the nasty Blair Witch Project type special effects that occur largely at the tail end of this video as I searched frantically for the stop button. The camera is still pretty new, and I have yet to learn to edit these things.

And now for our feature presentation. We are pleased to present the opening sequence of "Sleeping Beauty", as told by J.

My kid, ladies and gentlemen. He's teh awesomeness. Yup, yup.

(One day, I hope to be able to upload videos through the button in Blogger, instead of having to use Youtube. Sadly, Blogger keeps giving me failure messages. This does not help my self-esteem issues, Blogger. Smarten up.)

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Don't sweat the small stuff ... or, you know, sweat a lot

I had a moment today. A moment where I felt really stupid. A moment where I thought to myself "I can't finish my designation; I'm not smart enough". You ever get like that? It happens to me more than I'd really care to admit. But then, today, I realized that it's a nonsensical feeling. I am not stupid. I can't be. My course grades negate the concept. I'm actually very bright. I'm just not highly functional in a number of other very important ways.

No. I'm not stupid. But ...

You know how, when you go in for a job interview and the interviewer asks you to outline your weaknesses ... and everyone always tries to pick something that's actually a good trait but make it sound kind of negative? Remember saying: "I can be too much of a perfectionist"? Oh, admit it; we've all said it. The thing is, though, that for me, this is actually true. And incidentally, it's not a good trait at all. Actually, it kind of sucks.

I waste time. Everything must be just so. For if it is not absolutely perfect, then it is wrong. Other things are pushed aside as I work to make it perfect, totally functional, and beautiful to boot. Because I care, even if no one else does. And everything else that is actually of utmost importance suffers for it. I try to move on, but I am unfocused, knowing that I just blew something over, leaving it complete but not 100% perfect in every single minute and irrelevant way. And to get past it and carry on, I must first go back and finish the fool thing to my satisfaction.

It's pathetic.

I think it's some kind of weird undiagnosed OCD problem. It must be. I redo, and redo, and redo, trying to make everything in my world fit with absolutes, when the reality is that some things just don't matter that much. Other things are of greater importance. But I can't look at any of those things just now, because this spreadsheet is not evenly spaced and the fonts go all weird partway down, and the symbols switch from red to blue and back again with no rhyme or reason whatsoever, and it's making me crazy. Because it's not perfect.

It's not my fault. If the chairs are not completely straight, evenly spaced, and precisely the right distance from the table, something bad will happen. I just know it. Apparently.

Today, I realized that if I were in the army, I'd be the guy who routinely lags 10 minutes behind the batalion (and ultimately gets ambushed and offed by the enemy) because my bootloops were not perfectly symmetrical and I simply had to fix it before I could march.

Yup. That's me. I am just that insane. And over time, the problem appears to have gotten worse. Much to my chagrin, I appear powerless to just carry on and accept that things don't always have to be perfect. Sometimes, it just has to be good enough. And you move on, accepting that it's as good as it needs to be and no one else cares.

But I care! And dammit, that's good enough. Isn't it? Well, it should be. And if other people don't care about it as much, then they're just wrong. Apparently.

This is a flaw. It's a big one, actually. You don't want it.

Though at times when there are serious things going on around you, it can be helpful. It provides a distraction from the serious, as you work on fixing the inconsequential. This can help you keep your sanity in what might otherwise be a terribly stressful situation. Because you can focus on tiny details and completely ignore the fact that your hair is on fire, if you so choose. The problem with this, of course, is that you really have no choice in the matter. You must deal with your flaming hair. And yet, while your hair burns brightly, you find yourself completely disabled because you have observed a small scratch on the side of your fire extinguisher and you really can't bring yourself to deploy it until it is properly resurfaced.

This annoying trait means that everything takes me too long. And I don't like it. But I appear unable to change this in myself, and it's really, really irritating. Plus it creates stress. The stress of having to do it perfectly. It's a hard thing to handle. And then, you start irrationally feeling stupid, because you ran out of time or missed something or ... and it's at that moment that you feel like you're teetering on the edge of a precipice, still balancing on the appropriate side of the idiot line but just about to topple over. And you just don't know how you'll manage to carry on, because the slightest movement will push you right over the edge.

I really don't have time to be like this. Busy. Yes, with things that actually matter. I must find a way to get over it; some way to not care so much about trivialities. But I don't know how.

You know?

No. Of course you don't. Because you are not deranged.

Are you?


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Cat toys are not suitable presents for your 4-year old son

Tonight, H and I stopped at a Second Cup to get expensive coffee drinks, because an occasional treat is a good thing and also because J had just announced that he needed to pee and Second Cup was close-by, and we can't abide being "those people"; you know, the ones who use an establishment's bathroom and then leave without buying anything and just really tick everyone right off. But mainly, we bought drinks because an occasional treat is a good thing. And to that end, when J spotted a special cookie that made his eyes just light up, we decided to get it for him.

A happy J skipped out of the Second Cup, cookie in hand. It was a big sugar cookie, shaped like a teddy bear and decorated with green and yellow icing, and J couldn't have been happier. It was very cute, and it looked delicious. We were sure that J would want to eat his treat right away.

J got back in the van, and H strapped him into his carseat. H then removed the cellophane wrap from the cookie and presented it to J so that J might eat his special cookie at once. And as H handed the teddy bear cookie to J, one of the bear's legs broke off. J looked kind of stunned for a moment. But we told him this wasn't a big deal; the cookie would taste the same, and J could just eat the leg first. Apparently placated, J began to eat his cookie. And we headed off for home.

As J continued to eat his cookie, he discussed the situation as he saw it. "Poor teddy bear", said J. And we explained to him that the teddy bear cookie was made to be eaten. It wanted to be eaten. This was the teddy bear cookie's sole purpose. But though J continued to munch on the cookie, he appeared somewhat upset. Periodically, J would look at his cookie with sad eyes and sigh mournfully at the poor teddy bear's plight.

J ate his cookie slowly. He ate the bear's legs, and arms, and then he started working on the bear's head. And then suddenly, he cried out "His eyes are gone!", in the same urgent tone of voice one might use to say "I backed over your brother! Call 911!" And I again told J that the teddy bear was made to be eaten, and that his eyes would surely disappear as he was eaten, and that it was all going to be okay.

To my dismay, J's big bright eyes welled up with tears, and he started to sob uncontrollably. He wouldn't eat the rest of the cookie. It was too painful for him.

He cried for the loss of his teddy bear, whose beautiful yellow and green icing was now completely gone. J wanted his teddy bear cookie to be whole, with yellow and green icing, and eyes that would last forever. He did not want to eat this special cookie. And he would not have done so had the teddy bear cookie's leg not fallen off when its package was opened. To J, this cookie was a real teddy bear, meant to be slept with, played with, and cuddled, and certainly not meant to be eaten. J was horrified that he had mistakenly eaten his new friend.

H considered going back to Second Cup to get J a new teddy bear cookie, but we realized that doing so would be problematic. J would try to sleep, cuddling his replacement cookie. And he would be upset when the cookie crumbled, or when it grew old and stale and had to be thrown in the garbage. Food is not forever. And cookies are meant to be eaten. We needed to come up with something else.

Toy stores are closed. Drug stores, however, are open. And so we stopped at one, looking for a teddy bear. Something small and inexpensive. Something inedible. Something that J could cuddle with and keep.

There were no teddy bears at the drug store. There was a large green ball with a picture of Winnie the Pooh on it, though. But J was unimpressed. A ball was not a friend. A ball was a poor substitute for a teddy bear. A ball could not take the sting off J's wounds. And as he looked at the ball, he tried to be happy. But the tears were still flowing, and they spilled over and wet his sweet little cheeks. He liked the ball, but it was just not the same.

Grocery stores are also open. And we need baby food. And so, with a basket of baby food in hand, I searched. I looked at baby toys, but there were no bears. I looked through the seasonal area, but there were no bears. Specialty items? Giftware? Greeting cards? Yeah, no. There were no bears. Ummm ... cat toys? (Don't judge me. I was desperate.) Oddly enough, there were no bears.

I had nearly given up when at last, I found them. In the back of the floral section. In an area that I think is actually reserved for employees only, but I didn't really care anymore. Balloons, frogs, dogs, unicorns ... and bears! Bears! Cute little stuffed teddy bears! They even had them in yellow and green! Perfect!!!

J sleeps now, with new bears in yellow and green. They are not meant to be eaten. They are not filled with catnip. And when he awakes, he will not be stunned and saddened by their unexpected deterioration into a pile of crumbs.

I am the mom who cannot bear to see tears in your eyes. I will do anything in my power to protect you and to make you smile. Heaven knows that there are harsh realities and disappointments to be faced in this life. You will encounter them someday. And much as it pains me to realize it, I won't always be able to make it better. But just now, you are four. You are four, and you are mine, and I can look out for you. I can't give you everything, but I can give you this. I can wipe your tears and kiss your ow-ies and offer you small tokens that bring a smile to your sweet face once more.

And at the end of the day, I promise that there will be teddy bears.

I love you, J.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

At least he knows what's most important

J: My teacher swallowed a frog.
T: You mean she has a frog in her throat?
J: Yes. She swallowed it but it got stuck. And now, she can't eat her french fries.
T: I see.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Maddie's Song

Two months.

(Photo courtesy of Heather Spohr)

Two months ago, Mike and Heather Spohr lost their precious daughter, Maddie. She was 17 months old.

Born prematurely after a complicated pregnancy, Maddie was a fighter. She defied the odds to survive the pregnancy, to be born, and to be released from a prolonged stay in the NICU. And though she had weak lungs and struggled to gain weight, she did well at home overall.

Until one day, she didn't.

For 17 precious months, Maddie grew in beauty and intelligence, making new friends and earning the love and admiration of all who saw her. And then, one day, she caught a cold, just as she had many times before. And she quickly developed a chest rattle and required oxygen, just as she had many times before. And she was admitted to hospital with pneumonia, just as she had been many times before because her lungs, weakened from prematurity, made her more susceptible to complications from colds. And she should have recovered and been released to her loving parents, just as she had always been before. But this time, she wasn't. And no one saw it coming.

She was special. And she is greatly missed.


I never met Maddie. And I don't know her parents in real life. But for some reason, Maddie's story had an impact on me, and I don't rightly know just why.

Maybe it's because she passed away on J's birthday this year. Or because of the similarities between my pregnancies and Heather's. Or perhaps it's because Maddie was a preemie, just like J and several other children who we love so deeply. Or that she, like J, struggled to gain weight. Or the fact that she bears a bit of a physical resemblance to our baby N.

Or maybe it's because, after their loss, her parents threw themselves headlong into fundraising efforts for the March of Dimes, raising about $60,000 in Maddie's name, in hopes that other parents may not have to go through this pain.

And maybe it's because, several years ago, a couple of really close friends of ours who we love deeply also lost a much loved baby born too soon. At the time, I wanted to write something in tribute to their beautiful little Aiden. But I was shredded, too close to the loss and pain, and I couldn't pass through it all to find a way. Sometimes, that's how it happens.

Maybe it's any of these. Or more likely, it's a combination of all. But Maddie inspired me, just as she has inspired and continues to inspire so many of us. And this is why I wrote to her mother, Heather, and asked permission to use some of her words, so beautifully written on her blog, in a tribute to the incredible Madeline. And she agreed.


And so, I am now posting a song. Lyrics by Heather and myself, together with music that I wrote. Maddie's Song. And I hope you like it.


Verse 1
There’s a heaven in your smile.
There’s a halo of light around Madeline.
Though I shared it for only just awhile.

Verse 2
Your bright eyes and golden curls.
Such a beautiful child is my Madeline.
An angel sent from another world.
Smart, sweet little girl.

Right in front of me.
You will always be
The daughter I always wanted.
For all eternity.
You will always be
The daughter I always wanted.

Verse 3
There’s a hole here in my arms.
A space left by my Madeline.
Exquisite pain I can’t comprehend.
And a world that makes no sense.

[Musical Break]

Verse 4
There’s a heaven in your smile.
There’s a halo of light around Madeline.
And I know that someday, we’ll meet again.

[Chorus x 2]

For Madeline Alice Spohr. And for her parents. And for all children whose lives have been cut too short, and their parents as well. For those left behind to grieve and mourn a loss none should have to bear.

For all of you. I wish you strength to bear up, hope for the future, and a world with no pain.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

This video must have been terrible before they fixed it

I've been remiss in posting. I'm unrepentant and continuing to do it. I promise a real post will come soon. Honest. Maybe even before my exam next Friday. Who can tell?

In the meantime, enjoy this new and improved Bonnie Tyler video.

Her hair. It's awesome.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Chuck E Cheese is not ...

Today was N's first birthday. Such a big boy! He had a cupcake party at daycare this afternoon. Apparently, he quite enjoyed his chocolate cupcake. They made him a little party hat of construction paper that he wore without complaint. He was a happy little guy. Everything was good.

To celebrate his birthday this evening, we decided to go out to Chuck E Cheese. N wore a little birthday boy crown, and ate some pizza. And with considerable prompting, J ate a hotdog. Games were played. Fun was had. Exhaustion ensued.

And people were people. As they often are. And because of them, I have decided to make a list of the things that Chuck E Cheese is not. Because there appears to be some misunderstanding.

So, in case anyone was wondering, Chuck E Cheese is not:

  1. quiet.

  2. representative of the fine dining experience.

  3. relaxing.

  4. an excellent choice for a romantic evening out.

  5. appropriate for a group with no children present.

  6. nutritious.

  7. a place that children want to leave. Like, ever.

  8. staffed by friendly, knowledgable, polite employees.

  9. a library.

  10. a magical place where all your dreams come true.

  11. responsible for any loss or damage.

  12. the best place to really tick off an over-tired mother of two who has just worked a full day and is now at a really loud establishment trying to get a picture of her one-year old sitting in a pretend car next to a giant rat as her insanely hyper four-year old throws up in a place as yet to be determined, because he refused to tell her.

  13. cleaned on a regular basis.

  14. quiet. (I know I said it before, but it bears repeating.)

  15. an alternative to daycare.
So ... Any questions?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Shopping FAIL! Bedtime WIN!

Today, we met up with our friend L and her girls I & G at Ikea. L was a bit late arriving, since she had to come from the other side of the city, and also since she drives like someone's grandma. (Seriously, L - the gas is the little skinny pedal on the right. ;))

We decided to meet up for lunch. And then, we thought it would be fun to let the three big kids play together in Small Land while the rest of us shopped. J is finally tall enough to be admitted to Small Land. When we found out he could get in, H and I were over the moon! (Imagine the prospect of shopping sans preschooler!) But it was not to be. Because J, after taking far too long to eat and tying everyone up for a prolonged period, refused to go into Small Land. And he started having a tantrum, so we picked him up and just left. And poor L had to shop all by herself while we took J for a much needed nap. She must have been so lonely, shopping all alone, with not even a screaming preschooler for company. ;)

As we drove, we passed what appeared to be a carnival. Big rides. Looked like fun. J wanted to go and play, but we weren't about to have him miss his nap after his earlier display. Besides, there are those pesky height restrictions to think of. J is still pretty short for his age, the result of his continued refusal to eat, and he probably wouldn't come up to most ride height restriction lines. So we took a pass.

H: No, J. You have to be a certain height to ride.
J: I AM a certain height!

Well, he's right. We're all a certain height. But he still didn't get to go on any rides.


Sadly, today's Ikea experience was more familiar to us than we'd like to admit. These days, we just don't get to spend quite enough time with other adults without children present. As a result, four-year old logic is starting to make sense to us. Like so:

J: Look at the big nose on my watch pointing over here.
H: That's an arm, J. Not a nose.
J: But it's on the watch's face!

Incidentally, does anyone know why watches have arms on their faces? Were they designed by Pablo Picasso or something?


J has many interests. Mostly balls and blocks. But sometimes, other toys get his attention. Like paints. Or Star Wars.

H: Maybe they just know we're busy with our two?
J: D2.

(Seriously. Think about it. Say it out loud. It makes sense; I promise.)


In other news, tonight N had a bath. While that doesn't sound like much, it was significant. It was the first time that N did not sob uncontrollably during bath time. He sat up in the tub and splashed happily, chasing after his little toy seal and spraying me with water. He frequently stood up for hugs, smiling happily. And he would lie back, knowing Mommy would catch him, and then roll over onto his tummy to crawl around in the warm soapy water. Such a fun time!

Then the kids went to bed. J wanted snuggles, and I happily complied. Always with a tune in my head, I lay next to my little guy with my eyes closed and I hummed. And J looked at me with love in his eyes, and sang me an impromptu lullaby:

Go to sleep.
Go to sleep.
Go to sleep, and sing.
I love you.
I love you so much.
So go to sleep, and sing.
You will be my mommy forever.
You will be my mommy forever.
And I love you forever.
Now go to sleep.

Sometimes, J can be a bit of a demon. But tonight's lullaby really made up for a lot.

Good night, J. Good night, N. I love you.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Random Tuesday: April can kiss my a$$

Okay. Here goes.


April sucked, with a suckage that cannot be adequately described. Death was featured prominently in April. Many posts were begun and abandoned in their entirety, due to pronounced despondence. I cried a whole lot more than I would like. Concentration lapsed completely. It was dreadful.

I hope May is a better month. April can just go screw itself.

I'm anemic. Again. Not a big surprise. I'm actually surprised the level is as good as it is. Usually, it's lower. They're still concerned enough to call in a prescription, though. Meh.

I went back to work last week. It's going fairly well. So far, I haven't done my customary act of destroying everything in my path. I haven't fallen down at the office. No one has been injured. So it's been good.

Been working on a new song. It's almost done now. Of course, it's heavily steeped in April, which sucks. But it's pretty, and I hope those for whom it was written will like it. I can't take the pain away, but I can give them this. It's not enough. I don't know what would ever be enough. I don't know ...

I had a group of friends who came up with a super power club. One had super-human strength. Another had super-human speed. The guy who got to pick first chose "impervious to everything", which meant he couldn't really do much except sit in the bar, drinking and smoking, and not be affected by it. But it was a good super power, and people enjoyed it. If I had a super power, it would be "can fix everything". Cancer would be gone. Crime would be gone. Babies would be born healthy, at full term. There would be no pain. There would be no grief. And the world would be a perfect place. But then, what would be the point of heaven? I guess my chosen super power just can't exist here. Which is a shame, because it really should.

Finally, I got 96% on my auditing exam! (I didn't find that out until May ... had marks been released in April, the month of complete and utter suckiness, I'd undoubtedly have flunked.)

So there you have it. Kind of random, in an "April totally sucked and I hate the entire month" kind of way. But it'll have to do. At least it's a post, right?

Friday, May 01, 2009

It's all fun and games until the dinosaur tackles you and rips out your throat

J has a dinosaur. A big, black and white, remote controlled robotic dinosaur with artificial intelligence components. You push a button (conveniently located right on the beast's unmentionables) to start and stop the thing. But you must (MUST) have the remote control in hand to deal with the ramifications. For without the remote control, the dinosaur acts of its own volition. With its fierce jaws aimed at your jugular, the dinosaur will violently shake its tail and roar angrily before it lunges, leaping across the room. And honestly, it can be pretty difficult to get close enough to turn the fool thing off again.

Today, I was in the kitchen feeding baby N when J, alone in the living room, pushed the Button of Doom as the remote control sat, unattended, on the opposite end of the room.

The dinosaur took off like a shot, roaring and shaking its tail, as it aimed itself at J. Cleverly, J evaded the beast by leaping onto the couch. The fierce creature then turned its attention kitchen-ward. It bounded across the room, presumably aiming for N's apple sauce and Cheerios, but was temporarily distracted by the basement door. Which it tried to eat. In an effort to protect his household, J took the opportunity to bravely run toward the dinosaur. Grabbing the creature by its violently shaking tail, J attempted to pull it away from the door. And the dinosaur turned. It lowered its head. It roared at J. Not to be bested by a toy animal, J stood firm and, raising himself to his full thirty-eight inches, shouted "Stop, Dinosaur! I command you!!"

Not surprisingly, the dinosaur was unimpressed. It advanced on J, who backed away quickly while continuing to scream "I SAID STOP!! STOP DINOSAUR!! I COMMAND YOU!!!" And so, I protected my child. I snuck up behind the out-of-control animal as it menacingly approached my 4-year old. I reached under its tail, and I hit the power button, stopping the mad beast dead in its tracks and quite possibly saving my child from a tragic dinosaur-related end.

And then, of course, J got mad at me for turning off his dinosaur when he wanted to play with her. Ungrateful little so-and-so.

(We're sending it to preschool next week for show-and-tell. Because we're awesome like that.)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Proof that urine is acidic

J is a poor eater. You may remember me discussing it at some length. He doesn't eat; therefore, he doesn't grow. He is now the smallest kid in his class. We've been working on it. Different strategies have been employed, doctors and nutritionists have been consulted, medications have been used. But J still just doesn't eat enough. It's a problem.

J is on an appetite stimulant. It seems to work marginally, but does not provide a great improvement. It also makes him tired. The doctor assures us that this is a good thing; kids experience most of their growth when they are asleep. And so, J needs a lot of sleep. He sleeps well at night, and also has an afternoon nap. Sometimes, it's easy to get J to nap. Other times, it's more difficult. Usually on the weekends, J would prefer not to nap at all. Various delay tactics will be employed as J works to stay awake in the afternoon. If he succeeds, he will be grumpy and act out as the day wears on; eventually, he will start getting in trouble and will have to go to bed early because he's too tired to carry on.

Today is just such a day.

J's usual delay tactics are just not especially noteworthy. Really, any kid trying to delay bedtime will employ most of the same tactics; his are no different. But today, one of his stalling techniques was somewhat unique. It must therefore be shared, and preserved, and probably brought up again in the future, possibly on his wedding day.

And so it goes.

After being tucked in, J climbed out of bed and started going through his stuffed animal toybox, eventually finding an animal that makes noise. He then played with the noisy animal for a bit, ran around his room, and kicked his wall several times. Eventually, he grew bored and started knocking on his bedroom door and shouting (his ever-so-subtle signal that "IT'S TIME TO GET UUUUU-UUP"). I went up, and told him that it was still nap time. J insisted that he needed to get up to give Daddy a kiss. I called H up so that J could kiss him (much to the chagrin of J who wanted to go downstairs to kiss Daddy). J then said that he needed to pee. So I took him to the bathroom, and then tucked him back in. He then insisted that he was thirsty and needed a drink of water.

Now here's where it got interesting.

J: I need a drink of water because my throat hurts. My throat is soooo sore, because I needed to pee soooo badly. So that's why I need a drink of water.

I couldn't really relate. Must be a guy thing?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Will the circle be unbroken? Um ... NO!

Today, H picked up J from preschool. Inexplicably, J burst into song. "Santa Claus is Coming to Town". (Yes, in April.) This drew attention from one of J's teachers, who laughed and then relayed a little story from today's "circle time".

In "circle time", the class takes part in various activities. Show and tell ... music ... yoga ... Spanish class ... stories ... the list goes on and on. It's a very active preschool. Today in circle, the kids were playing a game called "Who stole the cookies". The idea is to rhythmically say: "Who stole the cookies from the cookie jar? [Name of child] stole the cookies from the cookie jar". And there are a few more silly little lines, with fun and innocent rhyming responses from the child in question, and then you keep going down the line of children until you've done all of the names. It's very cute.

All good, right? Except J doesn't like being falsely accused. So ...

Class: Who stole the cookies from the cookie jar? J stole the cookies from the cookie jar.

J: (sporting his best "mad-face") I DID NOT!!!

Teacher: It's just a game, J. We go down the line. So next, we're going to say that B stole the cookies from the cookie jar.

J: Well, then maybe he did it. But I didn't! **

J quite enjoys circle time. Only problem: he and his best little preschool friend A aren't allowed to sit together any longer. They chat and play during the planned activities, and I've been told that they get quite disruptive. I also note in recent days that they are also no longer allowed to eat lunch together. But they still get lots of good play time in, so I think they're pretty happy all told.


** Note: The following is how "Who stole the cookies" should actually play out:

Class: Who stole the cookies from the cookie jar? [Child] stole the cookies from the cookie jar.

Child: Who, me?
Class: Yes, you.
Child: Couldn't be.
Class: Then who?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Tail of Sleeping Beauty (and that is not a typo)

J loves the story of "Sleeping Beauty". He will often act out parts. Now, I don't remember the story this way, but here was tonight's rendition:

J: (calling from upstairs) Mommy. Be Sleeping Beauty.
T: Okay. (pretends to sleep) I am Sleeping Beauty.
J: (coming down the stairs) I'm a shark!
T: (completely loses it, then pretends to sleep again)
J: (climbs up and touches T's face) WAKE UP!
T: I can only be woken up by my true love's kiss.
J: But I can't kiss you. Because I'm a shark.
T: I can only be woken up by my true love's kiss.
J: But I have sharp teeth!
T: I can only be woken up by my true love's kiss.
J: But ... but ... DADDY!!!

H arrives, to find T pretending to sleep on the couch and a frustrated J dressed in a hooded towel that strongly resembles a shark.

J: You're Sleeping Beauty's true love! Kiss her!

H complies, and T awakes. Moments later:

H: J! Don't wrap your tail around that bag!
J: But I can't hold it with my fins.
T: (completely loses it and almost chokes on her gum)

Mr. Shark then works to postpone bedtime. He gives Sleeping Beauty presents for her birthday (which is not for several months, in case anyone was wondering). She receives a bag full of stuffed animals actually belonging to baby N, a Merlin magnifying glass (which J tells me is "so you can see any wet spots"), and a dump truck. Score!

And then, when he realizes it is not actually Sleeping Beauty's birthday, Mr. Shark swims away with all the presents tied to his tail. He informs Sleeping Beauty that she does not get any presents; she has to wait for her birthday.

Of course, it all ends very badly. A tragedy of Shakespearean proportions. There is a horrible bedtime brawl. A cat's tail is pulled. Screaming ensues. There are tears and headaches. And someone has to go to bed without a story. And The Tail of Sleeping Beauty is nearly ruined.

Nearly. But not quite. For H and I will always remember the sight of J, swimming away with several bags of toys tied around his hooded towel tail. And that's worth a lot.

In which I declare war. A kind of sad and pathetic war, but war nonetheless

It's April. It is what it is.

Ordinarily, April is tax season. It's crazy busy. There's no time for anything but taxes. Just get them done, get them filed, get them paid. It's April. That's it.

In April, things get chaotic. It's tense. Balance is difficult. Work takes a higher priority, and personal life takes a step back. But it's just April. Not a big deal. The chaos is contained, so I can handle it. Actually, I usually quite enjoy April.

This year, April is my last month of maternity leave. I'm missing tax season. But I haven't escaped the chaos and tension. It's just manifested itself in different ways. Ways that I do not enjoy at all. Ways that make me really miss tax season.

This year, I hate April. Hate it more than I had imagined possible. Hate it with a hatred that exceeds even my hatred of 2008. And we all know how much I hated that year, don't we?

This year, April has been hard on a lot of people, for a lot of reasons. And I haven't felt like posting much during the whole thing, so I haven't.

This year, I grit my teeth, and I wade through April in anger and frustration. But as I have no one with whom I can genuinely be angry or frustrated, I have no outlet.

And so, I have decided to be angry with April. (Yes, the month.) Accordingly, I hereby declare war on April. (Yes, I realize that I sound like a lunatic.) And I assert that April shall bear the brunt of my wrath. Of course, April being a month of the year rather than a tangible object makes it rather difficult for me to wreak the havoc on it that it so richly deserves. But were there a way, I guarantee that I would find it and it would pay dearly for what it has done.

(Stupid month and its stupid intangible properties ... mutter, mutter ...)

It's April. It is what it is.

Note: I'll be back to regular posting as soon as I find my bliss. I know I left it here somewhere ...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

And then, the elephant boy was eaten by a dragon, and peace reigned throughout the land. At least, until the crows came ...

Puff the magic dragon
Lived by the sea
And caught up on the other one
In the lands of Connor Lee.

Now. Have a 4-year old sing that 428,686,297,886 times in a row at top volume while a baby shrieks inconsollably and you and your spouse try to have a serious discussion about the meaning of life, and you'll be roughly where I am now.

Also: You should totally take the 4-year old with you to the vet's office to buy cat food. It's fun. Trust me. It goes something like this:

J: I want this octopus! This big blue octopus! The octopus! I want the octopus!! I WANT IT I WANT IT I WANT IT I WANT IT ... !!!!

Eventually, our kind receptionist-type friend gave J a shrimp-shaped cat toy as a compromise, just to make him stop flipping out. A very pissed-off looking J left the vet's office, shrimp in hand. Other people commented that he was very cute. H offered to sell him, but there were no takers. I can't imagine why.


As an aside, in J's bedtime story this evening, a large, long-legged white bird delivered a baby elephant to Mrs. Jumbo. Now, what do we call that large, long-legged white bird again? Well, according to J, that bird is called a crow. And honestly, hearing that the baby elephant was delivered by a mutant albino crow really changes the feel of "Dumbo" for some reason. But I don't know why.


And on that note, when H and I were teasing J this evening and telling him that he was actually an elephant, he argued with tremendous force and perfect tone.

J: I am not an animal! I am ... a person!!

Oooh; he almost had it.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Seriously Random

Time for Random Tuesday Thoughts, sponsored by Keely over at The Un Mom. So here goes. Try to keep up.


One of my friends passed away last week, and I've been working on a post in memory. Should be up soon, if I can ever finish it. Looking for the humour in the situation, so it has to be just right; Joe was a born comic, and the sombre wouldn't suit him at all. Ever the comedian, he checked out on April 1st. Which was actually hilarious in its own way, since most people thought it was an April Fool's Day prank. Even at the memorial service, I think some of us expected him to leap out, laughing like a maniac, and say he was just fine. But no. And while you may think it terrible of me to refer to death as "hilarious", Joe would have really liked it. If you knew him, you'd understand. If not, that's a shame. Joe was one of the good ones, and I bet heaven is an even happier place now that he's in it. Remember the good times.

Today, I am the mother of a 4-year old. J's party with his school friends is today, at school. His party with all our friends was Sunday, just before the memorial service. J was very excited, because he'd talked me into making him a cake shaped like a tank. It turned out well; pictures will come. J was walking around for 2 weeks before his party telling everyone. "Mommy's going to bake me a cake! It's an army machine! And it has a BIG GUN!!" J is obsessed with guns. It's a very strange obsession, since we don't allow guns as toys, and neither does school, and neither do his grandparents, and ... honestly, we have no idea why he's so gun-crazy. It's a bit disconcerting. A birthday post should also be forthcoming. Can't believe he's four already; where does the time go?

On the subject of "where does the time go", I go back to work in four more weeks. Since I spent much of my maternity leave recovering from a knee break, it just doesn't feel right to go back yet. Leave feels incomplete somehow. In some ways, it will be nice to be back among adults some of the time. In other ways ... well, change is always alarming. I'll miss my baby, and my routine will be all messed up for awhile. I'll do it because I have to; it's the only way our family can make ends meet. And I really do like my job and my employer a lot. But it's still hard to leave the baby. And while a part of me wants to go back to work, there's also a pretty big part of me that just doesn't want to be away from the kids at all. I mean, ever. They should just stay little forever, I think.

Knee's flaring up again. I guess it's affected by changes in the weather. I'd love for it to quit hurting, but every so often, I develop a pronounced limp. While I really do miss the cat, I can't help but think that it's kind of all her fault I'm in this condition. At least I'll always remember her, right? I think I'll name my knee hardware "Damn Cat", in her honour.

School's going okay, I suppose. I got de-railed again last week, when Joe passed. So now, I'm playing catch up again. Lots of fun. Still no word back on my first assignment, though some other students have theirs back already. And on the subject of "some other students", I'm feeling generally frustrated with my class in general. I just wish people would read the materials before asking questions. (Honestly, people; I'm happy to brainstorm, but I can't read the textbook for you!) Anyway, hopefully I did okay on the first assignment. I'm working on the second now. And I'm still waiting for the results from my last class and the results of my university application. These things all take time, and patience is not my strong suit.

Happy Tuesday, everyone. Now, go visit Keely, and do your own Random Tuesday Thoughts.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

We're in a recession, but the tire business is booming. Apparently.

I'm convinced that the Harper government is randomly puncturing the sidewalls of our tires as part of their economic recovery plan.

It's kind of like the home renovation tax credit they recently implemented. If you're fortunate enough to already own a home and you have a spare $10,000 kicking around, you can get a tax break this year for doing upgrades to your home that probably weren't needed in the first place. The general idea is to get people spending money hiring licensed tradespeople, which pumps cash back into the economy and keeps those tradespeople working, reducing EI payments and such. It's a well-intentioned idea that kind of misses the mark a bit, since the only people who really stand to benefit from the tax break are the ones who don't actually need a tax break in the first place. And in that sense, it's kind of like the Universal Child Care Benefit, which redirected money that had been earmarked for the creation of subsidized childcare spots for low income earners. Instead of providing those spots, the UCCB provides a monthly taxable sum of $100 per child per month to the lower income partner in every household with young children, regardless of income threshold. So now, a single parent working a minimum wage job and the stay-at-home spouse of a millionaire are treated equally and given the exact same amount of assistance per head, and everything is "fair". You know; kind of like Communism.

This is what comes of having a government that caters to the wealthy. It's like living in a country run by Robin Hood. Only in reverse. And without archery or fancy outfits. Try Conservative - The Un-Robin Hood!


Not that there's anything wrong with being wealthy. I myself aspire to it someday. And I am certainly a fan of plans that focus on encouraging selective spending to aid economic recovery, if the plans are implemented correctly. I am also a fan of all things pretty and clean, as well as of efficiency in general. But I think there are limits as to how far one should go. Not so for the Honourable (and I use that word loosely) Nancy Ruth, an Ontario Conservative whose "kill two birds with one stone" philosophy extends to cover off the death of any two inferior beings. One bird and one poor person, for example.

The following editorial is taken from page A14 of the March 29, 2009 Edmonton Journal. Enjoy.

"Another blow to the poor, beleaguered Canadian Senate was struck last week by the Honourable Nancy Ruth, an Ontario Conservative appointed by the Martin Liberals. Ruth was holding forth on her important priorities at the Senate finance committee on Tuesday, as the body deliberated the budget for Canada's Food Inspection Agency, which hasn't had great outings of late.

Ruth's laser-like gaze fixed on the vexing national problem of dirty Canada geese. They are a "health hazard," she said, since they foul the waters around her summer cottage. That produces the malady known as swimmer's itch, and Ruth was itching for a war against our iconic fowl. They're also soiling her home in downtown Toronto, she continued.

When enlightened by colleagues that waterfowl hunting rules are a provincial matter and only aboriginals are allowed to shoot Canada geese, Ruth pronounced that as "excellent. Why don't we kill them and feed them to the poor in Toronto?"

While we're at it, senator, why waste all that summer roadkill when food banks are looking for supplies? Surely, the hands-down winner of the 2009 Marie Antoinette on the Rideau Award is Senator Nancy Ruth, doing the people's work, one (dead) honker at a time."

They're dirty. A health hazard. They cause swimmer's itch. They foul up our waters and soil our homes. So let's kill them. And feed them to the poor. Who presumably will voluntarily ingest dirty, diseased waterfowl? Excellent!

As ridiculous as that is, it is clear that the Conservative government is looking for solutions to the crises in our nation. And we know that one such solution is to encourage spending to aid economic recovery. And for that, I applaud them. But random acts of vandalism? Seriously?

The thing is that so far this year, we have experienced six (yes, six) irreparably flat tires. Each time, the puncture has occurred in the sidewall, where it cannot be patched. Some of these tires were new. Only one was under warranty at the time. And so, we have had to pay for five new tires so far this year. Sidewall punctures are relatively rare, so it's a bit odd to see six of them in the space of three months. And this leads me to conclude that the Harper government, wanting to encourage spending in the tire and rubber market, is puncturing our sidewalls in order to force us to buy new tires. Really, it's the only logical explanation.

Dear Harper government: You've gotten us six times. Please move on to someone else's vehicles now. We should not single-handedly be responsible for the revitalization of the entire rubber industry. Our contribution has been made.

To everyone else: Protect your sidewalls. For Big Brother is here, and he wants your tires. There is no telling where he may strike next. Be warned.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

It is inappropriate to have a "favourite large yucky bug"

Today, I had to phone H at work and have him come home. I've had a severe headache since Saturday morning. My positive thinking and careful Tylenol dosing have not helped it to pass. I couldn't cope with the pain today, so I couldn't take care of the kids properly. I also couldn't drive myself to the doctor because I could barely see. H loaded the kids into the van and drove me to the doctor, then returned home to wait for me to call for a ride home. And I waited at the doctor's office for over two hours before I was seen.

It's a severe sinus infection. Hurts like hell. Imagine someone attacking your eye socket with a crochet hook. Yeah. It's kind of like that. But now, I have drugs. The doctor says I should be feeling better by the weekend.

As painful as this is, though, I think it may actually be preferrable to the torture H had to endure at the hands of our children while I was away.


H: (singing) Rock-a-bye baby ...
J: Daddy!
H: ... in the treetop ...
J: Daddy!!
H: ... the cradle will ...
H: WHAT, J?!?!
J: I want you to pretend to be the big giant cockroach from "Men in Black".
H: ...
H: Rock-a-bye ...
H: FINE! (In a really low voice) I am the big giant cockroach from "Men in Black".
J: Big giant cockroach?
H: *sigh* Rock-a-bye baby ...
H: Yes, J!!!
J: Cockroaches are my favourite kind of large yucky bug, because they have big sharp teeth coming out of their cheeks.
H: Good. Is that all?
H: ... when the wind blows ...


That? Or the sinus infection? I think it's a toss-up. But what would you prefer?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Irritation and Injuries

Yesterday, I turned my back for a moment to put in a video for J to watch. J took that opportunity to swan dive off the couch, landing directly on his face on the hardwood. Good times.

I worked to stop the blood that was pouring from J's nose and mouth, trying to console my little boy, while also admonishing him that "This is why Mommy and Daddy tell you not to jump off the furniture like that". I realized that he'd banged his mouth and nose but good, and he'd also smacked his chin and forehead. He had tooth punctures in both his upper and lower lips. I was worried about his mouth. His teeth. His nose. His head. Oh dear ... I hope his teeth are okay; his nose not broken; he has no concussion.

And J screamed and cried. And I applied pressure to his nose and mouth. And I phoned H. And I carried the crying J up the stairs, while he shrieked, waking N from his nap with screams of "I WANT MY N!!!" (It's sweet that he's so attached to his little brother.)

J went to emergency. He is okay. No breaks; no stitches. Popsicles to reduce the swelling in his mouth. And he feels better today. Sadly, he continues to leap off the furniture like a little maniac. But hopefully, he has learned to land on his feet and yesterday's faceplant will not be repeated.


Today, I feel agitated. It's a general unhappy rage. I'm not 100% certain of what has caused it, but it is there nonetheless. I don't like it. I wish it would go away. But these moods take time to pass. And so, I wait. And as I wait, I brood. And question everything and everyone around me. And wish for a happy headspace, which will only come when it is good and ready.

Mood swings are a part of me, and you'd think I'd be used to them by now. But apparently, I am not. So for now, I grit my teeth and wait for the tides to turn. I hope happy, fun posts will soon appear. They'll come; they always do. Just takes time.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Getting in touch with my inner 6-year old

Youtube thought I would like to see this tonight.

Youtube was correct.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Random Dorito Tuesday ... with cake and toilet paper


N is in his exersaucer. He rocks back and forth like mad, propelling himself across the room. He operates the exersaucer like a car with no wheels. Every so often, I get nervous that he's going to flip the saucer over, and I call out to him. "N ... NO!" He stops rocking briefly, looks at me, and smiles engagingly. And then proceeds to rock violently, as though I had never spoken. This can't bode well for the future.

N's favourite toy is the red phone on his exersaucer, which he holds and waves about as he drives about the room. J's favourite toy is anything round. J loves to share. And that is why N is presently standing on a bunch of balls of assorted sizes, all of which are apparently now stored in the bottom of the exersaucer. I've given up removing them; it doesn't work.

Auditing exam went well. I was temporarily deceived into thinking there were no questions fresh out of left field on this one. That's uncharacteristic for the auditing exam, so I wondered what I might have missed. Then my classmates pointed out to me that those questions were all about law. Which is my other education and experience base. I didn't even notice. I think I did pretty well on it. Hopefully I'm correct. Won't know until May 6. The two month turnaround is aggravating, but I'm kind of getting used to it.

I want Doritos. We have no Doritos. There should always be Doritos. A Dorito-less house by itself cannot stand ... or something. And I think my Wii Fit trainer would like Doritos too. If she ever ate anything. Which she doesn't, because she is a computer animation. But if she had an actual mind and body, I bet I could corrupt her and make her gain a whole bunch of weight.

My training was suspended for an extended time while I prepared for my exam. Back to my Wii Fit this week. I have to lose about a gazillion pounds, so that should be entertaining. When they invent the Doritos and Chocolate Cake diet, I'll be very, very happy indeed. (Mmmmmm ... chocolate cake ...)

H gets irritated whenever I forget to throw out the cap from a bottle of formula and he finds it on the kitchen counter. I get irritated whenever I find an empty toilet paper roll that hasn't been thrown out and/or replaced. So the solution is clear. I've now told H that I will be stockpiling the formula bottle caps and placing them next to the empty toilet paper rolls.

Now, go visit Keely, and do your own Random Tuesday Thoughts. Very freeing!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Yeah ... 'cause THAT's what's important there ...

Watching "Sleeping Beauty" with J tonight. And ... well ... you know the scene where the beautiful princess pricks her finger on the spindle and collapses to the ground, near death? And the evil witch sneers in triumph right before she disappears into a big ball of evil green aura? Happens right around the 3-minute mark ...

J: She forgot her ball!!

(He was genuinely alarmed by that. Couldn't have cared less about the plight of the beautiful 16-year old princess, of course.)

Sunday, March 08, 2009

This post has absolutely nothing to do with auditing ...

... and isn't that a relief!


Okay. One of these days, I'll be getting to the "google search post". 'Cause there are definitely some good ones I can put up here now. But for the moment, when I'm short on time, I'm just going to comment on a particular search anomaly.

People keep coming here looking for words that rhyme with other words. It's an all-too-common search, invariably landing an unfortunate searcher on this post about potty training. What a disappointment!

Though there have been several very interesting searches of this type, the most common appears to be for "words that rhyme with connection". Which makes perfect sense. Now, I could spend time thinking about it and posting all the words I can think of to help you out (convection, inflection, correction, protection, the list goes on). But I think what you're really looking for is probably just a rhyming dictionary.

So ... yeah. You're welcome!

Friday, March 06, 2009

But it'll all be worth it when I meet Mickey Mouse

Studying frantically. Test on the 13th. J is allowing me to study. Mostly because I have told him that in a few years, when I'm designated, we will be able to take him to Disneyland. Whatever works, right?

Just one problem. What's the risk that we never get to Disneyland because of the risk that I incorrectly assess the risk that may or may not be involved in the risk of death from infection caused by jamming a fork through my own eye just so I don't have to read any more of this crap?!


Auditing is ghastly.

It's theory. All theory. Picky, niggly, ridiculously in depth theory. Theory that you cannot begin to grasp unless you have actually audited. Personally, I have not. Now, they do mention this fact in the course. Not in the course syllabus, mind you. Nor in a note about the course pre-requisites. No. Nothing so simple. They mention it at the very end of the summary of the very last module for the course. You will not understand this class until you have auditing experience. Thaaaaanks!

Auditing involves a series of standards, assertions, procedures, objectives, tests, and communications.

Generally accepted auditing standards. One general, three examination, and four reporting standards. They are involved and detailed. And they should not be confused with assurance standards, which have three very subtle differences but are otherwise virtually identical.

Management assertions. Different assertions apply to balance sheet accounts, income statement accounts, and note disclosures. Accounts are linked together in various cycles. Each cycle includes primary assertions. Assertions must be substantiated with a procedure. General procedures are: analysis, enquiry, inspection, observation, computation, and confirmation. Different procedures are used to test different assertions. Specific procedures are not so much provided as made up as you go along.

Internal control objectives. Each corresponding with a management assertion. These fall in categories and levels. General controls. General IT controls. Application controls. Input, processing, and output controls as subsets of application controls. Three subsets of input controls, one of which is entitled "input controls". Eleven controls in this category. Tests of controls. Reliance on controls. Weaknesses in control. Manipulation of control. Different duties which must be segregated in different account cycles for effective control.

Communication. The auditor's report. Engagement letter. Management representation letter. Derivative communications. Two other letters I'm forgetting. Communication with predecessor auditors. Does this client even need an audit? Three paragraph standard report. Introduction, scope, opinion. Qualifications in "except for" wording. Where do extra paragraphs go? What should they say? What should be in each paragraph? Audit report addressed to shareholders. Dated. Signed. What is the date? When do you issue qualified, unqualified, adverse, or denial? When do you resign from an engagement?

Law. Liability. Ethics. Structure of the CEPROC. Computer auditing. EDP. EDI. Through vs. around computer. Computer assisted auditing techniques and when to use them. Sampling. Statistical vs. non-statistical sampling. How and when to sample. Upper and lower error bounds. Unadjusted vs. adjusted error bounds. Interpretation of results. Stratification of samples. Types of independence. Audit risk model. Types of risk: alpha, beta, sampling, detection, audit, business, information, inherent, control, incorrect acceptance, incorrect rejection. Risk on top of risk. Risk of assessing risk incorrectly.

Risk of assessing risk incorrectly? You can't be serious. What happens if you assess the risk of assessing the risk incorrectly ... incorrectly? Hmmmm?

Auditing is ghastly.

But this is why designated accountants get paid the big bucks. 'Cause everyone else would rather just drown themselves than even think about this crap. And I personally am contemplating ripping out my own liver and beating myself to death with it, just so I can have something else to do. I bet the magazines at hospital emergency rooms are more interesting, and they probably mention nothing about the audit risk model; not even once.

Exam on March 13. Can't wait for it to be over. As long as I pass, it's good. I just don't want to have to repeat this class.

Dear lord, I hope my next class is better. But I dread it, too. Theory courses are problematic for me. And this next class has "theory" built right into the title, so that just can't be good.


So ... What's the risk that I might make an error in assessing the risk that in a few years, my son may or may not be emotionally scarred for life at the hands of a giant rat who insists on hugging him forcefully in the middle of a theme park while "It's a Small World After All" plays on a pipe organ over a tacky PA system?


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Random Thursday Thoughts

Because I missed Tuesday ...


N crawls now. Not well, but he's working on it. And yesterday, I awoke to him standing up in his crib for the very first time. Holding the top rail for support, of course. He is 9 months old now. And quite the little charmer.

N loves his exersaucer. He practically lives in it. For some reason, he hates the exersaucer at my parents' place, and he screams whenever he is put in it. But the exersaucer at our place is most helpful.

J's eating is improving now, thanks to some very militant techniques that H and I are employing. It's quite torturous for us, really. But at least he's taking in more food. I hope he'll soon just eat properly, without all the drama.

Yesterday, J wanted to sing "The Last Saskatchewan Pirate". He wanted me to sing with him. We were halfway through the verse about Mountie Bob being laid off and joining the pirate crew as "Salty Bob", when J stopped and announced: "This song sure has a lot of fancy words". (He's right; it does.) J has decided that next Halloween, he wants to be The Last Saskatchewan Pirate. He would also like us to dress N up as Salty Bob. This could be interesting.

Still reading my auditing course. Hard haul. Most of the readings are honestly quite dull and poorly worded. And then there's that whole repetitive nonsense. It's frequent. Very difficult to be motivated.

We are in a small house, and I have to study in the family room, where the TV is on every evening. You know that phenomenon when you're writing while someone is talking, and you end up writing down what you hear instead of what you were thinking? (What's that called again?) Well anyway, that same "writing" principle also applies to reading. I know, because last night, my auditing reading suddenly became half "Auditing, An International Approach" and half "Law & Order", and it read: "The general purpose of auditing is to commit assisted suicide". I concur.

Got the materials for my next course today. A friend taking it currently had told me that she figures there are about one-quarter of the readings as compared to other Level 4 classes. Should be good. The text is cute. It's so tiny after what I've gotten used to. I held it up, called it "dainty", and compared it to a wallet. J is convinced it is a baby textbook, meant especially for him. He figures he can pretend to study from his baby textbook while I use the real one, when it arrives. Hilarious!

J attends a very nice preschool. Today, all the kids were supposed to pick a subject and then tell a one-sentence "story". The teachers compiled the stories into a list on the wall, which looked kind of like this:

Child #1 - Mittens: You wear them when it's cold.
Child #2 - Cars: They drive down the street.
Child #3 - Dinosaurs: They eat eggs, and toast and jam, and carrots.
Child #4 - Shells: You find them at the beach.

Want to guess which child was J? Anyone?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Observation for the day

My textbook could probably be about one-third its current size, if its publishers employed better editors. Case in point:

"Expectations of dollar misstatement have the effect of increasing the sample size. The more dollar misstatement expected, the larger the sample size should be. Sample sizes should be larger when more dollar misstatement is expected. So, sample size varies directly with the amount of expected dollar misstatement."

That one passage just ate my brain. Seriously ... thirty seconds of my life that I will never get back. The last sentence is self-explanatory and well worded all by itself. Why is it necessary to reword this same thought four times?!

Updated: The above quote was taken directly from the 4th Edition of Smieliauskas & Bewley's "Auditing, An International Approach". Missed the citation earlier, but I should probably give credit where credit is due. Though I kind of doubt the authors of this text would actually want to take the blame credit for such a trainwreck of a passage.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


I remain roughly five modules behind in school readings. My last assignment is due this Thursday by noon. Once that is in, I have three weeks until exam night. Lagging too far behind, I have to use all available time to prepare. It's gotten critical. (Doesn't help that I have had a migraine for the past four days ... I'm not even kidding ... and who can read anything when you're both doped up and in considerable pain?)

This is why posts here and comments everywhere have been very sporadic of late. Short on time; something's gotta give.

So for the next few weeks, I'll be posting and reading what I can, when I can. It's all I can do. Bear with me please. Presumably, we will return to our regularly scheduled programming shortly after my exam. Until then, I'll see you as often as I can.

Back soon!

Redneck Shower

Tanis of The Redneck Mommy got to bring home her newest addition last week. It's a boy!

In honour of her newest arrival, some fabulous folk are hosting a shower. Yup. It's an online baby shower for Tanis. They want to know: How are you a redneck mommy (or daddy)?

This is a toughy for me. 'Cause while I do live in the middle of the redneck prairies, in what I suspect is actually the redneck capital of the world, I don't quite fit in here. I don't have a double-wide. My firepit hasn't been used in about three years. No one in my family makes moonshine. I don't own a set of hair curlers. I'm involved in the arts, an advocate of gay's and women's rights, and I've never voted Conservative. There is nothing plaid in my wardrobe. I have two very tame tattoos, no piercings (other than the ears), and I don't shop at any store that uses the word "Hemp". Don't smoke. Barely ever drink, and when I do I tend to grab Blue Monday martinis. My musical tastes are eclectic, including various jazz standards, The Offspring, and Captain Tractor, but I loathe all things country. I work in finance, have diplomas in music and law, and am currently studying for an H.B.Com. and accounting designation. My family is religious, educated, and very very calm. No skeletons in our closets. I don't know what to tell you.

So ... yeah ... I guess you know you're a redneck mommy when you're not me?

Pathetic, I know. I hang my head in shame. Alright, I'm off to buy a head jacket now. I think I stand out a little too much, so I've totally gotta try and fit in better.

Love ya, Tanis. Congratulations again on the new boy!

Monday, February 09, 2009

UPDATED: Why children are the best!

Tonight found me wearing the same clothes for the third day in a row. (N and I have been sick ... don't judge me!) The clothes in question are an old pair of grey maternity sweatpants (no, I'm not pregnant; they're just comfy) and an oversized black Elton John concert shirt. N had thrown up oatmeal and applesauce down the front of the shirt this morning, and I was too tired to change it, so I'd just kind of sponged it off and carried on.

Tonight, I decided to work out even though I wasn't feeling well. Workouts give me energy. We recently acquired a Wii Fit, and I love using it. I've lost a little bit of weight, but I'm still classed as obese. It takes time. Must be consistent. So I did about half an hour of expert level rhythm boxing tonight. Worked up a good sweat. Tired. Sore arms. Sweating profusely. I collapsed on the couch in a heap and tried to catch my breath.

J was watching from his perch on the other couch. And as soon as I had flopped my ill-clad, obese, sweaty self down, he sweetly said: "You're so pretty, Mommy".

Good boy. I think I'll keep him.


On an unrelated note, someone landed on my blog today by googling the words: "youtube how do I get out of this chicken".

Dear Googler,

I hope you have now somehow found the assistance that you required. But I'm unclear as to how you could have watched a self-help video on Youtube while trapped inside a chicken. Must have been a very large chicken. Please enlighten me. Please also advise as to where I may purchase just such a chicken. It could be useful for large family dinners.


Momma T

PS - "How do I get out of this chicken" was actually in quotes. What is truly alarming is that the unfortunate googler landed on this post. I don't know why.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Johnny Appleseed IS Father Christmas

J decided that we should all say grace at breakfast this morning. And so, he "taught" us to sing the special grace he learned at preschool. Feel free to sing along!

Oh, the Lord is good to me
And so I thank the Lord
For giving me the things I need
The sun, and the rain, and the appleseed
The Lord is good to me
Jolly Old St. Nicholas
Um ... erm ...

Thank you ...
Ummm ...


J's theological training continues to progress nicely. For while he confuses Johnny Appleseed with Santa Claus, at least he no longer ends his prayers by shouting "What the heck!" Progress, peoples!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Bad. Good. Awesome!!

N isn't feeling well today, has barely eaten, and doesn't want to sleep. J used quiet time to repaint every surface of his room with a tub of Zincofax. HR isn't returning my calls. Daycare is being quite uncooperative about placement for the boys; the childcare system is pure evil. My fourth assignment is due next Thursday; I've barely begun the work, and I'm still about five modules behind in readings. We've got yet another flat tire. And I just found out that the police labeled Tyler's death a suicide (though his family remains certain that he was actually murdered ... which would mean his killer is walking free and clear, and I'm not really sure which of those options would be worse).

At least the Coke I put in the freezer to chill and then forgot about for several hours didn't explode.

And also, my birth mom's oncologist advises that all of her cancerous tumors shrunk a bit even after the chemo was stopped. So that's wonderful news!


I'm tired. Tense. Easily distracted and overly busy. Must complete assignment now. Will post when I can.

Friday, January 30, 2009

How to annoy me

I'm on maternity leave right now. In school. Two children. Ordinarily, I also work outside of the home at a job that I very much enjoy. I'll be returning to it in May. This dual income household concept is foreign to many. Why would both parents in a household choose to work outside of the home? Why wouldn't one of you stay at home with your children? What's wrong with you?!

Of course, there is nothing wrong with us. We're just fine. So why do both of us work outside of the home? And why might other couples make that same decision?

Well, there may be some fairly obvious financial considerations. And of course there are some developmental and social skills that a child can garner from early childhood development centres, which centres are reasonably unaffordable if you don't happen to have a dual income household. But perhaps the main reason to have two working parents is just plain sanity. 'Cause a full day at the office is vastly more relaxing than a morning at home with both my children. Quite frankly, it feels like a break. If you have children, you probably understand this. If not ... well, read on and you will very soon.


My child knows just exactly how to annoy me. Now, other people can get in there and really piss me off, too. But the 3-year old J has become quite the old hand at it. Bravo, J!

For those of you who aren't quite as adept, here is a quick reference guide on how to annoy me. And I venture to say that this list would transfer to pretty much anyone, so feel free to use it at your discretion. You can do all of these things in a short space of time. Just ask J, whose time management skills are so fabulous that he has done everything on this list today! (It's not even noon.)

Thanks, and have a lovely day.


After walking your father to the door to see him go off to work and promising not to cry, pitch a screaming fit with more tears than I've ever seen before.

Pace up and down the stairs, turning lights on and off and crying inconsollably.

Demand I call your father on his cell phone and tell him to return home at once so that he can pour you a glass of milk.

Insist that Daddy, and only Daddy, can give you milk; Mommy is not good enough.

When I theorize that you just miss your father and would like to talk to him, and so I phone him (at your insistence) so that you can talk, spend all your time on the phone shrieking at the top of your lungs that you need him to race home and pour you a glass of milk immediately.

Scream and cry for an hour about the fact that Daddy will not return home to pour you a glass of milk.

Unlock the front door, presumably to go searching for Daddy or to let Daddy back in so that he can pour you a glass of milk.

Do not tell me that you have unlocked the front door.

Insist on having both white and chocolate milk for breakfast, and demand to drink your chocolate milk with a spoon.

When I (very reluctantly) give you a spoon for your chocolate milk, insist that you want a different spoon.

Throw yourself on the kitchen floor, kick your feet, and scream incessantly about the fact that the spoon I gave you is inadequate, because it is not shiny and grey from top to bottom, did not originate from the cutlery drawer, and is not "breakable".

Continue to scream your demands for a spoon for the next 20 minutes.

When I hold up the spoon that I provided and ask you what it is, insist that it is a fork.

After the whole "milk" extravaganza ends, wait about ten minutes, and then rhythmically chant "I need a glass of water. I need a glass of water. I need a glass of water. ..." at me. Do not say "please".

Fill small containers with loose bits of paper and other items that are essentially just garbage.

Pitch a fit when I tell you that garbage goes in the garbage can. Respond by clutching the garbage to your chest as though it were your most treasured possession.

Grab a plastic egg you got for Easter two years ago. Stuff small blocks in it.

When I tell you that small stuff goes on the craft table, and not in an egg, ask "Whhhhhyyyyy?" in your most plaintive whiny voice.

While we're on that subject, ask "Whhhhhyyyyy?" in response to everything that is said, no matter how ridiculous the question may be at that juncture.

Try to trap your little brother under a baby gym by placing its legs on his throat.

Try (and fail) to look innocent and naive when I tell you to stop trying to murder your little brother with a baby gym.

Insist that you must sit on my lap and scream into the phone while I try to talk to the incompetent postal employees who lost the university application that I sent out on Wednesday by Express Post with guaranteed next day delivery. (Incidentally, the postal employee has refused to track the lost package and has told me to call back on Monday to check on its delivery status, at which time they will agree to track the package. Fat lot of good that will do, though, since it has to be received by Monday in order for me to get in; but thanks!)

Pour a bowl of Cheerios over the freshly swept floor. Put Cheerios back in bowl. Repeat, ad infinitum.

Nurse the same bowl of Cheerios for three hours.

When I tell you it's 2 hours to lunch and that breakfast is now officially over, flip out and run upstairs with your half-eaten bowl of Cheerios.

Make me chase you up the stairs as my bad knee throbs.

Stomp on the baby's "My First Reader" set and nearly break it.

Hunt through the house and find a non-washable ink pad. Hide it somewhere on your craft table. The next time I'm in the kitchen, grab that ink pad and make a wall mural in the living room.

Pour a bunch of choking hazards over the floor where the baby plays.

When I tell you to put those small items back on your craft table, respond by dumping all of them in a box that's sitting on the floor, in direct defiance of my instructions.

Run to the bathroom and ask me to pause Bugs Bunny, the show that is currently on TV.

When I tell you that this cannot be done (it's on TV, not on video), cry about it.

Inquire from the bathroom as to whether Bugs Bunny has ended. And when I tell you that it has, continue to check with me, just for clarification. Like so:

J: Is it over?!
T: Yes.
J: No! Bugs Bunny!
T: Yes.
J: No! Is Bugs Bunny over?!
T: Yes, it's over.
J: No! I mean Bugs Bunny! Is Bugs Bunny over?!
T: Yes. Bugs Bunny is over.
J: No! Bugs Bunny!! Is Bugs Bunny over?! Is it over?!

Ask to watch "The Tale of the Mighty Knights" repeatedly. When it's movie time, wait until I start "The Tale of the Mighty Knights". Then run over to the craft table and start playing with your play-doh.

Ask me to play play-doh with you. And no matter what I say, repeat. Like so:

J: Do you want to play play-doh with me?
T: I thought you wanted to watch The Tale of the Mighty Knights.
J: Do you want to play play-doh with me?
T: Don't you want to watch The Tale of the Mighty Knights?
J: Do you want to play play-doh with me?
T: It's movie time, though, isn't it?
J: Do you want to play play-doh with me?
T: J. You asked for The Tale of the Mighty Knights.
J: Do you want to play play-doh with me?
T: Don't you want to watch The Tale of the Mighty Knights anymore?
J: NO!!!
T: Awesome.

Rip the baby gym apart and insist that it is your "fire gun".

When I ask you to put the gym back together, refuse to do so and forcefully throw the pieces on the floor instead.

When I pick you up to place you in time out, hit me.

Spend the next several minutes screaming and throwing toys at your closed bedroom door as you continue to tantrum while in time out.

Intentionally pee on the carpet in your bedroom, just to vex me.

Wake the baby.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Me and my identity crisis

I don't understand how I reached this point. I'm a musician, for crying out loud. I have a piano, a synthesizer and amp, guitar, violin, two flutes, and a few random percussion instruments in various parts of my house. I'm a pianist, but I dabble a bit. I have grade 9 Royal Conservatory and a college music diploma with a focus on jazz styles. There's a Real Book in my closet, where I also keep my score paper. I've been playing for 35 years, and writing for 25. And you just wouldn't think this kind of thing would happen. Why would it?

Going through college, things were good. And then, they weren't. Thoracic outlet syndrome. Cervical ribs, one on each side, cutting off the circulation to both arms. The ribs had to be removed. Scar tissue. Couldn't play for awhile. Couldn't lift, so my waitressing sideline was over. Minor nerve issues in the left hand impeded my playing. I'm a pianist, but for quite some time I lacked the necessary speed and agility to play professionally. I lack the patience required of a teacher. And there's even less calling for a composer than there is for a performer. Retraining became inevitable.

I worked in a collection agency for awhile. Debtors would hide. My job was to find them, locate their assets, and find a way to get the debt paid. I was good at it. Attention to detail helps. Got promoted to the legal department, and decided to retrain in that field. So I went to night school for paralegal certification. Worked in law firms for awhile, and it was all good. Until the day a lawyer told me that I didn't command a higher salary than average because, while I was smarter than average, my brains weren't required for my job. (Note for the future: Belittling staff is totally not the way to go.) And I decided to retrain again, to get past the financial glass ceiling and to command a bit more respect. Some paralegals go on to law school, but not me. In my time at the law firms, I'd learned that I didn't want to be a lawyer. I generally didn't like them very much.

I evaluated, considered my options, and settled on accounting. Music and math are highly inter-related. And the linguistic and problem solving skills I'd acquired as a paralegal would be transferrable. The training options matched with my lifestyle, so I could work while I learned. And I figured I'd probably enjoy it.

And I do. But still ... from music, to law, to accounting? It's an odd road I travel. But I'm traveling it and doing my best. I'm just over halfway done my designation now. I've gotten one scholarship thus far. Halfway through Level 4, and I've submitted my application for the integrated degree. When I'm done, I'll have an H.B.Com and a prestigious accounting designation. Pretty impressive, really.

But I'm a musician.


This current class is in auditing. Dry as dirt in a summer drought. But it's required, so I plug along. Ten modules, five assignments, 12 weeks. As has become the norm of late, I am behind in my readings and playing catch up. I'm more behind than usual, however, and struggling to get through the past readings that I've missed. Not working out so well just yet. I'm sure I'll get there eventually. I always do.

Assignment #3 is due today. It includes a computer question, in which we're supposed to select a random sample of invoices using systematic dollar-unit sampling. (Yes, I now know what that is, much to my chagrin.) For systematic dollar-unit sampling, you take the cumulative population dollar total (P), divide it by the desired sample size (N), and set the interval (X). Then you select a random number (R) that's between the minimum (generally zero or one) and the maximum (usually P). And then you add X to R to find the next sample (R1), add X to R1 to find the next sample (R2), and so on until you've got N samples selected. No dollar value can exceed P, however, so interval X gets added until P is reached, and then it cycles back to the minimum number (generally zero or one) and starts over.

It's basically just really convoluted counting. See? Dry. Really, really dry. Drier than dry, actually. I need a beverage just thinking about it.

The computer question for Assignment #3 is to be completed in Excel, and both results and formulas are to be submitted for marking. The instructions say that random number R should be between zero and interval X. Takes a bit of time to set up, but then it all falls into place rather quickly. And no dollar value ever exceeds P, so there is no cycling back required.

Discussions in the student forum have revolved around whether or not a loopback provision should be built into the formula, even though no dollar value ever exceeds P. I say no; the dollar value never gets above the maximum, so we never have to start back at zero. Another student got all lofty on me and said that we should still provide the "correct" formula, even though in this case we never end up looping back. (The "correct" formula? You pretentious little snot ...) And I found myself actually typing this:

"In an audit, it is an inefficient use of time to build if-then loopback provisions into an Excel formula to deal with a situation that will never arise due to a mathematical impossibility. As long as R is set between zero and X, and as long as X is determined by dividing P by N, no number will ever be above P, even if R ends up being the maximum value of X.

Think about it:

The interval is P/N=X
R is a number between zero and X
N samples will be selected
Therefore, the maximum number that can ever be arrived at will be X*N=P

If it is mathematically impossible for a number to exceed P, no provisions will be required to deal with that non-existent contingency."


I don't get how I just typed that. And I'm not sure why it makes complete sense to me. Because ... I'm a musician!!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wordful Wednesday

Every time this comes on the TV, J stops whatever he is doing and runs like a maniac towards the music, screaming "My favourite show!!" I mean, it's cute and all, but over time the music does get a little annoying. And it's not exactly a "show".

*shrug* At least it's short.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Updated: More Random Tuesday Thoughts

Update: It's 1:00 p.m., and marks have now been released. I got 90% in that course. Woohoo!!

Today is marks release day for my last course; the exam I wrote in early December. Marks aren't up yet. So I wait. Impatiently. And while I wait, I blog. Because N is awake, and making his usual noises, and so I can't work on my current course. In which I am ridiculously behind. I may have to defer the exam. Hopefully, I can at least qualify to write.

What to do ... What to do ...


Nothing is so surreal as going out for dinner with your husband and kids to a restaurant decorated for Valentine's Day and being seated at a table adorned with a big pink heart with the names of you and your ex-boyfriend prominently displayed thereon. Especially when neither of you have particularly common names. And then, to further enhance your dining experience, a member of the wait staff walks by and accidentally drops a big tub of salsa on your eldest child. And instead of offering to comp some part of the meal because of that little incident, they begrudgingly offer the child a free dessert, conveniently forgetting that the kids' meal he already ordered actually includes said dessert. The child, who is food adverse and hates all things tomato, is cleaned up to the best of your abilities. And then the child sits at the table with salsa tomato stains all over his favourite shirt refusing to eat, generally playing, and periodically pretend-crying about the salsa whenever he thinks about it. This, as much as anything, is why we don't eat out very often.

I watch Judge David Young. Not for entertainment value. I watch because I fully expect to see a bunch of people I used to know appear on that show eventually, complete with blackened teeth and over-exaggerated hillbilly accents, demanding DNA and polygraph tests from each other and screaming about how he's the daddy of her young'un, and she's an obsessive cheatin' filthy liar, and if he'd just stay outta prison fer longer'n a week he'd know his daughter, and his daughter's now 21 but she's never e'en let 'im seen 'er, and how she ain't never been with no other man (even though the polygraph and DNA tests clearly say otherwise), and how her mama's so ugly and she won't let 'im near the house, and ... There's a reason why I don't know these people anymore. And I feel pretty content to not know them.

I was supposed to have a cast clinic appointment today. But N is all out of sorts, and I just can't take him to the hospital like that and make him wait with me, while we sit there in chairs along with everyone else for most of the morning, and then go for the x-rays, and the consult, and all that. Can't happen. So I had to rebook. The knee is healing; just takes time. Physio will start in February.

N won't sleep. I don't know why. He used to be a pretty good sleeper, but now, he doesn't want to sleep. He just screams. Plus, he eats constantly! At times like these, I really wish I was back at the office, and I question my plan to return on a part-time basis. Maybe being away from the kids at a full-time job would be better for my sanity!

J gets hyper when he's tired. Yesterday was bad, because he and N both got up at 5:00 a.m. Hyper J and screamy N made for grumpy T. I'm feeling a bit better today. J is at school, so I only have screamy N to deal with. I'm over-tired and over-busy, though. But J has learned to pee standing up now, and did so for the first time yesterday. I am pleased with his accomplishment, and think it makes up for a lot. How pathetic am I?

H's sister is coming up for the weekend. She hasn't met N yet. It will be good to have a bit of a visit with her, even if it's short.

Behind in school. More behind than I have ever been before. I see no way to catch up. So I just keep plugging away, trying to get the "qualified to write" status for the class, and then I look at an exam deferral option. I think it's got to be that way. I've become seriously derailed of late, and I don't know how I'll ever fix the problem within the time constraints.

Marks still have not been released. I just checked.