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In and out – Two quick updates.

Firstly. The 3L/Day Water Challenge.

I didn’t even last a week. Sigh. Don’t blame me, or my inability to keep to any semblance of a routine, BLAME THE KIDNEYS. Seriously. No less than three people contacted me after I wrote that post, politely expressing concern about my malfunctioning kidneys and the amount of water I was drinking, and that it might not be a great idea for someone already low on electrolytes to be flushing her body of electrolytes.

I am smart, so I replied, “Why thank you, Internets! But you forget, I am CURED!” (and by “cured” I clearly meant “in denial”, because three days later I couldn’t figure out why I wanted to do nothing but curl up in a migraine-y ball on the couch watching house of cards and crying until I finally put 2+2 together and realized that everyone was, in fact, correct. It’s always a great sign when The Internets is more aware of your health than you are, right?)

So anyway, that went well.

However. If you do not have a horrifically inconvenient kidney disease, I would greatly recommend this water thing. Even within that 5-6 days the skin on my face looked clearer and more even toned, and I could see how a month would make a huge difference. Water! Does a body good. Who knew?


Potty Training. Or not.

A lovely lady named Megan contacted me and asked for an update on the early potty training. I have to apologize to Megan, because this will be the lamest update in the history of updates.

The backstory: We started sitting Olive on the potty at 6 months (this one. It’s biodegradeable and fit her perfectly). She regularly pooped in the mornings, and usually peed when we sat her on it at other times of day. For a long time we never had to change dirty diapers. It was sublime.  Then I don’t know what happened, I’m not sure if it was because she got more mobile or I went back to work but somehow the routine sort of fell apart, and because we weren’t in our house I didn’t (and still don’t) feel ok fully potty training her. I hear it involves lots of accidents, and I am infinitely more comfortable with her peeing on my floors than someone else’s.

I think if the situation had been different I would have tried to train her using the 3-day method that’s been floating around the internet, at around 18 months. As it stands, she is now 20 months and often tells us when she has to go and we get her onto the toilet fast enough it’s lovely. Other times she runs and hides, protecting her her business like it is some sort of filthy treasure and her diaper is Fort Knox.

What Megan wanted to know, however, is if early potty training is worth it. YES.  Unequivocally yes. Here’s why: It gets them used to the potty before they even know what it is. By the time Olive was old enough to understand processes and procedures, she had already been sitting on the potty for six months. It just opened up another alternative for where pee and poop goes, and if your life has a little less chaos in it than mine has in the last few months I think it’s completely reasonable that a child could be totally potty trained by 18 months.

I hereby solemnly swear to do another update when I fully potty-train little miss O, I am still aiming for before she’s two years old – I am so done with washing diapers! And ready for her to fit pants normally, too. (Fluffy butts for the win!)

This ends my two quick updates.



Feeling Your Way

Loggers Culls, by Emily Carr

There have been many words swirling around in my head these days, and I felt really unable to articulate them until while at my conference I saw a sign by one of the elevators that said this:

“You will have to experiment and try things out for yourself and you will not be sure of what you are doing. That’s all right, you are feeling your way into the thing.”
– Emily Carr

Every time I went back up to my room to pump, and at the end of every day I would stand there waiting for the elevator looking at that quote, and guys, I truly feel like I am just feeling my way into the thing. In so many aspects of my life. It makes me feel so much better when I see my own feelings spoken out loud by someone elegant, wise, and famous enough to be quoted. It somehow lends a sense of legitimacy to my neuroses and I think that’s what we’re all after, really. Someone to say that our crazy is justified, and official somehow.

Red stamp: approved. By Emily Carr, no less.

I’ve never been a birthday girl – you know, the one who turns 29 seven times in a row? Numbers don’t mean much to me and I’ve always looked forward to the day, the fuss, the people you don’t hear from that often calling to say hi and they are glad you were born.

I’ve always considered it an honour to grow older, given that so many in this world don’t have that luxury. So I don’t begrudge the occasional gray hair or wrinkle, I just sort of note it. Like notches, or ticks on a clock. Time made visible in a permanent way.

But something about this year, good grief. I have never been so glad to see a year come to a close. If anyone knows anything about astrology I’d really like a detailed report (or even a hint, I’d take a hint!) of why this year laid me so flat, why 2013 was so rough on this particular Capricorn lady. This year, more than any other, has found me unsure of my footing and filled with more questions than I can find answers to. In matters personal, professional and otherwise it seems that all I can do is doubt and worry and stress and think and then over think so more, just for good measure.

And you know Emily, I do feel like I have been experimenting and trying things out for myself and feeling unsure, very unsure, of what I am doing. And I’m not quite at the “but it’s okay” point, I am still waiting for that point. I don’t know when I expect that point to come but I think it involves someone very official and important (like a deity perhaps? I’m not picky, I don’t care which one) sitting me down and just telling me that I am a good mother and a good wife and a good employee, that my efforts in all of these areas have been noted and given gold stars.

Basically I am looking for a celestial head pat. Good girl.

Momastery wrote a post today about introversion and how she’s not a good friend because she doesn’t return phone calls or go to parties, and she hides when someone knocks on the door. I am, and do, all of those things. My friends are neglected and phone calls go to voicemail and invitations get postponed or cancelled altogether. The moment I make plans I start thinking of ways to get out of them and good lord what a way to live!

It often makes me sad that writers don’t get to live like that anymore, not really. If you can even make a living these days off of writing, which few can, you are expected to promote. To go and shake hands and smile and give quotes that can be massaged into sound bites and headlines. It’s a shame we don’t just leave writers alone to sulk and brood and shut themselves in houses. We’re better that way, I think.

I, for one, think I would make an excellent recluse. It’s in my blood.

Then, of course, there’s that world out there. That world I venture into every day where people have jobs and not just jobs, but jobs they love. There are people, many of whom I have met in the last three weeks, who are passionately, tirelessly and enthusiastically working to create a better community, better people, a better world. These people have ideas and energy, and they are competent – so competent that it’s sort of scary and intimidating. Every day that I venture out, I am scared and unsure, I miss Olive so dearly it hurts.

But I am feeling my way into it, this world, and I am hopeful that one day soon I will find myself in the thick of it and I will be there, in it, and it will be effortless.


Remember and forget

Red Poppy Photography by Raceytay on Etsy.

Today we stood with hundreds of others wearing bright red poppies, listening to bagpipes and cannon volleys split the sky. We stood in silence, shuffling our feet to keep warm, and we remembered. 

Olive was with us and she didn’t understand the significance of it, why we had all gathered to stand silently under a statue of a soldier, to watch men who seem ever older and more frail each year stand in their uniforms for what might be the last time, and salute.

I thought, as I do every year, of my grandparents. But especially this year of my grandmother, who with her death two years ago erased one more number from the ranks of living souls who served in World War II.

She always spoke somewhat fondly about her time serving in the navy. She was eighteen, and I suppose it all seemed exciting – gorgeous men in uniforms, spies, morse code, and travel. Before she died, she participated in something called The Memory Project and I never knew of her involvement until after her death when I happened to type in “Ann O’Brian” into a search engine.

This is what I found (I’m sorry, I can’t figure out a way to embed it).

Her voice hit me like a truck, it  was so sharp and familiar coming through my headphones. That affected accent. Those specific intonations and patterns of inflection. It kills me to listen to it but I love her story, that winding tale of girls in the navy.

Earning a dollar a day translating morse code, “de-da, de-da.”

I thought of her, and I listened to her tell her story, and then later on in the day I stumbled across this, a video of a different elderly woman (perhaps someone else’s grandmother) and my heart broke again for an entirely different reason.

(if the video isn’t embedding, view it here)

Inge survived the holocaust. She saw the worst of the worst of us, and yet she went on and lived. Now, decades later she says, “I sometimes almost despair of human nature because no one has learned anything.”

Is she wrong?

This exchange from Hotel Rwanda has stuck in my gut for years:

Paul: How can they [the world] not intervene, when they witness such atrocities?
Cameraman: (shaking his head) I think, if people see this footage, they’ll say, “Oh my God, that’s horrible,” and then go on eating their dinners.

Is he wrong?

We stood in the cold and shuffled our feet and I watched as the wreaths were laid, the first one by a mother who’d lost her son.

Three days ago a typhoon hit the Philippines and the effects have been devastating. It’s a different war but the needs are just as great. And, not that I make it my business to go around proving elderly ladies wrong, but I would really love to show Inge that all is not lost. I would like to show her that the good survives, too. I would like to show Paul that we aren’t all just shaking our heads at the devastation, muttering “How horrible”, and going back to our breakfasts, our dinners, our long weekend plans.

Here is an incredibly comprehensive list of ways to help the victims of Super Typhoon Haiyan. Sometimes it feels cheap to throw money at a problem like this and hope it gets fixed, but right now sending support to the agencies on the ground who know what is needed is, I think, the best thing for those of us unable to take time off to go and volunteer ourselves.

Sometimes you don’t have $100 to donate, or even $50, so it sort of feels like anything you do will be like spitting into a waterfall and really what’s the point!- but if you can skip a beer or a coffee, or walk instead of taking a cab and send whatever you can – even $5 or $10- I think it’s the gesture, really. The acknowledgement that something devastating happened on the other side of the world and people are suffering, and you have made the decision to take a few moments out of your day to do what little lies within your power to help those people. The families that have lost each other and become scattered and fragmented, the cities in ruins, the aid workers scrambling to heal and feed and soothe and reunite.

I think it’s just important to do something. Because most of us took time today to remember, and someday in the future we will be looking back and commemorating the anniversary of this horrific event

Wouldn’t you like to remember how you helped?

  • donations via the Philippine Red Cross (including PayPal)
  • donations via Habitat for Humanity
  • donations via ANCOP Foundation USA
  •  donations via UNICEF Philippines
  •  donations via CARE Australia
  •  donations via Caritas Internationalis
  •  donations via GMA Network (credit card, cash, check)
  •  donations via World Vision
  •  donations via AmeriCares
  •  donations via Samaritan’s Purse (Canada)
  •  donations via Canadian Red Cross (or you can text REDCROSS or ROUGE to 30333 to donate $5)
  • donations via National Association For Filipino Concerns
    (This fantastic list lifted and adapted from Lang Leav on tumblr. Please let me know in the comments if you have further suggestions, and please thoroughly vet any charity before donating.)

Internets, let’s prove Inge wrong, in the nicest way possible.