Tuesday, 30 June 2009

I've got all the answers

We've had some time off this past week. Canada Day falls on a Wednesday so both Shaune and I used some vacation time to take advantage of an extra long weekend. I have nothing remarkable to post about but here are some of my random observations about life since last Thursday:

  • While at the emergency room today (we took Deaglan in for what we thought could be something troublesome but it ended up being nothing - thank God) I noticed that Triage is a bittersweet concept. On the one hand we were completely relieved that our case did not warrant being moved to the head of the line. I mean we tore out of the house in a disoriented panic and concluded from the reaction of the emergency staff that maybe the situation wasn't as dire as we'd thought. But then we had to sit and wait on a tiny cot for two hours trying to contain a boisterous 18 month-old who, although gave us enough of a scare earlier to drop what we were doing and get to the hospital, showed no signs of illness whatsoever and whose energy level seemed to multiply as soon as we entered the emergency room. I had to remind Shaune that it was a good thing that they were treating the most severe cases first and that we were blessed to be considered low priority.

  • Vacations last longer when you aren't running around doing vacation type things. We didn't go anywhere or get anything major done. A few times we thought out loud about going to the beach (about an hour away) or to Ikea (about an hour and a half away) but then it would start raining or one of us would feel like taking a nap and we'd agree that we were fine just hanging around. It's been nice.

  • I don't think it's right that toddler toy companies make profits. As far as I'm concerned whoever made my old wallet and our dust pan should be the ones raking in the fortunes. When I need to distract Deaglan and catch a few minutes break I just pull out our dust pan - it's one of those that has a long handle like a broom. He literally squeals with delight at the sight of it. Throw in my old wallet and a set of keys and I could run some errands and he wouldn't even know I was missing. Clearly I wouldn't leave him alone but it does make me wonder how well these million dollar toy companies really know their demographics. Imagine the money they could save in building materials. I could just see it - "we'll take these old boxes and empty toilet paper rolls and call it a "Building set" and charge $75.00".

Anyway, nothing spectacular to report - just some random and silly thoughts.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Not always black and white

Shaune will roll his eyes when he reads this post. But I think he should count his lucky stars that I'm only mildly interested in celebrity culture. I don't buy gossip magazines or try to emulate Hollywood starlets.
But sometimes I do pay attention. I don't mind catching an E True Hollywood Story here and there and I could probably tell you from a high level what's going on between Jon and Kate.
So when I heard today that Michael Jackson died I wasn't sure how to react. I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I have always LOVED, LOVED, LOVED his music. It is brilliant, and fun, and some of the best dance music that ever existed. And back when he was the thing, I used to think he looked and sounded like the sweetest most gentle person.
And then I was sickened (and crushed) when all of the rumours and eventually charges came to light. Obviously only a very sick person could exploit and molest children.
When I heard the news today I called Shaune at work to tell him. He'd already heard. Are you sad he asked. I don't know I said. It's just weird. We didn't have anything to say after that. What can you say?
But I did hear a rumour that Johnny Depp left a waiter a $4000 tip. I didn't call Shaune to tell him that. He would have DEFINITELY rolled his eyes at that one.
Hey what can I say - it's not my fault that Johnny Depp gets dreamier and dreamier.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Love letter to a toddler

Dear Deaglan,

It isn’t because I had nothing to do on the eve of your 18 month birthday that I looked up the word “toddler” in the dictionary and found the meaning to be disproportionate to the event in real life. It said that a toddler is someone who toddles, a young child learning to walk. I think that this is equivalent to saying that water is wet – sorely lacking in the rich and finely wrought details that embody the idea.

If I was going to define toddler I would include particulars like the definitive way you’ve been letting us know when you are finished with a specific toy or food these days – and of course, like with all things there is room for refinement here – a screechy cry, and then vehement head shaking followed by throwing that particular item on the floor will not always be acceptable forms of expressing your censure. And just on a side note, your Dad spent a lot of time and effort making those chicken nuggets, meatballs and perogies you so easily brush off of your highchair without so much as a courtesy nibble. You have no idea the lengths to which he went to puree the vegetables he concealed within them. I, for one, thought they were delicious. I’m just saying – would it kill you to take one bite just to humour him??

And speaking of my opinion, I’m not sure that you are old enough to be graduating into the Toddler Room at daycare this week. I mean if we go back to the dictionary definition of this point in your life, how can they justify moving you to a class with one less educator if you are just learning to toddle???

On the other hand they just might know what they’re talking about because their cribs have high enough sides to prevent you from climbing out. This issue has recently come to our attention at home – something else missing from Webster’s scant definition of toddler-hood. You are now sleeping in a big boy bed because last week we noticed that you are a monkey-climber and can balance your entire little body on the ledge of the crib making it possible for you to break your little neck which panicked me to the point where my worst fears flashed before my eyes and I had to sit down just to catch my breath but not before I demanded that your Dad take down one of the sides that very minute.

And so Deaglan it isn’t that I’m frustrated with all of these recent changes that just happen to coincide with this first rite-of-passage (which hasn’t been properly defined by Webster’s Dictionary if you ask me), the one they say is when a child first learns to leave the safety and comfort of his primary caregivers. It’s just that I’m watching you grow taller, stronger, smarter, braver, definitely and heartbreakingly cuter and my worry (and this is most likely just first-time-mother anxiety in me) is this. That you may someday outgrow me.

Love Mom

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Grab the Kleenex

4 years:
My Daddy can do anything!
7 years:
My Dad knows a lot…a whole lot.
8 years:
My father does not know quite everything.
12 years:
Oh well, naturally Father does not know that either.
14 years:
Oh, Father? He is hopelessly old-fashioned.
21 years:
Oh, that man-he is out of date!
25 years:
He knows a little bit about it, but not much.
30 years:
I must find out what Dad thinks about it.
35 years:
Before we decide, we will get Dad's idea first.
50 years:
What would Dad have thought about that?
60 years:
My Dad knew literally everything!
65 years:
I wish I could talk it over with Dad once more.
Author Unknown

Friday, 19 June 2009

Has anyone seen my integrity?

Well I did it. I crossed the line from being idealistic mom to do-whatever-it-takes-to-get-the-job-done mom. I mixed Deaglan's antibiotics with vanilla ice cream to get him to take it.
And I don't feel as sinister as I thought I might.
After wearing most of the dose to work this morning - penecillin and violet sheer don't go as well as you might think - I brainstormed all day, a plan to pull the wool over my own child's eyes.
Go ahead. Throw your stones. Tell me that the properties of the antibiotics become ineffective when mixed with sugar (okay please do tell me if you think this could be true - I'm not as fearless as I'm trying to seem right now), judge me harshly if you must. I can take it.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009


Kelly at My voice, My view awarded me the Premios Dardo (top dart) award. We've become good friends even though we've never met face-to-face. She's one of those people that always makes me feel good and I just know that if we lived in the same city we would be inseparable. Her poetry is often raw and vulnerable because she writes about her life, her loves and her dreams. I'm so happy we're friends Kelly - thanks for the recognition!

Gerri at Peace and Love also mentioned me recently when she received this award from her friend. Gerrie's messages are positive and lovely. I'm not surprised she received this award because I feel inspired and encouraged by her too. And we share a love for our boys. Her son Noah is delightful!

AND believe it or not I was also mentioned by Christy in her blog A Lil' Welsh Rarebit. This award says "Your blog is as deer to me as cupcakes" and it is as much fun as Christy herself. She is a fairly new mom (to the adorable Ms. Foo) like me (Gerri and Kelly are veterans compared to us) and has a lighthearted view of life and it's always a kick to see what she's up to.

Thanks to all three of you. I love reading your blogs and always feel comforted knowing that although distance separates us, our hearts are the same.

FINALLY, I also wanted to tell you about this great gift I received in the mail from my hilarious friend Rachel mother of four at A Reservation for Six. She had a "Pay it forward" giveaway and I was chosen as one of the receivers. Several weeks later I went to the post office and a package with a sweet card was waiting for me. Rachel packed up these heavenly scented candles and candle holder and shipped it all the way to little ole me in a neighbouring country!

So I thought that instead of passing these awards on and holding a pay it forward contest I would honour you four women by making a donation to one of my favourite charities. It's called Fill the Cup! through the World Food Program. It feeds hungry children in third world countries. The beauty of this program is that it doesn't require a commitment - although the option is there if you want. For as little as $15.00 U.S. you can help feed 10 starving children for a week! I hope you don't mind Rachel that I changed it up a bit.

I never imagined I'd make so many terrific friends through blogging!!

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

No chance in hell

A year ago in Winnipeg a seven year old girl showed up for school with magic marker tattoos of a swastika and the well known white supremacist symbol 14/88 drawn on her body. The number 14 refers to a maxim containing 14 words "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children" while 88 represents the letters HH (the eighth letter in the alphabet) meaning Heil Hitler.

According to the news story, a teacher tried to scrub the marker off and sent the child home where her mother re-drew the symbols and sent her back to school.

Child and Family Services were sent to the family's apartment where they found neo-Nazi symbols and flags. The children were taken in custody and placed with extended family.

According to the Winnipeg Free Press the seven year old girl spoke matter-of-factly to a social worker about Adolph Hitler, white supremacy and the god-given right for whites to kill blacks.

This case is back in the news this month because the trial has been ongoing. The stepfather claims that the seizure of his children violates his freedom of conscience, belief and religion.

Some of the arguments being thrown around are:

  • Are we deciding that one set of taught beliefs is more offensive than another? Where is the line drawn - what about devout Christians, or Muslims or Jews?
  • Is this child abuse - since the children were well fed, clothed, had a relatively strong circle of family support?
  • Does the state have the right to protect children from their parents' beliefs?

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

The cook's table

I got all mushy about Shaune here but this isn't one of those posts again. I do want to tell you about his cooking blog though. It's listed on my blog to the right here. You should check it out. He posts new recipes all the time and takes all the pictures himself and the best part...I get to eat all the food you see.

I've mentioned it often but it really does warrant repeating. The man can cook!! I don't have any hobbies that I can really speak of. So it's pretty neat to watch someone do something that they get lost in. On his free nights, he can always be found in our kitchen creating something devine. He takes his time and has a very peaceful look about him when he's cooking. You always hear people say - if you can afford to do what you love than you will be a happy person.

Shaune did go to school for culinary arts and he did train in some fancy-schmancy restaurants in Toronto and then he did cook for a living, and then he even managed some kitchens. But he didn't enjoy cooking for a living in those situations. So he moved on. But cooking is in him.

Even if we're having people over for an impromptu cocktail party or a last minute lunch, he gets serious about the menu planning and he absolutely can not do half-assed. I think this is when you know that someone is serious about something. Everytime they do it, they pour their soul into it.

You should check out his cooking site. You should try some of his recipes. Leave a comment if you feel inspired.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Tall glass of water

I went out for a drink with friends after work. I haven't done that in a long time. We went to a newer spot down the street from work.

All the servers were very scantily clad - poor things. It can't be comfortable working like that. If I've worn the wrong bra or too tight a sweater to work, I am tempted to go home and change.

These young gals were in skirts that were little more than what looked to be lycra belts and teensy weensy itty bitty tank tops. I don't think any of them had eaten for well over a month - none of them weighed more than 80 pounds.

It reminded me of that Seinfeld episode where Elaine notices that all the waitresses at the diner they frequent have large chests and look alike. She is convinced that the owner only hires good looking women with nice racks and wants to prove this by trying to get hired. When she applies she is told that they are not hiring at the moment. When she confronts the restaurant owner and accuses him of discrimination against plain flat-chested women (her) he looks at her puzzled. I don't know what you're talking about, all of these waitresses are my daughters.

Well the servers at the cafe tonight weren't related but sure did meet certain criteria. Very young. Very thin. And very attractive.

I'll go back to this place because we got great service and the atmosphere was fun and the decor was beautiful. But I can't help wonder if these young, thin, light women ever look at each other and say - hey how come none of us is chubby or male?

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Frank Jones

Frank Jones swept us off of our dirty little feet when he came to visit the orphanage. We didn’t know why he was there or who he worked for and I’m not sure we cared. He was kind, and fun and we loved him.

The year was 1977 and my sister and I had been in the orphanage in Dhaka for a few months. I think I had started to accept that I would never again see my mother. Well maybe not accept, but I knew it was true.

The orphanage wasn’t so bad. There were lice, and lots of crying, and children who had been there their entire lives but there were also three meals a day, and the promise of a better future. I only cared that my sister was with me. Back then she was my everything - both of my parents, my best friend, my siblings, and well… my whole world rolled into one small brown girl with two big front teeth. As long as she was beside me I feared everything a little less.

We rarely had visitors in the orphanage. So when Frank Jones came it was a special treat. He had brown curly hair, always carried a camera and was the happiest person I’d ever met in my young life. During that visit we went on picnics, listened to music, chewed gum for the first time and felt hope that this elusive thing called ‘getting a new family’ might not be so bad after all.

My sister especially adored him and asked him daily – ‘you be my daddy?’
Gently he would tell her no, he had lots of kids of his own already but somebody lucky would be her daddy someday soon.

Years later I learned that Frank was a reporter for the Toronto Star and that he had visited us to write a story on international adoption. The story is in the archives somewhere and I’ve meant to order it so many times just to have and show Deaglan someday. The picture he used to tell the story is of my sister wearing his Toronto Star hat with a caption that read: Will you be my daddy?
We’ve spoken once since. Frank and I. I wrote to him and he asked if he could do a follow-up story on my sister and me. At the time, my sister didn’t particularly feel like much of a success story so we declined.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Without warning

I took a blog break. I didn't follow any of the rules usually required of a week long break from the other parts of my life.

At work I would've needed to book the time off, get approval and make sure my work was done or at least being done by someone else on my team. At home I would have needed to find someone to look after the kid and the cat.

But I didn't make any arrangements. I didn't give you warning, or a guest blogger or even a hint as to when I was going to reappear.


It was just that Deaglan had an ear infection. And I had high fevers and headaches. And Shaune had his wisdom teeth pulled. And the cat, um. Okay there was nothing wrong with the cat but he didn't make it any easier with the ears, the teeth and the fevers. And usually I would at least read your posts to find out what was going on in your lives. But I didn't. And I really couldn't. But I will. Because now I'm back.

Monday, 1 June 2009

An oasis of freedom and justice

A friend of mine went to a family function a few weeks ago where her mother-in-law in describing someone else said to my friend..."well she's like you, she doesn't cook or clean either."

When she told me this story we both rolled our eyes and laughed because this was her mother-in-law's way of saying..."my precious son does everything around the house you lazy good-for-nothing."

But it made me think about how things have changed and also about how there will always be a generation or a group of people who will resist those changes.

Because if you think about it, no one even bats an eye lash when they hear that the woman of the house does all the cooking and the cleaning. It's as it should be they all think. But often when I tell people that Shaune does most of the cooking in our house they are truly impressed and can't believe my fortune to have found such a rare man. This always makes me wonder - how far has the woman's movement really come???

And this lead me to consider all of the other developments we've seen in the last few years. While we can certainly look at them and say - yes the world has really come a long way - it's just as easy to say - what the hell took so long?!!

Take Obama for instance. Even though I'm not an American, I can sincerely say that we have seen a new day and one that I am thrilled that Deaglan has been witness to. But not because I am so grateful that a black person was given the job but because it's about time a person was elected based on his abilities regardless of skin colour. I feel relieved that Deaglan's generation might not have to continue to evaluate a person's worth based on the colour of their skin but the content of their character.

And I also mulled over the legalization of gay marriage in Canada, the fourth country (after The Netherlands, Belgium and Spain) in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. Although July 20, 2005 is the official date that parliament passed the Civil Marriage Act, many parts of Canada (almost 90 %) had already legalized gay marriage since 1999.

My reaction to giving people in committed same-sex relationships the same benefits commonly associated with committed heterosexual relationships is - it's about f*#@ing time! Maybe it's because I have been a visible minority all my life, or maybe it's because I'm a woman, or maybe it's because I've had to sit helplessly by and watch gay friends and family get treated like less-than-second class citizens because we live in a society that has little to no tolerance for anyone that even remotely deviates from the narrowly defined view of what's 'normal'. Or maybe my reaction is based on a combination of all of it.

All I know is that these changes certainly make my job of raising a child a bit easier. I mean really, how were we supposed to tell our brown-skinned children to dream about being the kings and queens of the world when they had no kings and queens to follow? And how were we to teach our children to be proud of who God created them to be if our world and our society didn't support them in their individual splendours as full citizens? And how could we tell our girls that they were just as capable as boys in whatever they pursued if we were also busy telling them that anything to do with family and home was also solely their job??