Thursday, December 27, 2007

Is It Hot In Here?

I am on a wee holiday. Mo, seeing the rigours of parenthood have taken a great toll on my (vestigial) sanity, gave me a day pass. I foolishly used some of the time to attend at the gym. It has been some time since last I attended. For example, there are now these strange contraptions all about. One can sit on a chair of sorts and lift plates which are attached to handles, chains, digital screens, and exercise! There were no leg warmers in sight. No soundtracks blaring from the latest Kevin Bacon dance vehicle.

Other things have changed. The lobby at the local Y has changed. This Y is changing its name, to the XY or something, in order to be inclusive or something. There is a sign in the showers which shows a human head with a series of hyphens spraying out of its mouth area and the words "NO SPITTING" below in 5 languages. No-one but me who was in the showers at 1030h today was spitting. There should be signs next to the hair dryers (or "blow" dryers, perhaps) which says "PLEASE DO NOT USE THESE MACHINES TO DRY OR OTHERWISE APPLY HOT AIR TO YOUR ANUS, GENITALS, OR COCKS, YOU SICK FUCKING FUCKS", also in 5 or more languages, so that others may be spared the sight which greeted me this morning when I entered the locker room. At some point, this guy was not drying... definitely not drying... must gouge out mind's eye.

And another thing.

I wear a shirt and tie at work. I sit behind and occasionally on a desk. When I am at work I perform the functions one would expect from a lawyer engaged in litigation practice. You know, torturing puppies, pulling the legs off spiders. Good times. Today I heard a man on tv justify his job of "driving truck" by saying "Wearing a shirt and tie, sitting behind a desk - that's not the job for me." As if that is the job! As if that kind of job is available! It isn't, is it? I'd like that job...



Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Ahhhh. The light on the camera battery charger blinks next to me. I can take no picture but at last there it is. That precious spectacle of the tree not just decorated but also surrounded by the gifts of friends and of SANTA.


We are not very good at the Santying yet but I will admit I enjoy it. I love the bounty of it. The lovely wrappers and all the ribbonry.

I blog it tonight for you -- for come morning it will be spent like a drifted bank set upon by the hoisted limbs of terriers.

Beauty is fleeting. But giving is not. I hope everyone enjoys a pleasant rest with the sense of joy at what gives in this society. Our best to you all. Merry Christmas, there I said it.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Are You Going to Eat That?

I don't get out much. It shows. Last night we watched Superbad. I enjoyed it, it was a sweet story about friendship. Of course, if you have seen it, you will know the flick of from the type of realist school of movie making which requires the use of abundant profanity and references to genitalia. Which brings me, ineluctably, to the point of this ppost.

One of the main characters describes a problem he had as a youth. He was obsessd with drawing penises. Penis as Michalangelo's David, General Macarthur, what have you. As part of his treatment he was forbidden from eating "food that looks like cocks" and "all the best" foods look that way.

Fair enough. I'll admit to occasional discomfort when viewing people eating bananas, european weiners, Twix. I can't help it. I see the connection. I don't care if the smokie is a sublimated knob - I'm smothering it with mustard and sucking that thing back!

My problem today is* wondering: what do you do if you encounter a cock that looks like food?**


* Inter alia.

** Like pizza.


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Presents In Mind / Does This Make Me a Grinch?

Toys suck.

Even all the lead paint aside I am praying to God that we do NOT get toys this Christmas. I have been working overtime begging all the relatives and some of our friends to give us books instead. I mean if we get books I know just what the kids will do with them; they'll sit and browse them. I will be able to drink a cup of coffee and enjoy a measure of Christmas myself.

Face it, I'm selfish.

If we get toys I will be instantly transported to that twist-tie RSI hell steeped in the zap-strap-fuelled-crankiness and whoa look out. Mama hates me some toy products more often than not. If we get the damn toys I will spend the morning breaking up fights while I try to actually get this crap out of all the overpackaging. I will be rifling for batteries and sorting out all the age inappropriate crap.

To meet my goal I have two dear souls to thank really. Those being my librarian-parent-blogger compatriots Mad Hatter and Kittenpie. Thanks to their terrific online lists I have made use of the evil empire's fancy interface functionality to post our public booklist and be generally really pushy about wanting books not toys. I am secretly hoping that they will, in fact, use their local bookstore or our really fine flagship Vancouver store but no matter how they come. Wish me luck, I cannot face a load of toys like last year and part of me know that toys for our 3 year old are going to be 10 times worse.

Never mind that this might save me from those quarterly book buying sprees I have that have become a bit ridiculous. I mean as a librarian I don't really need to buy books at all but, still....

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Content Starved

That's the name of this post and that's how it is in chez-p, by which I mean the space between my ears which of late has lost its vibrant cottage cheese in a bag feel in favour of some kind of raisins in a wet sock vibe which is neither conducive to work nor play. (Or for that matter posting.)

I hear your tremulous queries: But why the disintegration of your uncommonly high-grade mentus, p-man? and I respond, carelessly: Huynnngh?

It may be the perpetual stream-o-snot trickling down my philtrum. It may be but I do not think so. I enjoy the flavour. And texture. Looks great on sleeves!

It may be the book I am reading. I have threatened to read it for years and now I am reading it and it is confusing me and maybe the conceit of the novel will soon collapse but it has yet to and oh man I may go first. Magic fucking realism.

It could be the cds I purchased surreptitiously last week when I was downtown. (Sorry, honey!) Also produced in the modern Europe of 1972-3. I cannot say if I would describe Ege Bamyasi as "larded with whimsy" or "totally fucked up!" which will explain why I am neither a so-called "rock writer" nor a record label pr hack. This band are gorilla! Fucking Stockhausen.

Whatever it may be, global heating, Buckley's Mixture, or the inevitable mental decay occasioned by consuming the avant-art of the early 1970s, I don't know, I just don't care. There's nothing the matter but I can't even muster the strength to compile a worst of 2007 list... and so much of 2007 sucked intensely! More Buckley's... maybe that's the ticket.


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Monday, December 10, 2007

Recommended Title: How Many Miles to Bethlehem

How many miles to Bethlehem? / Kevin Crossley-Holland ; illustrated by Peter Malone.
Orion, 2004.

ISBN: 1842552775

This Christmas we acquired a copy of this excellent book of the Nativity. Clever and poetic text conveys the story from the points of view of many participants, the Mother Mary, the Shepherds, the Sheep, the Donkey in the stable, etc etc. I think good religious works are actually about many points of view so this is religious story that's right up my alley.

If you are looking for a beautiful book to discuss the mystical aspects of the Christmas tradition this one is a must-have. Though I might just be a sucker for the gorgeous figurative images that play on my own baggage as an Eastern-rite Catholic and graduate of a medieval studies program.

As with all our recommended titles, a really nice book. Check it out at your library or buy it at your local bookstore this Christmas.

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Sunday, December 09, 2007


My friend she lost her baby three days ago.

She told us on the Internet. She’s not the first one.

Bad is right motherhood is a cloister. This place of typeface speaking can be a release. A breakout from the cloister and the arras. I hear you.

He says we’re lucky. We are and we aren’t. Our family can still survive on the mythology that the children are immortal because they might out live us. We may pretend they face no fate of dust like us. We feel that they will live on. And on. And on.

When it comes to my children I have no sense of proportion. Among other things I want them omnipresent and everlasting. Yet with these little ones I know inside it is as fairy’s wing as fragile as a sprite's voice on the wind. They are not necessarily strong. They have rattled their little bones out of nothing more special than a mother like me. A woman of no extraordinary power but something magical instead come from something plain. Though they be magical they are not necessarily strong.

To those who lose their little ones, or cannot find them, there is no quell. There is a place for wailing. I wonder for how many years we have not heard. For how the pain and loss was swept away so callously. Or in ignorance and superstition. I hope it means something to have their names heard; to say it aloud.

Dear mothers… It means something to me to be included. It teaches me that whether the person in her bed upstairs or the person in his crib sleeping tonight lives a hundred years or a hundred days or a hundred minutes or any less they are my child. They are mother’s child loved and cherished without measure or proportion for all eternity.

My heart of my heart to you CC.


Thursday, December 06, 2007

Hi, Mo-Wo!

Despite my love of good childcare I have always held a certain reserve about how it applies. My parents don't regularly babysit and when I was working I cut every minute of daycare to the wire. Now after a week of our shiny new nanny and no work I am in the thick of a paradigm shift.

Hi, I'm Mo-Wo and I'm a momaholic.
Queue the claps please.

Yep, I have been through the detox. I have gone four days with someone else looking after my children and really? This is what it's like to be sober? I had sort of imagined but I didn't really know til' now.

I am full of questions right now. What do I want professionally? Do I fear staying-at-home? Do I resent it? Is Hirschman right about the two kid thing? Could I make the PhD program entrance this September? Could I make it ever?

Add to all these the following: Could I justify being absent from my children for a reason other than being a wage earner? Wow. That one came out of left field! This is a wild concept to me. But of course I feel like the last one to the party. I am sure better women than I... stronger ones have seen it all along? The sweet songs of parity singing out that they can step away for "no reason"? How long can I do it? How much is enough? Too much? At least I'll have a shower, eh? Maybe it would cure me of my recent fantasies of release from mom-itude. I cannot deny I wanted to get back to work to 'get away', have a break from the failures challenges. But is work really the only means to that?

I have talked the talk people. But hmmmm...

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Sopranos In Loincloths

Mo turned on the Tudors in order to view the season-ending episode and the first scene involved some guy suffering a flaming death at the stake. There is ample fornicating, treachery, and violence to go around. If Rome was the Sopranos in togas then the Tudors is the Sopranos in doublets.

So last Thursday's call about the job that wasn't has been followed by confirmatory meetings, phone calls, commiserations & c. It turns out that "these are the rules" and "no there's nothing we can do" and "we work in an uncaring system... we don't care!" govern the situation. We know we have ourselves to blame for this predicament. We do not understand the arcanery of the language employed in collective agreements. I can no more easily navigate the Bering sea with a bottle cap and a flashlight than that document. So now Mo will not return to work in a month as planned. She will stay at home (so to speak) for a number of months more while we try to figure out what's next.

We are reasonably secure in terms of financial prospects and Mo can now spend more time with our kiddies. Mo can consider her career options, like more book learnin', or other jobs in library land, and that is very cool. But for this situation we may not have looked at what prospects there are. We are, in other words, lucky to have this problem.

The manner in which this has come down has been a mite unsettling. The "notice" of this procedure was vague and nearly incomprehensible. Mo did not have the hammer dropped, so to speak, until one month before her anticipated return to work and after we had gotten ourselves organized for the event (for once!). I don't like seeing Mo upset and this has been, hmm, upsetting. Again, I know we are in good shape, and we probably should have seen this coming, but still, fuck!

I can only speak for myself (unless paid to do otherwise) but I must say that Mo's employer, which I will not identify herein, is a... words fail. Cockwad.


Sascha Pluperfect Hound.

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Thursday's Child

When it came time to decide on our nanny I was uncharacteristically pragmatic. I said, more than once, "I have a tendency to believe that things turn out as they should."

Although, I really do not have that tendency. I merely wish I did. So fake it til' you make it right?

Then Thursday's news came and I wondered if I was possessed. Did the impatient bitch who was fed up with my dithering finally channel herself? Was I speaking her voice a few days ahead of the news that really begged the question where are you going, Mo-Wo? What do you really want?

I said in that post "... the snow falls harder and in bigger chunks. All the paths previously made will need to be worn anew." I can't deny that part of me can envision a multitudes of ways out. A plethora of new routes. I am fortunate for that.

I'm off for me meeting now. Thanks to all for wise words and kind thoughts. It means a lot having you guys. As my favorite old CBC radio show used to say... Stay calm, be brave, wait for the signs.

Later. Hugs from
Bertha Submersible Slug

And, what is your authentic Indian Name?


Sunday, December 02, 2007

Lost it

The snow is falling softly here but with density. As we pass towards naptime most of the street is quiet. Hush of the noiseless weather taking over.

I am trying to be quiet. But I am all noise myself. Tremble, fear, worry and nausea. I have thought for days about writing to you. Faces, voices... ears out in the ether. I am peering at you now through this screen wondering if my petty misstep might meet some response.

I have made a stupid, stupid mistake. I am sort of known as a wise ass with some smarts and since Thursday afternoon I have struggled with a bit of news that shows such to be a lie. Any smarts, as I often wonder, are a joke, I'm a fraud. I am about as dumb as they come. You see it seems I have lost my job.


Lost it.

No one can find my job. Not me. Not my boss. My job is quite possibly gone. Such are the wonders of a career bureaucrat's career. Où est ma travail?? Sort of...

After the agonizing decison of returning to work. After the nerve-wracking nanny selection, inclusive of expensive nanny agency fee and pending contract... I got a phone call from the HR cats last week to discuss my return from Parenthood leave. The call came with the news that the extra six months of leave I had taken had triggered a forfiet of my beloved position administering school libraries technical services and our district educational media collection. A job I love and one that, I do dare say, loves me. A job that I leave only for one thing and that is for the love of my children. I lost it and did not once twig until now.

That job is gone they tell me, from me. Assigned instead to my mat leave replacement permanently. I have been advised to consider postings as a buyer or a member of our planning and facilities staff.

??????? really??

I have spent days since the news turning over how stupid I must have been. Did I just read into the optional leave what I wanted to hear? Once the HR staff explained it I just could not understand how this was news to me. Again, what am I stupid?

It was likewise, by the way, news to my staff... my boss... and perhaps still to the guy who now has my job. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark my friends. I will wait until a meeting on Tuesday for some further news. I am so sad. I feel this is a true test of my identity. A sort of metaphysical assault on the -- largely false -- dichotomy of go-to-work-moms and "other" moms.

... the snow falls harder and in bigger chunks. All the paths previously made will need to be worn anew.

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