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long on wind, short on interest

*tap tap* Is this thing on?

It's amazing how totally I don't feel the desire to blog lately (as in about the past year)... the main attraction of LiveJournal to me was its combination of blog and social network. However the social network has died. Part of that is just the general fickleness of internet communities I'm sure (whither MySpace?) but a great deal of it was mishandling by the succession of owners. And when people left they left to all different places... It's a kind of social network entropy. I've managed to keep in touch with some who connected with me on Facebook. A great deal of my family does Facebook, and I've joined a local mothers' group on Facebook also, so it's become where I do most of my "here's a funny thing my kid did today" or "this is what bugs me about the weather" inanity that I used to do here.

Gordon came by and tried to talk to me while I was writing this and I said basically "I'm trying to brain and my brain is not braining", which I think is a big reason I'm not blogging. Forming a clear, orderly, decipherable series of paragraphs is a bit beyond me. I started writing about my new hobby of crochet originally, and I'm going to leave that at the bottom of this post, but I was having the issue that my mind kept going in all kinds of directions as I was typing about crochet. I know how I would TALK about crochet if I was having a conversation with someone about it, but WRITING about it, I feel like I'm being hopelessly opaque and disjointed.

It's very disheartening because I don't feel like I have the right set of brain skills right now to edit myself, at least not without stress, and since blogging is pointless unless it bare minimum doesn't add to stress, that's why I'm not blogging. I guess that's about it.

My life right now is, first of course, taking care of my two children, which is still a 24 hour kind of job because the younger child still wakes several times every night. Anyone who feels keen to tell me what to do about that, I feel a bit like I feel about people who seem to think they're the first people in human history to notice contradictions in the Bible. Thank you, we've thought of that one actually, thank you. Yes, a couple thousand years ago, actually. Yes. Yes well we'll certainly take your concerns into account. Thank you.

I also do in-home, license not required daycare of another child as a minimum student loan-paying mechanism. I volunteer at a local community centre, helping connect other families to resources in the area. I'm taking a certificate course about physical literacy (physical literacy = basically foundational movement skills, the underlying skills that are really necessary for everyone's development, such as proper balance, being able to catch yourself when you fall, etc, as well as the skills which will enable someone to later build on for athletic purposes, such being able to throw or kick) for children age 0-6. In addition to the certificate, which I can add to my resume, I am getting a small stipend for teaching two classes, which I've already done one class so I have one left to go.

So basically it's kids, kids, kids, kids, and also kids.

Not kids wise, I like doing crochet (of which more anon) and watching QI XL on YouTube, which are two great tastes which taste great together. I also go on kicks for silly little mobile arcade or puzzle games. Currently my kick is for Disney TsumTsum, the one before that was called Disco Bees. I only pick games which are satisfying without spending any money whatsoever and that work for two or three minute mini-breaks.

I've also continued to increase my interest in hockey, which is actually not only entertaining but also useful, as there have been several times where I've been in somewhat awkward social situations and have been able to use hockey and my now relatively good knowledge of same as a subject for small talk with someone whom I wouldn't otherwise have known what to discuss with. Part of living in Canada I guess. Here in Canada hockey is everywhere, and it's so much lesser in the US that it's almost a shock. We went to a hockey game in Allentown when were down there as a date night, and after the game was over we walked over to a nearby pub, which had many televisions, some of them duplicating each other and some of them playing replays, and we could not get them to change any television to a (live) hockey game. Boo.

I still really like cooking, and I do a lot of cooking with my three year old now. It's probably one of the most powerful incentives I have to get her to listen and follow my directions because she knows that first strike you're out in the kitchen.

I'm still attending the same parish. I'm slowly, slowly making more friends and connections in Vancouver.

I haven't read the book of this title and don't really know anything about it other than the title, but I definitely feel like I'm in a bit of an "all joy and no fun" phase of life. I've never felt more important, mature, competent, needed, and aware, nor have I ever felt this meaningless, selfish, inept, clueless, and overwhelmed. But, over all, I feel like I'm moving in the right direction. And the consolations are very, very cute.

Now, if anyone wants to read it, below are the possibly nonsensical crochet musings. (Although it occurs to me that probably what I've written above is not necessarily any better written. But enough of that editing brain stuff.)

I mentioned back in the summer that I was going to take a crochet course and I've become completely crochet mad. Crochet musings, possibly indecipherable, including how knitting is baking.Collapse )

Christmas List 2014

Every year I post my/our Christmas list on our blog, behind a cut, so if anyone who wants to get us something wants to know what would be a good present, they get some ideas. Also, it helps for me to write it down, because sometimes someone calls and says e.g. "So what should I get the girls" and I blank. I do it a few months in advance because many of the people who give us gifts do so from far away.

I do it this way because I have my own weird hang-up where I don't like to ask other people what they want directly but love to peruse their wish lists. If you hate wish lists... scroll.

Wish List!Collapse )
I was on Facebook (I'm always on Facebook) and a local mom's group I was in was discussing nursing-friendly attire for a wedding guest. Suddenly I was taken back years to LJ drama of the past. It was a non-denominational (mostly Abrahamic faiths, with a few non-religious people who just preferred covering up) "modest fashion" group, and someone posted about how they were going to be a bridesmaid but didn't like the low cut of the dress and wanted ideas for dressing it up. I was the first comment, and I had just recently been reading a knitting book which contained a gorgeous pearlescent half-poncho that the pattern designer specifically mentioned having worn at a wedding, so that's what I suggested. Apparently, a poncho must have smothered the community moderator's puppy or something, because from this innocent comment major drama erupted.

I can't remember all the details (I had forgotten it entirely until just now) but basically the moderator reamed me out for suggesting using a poncho. It was the word "poncho" that set her off, and no amount of explanation on my part could get her to understand that what I was talking about was something like this:

and not like this:

I think the word "frumpy" may have been used. I was condescended to. My taste was sneered at. Fortunately I'd been around the internet enough to know that when an admin or moderator is being an irrational drama llama, there's no point in going on at all. Just run away as fast as you can and don't look back. I think I gave it two or three comments try to show her in pictures what I meant, and when she still persisted to slam me, I left the group with a little shaking of the dust from my frumpy sandals.

Remembering that also made me recall another time that I left a group in a cloud of drama. This time it was a Catholic moms group on BabyCenter. There was an account there by someone purporting to be living a life straight out of a Nicholas Sparks novel. I don't remember all the unlikely plot points, but the crux of the tale was the star-crossed romance between her and a priest. There was also an abusive family, a deadbeat babydaddy, a romantic ski lodge getaway, double crossing sisters, and lots of creepy fate stuff... plus the whole writing style was like an epistolary novel. A bad epistolary novel.

After mostly ignoring this poster for a long time, the aforementioned ski lodge getaway thread kind of goaded me into saying something. I tried to delicately hint that I thought this whole thing sounded 1. faker than a night market Gucci bag and 2. extremely weird regardless. I didn't even say it directly. It may have been as mild as "this seems a bit fishy..." but whatever it was, I got absolutely flamed for being judgmental. There weren't any mods involved in slamming me (and I seem to recall a mod PMing me that she thought the situation odd herself), but I ended up deciding that a place that repeatedly engaged this kind of troll would inevitably attract more of them, so I had better cut out while I could.

Anyway, after reminiscing on this crazy for a moment, I got uneasy. I'm slowly but surely networking and making friends, and a major source of networking/friendship has been this Facebook local moms group. But internet groups of all kinds are so easily prone to this kind of drama. One of my recurring nightmares is my baby liking or sharing something horrible on Facebook, people seeing it without knowing that it was the result of an innocent baby poke at a smartphone, and defriending/blocking me without me ever getting a chance to defend myself. #firstworldproblems I know, but the first world is the world I live in.

Seven Quick Takes

1. So when I last left you... uh, a month ago... my big obsession was improving sleep. It's been super hot here which has been pretty harsh on my nascent attempts to get Mary-Alice to night wean. She's had some problems keeping hydrated, so of course the last thing I want to do with a dehydrated baby is deny her liquids. So I just had to let that go for the time being. Today was much much cooler and over the weekend it's supposed to rain and stay cool so I'm hoping to get back to night weaning.

2. The weather was actually cool enough tonight that I made an oven dinner... salmon "bulgogi" (scare quotes in original). Verdict: tasty.

3. Mim is not walking yet and I'm not sure if she will be by her birthday (August 9th). She pulls up to standing, stoops to pick up objects, and occasionally lets go to stand alone. She sometimes will "walk" with an adult holding hands but usually drops down to crawl instead.

4. I'm going to take a crochet class tomorrow (free childminding!!). I'd like to get back into some kind of craft, perhaps make the girls and I matching hats.

5. It's interesting to me that while we planned out Pippa's nickname before we even settled on Philippa, Mary-Alice's nicknames (Mim and Mimi) just kind of happened. I would never have thought I would choose the name Mimi for a daughter. So apparently my style is formal full name--cutesy buttons nicknames, with a spunky one syllable version and a repetitious sound version. (Philippa, Pip, Pippa; Mary-Alice, Mim, Mimi). But while Pippa is Pippa 70% of the time, Pip 29.99% of the time, and Philippa almost never, Mary-Alice is Mary-Alice 40% of the time, Mim 30%, Mimi 25%, and Mimsy 5%.

6. So while I'm not pregnant yet (although I did put in an order through a mom co-op for a whole bunch of tests... $.25 per test, hurray), it's fun to think about names for the next one based on that. Nameberry had a post on doubled names. I already like Coco (as a nickname for Cosima), and I also like Lulu and Vivi. Nana could work for Iona. I also like cutesy nicknames for boys: Benny for Benedict, Toby for Tobias, Tadpole for Thaddeus (hee hee). Part of me wonders if this would be a bit too Duggar-like matchy-matchy. Ah well. At least I'm giving them a non-matchy-matchy option.

7. Gordon and I got into a bit of nattering over Canadian vs US spelling of co-op and cooperative. While we both agree on "co-op" he favours "co-operative". I said the hyphen helps with the ambiguity with coop (as in chicken) but in the full version there's no need. And if you want to add something why not get a bit French and add an anuresis? I meant to say diaeresis. But there is something a bit retentive about this kind of language quibbling.

Related, if you missed it:


So Gordon came by and said "How are you feeling?"

I had a bit of a panicked expression. "I was just thinking about knocking some things off my to-do list."

"Well, what's wrong with that?"

"That made me think about my to-do list!"

My to-do list has a number of big, stressful tasks on it--as a primary example, applying for Canadian citizenship--and it just feels overwhelming. The whole list kind of swarms around my head and my attempting to write one email, research one task, or make a phone call or whatever feels like trying to swat one fly in an enormous swarm, instead of doing the sensible thing and fleeing the swarm to somewhere that has cake and alcohol.

I don't know if it's teething again or what but the last few nights have been awful for sleep. Sleep deprivation is torture. I feel like shouting "YES! I DID IT! IT WAS ME, I'M THE MURDERER! I'LL TELL YOU WHERE THE BODIES ARE BURIED, JUST LET ME HAVE A NAP!"

Soooo why am I writing on LJ instead of going to sleep? Well, two things.

1. I am a night owl by nature, and even being insanely tired hasn't made much of a dent in my natural inclination to go to bed late and get up late. Gordon is the opposite, he's a lark by nature, and it doesn't matter how tired HE is, he can't sleep in beyond, like, 9am, and he can fall asleep at 9pm no problem.
2. I associate bed with "bad place where the baby starts crying the moment I'm drifting off" now. Somewhat Pavlovian. I'd rather putter on Facebook (or make feeble attempts to do stuff from my to-do list, or hey, write a blog post) then go back there.

She's just started crying so it looks like another night of fun for me. Morituri te salutant.
Ugh I think I am becoming a monthly blogger... but I don't know how to be one. Should I write about where we go and what we do? I guess I'm not sure who is both interested and not already hearing about it in person or over Facebook. And it all seems to dull to read about, even if it isn't dull to experience.

The dropping of the nap is a game changer for sure.

Uhhh let's just do some bullet points.

  • I've been trained as a sort of parent liaison volunteer for a neighbourhood house (a non-profit community centre thing). Basically my "job" is to help make drop-ins and classes more welcoming, promote the neighbourhood house, help connect people to resources, etc. Fun stuff and possibly a step towards more formal volunteering or even a career? Who knows. I have a follow up session in a few weeks, and there will be a level two training course this fall.

  • Mimi is cruising and pushing objects but not walking independently. Here she is at Pippa's 3rd birthday:

    She really likes to eat paper. If she can find paper of some kind somewhere she's going to try to eat it. Especially tissue paper.

  • Pippa's 3rd birthday was about perfect.

    Very low-key and low stress. Biggest stress was the amount of fruit we had leftover. We had too much to start with, other people brought some, and then most people didn't eat that much. So we had to figure it out. I froze some of it.

  • Apparently I can't write a LiveJournal entry without the baby somehow sensing it and becoming Super Fuss, Queen of Fuss. So... that's the end I guess.

Whistler 2: this time with kids

We went to Whistler two weeks ago for a week. We spent our honeymoon there four years ago so there was some nostalgia there. Whistler was better this time than four years ago, honestly. The big issue we had last time is that the service everywhere was terrible, especially waitstaff. This time it wasn't like that.

Brief restaurant reviews.Collapse )

We didn't do anything big or exciting. We went to the pool, and the library, and some local lakes. My mother and I went to Scandinave Spa for a morning. So rejuvenating. We also went to the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre, a Native museum that was surprisingly fun for Pippa, due to its kid area containing several drums. Also the food at the cafe was fantastic and it actually had a reasonably priced gift shop. We got Pippa an orca hand puppet, Mary-Alice a beaver bath toy and me a wallet.

I've figured out that you have to stay away for at least a week for a trip with little kids to be worth it. The timeline is like this:

DAY -1: This was a mistake.
DAY 1: This was a TERRIBLE mistake.
DAY 2: ~stupor~
Day 3: Oh, I am a human being?
Day 4: Fun?
Day 5: Fun!
Day 6: We are fun human beings!
Day 7: Urgh travel again but oh well.
Day 8: I planned to have this day off. I am wise.

Answer Me This 1

So I'm not helping LJ's demise with my silence lol. Pick your cliche: I'm tired, I'm busy, I don't know what to write, I'm watching playoff hockey. (That's a cliche right?)

It's tiring dancing like that.

Christine did a meme recently that I thought I could actually write something about.

Are you becoming your mother?

Haha, nope. In some ways this might actually be a good thing. Like, my mother NEVER YELLED. In fact as a child I can remember getting extra angry with her because when I yelled at her she wouldn't yell back. In my little kid logic mind this was because she didn't care that I was upset. I wanted her to be upset and show that by yelling.

I've always been more like my dad and the phrases I hear coming out of my mouth (sometimes at, uh, elevated volume) are totally my dad's phrases.

Coffee or tea?

I like both. Sometimes I want one or the other. I'm picky about quality because I don't sweeten either, ever. Bitter/burnt coffee and tea cannot be saved by sugar or honey and to me, good coffee or tea doesn't need it. I'm neutral about milk. Usually I use milk primarily to cool the beverage because I don't like really hot beverages. Iced coffee or tea I drink black if given the option.

What foreign country would you like to visit?

Assuming that this means a place I haven't been, #1 would be Rome, which I guess is two countries (Italy/the Vatican) but that's just because we crazy Catholics can't have anything simple. Churches! Art! Mass! Food! If I could go back and change something it would be to somehow make a way for me to go along on one of the pilgrimages the Newman Center at my college took there, except that I am not really a group tour kind of person. Maybe for our twentieth anniversary or something we'll go.

Do you cry easily?

Yes. It's even worse when I'm pregnant/early postpartum but I think I cry more easily than average compared to other people. Any time I have to recount something painful/embarrassing, I usually start crying. Sometimes the tears don't seem actually connected to what I'm trying to say and even get in the way. I have had to say to people "I know I'm crying but that's just something my body is doing. Please try to listen to the words if you can."

The worst is trying to rectify some kind of mistake or issue with a company, because I feel like the tears just make me seem like a hysterical manipulator, especially when they are all out of proportion to the offence.

How often do you wear heels?

I would wear heels more often if I could find ones that would fit after wearing them a few times. I hate shoe shopping. The shoes fit in the store, and then I wear them a few times and they're too loose and hurt. The shoes are tight in the store, and I wear them a few times and they don't loosen and they hurt.

If I manage to get a pair that avoids this problem, I wear them down into the ground. I've had the same pair of sneakers for years and they really need to be replaced but I am avoiding it.

I have a similar problem with self-destructing tights. Tights are not supposed to be single use items, right?

Anyway I end up wearing flat sandals or boots all the time for dressiness.

Do you play an instrument?

When I was about ten years old, I asked for piano lessons. At around this age I asked for lessons for several things (piano, drawing, soccer) and they all flamed out, some spectacularly (soccer, which ended with one of the most painful bullying incidents of my life).

The issue, which I've written about before, is that you're expected to start everything by five years old. With piano I had to participate in my teacher's recital once a year. My pieces were always the same pieces that the six and seven year olds were playing, and because I was embarrassed and perfectionistic and nervous, I was making more mistakes than they were. I don't remember anyone actually mocking me (not like soccer), but the internal bully was enough. In hindsight I think this was part of the whole toxic "natural talent vs effort" trap that the culture was unintentionally imbuing kids with in my generation. You know, being constantly told "you're so smart" and that meaning that whenever we met up with adversity we assumed that meant we could never get it and we gave up.

Anyway. I think if I could have skipped the recitals I might have kept going with it.

I took viola starting in fourth grade but that was when everyone else was starting orchestral instruments too so that wasn't as bad. I dropped orchestra in middle school because the rehearsals had conflicted with theater rehearsals and I thought, given that in seventh grade I was one of the few 7th graders to get a speaking role (the culture was that the oldest kids would get almost all the speaking roles), that I would definitely get a speaking role in 8th grade (when I would be in the oldest grade). Unfortunately, due to the teacher handing casting over to a student director (who was one of my bullies) I was completely uncast--not even a silent or chorus role, so a deliberate snub. And I couldn't rejoin orchestra at that point. Cue drift into social isolation and depression.

Kind of a depressing question to end on. Oh well. It got better?

That is at least one thing I can hang on to, I guess. No matter how rough my day is, I can say "Hey at least I'm not in Godforsaken hellhole Allentown Pennsylvania anymore." What a relief.

Pippa's 3 year old birthday ideas

So in one month Pippa will be three years old, and I'm feeling the crunch re: party. Last year she didn't have a true birthday party but she was young enough not to miss it. (She did have a cake and get happy birthday sung in our nuclear family, but not a true party.) This year that won't work.

The issues: I don't want to spend a lot. We have a small space. I want to have an outdoor party, but the weather can be iffy (both in terms of rain and in terms of warmth--we get warmer sooner than elsewhere in Canada, but in June we're still wearing jackets sometimes). I was thinking a Saturday/Sunday afternoon at a local park with a lake. The water will be warmer than the ocean, so it'll be more possible to swim if it's warmish, and there's a sandy beach for digging in, and a nice playground near by, and picnic tables.

For those who were already planning to buy Pippa a birthday gift and would like some ideas, you can look under the cut.
Read more...Collapse )
Hockey season is almost over. On the east, the eight teams that will make it are certain, and in the West it's just a question of whether Dallas or Phoenix will take the final wild card spot. Since I don't feel that differently about Dallas over Phoenix I can rank them as one unit for my list of my preference for who wins. Basically I will root for a given team over every team below them.

1. Pittsburgh Penguins
2. Columbus Blue Jackets
--- line of super happiness (will be happy even if one directly knocks out the other)
3. St. Louis Blues
4. San Jose Sharks
5. Minnesota Wild
---- line of happiness (will be happy if any of the above win if the SCF doesn't involve them knocking out 1 or 2)
6. Dalnix Staryotes
7. Colorado Avalanche
8. Montreal Canadiens
9. Tampa Bay Lightning
10. Los Angeles Kings (need to go back to purple guys)
11. Anaheim Ducks
12. New York Rangers
13. Detroit Red Wings
14. Bosago Bruinhawks (no preference)
15. the ice caps melting
16. meteors becoming crashed into us
17. the ozone layer leaving
18. the sun exploding
19. Philadelphia Flyers



Today we went to library story time and Pippa sat and followed directions for the whole time. My child may have been replaced by a changeling is I guess what I'm saying. But it was actually pretty fun. She did this hilarious thing where she wanted to be the librarian. After storytime was over the librarian let her sit in the librarian's chair and read to everyone. She was a pro at doing the slow turn with the book facing out to show the pages to all angles.

Mim has tooth #5 poking out so sleep has gone all to crud again, after a brief, very sweet respite. I was so out of it getting dressed this morning that I discovered at the library that I had put my shirt on backwards. It was a nursing shirt and Mim wanted to nurse, and I was like WHY ISN'T THIS WORKING until I realized that the shirt was on backwards and the flap was in the back. Oops.

For future: coffee first, clothing after.

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