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Archive for October, 2008

Okay, I confess, I haven’t figure out how to embed youtube videos, but I just have to pass this one on:

It’s John McCain, on Meet the Press. Go watch. I’ll wait.

Okay, now really, how can anyone vote for him? Of course, lots of people forget stuff. I forget stuff all the time – names of common household items, descriptive words I’m sure begin with a “D,” fiddle lessons, doctor’s appointments, whether I met that guy before. But the thing is, I’m not running for President of the whole damn United States of America. And people who want to be President shouldn’t forget a list of just five names while being interviewed on TV. Just no. Vote for the other dude.

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Snow. Snow happened here before Halloween. Real snow. It was a bit surreal. The dog found it just perfect for a wee lie-down. At 11 pm, when I was trying to get everything turned off to go to bed.

Even with that, I didn’t expect snow snow this morning. And yet, there it was. Big scramble for boots, mitts, hats. The kids had eaten dinner and were out by 7:15. Except Maya. She’s post-snow excitment. Jasper isn’t. Even after the kids left, he’d go out and snowplow around, come in and thaw all over the wood floor, and then head back out again. Oh, the fun.

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Hope

The American election is coming up very soon. I was a good girl and voted in our wildly-exciting Canadian one, doing my bit to try to unseat the Conservatives. It didn’t work. I didn’t really care. I would have liked pretty much any of the other party to form the government, but since the Conservatives didn’t get a majority (their power is therefore limited), I don’t really care.

When I realized that I didn’t care too much about the Canadian election was about the same time that I realized I do care about the American one, even more than I want to. In fact, I’m pretty sure that if the Republicans actually get power (or steal it, like they did 8 years ago), I will cry. Really cry. Former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau said it best when he told the Americans, “Living next to you is like sleeping with an elephant; no matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, one is affected by every twitch and grunt.” It feels like their election matters more to Canada than ours did.

Ages ago, when Hilary and Barack were battling it out, I was for Hilary in a vague kind of way. I didn’t pay much attention. I just wanted the woman to win, and I thought she deserved it because of her greater experience. But Barack won, so I contentedly shifted my allegiance to him because any Democrate is better than any Republican in my mind.

Then the Republicans picked McCain and I got more vested in Obama, because the idea of a guy who happily abandoned every single principal he appears to have ever held in order to be president is a guy you really don’t want to be president.

Palin really pushed it over the top as far as fear of Republicans go. Although she is vastly, vastly amusing, the idea of her actually having some power gives me the shivers.

But here’s what really did it for me: I finally watched Barack Obama give a speech. I’ve read tons about him and what he does and says, but I since we tend to read more than watch TV news, I hadn’t really seen a lot of him.

It was a speech given only a week or two ago, while the Republicans are trying to stir up latent racism and suggest their opponent is a terrorist. Obama, to my surprise, talked about unity and how everyone, Republicans and Democrats, want what is best for their country. His speech was (dare I say it?) downright inspiring. I realized – oh shit, he’s not just the not-bad guy, he’s actually a good guy. And he’s ahead in the polls. And he might actually win.

So I’ve gotten my hopes up, which I kind of hate. And yet, there it is.

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Oy

I’m tired.

It’s a lot of fun and really interesting being in the school so much but I really am tired.

One of the big problems with working, I’ve discovered, is that you are required to dress like a civilized human being. Like many journalists I know, and even some stay-at-home moms, I dress like a student – jeans, oversized shirt,15-year-old sweatshirts. I like being comfortable. It drives J a little bit crazy and for a while he waged a campaign to get me to just tuck in my shirts. He failed.

I do realize that adults do not dress this way, so I’ve been trying to find clothing that is work-appropriate and yet not miserably uncomfortable. This is made extra fun by the fact that not only am I regular old fat, but my belly bulges way out, thanks to the colostomy, the hernia and the severed stomach muscles. I have found enough to cope, fortunately.

Funny, that the thing that bothers me most about my job is the requirement to dress like a grown-up. When I think about it, that makes me pretty happy. I mean, it isn’t even a requirement to dress in business clothing – just lose the sweatshirts and jeans. And if that is the worst thing I can come up with for my job, I probably have it pretty good. Which I do. My boss(es) are great, the office is staffed by two of the nicest women you could want to deal with. I see my kids throughout the work day and even the eldest greets me. And I’m learning all the ins and outs of the school.

So, besides the wrenching exhaustion, all is good in the world of employment.

I think I’ll go take a nap.

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fall leaves

I’ve been working for two weeks and I’d have to say it is going very well. Except for the part where no one has any clean clothes any more.

It’s pretty quiet around here right now – J is biking and all the children are off amusing themselves somehow. And they are old enough that the fact that they are all quiet and not bothering me does not mean some sort of destruction of property is inevitable. (My in-laws have this lovely old clock that sits in their dining room. It’s 4:10, always. When people ask why it is 4:10 always, my MIL says, “J took it apart when he was 6 years old.” When people tell her that is too bad, she gets this dreamy look on her face, clearly channeling how she felt that day, and says, “Oh no. It kept him busy for 2 whole hours. It was worth it.”)

So I had a choice – do some cleaning and laundry or brush the dog. His fur is getting really long and so he starts matting like crazy if not brushed pretty much daily and this is already day 3. I brushed the dog, of course. It was actually quite a work out. And now he’s all fluffy.

He’s run away somewhere, though, so all you get is photos of my kids and their friends cavorting in the fall leaves.

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The thing about the autumn is that the Jewish holidays roll along so fast that by the time I writing about one, the next one comes along. This evening is the start of Sukkot, which is a really fun holiday and one many people of the not-Jewish variety have never heard of. It is a mixture of a harvest festival (Jewish Thanksgiving) and a biblical holiday commemorating the Israelites wandering through the desert.

We build something called a sukkah – a temporary wooden structure – in the back yard. The kids help Dad build it, then decorate it with paper chains, gourd, fruit, etc. It stays up for 7 days and we are supposed to eat every meal in it, although in Canada it can get a bit nippy for that, if you aren’t really, really dedicated.

Anyway, this year on Yom Kippur, Maya decided to try to fast, even though technically, she doesn’t have to until after her bat mitzvah. She was really, really crabby when we first got up, getting ready for synagogue, leading me to threaten to strap her down and pour food down her throat if she didn’t shape up – not really atonement-like on my part, I realize. It got much better after that, and she made it to 2 o’clock, which is better than I could ever do.

J stays in synagogue all day. He finds it easier to fast there. My tradition for the past few years is to take the kids to a butterfly exhibit at a local greenhouse. The weather is always beautiful. We then took Jasper for a walk in the woods. It’s was a peaceful day.

Photos – the cutest child dog first.

Maya and Asher being nice to each other:

This was the butterfly most content to sit on fingers. Only problem was that under those lovely wings, the thing was like a huge spider. Look at those legs! The antennae were pretty, though:

See, I told you it was big:

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Mary G, over at Them’s My Sentiments, asked in her latest post:

If you were asked why you had children, if you wanted them, what would you answer? Would it be an easy answer, or a struggle like this one?

You should go over and read it yourself, if only for the adorable picture of her girls when they were wee. But for those of you who don’t, her basic point is that she just kind of fell into it, because that is just what you did back then – get married, have kids, get a house, etc. She was never into babies, but is delighted to have survived that stage, because she quite liked the children they grew into.

I have met a lot of women who admit that they never much liked the baby stage and much preferred their children once they started to become their own little people. I’ve met enough of them to no longer be surprised, but I used to be surprised because I am the complete opposite. I loved babies from when I was a kid myself. I couldn’t wait to be old enough to babysit so I could get my hands on squishy, delicious babies.

Loved the babies. Didn’t so much like their older siblings. I found little kids to be mostly boring. Bigger ones were annoying. Babies never ever intentionally annoyed you. Of course they did lots of annoying things unintentionally, but it was the intention that really made me crazy, so I never got irritated with a baby, even though ones who cried for hours.

When I was only just 15 years old, I babysat a little guy who was about 8 months old for a weekend. They were right across from our house and my brother, a year younger, co-babysat. He played with the 4-year-old. The baby cried for about the first 4 hours, then clearly made up his mind that his parents had abandonded him forever and I was his new mommy, and this one wasn’t getting away so easily. I wasn’t allowed to put him down to pee with protesting wails (good practice for having Asher, turns out). He wouldn’t go to sleep for hours past his ‘bedtime’ and woke me up at about 5:30 am. He tossed me into the deep end of the baby pool and I adored him. He was delicous. (And I still remember the look of utter shock on his face when his parents walked in the door.)

So it is safe to say that I wanted a baby. I really, really wanted a baby, although I was a responsible human being and waited until the time was right. I did assume – hoped, really – that I wouldn’t find my own child quite so boring once s/he got past infancy as I’d found the kids I babysat. I didn’t find Maya boring (although endless Franklin books and pretending to lose at the game of Sorry has frequently worn on my nerves), but I did find her more of a challenge to parent as she grew. Infancy I knew how to handle, even when the infant was colicky. Past that point, I have wished quite frequently that I hadn’t lost the manuals they must have come with.

Now I have no more babies. I adored my babies and, while I do not want any more, I do admit to missing my kids’ babyhoods, when parenting was easy and they loved me more than anything and they mostly smelled really, really good and were squishy and huggable rather than all elbows and knees, and they were so much more easy to understand.

But, thankfully, it turns out that I really like these kids I ended up with in my quest for babies. They are very funny and remarkably smart and always surprising. Turns out I’m pretty glad I had children, not just the babies I wanted.

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It’s been a little crazy around here, what with Rosh Hoshanah having just happened, and Yom Kippur, and Sukkot and random other Jewish holidays on the horizon. My kids get them all off school. Plus, we are trying to plan Maya’s bat mitzvah. Plus I kind of got a job. Because, you know, 3 kids, a chaotic disorganized house, a huge dog and still recovering from nearly dying 6 months ago wasn’t enough on my plate. Time for something new.

I kind of fell into the job, when the new principal at my kids’ school talked to me about needing a Communications Director and I said, gee, that’s exactly what I used to do at my old job and gave her a few suggestions and suddenly it was like, when can you start?

To be truthful, it’s only contract for now to get them going and see if I can handle it, and they will go through a proper search. But for now, I’m working on getting the newsletter and web page, etc., up and going. And getting paid. Just like that. Huh.

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Organizing a bat mitzvah with a 12-year-old girl is a little bit like organizing a wedding and trying to get along with your MIL-to-be. They want everything to be just right and just like everyone else does it and why are you trying to be difficult and interject some originality into it? Neither, it seems, are much into originality.

Now, I get along with my MIL very well, so what I am about to say probably isn’t true for everyone, but for me, trying to find common ground with a 12-year-old-girl has been more difficult than doing the same with the MIL. That kid is rigid.

I’m beginning to the see reasoning behind only having this for boys, because I cannot imagine fighting with a boy over invitations as much as I have fought with Maya. Too bad there isn’t the bat mitzvah version of eloping. She could run off and have a quickie bat mitzvah in Vegas, and when she comes back we could give her a thousand bucks to start her adult life off right. I guess that’s kind of missing the point, huh?

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