Saturday, October 29, 2005

Morning Conversation

TechnoBoy and I are in bed on Saturday morning, festooned with children.

TechnoBoy: I should get up and get going on building that computer for D & L.

A: You're building one?

TechoBoy: Well, sort of.

Me: (Ever the helpful one) Yes, out of Lego.

A: Yeah, right.

B: Really???

And there you have it, folks - the difference between our two children.

Friday, October 28, 2005

I can SO multi-task

So I'm driving home from my writing course trying to figure out how on earth to fix the glaring POV problem in my little baby novel and I park in the garage. When I get out of the van, there is a strange noise, a sort of humming, that I don't recognize, until I identify it ...

Apparently I had forgotten to turn the van off. At least I hadn't locked it yet!!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Disneyland post

So when we were in California, we spent most of our time in Pleasanton, which is indeed, a very pleasant town. (When we lived there, I spent the first six months feeling like I was on permanent holiday, and living in the first 20 minutes of The Stepford Wives.)

TechnoHolidayTillYouHaveToBeAtWorkInAnHourBoy (doesn't that just roll right off the tongue - go ahead, try it) thought that since we were "in the area", we should drive another SIX HOURS SOUTH and spend a day at Disneyland. I resisted this idea because it was already a 24 hour drive back to Calgary, and Disneyland was six hours in the wrong direction. I didn't resist strongly though - I just stealth-hoped he'd come to his senses. Well he googled and mapquested and MSN Streets and Trips'd his research, and lo and behold, the driving distance from Anaheim to Calgary is virtually the same as the distance between Pleasanton and Calgary. (geometry explains it all, but I'm not going to) So off we went, to spend a day at Disneyland.

And I'm so glad we did. It really really really really really really really really really really really (get it yet?) REALLY is "the happiest place on earth". Everybody who works there is happy. All the time. Even the people who walk around sweeping up garbage. The shows are amazing, my kids love the rides (although they love very different rides, I must say) there is a parade every evening that takes place after dark and it's all fairy lights and larger than life characters and everybody, even the tired grandmas wearing the Mickey Mouse ears, has a face alight with wonder.

I love getting there in the morning and not knowing what we'll see first. I love watching my children shriek with delight. I love watching B be brave enough to try a ride he wouldn't even have dreamed of going on a few years ago. I love watching A get her adrenaline fixes, with her dad. I love the strollers full of tired princesses and the cool teenagers wearing huge plush hats.

I just love it.

One thing though - there's no way on earth my children will ever know how lucky they are. I was 41 the first time I got to Disneyland - my children are 10, and 6, and they have been three times. They are familiar enough with Disneyland and California Adventure Land that they can have long conversations about what their favourite rides are.

Not the world I grew up in.

The Time Traveller's Wife, again

So I don't want to spoil the book for anyone who wants to read it, but the short answer to Michele's question is I LOVED IT.

The long answer is here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I've been dying to ask ...

Anybody out there read The Time Traveller's Wife? If so, whadya think?

Monday, October 24, 2005

Window into his world

B, literally bouncing in his seat as we near home and he starts to recognize landmarks "I just can't WAIT to get home!"

TechnoDad: "Why, buddy?"

B: "I get to sleep in MY OWN BED tonight!"

Have I mentionned I'm in it for the stroking?

A child who shall remain nameless, as I tidy up and cook supper and ask for help: "I *thought* you said you had a headache. Apparently your head doesn't hurt so much you can't still boss me around."

Sunday, October 16, 2005

I'm at a loss for words

So a long time ago, August of 1999, TechnoBrightSpark got a job in Oakland, CA, and about 2 1/2 weeks after he got the job, we all packed up and moved to California for 3 mos. We thought we'd be home in time for Christmas. Well we were - Christmas 2003.

Ever since moving home, we've been trying to plan a trip back to Pleasanton, where we lived for those four years, to visit old friends and hug and cry and things.

It's all been so good, so very very good. A bit too much caffeine and blinking back tears, which is not necessarily a bad thing :) A neat little bonus - suddenly remembering where A's second grade teacher (if you say Grade Two down here, all your dear friends smile and laugh and say "you're speaking Canadian now!") umm where was I? ah yes suddenly remembering where she lived, as I couldn't go hug her at school because she's retired and she's the best teacher A has ever had, and knocking on her door and finding her home and being able to tell her face to face, again, 3 years after I last saw her, how very thankful I am that she was part of my kids lives. (B was just a wee boy then, and we would walk to A's classroom to pick her up, and B would crawl under ramps and over things to retrieve lost balls and gravely present them to Mrs J, who would give him candy for them. Once he knew there was candy involved, there was no place the boy wouldn't go in search of a lost class ball.)

Last night was simply lovely. 6 couples, and we were all part of the same small group through church, and there was much hugging and laughing and reconnecting and I'm so very glad we made this trip. And D is SO good at hosting things like this and making it look like it's no work at all, she leaves me speechless.

So there's days more of this sort of thing - church this morning, then a picnic at the park with several couples, and I'm going to see if our next door neighbour's still live there, and then there's supper with another couple at a favourite restaurant. A laid back little place and when someone here was surprised that a trip there would be a highlight of our visit, I said "you know, you can get Mexican food in Calgary, but it's a bit like going out for seafood in Chicago."

Ok it's my turn to get in the shower. (guess how I spend MY early mornings??)

Friday, October 14, 2005

We're he-e-e-e--e-e-ere

Now begins the task of trying to fit 2 years worth of visiting into 5 or 6 days. So far, so good - no-one has said "oh well I'm busy all the times that you're available."

The rest of the drive here was uneventful - the usual round of reading, bribing the kids not to fight, napping, singing silly songs, searching for unsecured wireless networks before we drive out of range ...the only thing worth writing home about was a sign we saw on a dry goods store advertising "Sleeping bags" and "pepper spray". Because once you have those - what else could you need? (maybe it was a "sleeping on the beach" kit?)

Now to answer viewer questions.

CCAP: I found two Pratchett's I do not own and I only bought one. Are you in awe of my restraint?

Dwight: The poetry was astonishingly good. As a matter of fact, it still is.

Heather: Can't I enjoy my holiday AND blog? Do they have to be mutually exclusive?

Off to the shower ...

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Trip tripe

We had a lovely lovely time in Gig Harbor with our friends from Pleasanton. They moved away after we did, so as we are now on our way back to Pton to visit there, it only made sense to stop and see them "on the way". West of Seattle is between Calgary and San Francisco, sort of. Isn't it?


- downtown Gig Harbor, with all the boats and the sea and the docks and the lovely wee shops and the hilly streets. And a tiny little bookshop crammed full of great books. I bought a Mma Ramotswe and a Terry Pratchett and a book of astonishing poetry by Denise Levertov. From the bookshop we went straight into a coffee shop, in from the cool moist fall peninsula air and into the warmth and camaraderie of a small coffee shop with couches and chairs and a pair of ladies playing Scrabble. Just a wee glimpse of heaven.

- hanging with our friends, and their kids, and how well the kids got along. We barely saw the girls (they're almost exactly the same age) but we both saw and heard the boys :)

- the puppy. Who doesn't love a puppy? (other than TechnoFarmBoy, that is)

- the youngest boy told me how old he was about 15 times in the first hour he talked to me, so for the rest of our visit, I'd ask him how old he was, every few whiles. By the end, this was our conversation:

Me: "Hi!!! How old are you???"
Adorable Child: "I'm three and a half STILL!"

and his mother is one of the kindest sweetest people alive, and I left feeling both challenged and encouraged to be a better person.

- ferry ride to Port Angeles - the kids liked it so much, I almost didn't mind the lousy soup. (not literally lousy - just icky)

- clam chowder at Ivar's on the Waterfront on Tuesday, and A's jumping and down delight when she was finally brave enough to let a seagull take a fry right out of her hand.

- checking into a hotel room just in time to order a pizza and watch The Race.

- TechnoHero taking the kids for breakfast so I could sleep in, and the kids bringing me breakfast, piece by piece. Have I told you I have GREAT kids? B brought me an apple because I asked for fruit, and A brought me coffee and a hardboiled egg because she knows what I like.

- reading Patricia McKillip out loud to TechnoBoy as we drive

No guts, no glory

Well I did it. I used the hotel shampoo, and my hair is light and fluffy and sassy and I think I may have spontaneously lost ten pounds. Also I smell like almond cookies, which will be helpful later.

"Mom, I'm hungry!!"

"Here, smell my hair."

Decisions, decisions

Should I live a little and try the hotel shampoo???

ARGH. HieSeaside ate my homework!!!

No, you go ahead and go swimming without me. I'll blog about the trip, cause that's MY journal and we're making the kids do one, so I'll just do that and then shower and pack and ...

so I did the journal thing and then hit "publish" and then I got HieSeaside's homepage asking me to log in again ...SIGH.

I'm going to shower and pack and then recreate my MARVELOUS entry. It was hilariously funny and moving and life altering, but it's gone now. You'll have to settle for "we had fun but I already wrote it all down ONCE so I forget everything I was going to say, now."

Ten Years Ago Today #4

In the province of Alberta in 1995, a birthmother had ten days to revoke her consent to adopt. While "revoke her consent" is a phrase that strikes terror in the hearts of the people who know and love you best, when you're adopting, ten days is a really short time if you've just given birth and are trying to figure your life out. Our adoption agency "strongly advised" that we not see the birthmother before the ten days was up.

Day 8. Z wants to see the baby and, the way I remember it, we were fine with that. She came, we studied A's fingers and Z's finger and remarked on how similar they were. Z is also adopted, and she said "You know, all my life I just wanted to know if there was anyone else in the world whose hands and feet looked like mine. And now there is."

We went out to Chianti's, Z and TechnoDad careful to find a table as far away from the smoking section as possible. (you could still smoke in restaurants in Alberta at that time) Z held her while she ate and at one point looked up and remarked:

"If I kept her, our whole lives would be swimming upstream. I can make that choice for myself, but I don't have the right to make it for her."

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

You can even ....

make a blog entry while your husband is inside finding out how much the hotel room is.

(Everybody needs a hobby.)

Geek Report

Found an unsecured wireless network in Seaview, WA ...

Monday, October 10, 2005

Also, tourist info for Victoria

TheSpouse (now there's a word you want to make sure you leave the 'p' in) and I have been to the Island bazillions of times. We've been to Victoria bazillions of times. But Sunday, during our long and lovely visit with my dear friend BN, we saw a bit of Victoria we'd never seen before - Beacon Park. And it was so lovely, I'm compelled to tell you about it without being flippant. (maybe)

There were ducks. There were ponds, and meandering streams, and at least three happy children on bicycles with TheSpouse. There was a petting zoo and the Running of the Goats. There was all manner of flourishing flora. Victoria is mostly like that - it looks any other city in the world, with all the plants on steroids. A friend of mine was once visiting from Victoria, and saw one of my houseplants. (I no longer buy them - they can die on someone else's time) "Oh we had one of those", she said. "We had to tear it down because it was destroying our foundation."

And there was large, oft-climbed tree that the children shimmied up in no time flat, posing for all sorts of pictures.

And there was much laughter and much seriousness and much reconnecting, between BN and I, and also ..we hauled ourselves up into that there tree ourselves.

A long and lovely afternoon.

I think Intentionally Flippant will be back after Accidental Highly Relaxed comes back from vacation.

More with the ferries

So we took this ferry, Tsssssaaaaawwwwwen (sort the letters out, it spells something, eventually) to Duke Point, and all the way from Calgary to Vancouver, B asked "Are we at the ferry yet?" (me, on the way out of town "I'd like you guys to try to write at least one sentence in your journal every day." B grabs a pencil and his book and writes "We are going to the ferry. We are almost out of town.")
B is most anxious to be awake on the ferry. "Yes yes" we promise "just have a nap and we'll wake you up." So he has a nap and when it's time to drive onto the ferry, we can't wake him up. So he misses that, he takes forever to wake up when we have to get him out of the car once we're on the ferry, and then we want to go outside and feel the sea breezes in our hair and watch the pretty twinkling lights. We're outside two seconds and B says flatly "I'm going in" and that's it for the night. We can't get him outside again, no matter how I cajole. One time we carry him out there to lie on his back and look at stars and he is so freaked he even goes as far as to ADMIT that he's scared.

TechnoExperienceJunkie and I are mystified by this. Until ...driving off the ferry, a small voice in the backseat says "There's a book in my classroom about the Titanic."

"Really?" I say "So what do you know about the Titanic?"

"It was a very big ship that went out too far into the ocean so it sank."


He had a lot more fun on the ferry ride from Victoria to Port Angeles the next day.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Of Ferries and Fairy Dust. Oh and Western Canada's most sung about toll highway.

So we have this CD I bought at a folk festival in Edmonton more than ten years ago. On the cover, is five guys standing in a swamp making goofy faces. I hauled it out the other day because I thought ten years was LONG ENOUGH for A to go without hearing the "Doug the Mighty Octopus" song in its original habitat. (lyrics later, if you beg) On the same CD we found the song about the mighty Coquihalla, which is a toll highway in the interior of British Columbia that cuts hours off the trip to Vancouver in the summer holiday rush. (This way a Very Big Deal when the highway was first built. It likely still is.) I pointed out that we would be driving the Coquihalla (B: "The Pocahontas?") in a few weeks, and thus the anticipatory highlight of our trip has been the thought of driving along singing at the top of our lungs:

Oh there's no highway like the Coquihalla
stretched from Green Mountain to the deep blue sea
for ten bucks you can drive it
you can even pay by VISA
oh the Coquihalla is the only road for me

All day we waited excitedly. "Are we at the Poquihalla yet?" B asked. Finally the moment was upon us. We were in Kamloops, I was happily trolling for unsecured wireless networks, and then THERE IT WAS. We fired up the CD, singing lustiy, and then TechnoDetailsMan slammed on the brakes and started backing down the shoulder of the mighty Coq. What could it be? Wildlife? A car crash in the ditch? Some wondrous sight that only this highway of highways could offer us?

TechnoDetailsMan pointed silently to the fuel guage.

Oh there's no gas stations on the Coquihalla

either. So we backed up to the U-turn spot and slunk back to Kamloops, and that's why we missed the ferry to Vancouver Island. Well not all the ferries, just all the 9 pm ones. But there was a 10:45 pm ferry from Tsssawwwwassssen (spelling approximate) to Nanaimo, which is NOT the shortest distance between two points, but we took it anyway.

Which led to this moment:

A and I, on the deserted outer deck, lying on our backs on top of something they store lifeboats in, watching the stars. It was a beautifully clear, unimaginably warm night, and there were layers and layers of stars. I have rarely been so charmed by a night sky, city dweller that I am. I asked A how she would describe it and she said "like a cake with as many sprinkles on it as B likes to use."
It looked like cotton candy studded with diamond chips. (just go with the visual - don't try to eat it. It's what they serve at birthday parties of the Very Rich and Not So Bright.)

Oh and a note for TechnoAntiSocialist's siblings ...the first open gas station we found in Kamloops? A PetroCan.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Because I'm just that geeky ...

AND I have a shiny new laptop with a wireless network card...

I'm posting this from a drive thru parking lot in Kamloops.


Friday, October 07, 2005

Okay bye!!!

Off to California for two weeks - might blog from there, might not, don't hold your breath.

Packing like a mad fool, bye.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Ten Years Ago Today #3

"The most important things are the hardest things to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them - words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they're brought out." (S.K.)

9 a.m. TechnoDad and I are at the hospital, in a small waiting room. There is a baby in a bassinet, and tucked into the bassinet is a letter I've written to Z, that starts with the above quote. "Thank you" is the smallest phrase on earth to bring to a woman of uncommon bravery who is giving her newborn to you. Z comes in with the social worker from the adoption agency, and gently scoops up her baby. She starts to sway, back and forth, and gently sings the name she's given her over and over again. She is crying and singing and rocking this baby and I am so overwhelmed by her pain that I am willing to wait for another baby, if that's what this woman needs. She takes a breath, straightens her back, and impossibly, unbelievably, places A in my arms.

In my arms.

I can't even look at the baby, as gently as I cradle her. I stand, tears streaming down my own face, and look Z in the eyes. I do not back away from what I see there - it feels like the last decent thing I can do for her. "I will tell her you love her", I promise, and Z sobs "I do" and the social worker presses a package of Kleenex into Z's hand, and leads her away.

9 o'clock on a Friday morning in October, and we are alone as a family of three for the first time. So many firsts - her first bath, (she screamed herself purple), dressing her for the first time, the first scent of her skin, the first time I sang to her in the rocking chair, the first little song I made up for her. The first step through the door, me videoing and babbling, TechnoDad carrying her in. The first time she got hungry at home and I realized that the time for "wait and see" was over, and I could actually sterilize the bottles. Her first bottle at home, which she sucked back in about ten seconds flat in Daddy's arms, as he fell completely and totally in love with her. (On the phone to his mother that night, "Yep, I'm smitten!") The first time I fed her in the middle of the night and bundled her up and put her back on her Daddy's chest, where she slept for the first three months of her life.

And her first Sunday in church. Thanksgiving Sunday, and we walked in late, and the congregation was singing "To God be the glory/Great things He has done" and when the songleader asked people to come up to the mikes set up in the aisles and talk about what they were thankful for, our little family of three was first at the mike on our side.

A blur of joy. May all your beginnings be this blessed.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Ten Years Ago Today #2

Just after lunch, TechnoDad and I went to meet A. All the way there, I repeated this mantra to myself "Do not focus on the baby. Do not focus on the baby."
We walked into the hospital room and A and her birthmom (let's call her Z) were lying in bed on their sides facing each other. Z rolled over onto her back and said "I watch her so much she's gonna think she's a TV show." (And indeed, A has preserved her love of an audience lo, these ten years.) I talked to Z, asked her about the birth ("It HURT."), gave her the gift we'd brought. Finally, and I am so pleased that it went this way, Z asked "Do you want to see her?" I was so determined not to act like A was our baby at that point. She wasn't, not yet, and Z was in charge and important (and is still so important - how could she not be? She changed my life.) and I was very determined not to do anything that would make her feel like we didn't think that. I am so happy that I waited until Z offered her to us.
So I held my girl and she started to fuss and Z said "It's about time for her to eat, let me show you how to feed her." and I stood there listening and nodding, me, who had bottle fed literally hundreds of bottles to babies of beloved friends in an attempt to get through thirteen childless years whole, I stood there and listened and let her tell me what to do. And I'm thankful for that too. Sometimes I think there's no right way to be the prospective adoptive parents in a hospital room with a woman and her newborn, but I do know there are lots of wrong ways to be there.
So I fed her and burped her and gave her back to her mother, and the social worker showed up and Z introduced us and then asked the Social Worker "So where are those papers you want me to sign?" and the Social Worker looked rather pointedly at us and said "We can get to that in a minute." So we took the hint.
In the elevator on the way down, TechnoDad could not stop beaming, and I couldn't stop crying. "It seems so soon to love her this much", I said. And I stood there sobbing and he stood there beaming, and a lovely old couple got on on the floor below and looked at me and then at GrinningFool and then at me and then at ChortlingMan and we were both too much in the grip of our emotions to explain anything. (They're still confused, wherever they are. Or maybe one of them is a writer and has written a much more interesting back story.)

Sometime that evening, TechnoDad snuck back from running an unspecified errand and decorated the nursery with a brand new rocking chair and twelve bright red roses. I spent the rest of the day wandering aimlessly about my house, unable to sit still, unable to believe it might actually finally be over. That our happy ending might actually be less than twenty-four hours away.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Quick! Brainstorm!

When has Brynn seen the Healer before the fateful day he delivers the bowls?

Ten years ago today

A's birthmother finally went into labour, ten days past her due date. It was a Wednesday. Many of the landmarks leading up to her birth were Wednesdays - we were told a birthmother wanted to meet us on a Wednesday, that same birthmother called us on a Wednesday and said, after a lot of other things, because she was really nervous, and I was holding my breath " I was thinking you guys should go out and buy a crib." (We were on the phone the rest of that night, calling everyone who had helped us through the long infertility struggle: "We're not pregnant but we're expecting!! She told us to go buy a crib!!") And A was born on a Wednesday, at 9 pm, and her birthmother's labour support called us at midnight and told us "It's a beautiful girl, with small hands and big feet and lots and lots of hair." And she invited us to come and meet the baby the next day, and then said "So I guess you guys can get some sleep now - it's been a long day of waiting."
Sleep? HA.

Ten years ago today, TechnoDad and I stayed up all night choosing a name for a baby we hadn't met yet, that I was already completely in love with.

Monday, October 03, 2005

What's happening at my house

It is snowing with big fruffy frakes that look pretty but won't last so YAY. Nice to look at and we're not in the deep freeze yet.

A had a birthday party yesterday and had a lovely time and when she was going to bed, she smiled and said "What a good birthday." and that's pretty much the whole point and I'm happy she's happy.

The Novel is 1000 words longer than it was when the kids left for school this morning. It's still all complete and utter crap, but at least it's THERE.

That's all for now.