Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I say it EVERY time

The nice thing about being married (o.k. there are many nice things, but this is one of them) is that you can blame your spouse for things you do not want to take responsibility for yourself!
I like to blame my spouse when I don't want to go anywhere.
It's not like we get a LOT of invitations to go places, but we do get some and most times I say no and blame my spouse. I don't VERBALLY say it is her fault, but I allow people to THINK it is because she is a "home body" and I don't do anything to dispell the notion.
The thing is, I am somewhat (translation: totally) reclusive. I go to work, that's true, but once I am done with work I am happy, happy, happy, to go home and STAY home and never leave home again.
This puts a damper on our social life, but I don't particularly care, because I am happy at home.
My spouse thinks our kids live a sheltered life, and my two year old says "town" from the minute he wakes up in the morning until he goes to bed at night, and when we LEAVE town he cries "no, no no!" all the way home. (well, MOST of the way home). He is a lot more social than I am.

Here is how Easter unfolded for us. I have a "flat" version of my friend's son for a school project. We need to take him around and get photos of where we are and write a letter and send his flat version back to him with a story of his travels.  I don't think there is a HUGE amount of anything interesting to take pictures of around here but I knew some friends of ours were lambing so I thought it would be cute to get a picture of the flat kid with the lambs. I asked if we could swing by and take some pictures. They said sure, why don't you come for Easter meal. I said Hey, that sounds great (not) let me talk to my spouse and I'll get back to you.
I was postponing the time to return the call. I'm not a TOTAL flake, I would have eventually called, I was just procrastinating a bit.
On Saturday we ran into S. at the grocery store and she said OH! Are you coming over for dinner tomorrow. I said OH! Yeah let me talk to Shel.

On Sunday they called and said HEY! We are waiting for you!

Well. I still needed pictures of the flat kid, and I had to work in a few hours - so I knew I Was not committing to endlss hours away from home, so we went over.

The kids had a BLAST. We loved the company and the meal and the walk around after the meal.


 The lambs were adorable. I saw some literally within seconds of being born (I apparently was looking the wrong way as they came out) and dang do those babies ever stand up fast! Who knew!?



In the middle of all the fun my alarm went off reminding me I needed to go to work (which I actually DID need to do, it was not an excuse.)
We dragged the boys kicking and screaming from their fun and I hustled them home and hurried in to work.
They had a great day. We enjoyed fantastic company and I said to Shel, "We should really do that more often!"
I always say that when we leave someones place. I just wish Shel weren't such a homebody.

Monday, April 25, 2011

life is hard

I moved  away from home to university when I was barely 17. I was struck many times with feelings of homesickness and one time in particular I remember calling home to talk to my mom because I was just feeling so darn sorry for myself.

My mom said to me "Well Ju, Life is Hard."

After I hung up the phone I sat and cried and thought how terrible it was that my mom would tell me life was hard instead of somehow making everything better.

It has been many, many years since that day but over and over again it has struck me just how hard life is.
Life this year has been hard.

Somehow in my mind when we were facing the adoption process and running into walls and setbacks and barriers I just kept thinking to myself, "Once this is over our lives are going to be so much easier."
The adoptions happened. We were (ARE) thrilled. Things in our life really did seem better  Then the world came crashing down.

I turn 40 this year and for a while I felt like that was a terrible thing. I have never worried about my age, or cared what age I was, and then as "40" loomed I thought it was terrible. But you know, it isn't so bad. In light of everything else that is happening all around me, my age is the LEAST of things to be worried about.

One of the blogs I follow wrote about this very thing just recently. From the Bumbles: "Everything can change in the blink of an eye, but don't worry, God never blinks".

What I take away from it is that no matter how prepared you try to be or how comfortable you get, the rug can always be ripped right out from under you. For good things or bad. Expect the unexpected. Because eventually it will touch you directly. And when it does, seeking guidance and support from your faith or other beliefs can be of great comfort.

I have quoted the Bumbles and linked to their blog so you can check it out yourself, but I just couldn't say it any better. Life can change dramatically without warning. Sometimes, even WITH warning, life changes and the impacts can be overwhelming. How do you prepare for the loss of a parent? How do you prepare for divorce or separations? How do you prepare for pain, sickness, or loss of a job or health? Life can really hand you some doozies.

When I was 17 I thought my mom should be able to make my world better. Now I am a mom, and for weeks, even months, I am embarrassed to say that my life has kicked me in the teeth and I have not known how to stand up again, or how to make myself better. I feel like I should have been able to just deal with these things and move on and I have not been able to.

Last night I was watching Oprah. She was talking about her life and the things that have happened that have brought her to where she was. She wasn't saying anything that I didn't know. She wasn't saying anything that I didn't believe. Somehow hearing these things from an external voice made them more valid in my life again.
She didn't fix anything, she didn't change the circumstances that my spouse and I have experienced in the last few months, but she said some things I needed to be reminded of.

I can't do this by myself. I can't take on everything and win. I have to surrender. I have to take the things I CAN control and do something with them and let everything else "be". I can't control others. I can't change the circumstances of my life. But I don't have to be defeated by them. I have to breathe. I have to start breathing again.

breathe

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Just another way in which the computer illustrates it is smarter than I am ...

I have a new phone. I had a blackberry and from the day it arrived I had problems with it. The problems got greater and greater until the phone was virtually useless and so I got another.
I now have am HTC  "Desire" - which I think is a strange name for a phone - but anyway.
I needed to link my phone to my work email so that I am in contact with work at all times and in all places and so I had to enter some information into the phone for this process to happen.
Then I needed to enter a gmail account so that I could link to something else I apparently needed but I don't have a gmail account, I only have a hotmail account. I signed up for a gmail account.
I have a bad habit of tending to ignore details when I am not interested in them and so I am fairly certain (but not 100 percent), that in NO way at ANY time in the process did I link my hotmail account information to my new gmail account information.
So riddle me this.
This blog is set up through my hotmail account. It is my hotmail account that is my login. When I sign into blogger I enter my hotmail account BUT ALL OF A SUDDEN, since getting my new phone and entering the new information, once I am logged in AND when I go to other blogs to comment, the email that shows up is my GMAIL email address.
It freaks me out a little.
What the hellfire?

Dumbest McDonalds Ad EVER. Thanks for nothing!

There is no McDonald's restaurant in the community in which we live. The closest is in a neighbouring community which we visit MAYBE once a month, sometimes less frequently. When we do go to shop, we stop in and eat in the store at the McDonald's on site.
We visited there this past weekend.

Hanging from the ceiling in the store is an advertisement on three banners. The first banner says 'Fresh Choices" with images of coffee and eggs. The second banner says "Quality Ingredients" with images of two of their sandwiches. The third banner says " Made simple and fun" and the image is of a child holding up two chicken nuggets to his (her?) eyes.
Really?
REALLY?



We have tried to teach our children that food is not for playing with - it is for eating. Food is not a toy or a game. Now we are sitting in the restaurant with an advertisement bigger than they are with a kid playing with his food, and the boys think this is an invitation for them to play with their food. What fun! What shrieks of laughter! What a ninny their mother is for telling them it isn't funny when LOOK! Up in the Sky! Chicken nugget games on a banner!

Seriously McDonalds. What a LAME, STUPID ad. I'd like to thank you for the additional hours I now have to spend to convince my children AGAIN that the people at McDonalds have no idea what they were doing when they let that kid play with his food, took a picture of it, made banners, and hung them all over the world.

Let's see if we ever play eat there again!

Monday, April 18, 2011

It's Monday. What are you reading?

BookJourney hosts a weekly meme entitled "It's Monday, What are you reading?"
I thought I would test it out and see if it is something that works for me. (I am in no way a reviewer of books and so in the past I have steered away from posting much about books - best leave it to those who are good at it!)

I just finished the second book in this series by John Scalzi, and this is the third. I have historically NOT been a fan of science fiction, but in the past year I have found a love for the genre. I think I was burned out of reading mysteries that were not mysterious with characters that fell short of my expectations of them. My spouse reads science fiction and a guy whose blog I LOVE (Dangerous Dan) inspired me further. It was Dan who recommended on goodreads that Old Man's War was a great read and so I checked it out of my library and fell in love.
I am now on book three and I have not been disappointed yet.

My boys growing up

It is so hard for me to see my boys growing. They are SO big now. This year they will be THREE and FIVE already.

I love each phase of their lives and I love the phase we are entering, but I have this ache in my arms where not even three years ago I held my 4 pound baby boy just home from the hospital.

Last night my baby got a toddler bed. I took down the crib and took it out of the house. We have had a crib in our house for over five years now, so this is the first time we have been "crib-less" in a long, long time.
Max the ever helpful son was there with me as I took the crib apart, he helped me to carry it downstairs and he was all kinds of eager to carry the toddler bed box up to the room. He was moving a little fast for me so I said to him " Max, Can I  get a drink of water before we take that upstairs?" He replied," Yes, you can ABSOLUTELY get a drink of water!" I almost spit the water right out of my mouth. Where does he come up with these things?

After my drink, Max helped me to carry the bed box upstairs and put the bed  together. CJ was outside and not interested at all in being lured inside. I am sure he thought it was a trick.

When he did finally see his bed, he was SOOO happy about it he asked if he could go to bed! We said it was no problem and we put him to bed. He got out and came into our room a few times but then he just went and climbed into bed and went to sleep. Shel and I looked at each other and we commented on how we just love him and his personality. Max NEVER went to bed and stayed there - he STILL doesn't go to bed and stay there. They are growing so fast I can't believe how the time is flying. It's hard to capture every moment the way we did when they were babies.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Some thoughts about privacy

I am married to an admitted conspiracy theorist. In the time we have been together I have had (and taken) opportunities to tease her about how she is paranoid about privacy.
She hates for me to give up any information she considers to be private to anyone at anytime, but I tend to think about things like that a little less. For instance, if someone phones me (and I answer - which is rare) but say I answer the phone - and someone begins to ask me questions. I have in the past been quite forthcoming with my answers. Whenever I hang up the phone Shel is there with eyebrows raised wondering who it was that I just shared the intricacies of my life with. In 14 years of being together I HAVE learned something - I am much less inclined to share information over the phone now than I ever have been before.
Which brings me to facebook. 
We both have facebook accounts and we both have our privacy settings set very high. We both play games on facebook - farmville, citiville, mafia wars, and I play Carmen Sandiego. In all of these games, and especially in citiville, you rely on friends to progress in the game. Shel has made friends with people who "only" are gaming friends. They all play the same group of games and they are are very serious about sending and receiving gifts and supporting one another throughout the gaming process allowing for the most success for all of them.
I am envious of her gaming friends but I think it is insane to have friends who are not actually people that you know! She has suggested one or two of them to me because I get stuck in my progression in some games but I just cannot bring myself to friend a complete stranger. Am I insane?
Instead of friending complete strangers to play games with, I have created a facebook account for my dog. She's a great facebook gaming friend. She always sends me exactly what I need and I know she isn't going to do some weird stalkerish thing to my facebook account.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

my wife, the genius....

We have not had a working computer at home for a very long time. I miss having internet access at home because I don't have the kind of freedom to blog that I love, the kind I feel like I need to post when the ideas come to me and I have the freedom to write and edit as I would like to. In any ways I feel like it has affected my creative "flow".
So tonight my wife used  my cell phone as a wireless router and I was able to get onto the internet on a laptop THROUGH MY PHONE! Obviously, this is something that other people can do because the phone is set up to do it and has instructions and junk right on it, but I would not have known how to do it. I freaking love my wife.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thursday Thirteen: Things I would do if I had more time.

I wish I had more time. First I would sleep, but that's a given. Since Max arrived with us almost 5 years ago now I feel as though I have not had a full nights sleep. There may have been one or two ( I did go to BC every few weeks for school last fall and I am pretty sure I slept those nights :) but overall the sleep in the past five years has been sporadic at best.  For every one good night of sleep there are a dozen bad nights, for instance last night the boys were BOTH awake until 3 am - playing and causing a ruckus. Wait... this isn't a blog about sleep. So, taking sleep as a "given" here are the thirteen things I would do if I had more time...

1. I would quilt. I have always wanted to do it. I have patterns even, I have just never started, I think I would love it. I'd like to try it out anyway.

2. Write in my journal. I used to write faithfully every single day for many years and recently I have stopped. I wish I had more time now to do it because I feel like I am missing out on recording some amazing things about parenting and our boys and I find a certain clarity comes to me when I write daily.

3. Write letters and send cards and packages to people just for fun. There is nothing more exciting than getting a hand written letter or gift in the mail. I would love to be the originator of those cool things in the lives of others.

4. Learn to play the piano. I did take piano lessons when I was a kid, but I had no idea how valuable the skill would be and I have not ha a piano in my home for many, many years. I would love to get a piano and learn "again" how to play.

5. Cross stitch. This is something I used to spend a lot of time doing when I didn't have children. I had a bad habit of leaving needles stuck in arms of chairs where I was working which would absolutely NOT work with the current family dynamic. All I need is a needle sticking out of a great dane or a 2 year old - AI AI AI AI Ai. But the reason I stopped doing it was because I had no time. I have all my stuff packed away nicely and I would love to bring it out and get back to it. Unfortunately I think the boys might be a bit too fascinated with all the thread and they may still be too young to keep out of it. I think I could manage to keep my needles safely - but I wonder if my spouse might have a different idea about this.

6. Meditate. When I was in university I took a class on the Psychology of Dreams. Part of that class required daily meditation, journal writing and dream logging. I loved the class and I loved what meditation did for me each day. I wish I had a class to be accountable to in order to start it up again. I haven't found the motivation to do this one on my own.

7. Take more photos.

8. Travel with my spouse. This one ranks highly enough for me to contemplate putting it on my list of things to do this year. We travel alone together RARELY and I would love to do it. When we were first together we took some fun road trips and had a great time and made great memories. I fear our lives have been reduced to sleep deprived parenting. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE my family and I ADORE my sons. I just think my marriage needs a little TLC right now.

9. Prune. For as much as I like pruning can you believe that last year I don't think I did ANY?! How did that happen? I would like to spend a lot of time landscaping the yard but whenever I start I feel like it needs a huge investment of money and I get discouraged. Our yard (6 acres) could be a most excellent space, I just have to get over the "overwhelmingness" of it and put some hard physical work into it and I am sure some small improvement could be made. Maybe this is another one for my list of things to ACTUALLY do and not just to hope for.

10. Cook. I love to cook and rarely do it. I blame it on lack of time, but I wonder if there is some other reason.

11. Woodworking. Build a bookcase, refinish a dresser, make a sign for our back door, these are all things I would love to do and they continually fall off the to-do list because other, more urgent things come up. Pre-children I was very crafty. I think I am missing a bit of my pre-parent self this week!

12. Learn Photoshop. I actually signed up for a photoshop class for a PD day at work last year and went to the session. unfortunately the presentation did not "work" and the presenter was very frustrated and was not able to teach us anything. He did recommend two books to read and i wrote them both down, but I think I would do better in a hands on kind of learning workshop than I would do teaching myself the program. Although, maybe I'll just check out the books from the library as a start and see where it gets me. I am not incapable of teaching myself new things, I just like learning from others.

13. Be a better person. Is it crazy to think that more time would make me a better person?

Visit others who participate in Thursday Thirteen by linking HERE

Did I miss it?

Some  blogs I have been reading have been talking about Mother's Day.
It set me into a bit of a panic thinking I missed it. How is it possible to miss Mother's day when there are TWO of us?
Thank goodness for google. I checked that shiz out and WHEW! I didn't miss it.
Mother's day in Canada is in May. I marked that bad boy on my calendar.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Writing and re-writing

Oh what a hellacious week this has been (or two weeks) of writing and re-writing job descriptions.
Almost 2 years ago we became a part of a different college. This transition has happened twice since I have been in my position and we have both times had to "meld" to the corporate structure of another institution.
This is a PAINFUL process. There are some things that are great, some things that are fun, but many, many growing pains and some things that are just downright nasty. Add to that the joy of doing this all the second time around in a recession.

In the most recent incarnation of our work life we are trying to meld two campuses, in two different communities, with staff represented by three different staff associations and a union.
People on different campuses in the "same" job - work different hours for different pay with different benefits and we have been trying to work it all out. add to that the people with the same job title who do VASTLY different jobs., then the people who do a conglomeration of many different jobs, and those few people who have no idea what they are doing.

A consultant was hired to oversee the reclassification of all jobs on our campus for all members of the union. We all went to workshops on what was expected and then back to our respective offices with more questions than answers. An email came out requesting that all jobs be rewritten  and turned in by April 01. So, the past two weeks we have been spending time writing, then re-writing the job descriptions on this campus to fit into a form developed years ago on the other campus, but first changes had to be made to the form to make it representative of the union.

The form arrived. It was NOT a "fillable" form that one might expect, certainly I expected it. It was a very pretty Microsoft Word document with nice lines and well spaced, good looking boxes that needed to be filled out. Only it was not that simple. So add to the stress of having to re-write your job description now the additional stress of trying to fill out a form where text didn't wrap, boxes could not be checked off, the printable version was outside the borders and so the ends of sentences were cut off... just to name a FEW of the problems with this very attractive, very DISfunctional, form.

I know, I have high expectations. Honestly the drama over this form almost caused me to blow a gasket and my gasket blowing days are far behind me. I am someone who spends considerable time working on the computer, and to try and get the other staff in this area whom I am responsible for who DON'T use a computer to fill out this form was so disastrous that I ended up doing all but three of the inputs myself.
I LOVE working with data. I love forms. I love making them. I love spreadsheets. Excel makes me happy. For fun, really for fun, a co-worker and I used to have competitions making the prettiest form on excel. I ENJOYED IT. (don't tell my spouse). I know how to make a fillable form. yeah, it takes time, but there are really great programs out there designed to do it. I have to say that I "oozed" a little of my frustration over work email (which I NEVER do) and it was a complete joke. One person made the most asinine comment about how the form was very easy to fill - as she had done with a pencil! Only what she doesn't realize is that no matter how easy it was for her to fill out, someone had to input all of her info into the computer
And joy of joys, I had to do this form not once, not twice, not thrice, but SEVEN, count it, SEVEN times. It has been the nightmare of my waking hours. Finally on Friday I thought I had all but two remaining to submit.
On Monday I submitted what I thought were the last two, but no.
REVISION TIME!

What I came away from the training with was not at all what my supervisor wanted from the forms. Re-write.
Now it is 4:30 in the afternoon on TUESDAY and these revisions are just getting stupid. No word of a lie, the administrator in my office has now printed, in the last 15 minutes of her day, FOUR front pages. The first time it didn't save, the second time we saw the word "manager" was spelled "manger", the third time we saw that job duties title "A" was identical to job duties title "B" which somehow we missed in the past 12 reviews so we needed to come up with two new titles, print number four I don't even remember what we missed.
HOPEFULLY. HOPEFULLY. We are finished. I know my brain is finished.
Unfortunately the stress of the process has only just begun. Now (if they don't need more revision)  they go to committee for review and for placement on the pay scale. We should hear by SEPTEMBER what has happened.

And my mom wonders why I am not working on my thesis!

Monday, April 4, 2011

April

THE SUN CAME OUT!

I was so dang excited that the sun came out that I walked through snow drifts to get plastic chairs to put in the driveway in the sun where I could sit and watch the boys play. It was still cold enough to wear winter clothing and the boys kept getting drenched, but what fun we had.


 Cael went through about four pairs of mittens - getting each pair soacked until I told him there were no more. Well he went to look for himself in the mitten bin and there WERE mittens he showed me!

 A close up - so rare.

 MUD

 Mommy found a delicious snack.


Time to drain the boot, and maybe wring out the pajama pants?!

Thinking more about why I love Grey's so much

(This may contain spoilers for anyone who has not watched the epidode!)

I have not stopped thinking about Grey's Anatomy since I watched it on Thursday night. I have since watched it about seven times and I am listening to Sara Ramirez sing on youtube all day while I work - over and over again.

I don't think that all people necessarily like musicals, and so that was a turn off for some people. I absolutely LOVE music and musicals and it wasn't a leap at all for me to have music be a part of the show sung by the characters.

Music is so important to me in all movies and television shows and always evokes emotion in me. This episode reminded me in many ways of the movie "She's Having a Baby"  from 1988 and the song "This Woman's Work - (which also had me bawling!)



(The song starts about 3 minutes into this video)

I found Grey's Anatomy to resonate so much with the things I am experiencing in my own life right now as well.

I absolutely LOVE the character of Callie. I think she is hot and sexy and when she started singing.... whew. My dream - a sexy woman singing, it doesn't get better than that for me.


When Meredith and Derek were in the elevator and she was crying about how the universe is so cruel and she just wanted answers, it could have been me talking. My words, My life, RIGHT NOW!


When Shel and I got together over 14 years ago now, being happy was on my mind. I wanted to be happy. I wanted to be in a relationship. I wanted my life to be like the lives of the people around me who were dating, marrying, having kids and "living the dream'. Soon after we got together Shel was seriously ill and needed hospitalization and surgery. We had to jump through so many hoops in order for me to be with her in the hospital and for the doctors to treat me as though I was her partner.

For all intents and purposes I was seen as "nothing". Standing outside recovery, wanting to be with the person I loved but instead feeling as though I had to fight the system and fight for every moment I spent waiting, I felt helpless and alone, and as though I was nothing. To actually hear someone say that to Arizona on the show - even though it was said in a moment of anger and even though Mark apologized, in a way legitimized that I am not the only person who has ever felt that or who has ever gone through it.
I felt validated.

I said to Shel (as I watched the show for the second time), being in Canada has changed the experience of being gay for me. When I was in the USA everything about our relationship was a fight for recognition. Here we are in Canada and we are legally married, we have the same name, we have children with our name, we have medical coverage, we have insurance, we have all the things we didn't have when we lived in the USA. When we lived there it felt as though our relationship was tenuous - even though we were committed to one another and actually had a commitment ceremony - we were "other". It doesn't feel good to be "other".

I said it once and I will say it again, this episode of Grey's was amazing to me and I will watch it another 7 times I am certain!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Grey's Anatomy: I love Callie

I am a huge fan of Grey's Anatomy.
I love Sara Ramirez and her character in Grey's (Callie).
Last night on Grey's was a "musical" episode that people have referred to as Glee's Anatomy. Some people absolutely hated the episode but I LOVED it.
There's nothing sexier than a sexy woman singing!

Here is a live version of Sara singing one of the songs she performed last night.

She is amazing.