Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Baby Name Selections for the Week

In the past week I have actually considered the following as baby names.
1. Contessa
2. Picnic
3. Arthur (Naming a son after my Dad)
This is not like me.

Monday, May 29, 2006

The view from here

It is all coming back to me now. This pregnancy thing is really somethin'... Life changing, eh?

I have been talkin' it up quite a bit how I am not really 'into' the pregnancy this time. But this is a lie because, a.) I wasn't really into it last time and b.) I am into it.

Around 4pm daily, little Brandi Chastain sets to testing the boundaries of the current accommodations. I inhale a bit sharply then exhale with my best yogic technique and remind myself of the growing being in 'd'arre' as Miss Fancy would say. I take the moments I have, 15 minutes on my butt in the car home, to connect with my baby. (Whom I am really expecting to be another girl, because I feel like it this week.) It is not unheard of for a tear or two to trickle out and many deep thoughts tend to accompany them. Something of nervousness, of delight, of fear and of grieving for what I will let go of in the days ahead. The latter reflecting the change I understand more fully this time.

Before I became this marshmallow.. a person who weeps at the sight of an elbow through the skin, the person who says things like maybe a two year parenting leave would be good? or ... part-time is more than enough ... or, the biggie, 'it's the most fun I've ever had' .... Before then I was pretty confident about stuff all the time. And I didn't believe in synergy, just so you know.

Now? Now, I'm scared shitless of being a parent of two. I worry tons for both these kids. We're not up to it. It is 'unfair' -- as in nuthatch is not going to get anywhere near the sort of attention Miss Fancy did, and that's not fair. Or, Miss Fancy is being forced to deal with too many changes in the four months either side of her 2nd birthday and that's not fair... I am afraid, and you know it's not just the hormones. I just feel a sudden level of risk that is not usual.

I have had to date a quite sedentary life really, -- I can hear you all gasp, yes. After a very hectic teenagerage at about 21 in the year June to June 1990-91 ... I dug up the p-man in a ditch of a Roman Fort in Britain, bought my first home, got a steady job and was well... pretty much done. Nothing since then -- what's that? 5 years? (I wish) -- nothing since then has really required much planning or determination; a lot of pieces falling into a lot of places.

My apartment was great; stayed there 11 years. The p-man thing well it did take us 5 years to settle the terms of our existential pre-nup and then another 5 to write all the riders... then four years later I guess we made room for someone else besides our respective egos.. That first job became a couple degrees a good librarian gig and some professing out at the University. But, all this stuff was awfully organic.

Daily pokes from the littlest of fingers; those on again, off again, aches as a knee juts out to test a someone's new nerve endings against my old ones.. they seem, strangely, not organic. They are alarming, determinative. A wee voice calling to me, so what are you going to do? How will it be, mama? And, me lacking answers... lacking unilateral answers. Sharing, in fact, **** on a good day **** in the curiosity myself. Gawd, what am I gonna do. hmmmmmmm

I listen to these questions. Each one challenging me to consider a changed life -- to make some decisions. To take some turn, somewhere... In my addiction to a responsive way of life these moments of physical assertion from my baby prod me to find the way forward. To feel independent in some liminal moment such that I might change everything, at least a bit. To live beyond the linear and face a full, full, overfull range of choices. How lucky am I??

I was a great skeptic of the very concept of synergy prior to blogging, then I read this ying post to my yang from BMC last night. I feel the same and then again not, as her. Where she is struck at the terms of her latest pregnancy having made some decisions for her, I see this latest one of mine as a break from all ton of lifemaking by inertia. What else has up to now given my life the dynamism that my children have? Nothing, really. As I often counsel myself 'a child's life is change' after a long time of same I am glad I have this route/root of change.

Despite the dichotomy of my choices... I hope I can somehow share with her as she also embraces what sounds like challenge and risk. I must add at this juncture... I do love having an entire globe of mothers' reflections to choose from daily on the Internet, helps a lot. Thanks, Cookie.

Lifemaking by inertia might be on hold for a while for me. And, remember dear readers at this stage to contemplate inertia at all is saying a lot. -- current pregnancy weight gain nearing 40lbs, this is my final report.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

I Despise Mixed Tapes

(and I've been sitting on a longer spew about the subject, as if I care anymore, although I obviously do, referring to it here as I have). I think it is because I have no facility with the medium.

But who can resist mucking in on the contest referred to here and devised by this writer here (I think, I don't know, I'm not researching this). As a prologue let me state you will not find novelty songs here, no cover versions of "Valley Girl" by Tony Danza, anything by any former cast members of Star Trek- none of that necessarily implies or expresses mixed-tape badness. A bad mixed tape must not only be bad in its individual components, but its totality must be execrable, unlistenable. I think the Hot 5 below may just meet that standard.

1. Lou Reed: Metal Machine Music

I had a hard time deciding between Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4. Then I realised it's the same noise! Here is a preview of Part 1, which is in fact an accurate representation of album, although some 63 minutes shorter than the album. Enjoy at your peril.

2. King Crimson: In the Wake of Poseidon

I think it best to follow up the 16 fast-paced minutes of fedback guitar, looped back on itself, by Lou Reed at home with over 11 minutes of KC at one of its recorded nadirs. I recommend track 7, known by the following snappy title ""The Devil's Triangle", including: "Merday Morn", "Hand of Sceiron", "Garden of Worm" aqll running at a brisk 11:39. Again, this is only a sample, but you can multiply it by 24 times, imagine a couple of quiet, relatively mellotron-free passages, and you have the entire song. If this doesn't lead you to pierce your tympanic membrane with an icepick, I don't know what will.

3. Soft Machine: Third

Here is a preview from the album which rhymes with "turd". As with 2 above, I own this album. I have listened to this album. I like Robert Wyatt who pioneered the 'disbled drummer' thing way before the one-armed guy in that hair-band (and I will point out here that I am tempted to nominate any top 10 record from the 1980's from any of these fucking hair farming ass lint eating bunghole bands like Poison, or Ratt, or Motley Crue, or Dokken [and don't even get me started on Trevor Rabin, that on-man antithesis to refinement and discretion] but I won't because as truly horrible as they are, as puerile and predictable as their music and lyrics may be, these tunes might work together on a mixed tape, and maybe you are all at home dressed like this and remember Iron Maiden fondly, you you... words fail) but catch these lyrics: I want you more than ever now/We're on the floor, and you want more, and I feel almost sure/That cause now we've agreed, that we got what we need/Then all the thing us needs is wanting (wait, there's more) I realized when I saw you last/We've been together now and then/From time to time - just here and there/Now I know how it feels from my hair to my heels/To have you on the horns of my dilemma/- Oh ! Wait a minute ! -

Wow, eh? That's some good stuff! It's from song #3: Moon in June. Go to the attached mp3 site, buy the song, listen to it ALL and repeat after me "That's 19 minutes and 18 seconds of this, my only life on earth that I can never get back." If noodles made music they would sound like this band.

4. Tiny Tim: Resurrection

Track 1 is "Tiptoe through the tulips." I just re-listened. Take me now, Lord, I am ready.

5. Yoko Ono: Season of Glass

"Walking on Thin Ice." Yoko Ono. Singing. Enough said.

Oh, it's not like I didn't consider and reject the following as too obvious: all contestants on Canadian or American Idol, Celine Dion, the Dionne Quintuplets, Rene Simard, Rene Levesque, ANY MOVIE SONGS BY ELTON JOHN, BARRY NEWMAN, OR ELTON JOHN AND BARRY NEWMAN, the Sex Pistols, Ashley Simpson, Jennifer Simpson, Homer Simpson, OJ Simpson, George Plimpton, Syd Barrett, Hanson, Terry Jacks, Michael Jackson, Jackson 5, Coolio, Freezio, Meltio, C-Threepio, Rush, Mahogany Rush, Meatloaf, and so on... maybe I should enter the contest under a different pseudonym. Anyway, I wanted to mock the music I like, or liked, anyway.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Child centred post

Compared to all our worthy compatriots in parenting blogland we are sometimes concerned we are not quite child centred enough. We do not hide our love under a bushel of humility, NOOOOOO! If we have not yet spoken of the amazingness of our offspring it is for one reason only. She is too amazing for words. And we don't want to, mmm, go all soccer parent here.

But today we will note a few great things about our Girl Friday:

1. She sings
What began as a bit of baa-baa-black sheep, transitioned to Ring-a-rosy now run the gamut from A-B-C to, appropriately, the Fables of my Street. She is good at singing, and I am not... but you could not overestimate the delight singing with her can bring to many many moments in our home. We now know there is little that cannot be overcome with a song.

2. Loves the cats
She means what she says. I wish I had captured the photo of E. with Dexter last week. She put sunglasses on him and then began to say "Hi cutie, I louuuvvve you"

Further, the Montessori types have me convinced I can get the offspring to pull down a goodly number of chores around 36 months. I dream of the day I hand over the sweeping and ironing to her; for now she does a really terrific job of pouring out the kibbles. It's adorableness in motion, 'eat it up Flippiter'

3. She love 'em da books
As a librarian and the world's best reader ever... Reading is pretty important around here. We have a truly splendid library for our girl to choose from and she loves her books. She reads widely and can actually recite the contents from the first three pages of Zen Shorts as a demand to have it read. BTW this book is the Wo family's children's book of the year!

4. She's friendly
Without this little girl we would not know one tenth of the people who live around here that we do now. When the first few words are all hellooo or HI! you gotta emerge from your own unfriendliness and go with it. We now have relationships with all kinds of neighbours, of course all the kid folks who like us shun any sort of organized kid activity in favour of shovel and bucket sharing on an as needed basis in the park... then there's the couple who own Good Dog Carl and the whippets, the senior Chinese couple who walk the park perimeter daily at 11, there's the East Indian gramma from the next block who pops us a Hello and a smile with every passing, the Portugese guy with all the concrete statuary and the very dear Tom, former mine employee with two sons, one a pharmacist now and the other in medical school. E. thinks he created running! So be it.

5. She puts up with us
I have already told some of you that one of our nurses remarked when E. was born: She is a very old soul. Our first thought was well great, we could really use a grown up around the house.

She is an amazing little human.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Ass Wednesday Redux

I swim at the local Y. I lie, it isn't swimming stylistically speaking, it is drowning prevention.

I had planned to post exclusively on the sight greeting my eyes when I entered the locker room on Monday, which was a guy using the hand-held hair dryer to dry his crack. I was all ready to go off on some "abuse of the gratis equipment" rant that would add nothing to this world but a few expletives.

As I showered off after not drowning I listened to a guy in another stall horking up his duodenum and I considered posting about shower etiquette. I think I am reasonably permissive - you can blow your nose, spit, or even piss (so long as you do it on yourself a la P Farrell) in the privacy of your stall (unless there is some kind of dread piss-borne shower-mist virus of which I am unaware)- fill your boots. It's your stall, parts per million, expectations of privacy in a public place...

Then I started thinking about the cracks in my heel and the fungicide I just purchased (entitled "Heel in a Can" by Mo) and whether this is what Jonathan Ames used to cure his ass of athlete's foot in his story about his itchy ass and nose and the occasional scratching accident and so on.

This all stopped when I returned to my locker to view an elderly gentleman using the hair dryer to dry his scrotum. I can assure you, he performed this task with a thoroughness which is to be, um, nevermind...

P-man out.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Caveat emptor? Mea Culpa?

We have attended our current daycare for just a little over 8 weeks. At this point I feel a small review is necessary; just to test my sanity.

To recap: Miss Fancy goes to a local (as in one block south of our house) family child care centre. The lady there is a sweetheart. But she is not what I am used to and she is not what I consider to be a entirely professional child care provider. Remember, I went begging for a childcare space when I was 16 weeks preggo... I tell myself often to get over it/get on with it. Soon enough I will be home, I'll be able to review the whole setup and the balance of home to centre time will be quite different.

So... who cares? Well, I do. I was really happy to think we had a good nearby fit so E. could attend Lily's daycare 2-3 mornings a week after the nuthatch shows. I think it is a great idea for me, for E., and for the new baby... in theory. Here are my concerns (am I just being silly)?

1. When we started at Lily's the first remark I got about E. was her manners. They are great! Uhm, were great. Please and thank-you for everything - Lily couldn't get over this (and the fact that she speaks so well for her age). I think professional child care providers make a rule of good manners. I L-O-V-E that they do. Count one for how spoiled we were to have ever bagged our spot with N. But it seems it's not a big part over at the new place.

I sometimes worry not only that the kids are not polite to each other but that Lily is dismissive or angry with them. E. has said a number of times since she started 'Go away Lily, no. No grabbing' , or done a rerun(?) of an instruction to another child to 'Shut up' or 'Stop crying, Tyler!' I dunno, she is not really a reliable witness is she? Still, these worry me.

2. I constantly remind myself that I can't get hung up on developmental milestones of kids in co-care but I don't always do so well. The crew at this daycare are 15 mos., 22 mos, E. who is 20 mos and one 3 year old. The kids sorta freaked me out when we came because not only do they -- not so much that they don't say 'please' or 'thank you' but that they don't actually say anything a lot of the time. No mind I figure... but after the 8 weeks E. is doing a lot more non-speech (uggah, ooh, ahhh) communication, and can be physcially demanding. I very often have to remind her to use her words... But, on this score I am pretty sure it is not really a situation that can be improved. While there are things about 'the program' that are not in my view supportive of speaking (see next point) it is really something I have to take responsiblity for managing at home... and besides, at nearly two I understand there are lots of reasons I have to master the instructions to E. to 'use words'.

3. Big killer... there is pretty harsh disconnect between my philosophy and the reality of this daycare. I often will remark to p-man, as he gnashes and fulminates, you know it is ok, it's just that it is a very custodial environment not a instructive one. What do I mean? Well the program, such as it is, goes as follows: Kids arrive, get packed into a stroller or car for an outing, return home after a couple hours for snack and then riot time in the playroom with a lot of things that run on batteries, lunch, naptime, after nap kids play with the wide variety of indoor or outdoor noisy plastic things. Now, normally I am a huge advocate of contracting out the noisy plastic things. I love that I will never, for example, feel even the slightest need for one of these. It is ideal to me she simply get that fix at daycare. Daycare is different and I do not expect to find a carbon copy of my house rules out there for rent, I doubt I would like to; it adds so much to our family to have another take on our kid. Still, I am bothered.

I can't really deal with the "management" of these kids. When there is an argument over a toy, which is often, the rules are really erratic. The idea of a turn for example seems non-existent and it seems that my daughter's turn is perpetual when I arrive, unless I say otherwise. Wha' da?

Further, there is little or no instruction. When a child does not operate one of the noisy things right the Lily takes the toy, tells them they are doing it wrong and does it for them. How does this promote the growth of independent little guys?

Overall, the day is built around strapping the kids into something, or kids running around frantically, or kids asleep. But only the latter one to a degree.

4. The peeve of the week for me has been the constant waking of my child from her nap because of the needs of Lily's own kids. What is my problem??? This is family child care, I should know what I am getting into, right? And, besides her kids are 8 and 15 it is a good scenario that my toddler ain't in competition with her 3 year old all day. Still, it bugs me that more than a couple times a week E. is roused from her nap to get in the car and pickup Lily's kid from school.

5. I am so crotchety about all this lately I can't even stand the state of food service. While I have gotten over hating the fact I have to make lunch at all. (Count 2 for N.'s being the best, lunch was included!) I am making no headway at dismissing my disdain for the daily review of what I provide. 'Oh, she a only ate one carrot today' ... "Well, better than none!" I'll say..."So fucking what?" I am thinking. You might see some again tomorrow...

I guess this stuff also goes to the philosophy thing. I would be hard-pressed to characterize this lady as patient or persistent. If something isn't working on a day she reports it as a failure. You need to bring more juice she willl not drink the water. Well, no, she will. She just would rather drink juice, don't give up! Also, she feeds all these noodle-only kids, this makes me whacko! Miss Fancy eat best when she feeds herself, I know if ain't always so tidy but whatever! Overall, she really babys them and I hate that any day of the week.

So what do you think guys??? Should I be following up on a schedule of part-time after June 30, at all? Should just smile and walk, leave a nice parting gift, and start looking for alternate arrangements? I mean there are -- as you might supect good things about Lily's... She is a craft-freak, E. loves it and we don't do that stuff at home. Lily takes the kids to library program, so she can't be all bad. I think E. likes the other kids there and we get to see at least one of the compatriots on the weekends at the park, it is a good evolving relationship for her. The price is right, location is a dream and she is in a safe and tidy environment. I loved taking her to N.'s but I think it set a false standard for me. It is hard to judge if I really have any valid complaints.

Finally, if anyone wants to tell me to talk my concerns over with Lily bear this in mind... she is not a good communicator. I hesitate to discuss stuff with her because 1.) She takes things really literally (which never works with me right, wink-wink) and 2.) it is a waste of my time. When we first started there I tried to get with Lily's meal set up. I explained, E. never had bottles, and she drinks milk from a cup, thank-you. I said I would bring a jug of her milk on Mondays and that would be enough for the week. 'Oh, ok' Lily said then for two days she packed the bottle in E.'s bag for me to take home... Why didn't she just tell me she wanted me to bring prepared cups? It's weird. And, I don't know what to do.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Recommended title: Mysterious Theolonious

Mysterious Thelonious
by Christopher Raschka

Publisher: New York : Orchard Books, ©1997.
ISBN: 0531300579 ; 0531330575

Subjects: Monk, Thelonious -- Juvenile literature

This amazing book matches the tones of the diatonic scale to the values of the color wheel to make a great read in sight and sound. Some of you already know of my pushing of great jazz books for kids, this one is perhaps the best I've found so far. 'Cept of course I didn't actually find it. It was a gift to us from a good friend a dogs age ago. Miss Fancy discovered in on OUR bookshelf last month and loves it. She is a keen mimic of the tones and enjoys playing along to fill in a broken syllable or two. We highly recommend you check out the "stor-y-a-bout-the-love-ly-mu-sic-of-Mis-ter-Monk."

Find it in a library near you with this link!

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Friday, May 19, 2006


I think you NYC people really need to look at THIS. Well we all need to look at IT

Amy Stein Photgraphy

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Most outstanding salesperson

In mid diaper change the other day my daughter started telling me a pretty elaborate story -- I thought -- for someone only 20 months old. The key character was the local realtor who gives us like 25 notepads a year and really, really, really loves selling houses. We use his notepads as drawing notebooks for Miss Fancy so she knows him well... Anyhoo, the story went like this.

Mr. Goldman. How ARE u Mr. Goallllmaan? I need a microwave. Are you very busy?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Baby name selections for the week

So it is coming down to the real crunch.

We are all set on the arrival of any little girl.. but still afraid of what we might do moniker-wise to any whelp made up of puppy-dogs' tails who may be en route. (Notwithstanding the college-draft names to which we were referred by Sarah.)

I have, of late, protested about the whitewashing of our family tree with the seriously Anglo names we are all toting. Now we are pretty damn white but actually not very Anglo. Our ancestors were for the most part Wasyls and Olgas and Vladamirs and stuff. So I am looking for a decent Slavic name if I could nail one down.

Of all the suggestions we've had in this department the only one hangin' in is the hyper-manly, Drago. P-man says "Billy Drago, he's the best!" Clearly, we need help.

ps... if you can name the winner you will be our best blogger friend FEREVER and we will actually tell you what we name the kid in reality!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Ride 'Em, Desk Jockey

One of the things I stopped doing in the latter half of the 90's (besides bathing) was riding a bike. When I was a kid I loved my bike. In my student years I spent a lot of time throwing myself down the local mountains trying to avoid striking fixed objects. At all times bike rides equated with freedom.

Last year, in a total lapse of yuppie consumer idiocy I purchased a nice Brodie from a local vendor. The sales guy is the younger brother of a former associate with whom I first plummeted down mountains while attached to a bike. He, that is, the vendor, is some kind of riding pro. Being in his presence made me feel weak. I managed to avoid, narrowly, purchasing a stupidly expensive full-suspension downhill bike.

If I counted the number of times I have ridden the bike the per ride cost would be too embarrassing to disclose (but not as embarrassing as admitting I do not know how to do the math). Yesterday, what with spring almost being over, I rode my bike across the south side of town to run some errands. It felt good to ride through neighbourhoods I enjoyed spinning through as a kid and as a young adult (bugs bouncing off my glasses, cars inexplicably honking, children diving out of my path). The spring air carried the scent of lilac, it was sunny, and I felt free (until my ass started to hurt, then I felt free of all things, except ass pain). I once again attempted to convince myself to become a bicycle commuter.

This morning as I drove to work I followed the actual version of the car pictured above. I think the guy in that car (and he owns another one which is parked in his driveway and appears to be for sale) needs some help. If you are looking to get into the wide ride the Pacer affords the discerning auto owner, let me know, I will hook you up. Meanwhile, maybe we should all chip in and buy the guy a bike.

Sunday, May 14, 2006


For years I couldn't take my wife seriously. I am an admitted jerk, a selfish lout, a slow learner. I didn't take Mo seriously (and by this I mean I could not see past my own problems and what have you) until shortly after she began labour with little e. That's when I saw Mo anew. That's also when my perspective on female genitalia was permanently and irrevocably altered.

When this typing started I was at the office, contemplating the various depressing turns this one file of mine may take (all of which involve the application of fangs to my posterior) and then, moments later, on the phone with Mo. I've been trying to score an updated and custom blog template (?) for her for mom's day but the only person I've tried so far doesn't "do" blogspot. As such, I worked the weekend chore list, while e and Mo enjoyed a sunny Saturday in town, in lieu of said interblog makeover occurring anytime soon (consider this my RFP). She's heard back from a contractor who says he will make a proposal to us while we are wondering if we should send a lowball offer on a pleasant and fairly updated farmhouse nearby and I was on the realty website looking for open houses to attend this weekend and am imagining the temporal complexity involved in the construction of the house boasting the following features: Immaculate & renovated Art Deco style 1590's home. (with dungeon?) and I am thinking - how did I get so lucky?

(It's two days later and I am trying to pop out this post lauding my wife who is a mother before mother's day is over. Relating to me today appears to have been rather trying. I feel like I may be testing the limits of my good fortune.)

I have tried to piss this life away, people (or person, as the stats indicate), and worked at it harder than many. I have difficulty dealing with my nuclear (Chernobyl) family (that is a grotesque overstatement... it should read "Love Canal") and people in general. People are weird. They have needs. Their needs aren't mine, they even may impinge on mine, and that is undesireable. I feel lost at times, or insincere, confused if what I want is what I want or just what I think someone else wants from me. My mind, as the song goes (sort of) is often looking for stones to throw. Thankfully, amidst the timeless "what about me" populating my brain, I have the gift of the present with my lovely daughter, and the lady who brought her to me.

Notwithstanding my wife's deplorable taste in men (or, man), she is a stellar person, a brave lady, caring and kind, sensible and fun. This year marks 16 years together- when did we get so old? Mo hung out with me during the last gasp of my promising youth, she raised no small hell with me when I was an Arthur Lee wannabe, and, most heavily of all, she has stuck by me as I descend into bourgeois pigdom. She has held me together, been unafraid to call me on my bullshit (which as you may appreciate is a full-time occupation), and has loved me when I would not. She has given me our daughter (insert suitable comment re: high quality and lengthy duration of this gift). I love her. I can't say it enough (and I probably don't).

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Eclectic Koolaid Acid Test [Pattern]

Upon terra firma you people scare me. I had a list of mother groups in my neighbourhood, at the community centre and over at a church grinning and welcoming me in the moments after the placenta hit the floor... but I did not go. I had mat leave buddies that drifted off once mat leave wrapped up and I know 4 new mom's for the '06 season. I do not write. I do not call. For the most part...

... For the most part I hold this family together with duct tape and dental adhesive, go to work, tolerate the relations and spend all time spare to that in love with my beautiful baby girl. A pretty full life, made fuller though the comfort of my asynchronous mama contacts on the Interweb I tap into whenever I suits me. They compose an ideal social set for a very, very lazy and somewhat selfish person with time management issues.

Her Majesty, Her Bad Mother, has put it to me, and to others, this Mother's day to carve the ruts in the information highway a little deeper via her blog. I am supposed to give-over the really good Mamas I love and why I love them. All in response to a myopic newbie blog-hog who endeavoured to attack a good hunk of my blogourhood as being mindless drones of shocking sameness. Can this person read? No koolaid here 'cept maybe the kind drawn by Kesey.

I do believe HBM wants me to help her with the heavy lifting of rehabilitating the world-wide reputation of Canadian mother bloggers after this recent fender-bender. Am I up to it..? Well, I do love a good quiz so here's my response to the Contest ... I'll reframe it as Mo-Wo's reads, the Eclectic Koolaid Acid Test Pattern. Some readers might require protective eyewear
These Mothers are sharp and in the truest definition of acid, so sharp at times as to cause mental pain. I love it. Call me crazy. Count 'em up and you'll find a stay-at-home, a couple of work-at-homes and a go-to-work mama. Three kids, two kids, one kids, too -- then bless the cookie who's with me on cookin' up a point-two. What is the common thread? Na-da. Special, special people.

I expect those coming here come with good understanding of the established value of HBM to the blogourhood so over and above that lady, here is my set, nothing but a sip of the koolaid in a sea of really really clever chicks that can be found via the blog-rolls on any one of these... They are all special and different, my compass, North and South, East and West.

1. Cookie, who taught me to love my child without worrying if I didn't always love motherhood.
2. SJ, who showed me the way into all this. What a voice.
3. Kittenpie, who showed up late and put me on a second wind, introduced me to group of new blogs I needed to know; and, made me change my template.
4. L. who has never written one post, not one word I did not find interesting.

If they don't mix it up enough for you guys... drop in and get some free family management guidance from Mary, or get a touch of kindness from Granny or make it a regular thing to listen to that lady that belongs to that Chicky Chicky Baby. I can't stop! Please see my blog-roll, and all of theirs, too!

It would be more than remiss to not acknowledge the sage voice in MamaBlogging, the queen of frankness who I first kowtowed to in celebration of a very new year around here, MIM. Honey, you da man.

And as a last word must go to the most, loving, inspirational, well-spoken and trenchant -- or is that sensitive? mommy blogger I can't do without. Godfather of my blog genre, and I mean this with the love people, I heart Dutch ... most of the time. Honey, you are some mother.


Thursday, May 11, 2006

Recommended title: Over in the Meadow

Over in the meadow / illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats.
Four Winds, or Scholastic, 1971.
Counting-out rhymes
Animals -- Poetry

ISBN: 0590091956 (Scholastic); 0140565086 (Puffin)

Something nice for springtime.. one of the many great Ezra Jack Keats books. Looking over the EJK site I am reminded of the librarian at my elementary school. A lot of the books there brought back the blissful school day moments amassed on the floor of the library .. great stories like this being poured into me. Less and less often do our schools offer times in the library like the ones I had; a dedicated teller of stories and an information provider focussed on kids is too much of a luxury these days. Such is the case in a world that now offers, BabyFirstTV???

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Doan worrie

On the upside; please note the following darling child utterance of the day.
"Heyayy, doan worrie. Doan worrie 'bout IT"
Ahhhhhhh. So sweet.


On the not upside... I am so annoyed. Came home late from work today -- bad mommy bad! -- Grandmother is head baby sitter. In the house find the following, 1 father, 1 grandfather, 1 grandmother and toddler. Is there any dinner for the child? No? Is it dinnertime, yes? It is well past dinnertime. This is ongoing thing, unfortunately, not an isolated incident.

I will likely spontaneously combust the next time I read about how hard it is for [insert auxiliary child care provider here, e.g. father] to deal with controlling mothers who just don't let other people do it their way. People you are driving me crazy; a little initiative, please... your way is invisible. I keep dumping all my organizational fetishes and what is it getting us?.... well, me, I am so annoyed. I'm having one of those dark days where it seems to be the conspiracy of the passive agressives to get me back to SAHMland ASAP. It's like 8 weeks everyone, can you get it together 'til then?

Yep, I am all ready for the wonder of Mother's Day.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Crankity Crank Crank

No, this is not a posting on the virtues of metamphetamines, but a celebration of my curmudgeonly self. I alluded recently (a cry for help, really) to an inreased feeling of frustration with my mode of communication. I felt like a one-note wonder, a one-trick pony, a lazy bastard. Many posts, one theme. Maybe I am, but now I am less troubled by it.

I express my gratitude to MetroDad who has given me strength to embrace myself, though not in the onanistic sense. I continue to live in shame, squniting in sunlight, adjusting my raincoat, and so on. You are a burning bush, dude! Maybe that's not the best epithet I could offer. I'll try again: My thanks to stink-footed MetroDad, for his helpful encouragement. (Homer I isn't.)

During my time in the wilderness (roughly two weeks), I searched my soul for answers to like, totally important questions. I can't remember any examples of these questions for illustrative purposes but these were questions of VITAL spirirtual and ethical importance. Ok, I remember one: if I join a mainstream religion, or not so mainstream religion, will I immediately become happy, content, and free? Where can I find guaranteed enlightenment? A tennis court in Tokyo? A forest glade? Wal Mart? If so, like, what religion? So I checked me out some religions, as here is some of what I found:


I like to say, think something something... act locally. So I started with this outfit. Perhaps the secrets of life, happiness, and contentment lie in the reorganization of my name according to numerlological... numerlogal, numerologicical... on some hot-damn numeric system designed by the enlightened for the endarkened. Some might say it is a system designed by cranks to extract loot from the weak. That does not sound like any religion of which I have ever heard.

The philosophy of this group, as announced, suggests the arrangement of the letters in my name determines who I am. If I am unhappy with who I am, I can change the letters of my name around. The following is an example of how it all works. Below is the result of my first-name assessment from the KP website:

Although the name ---- creates the urge to be reliable and responsible, we emphasize that it causes procrastination, lack of confidence, and the inability to realize your goals and ambitions.

This name, when combined with the last name, can frustrate happiness, contentment, and success, as well as cause health weaknesses in the fluid systems, and worry or mental tension.

The name of ---- has made you serious-minded, responsible, and stable. You love the security of a home and family, you are fond of children, and, as a parent you would be fair and understanding. Although you have good business judgment, you are not aggressive in your dealings because you do not like to create issues.

You would be successful in any position dealing with the public as you have a diplomatic and tactful manner and possess a charming, easy-going nature which puts people at ease.

People are drawn to you because they feel that you are patient, kind, understanding, and responsive.

This sounds... like bullshit. Sure, I have a weakness for fluids, or am incontinent at embarrassing times, or both at once, but this description is entirely inaccurate. It isn't stated in vague enough terms to permit me to read myself into the text...

The name-assessment generator may as well say: The name ---- confers upon you the wit and charm of a used prophylactic. You are miserable, more miserable than you are capable of knowing, such is your delusion. Give us money and we will analyse your name. We will, upon receipt of more money, and your daughter's virtue, suggest your condition is improving. Plus the church leader has been jailed for certain, um, indiscretions. By indiscretion I mean having sex with minors. I guess I wouldn't have been very attractive to this group.

Unwanted, but undaunted, I continued my search. More later, you lucky reader.

P-man out.

Monday, May 08, 2006

A word to the zephyrs

At times questions seem to arise about the place of anonymity in all this blogging. The place? Uhm, let us say the factor of anonymity. What is the proper level, seems to come up for one. What about pictures? In our case of parent blogging, when do we get past simply embarrassing our kids and start exploiting them? When we began connecting to this writing life we constructed our edifice. For security and for fun, but also for distance-making within ourselves, I do believe.

I should be clear, if I haven't already... I find that parental blogging affords me a degree of freedom and relief not accessible elsewhere. I have at times felt need to explain (and continually fail) that while I never misrepresent myself or my related cast-mates... I am someone else in this venue.

When Dutch posited that some very serious ethical questions exist in reference to representation of our children online, I thought, well yeah. I thought about it some more. Wrote a couple drafts and I guess in the end I agree that blogging does not run a serious peril of being exploitative. Reality, on the other hand, that is a slam dunk/minefield of exploitation.


In all my (quite half-hearted) parenting research the resonant stream of what instructs me about the childrearin' is that I should raise an independent child. I tell the new Moms I know "It is six months of falling in love and 21 years of heartbreak" ... and remember I don't actually know anything, it just, you know, sorta... looks like it's going that way. With each day I am more crushed by the distance coming between my once omniscient powers and the person under construction. Simultaneously, every ounce of strength I summon to support this arrangement orginates in my oscillating pride and awe in her abilities. I didn't pause after birth and yell to p-man, "Quick get it on tape, she's breathing air. Do you believe it??"... But now I gasp as she climbs to the slide on her own -- or when she puts on her own pants, even when they are a shirt and the leg/armholes are all backwards. I shed some very memorable tears the first time I was accused of not wanting my daughter to be independent of me. Thanks Mom! I do. ...But, I don't.

The artifact that is this blog is not something I will ever repackage for the use of my children. It is for myself and for p-man. To know you all I suppose. To feed my slackass parenting research cycle from my living room chair, pjs dotted with ice cream drips and tea at my elbow. Also, it is a way for me to cling to her stages, I really hate that characterisation but alas I am not the writer; to cling to her stages in some manner of degrees. I can represent her for what she is not with each post. I can keep her young in the afterthoughts of my day with you in a manner not possible as my hand floats around her periphery should she stumble going to the slide. I can suppress my bemusement in her face and instead lay out my praise to her good dressing habits chanting her attributes as a big girl. To her face I must deconstruct myself, her mother.

While my pint-sized muse might at some age have a curiosity about this thing I would not want her at it. Because, it is an unruly artifact and it is unfair, at times unethical. It is a venue of exploitation. But lucky for us it is not so popular as to make me worry overmuch.

In some untrodden region of my mind,
Where branched thoughts, new grown with pleasant pain,
Instead of pines shall murmur in the wind:
Far, far around shall those dark-cluster’d trees
Fledge the wild-ridged mountains steep by steep;
And there by zephyrs, streams, and birds, and bees,
The moss-lain Dryads shall be lull’d to sleep;
Ode to Psyche -- Keats, John


Sunday, May 07, 2006

Wo Family Open House Project Episode 4

Two more reasons I won't be moving from this house. Despite the two open houses we are going to this afternoon.


These guys nest here each year. Sing beautifully and look like this on a sunny morning. They did lose one fledgling to our man Flip shortly after E. was born. I decided our girl was even tempered when my complaining to p-man on the phone was interrupted by my blood curdling screams at the sight of Flip with the bird in his mouth. Bird dying right there in my bedroom, way to go tough guy E. was 3 weeks old and nursing and it did not faze her one bit.


I am cheap! I refuse to buy exfoliant; preferring to line-dry my towels.

Saturday, May 06, 2006


Is how I feel. I have had a file go sideways recently and am now wondering if my insurer takes claims on weekends. I hate to suffer alone. Being completely unskilled in any useful endeavour I don't have much of a fallback career. But I dramatize- one of my partners said: I don't think you need to call your insurer... yet. What a relief!

Mo has likely mentioned that E is a pretty easy child in many respects, except when it comes to eating, where she is less easy, and daddy melts down. Sometimes I am filled with, hm, apprehension when I am the mealparent. Today I was the lunchparent and lunch was, inter alia, buckwheat soba. This post is dedicated to the inventor of buckwheat soba. Why we do not feed these yummy things to E all the time is unknown to me. O lovely buckwheat, cousin of ruby-legged rhubarb, I sing your name!

The end.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Baby name selections for the week

So I guess we hit the mother lode! Eternal thanks to Sarah who has brought our search for a name for our potential new son to a halt with her stellar post! (And those of you who know me know I really don't use my exclamation points lightly.)

So back on the girls name seeking, I guess. All the girls in my Grandpa's family were named with 'M' names, like me. My paternal great grandmother's middle name was Minerva, which I think kicks. (Is that Minnie Drivers' full name?) So if we were blessed with a further marginalization of the male minority around here come July which, if any of the stuffy old WASP names here appeal to those of you out there in Radioland?

I like Monica.. but everyone always reminds me.. Lewinsky so it is a dead duck right?

ps.. One last word on the boys.. You know, I have always like Tarquin, Laurence Olivier named his first child this. P-man was not a supporter. Then last week I told him it was an Old Etruscan name and he is digging it now. Which only makes sense since those Modern Etruscan names are so gauche.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Kicking Television

I love tv. Where else could these two meet?

I should qualify the first statement. I love tv a lot, like, quite a bit. Can't get enough of that sugar crisp. It's an unhealthy and unnatural 2-D love. The remote, the remote is not merely an extension of my attenuated member, but of my unconscious mind's desire to meet interesting people, see interesting places, and become involved with thrilling events without having to a) meet people, who are almost uniformly annoying; b) purchase air tickets for some outlandish price, line up in a vast building filled with harried and annoying people like me, and officious airport/airline people who are annoying, or macho security types who ask me to undo my pants (because they can, and because those cheesy cop-wannabes love weenies!) or take off my shoes (even worse), and then sit in some aluminum tube crushed up against some other space-deprived types breathing canned air, foot odor, ass sweat, turning down the styro-food and the $5 pillow which is the size of a Costanza wallet and about as soft while I sit in my seat fully reclined the 2.5 allowable degrees while the guy in front of me reclines and hey his seat goes back much further than mine! all the while waiting for the plane to crash into something, or fall, or otherwise not work, while we are unable to leave the plane in the manner helpfully demonstrated by the in-flight air waiters and my knuckles whiten, clutching as I am at my armrests, awaiting the next terminal, the next security guard, the next line up; or c) to actually engage in the risk involved in participating in thrilling events.

In any event, watching tv is way easier than actually having a life, and if I am anything, I am lazy. If I could spell lazy with 2 letters, I would. If I could spell "Attempting to avoid reality by the most vapid and puerile means imaginable" with 2 letters, I would. I can, however, spell it with 2 numbers, and they are "24".

If you watch this show, and if you enjoy this show, without an ironic nod to the fact that it is paranoid, facile, and doltishly predictable, I pause to ask: What is wrong with you? Explain yourself fool, or feel my virtual boot on your cottage cheesy ass. (I pause to note the purveyor of this pig's bung of a show, Mr. Sutherland, is the grandson of the man voted to be the Greatest Canadian on some overlong tv show produced by our fearless national broadcaster. It's weird to me that a socialist politician from the flat middle of our dominion, the so-called father of socialized health care, would in some way be related to the owner/star/producer/svengali of this most hateful expression of jingoistic nonsense.) (To be fair, there are more crass expressions of the human endeavour[like that show with the tall blond woman and the little guy with all the clocks][or the news on Fox, CNN, whatever, the news], but they aren't on my cable package. Most, therefore, is entirely relative.) This show would improve considerably if the main character, with his salt of the middle-earth name, would just get killed. Everyone around him dies. Why won't he?

Speaking of my efforts at avoiding reality what is up with the West Wing? I'm not saying I haven't watched the show for, say, years, because I have (even though it has turned the volume knob up to SUCK more often than not for the last few). There have been enough reasons to keep watching to which I have adverted above: poor cable package, laziness, the other shows are way worse. I was able to suspend my disbelief over the overt disparity between the fake president (erudite, capable of reasoned thought, diplomatic) and the real one (stupid, unreasoning, aggressive), the re-election of a democrat (as far-fetched as the election of the actual president), but not the "there is an asteroid coming to hit us let's talk about it for an hour and see if it hits us!" episode. That was too much. I thought the show could sink no lower, but it has.

Now, this whole third election win for the democrats, it's too unlikely, too unreal. It's wishful thinking of the highest order, sort of like the thinking it will work to bomb foreign cultures into accepting our way of life might be considered "wishful thinking". Oh, and the episode where the man who plays the fake president, and is an alcoholic, wrote an open letter, during the presidential campaign, to the press about the poor moral fibre of the man who plays the actual president, apparently an alcoholic... that was episode was almost REAL, but still sucked. (Oh, that was real.)

But back to the sheeew... Mo was watching the program when I started to type this. President Victor Sifuentes offered a really plum job to his opponent in the federal election, Senator Hawkeye Pierce. This series is deader than dead but the limbs are still twitching for all to see. Rob Lowe is back, who's next, Jennilee Harrison? I have a suggestion for the producers of the program: it's time for a spinoff starring the detritus of the cast and some other tv actors. They could hook up with Tony Shalhoub and Donnelly Rhodes for "Wet Wings", or with Merlin Olsen for "Little White House on the Prairie". Maybe Ken Howard in "The White House Shadow". I'd watch that.

It would be improper to suggest these are the worst offenders in the televerse. I just don't watch those other programs. They suck.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Recommended title: A Lovely Day for Amelia Goose

A lovely day for Amelia Goose / Yu Rong.

Candlewick Press, 2004.
Day -- Juvenile fiction.
Geese -- Juvenile fiction.
Frogs -- Juvenile fiction.

ISBN: 0763623091

Tells the, oh so good for little ones, tale of Amelia Goose and her friend Frog having a good day playing in the pond. Miss Fancy was completely nuts for this one around age 10 months, but still likes it. We gave it to our previous child care provider in thanks for all the lovely days. Only faux pas there is implying she is Frog like? Yikes.

Though some are critical of the illustrations I like their simple cut out feel, a lot like books I had when I was young I suppose. And, we still use critical sploosh references at bath time. Besides who can dismiss an author with that moniker?

Click to find out more about Yu Rong and the book.

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A post to get me fired... I wish!

So I have a few gigs on the go most of the time. I am a third generation multi-tasker. And, how is that going? Not well.

From the onset of our girl -- and I do mean the onset... it has all started to unravel. I can no longer just hang out at work for 12 hours, and go in all weekend, just to make it all alright. I can't flit through the 1-3 jobs without some measure of tears at times and displeasure with my performance. This is not necessarily a bad thing.

My current work-faces are, 1. HELLO MOTHER!, 2. Media and Systems Librarian for my city School Board 3. Sessional lecturer. As some of you have already read I struggled last month with parting with some opportunities with the last gig. What did I do?

I flaked out. I did quit the Fall gig and don't you just know they asked me if I could recommend anyone else. Yuck. DON'T ask me that! I was really hopeful they would hold the class over to January when I said I could teach it, but no luck. Instead, I'll just accelerate my descent down the pecking order. Super. It went horribly. I accomplished this escape by trying to raise the department head by phone, and failing that, writing a highly tentative email with my eyes closed. She completely misunderstood my first message and almost had me fired off a second gig I have with them and want to keep. As I knew was the case email is a really shitty way to do this sort of thing.

Then just when I had settled into my weakness for about 24-some hours... I all of a sudden seemed to inherit the Midas touch of sucking at my desk job. Everything I touch goes to crap. An annual event I coordinate for our schools went entirely sideways. Let's just say I was knee deep in Catbert and hubris. I am one of those novitiate bureaucrats who really thinks 'I think outside the box, what is wrong with them'... Don't they get the service part of public service? I'll show them. LOL, everybody!

So, just in time for the nuthatch to start kicking away at the uterine wall nightly, circa 1am, I have a barrel full of worries to contemplate. Friday, Saturday and Sunday I was up 1 to 3 hours eacch writing 'cure all emails' I'll never send and beating my head over my failure to have not earlier put in the extra hours to 'make it all alright'. Fun! Tomorrow all the shit will hit the fan so I hopefully will resurface, only slightly resurfaced with feces, sometime on the weekend.

You tell me, do you think it could be the hormones? (This question might be a trick.)

Thanks so much to those out there who helped me quite a bit through this crapfest. Especially, HM-HBM, that's Her Majesty, Her Bad Mother around our house.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Here's the thing..

New moms have a weird relationship with cleanliness.

When I was fresh into my stay-at-homedness I swiffer'ed everyday. Hell, I don't think I even had a swiffer pre-natal! And, I AM A NEAT freak. Ask around. My cleaning ladies mix dissappointment in when they compliment me on how clean my bathroom is. (When they come by every couple weeks. I still do the bi-weekly 'good' job with the family touch.)

As my child has grown I have discovered not just the swifffer, but the swiffer duster and Lysol wipes. This week I have felt the pull to try out a quick wipe clean up product for wood. WHY? why WHHHY??? Why all this cleaning. And, now for the patented mo-wo 'here's the thing' and 'will you or will you not confirm my opinion' dear readers... Well, you know what I think it is??
1. More people come over -- especially folks like in-laws.
2. You are home all the time making a mess yet don't want to live in it.
3. You ramp up your standards because there are untold numbers of infants dying from killer dust bunnies and pablum spores.
4. It is something we can control so we go a little nuts for it.

Ok. So my real curiosity is how many people agree with me on #4. I remember a discussion I had with a friend about new motherhood. I think I was in month 8 and she was in month 2. In the entirety of the conversation the only time she actually relaxed her voice was where she outlined the great system she had in place to keep her house tidy. I, quite and entirely hypocritically, asked myself, "Why is this important?"

But people are doing it. They are cleaning like mad. We are realizing new standards and seeking out help we previously would have resented. We are manning our Dyson's and getting neat all over. Why is that? I was always neat and I guess why I think of it now is that it seems we are in a perpetual state of unclean. Is it the poop, or what? I don't really think so. For myself I find that a really good clean, or even a well sustained inter-clean tidy, does make me feel good. It is something unequivocally good for my family and something that offers me instant gratification. Gives me back the control I think of as characterising my pre-motherhood days. If only I could capture that old feeling at work again...! (but more on that tomorrow......)