Sunday, December 31, 2006

It's In the Bag

I will confess that I harbour a strong dislike for Christmas. I do not refer to its namesake, good old JC. He sounds like a great guy, I don't know. I've never met him. I don't imagine I will, at this rate.

(Anon, to the exciting post at hand. Here it comes!) (Just a second!) It is comprised of four elements, Christmas, Travesties, Best and Worsts, and Salutations.

Christmas. Fuck me. I do not believe for a minute that St. Pete and the remaining members of Christ's posse envisioned the birth of their saviour would one day be celebrated by the crass consumerist orgy. It would appear people, strangers, like to give presents to cute little 2 year old girls. Now she has a brother, so some kind of consumer guilt kicks in - he gets a present too! And he did! By the time Christmas Day came around there was nowhere left to display, store, or burn unopened presents. We have managed to store many many many presents for next year. Fuck it, I am not buying anything until she's eight.

We participated, don't get me wrong. We purchased gifts for neighbours, neighbours' kids, co-workers, family, you name it. E and I , and Mo, and A, trooped up and down the street delivering gifts to the neighbours bearing gifts in E's "Have a Jolly Holly Chrimbo!" gift bag, pictured above. Ha Ha Ha, says Satan, as he and the Nine Nozdruls fly to your homes.

We hosted Christmas this year. This was a group effort for which we are grateful. We were on for the bird, the gravy, the yams, and the mashed tatties. I was going to make a fennel and apple salad but someone intervened. Some other relative brought yams. Yamfest '06. Mo is happy - no Brussels Sprouts.

The bird. It was a thing of beauty. A dead, disemboweled, headless and featherless bird, but a thing of beauty nonetheless. After last year's rather unpleasant offerings this was a welcome relief. I shan't go into the recipe, state secret, but it involved barding the breast area with bacon. I left the bacon on for too long, and there was a small fire, but the results were outstanding. Club turkey. Turkey club. I have asked Mo to bard her breasts with bacon but she has not yet dignified that request with a response. Come on baby! Baconnnn! (I should apologize for that image. It is so wrong... and so right.)

Speaking of things inappropriate, here's another. I think I have been over-exposed to kids' stuff. E is toilet training. Things are going reasonably well. She has these cute little Dora the Explorer underpants. I want to find a pair for Mo. Is this wrong?

Another thing. Mall music. I won't trouble you with Christmas music. Doubtless you have heard enough of that by now. Beach Boys, anyone? When will there be a law against the public performance of Peter Cetera? Something must be done.

Speaking of crimes against humanity, Mr. Hussein had his neck lengthened Friday. Maybe you heard.

I do not miss the man. It sounds like he had it coming. I don't know, I never met him. I don't imagine I will, at this rate. Allow me to say, here in the fuzzy warm confines of this parenting-type blog, what a fuck up. One can appreciate this fellow was likely a genocidal thug whose possible role models were Machiavelli, Stalin, and Vlad the Impaler. However, he has been terminated after but one of the numerous trials in which he was to be a defendant. He was executed, apparently, in the course of his second trial, having been (surprisingly) convicted at the end of his first. This might, to the casual observer, suggest that due process has taken a back seat to the end result. One could conclude that those occupying Iraq had a hand in this. I cannot say who did, I wasn't there, I don't know that it matters. It looks bad. Why bother with the charade of a trial if the trial process is going to be subverted? I cannot say the execution is contextually inappropriate because I don't know what's going on over there. Whatever. I am just some fairy liberal who thinks capital punishment is a capital crime. Greater minds than mine, I am sure, will figure out the Mid East (like they did in Paris in 1919). Yep. I can't wait to read what the Shrub has to say about it in his autobiography, as soon as someone writes it for him.

Where was I? Oh yes, Christmas! I hate Christmas. It brings out the BEST AND WORST in people. I refer not only to fistfights over the diminishing resources of parking spots at box stores, or the Blow Me Elmo doll but to the drunken nastiness which lurks in the hearts of many at this wonderful time of the year, tra la la. Or maybe that was just at our table...

Best Read of 2006: Black Swan Green by David Mitchell.

Worst Read of 2006: God Made You Special by Some Dumbfuck. This product may have been brought to you by the people behind the Vegetable Nativity Scene. Is there a Vegetable Crucifixion I can get my mitts on? The book in question is so horrible... it misses any point it may have tried to make about individualism, spirituality, parboiling before roasting... all of it. If you find this book at a local vendor, purchase all available copies and burn them.

Best Movie of 2006: I didn't see any movies in 2006.

Best Video Rented at the Local Vendor and Viewed at Home: City of God. I took only 4 years to get to this one. You've already seen it, haven't you? I don't get out much.

Worst Video etc...: Paul Walker was in it. Does the name matter?

Best Kids Store: Does not exist.

Worst Kids Store: This was close, but I will go with "TJ's the Kiddies Store Ltd." I spit on your grave you nasty time-wasting over-charging inventory-misrepresenting maggots. A pox on your playhouse.

This ought be self-evident. I hope you all (all 3 of you) have a warm and fuzzy 2007. Warm and fuzzy. All right, then, may peace and prosperity be yours.

P-man out.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

One Less Car

In the scurry to hack through the Christmas to-do list here was my last Tuesday...

My parents had the toddler so I was free and easy running errands with the infant. Needless to say I was running approximately 2 hours late from the get go. I had seven stops to make. I bought lunch in the McDonald's Drive Thru.

I hate McDonald's but it was the only food option suitable for the baby-nap-format/routes-around-seven-stops in 2.5 hours challenge.

To go to the main post office I had to loop through downtown. Downtown where I used to work before I was all propertied and childrened up. As I choked down my fries my head was in an endless swivel. God, don't let me be spotted, I thought. I was shivering in my style-less boots. Don't let one of those gothish-erstwhile-coworking-pals of mine catch sight of me. Their clinical judgement I imagined as follows. Imagine the tone in the Benderism 'squeeze out a few puppies' speech...

Oh, there she is. Figures. I saw her destroying the planet with her gas guzzling minivan; who cares it's Japanese. She was stuffing her face with McDonald's fries. I bet she doesn't even vote NDP anymore. Fucking Ignatieff Liberals. Gawd those sort of people all eat GM foods... and meat! You know I saw she had a baby in there!

As I drove along Dunsmuir street I passed Holy Rosary and a homeless guy had his hat out. I gave him my change from Mc Donald's lunch and felt fine again.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

She'd Really Rather Direct it Seems

Sentiment enclosed. Please note we are not responsible for the gender nightmare that outfit represents.

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And, p-man is sorry about the angle. Have another egg nog and it will all be a-ok anyway. Peace to you all.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Barry Jezzus

We have taken ourselves to the task of supporting and generally dealing with our daughter's Christmas consciousness. This is technically her 3rd Christmas. First one she was 3 months. Second she was really into the lights anyway. And, she kinda liked the gifts.

This time she is into it. She has had huge buy in since the excitement of her birthday party. So a lot of the Christmas training and information I have supplied has relied on the comparisons to birthdays. Largely the concept of this is Jesus' birthday, and it is special. Jesus' birthday is so huge that everyone gets presents. That's a big deal, eh? She gets that.

She likes to add: And, it's Barry's birthday, too. Now Barry is her Bear. The man. With no bottles or soothers and a daycare to troop off to at age 11 months he was her constant companion. She has a healthy relationship with her main guy and while I secretly resent him at times, whatever. But is Barry Jesus? I think he is actually. Like many kids she loves her guy but she also disparages him at times. She hugs him, faux-nurses him in competition with me, she kisses him... but she also slams him into the floor, she drags him, she casts him away at times in raptures of tantrums. But he loves her. He is love to her.

So she gets it?

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Unkindest Cut (?)

Allow me to circumlocute. I need to. Of late my thoughts (when not directed toward Christmas, debt consolidation, my delightful kids, and the unstoppable mind-radio station of the week) have been directed to future events which will make a vast difference to my vas deferens. This is a sensitive topic. Very sensitive.

Mo's homepage is the Goo... News page (no names, please, we're British). Recently the top stories were about a Democratic senator who was busy recovering from some kind of emergency brain surgery (as opposed to elective brain surgery). I think that is an inaccurate statement. The articles refer more to the peril that the newly-ensconced Democratic senate faces in the event the senator from South Dakota is incapacitated or dies as a result of his ailment. These stories are about the end of the world, the restoration of order, or a firm resolve not to permit the world to end on the basis that mental incompetence is neither a bar to running nor maintaining the position.

I find the whole thing very unsettling. Headlines like "Senator Responsive After Surgery" and "Sen. Johnson Critical After Surgery" lead me to imagine other headlies, er, headlines like "Republican Representative Touchy After Rectal Exam" or "Rectal Republican Condemns Gay Marriage". (Film at 11.)

The "news" is rife with tales of anorexic "celebrities" getting smaller, anorexic "celebrities" (and other people in quotes) under arrest, striking their assistants with PDAs, day minders, and walnut muffins, going into rehab, showing off their genitals, having some anotomical part amended in some fashion, or requiring amendment... important stuff, to be sure.

I am glad that my life is largely unnoticed by, well, everyone. I would dislike it a fair bit if the mundane tasks of my day, or my medical appointments, made the news, and did so because of the efforts of the press. However, since I am anonymous here, having no first name, I can refer to the surgery... can't I? I can tell you, O Internet, O Anonymizer? This feature is not so much a 'scoop' as it is a 'snip' in any event. At last, I am taking our family's family planning into my own hands... no, wait, it's been in my hands... I am feigning responsibility in an irreversible manner... fuck it, I am getting chopped. Bring on the Vicodin , you bastards, I will soon be seedless. Am I concerned? Mmm, yep. This is going to make a vast difference indeed.

P-man, wincing in anticipation, out.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Non Sequitur

I don't know if we have been clear about exactly how big our son is. (I know you get it Stef...) He was big when he was born. And, he's got a bit bigger since then. Currently he's like 20+ lbs and not even five months old. A lot of folks expressed their ouch-sympathies for me when I delivered him. But what about now? I have a kid roughly the size of some one-year-olds and he only started sitting up -- sort of -- yesterday. Please remember we are pretty unfit parents so sometimes it doan go so good, eh?

My doctor was all over it that I watch out for carpel tunnel just breastfeeding him. I tell everyone who wants a snuggle, lift with your knees and p-man well he makes them sign a disclaimer. A couple weeks ago I thought I'd just pack him into the Baby Bjorn, toss a backpack of diapers on and take my daughter by the hand for a shopping trip. Try stupid plus OUCH!

There are times during the breastfeeding when I'm sure I can feel the enamel peeling from my teeth. Dissolving in my saliva and into the milk he drinks. Praise be for the pablum on the menu this week. (And, I now await my second dental crown! I have a theory about teeth and breastfeeding, they ain't just suckin' my brain cells out of me it seems.)

You know when p-man comes home I hand him the child like many a mother does. But I do it not out of mental exhaustion rather it is out of plain jane physical exhaustion.

You know if he'd been a girl I wanted to call him Jane.

ps.. for the latest cute blogger baby picture click here

Sunday, December 10, 2006

A Sinking Feeling

When I started typing this on Sunday night Mo and I were sacked out on the horizontal seating devices. The cats were treating us with a stereovisual cleansing of the anii. We were bone tired but fortunately for us the kids were asleep. That changed mid-sentence and here I am, Tuesday morning, trying to remember the awesome post I was going to type out... the kind of post that changes peoples lives, for the better!

But I have no short-term memory, so instead I comment briefly on the sinking feeling I sometimes experience while attempting to raise, and not completely maladapt, our children. The feeling I have that my best is insufficient, that the kids will end up having as limited an emotional palette as I, or the same tendency to fart loudly during quiet moments...

I am not alone in my concerns, Mo has her own, although she has not commented on any flautus-related worries. In brief, we feel overmatched. We worry sometimes we are unfit parents.

This is not to say we shall self-report to the ministry. Far from it. Our children are clean, clothed, and fed (inasmuch as one can 'feed' the 2 year old) and most importantly, loved completely. It is to say the effort is taking a toll. E is, um, feisty. Like my literary heroine (she who needs to be firm, on occasion), she is good at wearing people out. A is a happy little guy. He is really coming to life, reaching that wonderful age where he becomes a little simpler to deal with on account of his ability to communicate using the large eyebrow which is my gift to him. But he is heavy. He now clocks in at 21+ pounds which is around 70% of E's current weight. He is clearly made of a material with a high AMU.

So, to fitness. My buffed biceps have given away to lax wrist ligaments. Mo is battling a nasty bout of mastitis (symptoms: inflammation and discloration of the breast tissue, intense pain, forthrightness) and is taking large orange pills to fight the infection. I have toe-itis (I asked my doctor to simplify his diagnosis) which looks like this and I am taking large orange pills to fight the infection.

In the broad scheme of things these conditions are not serious. They too shall pass. In fact, now that I've typed about them, I feel much better. Thank you internet, for healing my foot!

P-man out.

Saturday, December 09, 2006


Yesterday my daughter reminded me.
"Mommy, sometimes you have to be firm."
Needless to say I smiled broadly.

... Big bonus points if you can name the book, people.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Roots of Empathy

I write today of something I would recommend to any parent of a small child. The Roots of Empathy Program. As write it occurs to me I will have to state that if you are a parent of two children and you have a chance to do it with your second, do not miss the chance.

First -- what is Roots? Roots of Empathy is a program that puts babies as teachers into elementary classrooms. In our case my son and I have been adopted for monthly visits by 28 fourth graders. The tagline for Roots is 'changing the world one child at a time.' I'm a believer.

As a school board employee and librarian I was well aware of the ROE program prior to signing up my family. I regret Miss Fancy was not quite the right age to do it but feel lucky to do it now. My son is a great ROE baby as he was three months old when we started in October. Just beyond amoeba-like is what they want to start. The idea is that over a year's visits little guys in classrooms see even littler guys grow in a very tangible way.

I think our class is particularly perfect because the idea of them being little guys in a really big system -- their school, the community, the country -- is starting to cement itself. Seems fair, and fruitful, for them to have one last kick at the can of being the big guys before the grade 6/7s are kickin' their butts next year. Seriously, ROE has shown huge improvements in school behavior, discipline and compassion. God bless Mary Gordon for figuring out that empathy is what we need for a peaceful society.

And, what about my opinion --- it is a great plus for a #2 baby? Well, my toddler at least has a really overpowering personality over my infant. Roots means that once a month I must show up and face a class that only recognizes me as Baby #2's mommy. I have to answer questions about him. He is the centre of attention for a change. Last visit they all sang for him and he laughed his ass off. I, meanwhile, choked back sentimental tears, My little one and those kids have an real mutual admiration thing going on. In coming months I will try to tell you all more about our visits. I am amazed how much comes out of a very simple program. If you are a parent of school age children ask the principal if your school will ever seek the Roots of Empathy.

And by the way this is what my boy looks like laughing his ass off.

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Brain Farts

This post may illustrate why I should not read the news. I feel dirty.

A: Be Not Ashamed of Your Ass (or you may not make it to Dallas on time)

As soon as I got a whiff of this story I smelled something funny. Not so much funny, maybe, as sad. Unless the condition the woman suffers from is hummus-ass (which can prove fatal to innocent bystanders) I think the "condition" is more likely to be embarrassment. For god's sake, people, do not fear your farts!

B: I Thought I Would Never Say This But

I love paying taxes. It's a sign things are going well, or at least well enough.

C: This Comes As A HUGE Surprise to Everyone, I Am Sure

Enough said. Ok, not enough. How much did it cost to produce this report, which perhaps should be sub-titled "An Extensive Exploration of What Is Manifestly Apparent to Even the Most Stupid Among Us". That dough would have been much better spent on, I don't know, cleaning up organized religion, a cure for bird flu, or remaking a movie which deserves a new audience. Fuck Casino Royale, with cheese.

D: A Note to Parents

I know I should be more accepting of people with alternative lifestyles, but come on. I don't know who to believe less, the cop or the dom. It sounds like the DA has some incriminating, albeit foul, evidence. Without DNA testing, however, it is a flimsy platform upon which one would base their case. A wobbly stool, even.

P-man out.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Kim Family

I am a newshound. I used to work in the library of our City newspapers and I am total sucker for breaking news. Today I am home without the toddler and my tv is on constantly so I might catch any update on the news about James and Kati Kim. Do you know this story? The case of a family of four sheltering in their car on a high mountain roadside for 9 days? Dad set out on foot to get help two days ago. Mother and daughters were rescued yesterday. Today, thoughts fall to whether Dad will qualify for the euphemistic recovery or if the fates will deliver him as well with a rescue.

My heart goes out. As parents of two similarly small children p-man and I have been thinking about the family since the story broke. Not that we can fully identify with these bright, healthy and brave individuals. We won't venture out for a road trip after Oct 1. cause the roads scare us to shit. I remember fondly all those crazy road trips to Alberta in December my Dad stuck to; I now know how it ate up my Mom. FUCK DAD!

My mind also goes out today. Today I am busy with my contract material. The task I have is to write an information services course for teacher-librarians. At the core of the content is helping students learn to properly select information sources from the diverse number of options typical in life these days. Us librarians are usually pretty modest about what we are doing there but today it ain't just about making sure the youngins' are wise to the myth of the Velcro forest. Today I am thinking of how this story informs me to educate teachers and kids that our diversity of information is not just problematic but risky. Even if there is no truth to the rumour/urban myth that the Kims' internet driving directions were behind their misfortune its logic is an object lesson for my class. A horrifying example of how information choices unmediated by the human mind might be our undoing, as individuals, and en masse.

In library school I made a lot of efforts to align myself with the 'medium is the message' crowd. I tried to sex up my profession with a good dose of IT skills. I bought into all the HTML and XML and PERL hype and this has served me well to get interesting work. But in my interesting work the persistent issue for the vocation ain't the medium -- cue the resignation -- instead we must attend to good old-fashioned content delivery needs. Doing as much is a social justice issue for me(do you think it qualifies, Mad?) A bigger issue than print or web... bigger even than the digital divide (who knew). Here's hoping for a future inclusive of such a diversity of information, freely available, as to ensure we always have what we need to know to advance both our knowledge and our security. And, with thanks to the universe of librarians who have come before me with just those ideals in mind.

Needless to say... Our prayers today for James and family, too. ... you can send the family your thoughts at this link.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Scratch That

Since I hope that brevity is the soul of wit here we go again.

"I have come to a stage in my life where itchy and irritable have become synonymous."

Friday, December 01, 2006

Stand your ground

Among my circle of mother-friends there seems much to do about discipline. A lot Moms will say, oh my husband is so much better than I am at holding his ground. My stock response to these largely more-at-home-Moms...

"Yeah, but his ground is roughly like Greenland. Your ground is more like the former Yugoslavia. So there you go."