2.29.2008

Twenty(ish) Questions (Part I)

Well, I asked for it. Actually, I guess you did. Ok, it was a group effort. Here are the answers.
(And no, this is not a test, but you will lose points for spelling mistakes.)

Emma asked: Mamatulip said she had a night out on the town with you and a bunch of other bloggers - how did you all manage to hook up? How did you even know you wanted too? Okay, I have another one - what is the blog etiquette for comments? I have a friend who likes to "set the record straight" if she doesn’t agree with what I'm saying on my blog and it drives me crazy. And advice?

Way to get the ball rolling, Emma. Not only did you ask more than one question, but also it hardly had anything to do with ME. Nice job, newbie.

Just kidding! This is a great question because it spotlights one of the greatest things about blogging – the bloggers. Especially the T.O. gang. So, to finally answer your question, we all managed to hook up because Sandra put out the call and we always do what Sandra says. And we like to drink.
Many of us knew each other before blogging, and others had worked together on Mommy Blogs Toronto, and the rest we can simply, wonderfully just call neighbours. We like to take advantage of the fact that there are SO many of us in one city, so we get together on a fairly regular basis. A few however, remain elusive. We’re coming for them next time.

Second part of the question: I think that if you enable comments, you are opening yourself up to other people’s opinions, and must be ready for that. However, while I do not expect every comment to be sugar-coated (mine certainly aren’t always), they should be respectful. So, to answer your question - delete the bitch. Ok, fine, just leave it alone and let the other commenters eat her alive.

Ewe asked how I picked out the names for my girls.
Ewe, it’s simple: they are both (first) named after dead childhood cats. Bee is named after Chris’ dead childhood cat, and Dove is named after mine.
I’m not joking.

Ahem, but just so you do not think that we are crackpots, Bee’s first name also happens to be the anglicized version of my Grandfather’s (Yiddish) name, and her middle name is Faye, which was my Grandmother’s name.

Dove’s first name is the name of my dead childhood cat, which is also the name of my favourite Merry Prankster and my favourite Grateful Dead song. Her middle name is Lynne, which is Chris’ mother’s name and a traditional one in his family. Take that, friend and co-worker who insists I bit her still gestating daughter's name. You stole it from me.

Kittenpie queried: how much crunchy, how much rock 'n' roll?

There are so many good answers to this one. In a way, rock n’ roll is my past, crunchy is my present.

I could also say that I come from a family of crunchy rockstars, in whose midst I am downright traditional.

I could also say that the crunchy part of me gets hot at the thought of organic farmer’s markets and free trees from the city, and the rock n’ roll part of me says things like: I get hot at the thought of organic farmer’s markets.

Ali wondered: if you could go back and change an event or moment from your past, what would it be??

Ali, I truly regret kicking my LIT in the balls at summer camp when I was eight. I wish I hadn’t done that.

Jen asked: what's your secret supergirl power?

I make milk. Mother nature chose that one for me. If I could choose, it would be the ability to perform super-flippy gymnastic moves whenever needed.

Hannah wants to know: How much do you censor yourself when you're posting? How many people that you know in "real life" read your blog? Do you ever wish you could go completely incognito, and if not, why?

How much do I censor? Good grief, not nearly enough. (see “I get hot…” comment, above.)

Only certain people that I love and trust in real life know about this blog, though I don’t work too hard to keep it a secret. I had a particularly exhausting experience when a loved one found P & B , and I don’t feel like going through that again, so I’m a bit more careful now.

And no, I wouldn’t ever go completely incognito because, let’s face it, we write, at least partly, to satisfy our own egos, and it’s too hard to get pats on the back when you’re a ghost-writer.

Ok, kids are up so that’s it for now. Next time they nap – Part II.

*please be patient if my links are not linking. i'm working on it. f*#^ing blogger.*

***

2.25.2008

Cop Out Post

Because I love talking about myself, because you are such an interesting and inquisitive bunch, and because a bunch of my bloggy peeps are doing it, I am too:

Ask me anything.

I'll answer every question honestly. Or I'll make up something good.
Promise.


and p.s. I'll feel like a huge loser if like, only my bff responds. no pressure.

**Ok, you guys totally deliver. I'm cutting you off before this becomes a 10-part post. And knowing me, it could.

2.19.2008

Who'da Thunk It?

It is absolutely amazing what people will complain about.

Yesterday was Ontario’s inaugural Family Day stat holiday, and people – lots of people – were not happy about it.

Some people complained because they worked for the Federal government, and were therefore not entitled to a Provincial holiday. Good point, perhaps, but you know, last I checked, Federal government employees enjoyed some pretty sweet perks, even if Family Day was not one of them.

Police Officers were unhappy because they were not entitled to the day off. I almost felt sorry for the hardworking bunch until I learned that while they may not have gotten Family Day off, they did get 12 statutory holidays off each year. 12, huh? Even though there are only 9 Federally-recognized stat holidays in Canada. I no longer feel sorry for Police Officers.

There were even a few people that complained about the day off and were entitled to it. Apparently they had better things to do, or perhaps didn’t understand why it couldn’t be traded in for a tax break. Some curmudgeons took the stupid day but had to grumble that it would have been better spent in the warm summer weather when people actually wanted to be off work. I’m glad that the more than 3 month stretch between New Year’s and Easter with nary an extra lounging opportunity doesn’t bother them. They are stronger people than, I, the lot of them.

Still others complained that they were part-time, or contract, or union, or unemployed workers, and so, yes, it’s true, Family Day meant shit to them, and would prefer to begrudge those that did actually get the day off with pay.

Some people had the more valuable concern that they had to work and daycares were closed. Good point, but we've known about this for months. There was time to plan ahead, and certainly should not have left people in the lurch that say, a caregiver calling in sick might. But you wouldn't know it to hear people talking.

I didn’t understand it. And then I realized that it was Tuesday afternoon, and that I was at home. On mat leave. Being a stay-at-home mum. Nobody gave me yesterday off and paid me for it. Hey! Family Day did nothing for me! Bastards! I’m one of the 40% (or 60% depending on who you talk to) that our first February holiday did not apply to! Where can I trade it in? Huh? Where’s the office that I can go to for my tax break or a day I can take next November when I’m back at work? Sure, sure, Chris got the day off and he was quite happy for it, but so friggin’ what! What the hell has my Premier done for me? I feel like I should make a t-shirt: Ontario celebrated Family Day and all I got was this lousy husband.

So now that I’m totally all into the bitter and begrudging mindframe, I have a few other bones to pick:

I started my job with only 10 vacation days, but someone else I know started hers with 12.
That was 8 years ago, but I don’t care. She should have to give me one.

My bff drives a better car than I do even though I make more money and have two kids to cart around. What are you going to do about that, McGuinty?

Hey, Dalton, you jackass, I am making $473 a week on EI benefits, but people I know work in companies that top it up to 80% of their salary. Don’t let them.

Because if those perks don’t apply to me, why should anyone else get them? Right?

Ok, now someone punch me in the box, which is what I really deserve for complaining about a goddamn day off.

***

2.11.2008

A Self-Diagnosis, A Story and A Thank You

Thank you, guys. Thank you for caring enough to comment, and email, and be concerned. Thank you for sharing similar experiences with me so that I don’t feel alone, so I don’t feel crazy. I don’t – on either count.

There were two kinds of responses to my last post. Those of you who have experienced PPD thought that I was experiencing PPD. Those of you who have lost a parent thought that I was experiencing grief.

This feels like grief.

My dad died when I was 8 months pregnant. His diagnosis came within mere days of my positive pregnancy test. There was not one day during my pregnancy that my dad was not dying.

The collision of two such enormous events left me unable to fully realize the sadness of one or the happiness of the other.

Now, Dove is here and my dad is not. It is now incredibly easy for me to be happy in celebrating my child, my children. But the sadness? That really is just starting to manifest, and the form that it is taking right now is part anxiety, part action.

But I think that’s ok.

I think that I have just been dealt dual life-changing circumstances, and I think that my response to them have been ok. Maybe not the healthiest, every second of every day, but I think that’s ok. I think I will get through it.

A Parable:

13 years ago I was held up at knifepoint in the middle of the afternoon, at my retail job. In a good part of town. (Hell, I now live blocks away.)

It scared me. It scared the hell out of me. For many months I was scared – of any man that I did not know, of being alone, of it happening again. I wanted to talk about it, so I went to see a therapist. After two sessions, the therapist decided that I had post-traumatic stress disorder and wrote me a prescription for an anti-depressant.

Without getting into a big thing about how I feel about psychiatric drugs, here’s what I did:

I threw out the prescription.

Here’s what I thought:

I was just held up at knifepoint. My life had been threatened. I was scared. Shouldn’t I be scared after going through that? Have I really gone beyond the realm of what’s socially acceptable on the scale of being frightened? Isn’t it ok to react the way I’m reacting, considering what I just went through?

I felt the answer was yes, and that in time, the fear would subside, leaving me cautious but stronger. It did.

Here’s what I wonder about what’s going on now:

Five months ago (tomorrow), my dad died of cancer while I was pregnant. I did not want to be sad while pregnant. Now I am not pregnant, and I am sad. And I am scared. Because I do not want to leave my children thanks to cancer the way my dad did.

Isn’t it ok that I feel this way? Isn’t this an ok reaction? Won’t it eventually subside, leaving me stronger?

I think it will.

And if it doesn’t, I won’t be ashamed to ask for help. And I know that you would help me find it.

xo

2.09.2008

Scared

There are lots of feelings that a person simply cannot experience until they become a parent. I probably would have scoffed at this notion when I was a single, selfish goofball, but now I know that it is true.

I have never known joy like this.

I have never known love like this.

I have never known diaper explosions like this.

I have never known fear like this.

My fear is specific. It goes beyond the average, run-of-the-mill turn your blood cold and keep you up all night worry that routinely accompanies us parents. Worry I can handle.

I fear that I will get sick. I fear that I will get sick, and leave my children too soon.

I fear that I will get cancer. I fear this every day.

To combat this fear I have begun to ritualize my days, fearing that if I do not stick to these commitments, my fear will come true. That I must regiment the what, and how, and why and where of my body and my environment, or it will get me.

To combat this fear I have been cooking for my family. Very delicious, but most importantly, very healthy meals.
I have devised my own list of super-foods, and I must consume as many, if not all of them on a daily basis. So I am eating a lot of broccoli, beets, yogurt, cranberry juice, blueberries, bran, sweet potatoes, and dark chocolate. (I’m not dead yet.)

To combat this fear I have been purging our house and our life of chemicals, from the products we use to clean our clothes to the paper we use to wipe our ass.
I am afraid of plastic. I am afraid of aluminum. I am afraid of chlorine and a million things that I cannot pronounce. Oh, and John McCain’s wife. I’m afraid of her too, though I’m pretty sure she’s non-carcinogenic.

To combat this fear I have had to stop reading the blogs of women I respect and admire, because they are living or have lived my fear, and I cannot bring myself to be a part of their journey, no matter how much I want to support these courageous, strong women.

I am trying to divulge the origin of this fear from within my soul. Does it stem from the discoveries, every single damn day that something else that we have invented, that we have developed, that we use and eat and touch and smell and breathe and wear will make us sick? Does it stem from the stories, every damn day, of people dying too young and too soon?

Or am I simply still grieving my own father, who died of cancer, too young, too soon, too quickly a very short time ago.

My doctor told me that they have recently discovered that Vitamin D helps to prevent certain cancers. Tomorrow I am buying vitamin D drops for the whole family, as she recommended. Today I am filled with guilt that I hadn’t already.

I know I have to reign these feelings in, or I risk my stress becoming a cause of what I fear. A wholistic approach to staying healthy must surely begin with my internal dialogue. I have to speak positively to myself. I have to return to Yoga. I have to eat more dark chocolate.

I have felt fear like this before, a long time ago. I was involved in an encounter where my personal safety was severely jeopardized, and for many months afterwards, I was scared. I could not say that it was a crippling fear, but it was a pre-occupying fear, as this is now. At the time, I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, and given a prescription for Zoloft, which I threw away. Talking was what I wanted, and talking is what eventually made the fear subside.

I prefer to use this space for jovial recounts of the cute things my children do, or to explore motherhood and its joys and struggles. I’m not all that big on the personal revelations and I can thank generations of stubborn women for the inabilities I have to reveal vulnerabilities very often.

But right now, I think I just need to talk. And eat some high-fibre cereal.

2.01.2008

Play Along!

Hey kids! Wanna cry at Old Navy? It's easy! Just follow my simple step-by-step instructions:

1. Get pregnant 19 months after you push out your first kid.

2. Gain 28 pounds on top of the 12 you never lost from the first pregnancy

3. Go 9 days overdue

4. End up with a c-section because your little scallywag goes all transverse on your ass

5. Spend, like, two months recovering

6. Get sick of wearing nothing but yoga pants and one pair of maternity jeans that don't fall down all the time

7. Celebrate 10 weeks of post-partumness by going to Old Navy while older child is at nursery school

8. Try to find a pair of jeans that are not high-waisted, low-waisted or more than $40

9. Refuse to try on double-digit sizes because THIS IS NOT REALLY YOUR BODY

10. Try to get over that because THIS IS ONLY A TEMPORARY BODY

11. Take 6 pairs of jeans into the change-room

12. Avoid - AVOID the mirror

13. Crash into stroller that holds sleeping infant when you fall over trying to get your fat ass out of skinny jeans

14. Rush to try on the last two pair while now-awake infant gets more and more impatient and more and more hungry

15. Sweat

16. Nurse wailing infant in your underpants in the changeroom

17. Catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror

18. Try to camoflauge milk stains appearing on your shirt with your scarf because you just fed infant on the wrong side

19. Realize that your scarf is in the car, with your coat

20. Walk out sweating, with a happy infant, milk stains all over your shirt and no jeans

***