Thursday, April 30, 2009

Marital Conversations (Caution, strong language)

Working: "Are you going to be upset when I go into 'transition' and treat you like shit?"
Trevor: "Nope."
Working: "Good."
Trevor: "I'm used to it."

Sally Elliot: "You need your partner. You want your partner. You love your partner. You are happy to have your partner there with you. And your partner is going to try to give you everything you need."
Working: (whispers) "Luckily, you already have exactly what I'm gonna need."
Trevor: (grins)
Working: "I'm looking at your hands. Not your penis."
Trevor: "Oh."

Girl 1: "I missed last week."
Girl 2: "You didn't miss much."
Girl 1: "Oh good."
Girl 2: "Oh, except for a relaxation exercise."
Girl 1: "A what?"
Girl 2: "She made us all do this stupid relaxation thing with the lights off and our heads down and breathing. It was so dumb. I totally couldn't do it. I'm like, I don't care about stupid clouds! I didn't even shut my eyes."
Working: "Holy hell. I feel like I'm back in high school."
Trevor: "Huh?"
Working: "Epidural! Stat! Never mind the spine, dammit, just pump it straight into my skull!"

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Love Letter To A City

Dear Regina,
I have been back for about eight months, now. This letter is long overdue, but not for lack of thinking about it. In truth, the transition hasn’t been as easy as I would have thought. I guess one can’t expect to pick up and leave for five years and then just come back like nothing changed. I’ve changed. You’ve changed. And let’s face it, we don’t get along the way we used to.

So in the spirit of dialogue (and how I hate, despise and detest that word), I’m just going to get a few things off my chest so we can move forward together.

1. Your streets. So wide, so abundant, so accommodating. You can always find a place to park. Just a few things:

* It’s so odd to me that despite the abundance of road space, I still get honked at when I do something as simple as pull around a left-turning vehicle to pass straight through an intersection. Seriously, Regina, what is the big deal?
* Also, my dear city, you are full of the doziest, least proactive bunch of drivers I have ever witnessed. You say “at least we’re not aggressive,” but you’re not even awake! Slow to maneuver, hesitant to shoulder-check, rare to signal, weaving across lanes, utterly confounded by the smallest change in traffic patterns. I actually miss the DVP.
* And this is another symptom of too much space and not enough sense: only in a town like Regina can you witness a drag race between two F150’s. And oh, look at that, driven by two fully-grown adult men. For most of us, trucks are just annoying obstacles to try see around when turning, parking, pulling out into traffic or doing anything road-related. Don't get me wrong; I don’t hate trucks, so long as I can see the ‘F’ sticker (then at least one assumes it’s warranted). But don’t get me started on the ridiculous oversized Hummer-truck beast that a certain higher end clothing store owner drives. I bet you can see it all the way from Calgary.
* And now to parking. I’ve actually had people ask me to move my car further down the block because God forbid they should have to park a car-length away from their house. You do know that this abundance of parking is a luxury completely foreign to most other cities, right?
* Drunk driving. I swear it’s because of the obscenely wide streets that more people don't die. Understand this: ‘a couple’ are too many, and no, you’re not ‘fine’.

2. Your abundance of salons and spas.
I’ve always said there’s one of everything in Regina, and that includes some pretty talented trades people who, thankfully, lack both the ego and the pricing of bigger centers. There are real gems in this town. So just a note specially to those who help us all look beautiful:

* Please do your part to end what someone aptly named the “bomb blast haircut”. You know the one: short all over and then spiked to within an inch of its life out the back? Right, like a bomb blast. Usually streaked 23 different colours, too. Women of the prairies, please let it die.
* While we’re at it, dearest trades people, help the people with their eye wear. I used to think this only applied to the ladies, but I can thank the Premier for making this a cross-gender issue. Trendy eye wear doesn’t necessarily make one look fashionable; it can, however, make one look like a strange avian species from some tropical jungle.
* And please tell the people that pajama bottoms are not appropriate for wearing outside of the house. I don’t care how comfortable they are.

3. Odds and Ends.
I love the big sky, the clean air, the birds, the sunrises and sunsets. I love that Regina people are kind, for the most part. Just a few little things:

* “Yous guys”. “Them guys.” “I don’t got no (insert)” and especially the term "to Jew someone." Just STOP.
* It’s okay to get excited about something that doesn’t come packaged in Green and White.
* ‘Harbour Landing.’ I don’t care if that’s what you technically call an airfield. It’s a stupid name, and looking at the oversized houses on oversized plots, it’s just a stupid idea.
* In all my driving around the suburbs of the world, I have never witnessed a mess like the east end. Seriously, Quance? Not to mention the lamentable lack of green spaces, sidewalk patios or, hell, even a safe place to walk. It's not just the east end; I arrived too early to a movie the other day and my options were to go to Shopper’s or sit and stare at a parking lot. Unfortunately this town is starting to feel exactly like any Ontario suburb, but with an even bigger misuse of space. Please, Regina, don’t let our city become ugly.
* Cabs. Why is it impossible to get a cab to or from the city’s only airport, an airport that is also not serviced by public transportation? “Welcome to Regina. You’re on your own.”
* And seriously: pick up your dog’s shit. It's the price you pay for dog ownership in any urban centre, and sheer laziness is ruining a perfectly gorgeous dog park.

Okay, I think I’m done. Please don’t take this too personally, my fair city. Obviously I like Regina. I moved back. And I know this doesn't apply to all. I just needed to say a few things. As penance, I will spend the next few Grace in Small Things talking about the things I love about this place.

Hugs and Kisses,


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Grace in Small Things

1. Even though it's complicated and frustrating and still not fully approved, at least I qualify for EI Mat Leave.
2. After a miserable, snowy start to the week, it's a bright, sunny day.
3. I'm looking forward to having a laugh at Sally Elliot's class tonight. Who knew childbirth prep could be entertaining?
4. City Homicide.
5. Scheduler says I have a clear day. Tarot and Anatomy!


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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Breastesses and Naming

I just bought a Medela Swing breast pump used. I know, I know. I've read all the stuff on used pumps and sanitation and blah-blah-blah. But there is this other side of me, the side that grew up in southern Africa and watched babies being birthed and raised in all sorts of hygienically questionable conditions, including my own baby sister, that scoffs at the dangers lurking in our western world. What. Ever.

Plus, this is a model that was clearly barely used. Lots of women buy these expensive contraptions only to find out that their milk won't come in. It happened to this woman, a nurse, and I was willing to use her bad fortune to my advantage. Plus, she met my offer. I'm unemployed, people.

The funny part was conducting the transaction in the entrance of the Northgate Safeway. I can just imagine what the security cameras caught. Strange looking apparatus in box handed over, examined closely, buttons pressed. Money exchanging hands. The second funny part was getting it home and reading the instruction pamphlet. Why do the 'how to' images have the women applying the pump over their clothes??? I'm going to be a lactating woman. I think I can handle seeing a little breast. And, yes, I damn well want to know how to apply this thing properly, nipple 'n all.

In other baby news, no, we have not really thought about names. We've gone through the motions - internet lists, books - a couple of times but I find it extremely tedious. It's not that I'm not excited for the baby. And we do plan to give it a name. I just really, really despise shopping. Accordingly, this baby will get the first name that fits and sounds reasonable. I buy clothes the same way.

After all, it's just a name. It's up to the kid to make it mean something, right?

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Marital Conversations

"I'm downloading the Enhanced Audio Version."
"Well, you know what they say about guys who download the Enhanced Audio Version..."
"What? Oh yeah, they have small iPods."

* * *

"Hang on, Charlie. I have to blog what Trevor just said."
(Trevor rolls his eyes)
"Well, my blog has been a little lean lately."
"And depressing."
"You read my blog?"
"Of course I read your blog."
"To see what's going on up here, right?" (I tap my head)
"Well, usually to read the thoughtful analysis after what is generally a shit storm."
"And to read the complimentary parts about me."
"There are complimentary parts about you?"
"There's maybe one. One compliment."
"Yeah, but I read it over and over again."

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Out of The Mouths of Babes

My three year-old nephew stands in the middle of the living room, hand posed on chin, perplexed look.
"Isaiah, what are you doing?"
"Um..." He shifts to the other hand, but maintains the pose.
"Are you thinking?"
"Do you have to poop?"
"Um, no..."
"Then what the heck are you doing?"
"I'm contlemplating." (sic)
Well then. Don't let me interrupt.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Grace in Small Things

1. Having the time to work with Charlie again, especially when it's quiet at the dog park.
2. Getting a tax refund after years of paying stomach-churning sums. And I even had tax money saved up!
3. My nephew's mom continues to improve.
4. Doing many, many lunges at CrossFit today and finding it actually loosened up the whole groin situation.
5. Having lunch with Sylvia, my Regina-based Tarot guru. She's one of those people who, even after 30 years of practice, has zero ego about her wisdom and experience.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mystery Solved

So why such intense groin pain? Because my big* baby's head is super low and is already dilating my cervix. Dr. says, "at least you're getting a sense of what labour's going to be like."

Yeah, great. Thanks, kid.

*I got my charts today and in fact I've gained 3 lbs since pre-pregnancy. Now, I did lose a lot in 1st trimester, so over all I've actually gained more than that. But it's a good, steady increase and not too much. Since I eat as much I want (so long as it's healthy), I like to attribute the numbers to CrossFit. The baby, on the other hand, is measuring big, the little chunker!

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GiST, Plus The What, Who, When...

... but not the why.

So as I hinted to in my last post, my young nephew's mom has been incredibly sick. Medical doctors scratching their heads kind of sick. Heart stopping, massive blood clots, coma, brain tumor.... Weird things that aren't supposed happen to 20-something year old's.

The saddest part is that during the ordeal, she lost her baby. My nephew's much anticipated little half-sister. Her family is obviously in mourning, but has also understandably shifted their focus to just hoping the mom pulls through.

Thankfully there are some positive signs this week. She's woken a bit from the coma and appeared responsive. All anyone can do is watch and wait and, of course, hope like hell. Plus, try their best to handle the thoughts and feelings of a vulnerable four year-old.

Now, I've been complaining a lot about this pregnancy. Particularly the pelvic area, which had me mostly bed ridden all weekend and which continues to hinder a lot of activity. Obviously I've had a bit of an epiphany this week. The "shut up and put up" kind. You can't watch a mother lose her baby and not feel some significant shift in attitude.

So in that spirit, here are the good things about this pregnancy:
1. We had no trouble conceiving. It was, um, too easy. One might say unexpectedly easy.
2. I've been able to remain physically active.
3. No stretch marks! Yet.
4. Very healthy numbers when it comes to everything else. Weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, measurements, thyroid levels, you name it.
5. An active little baby who reminds me daily that he or she is thriving.
6. And, most importantly, I chose the right guy to be the daddy. And he chose me right back.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Grace in Small Things

1. My little nephew's mother woke up from her coma!
2. She recognized people.
3. Her vitals are stabilizing.
4. It's a long, uncertain road, but this last week has proven she has lots of support, as does my nephew.
5. He painted her a picture yesterday at my house. My brother's going to take it to the hospital.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Grace in Small Things

1. That my nephew is so darn cute, and such a good kid.
2. That my brother is such a good dad.
3. That my family comes together in the bad times, and always will.

That's about all I can muster today.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Grace in Small Things

Okay, I am grumpy this morning so it’s definitely time for GiST. Why so grumpy? I slept poorly due to the pain in my ass. Actually, my groin. This is going on 2-3 months of acute groin pain and I'm irritated.

I thought it was related to sciatic pain, which I’ve had plenty. But I cured that with this support belt (which I HIGHLY recommend - $37 at Jolly's). The one-sided nature of the pain suggests to me an actual groin pull, rather than, say, Pubic Symphysis Dysfunction. But what do I know. SPD could very well be one-sided. Whatever it is, it sucks and it’s starting to affect so much of what I need to do in a day (sleep, stand up, walk), all of my remedies aren't working (Acupuncture, Reflexology, stretching, plenty of rest) that I’m thinking it might be time visit the doctor?

Then I imagine the waiting room and her inevitable response (drugs) and I get grumpy.

Meanwhile, an attitude adjustment couldn’t hurt, right?
1. Wet cedar deck after the rain.
2. Trevor’s thumbs digging into tight shoulder muscles.
3. Brand new Honeybush Roiboos from Cuppa-T on 13th.
4. My sister getting much needed foot surgery today and choosing me to be the one to pick her up and get her home. I like being needed by someone who usually doesn’t need much.
5. The notion that I should make a batch of fresh muffins for when Naomi visits. Round two, this time with the required buttermilk.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Grace in Small Things

1. Seeing Charlie and Kiwi hanging out in the sun together on the back deck. Those two are inseparable.
2. Robins bouncing around on sidewalks.
3. Peeling a big chunk of horsehair glue off the pine floor all at once. It hasn't happened to me - I've only been getting the fibers off in excruciating bits - but it was satisfying to see Trevor get one. I imagine it's not dissimilar to the feeling you get when wallpaper comes off in big, easy strips.
4. In my belly, instead of feeling just kicks, having my hand in the right place at the right time to feel an actual shape move. Shoulder? Head? Bum? Not sure, but it was solid and very, very real.
5. Soft, white Paska bread with raisins. It makes me wish I was Ukrainian and had had grown up with it. But then I think about my Grandma's Easter buns, shaped like little chicks, and I realize that Paska bread is now a substitute for something I loved just as much.

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Thursday, April 02, 2009

Grace in Small Things

It's probably obvious to anyone that we love our pets. You just need to see our monthly pet food bill. Yeah, yeah, I know: "just you wait. When Baby comes, there'll be some serious demotions!"

Fine, you're all right. Of course they'll fall on the priority list! Everyone will. I'm expecting a lot of screaming and crying, especially for the first few months, not to mention what the baby might do. So Charlie and Kiwi will definitely feel ignored.

I know my animals; they won't whine or meow or chew and scratch things up. They'll simply lie around looking ignored, which is one of the most miserable vibes you ever witnessed. So, in honour of neglect to come, here is a tribute, possibly the last, to my beloved animals:

1. One of the last pictures of Charlie in our backyard in Toronto. She loved that yard. It was so green and lush. Even the parts she killed with her pee came back pretty quickly.

2. One of Charlie's last swims in Lake Ontario. I really love the memory of our mornings at the beach. Just her, me, a travel mug of good coffee and, of course, Red Ball (not pictured).

3. New life back in Regina! With a nephew!
3. And new-to-us furniture! Make yourself at home, Charlie. No really. I insist.
4. And this was taken just this morning, five months after her knee surgery. The knee came back, the hair never did. It's not even where the surgery was; it's where painkiller was administered. And it's the reason for her new nickname, "Australia."
5. Last, but not least, my beloved Kiwi. He's 8 years old now, which just blows my mind. My boy has seen me through relationships, marriage, and now pregnancy and God knows what to come. Always with the same mellow-but-inquisitive disposition, which is captured perfectly here:

This is my view almost every morning. This is why I have animals; I always have someone to talk to.

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