Wednesday, February 27, 2008


I have been looking for work for a couple months in earnest. So far a few bites but nothing to write home about

Do I care?

You know I don't know. I sit down to write applications and I am less than enthused. Now if someone offered me a job on a silver platter tomorrow I know I would polish up and shave all over and present myself bright-eyed and bushy tailed. Hell if my old job came calling -- and they do call about every two weeks to say how much they miss me which is nice. If my old job came calling I would leap into action and leave the Mother-Woman behind. But I like being Mother-Woman full time. At this point I struggle to get excited about telling someone how effective and dynamic and effing visionary I am as an employee. Let's face it I have babies to hold so their parents can eat with two hands. I have an imp addiction to feed with snotty nosed kisses. In front of me stretches at least one to two years of frenetic juggling of lives among horrid childcare choices if I work.

There are lots of reasons to stay away from the workplace.

At the same time I am -- as the cliche goes -- a passionate worker. I have loved each and every great library where I have worked. Surely there could be another love out there for me?

I don't know.

It will likely be harder to find work than I think. Over and above the apparent downsizing of a lot of professional staff complements my expertise seems to have gone quite stale. I am not an entirely conventional librarian. I am system-administrator/cataloguer at heart with a generous dose of hyper-vibrant training-oriented manager. The populations I run in somewhat mimic those of the spotted owl. Of late I have fully realized that as a technical specialist it is do or die time. Due to a couple little things like the collapse of conventional library software systems and the rise of thoughtful little movements like open source, oh yes and this thing called the internet if I don't work now I might as well scrub my resume clean and start all over. Librarians have to work hard to market themselves as relevant in the face of technological change these days, unemployed librarian/system administrator/cataloguers even more so.

Funny but for everything we might tell ourselves about our rights for in/out to our careers in practical terms (I don't think this is just me) "Polly put the kettle on!" I must be an idiot but I have only recently fully realized/come to terms with the fact that working only one of the past four years has had an affect on my career. Likely it was only this week that I have achieved any measure of self-acceptance that I just am not as serious about work as I used to be. Call it Mo-Wo the worker 2.0.

I am kicking myself a bit this is something I could have planned for if I had thought it through at all. Hindsight is for assholes I know, but still. Of course I could have avoided much of this by just keeping my old job but from where I am I now have quite a profound understanding that I wouldn't have avoided all of it. Work is work, it is a world. There isn't a tap I can just turn off and on. There was no pause button.

ps... thanks again to my husband for going to work everyday and busting his butt that I might even have this navel gazing exercise. I am one lucky duck.

Finally.. like the new tag line?

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Parenting Workshop

Every Thursday.. Friday I am dreaming of the two parent days coming.
Every Sunday. I am bewildered how it is that everything takes longer when we are both here.

Last week I gained some insight and thought I'd share. I was in the park and talking to a neighbour Mom and son. She is recently back to work but she has Fridays off. In reference to these days she said in a hushed tone, with a measure of shyness or shame, "I like having a day -- you know -- just me and him."

"Yeah. I know." I said.

But why is that???

Well I have determined it is -- what I like to now call -- the Parenting workshop. What I said to her was ... "It is nice. Things often go smoother when you don't have to be running the parenting workshop, eh? More relaxing. It seems that so long as our children keep growing, and of course they, do we need to keep growing as parents. It is more than tiring to work out all that rule-making and 'consistency', etcetera etcetera."

Am I wrong??

Tell me do you live the parenting workshop and do you like it or lump it? I really want to hear from you. I would be a liar not to admit that my initial blogging modus operandi was in no small regard a quest to solve the parenting workshop. So often I was looking and linking from parenting blog to parenting blog trying to find that perfect couple who seamlessly parents the most well-behaved and stainless child(ren). They are out there, I think you people know who you are. But tell me right to my face, hell tell the whole interweb would ya?

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

My Tap Runneth Over

I’m at work. I am overwhelmed, attempting to avoid the immediate/URGENT tasks which are before me. I am a little depressed. The kids are on antibiotics. Better that than oxycontin, I suppose, but I am disinclined to dig into their stash of banana-flavoured amoxi-whatever. No fun at all.

There was hope before lunch that a good sandwich would cure this malaise. No such luck. It was just a sandwich. I then sought some happy-making recourse in a bowl of yoghurt and granola. Again, disappointment. Now I have built up a cup of coffee as the answer to my plaint. The weight of expectation rests heavily on it. And it's just a fucking coffee. Go coffee.



Sunday, February 17, 2008

Waiting Room

In the final weeks of my last pregnancy I was struggling to face the loss of my so-called family balance. I had visions of having my baby (NB: this was not a planned pregnancy) a little before my due date. My expectation was that we would go to hell in a handbasket pretty much right away.

I had blogged about it and go some really great advice, particularly to point out that my so-called family balance with one child was, in fact, a crock. Thanks, L! Plus on est de fous, plus on rit!

Still, I had problems moving towards birth. My antidote was to get on my birther cleats and focus, plan, strategize. My son had other ideas, in so far as a fetus has ideas. He was late. He was 'overdue'. Tho' of course he was not. We were just ill informed from the ultrasound that was looking for a baby 7-8 lbs when he was 10+. We waited. We thought we were overdue.

As I careened toward, my perceived Waterloo of parental control, I wanted one last gasp. I wanted to feel birth's imminence. I wanted to charge ahead with at least the comfort that though I knew nothing about raising siblings into people I knew how to give birth. I had done it before. It is powerful and, thus, I would be powerful at least for that while.

I had my predictions of early birth. Wrong.
I had my wait for the sweeps to do the trick. Wrong.
I had days and days of 'early labour'?? Is that it? Yeah, there. What about this???

Then I gave up. One Sunday afternoon when all the beds were changed, the cookies made, my feet had walked the block and the hills too many times in earnest... My doctors urging me to relax and complimenting my fecundity as a boon... My husband was ordered back to work the next day and I resigned myself to inducements on Thurs. Failure.

Wrong, again.

That night I must have laboured some while asleep. At four am I woke with a drip and a dribble and smile. Filip the cat my only companion and advisor. I woke papa-man first.

The labour with my daughter had been the lesson and I wanted this labour to be my thesis. I could do it, we could do it. We did, for the most part, just me and papa-man. But to this day there is something... something wrong. I will tell you here that foolish or not, sometimes I worry I almost damaged or even killed my child with the birth plan. I was so fixated on time. I thought about the due date (though I told nearly no one as much; a regular Joan Plowright of dismissiveness.) I tried to construct the birth in my mind every phase every urge as if it was an intellectual process. AS IF? I mean I know better, myself and my true confidantes (you know who you are) we know giving birth is pure surrender to the physicality of life, perpetually; only abstractly intellectual. hmmmmmm

When my son was born my husband lived the terror in those few moments as they called 'breathe, baby, breathe.' As I lay in a stupor of adrenaline and oxytocin I did not feel it. As I pushed and planned and managed, ok give birth by 11:30, no? Ok by noon at least; do the job this is your second labour -- it is supposed to be fast... I wonder if I rushed. I don't wonder this alone, but rather a month or so later had the lump in my throat when my best doctor asked if my son was stuck or if the team was just not patient enough. I knew in some manner it was the latter. I had a rabble of unassigned docs and apprentice nurses, they did rush a bit. But there will always be part of me that feels it was me. I wasn't patient. I rushed it. It might have been a danger for him.

Hubris. The evil of this mammoth giving of flesh and blood to bear them yet we cannot for one moment want it. We cannot urge it or make it so -- even as we make it entirely. As if we are possessed.

I am ashamed of that urge to manage. Disappointed in my loss of the moment for it. I look now to this closing performance I had as a birther with a bliss that you could call a drop diluted. But that is not my cause to document this. I am ponderous this sunny Sunday afternoon of the risk of giving birth. A risk which I hitherto did not fully appreciate as extending from the moment of conception to the window of our own last breaths. The risk of creating lives and the complete vulnerability to loss or damage.

This week as I am reading of the waters that are ready
to break
(or dribble, or be pierced, or what-have-you) I think of my case a bit. It is from my galloping blog-fuelled sycophantic mettle that I opt to write this up. In a disjointed sidebar it is to those near, dear here who are without their little babies that I write this up.

There is no control. We cannot make it so. Randomness the limitless and blood.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Emperor Has No Clothes: A Prequel Bad Parenting Confessional

About a year and a half ago I had ocassion to post a bit about my daughter's emerging gorgeousness. It was a real point of pride.

About a month ago I experienced its counterpoint.

During a night's run-up to bath-time I was charged with the task of negotiating her out of a dress-up get-up . To achieve my desired end I threw in an off-hand comment to move her along and was more than dismayed with the response. What I said was... "You don't need those fancy clothes, you are beautiful just the way you are."

What was the response?

"No. I'm not."

My heart broke in a million pieces right there.

Now if you know me (and of course most of you don't) you would know that I am a frumpy, near-Leninist thinky-type with a ton of 'inner beauty'. I mean this shouldn't bother/intimidate/involve me, right???? But it does. It is about the clothes. It is about the acquisition and the commerce of beauty and the feminine through glittery fabrics and branding. I understand the nuances of influence but still at 3 freaking years old!! she utters this swift demolition of that identity and idealization of her life-loving-dearhearted-growing-nay-blossoming-self so vibrant those posts ago.

I was appalled.
I was sad.

I won't blame Disney. As has been pointed out to do as much would be a cop-out. My point last week (call this the prequel) was to confess my own concern about my daughter for the reasons now described here. But also to register my aghast in this reliance on beauty and material possessions. An aghast coupled with an my recognition of the ages old value of material -- remember I have a not long past work history in museums. The mechanics of material culture should not wholly blindside me.

If I think about the number of reasons "why?" I do believe it is a general issue. It is a paucity of the feminine ideal for my girl. (please note the use of the word my) I truly want to be the best womanly influence on my daughter and to hear her echo the plainness of my identity laid bare my failure in this regard. It cannot be allowed to touch the radiance and potent that is my daughter. No!

Mother-Womanly Confusion Mantra #837
I will not have my children suffer for my inability to hold my shit together.
I will not invest in holding my own shit together to the detriment of the daily needs of my children.

WTF!! I find no solution. But will offer her some consolation in Mommy getting a new dress or two. Mommy getting out of the sweatpants and going somewhere with her self. [sic] Won't be a ball... No won't be a ball necessarily... But might be a start. And, don't get me wrong. I don't think I am 'at fault'... I simply do have to take my part and find a way to move a pretty big issue -- feminine identity -- ahead. Like I say, this Mother-Woman thing is complicated!

Addendum. Dear P-man. Expect a few Visa bills next month beyond normal transaction levels.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

My Dear Child

Standing in front of the fountain on Fraser Street last week she made a wish. In a loud clear voice:

"I wish... I..... could jump into a book!!!"

Now she also told the circulation staffer at the library check-out "I don't like you or your shirt." but I prefer the power of that first image.

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Monday, February 04, 2008

Inter-blog Commentary: I feminist, I suck

I'll admit to be ashamed to be admitting it I did watch the Frasier series live and in rerun for a number of years. Ok, so I am not necessary ashamed of it any Bridget Jones sort of way, but still.. Regardless, I have one little gem of dialogue I put on the mental rewind at times. It refers to a dressing down Frasier gets for constantly buying gifts for his family to 'make them into' the sort of people he thinks they should be. Basically, he gets called on giving gifts he deigns his dear ones should have instead of ever giving them the things they actually want.

I did this. My Mom still does this. It is annoying. Somewhere in the the mid 90's I stopped doing it. But now... now I have this growing girl I am at once again. I am reconnecting with my inner social censor. Take the case of Christmas '07. What did my daughter want but a "blue dress with sparkles like Zofia has". I went I shopped; I tried. I could not do it. I knew what she meant. She wanted some gown, some horrendous organza number with rhinestones and a silk rose the size of my head fresh out of the Jon Benet Memorial Collection at Zellers. Frasier might have taught me to comply. If not him then maybe El MetroPadre.

But I couldn't. I didn't. I bought my daughter 3 count em, 3 fancy dresses for Christmas but none of them were what she'd had in mind. I wanted to bend her desires to something I thought was better. And the thought it is quite irrational, I tell you. I want to thoroughly mask my own responsibility for her desperate luxe seeking sex stereotyping. I want to cut a corner. To turn my parenting challenges into a Battle-of-the-Network-Stars-sized social struggle; which it is not. Instead I know in my heart that a goodly amount -- er the majority -- will actually be my stuff. My input, my example.

As I said on the post Chez Metro:
"I hate the princess crap. I hate it. I didn't give my daughter what she asked for Christmas -- which was an organza and sparkles gown like so and so had at school. I tried but I couldn't do it.

That said ... I have had a lot of moments in the last few weeks when I see that I have a much bigger part to play in the self image my daughter has than the Princesses. I have made it a bit of a campaign to actually comb my hair and get dressed just to be with her more often; instead of doing it only to leave her sphere."

I do, of course, fault Disney for what is happening to girls (and boys) in the cult of gender roles polished on every edge. Looking at it critically -- when I think about my recent assignment within what I readily call 'sweatpant nation' when I frame it's occurrence in my own history as a girl who bought into the power associated with androgyny in the '80's (wherefore my double breasted suit and my vintage Dunn's Tailors Cashmere coat)... What does my daughter think is a feminine ideal? When does she even see me put in an earring anymore? Can I give her what she really wants?

What am I afraid of?

Perhaps a little more than just dangling prepositions and the shortness of my rewrite capabilities at this hour.

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

Let them eat cake

Last week I promised I would share the following with you.

Dear Engineering dweebs Recycling Gods

It was recently announced that you intend to break out the tough love on recycling vagrants. Now, you know me. I loooove the environment. I love you guys but, really, are you really going to bust me for every scrap of recycling I misfile? I am a librarian. I take my filing pretty seriously but even I have my limits.

Regardless of all that I must register a complaint. Hear me, right here and right now. If you plan on busting the fair citizens of Gotham err Vancouver you better do us one favor first. I am begging you here. Please for the love of god either start accepting those commercial garbage bag sized blue bags or else triple the size of the "paper products" receptacles.


You pretty much make me throw away paper by making it far too hard to fit all the waste paper I have into those stupid little yellow bags you have especially designed for what?? the equivalent of 23 undergraduate essays stacked neatly back into a ream?? I have 3 -- they are not enough. During the summer garbage strike I discovered that we have quite a lot of what I call dry garbage. Not garbage with a wry sense of humor or aplomb for a limerick but rather garbage that is actually recycling in disguise. Stuff like business cards, old to do lists, book dustjackets, junk mail literally ad naseum, the over in all the over-packaging involved in everything from toy trains to condoms to fish flavoured spelt crackers. We have lots of this stuff and you know I don't didn't recycle it, then as soon as I gave up your curbside service... As soon as I could cram it into a garbage bag sized collection unit what happened? Well let me tell you ... our personal garbage stores fell by 60-70%! Am I alone in this?

Now, don't let me get sidetracked on buying everything in bulk and otherwise just skipping the packaging I know, I know. But buddy, that just ain't gonna happen. I like eating my ice cream of the Ben and Jerry's variety. Ever since the big lye accident my husband prefers it when I wash the clothes with detergent from the store. My kids, when they eat, like to eat goldfish salt chunks of the vacu-seal variety. Hey, I yam what I yam. We will look at our problem but what about you? Don't you think you could lighten up on us a bit and simply let us recycle what we have? Isn't that the plan??

You know just because I am a nutritionally-challenged, couch potatoing, enviro-lightweight doesn't mean I don't want to recycle... right?

Citizen Mo

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