Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Things that are Annoying me about Saskatchewan

Generally speaking, I am a pretty mellow person, and relatively tolerant. But its usually the little things that really get to me, both about places and people. And here are a few of the little things that are bugging me about Saskatchewan right now:

1. Lack of a Time Change:
Talk to any Sasktachewan naitive and one of the things they will be proud of, one of the things that distinguishes them from the rest of the continent, is that they don't change their clocks. Which on one level is great: you never have that embarassing Sunday morning situation where you show up an hour late for church, you never lose an hour of sleep, and the sky is so big in Saskatchewan that I guess it doesn't really make much of a difference, does it? Where it DOES make a difference, however, is when you have friends in Ontario and B.C. and New Brunswick and you are trying to figure out when it is civilized to phone them. Is it a two hour difference, or a three hour difference? If you try to, for example, phone someone in B.C. beore they leave for work, are you going to catch them before work, or wake them up? If it is 9:30 in Saskatchewan, is it the reasonably civilized 10:30 in Ontario, or the outright rude 11:30 at night? It is really too much brain power for me to figure out.

2. Parking like its winter all the time:
In the winter, you can not see the lines in the parking lots around here, because of the snow and ice. Also, you don't really want to park too close to anyone, in case you are under ice; you might slip and bump their car. But that is no reason to continue to disregard the lines and park two metres away from other cars in a small parking lot (like the one at my bank). The results of this is that there is NOT QUITE enough room to park in between most of the cars, but there is often enough space that you think, "If both of these cars had parked within the lines, I could have fit in the space three away from the bank instead of parking a 5 min. walk away."

3. 3pm Rush Hour:
This may not be province wide, but in my town, you should never attempt to go anywhere at 3 pm, because the streets are clogged, and there are crazy line ups at the post office and grocery store. It took me a while to figure this out, since teachers and students are still in school, and presumaby other people have jobs, and someone has to be IN the stores dealing with the 3pm rush. But then I heard on the radio that Saskatchewan has the highest population of senior citizens anywhere in Canada. Which is fine, but when they have all day to go shopping, why must they all shop at 3 pm when I'm trying to get my mail and then get my grumpy toddler home for a nap?

4. The Wind:
I am in the general habit of peeking at the thermometer, sticking my head outside for a humidity check (yes, its 10 years on the West Coast that does that -- here its pretty much always dry) and dressing accordingly. Unfortunately, because of my neighbours' big trees, I always forget to take the wind into consideration. Then, once I am down my laneway and onto one of the main streets, it hits me. Its actually about 5 degrees colder because the wind is pummelling me. It is about this time that I realize I should have put the plastic cover on the stroller to keep my son warm, but am just too far away from home to make it convenient to run back and get said cover. This is also about the point that my son realizes that its really windy and the wind is cutting through his 2 blankets and three layers of cold, and his nose is freezing. One day, I will remember about the wind, dress accordingly, and there will be no wind. Just watch. Its out to trick me, I just know it.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Revised Due Date -- WooHoo!

This post deserves to be in a font with the grand name "Lucida Grande". Who comes up with these font names? I suppose the kind of people who spend all their time creating fonts by playing with letters at the level of very small pixels. Its one of those professions you just don't randomly encounter at dinner parties. "So, what do you do?" "Oh, I design and name computer fonts." Actually, I've noticed this with baggage handlers, too. You never actually meet airport baggage handlers, or the guys that drive those little carts around all day. But then, maybe due to tightening airport security they are no longer allowed to fraternize with the general public.

Oh, right, this was a post about my due date. I am glad to say that my due date was wrong! I am in fact due around Jan. 11, instead of around Feb. 1! I was starting to get nervous, because in early Oct. I was feeling VERY big for being just 20ish weeks, and a bit worried that I was already starting to hit the fatigue wall. So I'm glad that I am actually now 28ish weeks (instead of 24), and counting. I think I can still acceptably grow for another 12 weeks. But another 15 weeks was going to be pushing it. I was thinking I was going to run out of skin.

On a related note, I am sad to say that there are definitely not enough females around my house. No one is really that interested in feeling the baby move. Both my husband and my son get impatient if they do not feel movement in under a minuite, so they have rarely felt anything, despite my attempts to get them to stick around until the baby kicks again. Ah well. I, on the other hand, am thorougly enjoying being battered from within. Except for the really hard kicks that land on internal organs. Those are not fun. Otherwise it is pretty entertaining to have someone bouncing around inside you.

I really don't think its supposed to be winter yet.

I am sad to say that winter is here. It snowed (for the second time, I might add) last Monday. I had this funny idea that since it was the middle of October the snow would melt away in a day or so. HA HA HA. There is less snow, but none the less we have snow and ice. The high this last week here has been +2 C. So I have to rethink Andrew's halloween costume . . . that's what I get for planning something that can't fit over a snowsuit.

Let the Imagination Games Begin

My son's imagination has exploded in the last two weeks. In a good way, not in a Monty Pythonish incredibly fake blood and brains everywhere kind of way. Instead of being eager to get out of the house and experience everything around him, it is now a stuggle to get him out the door. Instead, he would rather link my laundry baskets together and push his "coaches" (yes, we've been watching Thomas the Tank Engine) around the house. Or lie on our couch "sleeping" or "watching tv" (our tv is not in the living room) then fall out of bed and come running to me saying "I wake up. Good morning, mommy!". I find his plain wooden blocks stacked up on plates and in old yogurt containers around the house when he has been making "birthday cake" and "sandwiches" for me. The shoe rack he dismantled last winter now doubles as railway tracks, forklifts that must be attatched to his tractor, snow plows, trailers . . . the list is endless. At least a thousand times a day I find myself being asked to greet a small plastic person or animal, and engage in conversations that go something like this:
"Hello, hippopotamus, how are you."
"Oh good. I eat some cake"
"Is it yummy cake"
"Birthday cake"
"Oh, hippopotamus, that looks delicious."
"Yummy cake"
"yes, I see."
"Mommy eat it"

At which point a large wooden block or plastic plate or alligator or pillow will be thrust into my face until I pretend to chew and swallow and say "yum, yum."

Needless to say, this makes my days quite interesting. And as long as I am nearby, it means I get a bit of a break from endlessly reading "Curious George Rides a Bicycle" and "The Very Hungry Caterpillar", and can actually read something I might enjoy. Until I get dragged away to look at what Thomas is pulling on his tracks, or forced to move off the big "car" or . . . well, you get the idea.

I was just saying to Dave tonight that I don't know where he gets this overactive imagination from . . . imagine us having a child who is perfectly content to live inside his own head.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Dare I reveal my not-so-secret-identity?

I'm thinking of adding a picture of me to my profile. I know this lessens my internet anonymity greatly, but I'm not too too worried about being stalked, and I don't really think I'm big prey for internet predators, being over the age of 14.
So, faithful readers, time to help me out. You (all 5 of you) know the persona I present in this blog better than I do (since I see inside my head and unless you are very amazing you do not). Here are my three choices for a picture to match my blogger identity. Let me know which one you think I should use. If you know me IRL, pretend you don't.

1. The cute "I'm such a happy mom with my darling boy" pose.

2. The "that wasn't funny but, okay, it really was" pose (courtesy of my dear husband saying something silly and taking my picture at some ridiculously late hour of the night). My friend Joel, in university, used to do and say things specifically to attempt to get me to make the pursed lips expression that generally preceeds this look.

3. The "smiling and looking slightly crunchy" pose. Also known as the "I've been travelling in a car without taking a shower or brushing my hair for 3 days now" pose.

Clery wives "retreat"?

Once a year, the clergy in our diocese go on retreat. Basically, this means they go to a Benadictine monestary, get fed fresh organic food grown by the monks, spend half their day in silent contemplation, and the other half in such spiritual disciplines as soccer and bowling. I think they may do some prayer and discussion of biblical texts or the like in their extra spare time.

At the same time, my friend Sharon and I have established our own clergy wives' "retreat". This consists of us and our multiple children hanging out for 3 days at Sharon's house. We do such things as put children to bed, take them to school, the park and library time, make food we hope will be eaten, clean up the floor after meals, and carry on an ongoing discussion of life, motherhood, politics, religion, and feminist issues (ie -- children, marriage, work possibilites for the future, child rearing philosophies vs practical realities of parenting, rights to life/ death / conception / children's care, and how generally frustrating it can be to be the mother of small children), not to mention the really important things in life like clothes and paint colours and curtains. My son is happy, because he has new toys to play with, and Sharon's kids are happy because they have a new friend to play with all week. And we are happy because they are relatively distracted from missing their dads.

Last year, Sharon had two children and was 8 months pregnant. This time, she had three kids and I had Andrew and am 6 months pregnant. Since she is, reportedly done having children, I guess I'll have to manage to be pregnant again by next year to keep up our tradition of adding a child every year.

It was a good week, and quite refreshing. Its nice to split up some of the cleaning, cooking and housework (although Sharon did the lion's share and I slacked off -- but I did make lots of coffee and hot chocolate). Its especially nice to have another like minded, intelligent woman around to share my thoughts with (thus my lack of need to blog last week). And its fun to see my son's world expand to include people other than me and Dave.
The Hetke's house is one of the only places we go where he will enter into the fray without hestitation or extended periods of leg-clinging. He adores Edmund, as only a little boy can adore a bigger boy who will play with him. He and Bea tell mysterious jokes to each other over dinner (something to do with "castle?!?" that they though was hilarious, and that changed slightly every meal) and explore the world together. Andrew even defended Bea at one point: Sharon said "Bea, take that string off your head, its not a hat." and Andrew said "For pretend". He is fascinated more each time we go to visit by this growing person we call "baby Marie", who is now moving and taking stuff away from him.

One of the highlights for me was that my goddaughter, Marie, recognized me this time. She would crawl over to where I was sitting and look up at me, smiling, trying to pull herself up to the couch. Then I would pick her up, and she would snuggle into my shoulder in a way that is totally foreign to me with my active, high-strung boy. It was really sweet.

Three days was the perfect length of time for our retreat. On the last day Andrew was starting to really miss his dad, and get overtired and overstimulated. Sharon and I had not yet run out of things to talk about, so we didn't have any of that aukward "well, we've run out of things to say . . . what now?" time, and, hopefully, she was not quite sick of cooking for 5 instead of 4, and finding Andrew's food - filled shirts bundled up in odd places in her kitchen. I was not yet feeling that urge to just be back in my own house that is so strong in women when they are pregnant and caring for young children.

So, although we may not have been pampered as much as our husbands, and our time may not have been quite as tranquil and contemplative, it was none the less refreshing. I'm glad we did it, and I hope we can carry on our tradition next year. As my friend from theatre classes used to say when asked to give feedback to a given performance, "I like it, it was good."

Friday, October 06, 2006

Musings on Pregnancy

Last time I was pregnant, I was struck with the thought that God is always present with us in the same way that my unborn child is always present with me. Sometimes I notice I am pregnant, and sometimes I do not. Sometimes there is a ruckus going on inside of me that makes the child's presence unmistakable. Sometimes, I can forget for a day or so that anything special is going on. It was a profound and moving thought that I cherished for quite a while.

This time, I am fascinated by the less profound and much weirder thought that I am a human incubator. It is kind of a weird thing to just be walking around, sleeping, eating, conversing, buying groceries, brushing my teeth, typing on the computer and going about other mundane daily tasks, while I am cooking a new human life. I get images in my head of all the equipment that is used to keep a premature baby alive, or of the little incubator we had in grade 5 when we tried (unsuccessfully) to hatch chickens. Only all that rigmarole is somehow contained within my skin -- all my major organs have been diverted to the secondary purpose of establishing and sustaining this second life within me. My lungs, heart, stomach, bladder, ribcage, hips, and uterus are no longer my own. They are the pipes, pumps and heaters used to keep this tiny life growing and thriving. When I start thinking like this, especially in a room full of women where several are pregnant or new monitors, I find that I have to back away from the thought. It is too strange and wondrous for me.


Hey, look! When did these dkoiuernk fonts appear?

And why is this one named Trebuchet? I thought that was a piece of seige equiptment. One moments please . . . ah, I see I was right. "A medeival catapultlike device or throwing heavy missiles. The missle, on the long arm of the lever, was hurled with great force by the sudden descend of a heavy weight on the short arm". These are what grace the walls of Gondor and are torn apart by the Nazgul in the Return of the King. So, how can I not use this font from now on? Its impossible. Lisa will be glad to know I have been converted from Times (I love the typewriter look, but she thinks it is slightly blasphemous to use a typewriter-type font when not actually producing it on a typewriter). Well, its seige-oriented fonts only from here on in, kids, so I hope you like it.