Monday, October 29, 2007

How it Went

Apart from the tearful moments reading the post from my husband this morning and the lineup for a new driver's license at the absolute last minute... it was a joyous birthday. The sunny afternoon, the extra coffee and the cake.. Tho' not really the cake, uh, the singing. But not really everyone. Just the littlest singer, 15 months old, softly at first and entirely thoughtful in the process.

Happy Day...
Happy Mom..

Happy Day MOM!
MOM. Happy...

Habby burrrr
to yew.



Sunday, October 28, 2007

Open Letter to Mo:

Tomorrow is your birthday. Now that I am old I tend to look back on the summer we met in the UK and think... what the fuck did you see in me?

Things now are not like anything I could have foreseen for us. For one thing, there is an "us". For another, I did not consider as likely the prospect of me typing birthday greetings to you anonymously on your interweb sprog. If I am correct, this will be the second time I have attempted to sharpen the odd metaphor in recognition of your birthday and ended up with a duck-billed platitude. But you don't love me for my wordiferocity, thank goodness.

In 1990 I did not imagine that the wild-haired girl who drank me under several tables would end up my wife, my partner, and mom to two children who each bear part of us in them. You know, our kids. I know I did not imagine it because I was too busy passing out under furniture. In addition, I was too busy dwelling on the fornication. Sex at last! I thought after having only a very long, dry, and manual stretch of time, spent in two separate yet equally female-free parochial schools, for exposure to girls and the disposition of a piece of sandpaper to boot. I was, and am, ever grateful for your kind consideration. And the sex.

It is no doubt trite to observe that in 1990 we were far different versions of ourselves. Our changes have taken place at every level of our beings from, like, a really really deep level to a level which is really really not very deep. In 1990 I was unemployed but fit and had a tangly mane of luxuriant hair. I was like a cross between Fabio and a toilet brush. Now I am engaged in remunerative work, doughy, and thinking about a combover. In 1990 you were 20. Now you are 30. In 1990 I think we were an attractive couple of humans. I now possess the animal magnetism of a nudebranch. You are still trés chaud.

In 1990 I drove a bright orange 1976 Camaro with Rubbermaid flowers painted over the rust blossoms and you drove a Nissan Micra which went up Cypress Mountain faster in "R" than "D". Now we have reliable import vehicles which are free of Grateful Dead stickers and roach collections in the ashtrays. My ashtray now contains the lighter attachment. I think I saw a chewed-on rice cracker in yours. I meant to get that.

In 1990 I was at war with the universe, with notions of family and civil society. I was a stupid young dog run ragged - giving chase to every shadow, every car, or maybe my tail. You were strong. You were patient. You loved. Now, sliding downhill into splodgy middle-agedness I am more like a farty old Labrador: still watching traffic and twitching my tail, but too comfortable by the fire to give chase. You have remained constant and that is but one of the reasons why I love you. (Or three, if I consider the sentences this last one mirrors... so, these are but four of the reasons...five! Five reasons!) Nonetheless, as I sit here next to you, seventeen years down the line, I ask: Honey, what were you thinking? You're downwind.

Happy birthday, my love, may we enjoy many more together.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007


There is a tradition in these parts of taking trips to the pumpkin patch and plucking the jack-o-lantern material in a manner I prefer to reserve for strawberries and blueberries. I was raised in the great flat land to the south of the city whereupon many great pumpkins have been raised. My birthday is just a few days before Halloween and I did believe, until now, that I had partaken of every festive Halloween cliche there was. But, no. I have never actually gone for the pumpkin plucking. I suppose I am not as traditional as you might think then?

When Miss Fancy took a stab at it last year it was under the supervision of her grandparents, thank god. But this year it will be me. This year it will be me holding her hand through the muddy fields of rotting squashes along with the hand of some unknown 3 to 5 year old. We will be going on a daycare field trip, oh what fun. I believe we will all travel on a school bus and I will have my first taste of being the overprotective parent that always makes it for the field trips. This I won't mind. Likely, what I will mind is the canned festive spirit of the near-non-holiday that is Oct 31. The condescending diorama of 21st century agriculture that will inevitably attend this event will not doubt rile my rural roots. I say this not knowing if I even have a pair of boots from which I might appropriately toast the venture. I guess I should look into that.

I am a city transplant. My parents, though not from farms, both came from farm country. They wanted my brother and I to always have a taste of that it was a part of where they chose to raise us. They instilled in us a reverence for the work upon the hills and dales of this fare [sic] land that delivered to our table a lifetime of square carrots and Salisbury Steaks and home canned salmon and well-made bread. I believe any plans I might have for my children to 'get it' are sort of far fetched. What we'll see tomorrow is the first in a long string of harvest avatars that they will embrace. The first of all the RockHeath TM yoghurts of disctinction and all the Home-love 100% Organic Ingredients Hearth baked bread loaves they will choose to support for 15-20% more per checkout than the standard items. It's pretty crazy stuff to me the way we bury our kids in all the farmyard animal love Fisher-Price can produce but turn a blind eye to the facts that farms are over. Our children will likely never really know them. What we know now are agricultural circus attractions a myriad of petting zoos with chickens? What the hell? They are chickens! These are pumpkins people! Anyone can grow a pumpkin!

Tomorrow I will worship with the mud-loving tots. I will smile and feel the fresh air of an open field hopefully forgetting that I have no idea how I can make this strip-mall experience add up to anything for my kids in the longer term. I love the carving of the pumpkins after hauling out all the guts. It's good clean fun, eh? But it only comes after you get a little dirty which it what makes it sort of special and more real. Seems a bit of Catch-22, then?

Hey, hang on... there are my boots. Off I go...


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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Music At Work

For some, religion and politics are divisive topics. I am not so troubled by either subject that I will become heated. As Jesse Young once sang: politics and business, I don't pay them no mind. For some perverse reason I reserve my ire for the truly unimportant subjects: reading material, headgear, and taste in music. Some say there is nothing more boring than a music snob. "Some" likely enjoyed a Justin Timberlake concert in the recent past. "Some" likely have Bon Jovi in heavy rotation on their mePods, 8-tracks, or what have you.

But I digress. The point of this post is not to put the point and marvel at the assistants in my office clamouring for Bon Jovi tickets or the new associate's primordial lust for Buns'n'Hoses. To question these people, as I do, as to what it is they see in this type of music. They appear to be in the majority and their tastes, however strange, do not appear to cause actual harm to themselves or others. I try not to get involved in their conversations about the latest reunion tour by some bunch of septuagenarians who said they'd never play with one another again! dammit especially after the last time they performed a lengthy sellout tour of baseball stadiums and hockey arenas, and the time before that. No, because I am too cool for that. My tastes are fucking legendary, mate, they are off the chart!

I stay in my office, maybe I listen to some Getz or Errol Garner. I'll hum bits and pieces of whatever is playing in my head. Occasionally I utter what few lyrics I have been able to make out and recollect. Sometimes it's something old and comforting. Sometimes it's something fresh to my ears. Sometimes something horrid leaks out, unbidden.

Case in point: the other day I walked out of my office to collect something from the printer. I was singing or humming something, I don't know, when one of my colleagues asked me: p-man, is that the Wiggles you're singing?

Why yes, yes it was. At sea I am, on a big red boat.

Ahoy mates,


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Friday, October 19, 2007

Help I'm a rock.

My children are 3 and 1. Likely the highlight of their day for today was Stomp's guest appearance on Mr Rogers. They are all about pushing boundaries, namely the boundaries of climbing, yelling, shoving and various other feats of strength.

So how thrilled was I that my MIL thought the perfect gift for my daughter's birthday last month was... wait for it... a rock? Albeit a cute painted like a ladybug rock from Greece; but still a rock. Toss another item on the pile for mama to reintroduce at a later date. Enjoy the closet, rock.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Sleeping Beauty, or Flee the Puma

Our daughter is well known as a good sleeper. There was an odd side-effect to this. I never really enjoyed her sleeping form enough. I always had an odd sense that once she was asleep she was NOT to be disturbed. To do so would somehow irk the sleep gods who had delivered to us this sleep-luck. For the sleep-luck was profound, no real sleep-work in there. Many much finer parents surrounded us who made it quite clear we were defecating equine footwear and we better not screw it up for the sake of parent sanity everywhere.

So once asleep ne'er a check would be.

Then we had our son and I didn't conclude bedtimes anymore. I was paralysed with sleep-wonk not knowing how to end my day without that nearest sleep good night kissy-kiss-kiss with the daughter daddy put to bed. Then I discovered something... I could actually walk into my girl's room when she was sleeping and kiss her. It was ok. She did not wake and demand Blue's Clues videos and Sunchip snacks for hours. No it was just zzz zzz zzz.

My mother had always told me how she would 'check her'... I was mystified. What? Isn't that what the monitor is for? (NB: I used a monitor on volume 4 when my daughter was less than 9 feet from my bed... I wanted to catch any sleep apneas and I guess I thought technology would be my guide in early parenthood. hahahahahahaha.) So I started trying some of this checking stuff. I found that I could even pick her up. Part of me wanted to dance her outside and see just how far this sleeping would go.

But really what is so remarkable about it? I guess what I like about it is that feeling of being back in the cave. I adore that baboon sense of picking up my offspring in the night as the leopards approach and providing safety. That millisecond where I lift her and she curls around me as if we might take flight for hours and she need not wake for it. That she might only hold on tight and fuel me with her trust and her promise. Is this crazy? Does anyone know what I'm talking about? I often think 1. this feels so nice and 2. I should post this on the blog and see if I am crazy?

In other news... Our son has not always been such a good sleeper. I have not often had moments like this with him that were not accompanied by the odd jerky wrestle of a gas-bubble-troubled belly, or the stiff spine of a dirty early hour poop diaper, or the wails of teething, fevers, etc. etc. Due to a conspiracy of housing and temperament he has lead us through our incarnation as accidental co-sleepers and more learned parents generally. He sleeps fine.. I shouldn't mislead just not as freakishly hard as his sister not with the same easy will to do it unaided. I believe this week he has started to point directly to my bed when it comes time to sleep. Of course, being the stalwart and uncompromising sort of parents we are we laugh at this assertion and redraw the boundaries with consistency and verve unless we are really ill with a cold or otherwise driven to wishy-washiness.

I'll add that soon he will wean from any bedtime breasttime. Tonight he distanced himself with a plop in the crib so awake as to supply as wide a range of complaints as one might discern in a 15 month old. I gave him the pillow we usually cuddle with, I also worked it for 55 minutes. I lay on the floor and urged, Nigh-night. I sang and smiled and let him poke at my eyeballs through the crib slats. Ultimately, to end a long day I told him he had to shut it. With this he laid down, and I hung my head. With this he serenely found his focus in the nightlight and drifted off to dreamland? Serves me right. My tears beat against the mattress hard. He'd given me a pretty righteous f' you, Ma. If you say I have to do it myself I'll leave you right out, then.

So many nights lately I have hoped for him to find his independent sleep. Right now I am happy to hear that little waning cold's cough suggesting that maybe, just maybe, I should go check him. Someday I'll have to carry two through the forest to flee the puma? Do you really think I could do that?

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Strike Update

Thank god my wishes have come true, possibly. The bargaining committee for library workers' CUPE local 391 have recommended a new bargaining package. If voting ratifies it I might be knee deep in sing-songs and free information again!

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

No Garbage

They picked up the garbage today. I suppose I should be happy. But I'm not. They picked up the garbage and we can all swim in the pools again. Little people will find their preschools open. But I am not happy.

We still have no libraries. It has been three months and we are getting desperate.

People don't always get it when I say we are in trouble at my house without the library. I have attempted to redecorate our bathroom without the benefit of free magazines and brilliant art and decor tomes from any of the 22 branches I request send me one. My son has spent the three months from one year staring at me daily without a moment's relief to publicly flail about to Johnny Works with One Hammer while giggling uncontrollably. These things matter to me.

I think about my former coworkers suffering through three months with no pay. People who are fighting to see that this city pay those who shelve copies of The Englishman's Boy after its 387th circulation as much as the folks who file the parking ticket payments.

I think too about my early days and my introduction to library patrons. I worked at the old Central Branch newspaper desk and man, we had the regulars. What are those guys doing now? The smoky old guy who habitually reads the Irish Times. The lady who did the crosswords in The Province everyday even though she wasn't supposed to and even though we 'busted her ass' for it everyday. What about that homeless man with the green coat, his tent in a tube on his back and that startlingly handsome face? Is he just reading 24hrs now? Never mind all the unemployed who would be otherwise offered job workshops from the Business Division? Forget those new Canadians out to cram for their citizenship tests at their local branch. Let the children rely upon the Internet for all the answers.

Quite possibly those blank stares we get when we say the library strike affects us masks the fact that this isn't only a problem at my house? I think people may forget what libraries are. They are our common space. They are a social contract to share knowledge. Amazingly the terms of this contract stipulate a free exchange. So free it seems that sometimes the public forgets it does cost some money to raise a library above the standards of dusty book warehouse. We forget that libraries began as private enterprises and that at some point this society determined that was wrong; that instead we might all invest in a common enterprise of knowledge and need and talk and quiet and song and learning with no admission fees. Whither the investment Mayor Sullivan?

This week the CUPE 391 Library Workers' President said "we're all about social justice". I'm a skeptic so I wondered if that was true. It made me turn over all my insider and outsider information about this strike. It made me think of it and want to say what I know and feel is so poorly understood. It's true, libraries are all about social justice. No garbage in that statement. I hope our libraries can get their fifteen minutes this week. But in my own interest I hope it is no longer than that.

For more you can visit the Local's website here, maybe even sign the petition or at least check out all the neat links there. If you don't live in the Vancouver area do me a favour and love your library tomorrow, I'll be green with envy.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Past Blastedness

It has been a while since last I posted. I was having a crisis: I concluded blogging is stupid, or at least, it is when I do it. I could not bring myself to type another self-indulgent, self-concerned, or self-anything post. Enough about me! I said, and enough about you too - I have my own life to lead. The crisis resolved: It then occurred this was not an opinion newly held by this correspondent.

With that encouraging start behind me I will now barf up some brain curds here for your general reading indifference.

Last week Mo and I went to the Commode Door to see and listen to the New Pornographers. We engaged a sitter (a first) until midnight in anticipation of the porn starting at 10pm. But no. They started at 11pm. From 9 to 9:45 there was Fancey and from 10 to 10:45 it was Lavender Diamond. If the purpose of opening acts is either to bore the crowd or to make them yearn for the superior abilities of the headliner then these two succeeded admirably.

We were fortunate enough to catch the first part of the headliners. What a band. What beautiful violence they worked on the room. And, oh my, Neko Case. I would have added "and, oh man, my living drum lord Kurt Dahle" but he is off the tour, at home in a rectangular province with his newborn son. Pat leave - what a man.

In his stead appeared John Wurster and so I will say "Neko Case and John Wurster who kicked enough ass to make me want to get back behind my kit." From the limited evidence we were able to collect, I conclude this band puts on a great shew. Go see it if you can and tell me how it ends. We left early to relieve the sitter, a bit early, in case she was eating the kids, or making them listen to Genesis.

Recently I attended a Canucks game with my friend Mike. I am glad he is easy to talk to because the Canucks sucked ass. They lost 8-2 to Philadelphia. The Flyers' eighth goal was scored while the Flyers were two men short. The Flyers displayed an unusual approach to the game. It involved a lot of skating, passing, and shooting of the puck. There is also a good deal of hitting involved which is fine. I have, with my partners, purchased season tickets. I think this will be a long season.

Recently Metrodad lamented the late season collapse of his beloved Mets. I say count your blessings, MD, at least your team delivered some tension. This season's Canucks look to be about as dramatic as "Ishtar". (Or is that as comedic as "Ishtar"? I don't know.)

Hirings, firings, resignations, begging, rehiring, renovating, expanding... and occasionally working. I hardly get to read any blogs anymore.

Snot-streams, renovation, drywall, procurement of materiel, house-sitting, high-school reunions, serial vomiting. It's been busy, but this post is already out of hand. I will leave it to a later post or to Mo to relate the goings-on. If worse comes to worse I suppose we can live at the mall.

Now, I will watch the collected works of Mr. Roderick Piper on DVD.


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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Reference Desk

Pretty busy at the house of Wo with class reunions and thanksgiving and bathroom renovations. YAY new bathrooms! (Bad aren't you glad you are not here?)

In the meanwhile... Kudos on everyone who posted something booberific yesterday, I was with you in spirit. In my defense, I was ahead of the deadline for love of breastfeeding posts in July. Yes, call me an excuse machine.

Also -- did you see the blogs of note today blogspotters? The bookstore tourism blog is a interesting new read in a different direction. Check it out. By the way, I visit libraries and bookstores when I travel, do you like to make literary stops on your holidays or is it all cabana boys and discotheques? Do you even remember when you used to vacation?

I have some new posts in the works and some asstime on my agenda so hopefully I can offer some more timely posting soon. That is all.

ps. If Danny Boyle made the film Blogspotting who would play you?

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Monday, October 08, 2007

With Sympathies on the Morning Sickness and Odd Haircuts

A couple weeks back the news of many second babies started to flow.

It does have me thinking. It has me driven to be all sage and bossy. I think about a need to fulfill the cliche of parent-to-parent mentor urges that I so abhor when directed to me. ENJOY!

I want to make sure you all will look forward to it. And, not waste time on fear. My only way to do it seems to succinctly summarily supply what is ACTUALLY hard about it and thus represent how small the hardness is amongst all the sweet, lovely, adorable, yummy fun, good cheer bliss of expanding your families.

Hahahaha good luck!

To hijack one of my own comments I'll try and put it into words. No matter that it will, of course, be different for you.

Sense my hesitation please but indulge my blither.

Don't look to me to sugar coat. Having more than one child is hard work but not really as mind shatteringly hard as learning to have a child at all. You have been through that and fared well. Soldier on.

So what is the hard part? Simply put it is that you have now made the choice to entangle two souls. You will make two people risk their feelings on each other, and they are each your children. It is so much easier to make your child get along with and in the world... than it is ever to make a loved-one love and be loved by a loved-one. We all know that love has its pitfalls. It is an opening of self to so much good but also to tenderness and injury.

It is hard to have either child feel the pain for even one moment of learning to love. But, of course, it is worth it. Not just for them but also to bask in the aura of love in development while softly-smugly in possession of the smiling-burden of the aforementioned knowledge. Grin through the puking ladies!

ps... I got some important and useful feedback from some terrifically smart parents on my posts above, check out those comments.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

On the Assumption...

...that you exist, O Lurking Ones, clad in your virtual raincoat and gumboot ensembles, I say to you: come out of the shrubs. We'll need a description for the cops.

The Great Mofo Delurk 2007

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Monday, October 01, 2007

It ends with dancing

Last friday p-man and I endevoured to endevour to an entertainment! Thanks to the scheduling of the babysitter and the persistence of the opening acts we saw some of it.

Since we're mostly sober persons who no longer take 14 smoke breaks per entertainment event, what would we do with out time? Well, as is so often the case in Vancouver we needed to review the fashion statements or shall I say the deafing measures of fashion silence. Soft old t-shirt. Big sweater. Taiga. Taiga. Taiga. All quite dull as we waiting for the main act.

With each note the music was improving. My eyes did start to drift from the Gaparific splendor of the Commodore Floor. When would the dancing begin? It seemed never. It seems to me that people don't even dance for the main act anymore. We are all too effing ironic or something??? The best that we can hope for is some ameoba like throbbing to break the head bobbing for at least the top 20 hits?

WTF with the end of dancing??

Me. I wanted the dancing. I am weaning my little guy in earnest and those warm moments of physical love are moving into the laughable goosestepping I have patented to sleep my kids. The weird long legged wobbling I do whilst croaking my off-skat version of lullaby and good night is the music I am ensconced in. It is a melancholy end to a three years, more or less, of boob bursting mama love for two babies. All coming to their end in dancing.

I had hoped to hop to a cool beat with a multitude of partners as a mind clearing exercise. But just like breastfeeding these days we prefer to keep our heel kickin' in private?

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