Saturday, September 30, 2006

This Is (Not) the End (Yet)

The list, such as it is, continues. Please try to contain your enthusiasm. Given the content and quality of Mo's recent musings I accept this line of posting's presence on this page is the equivalent of William Shatner sharing a mic with Paul Robeson. The internet, like tv, is some kind of incongruity generator, I guess.

30. BEATLES Revolver (1966)
Some unfortunates can listen to the Stones without noticing the brain damage it is causing. Other unfortunates can listen to the Beatles, or worse yet, Paul McCartney, and not notice the cavities forming in their brains as a result of the insipid, saccharined offerings he began to spew out, I can't say when (1965? at birth?), but I hope he stops. Maybe he will produce a rage-filled screed against people with odd-numbered limbs once his divorce is finalized... angry Paul. The balance of this album is good enough (well, I think so) to overcome the dross and still rate highly. There is no point describing any album by the Beatles. Your parents own it. FS: I Want to Tell You

29. VAN MORRISON Astral Weeks (1967)
I can barely recall the midnight in a smoke filled hockey trip Buffalo motel room bacchanal wherein I was introduced to “Van the Man” by our back-up goalie. I detested it briefly before passing out. I got this record this a few years later as my phony hippie thing was in full stride. I loved it then and still do. For a short Irish guy in a caftan, Mr. Morrison made some haunting and beautiful music. Sadly, it isn’t on any of his other records that I’ve heard. FS: Ballerina

28. JOHNNY CASH Live at Folsom Prison (1968)
E likes this album and knows more of the lyrics than I do. Of course, I don’t really pay attention to lyrics unless she is singing them. FS: Jackson

27. NEKO CASE Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (2006)
I will confess this though it may mean my death: I love this woman (her voice, anyway). I don’t know what to make of this record. It’s like, deep, or something. In any event, this appears to be an example of contemporary music which is considered, played well, and which does not suck. FS: John Saw That Number

XTC by any other name is way funnier than XTC (and still good). FS: Bike Ride to the Moon

25. FLEETWOOD MAC Live at the Boston Tea Party (1998)
Recorded a matter of weeks before Peter Green left the band to become Jesus or something like that, this album captures my favourite Mac right before it ended, while Green was apparently disintegrating as a result of narcotic abuse, or just being crazy, playing shows in robes, wearing a crucifix, etc.. Using the Clapton reference to no good effect, Peter Green was god or at least he may have feared that was the case. FS: Green Manalishi

24. CREAM Disraeli Gears (1967)
I am not a huge fan of Clapton. Too many drunken albums, fey lyrics, and Phil Collins associations. This band, however, was the band Zeppelin wanted to be. All three of these guys go to school while spouting some, er, heavy lyrics which were not in the slightest way influenced by, er, LSD. This band was too intense to last for long (or, too loaded to stand up for long, I can’t quite remember). FS: We’re Going Wrong

23. JACO PASTORIUS Jaco (1976)
I am not aware of any other bass players who suffered the triple indignity of living on the street and being beaten to death by a night club manager and ending up on my list. Oh! The bathos! FS: Kuru/Speak Like a Child

22. STEELY DAN Pretzel Logic (1974)
The last appearance on this list by the mama-hammering session drummer, Jim Gordon. This band was able to combine the exceptionally low-brow with a high degree of sophistication and they did so here with great variety and precision. Well-crafted but not inhuman sounding pop. FS: With a Gun

21. EAST BAY RHYTHM A Little Love Will Help (2002)
This album is funkier that a sweatshirt worn for 10 consecutive workouts and stored in a gym bag between exercise events (and I make no apologies for enjoying the disco passages,., this is a late-release 70s product). Of course, you need consider the source (me) when assessing the validity of the preceding analogy. By way of reference, my hockey equipment was treated in a manner similar to that described above with similar results but I thought that reference too arcane. At least you can try the sweatshirt thing at home. FS: Chuda

20. HERBIE HANCOCK HeadHunters (1973)
Apparently this is an influential work. Since I am influenced easily I purchased this album after reading about it somewhere.

So, buy this album. It won’t hurt a bit. FS: Watermelon Man

19. PINK FLOYD Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967)
As my list discloses, at least to me, I enjoy music written and performed by young men losing their minds while the tape is running. This is a prime example of that, mmm, genre. Maybe it would look more like a genre if I employed hyphens. The degree of psychedelic whimsy on this album is off the charts, not that there is a chart showing that sort of thing. I have listened to this album far too many times for it to be healthy. FS: Flaming

18. TAJ MAHAL The Natch’l Blues (1968)
Great late 60’s electric blues with arrangements and guitar from the incomparable Jesse Ed Davis. That guy was too cool for school. Of course, he died in a Laundromat in the late 80’s, so what do I know. FS: The Cuckoo

17. JANE’S ADDICTION Ritual de lo Habitual (1991)
I used to hang out with this Croatian guy. His family came from Split. He was friends with this Split-connected kid who lived in Santa Indica or some such place. He told me one nefarious eve to listen to JA. They were “awesome”, or ”wicked” or something. I laughed it off and bought Europe ’72, which is a horrible album by an entirely overrated band. Later, much later, I heard this album and it blew me away. The guy was right- this album is awesome. I guess I am just another angry white guy. Hmm.

Boy, I sure feel cool referring to these guys now… since the demise of the band one of them dated Ms. Morissette, one is a dj at cheese shops, tea houses, and other places where crustless sandwiches are served, and another is both a tv relationship-ho and host of the execrable “Rock Star” series. You know, referring to these guys makes me feel old and slightly silly. FS: Three Days

16. LITTLE FEAT Waiting for Columbus (1978)
The most overrated underrated band of which I am aware. There isn’t a throwaway on this cd. Rather than attempt to explain or justify my decision I urge you to download the following song. FS: Fat Man in the Bathtub

15. JOHN COLTRANE Afro Blue Impressions (2000)
As one may surmise, if you have slogged through this list: I enjoy extemporized pieces. Coltrane, for those of you who live in caves (yet somehow have wireless) was a master at taking a simple theme and expanding on it, and expanding further, and then doing scales (what’s with that?). He changed how I listen to music. He is not alone in so doing (the top 30 acts each have done that to varying degrees) but of that lot he is somewhat distinct in avinge attempted to achieve the spiritual through music (or something like that). McCoy Tyner has a solo on this record (recorded live in the early 1960s), which is the aural equivalent of gratifying sex with a human (because there are other kinds of… nevermind). FS: Spiritual

Deeply embarrassed for discussing my record collection, again, P-man out.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Raise a Reader OR not

Earlier this month HBM asked that later in some week we post about our cause. Vis a vis some shapemaking on the hurricane of individualism and opinion that is blogging it was suggested we speak up and do more than mark this world with words.

I protest.

My cause is that of words. Today is Raise a Reader day in Canada and (while there are corporate underpinnings to this event that trouble me) it seems an apropos day to post about this cause (oh yes and I finally got around to it). Generally, the cause is my obsession and my profession -- free reading! Specifically, I will try to make you think about school libraries before you leave this post...

Before all this blogging there were the few other things we could not do without each other, fire brigades, electricity, democracy and such. In the context of a small village interview I heard a father once say that his community needed to provide light, water, doctors, schools and libraries. These are things community can do well together they root naturally in shared interest and reciprocity. Caretaking words and thoughts and offering them as widely as possible is important. (see also: Library Bill of Rights)

Or is it still important?

In recent years a lot of to-do has been made of how this medium [media?], the Internet, will replace libraries. Peshaw. I was in our library last night and it was teeming with people. People reading with their kids. People learning new skills in community classes.. Even *gasp* people who probably don't have access to the Internet at home. I know from my history working in libraries since 1992 that libraries are great advocates and participants in the force formerly known as the Information Superhighway.

But we must look out, most libraries are stressed to the maximum. As governments toss aside the social contract for user fees and stakeholder investment the cancer-people start having to hawk more black-tie events than ever and the libraries have to shorten hours and limit book budgets. Our city library gets cut every year, which is hard for an organization that is relatively cheap to run; damn the economy of them!

Nowhere are cutbacks to libraries more severe these days than in our schools. It is a paucity of reading and information being put on a generation. Many of you who read here have children, I'll ask you today to do something about this. Please, please when your children are at school expect that they will have access to a well-stocked AND STAFFED school library. Fewer and fewer kids are getting this every year. I'll ask you to expect a library that is not a dusty book warehouse but a service centre where every child in the school can 'fill up' with anything they want. A good school library program is the program for every kid at school. School libraries are special and increasingly rare. While I loved my years at the public library, public libraries are largely anonymous intersections -- the drive-through windows so to speak. School libraries are like grandma's kitchen. Teacher-librarians toss out 'History of the Redman' and buy all the right Amelia Bedelias/Goosebumps/Jane Austen to keep kids well fed with information and reading material. School library programs are not for this class or that, for the gifted or the challenged, they are for the whole school -- and for all of us.

When I started working at the school board IT department trust me I was clueless. But in the intervening years I have seen where good, and bad, programs affect our kids and the coming society. Help your school help your children to read and please do raise a reader. Volunteer in your library and try to love your teacher-librarian, they are very special teachers who possess -- and stoke -- the staggering multitude of skills that function as literacy in this society. A good teacher-librarian knows every child in the school, they let every reader take whatever they want in their pursuit of reading and enlightenment, while being able to slip in a title or two to support emergent reading skills. They work with classroom teachers to make sure kids learn to use books AND the web. A lot has been made of critical thinking skills on this blog and elsewhere little can do more for the growth of these skills among children that providing the widest possible number of resources to kids in our school libraries.

School libraries love them or lose them.

If you want to take an active interest your school library here is what you need to do.

Get to know the research and let your school principal know you expect a good school library program. More than one study has shown that students perform better at schools with active school libraries. Test scores and access to school libraries linked - library report a challenge for new Minister of Education ... and more like this

Volunteer and support school libraries with love. No moving all your damp National Geographics over there from your garage isn't gonna do it.

Join supporting organizations. Canadians might consider the emerging group called the Canadian Coalition for School Libraries(there is a BC Chapter. I'll refer the Americans in the crowd to the @ your school library campaign of the ALA.

And, today September 28th is Raise-a-reader day -- you can buy a newspaper in Vancouver, or Toronto, or Edmonton and elsewhere and every penny of its cost will go to funding family literacy programs, and school libraries who are trying to get $$$ any which way they can in this economy.

We do this together or not at all.

And, in true HBM homage here are my readers to be to spur you along.

1. Baby E on school Libraries day 2004

2. Baby A givin' the thumbs up for libraries -- he was 11 weeks and 17lbs Monday

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Drive by lawyering

One thing I am lucky to not have to worry about as a librarian is people asking me for free professional advice at parties. I mean not one person has ever drawn me close over a drink and said,

"I'm sorry to bother you with this. But if you have a moment could you give me your opinion on a situation I am dealing with. I really wonder what IS the best way is to classify my cookbooks -- by course or preparation method?"

Sure I work in IT so I have done hours of service on my FIL's workstation, my auntie's digital camera, I have even fielded some questions on image archiving for a neighbour who wants me to go over their setup... but enough bragging about how saavy I am. I am preaching to the choir... n'est ce pas?

My point?

This is nothing like being a member of one of the fashionable, good enough to be a tv show professions like doctorage, or teachering sometimes or especially lawyerentology. (I find the power of the latter profession so strong that people will even seek lawyer's-wife-legal-advice from me as a proxy. hahahahaha.)

I have a rule around here: NO advice for relatives -- ESPECIALLY PARENTS. Anything given is a schpiel and not actually advice. It is worth what it costs only -- which is nothing. The potential flighty legal interpretations that can compound at a lawyers house, answering machine or cocktail party, are considerable. Hell even our car is a target.

After E. was born I started wondering if I could get p-man's opinion about a little issue I have about driving to my parents house. You see coming home the HOV lane is for 2+ persons so obviously we can use it when I'm in the car with p-man. But on the way there the lane is 3+ persons. Now in Canada a child is not a legal person, so I wonder, is this intentional? Can I use the lane with two adults and one child? Or with one adult and two children?

Of course due to my rule I still haven't got a straight answer from the p-man. This is not at all unusual.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Mother-Woman goes Big Daddy

A drive with me is likely a long outpouring (downpouring) of rabble for p-man. Despite my self-declared status as the iron man of childbearing and care, it gets to me sometimes. Here's how.

Recently, I have been accused of being something like the Tasmanian Devil or General Patton. Corralling the the two kids involves precision timing, flexibility, and well, a considerable amount of yelling. My time with youngins' now outweighs my time with adults. And the adults are really pissing me off. I have turned into Big Daddy .. Oh God, not that big daddy the big daddy

I am more than eager to make hay in the time I have with the adults. I ramble on at high speed when in their company; soaking them in either my trademark breezy banter or some grave parenting issue for the day (potty training, sibling rivalry, breastfeeding, etc). And, what do they give me..?


I am disgusted with it... Mendacity. I could write a book on it...Mendacity. Look at all the lies that we got to put up with. Pretenses. Hypocrisy. Now why can't ya live with it? You've got to live with it. There's nothin' to live with but mendacity. Is there?

Over the little stuff you guys give me lies.. Please! Stop it... Give me a break. The entirety of my conversations are a long the lines of vacuous consolation. Give me a break. Stop droppin' me a line.. who do you think I am Sienna Miller??

You won't be home at 5:30. That casserole was not any good. The toddler is mad about sibling. My house is not clean 'enough'. The cats ARE fat. It is not all fine. She did poop on the floor. He did poop in my lap. I don't have enough money for a new house. He does need his own room!

Dismiss me one more time at your peril. Frick, I so need some women over here for a drink so I can stop spending all my free moments no one but my children's 'helpful' grandparents, oh yes and on the internet.

Now ain't that hypocrisy.

ps.. Thanks everyone for your messages last week, meant a lot.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Would You Come

Here's an email I just sent out to Moms I promised to hook up with this summer.....

Dear Everyone:

It is a nice sunny day today and promises to be tomorrow, too. As you are among the many mamas I yahoo'ed about hooking up with for drinks in my yard on sunny Friday afternoons -- a bit on an explanation.

Where did your invite go? It is likely the last sunny near summer Friday afternoon tomorrow and so far you have not once heard me beckon you to the lawn for a martini or g & t. What gives?

Well, it appears to me now that this was the most naive plan I made of all my naive plan making about being a mother of 2. (Sort of like thinking I could do without daycare, ha!) Every Wednesday or so I start the list in my mind of a.) how I should really throw caution to the wind and ask mamas and babies over on Friday afternoon and then b.) that my family is disaster by the end of the week and really, no one needs to see that. Besides, E. is sleeping (or maybe not, yuck-yuck) in the afternoon so when would I make the invite for? After nap?? When is that exactly these days????

Further... I have my on again / off again contractor sawdusting up said back yard so where would I put all these mamas? All these babies??

Basically, it is pandemonium over here. Ever since I returned home, and then since the birth of our little nuthatch, I have been lookin' for the new normal. Trying to work out a system, you know how I love a system! But, it eludes me. The first four weeks I just wrote off due to the whole tyranny of the newborn thing. Then I had 4 weeks of toddler backlash. Since then I have toyed with 7 more days of system-seeking but at this point as Mr. Cash says, Foo it! There will be no system, routine is beyond fluid.

So what is it like over here?

Well my baby sleeps pretty well overnight and my girl, too. I start my day at 5AM and then me and the infant are dozey humans until about 9 AM. Daughter requires action by 9:30AM so we try to provide for this by heading outside to do stuff until about 11:30, which is lunchtime. Afternoon nap for the girl can commence after lunch; teething and contractors permitting -- why did no one remind me of two-year-molars when I decided to birth a second human when my first offspring was 22 months old????? In the afternoon I roll with the punches on who is -- and who is not -- sleeping or pooping or playing. I guess I could receive guests in there sometime around 3:30.. if they understand a cranky, or not cranky, girl might require more attention than they do at any moment -- but usually no later than 4pm. -- If such guests do not come I would normally be folding a lot of laundry and be thinking about the best possible meal to get in the oven in 12 minutes or less between 4:15 and 4:30... or failing this playin' the Little Bear card and having until 5pm to prepare such meal; nursing of infant, tantrums and fingerpainting permitting.

This routine -- or lack thereof -- has been why I haven't had people over the way I wanted. It is a great disappointment to me that I haven't seen scads of mamas this summer. Let's face it I have got a very impressive - nay impeccable - roster of maternity types scattered across my email address book. I wish I could draw up pretty handmade card invites, blender up some margaritas with seasonal fruits, look like my hair was washed today and call it a party. But I can't. So if I just call it a party tell you to bring your own beer or wine, there might be pizza or a bag of chips if you're lucky, and that anytime between 3:45 and 6:00 works for us tell me -- would you come?

Love from mo-wo

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Meal replacement

Today I combined the half eaten bowl of dry cheerios from 7AM with the remnants of a 4pm cup of milk to make a delicious snack! Er, a snack anyway.

This gig is too busy for my liking at times.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Gifted children

Today we walked home from the park with a leaf each. Well, actually you had two, but you gave me one. 'Here ya go!', you said with great aplomb.

You are the soul of aplomb. Honey, last week you turned two and I am so overwhelmed with the sweet thing you are. I want to etch into the LCD here some notes about you, something to remember, for good. (thanks for the sample, cookie)

So, there are the leaves you picked up at the park. You followed your standard continuum of discovery, analysis and mastery. Find it, ask me to explain it 'whaz that' and then wrap it all up with a nice game. In this case it was the tale of two leaves clapping. We both laughed as we played on the way home.

Bless your sweet voice, and your hearty one, too. Your uncle really enjoyed your rhythmic recitation of oh darn/oh shit at the birthday visit you two took to the playground. You make a good point, that one crawl-y tube was tricky shit. Your grandmother is right, there isn't any song you don't know. I swear you have memorized your nursery rhyme treasury. Songs heard around here in the last week include: Sing, Sing What Shall I Sing, Mary Had a little Lamb (remix), Wind the Bobbin Up (extended dance mix), Sha-boom Sha-boom, John Henry, and, of course Happy birthday. Word of the the week, immediately.

Since the baby came home I have been struck by your propensity for proprietarieness over him. Thank you for all your help. I didn't expect much but out of necessity and curiosity you have done so much. You fetch diapers, commandeer cats, retrieve burp cloths and lots more. It does a mama's heart good to watch you wash your brothers toes or shoulders, as you did tonight. Thanks for all the yummy vegetables we've had for dinner due to the great job you did 'painting' them with the salt/pepper and olive oil.

You are a lil' bossy. I smile with pride everytime to announce 'I'm a lil' bossy' -- yes, yes you are. It makes you that lil' bit more mine. You look so much like your Dad, everyone says. Sometimes I forget that you are AT ALL mine genetically. But when you say that I know that inside you are Mama's girl!

I waste my words here. Honey, while you are a quantum being I cannot quantify the energy that fills this house everytime I hear the click of your door handle. I stand in amazement of what you dispense; the giggles with that stranger on the ferry yesterday; the little tasks you take so seriously; the wry smile that goes with all you say and sing and dance.

What could I have done to deserve these children? You give so much to me.

Still, I speak. Why? Well to show that our children are not empty vessels to be filled up with sleep training and holy-oh-organic-pablum and tiny tots underwater yogasize! They are givers and gifts. The phrase for the week around here has been what you read in the first line of this post, 'Here ya go!' Thanks baby. Thanks for the bite of imaginary cherry cobbler and then some of the blueberries that grow between your toes. Thanks for the kiss from Barry Bear and the garbage you gave me to toss. Big thank-you for the kiss to daddy for no reason and the tissue for me when I needed it. Thank you for giving so much each day; you make the stuff we are expected to give flow a lot more freely.

Gosh, I am so behind. I got tagged for a meme by that celebrity blogger, L. I have a great post languishing in response to HBM's report your cause challenge. And, I have an honest report on how there are no longer enough hours in my days. Wish me luck with good naps and some swell posting week.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Creature Returns

Just when you thought it was safe to visit, herein more albums from the wardrobe. I had plans to post sooner but I had to buy these cds first.

42. MARC JOHNSON The Sound of Summer Running (1998)

If this album had come out in the early 1970s I imagine the title would have ended with “Runnin’” and given the number of albums from that era which shall later appear on this, my list, I appreciate Mr. Johnson’s use of appropriate spellin’. I also enjoy this record, which sounds like what you’d expect, given the title, and the spelling thereof. Mr. Johnson must be a very powerful bandleader, for although Pat Metheny plays on this record, he does not employ his horrid guitar synth. FS: Faith In You

41. JOHNNY WINTER Second Winter (1970)

I will say now that any list which does not have any albinos represented on it, or which represents them improperly, may earn the ire of this group, and deservedly so. I can think of only three rock albinos and two of them play on this record, with Tommy Shannon, no less, who played with the other rock albino I can think of in Storyville. Maybe that guy isn’t albino. Maybe he is just pale. Or a vampire. Yeah. But not evil.

Speaking of the living dead I remember going to see JW at the Commodore in the 1990s. He came onstage 90 minutes late (thanks to the two opening acts, however, it felt MUCH longer) and I think he was wheeled out on a fridge dolly. He was then, I believe, gaffer taped to the mike stand, so he would neither fall down nor blow away in a light breeze. Were it not for the tattoos, the hat, and the shape made by the tape around his body, I am unsure if anyone would have seen him up there. He was that colourless. I hear he is sick now. He was sick then too, people. FS: I Hate Everybody


Mojo Nixon=Subtlety Incarnate. FS: Where the Hell’s My Money?

39. SLIM GAILLARD 1945 Vol. 2 (1997)

Mr. Gaillard describes things best when he sings: Cement mixer, putti-putti / Cement mixer, putti putti / Cement mixer putti putti… FS: Cement Mixer (obviously)

38. DEREK & THE DOMINOS Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (1970)

What a stupid title. Should’ve ended at “Layla”. I wonder if there was any drinking in the studio.

This is the penultimate album on my list featuring the matricidal drummer referred to as performing with Mr. Mason. Not that you’d care. I can’t see why I care. He was a fine drummer but he was a real bastard with a claw hammer. This record sounds like what a great, hugely impaired, attempt-to-pick-up-a-married-to-a-powerful-guy’s-wife album should sound like but with the significant benefit of Duane Allman’s tasty playing. Apparently, that is also what the album is. Amazing how life imitates art. FS: Tell the Truth

37. THE STRANGLERS The Gospel According to the Men In Black (1981)

I won’t even bother trying to explain this one. The conceit of the record (something to do with aliens and Jesus, or Jesus is an alien, or the surfeit of designer drugs in Nice at the time of recording) is too silly for words. I just love it. FS: Just Like Nothing on Earth

36. MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA Birds of Fire (1972)

This album is either a big wankfest, or something more powerful than anything Zeppelin or the Who ever put on vinyl, and a big wankfest. This band was capable of thrilling violence. Listening to this album is rather visceral: first you are beaten, then you are caressed, then you are beaten. Some people pay a lot of money for those services. Maybe I just needed Jan Hammer on my list. If so, mission accomplished. FS: Birds of Fire

35. FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS Gilded Palace of Sin (1969)

I had read about this band, and Gram Parsons, for years (because I am old) and thought I’d like to listen to these guys. One day I located and purchased this record. After listening to it I purchased other Parsons/FBB material and wish I hadn’t.

There is a certain careless quality to this record which I find endearing, because it is apparent these guys did care about what they were doing, at least on this album. This album makes many of the other So-Cal, late 1960’s rock-goes-country efforts appear kind of half-hearted. When listening I try to avoid reminding myself that Mr. Parsons died in a motel with an ass full of ice cubes. FS: Wheels

34. PETER TOSH Legalize It (1976)

I think I like this guy as a reaction against the deification of Marley. This is not some political statement crafted for college-aged pot-heads. This is political action. Of course, it is largely about weed, so I expect it has enjoyed great currency with the college crowd, or the formerly enrolled in college crowd now pumping gas crowd. FS: Legalize It

33. THE FLAMING LIPS Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (2002)

I have no idea whether this is a concept album, and if so, what the concept behind this concept album is, nor do I care. I am marginally concerned about the use of one of the songs from the album for a car ad, but whatever, these guys appeared in the Peach Pit before this. They need the cash. FS: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 2

32. YES Close to the Edge (1972)

There was a time when Yes would have occupied a number of places on this list corresponding with the number of albums which they produced. Thankfully that time has passed. It began to pass in the 1980s after I saw these clowns perform a two-hour air-guitar fest over tape-recorded material. I should have known- the tour was sponsored by a manufacturer of audiotape players. (Sparkomatic!)

In spite of the faux-spiritual gibberish of its lyrics, and the indulgence of a side-long track, and its various and weighty themes or movements regarding birth and rebirth, or pants, or garden gnomes, this is a good album by a decent band (under the thrall of the mighty Mahavishnu, but whatever). I think Yes likely peaked when it joined up with the Buggles and recorded ‘Drama’, but sadly, I can’t seem to locate that cd in my collection, so I name this one #32. (And don't get me started on the evil Trevor Rabin.) FS: And You and I

31. STAN GETZ/CHARLIE BYRD Jazz Samba (1962)

This album is so cool. And so hot. Cool. Hot. Cool… this album is very confusing. I rate it highly out of fear someone will figure out I don’t have a clue. What I am saying is, this band cooks without sounding like it is perspiring. FS: Desafinado

So, there will be more posting on the subject of albums, and fairly soon. This year, anyway.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Cheeks of Fire

I'd rent that. For a friend.

The title of this post is entirely gratuitous. While e is teething with her 2 year molars there is little of the red-cheekedness (?) of yore. N. There is the poking around the mouth with the entire hand of ere. But enough archaicisms, if that's what 'ere' and 'yore' are. They may be accepted spellings for 'your' and 'here' in Alberta, I don't know.

Sunday was e's second birthday. It turned out to be my first experience with a little girl's birthday. I am grateful to all attendees for failing to provide my daughter with a fairy costume, or princess outfit, replete with cake and a guillotine. Thank you. (If it is not apparent, I am experiencing another bout of contentedness. I expect this too shall pass and I can resume with the regular program of insulting people who annoy me, preferably without them knowing about it, soon.)

This year we decided to hold the party at a local park where we could enjoy a brief spell in the fish jail before venturing to Lumberman's Arch for a feast on PB&J, melon balls, and cake. Maybe we'd have a splash in the kid's water park or harass geese on the foreshore. There would be much running on the grass and childish screaming. The children would learn this from observing us. We figured we'd have these options and many more.

What we did not anticipate was the presence of this, which made the park look more like this than this. Some of the attendees suggested the marquee tents, PA system, and seating arrangements exemplified my largesse but I maintain the overall size of my ass had nothing to do with the PA system, DJ, and tented affair going on all over the open field, although I was glad they took the time to look at it anyway, because I crave attention, especially even bad attention. I feared we would not find a place to sit let alone find an area for us to sit, eat, and have child-related diversions. I was atremble with child-birthday-screwup-related anxieties. (Oh, wait til her analyst hears of this! What a wretch am I... the sound of the world's smallest violin... etc...)

Nonetheless, our friends helped us reorganize the location aspect of things, directing us to a picnic area (who'd have thought of that?) adjacent to a sizeable playground, and I believe a good time was had by nearly all. I, for one, enjoyed playing on the jungle gym. (Still got the moves.) Importantly, there were no fatalities and nobody went missing.

There were many rich moments to experience that day. I cannot, on account of my years in the bong mines, scraping out ore, recall a single one, though I remain suffused with warm fuzzies to date. (I am seeing a physician for this shortly.) I can recall the expression on e's face as we sang Happy Birthday and moreover that my step-mom "helped" e learn the phrase: Yippee! I'm 2 and you're not! which e uttered on completion of the song and more than 5 but less than 20 times, or under the "my what an annoying little creature you are" threshold. Lucky for her, or I might've... I might have, um, asked her to stop, or something. Yeah. Because I am strict. Look out.

So, to summarize: birthday party, little girls, balloons (did I mention the balloons? There were balloons, leaking helium, floating just above the ground like some kind of knock-off on the Prisoner), cake, children, cake, juice, parents, child herding, and a walkathon. C'est complet.

P-man out.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Oh! A comeuppance moment

Or... Oh! So that is how it feels....?

A couple-ish friend had us over for breakfast a few weeks back, bless 'er/'em. She is not so much a friend of mine as the wife of husband's friend. I like her very much for she is way smart, has good taste AND a sense of humour; basically, has the trio of traits I believe compose a significantly worthwhile human. For this I overlook that she is ANOTHER lawyer. I believe I might oneday expire from a surfeit of lampreys lawyers. But I digress.

So, while visiting this lovely, attractive, kind and talented chatelain who practices baby-injury/death-law I was told a horrific baby death story. Go figure. It began "since you have had your baby now, I suppose I can tell you"... X lawyer related case Y about a labour as follows. "Do you believe that her labour was going pretty well fine, then at the very last minute the child asphixiated?" They say it was 3 seconds and then the baby died after what was otherwise a perfectly healthy pregnancy and labour.

Then she said...

"Stories like that make me happy that I will be having a caesarean. I mean it really is the safest way."

Her telling me this did about 10 things to me. Made me all hairy baby teary about a mother facing a stillbirth. Had me reflect on my 'natural childbirth' track record. Further, put me in awe of how this woman ever manages to have her own children if this is the stuff she reads at work. It sure set me wondering about my own inner 'urban myth meter' -- do I believe this?? I would rather not.

But, the most postable aspect of what the effects really were was that I went... "Oh!" -- then nothing more. It was entirely a comeuppance moment for me. After all the banter there is about the best way to give birth I had never thought 'oh, Caesarean, you are right, that probably IS the BEST way. I did it wrong.' So if anyone one the C-sec side of the fence has ever had a moment where they listened to the doubt duelling (disparate) birthplans can engender -- which I think some of you have written about -- consider me, a bit more in the 'I catch your drift' camp than I had been previously.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Get rich quick

Okay, I'm onto a get rich quick scheme. A great million dollar t-shirt.

I chatted with two households today offering care to people under 4 weeks of age. I decided that every mother should be given a t-shirt for their 0-3 human which reads:

It's not you. It's me.

What do you say? Saleable?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Bad Parenting Confessional : The glowing box

Since some people are willing to advertise their caving on shopping haughtiness I suppose I should come clean about the change of parenting politic over here.

With the advent of the lunacy of solo parent care of the child duo I have had to rethink my attitude about the glowing box. I believe the household relationship with TV is clear. We don't, didn't, have it on and we don't care how much money we are wasting on cable. Since being home with the two I have worked up a bit of a toolkit and I can now see where TV fits.

It is to protect the innocent. My plants, the cats, the woven placements that I would rather were not unwoven. Sometimes in the second half hour I need to get out of the house I can use a Little Bear to help me ensure I don't get the announcement. 'I draw in your bed!' Sometimes I can see at the age of two it doesn't kill her identity to tune out at 4pm when we are getting testy with one another.

Still, not all shows seem to be created equal. So far I have only used television, not dvd/videos. I wonder who is worth investing in? I actually can see some of the really junior TV connects in a way with her that any old cartoon can't necessarily. The Little Bear stuff makes her laugh out loud and she will sort of interact with it; afterwards, she role plays the characters sometimes. I can see that TV can spark the imagination when applied correctly.

What programs can you recommend for the two-year old?

I actually fear modern Sesame Street sometimes. That smart woman at Crunchy Carpets alerted me to a recent work on the evils of Elmo and I am now even more afraid. But like others we love the Grover, so the Street is sort of a no brainer. (I think sometimes I married p-man because he does the world's best Kermit impression. You know what a turn on that can be.)

What about the new stuff? What is this Blues Clues anyway? And, who is willing to let that snot nosed mouthy Caillou into their house? Will I regret it?


Monday, September 04, 2006

Labour Day Special: Nuthatch Birth Story

Ah, my son, my son. I snicker still inside when I say it. Something in my inside voice says it like a cliche BBC series Irish Priest, every time! I have a son.

I wanted to tell you guys about it but few things daunt me in writing a version of a birth story on the blog. Out here in parenting bloggerland the birth story is a bit like playing the Dane. Don't expect the bard, just the play-by-play on how my little boy burst on the scene. Madden Birth Story 2006.

By mid-July I was seriously fixated on expelling the little person. "Come on," I'd say, "it is another nice day, a great day to be born, don't you think little one?" Then, nothing. For one week of overdue-ed-ness I was ok with it. By day seven folks were getting rude and so was I. I spent hours lying awake, asking after each twinge or bump, is that something? What about now? And, now? Or now??? Saturday night I went for a walk. There were twinges. If I got all busy with myself I could get some weak contraction-action.

With my first pregnancy I was also overdue, by six days. On the 5th day I went to see Dr. R and she did sweeping of the membranes, and presto, in less than 36 hours there was a baby! We repeated the procedure this this time, on the Thursday. I was 3 cm or so dilated when I visited the doc. just as I had been with Baby E, but this time, the days dragged on and nothing dramatic. I called the doctor and got the message that I should sleep and stop fixating on trying to manufacture labour. I know. I know...

I'll add here that when for my first delivery I could really care less about things like natural childbirth and breastfeeding. Then I ended up with an unmedicated SVB and a good breastfeeding relationship for 15 months. I have some distinct ideals now. With the labour delaying I tried to sleep but I started to get bent about some new stuff. Is the baby ok? I must have eaten a meal and laid down a half dozen times to check fetal activity.

On the third day of post-sweep waiting, I gave up. I told p-man go back to work. I was very nervous and sort of sad. I felt like a failure. I could see a bunch of interventions coming into my pregnancy. Inducement and labours I did not understand, drugs and operations??? I was not so good about it -- though I knew I was doing the right thing to let it go.

So what next?

Let it go and it will come... I went to bed that Sunday night and actually slept. I suppose I slept through some early labour action for at 5:20 AM I was up like a shot with labour pains. I stepped out of bed and it was clear I was off to the races. And, would it be a race?

I stood in my bathroom wondering what to do next, or should I say, first. This was really different. The first time out things were steady but slow. This time I was sure it could be quick; a neighbour-friend had just reminded me that her second delivery took three hours, TOTAL. I stood in the bathroom staring at the orange-cat-doula and debating the facts. Who to wake first: the spouse, the sitters, the doctor? Filip was really no help but at least he was there and he can look really sympathetic when he isn't looking pathetic. Whoa, Mum, whatchagonna do? Can I have some food? Food? For me?

So I washed my face and brushed my teeth and around 6 AM woke up the spouse. I notified him he would not be returning to work that day, after all. I called the doctor and then my folks who were to look after the girl. If everything had to come together by 8:30AM could we do it? What would E. have for breakfast? Would the tunnel traffic be bad?

My parents showed within the hour and my girl had leftover Sunday pancakes. She and I shared a story while I stood feeling a bit weak-kneed through some contractions. She asked if she could have three bunnies from 'da hoth-pitt-all' no I said, but there would be one, maybe today!

P-man roughed out a plan for the day with my folks, food inventories where done and instructions were given for the girl to buy her new sibling something today. We'd be off momentarily and call when we got assessed at the hoth-pitt-all.

It was a sunny, windy day. The city had our block cordened off for work on the boulevard trees. We walked to where the cars were parked on the next block. With our vintage skyway luggage in hand I urged p-man to move it. "I don't want to be spectacle," I said. "Hmm?" he said. "Well everyone will put two and two together if they see us out on the street with a suitcase, move, move, move." He really needs another coffee, I thought, or he's going to be completely useless.

7:30 AM we are off to the hoth-pitt-all. Turn the music on! It's Johnny Cash, Live at Folsom Prison, okeee let's skip the ballads please. Yep, Jackson I can get behind that. Why didn't I bring some Paul Robeson? I could really do some serious bass right now. You know what honey, do make a stop for coffee. I am okay for a few minutes, yet. It is important you are properly caffeinated.

7:45 We pass the hospital and a get to the coffee source a couple blocks over. What am I stupid? I can't wait for some barista right now. Pull over and get yourself your drink. I am going to walk down the hill here towards Douglas Park, pick me up at the bottom of the hill. I could use a walk.

8 AM It was not stupid. It was great to take that walk. The small hill down from Oak Street to Douglas Park is lined with tall trees. The southwest corner of the park is open bright land ahead of me. I sauntered (?) (waddled? Ed.) through dappled shade and a steady rustle of the leaves in the wind. I was alone with my baby one last time for a while, a final time connecting with his being inside of me. Arriving at the corner of the park and the car once again I muttered to the child coming and then started the process of putting my mind into the work my body must do to see baby soon.

8:30 We are at the hospital. Everyone is bright and breezy and nice, fresh horses in for the day. We are goofy in return of course. Got a great assessment nurse and got the dilation lottery result. Come on seven! I'm thinking. OK you are pretty dilated and your waters are bulging, right there, maybe 5 or 6. Ooohhh! I wonder if I came down too early. "Baby is in a good spot, yeah the waters are right there. Break your waters and you'll have your baby in a couple hours", she promises.

We nod in unison. We are in the zone.

9 AM Call home. Yep we'll be here for the day for sure. Can you call blah and blah? Gotta go, talk later.

We are assigned into delivery suite. It lacks the comforts we had for delivery of E. but we are okay with that; we hope we won't be staying. We also get the most junior nurse I have ever seen, what is she twelve? You know I asked her for a Q-tip at one point and I thought she'd have a freakin' aneurysm! And I never got the Q-tip. I said to p-man, "Are you feeling like nice-straight-forward-delivery-people? Put on the training wheels and give them the rookie???" "Hmm?" "If it bothers me, I will let you know' for now --- errrrrgh-huuuuuuhhhh... where's the shower?"

10 AM 20 minutes to get settled in the room. Where is the doctor? Dr. R is out of town and we have a locum who was up birthing all night, what, is she at Tim Hortons or something... er, yep ok there she is. Talk, banter, nice to meet you. Yes, please take out the crochet hook. Yeah, plunk baby's head goes down. Bone on bone, ow. Hee hee, nervously, hee. errrrrgh-huuuuuuhhhh...

Doc's pager goes off. She looks to her muffin. Yeah, take that and have some coffee. Maybe you need some coffee before you take on your fourth delivery for the day. What have I got shares in Starbucks or something???

10:45 They break the waters. I am thinking, I'll be done by 11:30. I am goal oriented. Break the waters and deliver in 45 minutes. Neighbour-woman's labour was three hours, mine has been 5 or so... what is wrong with me? I am such a slacker.

From here on let's start scaring the nurse. P-man what music did you bring? Oh, god I hate that album. (Yes I am a Philistine!) Couldn't you have brought Giant Step? Forget it. Give me a sip of that Gatorade.

"Is there a birthing ball? Bring me a birthing ball, nurse." --- errrrrgh-huuuuuuhhhh...

P-man says, "Breathe, honey. HA, HEE, HEE, hoooooo." Mo-wo "Give me a break, already." The nurse eyes the door.

Anyway, we were sans doctor and I felt okay, but never one to turn down the gas! No needles, everyone. I am walking and wandering and p-man is a great lead on our DIY labour program. We just did everything the same as the first time except this time things were going fast! No stuck babies, just progress. BTW... I find trying to inhale gas a really impossible remedy to labour pains. I am glad to have it there, like something designed to help you. But the actually mechanics of sucking something in when all you are trying to do is push out is sort of difficult. What is "Placebo" anyway?

Pretty soon, I am angling to push. Nurse was very good at checking out my baby with the cool medical equipment but I was pretty sure once the screaming began and stuff started shooting out of me she'd be lookin' for backup. Where was that doctor? Ah, here comes her supervisor.

11:30 Something blah, patient doesn't know, something blah. Gloves on. Blah babies don't wait for doctors to arrive, call the resident.

Resident comes. My doctor is delivering next door. Crap there are babies burstin' out all over this place.

Doctor #2 says you are not quite dilated yet. We don't want to start pushing. Do X and Y. OK?

OK. I do X, and Y, for 30 minutes. Staring at the face of that clock on the wall, my deadline slipping away. So now how long? I try to remain centred on working hard. On running the only marathon that really matters to me. I feel strong and pretty clear, we can do this. P-man's hand is folded like origami. It is white inside my grip. He finds me all the breaks.

12 noon Start pushing. I look at the clock on the wall. Try to think in 10 to 20 second increments bearing down and pushing out. They tell me to shut up. DAMN them. I am losing focus. At this point I have Baby-nurse, Nurse-supervisor, Resident-doctor and my-doctor-substitute in the room. Docs #1 and #2 have had a bout of duelling pagers that p-man suggested they 'take outside'. Good man.

I yell, "I don't know what I am supposed to be doing." (You know with the first there was a lot of planning and classes. With this we were a bit lost at times, not remembering how things 'should' go. But since there is no single path, anyway, did it matter?) We seem to have hit a snag. I can hear someone say "stuck". I joke, 'he must have a very long nose.' Yeah, right, long nose lady.

Doctor #1 is clear and concise. Be calm and put all your energy into pushing down here, don't keep it in your throat or your stomach. You ARE doing WELL. Good doctor.

Within 30 minutes he was born. I honestly cannot recall the pain. As my fingers tap out these memories I want to pull my son from his bed and relive what occurred in at 12:26pm, July 17. I feel nothing of the hours before. My only sense right now is of the rattle of bones, mine and his, rolling over one another. No time really precedes that moment. All of a sudden there he is, my labour is over, and now the two of us are apart. It was only one moment. All of a sudden this fleshy presence fills the room, inflates the heart. Who's there? Who's here?

P-man trembled a little when he said, we have a son. He could not contain his delight or surprise. I am pretty sure I first said, "What a treat." While I did not and do not care if we had had two daughters instead I knew I would be missing something if I never had a boy, this boy.

Our nuthatch was stuck a bit and had to be hauled out by a shoulder. You know those linebacker shoulders he had on his 10lb 3oz frame? When they hauled him out I heard the most horrible words echo in the room 'Come on baby, wake up' I could see my husband track the child and the four blue smocked bodies taking hime across the the room. Then the cry burst out and I was lucky to have not had the time to register an emotion before the utterance. While husbands normally get off scot free, in this case my husband had a bit of the labour more painful than I had had in the preceding 7 hours. He could see what the doctors had concerns about, the in-rush of pediatricians, the murmuring. He was more than afraid in those first minutes after our son was here. Thank god he he maintained a poker face through it.

The birth was done save the quick clip of the umbilical cord. The boy was returned to me and he rooted away. P-man applied Wes Montgomery to the affected area. Full House. Phew.

My husband is a wonderful birth-partner. He worked very hard and applied all his considerable smarts to a pretty complex thing. I knew doing this I didn't really need anyone but him to help us have our baby. He knows how to handle me and the hospital folk. He is completely intent on the birth and believe me he knows a hell of a lot more about birthin' babies than I do. I just work it like a Jane Fonda video and say tell me how it turns out. He does. He lyrically drops all the bloody details and tells me the story as a true and loving witness. Thank-you, honey. Thank you for that and thank you for this:

For all I did to expel him that day in July now I wanna do as many things as I can to cling to him and keep him close. Here he is today, seven weeks old. Ah, the pleasantness of what he left inside me for him, of what he puts there with each new day and the awe of all he is becoming here on the outside.