Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Doin' The iPod Shuffle

Swiped from George, because, hey, if you can't steal from your friends, who can you steal from?

Put your iPod (or music player of choice - I did mine thru iTunes) on shuffle and list the first 20 songs that come up.

1. Stay (Far Away, So Close) - U2 (I'd forgotten about this song. Lovely lyrics - Red light, grey morning, you stumble out of a hole in the ground)

2. Hungry Heart - Bruce Springsteen (Bruuuuuuuuuuuce!)

3. R.E.M. - Losing My Religion (lost it a long time ago....)

4. Ocean Breathes Salty - Modest Mouse

5. That's Just The Way We Roll - Jonas Brothers (good god, this band is the bane of my existence)

6. Stir It Up - Bob Marley

7. Rock Star Poser - N.E.R.D. (I have no clue how this wound up in my iTunes library)

8. Boys From The County Hell - The Pogues (I love this band. Love. Them.)

9. One Piece At A Time - Johnny Cash (Ironic, considering the state of the auto industry today)

10. Bent - Matchbox 20 (This could be my theme song. Also, Rob Thomas. *drool*)

11. Right As Rain - Adele (Fantastic album of torch songs.)

12. Uncle John's Band - Jimmy Buffett (Love this song. Haaaaate this cover of it.)

13. Man In A Suitcase - The Police

14. Aeroplane - Red Hot Chili Peppers

15. Space Intro - Steve Miller Band

16. De ja Vu - Crosby, Still, Nash & Young

17. Hey Tonight - Creedence Clearwater Revival (Jeez, after these last three, I feel like we should all be sitting around getting baked, eating brownies and pop rocks. What? Isn't that what college was for? No?)

18. It's A Shame About Ray - The Lemonheads

19. Street Fighting Man - Rage Against The Machine

20. Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley (Great. So I can cry at the end of this meme.)

Second Verse, Same As The First

Hey, look! A blog post.

Wake up around 6:30.

Stumble downstairs and make a pot of industrial strength coffee.

Dress the Shriek Sisters.

Move dry clothes to a basket, move wet clothes to the dryer, put in another load of laundry.

Mediate fight #1 between the Shriek Sisters.

Fold the dry clothes.

Think about taking a shower.

Brush teeth.

Try to unclog the bathroom sink that I've been after the husband to fix for the last couple of weeks.

Mediate fight #2 between the Shriek Sisters.

Take the trash to the curb that the husband forgot to take when he left at 7 a.m..

Take the recycling to the curb that the husband forgot to take when he left at 7 a.m..

Mediate fight #3 between the Shriek Sisters.

Find the socks that the Shriek Sisters lost in one of their fights.

Find shoes for the Shriek Sisters.

Sign permission slip for O's trip next week.

Find money for O's trip next week.

Find jackets for the Shriek Sisters.

Pour industrial strength coffee into the only travel mug the husband hasn't swiped. He hasn't swiped it because it's hot pink. It was my only defense.

Load the Shriek Sisters into their car seats.

Drive O to school. Drink industrial strength coffee. Curse stoplights. Answer 8.7 million questions from the Shriek Sisters.

Come back home.

Feed the Shriek Sisters breakfast.

Feed the dog and cat.

Move dry clothes to basket, move wet clothes to dryer, put in another load of laundry.

Wash a few dishes.

Mediate fight #4 between the Shriek Sisters.

Vacuum up the Cheerios that the Shriek Sisters flung at each other during fight #4.

And it's only 8:15 a.m..

My days continue like this, with small variations, every single day. It's mind numbing in its tedium and I feel like it's sucking what little brain power I have left. And I wonder why I can't find anything to blog about any more. This is it, this is what I have going on right now. I'm busy, busy, busy but I have nothing going on. Nothing of interest, anyway.

I'm getting to the point of fantasizing about quiet places, places where no one asks me anything, where no one needs me for anything, where I can do whatever I want, whenever I want. Not for forever, just for a couple of days. I told my husband the other night that my ideal vacation right now would involve a hotel room with a big bath tub, a comfortable bed and a stack of books. I would sleep and read and make the occasional foray out for food and a bit of a walk around and that would be it.

I really need a break. Or something. I'm spending too much time wishing too many things away, wishing that the girls were in school full time, wishing that I could get a full-time job during the day so that I wasn't sitting here, feeling guilty about the state of things here, the chaos and the mess and the boredom. I know that things will be different in a couple of years and then I'll probably miss some of this time that I have at home with them, but right now, while I'm in it, I'm having trouble seeing the end of it. It's disheartening, to say the least.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Mojo Mom

I'm not usually one for self-help books, but Mojo Mom, by Amy Tiemann, is so much more than that. It's a book that allows a woman to realize that, yes, this mothering gig really is as hard as we think it is, that we aren't nuts for feeling the way we do and then laying out some concrete, reasonable steps for ways to reclaim some of ourselves as we also raise our families. I've never seen another parenting book like it - it's the only one that addresses what the mother (and, to a certain extent, the father) feels during the long years of parenting.

Each chapter has a theme, some featuring activities you can do at home. The author cites her resources at the end of every chapter, something I found very helpful, as she also gives a one- or two-line blurb about each book, stating why she liked it or what she found helpful about it. I can see this becoming a list I take with me to the library or bookshop in the future. Some of her sources sound like must-reads. She also lists websites and blogs to check out, something moms who are immersed in the online world (*ahem* me *ahem*) will find useful.

The chapter on financial security was interesting and pertinent now, considering the financial mess we're in. Even if you don't have much in the way of spare cash (like me), there is a lot of useful advice packed in there. I also found the chapter on the mommy wars to be timely.

One of the major messages in this book is that the media and society in general have built up this myth of the perfect mom and that we are being sold a bill of goods in trying to live up to that image. It's unrealistic and self-defeating and we do ourselves no favours in trying to become an ideal. This is something that most moms know, but often allow themselves to forget as the relentless barrage of messages hits us every day. This books posits that we will be better mothers if we let some of the stuff slide and focus more on rejuvenating ourselves, that by allowing ourselves time to reclaim some of our pre-mom self, we will become better mothers. This is something I've come to realize over the years, although I've often found it very hard to accomplish.

Mojo Mom is a quick read, but one that deserves a place on the bedside table. It's something I can see myself dipping into as needed and it's definitely one that I would give to an expecting or new mom.

This is a MotherTalk book review. To read more reviews on this and other titles, please visit MotherTalk.

In Which I Brag, Then Beg

On Friday morning, after doing a few things around the house, I took the Shriek Sisters down to Home Depot to pick up some potting soil and seeds. They've been wanting to do some planting for a while now and it's finally warming up enough that we can.

$26 later and we had a 30 lb bag of potting soil, three types of tomato seeds, some flower seeds and some peat pots. I found some kid-sized shovels in the shed and we got started. For an hour, we filled pots and put seeds in and it was fantastic. There was no fighting, no hitting, no shrieking, just fun. And now we have tomatoes and herbs going. When it warms up enough to sow them directly into the ground, we'll plant some morning glories around the light pole. I also want to put in some lily of the valley in the front, where it's shady, and get try to do some peppers, squash and cucumbers in pots. I'm not sure how well they'll do planted that way but between the dog and two small children, putting in a bed in the back yard doesn't seem feasible. Besides, I don't want to dig. I'm a very lazy gardener - If I can manage to avoid digging and weeding, I'm all over planting things. Some day, when I have money, I'm going to do raised beds, but right now, container gardening is it.

Saturday I took the girls up to Yankee Candle. I'm not really fond of the stinky candles, but the flagship store has a huge Christmas section and I figured the girls would love it. They ran from one room to another, admiring the displays and being awed by the koi pond and snow room. In the toy room, they lost their little minds when they saw Santa there, putting stuffing into the stuffed animals. They played with the display toys and listened to me and were altogether wonderful to hang out with. I told them they could get a treat in the general store section, figuring they'd want a small toy or something, but no. They wanted candy canes. Whee! I managed to get out of there for under $6 - 2 candy canes and three wax tarts for me.

All-in-all, it was a great weekend. I had to work, of course, but the time I was able to spend with the girls was really pleasant. It's such a nice change from the whine-fest that usually happens around here. I am somewhat hopeful that Boo may be leaving that stage behind, although The Bug seems to be entering it. Still. Having one kid whining is much better than both of them going at it at once. I'm sure this is going to be an off and on thing, but really, the last couple of days have been such a relief, we've gotten along so well that I feel like I have a couple of new children.

And now for my plea. I'm a huge fan of Joss Whedon (Buffy, how I love thee!) and I've been watching Dollhouse and loving it, but of course, Fox is wishy-washy about renewing it. I don't know what their problem is - they did this with Firefly, too, which was an excellent show. I am going to be pissed off if they cancel it. Another blogger I read is also angry about it and has written an excellent post on the topic, complete with suggestions on how to boost the ratings and prevent the show from being canceled. If you're a fan, I urge you to go over there and check out his post (and the rest of his blog - it's a good one, although I'm not sure why he's got an explicit rating on it.) Anyway. Joss Whedon. Dollhouse. Save it.

*edited to add: Here's Joss Whedon himself, weighing in on the subject.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Not Your Typical Toddler Music

Every night, before they go to bed, the girls and I sit on the couch and watch a couple of music videos on the computer. They have a few they request all the time (hello, Killers, please to be making some new music soon before I lose my fucking mind, kthnxbai) but tonight they were grooving to these tunes:

They dig the robots.

A little bit of mad Canadian on the fiddle.

Newfies. Always fun.

And, of course, these guys. At least it wasn't Soul Butter.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

For Madeline

Madeline Spohr will be laid to rest today at 2:30 PST. My thoughts are with her family and her friends. I can't even wrap my brain around how difficult this must me - it leaves me gasping for breath to think about it.

If you haven't donated yet, please consider doing so. The March of Dimes page is here and the PayPal site, to help with hospital and funeral expenses, is here.

But Maddie isn't the only baby lost. Thalon Bruce Meyers died on April 12th. He wasn't quite four months old and once again, my heart breaks. A donation page has been set up for his family as well.

I don't know these families, but my heart hurts for them and my brain rages at the unfairness of it all.

But, on the other side of the coin is this tremendous outpouring of love, time and money for both families. Maddie's March of Dimes walk has raised nearly $30,000, just since last week. Thalon's PayPal account has received $3700 in donations since Monday. People are posting links and pictures and tributes to both children that are touching and heartfelt and raw. People are flying in for funerals and organizing walk-a-thon teams and aggregating links and photos and it's incredible. Simply incredible. Most of this was done via Twitter - you can check out the hash tags for #maddie and #thalon at - and done with a speed bordering on lightning. My mother dismisses things like Twitter and Facebook as a complete waste of time and they can be, but when tragedy strikes, it can also be an incredible place of comfort and friendship and solace. This is what the internet community looks like at its best. It's beautiful.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

A Little Girl Lost

I didn't know Maddie Spohr. I wasn't a regular reader of her mother's blog, but I'd see her name mentioned or read a comment left somewhere by Heather Spohr and I'd click over to her blog and there would be this little girl, grinning for all she was worth, on her page and it never failed to make me grin in return. She was just so damned adorable.

And now she's gone.

Twitter lit up last night and today as word of Maddie's death flew around the internet. People who knew her, knew her parents, were devastated, their comments and Tweets almost unbearable to read. In amongst all that was a searing anger at the company (Bluehost) that hosted the Spohr's blog - they shut it down because of the influx of comments and have refused, point blank, to reinstate it. Even knowing why the blog was getting so many hits, they refused. Talk about cold-hearted assholes.

I hesitated to post anything about this little girl, feeling that I wasn't a part of the circle of people who knew her, either in real life or virtually, but her little smile, her stories, touched me, more lightly than many of you, I know, but I had to.

Money is tight for everyone these days, but if you can spare even a few dollars, please consider donating to the March of Dimes in Maddie's name. I plan to on Friday, after my husband gets paid.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Who Am I?

Lately, this motherhood thing is really getting to me. My kids can be funny and engaging and a lot of fun to be with at times. Their comments and observations on their little world make me laugh quite often. But they're also incredibly needy, as toddlers and preschoolers are wont to be. As well, I seem to be the be all and end all of their lives for everything. Even if That Canadian Boy I Married is home, they come to me for water, for food, for hugs. I'm it and it's wearing me out. The constant "Mama, mama, mama," thing, the inability to even pee without someone banging on the door, demanding something, is making me a little nutty and feel more than a little lost.

I don't know who I am any more outside of a mother. I have interests and friends but I have no time to pursue either of them. I work every single weekend, generally from 2 - 10 p.m., which doesn't give me any time to socialize with anyone and I miss it. I'm not a social butterfly, but I need to interact with people more than just at work. Asking for too much time off, however, will get me fired, so I only do it if I have specific plans and since the time off needs to be booked three weeks in advance, I don't ask often. My friends don't generally plan things that far in advance.

I'm really feeling in a rut lately. I just work and take care of the kids; it's no fun and it doesn't seem like things are going to change any time soon. Even if I could find a full time job in this economy, I wouldn't make enough to pay for both of them to be in daycare. I've been thinking about taking classes in the fall, when both girls are in preschool, but I'm not sure I can swing the cost of it. I'm going to talk it over with TCBIM, though, because if I don't do something for myself, I'm going to lose my mind.

Because I never have time to myself during the day, I find myself staying up way too late at night, reading blogs, on Twitter, watching stuff online, catching up on the mound of books I've yet to finish (or start, in most cases) in an effort to have a little bit of space that's just mine. Needless to say, this lack of sleep isn't doing me any favours. I'm always tired. And my husband gets annoyed with me sometimes for not going to bed when he does. It's the only time I have, though, and while I've explained that to him, he doesn't quite get it. He doesn't understand the craving I have for time alone, with no one needing anything, where I can do whatever I want.

How do you do it? If you work on weekends and have small children, when do you find time for yourself? How do you recapture a little of the woman that you used to be before having children?