Monday, April 30, 2007

Monday Musings - World Asthma Day

May 1, 2007 is World Asthma Day.

Tomorrow hubby and I will be attending an event at The Credit Valley Hospital, where the Asthma Education Centre is hosting a community wide World Asthma Day. The theme for this year’s event is “You Can Control your Asthma”. We were invited by the Asthma Clinic nurse we met last year. Papoosie Girl has asthma and while we are fairly confident this is not immediately life-threatening, it is a chronic disease we live with and manage every day.

In case you are new to this here is how the Lung Association of Ontario defines asthma:

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory condition of the airways and one of the most prevalent chronic conditions in Canada. Asthma can develop at any age, but is most common in childhood. As many as 1 in 5 children and 1 in 10 adults has asthma. The airways of a person with asthma differ from someone without asthma because the airways of those with asthma become inflamed (swollen) and are extra-sensitive or twitchy (hyper responsive). The inflammation and hyper responsiveness cause airways to respond to a variety of triggers, such as cold air and cigarette smoke.

Did you know that?

  • Approximately 500 Canadians die each year as a result of asthma.
  • Asthma rates have quadrupled over the past twenty years. There are over 60,000 admissions to Canadian hospitals for the treatment of asthma.
  • Over 12,200 children under the age of 18 are hospitalized annually for asthma in Ontario. In Ontario, asthma is the leading cause of hospital admission for children.
  • In Ontario, as many as one in five children and one in ten adults has asthma.
Learning to live with asthma has been a on-going process of us, from her earliest diagnosis to hitting rock bottom one Christmas Eve. It is only in the last year and a half that we have really understood what it meant to live with a chronic disease. For many reasons we resisted this label and spent most of our time reacting to the symptoms as opposed to managing the disease and preventing them. As parents we are constantly told opposing information, "don't run to the doctor for every minor sniffle" followed by, "how could you not take care of this obvious problem." We spend our days wildly swinging between hyper-alert and benevolent neglect hoping to reach an acceptable middle ground.

Papoosie Girl was diagnosed early on at around the age of three. Prior to that she did show symptoms, but my family doctor felt it was too early for the label. It started innocent enough with colds turning nasty with lots of coughing and my doctor prescribing inhalers ("rescue" medication - the bronchodilator Ventolin and an anti-inflammatory drug - Flovent) for when she was coughing a lot. We would use these for a day or two then forget about them until the next cold. I felt very strongly that they just were not necessary for every day use. She was fine when she wasn't sick and I didn't want her (first of many misunderstandings about the disease) to become dependent on them.

Papoosie Girl actually had many other separate issues which we realized were linked to her asthma. She suffered eczema as a baby and also suffers seasonal allergies. She also had an intolerance to cow's milk when we switched from formula to milk. When we switched to soy milk, which she still drinks today she was fine. All of these seemingly unrelated problems all fall under what is considered "allergic diseases" including asthma. As she got older we started putting the pieces together and began the process of building a plan that would help her.

We were muddling along for about two years basically treating the asthma symptoms when they were severe, which was mostly when she was sick with a cold and once they subsided we more or less ignored it. It all came to a head in the fall of 2005. We had been seeing our regular family doctor for her asthma and that fall she had missed over 10 days of school. Every time she caught the slightest sniffle her asthma would flare up. For her that meant coughing non-stop all night until she often threw-up. Her "rescue" medication was not working and neither were the stronger anti-inflammatories we had started giving her. She was also at this point taking another drug daily called Singulair to help with her allergies which were triggering her asthma. She would be exhausted by morning and could not go to school. I kept waiting for it to get better and we had been to the doctors many times, in my gut I just knew this wasn't working. A child should not have to live like this I kept thinking. This was just not an acceptable way to live.

After suffering all through November and December it all came crashing down on Christmas Eve 2005. After everyone left our house and the girls were asleep we sat down in our dark living room to admire the tree lights and take in a moment of quiet. Before long Papoosie Girl was coughing and I was up in her room. Her coughing was out of control and I didn't want to take her to Emergency so I gave her another puff and we headed downstairs so we would not wake Rosebud up. We sat up all night watching the tree lights and it was like a realization hit me that I owed her so much more than this - to sit up coughing and gagging on Christmas Eve. I made her a promise that we were not going to do this anymore - we were going to get help.

I had a brochure from a pediatric walk-in clinic and we had gone there a few times on weekends with ear infections and bad colds when our family doctor was closed. They are open every Saturday and Sunday and all holidays. I started dialling Christmas morning while we opened presents and secured a spot for 1pm. Never mind the spin this put on our plans for the day, but I was determined, crazed even, to make this stop - even if it was Christmas Day. After opening gifts at our house we headed to my in-laws to visit, then we were coming back to our place to have dinner with my Mom and her husband. I left Hubby and Rosebud with my in-laws and Papoosie Girl and I headed to the clinic, it felt so strange to be driving on near empty roads to the doctors on Christmas Day, I remember driving by Tim Horton's and saw that it was open and I was shocked. I didn't have the heart to stop.

We arrived for our appointment and found the clinic busy but not crazy. When it was our turn and our doctor walked in I basically let it all pour out and dumped out a ziploc bag of medication and pleaded for his help. He quickly changed our entire plan - not that what we were doing was "wrong" it turned out to be just not nearly aggressive enough for her symptoms. He immediately switched her from the inhalers to the nebulizer and increased the dosages on everything. He set us on a strict plan for using the nebulizer up to six times a day and slowly weaning her down and closely monitoring her symptoms and triggers. I started a binder to keep track of everything and even came up with a spreadsheet to tick off her treatments and symptoms each day. This pediatrician sat with us for an hour (we turned out to be the last patient fortunately) and when we left there I felt better than I had in months. He asked to see her again and has been treating her asthma for over a year now. I remember heading straight to Shoppers Drug Mart from the clinic and the surreal feeling as I shopped on Christmas Day for a machine to help my daughter breathe and walking out with bags of medication. I was so hopeful and scared for her all at once. That night she coughed much less and by the next night she slept all night. In my mind it really was a miracle.

Shortly after that he recommended we visit an asthma education clinic (almost all hospitals have them) and we did and brought Papoosie Girl with us. The nurse spent nearly two hours with us answering all of our questions and talking to her and showing her what asthma is all about. In a few short weeks we went from being at the mercy of this disease to being able to spot a flare-up coming on and being about to prevent it or at least shorten it.
This is one of the key elements in managing her asthma, figuring out her triggers. We already knew colds were a huge trigger, but now we needed to figure out the rest, which include, changes in weather, smog, animals and even cold air. At the slightest hint of a cold now we know to increase her treatments to prevent a full-blown attack. Seems like common sense, but when we didn't really understand that we would waiting for the symptoms then treating - huge difference.

Her life is really no different from other kids. She can play sports we are just careful about too much running and we need to watch colds very carefully. We travel everywhere with her medication in case we need it and her school is well informed of her asthma. She will do her treatments on the nebulizer just about anywhere and we have an adapter so she can even do it in the van. It has become a part of her life just like anything else and she is not at all bothered by it. We have some wonderful books about asthma and the Lung Association sent us a huge package of material for me and with activities for her. They were and continue to be a wonderful resource for us, you can call them with any question and they will answer. The material they sent me was life-saving, it really helped me understand what living with asthma means.

There were days when I thought I just couldn't do this and words like, "we are managing" seemed a million miles away. It really has been a process of us not only understanding, but accepting this and only then were we able to move on. We have faith that as she gets older the symptoms will be less severe, you never really "outgrow" asthma as some say and we know she will have this her entire life. I want to make sure that the disease is managed so that there is as little damage to her lungs as possible, I do not want this to hamper her teenage and adult years in any way.

So we will go tomorrow night and learn more and better ways of coping. We owe her that much. The slogan, "if you can't breathe nothing else matters" really resonates with me. There is nothing so helpless as watching your child gasp for breath. I am confident we are on the right path now and that makes me breathe a little easier too.

If anyone has any specific questions I would be happy to answer them. I have read several great books and researched quite a bit on childhood asthma. While I am no doctor I could certainly point you in the right direction. Email me if you want at

Monday, April 23, 2007

Monday Musings - Strange Weather -When turtlenecks and capris live together

For most of us in Southern Ontario this was one of those weekends that is so beautiful it brings us outside in droves. The white, pasty legs of winter make their debut, windows are thrown open, the cars were being washed and garages swept out. Normally, this weekend is in May and I cannot recall one of these weekends happening in April, what Global Warming?! As you can see the girls spent time helping Daddy clean the van and then decided to decorate the van with their skipping ropes for a party. Since I was inside for most of the day I am seeing all this for the first time as I download the photos from the camera.

Hubby spent all day Sunday cleaning out the garage, cleaning out all salt and snacks out of the van; while the girls happily played around him. Since I was suffering horribly with a splitting headache I spent the day in the house rummaging around the totes with the summer clothes. As I'm folding a basket of laundry that has flannel pj's and turtlenecks I am simultaneously filling the girls drawers with t-shirts and capris. I used to think I am the only person who spends hours rotating the clothes, but after my neighbour told me she was up until 1:30am doing the same thing I didn't feel so hopeless.

If you would have told me before I had kids that this is one of the most time consuming jobs ever, I would not have believed you. It is not so bad for Papoosie Girl, I pull out the tote with all of her clothes from last summer, try to figure out what fits; then put it all in her drawers once I empty out the cords and sweaters. It is much harder for Rosebud and after I go through the same process for her I need to make a "too small" pile to pass along to our friends. Then I need to figure out what of Papoosie Girl's clothes will fit Rosebud this summer, not what she just outgrew, but usually the summer before. Then there is the adventure of pulling it all out, figuring out what will fit her (their body shapes are different) and what I still like, etc. I realize this sounds like a load of hooey, but believe me this takes much more time than I ever could have imagined. Not to mention I try to sort the winter stuff I am taking out into piles of "for sure won't fit next fall" and "might fit next fall" to make the next season change easier.

Sometimes I am tempted to dump it all and start fresh, but besides the obvious cost factor that just seems like even more work. Then the funny things is it seems like Rosebud has so many clothes and none all at once...she will have 25 t-shirts that are for play and nothing for going out. Or she will have tons of shorts, but I can't find any capris in the totes. It is like a huge conspiracy so I have to not only sort what I have, but figure out what I need and then make a list and figure out which Grandma is going to take care of it for me.

Yeah yeah I know. BIG problems to have...Trust me if you felt as crappy as me this weekend you would understand this was a problem, albeit tiny. And don't think I have put away all the winter stuff - that is just begging for a snowfall. I did that a few years ago, I put all the winter stuff away only to have the temperatures drop a week later, causing me to stomp to the basement for warmer clothes. Nope this year the turtlenecks and capris will have to live together in the drawers for a few weeks until I am certain winter is really over. Mother Nature can't fool me, nope not this year.
This was a good weekend...despite all my bitching and complaining. We had a surprise 60th Birthday/Retirement party for my Mom Saturday. It was so much work, but completely worth it and I am sure contributed to my lethargy Sunday, I was wiped out from the party prep. My Mom was shocked and surprised so we did our job...I can't believe she is retiring. It is making me feel a little old today.

I hope everyone enjoyed the weekend!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Train Tracks

Right, the other kind. Do kids even say this anymore? The kind of tracks that will crowd my mouth for twenty months while they do their magic on my misaligned teeth. I must admit that up until recently I viewed adults with braces as pretty vain individuals, I would think, "what is the point?" Now that I have met with a very nice orthodontist who assures that me that I too can have perfect (well close) smile I am interested - and vain is right at the top of the list. If all people see is my perfect smile the extra twenty pounds will seem less obvious right?

There is the jaw pain and crowded teeth and problems my front teeth are giving me since they are wearing down alarmingly fast due to the misalignment. Then there is the prospect of once the braces are off and a little "touching up is done to even out my front teeth" of that perfect, white smile. It is very enticing to think it is possible at all at my age. I mean I am not a freak or anything, but my teeth could definitely be straighter.

My teeth have always been crowded and I had one of my bottom teeth pulled at an early age. My original dentist never really offered up any solutions so I never had braces as a child. Once I switched dentists in Grade Nine I met the most amazing dentist who I still see and now my girls see him too. The back story here is that I bit my dentist. Yup, chomped right on his finger after telling several times what he was doing hurt. He told my Mom to take me away immediately and that I was basically not welcome in his office anymore. I realize dentists get bad raps sometimes and no one likes going unless the pain is unbearable - then the dentist is your best friend. This dentist however, deserved the rap.

My new dentist was young, I mean not that much older than me really and back in the day he was the junior guy under a much older dentist who has since retired. Let me say, I love my dentist and that I am terrified of dentists. Over the years I have weaned myself off of the heavy medication I once needed for fillings and root canals. I only got gas for my most recent root canal and if you knew me you would know that is unbelievable.

So back to the braces...I have not decided if I should go ahead or not. It is a lot of money, none of which is covered until our dental benefits. Hubby says to go for it. I keep wavering and putting it off...maybe in the Spring, maybe after my brother's wedding, the thing is the twenty months won't start until I get the things on.

Any of you wear braces? Any thoughts? I realize this is a trivial little dilemma but, I need a little triviality today.

Metal mouth for me?

Edited to add maybe some dentists get bad "wraps" too many veggies perhaps...but it was a bad "rap" for most dentists that I was referring to....

Monday, April 16, 2007

Monday Musings - Can I talk about this?


It is with great and careful thought that I hit the Publish button today. Is this a topic that a white middle-class woman should be raising on her blog? I just read a book that really made me think about race in a way that I haven't in a long time and felt compelled to talk about it. And Mimi posted a great post on class recently and I thought why not.

I am white, my husband while of Greek heritage, is white. My girls are white. In our immediate families everyone is white. We have friends though of all different races and cultures and in fact my husband's four best friends, some going back to Kindergarten are all black. Three have wives that are white and one has a wife that is black. I remember when we first started dating and I was about to meet some of these friends, he told me right before we were about to meet, "you know they are black." I can't remember if I had any expectations then, perhaps I was expecting Greek friends? I don't think so though. Hubby was according to him, "the cool white guy" in the group.

We are all dear friends, all our children are friends and what is amazing is my girls have never commented on the fact that their friends have parents, grandparents and cousins of different colours. Over the years we have spent lots of time together including outings and traveling. I must say I am always shocked at the sideways glances our group causes, the look on people's faces trying to sort us out - who is with who, who do those children belong to. I have had on occasion found myself with one of these great friends alone somewhere. It is difficult to admit, but a black man with a white woman in Toronto still causes people to stare. Is it because he is so darn handsome or I am so cute? Maybe. Or maybe it is because we look different. I have had but a mere taste of it, how do these families do this all the time? I am quite sure they have all faced more intolerance than I will ever know. In terms of our friendship and stage in life, if you closed your eyes you would be hard-pressed to separate us from one another, all of us are university educated and comfortably middle-class and all are raising young families.

It is not a topic I have ever broached with any of them, to be honest we rarely talk about race. We talk about eating, sleeping, potty fun (or lack-there-of), bad words, school, and the many other topics that having small kids and life-long friendships raises. When we do talk about race it is usually something in the media that prompts us, I remember in fact many conversations about OJ Simpson. One of Hubby's friends felt he could have been framed and all the rest of us disagreed -strongly. We all talked openly about it and it didn't cause any real friction, but I wonder now how I would have reacted if I was black. Would I have felt differently about it all?

When we get together we make quite a mosaic. Two of the guys (twins) are of Barbadian heritage, one is Trinidadian and one is Jamaican. On my side of friends we have several interracial (why is there no better word?) families as well. Papoosie Girl's class has 20 students and I would say at least 15 different nationalities represented which makes her class look a little like a child-sized UN convention - I love that. She is in a Roman Catholic school and from my involvement in the school and working on the School Council I can attest that the school is multicultural in attitude as well and embraces all cultures. Our world is made up of many different people representing many different cultures and the girls have lived this way all their lives. When I was in elementary school (before Grade 6 when we moved) my class was nearly all white, very homogeneous. Then when we moved my world exploded and my class was extremely diverse. I so enjoyed learning about other cultures and became fascinated with several, nothing made me happier than getting invited over to someones house for a peek.

I now live in a city that has one of the highest density concentrations of Indo-Canadians in Canada. The largest Hindu temple in Canada is in my city and the city represents people of Punjabi, Gujarati, Tamil and Sindhi backgrounds. Nearly all of my neighbours are of Indian heritage and nearly all are first generation here in Canada. While we don't know all of our neighbours (and not many people do) there is one family we are close with and listening and learning about their struggles is eye-opening and humbling, suddenly my problems seem small.

This high concentration of Indo-Canadians does effect the make-up of the public school system in some neighbourhoods and my friend's son who is in Junior Kindergarten and is white, is the minority. His school is predominantly Indian and there are a handful of other nationalities. His school is vastly different from ours and they are less than a kilometre away. She is planning on switching him to the local Catholic school soon (they are Catholic and wanted him to go to Catholic school, but due to daycare he started in the public system) and wonders what he will think of the new environment.

Oh how I wish I knew where I wanted this discussion to go. The book I was referring to above touched on how we react to race when it hits close to home. The book is by Barbara Delinsky, Family Ties and while it is a work of fiction it hits a nerve. The story follows a white couple who give birth to a baby with distinctly black features. The husband's family is a pedigreed New England family that can trace its roots to the Mayflower, and he devotes his professional life to championing minorities, but he is blindsided by his daughter's color. He urges his wife, whose heritage is unknown, to start digging for answers. The book debates the way we define ourselves and explores the duplicity of political correctness and personal prejudice.* (*The author's own words about the book.)

While the book was a fairly light read, it did make me think and raised many scenarios in my head. How would I react to a baby who looks nothing like me or Hubby? A part of me thinks I would not be bothered at all, it is my baby and I would love it unconditionally. I also sometimes entertain the fantasy of adopting a baby. We have some distant friends who have adopted a little girl from China and it is something I must admit I think about sometimes. A baby born in your heart a friend of mine calls it. Would I love this baby the same, surely I would. My heart swells just thinking of saving a baby from a lifetime of despair and giving them a lifetime of love and security.

That said, I remember a post by Her Bad Mother a while back when WonderBaby had the chickenpox and she felt awful because she was embarrassed a bit by her daughter's blemished appearance, and she posted about how it made her feel. I am guilty as charged of the same thing. I like it when my girls are dressed well, hair tidy, and generally looking their cutest. I am not a fan of taking them out when they are less than that. I am not talking about playing outside or a trip to the park, but when we go out I take pride that they are looking good. Does that make me a bad person to want their hair to be combed? I really don't think so, but if superficial appearance matters what about skin colour?

By sheer coincidence I took out two great books out of the library for the girls, We All Sing with the Same Voice, is a vibrant picture book about race, and all kinds of families. It is so great! It is based on a song they sing on Sesame Street, but I had never heard of it. The message is, no matter what you look like, or where you live, we are all the same where it matters - at heart. I wish it was as simple as all this, really I do. The other book is The World came to my Place Today, and it is a story about a boy named George and his Grandpa and they take a trip around the world talking about how
he drinks orange juice from Spain, eats rice from China and sets sail for Africa in search of chocolate.

"Grandpa shows George and his sister how plants from all over the world affect their daily lives, from the cereal they eat for breakfast to the rubber in their bicycle tires and wood in their toys. The lively, simple text follows George’s day as he discovers the wonder of plants. Eye-catching illustrations are coupled with photographs of grasses, fruits and plants to make a highly original book, building awareness in children of the natural world."

The map of the world, globe and photographs really make this book great, the kind I want to keep. The descriptions are brief enough that I can read it to both the girls as well. Both of these books are a wonderful reminder that the world is much bigger and more diverse than our own little family, school and neighbourhood. I am smart enough to realize that while we can indulge in our interests in learning about other cultures, their are people I know still facing many obstacles solely based on the colour of their skin or the religion they practice. People I know, people in my neighbourhood.

Does anyone else think about these issues? Are you consciously making sure your children are exposed to many cultures? Is it even possible where you live? I am grateful that this generation is so much more tolerant than even when I was in school. Hopefully we are still stepping in the right direction, despite the fact that many other countries seem to operate on an agenda based on fear and intolerance. I want my girls to understand that people really are just people. We all want the same things, to learn, to be loved, to be understood, to have enough to live happy healthy lives.

I wonder sometimes about this little pocket of the blogosphere I have come to call home. We are fairly similar in terms of place in life, mostly all Mom's with small children, but are we really different culturally? Does it matter?

Lots of food for thought this Monday. Let me know what you think if you have the time, I am curious what my smart, kind, bloggy friends think about all this.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Meme too, with questions (and answers)

Even though I was most tardy in completing the music meme, Alpha DogMa was kind enough to interview me for this very cool meme. Her questions are fab so read on....

What is the ugliest present you've ever received, and who gave it to you?

R&PG: Here's the deal - even hinting at an answer could potentially hurt someone and I really don't want to do that. I will give you this tidbit though, the strangest gift I received was two Christmas's ago my sister-in-law's boyfriend (grown man as SIL is older than Hubby) gave me KY Warming Massage Oil. I think it was meant to be a joke and he mentioned something about the clever commercials and since I was in marketing I would appreciate it. Huh?! It still makes me wonder sometimes.

ADM: What mammal is your most

R&PG: I am a classic dolphin girl. I love them and water and being an Aquarius it all just fits. When I was younger I always felt you could divide up girls by those who liked horses versus those who like dolphins. Personally, horses never did a thing for me and all those horse books like Sleeping Beauty were awful in my opinion. Funny thing is that now Hubby works with a client that is all about horses and he is so well versed it isn't even funny. He has taken Papoosie girl along on a couple of events and she is showing great interest, I must work harder to get her in front of the dolphins.

And just so you are thoroughly sick of this I based my honeymoon on a place where I could swim with dolphins. Our resort had a saltwater lagoon and you could visit the dolphins anytime you wanted. It was partly for the guests and a learning facility as well and we saw several school groups visiting early in the morning. Hubby being not a comfortable swimmer meant we did a shallow water experience, but it was amazing and I still smile when I think about it. The swimming with dolphins experience was on a lottery basis for adults (all kids automatically got in during their stay) since there were so many people wanting to get in. I was so obsessed I called from the airport before we even checked in to get my name on the next days list. I dutifully checked on the hotel TV to see if our name had come up for the next day and since it didn't we headed down to breakfast in this tropical paradise. Right after breakfast we started walking around the grounds and ended up a the lagoon. They were calling the names of the people coming to the session and while we are busy admiring the view etc. I kept hearing a name that sounded like it could be ours, but pronounced all wrong. I walked over and long story short it was us, but they could not put our name on the hotel TV since our room number had not been assigned in time. They had been calling and looking for us! Could we be back in our suits in 10 minutes? Yes!!!! What a great beginning to our honeymoon. Fate I say.

So, yeah, dolphins.

ADM: Recipes: hard and fast instructions from which you do not deviate OR basic guidelines that you readily and successfully alter?

R&PG: You are assuming I cook stuff I guess. Well, I think I am a bit of both. For example, I often make stew which I love. When I make my version I add in any veggies I find and simmer for as long as I think. I rarely follow any recipe anymore and even if I pull it out to check I hardly ever look at it. Recently I decided to try a new recipe for stew made in the oven (I usually make mine on the stove or slow cooker) so I tried it. The recipe said you must leave it in the oven or 3 hours and you cannot peak at all or it ruins it. This went against my logic, but it said no peaking or deviating so I followed it to the letter. Let's just say the stew was well-done and barely worth eating. Generally, if I am trying something new I stick to the recipe but, once I have done it once I am on my own.

ADM: Describe your ideal Friday night (can be as fanciful or as real as you wish).

R&PG: Hmmn. With or without kids? I will answer this twice based on with kids or without.

No kids (Fanciful)
Hubby comes home early with plane tickets for a weekend romp to a tropical island somewhere. We spend the weekend frolicking around the surf, eating and watching the stars. His choice would be Paris though, he has been lobbying hard for a weekend in Paris someday.

No kids (Real life)
Hubby comes home early and we go out for a lovely dinner at The Keg and watch a funny and smart movie that is my choice while someone else feeds my girls dinner and puts them to bed. Alternatively, we could skip the movie and and grab a coffee at Starbucks and wander around Chapters for a few hours.

With kids (Fanciful)
Hubby comes home early and we take off for a surprise weekend away at a really cool hotel with a great pool. We spend the weekend frolicking around the hotel pool, eating and lounging around our hotel room together.

With kids (Real life)
Hubby comes home early and we have time to have a nice dinner together and time to play outside together or take a trip to the park together to feed the ducks. Come home and have time for a game with the girls before bed. They fall asleep and we watch Survivor from the PVR. Sounds perfect.

ADM: People sometimes ask if we will try for a third child and hope for a daughter - do you get the reverse question an how do you respond?

R&PG: People do ask us sometimes if we are planning to try for a boy, usually looking at me of course. Um, talk to Hubby he's got the goods not me for making a boy - is my standard type answer. My general disdain for these types of questions is the assumption that we somehow have a choice and that there is a wrong way for a family to be, so insulting in the first place.

I have said this before that I really wanted a daughter and was thrilled when Papoosie Girl was born. This was based on my very limited experience with small boys. I will admit I love the clothes and long hair and the general girlishness of it all. That doesn't answer the question does it? So, yes we are asked and usually I just make some flip remark, sometimes nice and sometimes not. It depends on who is asking, for example, when my mother-in-law hints around I tell her for about $30,000 we could do gender sorting and ask if she is interested. Usually, stops the questions. And to be fair her questions are usually very tame, more like anytime I don't feel like coffee, I get the excited, "are you pregnant?" That reminds me of something else I once said when asked and it was something like, "I had better not be since Hubby has been working such long hours it could not be his".

Since we truly are still on the fence and have not decided either way if we are going to have another child the question does come up. Many of our friends say to us you know when you are done and many have, uh, permanently taken care of this decision. My dearest friend is currently pregnant with number three and while I am thrilled I (we) just are not sure yet. Our big trip this past summer gave us a taste of freedom of travel and movement and we keep seeing the light at the end of the tunnel getting brighter. It is not to say we don't wonder about another child. More love of course is high up there, another sibling for the girls another, but really we have no clue. So I guess we will have questions for a while longer. One more thing, Hubby is so fulfilled with the girls and does all kinds of "boy" things with them he is probably the only one who thinks trying for a boy is ridiculous. A deep part of me though would love to give him a son. Lame maybe, but the honest-to-God truth. Hubby is a deep, complex combination of "man's man" and "sensitive male". Put it this way, he knows more about crystal and china than I do and went to the Super Bowl last year to watch his team win. A part of me wonders just what kind of boy we would have?

I hope that covers it all. These are beginning to be fun. I think this is the part where I am supposed to offer someone else the chance to be interviewed - so if there is anyone who has not done this yet and is interested let me know.

*Hi Hubby, welcome to your grand debut!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Monday Musings - WWWWWH

Since I have started blogging my initial thoughts about it have changed so much. When I started I really had no clue about blogging and was really just tracking down Catherine Newman (Ben & Birdy) after she left Baby Centre. I ended up clicking on her commenter's and once I found Bub & Pie she lead me to a whole wonderful world of (mostly) Mommy-blogs here in my neighbourhood and around the world. One single blog, Catherine's led me to another single blog, and then my world exploded. I could not get through her list of blogs fast enough. I compared it to a buffet then, saying I know I'm full but I just can't help myself and kept going back for more. This community is just so full of wonderful people that I could not help being a part of it. I wanted to play - bad.

This drove me to really start my own blog, more than the "hi" posts. So far much of my blog, like much of my life is about my girls. I don't get to comment on current events nearly enough (in either) life real or otherwise. My days are a kind of Groundhog Day (the movie, not the actual day) blur of events associated with small children and managing a family. Central to this was me getting my laptop. The only computer at home during the day (Hubby takes his laptop back and forth) was in the basement and it is not a marvel of latest technology. It worked though and it is what I launched my blog from so I still have a soft spot for it. Once I got a recycled laptop and I could blog, and more importantly read from the kitchen table, my addiction was sealed.

I really believe this is a community in every sense that matters to me. I give and get something from this space each time I visit and while I don't want to get into a debate on the validity of the term community, I encourage people to think of in terms of "community without propinquity" that is how I view it. In university, as part of my Urban Studies program I studied the Sociologist Melvin Webber who argued that individuals were connected in an overlapping range of groups, and that increasingly these social networks were not limited by physical or geographical location. The built form, the brick and mortar becomes less important in defining our sense of community. The quality of cultural life is not defined by where you live, but by the exchange of information you participate in. Previous theories were rooted in the view of social and spatial interaction based on population distribution and density.

While I had to brush up a bit on the theory right now, I do remember it vividly from university. Hubby was the first one to say out loud that the blogging community is the very essence of Webber's theories. I blog with people very close to me geographically, but is not at all dependent on whether they become a part of my blogging community. One of my dearest blogging friends is halfway across the country in the West, and many others are less than a twenty minute drive away should we choose to see each other.

I feel no need to debate the definition of community (not that some of the debates haven't been very interesting), in my mind it is quite clear. My needs are met and my opinions welcome based on who I am not where I live. This community reaches out to those of us geographically surrounded by people yet feel so alone and to the people who actually are geographically alone as well. In that sense there is no difference for these two people in joining or participating in this community, they can take as little or as much as they want. What surprises me most about this journey is the passion I feel for this community, I am quick to challenge people who are less knowledgeable tossing out arguments about blogging that are unfounded. I know I am truly a part of this - no matter how small or provincial my blog might be, when I feel so protective of it.

I think I have covered the who, what, why, when, where and how of it all. I so remember this little formula from my earliest book report days. I just might make Monday Musings a regular feature as I do have a little (lot...) of blog envy for the wonderful Flashback Friday's and other weekly features I look forward to reading. I can't promise they will all be "thinky" or even fun to read, but still a weekly feature that sounds lofty and grand doesn't it? Blogging for me is more than a source of entertainment or a resource for figuring out how to get my child to poop as I originally thought it would be to me. It is something I really enjoy doing that gives back to me so much more than I ever thought possible. I have a real life, family, friends, and yet this fills a hole none of that can. A space I don't think I even realized I had until I started. Blogging has become a community of friendly faces and words, a place where I feel at home. I feel smarter, more aware, and more compassionate since blogging. What started as a way to preserve and record my family history has really become an outlet for me to grow. Funny how that worked out. If you had tried to tell me this even a few months ago I would have scoffed at the idea.

Thanks to all my blogging friends, this community has really given me something special.

Let me know what you think. Does anyone else see it this way? I'm curious I guess.

*Edited to fix a small error...noticed in Beck's comment. Oops.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Meme too, set to music

*Sorry to edit twice! The formatting went horribly awry.

This meme is horribly overdue and now the interview meme (thanks for the questions Alpha DogMa I will work on it soon) is all the rage, but that won't stop me from finishing this one. If I am one thing it is good on my word and I promised Alpha DogMa I would do this. So what if I kind of changed the rules a bit, I am doing it right?! Maybe I'll even add a good poop story to distract in a kind of smoke and mirrors way, if only Rosebud pooped that is - we are on day five of no action, and that is with several meds. Oh the Joys always writes about poop and everyone loves her poopiness, maybe it could work for me. So now that everyone is suitably distracted on with the show, not that there really was a story mind you - that happens when there is no poop to write about.

The original meme was to list seven songs you are into right now. Since this would out me as horribly boring and clueless of current music I have decided to mix it up a bit. I had the idea to do an 80's version since many of my favourite songs are from the 80's, but Sunshine beat me to it; so my version is seven songs I have been obsessed with at various points in my life. Why I think this is any less revealing of my lameness is not completely understood. So anyhoo...

For the record there was a time I was all about music, new and otherwise. I vividly remember sitting in my room with my tape recorder held up to my radio, taping the CHUM FM Top 30 each week, waiting patiently for my favourite songs to come on. My radio with built in cassette player was years away. Once I started dating (let's call him Mr. Wrong, the dreaded Man/Child with whom I spent eight long years) my music taste broadened. We were forever going
downtown to Sam the Record Man and trolling the Import section for music. I will give him this, we were usually listening to stuff that would not make airways here in Canada for several years. Some of it I liked and some I didn't, but at least I was a little more aware of what was out there. Oh, I was still the queen of pop smultz don't get me wrong.

Nowadays I drive about 3 minutes to Papoosie Girl's school and back (detour at Tim's of course) and really only catch a few minutes of my easy-listening morning show in hopes they might talk about the weather since I am not so good at checking before we leave the house. Rain!? Where did that come from? If I do venture on a long drive I sometimes pop in a CD or listen to the radio, but usually I savour the silence. Now those who know me know that there is very little silence in my life. Chatty Mom = chatty girls. So to reveal my source of silence will out me as one of those people...hmmm. Truth all the way for this blogger, since I was never good at lying - think stuttering and scarlet cheeks. Our van has a DVD player (ducks in shame while good parents cluck wildly about such a thing) and I must admit I like it. I wish I could say our other car is a hybrid to make up for this, but it is not. It is a much smaller, more fuel-efficient car though if that helps.

When hubby's car was coming off lease we knew we wanted something a bit bigger to lug around all our stuff. We do a lot of weekend trips and drive quite a bit to visit family so making the jump to a minivan was natural. We were not really interested in any of the modest sized SUV's as they didn't have much more room than the car we were giving up. So we got a minivan for a fantastic deal since we bought in November when they were trying to get rid of the current year models and while the DVD player was not the deal-breaker it was a lovely bonus from our negotiations. I did briefly toy with the idea of not telling the girls, just not using it. Yeah right. I will say we do not use it for short trips, but once we hit a highway to somewhere, you can find it humming along. Did I mention the headphones? I never give them to the girls I just usually tune out the movie and drive along quite happily with my thoughts. Hubby likes for us to be able to listen to music so he gives them the headphones (again this is not very often - think driving to London to visit friends) I am usually amused and disgusted by these things on my girls heads. But I have to say it is a damn quiet ride.

So what the hell was I saying? Oh yeah the music meme, right so I used to listen to music and now I don't so much.

Seven Songs I have been obsessed about in random order:

1) When Doves Cry-Prince
I had a very big Prince thing in general and this song was a big favourite. I could listen to it over and over and never get sick of it, like all of my obsessions songs. I felt like these lyrics were speaking to me. I think it will become evident as you go through the list that many of these songs are telling the same story if you know what I mean. Keep reading.

How can you just leave me standing?
Alone in a world that's so cold? (So cold)
Maybe I'm just too demanding...

2) White Flag-Dido
This sums up the eight year Mr. Wrong situation, in nicer words than I could ever come up with. It was very hard to get out of this relationship for reasons I will take to my grave. In many ways there is just no getting over something like this , instead you move on, and in a way that says you have surrendered.

I know you think that I shouldn't still love you,
Or tell you that.
But if I didn't say it, well I'd still have felt it
where's the sense in that
I promise I'm not trying to make your life harder
Or return to where we were

3) You Oughta Know-Alanis Morissette
Gotta love a woman scorned. Any of the lyrics from this song would have been good. I loved this whole CD in fact.

Cause the love that you gave that we made wasn't able
To make it enough for you to be open wide, no
And every time you speak her name
Does she know how you told me you'd hold me
Until you died, till you died
But you're still alive

4) Time of My Life- Green Day
I have always loved this song while I have never been a huge Green Day fan. This song just strikes a cord with me and not just because it was on the series finale of Beverly Hills 90210.

Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go
So make the best of this test, and don't ask why
It's not a question, but a lesson learned in time

5) You Were Mine-Dixie Chicks
I always refer to this song as the "divorce" song in my head. It is a little known track from the Wide Open Spaces CD. I had never listened to Dixie Chicks until I saw them at Lilith Fair in August of 1999. They performed Wide Open Spaces and I liked them and the song. They didn't seem to take any crap. I got the disk and listened, this song made me cry and still does each and every time I hear it. My parents were divorced when I was quite young and there is still that little raw part of my child heart that never got over it. I actually liked a few tracks from Wide Open Spaces and really love their current hit
Not Ready to Make Nice, I admire how they didn't back down from their convictions even if it meant smaller venues and reduced record sales.

I can give you two good reasons to show you love's not blind
He's two and she's four, and you know they adore you,
So how can you tell them you've changed your mind

6) King of Spain-Moxy Fruvous

Bonus points if you know who they are. I went to York University and had several classes with Jian Ghomeshi (he was Jean then though) and this was the band he was in. He now dabbles in TV and radio and has a new daily national radio show launching on CBC Radio One this month. In the York days I thought he was political, charming, exotic (Persian!), and so nice. I was not available (Mr. Wrong still), but Jian would often give me tickets to performances. I did manage to see them twice and still prefer my indie cassette to my CD. The songs were fun and smart and I was so into that, they put on a great show too. How could I not mention the hair, those long luscious curls? He was the guy I would never think of myself as worthy enough of - looking back I just feel sad for that girl.

Once I was the King of Spain - now I eat humble pie
A palatial palace, that was my home - now I eat humble pie
I'm telling you I was the King of Spain - now I eat humble pie
And now I vacuum the turf at SkyDome

Well, this has been a treat diving into the mosh pit of my psyche...last but not least

7) You Raise Me Up-Josh Groban
While I have never listened to any contemporary Christian music and I am not sure if he is mainstream or not, I really was into this song for a while. I still like in fact, just not in that endless repeat kind of way. It makes me feel good and often reminds me of my father. It is strange to be so young and not have a parent, although I realize I am not alone. You feel a bit like an orphan sometimes, like how things would be different if I had a father in my life. I say any song that makes you feel a bit better is a good one.

When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.


If you have made it to the end, I thank you for indulging me. I have always enjoyed all the trip down memory lane posts and I can see why they are such good reading. Looking back is a way to understand the present, a way to discern how the
light shines on your life and how you turn your face up to enjoy it.