Wednesday, January 28, 2009


At times in my job I get steeped in the rabble babble of new media. Worse yet new media and youth. Woefully unqualified for this my mind will get spinning, metaphor upon simile upon paradox. All to make imaginable, dare I say do-able, some response from our school system to what all this is. I hope we might offer something a smidge better than cobbling together.

Telling myself the more things change [textme, pod, iPhone, whatever] the more they stay the same.

But, seriously, a woman just walked down my street in a microfibre jumpsuit carrying two plastic bags on a stick à la :

Modernity, go figure.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

52 Reasons: Tipping Point

I feel the tipping point. In the mire of embarrassment when any unfriendliness emanates from my kid. Cowering in the face of a hit or shove. I am, as they say, out of excuses. Save one..

Blame the mother. I mean I do.

I have seriously thought, and threatened, to stop going out with them to save the double worries of their weaknesses and mine. The punishing rancour of my self-consciousness knows only one remedy. More time, more of MY parenting. Brute force I get; balance has a nuance that fails me. I am no Ace. No easy-winner. I come from a long, long, long line of workhorses. Participant performers with nothing to show for their days but the comfort of a job done. Hey, I resent power steering.

It's been more than six months hard labour home/work. The jury is in, I am not up to full time. I need to put every iota of brain power I have into this family life. Working my goals AND coming up with a melodious, nutritious menu plan for the week is more than I can offer this world.

Plan B here we come.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Long Way Home

The extended Wo family is close by. Once a year we drive 5 or 6 hours to see my MIL but apart from that I only have to deal with 'are we there yet?' over a span of 20-40 minutes.

Next week one of my best friends will journey home to see her family 5260 miles away. Since her husband just started a new job he will not be going along. I wish I could go with her and help with her 3 year old boy and one year old girl. Bless 'er my friend's sister has come to help her travel east, she'll be solo west. That is a long trip.

Duo, or especially solo, there is dread. I mean it doesn't matter if you have a kid "disconnect" in flight for 20 minutes or 2 hours, it can be dreadful. All you can do is your best, right? Gather some tools, be prepared, spin the cylinder of cabin-pressured humanity and live to tell the tale. I remember being a fellow passenger with little people back when I had a travel-life. If your kid is mostly behaved and you pay attention you are a great traveling parent. No one expects 10 out of 10; most cabin mates are realistic.

I wish I could help more than a sticker book and some understanding. The librarian in me is out for some intel and info, too. What is this blog for? Please share with me -- and my friend -- any tips, tricks and warnings you can. Activities, must pack toys, divine distractions, breathing techniques, what-have-you...

Bon Voyage, J. I am so happy for you and your family that you will all be together SOON. Here's hoping it's soon enough.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Singer Sewing Machine

In my garage is the now broken down Singer Sewing Machine table. You likely know these well, they lurk in the corners of many homes for reasons only slightly unique to each owner. Mine is a hand me down from my great aunt another one of the antique items acquired through the Wood Furniture refugee program p-man and I have run since our early 20's. We never met a piece of wood furniture that we could let go to goodwill; not even the ones we really don't need.**

So, I had the treadle sewing machine. About 8 years ago I also had a super cute blueberry iMac, one of those first generation thingys. I thought the sewing machine cabinet would be perfect as a computer desk. I got some keyboard glides and did a conversion. After numerous arguments with my Dad about how I should be doing it I got it done. Out came that machine and on went my new INTERNET machine. I wrote my Masters at that desk, my first website, I trafficked in serious amounts of email and got ready to blog from there, I figure.

I thought about it then -- and still -- how I didn't convert much. The easy transition 19th century sewing machine for 21st century portal; a machine that enables, a new opportunity for independence and intention. I felt the connection over time to my aunties and grandmas who worked at the many many identical veneer table tops night and day. I expected the time they would have spent at that appliance would have been quite comparable to the time I spend at the interface, but who knows. I feel still some romance for this now broken down symbol of womanly enterprise, its resonance of solitary exertions with bounteous outcomes.

P-man observed the table's surplus status in the recent inventory of the wooden unpurposed we shelter. He thinks we should get rid of it. It's true I could get rid of it now but part of me really hopes we don't actually know how to throw out furniture.

**I have always wanted to take the tv parts out of our antique tv set and put in a goldfish aquarium.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Bad Parenting Confessional: Madonna? or Whiner?

Work is busy. Long days, overtime, the weekend, et cetera. Last week I worked late while my sniffling "how ill is she??" child shared a sleepover with her brother at the grandparents place. I called to say good night. There were tears.


Usually, I am absolute wallpaper to the grandparents. If there is little to be said for the predictability of kids; let's say that goes double for sick kids. In the subsequent hour I did my mind numbing overtime work up to my armpits of the image of my daughter weeping on the phone. I AM evil career woman!!!

Then just to torture myself I followed up with p-man, made my confession. Of course at that point I got the report about his delightful tear-free phone call. How 'Hi Daddy' sounded and what sort of movie and flavour of ice cream she was fully ensconced in about 10 minutes after I had called.


Last night I grappled with how to take a second day off in a month for family illness. Now it is the nuthatch puking and spiking a fever. Work is a mess. I have a lot of customers on call-back queue and I know there are more coming. I wrote an appropriate note to my department at 10:30pm and updated my voice mail. No big deal. Then I wrote a note to my customer group. IDIOT! I actually mentioned in my message to more than 150 people that I would be away because my kids are sick (of course I put it in the form of a cute segue, but still.) So don't you know I am now obsessing** about being 'unprofessional' now.


I have heard a lot from my female colleagues since I have gone back to work about how it was for them. Note many of these colleagues might be 10 to 15 years older than me and quite a few no longer have kids at home. They scoff at the cases of today's working mothers who whine even mention 'I have small children'.... it offends them. (Do they mean me?) They report how when they were working -- back then -- you never mentioned the children. I balk, internally. I hesitate to remind them that few of them worked at all before their children went to school; whereas my kids are only 2 and 4. I get confused listening to their machismo while recognizing them as classic Women's Libbers, the very ones who fought for my mat leave rights. Seems sad?/odd?/[insert right word] that they are disdainful of the fulsome dialogues of family and the workplace in (Canada) in 2009, more so than the men with whom I work... unless something goes on behind my back.

Last year when I was negotiating a return to work I had a long email exchange with my lady boss at the time, she was just of those types, boomer single mom of two. I was jumping through hoops and doing some scheduling wrangling. In the end she did help me out. More than the practical help I appreciate a comment made in the closing on one of her email messages. What she said was I 'having a family and working is complicated'. I think maybe that is one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me.

**Yes I know, obessing, is crap but did I mention I'm tired. There's your answer.

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Switchboard: A wordy lack of commentary

It's one of those days. Some harsh technical difficulties at work, I ducked in last night around 10pm to work to 11. Came home only to stay up all together too late. Today I was running around like a chicken with me head cut off. I have to put a stitch in the skirt the Girl Friday wants to wear tomorrow.

I am just.. zzzzz.

Not enough in me to comment in a spot where I want to see if L. can give away her rocking chair. While almost awash in the ease of the white comment boxes proffered by the cheesefairy; wanting to say for the 100th time my greatest regret about getting my job back is losing 45 playdates with her, alas, still... no comment. A smidge inadequate to respond to the profundity of perspective from bon ; would it fit to say 'his eyebrows are AWESOME!' ??? Sighing at the loss of another four weeks passed and not a just post in me. Can I add, posted at 4am???? Man, what are you on lady??? And, did you share it with Subspace Beacon so she could beat out Entertainment tonight with this post?

I do have one comment in me tonight, it will go to Alberta via the Life of Pie Parkway. And I mean the LADY not the looming near-republic east of here. I got something because, hey, this is fun to do.

Then back to zzzzz. And, I'm not even pregnant at all, let alone with twins!

...Hard on the heels of delurker day, I'm done.

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

On Con Moms and Non-Confidence

Last year when I was looking for work, and not finding it, I had some blue days. I was sad, and I was weak.

In one 'dust me off' telephone call with my mother the matter of confidence arose. I admitted that my confidence was eroded. I admitted that eroded confidence = near depression for me. My mother pointed out that when it came to confidence forget it. Confidence simply was not "what was going on with me". Non-confidence was the new way of the world for me and I better figure that out.

What she explained is that parenting, or did she say MOTHERING, is an antithesis to confidence. "Give it a rest" being her stalwart message at my life of whining, this time I heard the ring-a-ding-ding of truth big time. "She is right!", I thought. Looking after the kids is completely at odds with my old constructions of confidence. There were facts where now there are feelings. There were numbers and shares where now there are bottomless needs and illusions of fairness. It's all a crap-shoot. Every breath I take, every move I make. I am just making it all up. I DON'T KNOW. Yet, everyday the shining faces look upward thinking I do. What was my old tagline? "Yeah, right, whatever you wanna tell yourself, Mother-Woman." Do the kids know its a confidence GAME?

And, with that advice/realisation I entered what I call my parenting repose. Ahh... or is that Ohm? And there you have it people, non-confidence, not just for Stephen Harper, anymore.

I don't know extends to... Does kitty look ok, here?

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Sunday, January 04, 2009


Tomorrow morning I will be lining up to get my kid into a 'good school'. Jan 5 is the first day of applications for the September '09 Kindergarten year and that's where we're at.

After much discussion we are about 80% sure that we'll send our kid to the standard down the road public school but in the meanwhile we need to play along with all our friends and neighbours and a good chunk of class politics, too. Considering everything I need to make applications for 6 schools: the two public montessori school lotteries; two french immersion; our local school (that tends not to have a waitlist so yeah) and a second local school that's considered 'better' than our actual catchment school. The latter school is in fact closer to our house by .1 of a kilometer. I repeat 6 schools! Hey I could make it 8 but I cut-back. Consider me suddenly some hyper-social-engineering, self-centered freak-show parent. A garden variety busy-body and worrier I despised, well, a little over a fortnight ago.

I wish I could enjoy the pride of my daughter being such a big girl now, the twinklings of independence to come but no, screw that. I am newly immersed in a forest of anxieties about making the right choice for my kid. I mean why are half the families around here sending their kids to French immersion? ESL-paranoia. If they go to French immersion they won't have immigrant kids holding their kids back! Yeah, what a crock -- then on the flip side my daughter actually likes what French language learning she's had so far so fingers crossed we win a lottery space for that option!! Montessori? Well that's a similar thing, get my kid out of the regular school please I am afraid of the ordinary????

The most time sensitive application I have to make is for the school nearest our house. I will honestly be standing there begging them to timestamp my submission all the while elbowing three other dear mothers of my daughter's dear friends to do it. While we sort of prefer this school location-wise it would be a lie to not also acknowledge our perception that this is a better class of school, more English speakers, a better balance of ethnic groups, fewer special needs kids. It's shameful all the euphemisms. Hello, this is PUBLIC school, don't we want our kids to learn how to operate, you know, IN PUBLIC??

My daughter is a sweet girl. She's clever enough by half. I think a lot about what she might do with her life and thus I will comb all the options here. But seriously, wtf??? What I want most is that when she goes to school next September she is among friends. That she will go to a school with a few good friends she knows and that she can build from that community base to the bigger, and better, community base school offers. For a lot of reasons it is becoming freakin' complicated to achieve that.

I really hate anything that requires me to give a crap about how my friends choose to run their families. Know what I mean?

ps.. I would prefer there wasn't a lot of driving involved to do that either.

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Friday, January 02, 2009

This blog sucks

I was reading crib chronicles with mouth agape, as usual. Bon can really, really write, eh? The post was as charming as many found there but annoying no end in its closing inquiry. "What do you do when the words don't come?"

Well. You know... I write anyway.

I would estimate that the words stopped coming about a year and half ago. What did I say, twice the children, half the blog?? p-man has been good to the change but me, well obviously, not. I publish, and perish, weekly. I can crank out some'how mommy blogger can I get??' post just to burn a few pixels that I, what?, feel I'm entitled to at my advanced age of bloggery.

I don't know how to stop.

But on the other hand. Who cares? It's just an eency-weency blog. I need to keep my launch pad to the blogroll of worth-whiles. I need to keep only a very tiny persona alive enough to give meaning to the real work to be done, commenting. Just a bit of texture when the comment is labeled, mo-wo.

And, on the third hand it's the nature of the thing maybe? The mother-woman in it all? Look at my kids, they're big. We are milestone-less. The good times are gone, when to wean? the wonderment of the aquarium, the charms of mocking my own blogging have all passed me by. Poignancy is OVER. And, while the dimming might fell greater blogs than this I persist.

Many times I've thought, what if my mother knew I had this blog? Would she be proud? Inside, all the while, I know what... she'd laugh. Well not to my face, but behind my back. She would look at all the typing and fury and scoff. It's my mom. That's where I come from, no? "What makes her think it's worth talking about??", my mom would think, I think. Parenting? You just do it. Make it up as best you can. Put yourself out there. Let the buck stop with you and, then, let it stop there. Too abstract.

For now I keep thinking of Gore Vidal. Did you see him on US Election night? The BBC used him as a pundit. At closing the panel just laughed their asses off. What was up with Gore Vidal?? Who booked him? Did he know what he was talking about, at all? Was it the dementia? I want to be Gore Vidal. I want to still show up, in a really fantastic cravat and everything. Show up and not care if I suck. I know it's Barack's night.

When I was having my words I didn't know bon. The wonder that is the cheesefairy eluded me. Relatively it was bleak. I had no Mad Hatter and we spent too much time thinking about the sweetjuniper people. Now is a good time; no matter how badly I write, nor how often. I know I have my moments, and I still get those random comments from complete fly-by's that I know might make it worth it, some 'you tell it like it is' endearments. But, they don't make the persistence of unexpurgated drek at this url worth it. The only thing that makes it worth it is the trip to all of you to see good work now. You know who you are.