Monthly Archives: April 2012

It all gets done in the end

Standard

It’s too late on Sunday night, but I am ready for bed. Today was busy. Up, clean, breakfast … NAP! for 2 hours with baby. Vitally important nap, I must say. Then making food and cleaning, then 2 hours of mad mad work on organizing files and some house work and work on the course (boy those students are amazing! Brilliant TA! I need to get busy), picking outfits for the week. Basically, working until 3:30 in the basement on a sunny weekend. Okay but not so cool. I would like to get beyond working first and playing after.

Then we went out to the garden, and life was good. It was good before, and it was gooder after. Gardening with baby, planning out yard improvements with husband, talking with neighbours, playing with and breastfeeding baby. Truly awesome. I LOVE gardening and wish I had way more time. I would have tackled a lot more pruning of bushes around the yard, tried to eliminate the dandelions (made some progress), and started on weeds in the decorative beds.

Finally, in to make supper, using up most of the rest of the veggies in the fridge. Nothing like a clean slate as we prepare for the rest of the week!

And finally, finally, bath for baby, reading stories, giving up on an early bedtime, making a crockpot dish for tomorrow, then bed for her. Husband did a big clean/organize while some of this was going on, and after feeling again like a pigsty, the suite feels quite nice again. Each sort and purge feels closer and closer to manageable. Another big box ready to donate, more recycling going out, dishes cleared out …. it’s great.

So though the day started with too much inside time, vital things got done and I did have time to be outside with family, and we are starting the week with dinner ready for tomorrow night, lunches made, outfits picked, and a good week ahead. Aaah … I can go to bed and rest. Wishing all of you good dreams, restful sleep, and a smooth start to your week.

No More New Things

Standard

No, I haven’t given up shopping though I think the amount I’ll be doing in the next while will decrease exponentially. However, after a number of purchase challenges lately, I’m of the opinion that in general, used is a better choice than new. I am finding that when I splurge for new (and/or expensive), the results are not often worth the extra money. It’s all fine to say “buy quality and you won’t need to spend so much” or “better one good item than several cheap ones” – but that’s not how it’s working for me much of the time.

Winter coat: I couldn’t find a used one. I did buy a new one. It’s red, it’s great. After wearing it for two days, it got spattered and dirty. Quite distinctly and unbelievably so. Oh well; but if I’d paid less, I would have taken it more in stride.

Purse: I bought a new (on sale – also like the coat) red leather purse along with the jacket. It’s fossil, a brand I love though did not own prior to this. Within a couple of days it was water-stained. Plus, though it seemed big enough, I ended up over-stuffing it so it looked too bulky. Paid around $50 (yes, not huge for a purse). At VV the other day, I bought a black small shoulder bag which I LOVE and which has become my new purse. It’s perfectly laid out, smaller than the red one, holds things better, and feels like the kind of casual efficiency I need. With my current life and activities, a small and efficient functional purse feels much better than a gorgeous red leather bag. I’m going to enjoy using it a lot more. I also won’t worry about the water stains or about damaging it – which will make its use that much more fun. Plus, the cost: around $3.50

Black wool v-neck merino wool sweater. Very nice, classic, bought on sale but still more than I’d normally spend ($30 – I”m cheap!). First wear, I snag the wrist on some of the omnipresent velcro in my life. Snags. Sigh, curse you lunch bags and baby goods! Other sweaters bought second hand are still unsnagged (why is that?!) and I like them just as much.

Rain jacket. Bought a new one in the fall as my first and big splurge, spending a few hundred (really don’t remember; don’t want to). After owning it for too long to take it back I realized that 1) the main zipper is sticky and hard to zip up, and 2) when I wear the jacket plus liner and have anything in the pockets, it’s too small and sticks out a the back. BLEH!!! Yes it’s nice but the wrong size. So incredibly annoying. If I’d bought one second hand I might have spent $30 on it – at the most – the look might have been comparable, and the fit too.

Ditto my red leather boots. Yes, gorgeous. But maybe a half-size too big. I don’t even want to think about it.

On the other hand: the majority of clothing I’ve bought second hand fits well, is in great shape, looks good on me. And, if I find it only works for a few wears, I’m really not out a lot. It’s an absorbable cost.

I don’t know if the high stakes of expensive and new purchases make me stupid. Or if the guilt of spending the money illuminates the flaws with these items. Or if it’s inevitable that I’ll hold those items to higher standards, and feel worse if they don’t work.

Or, potentially, the universe is telling me to just save my money. I don’t need new items. There is a glut of high-quality second hand items. I can get enough of what I want in that market, and save the money for better uses.

Note: there definitely are still items I will buy new. Personal garments, shoes in general, some basics that are cheap or easy or important. For sure. But many things can be got elsewhere, and I really want to try more. Just because I’ve saved a lot to date isn’t necessarily an excuse to splurge. But, if I do … that’s okay too! Just remember the lesson of the last few months and proceed with caution.

Me time, We time, No time

Standard

Let me start from right now (10:46 p.m. on Friday night) and move backwards.

I just heard a whistle outside. I hope it’s not the paper lady, returning to remind us that we left another light on. About 10 minutes ago I was seriously freaked out when I heard a strange voice yelling outside the window, “Hello! You left your lights on! Hello! You left your lights on!”

“What the hell?!” I thought. “Run and hide!” When I saw the paper trolley, then I figured out it’s the kind-hearted, knows-no-boundaries, crazy chatty paper lady who lives down the street from us. Knowing that another shout was inevitable, I stuck my head out the door (still a bit freaked out) and said, “Thank you, we’ll get it.” And she left.

Husband was in bed with baby. It was his van, naturally (I never even considered that it might be my car). So I got to drag myself out to the street and figure out why on earth the dashboard light was left on. Good grief. And I’ll leave it there.

Prior to that I had just enjoyed a complete shower. By complete, I mean I washed my hair. Yes, at the age of nearly 40, I still clearly distinguish between showers where I wash my hair and those where I don’t. I have never liked washing my hair. Never. My hair is really quite great hair. Thick, healthy, wavy/curly, grows quickly. But also: thick, wavy/curly, grows quickly. Washing my hair has always meant

1) Taking a long time to do the washing, bored before I’m half-way through.

2) Taking a long time to dry it. Not that I usually use a blow dryer. But it WILL take a long time to dry, no matter what I do.

3) Trying in vain to style my crazy hair that soon outgrows any shape the hairdresser has cut into it. If I don’t wash it, I don’t have to style it, therefore not washing it has a definite appeal.

4) Add baby. When I take evening showers, it requires husband to watch the baby and she wants to nurse as soon as I’m done. In the mornings, forget it. Busy baby, crazy rush. Rare washing, rarer styling. My body’s clean enough but the hair is doing its own thing.

So earlier today, I had a brief moment of what could have been despair but was more an intense wondering combined with yearning: I wonder when I’ll be back to a time when I can take a shower when I want one without having to plan days in advance or get “help” with childminding. Any ideas when that will be? Because it sounds dreamy.

I’d love to shower as soon as I come home from work. Wash off the grime of the day, warm up my body, step into cozy sweats. Then prepare dinner, drinking a tea, and enjoy at leisure.

OH the crazy dreams I have!!!

On the other hand: today was mainly super great. I had wanted to rush out early with baby and tackle some chores, but she didn’t want to leave the house. I asked her. She said no. After 4 days of dashing off in the morning, she wanted to relax at home, play with her toys, play with her mom. I had another moment, this one closer to despair, where I thought I was a complete failure as a mom. I can’t even get my child out the door to buy groceries. Good grief!

Then I reframed. My child loves being at home. I’m communicating with her and respecting her wishes. Though I might want to be in “go” mode, I don’t have to be – none of the chores are urgent, and in fact, I want to get out of an obsession with getting things done and focus more on enjoying where we are. So we relaxed and ate and played until around 10:30 when, while nursing, she started whining and pointing at something. I asked her to show me what it was and she went over and hit the stroller. Yes, it was time for a walk.

And it was great. We walked, talked, did errands, played. She’s so fun and cute and smart and funny and chatty! She wanted to read the magazines in the accountant’s office, so we flipped through some old Reader’s Digests. We went up and down stairs, then the elevator. Picked up shoes in the shoe store (a question about stretching straps). Just fun fun fun. Then she fell asleep on the way home. I tackled some urgently-needed cleaning, talked with my sister, and she was awake. So, more playing, including playing outside.

And then I got the chance to do my chores! We went together and again had super fun. She loved riding the cart in the grocery store. We walked across the driving lane in the parking lot a few times. We played a game where she’d tell me when to stop and go. The dollar store was full of fun things but she was okay with leaving them there – we said good-bye to them and walked out.

Finally, evening and bedtime. I knew she was really tired. But we seemed to have missed the bedtime window as we were super-busy and had a late dinner. As a result, she nursed, bottled, then popped up, wide awake. Once again (see a theme?) I felt ready to give up. I’d messed up bedtime again. I was a failure.

So I gave up completely on bedtime and started doing some cleaning (the place is a STY, people. Smaller, yes; neater, no). And she started playing. She let me dress her, though she had refused the sleeper earlier. She relocated all her small animals to a stool and chair in the kitchen, talking with me about the process. She then raised her hands in triumph at the new set-up! She was having so much fun. So was I. So I relaxed and let it be. And she’s sleeping now; all, so far as I know, is well. And tomorrow, thankfully, is another day.

Proof that I’m an extrovert

Standard

On my way out from work today I passed a woman in the foyer who turned around and said, “Kamilla?”

I turned around, said hello, recognized her but couldn’t place her right away.

“Did you go to any more of the writing group sessions?” she asked. Then I placed her: the interesting and funny woman I shared my first and only university-sponsored writing-group meeting with early last semester. The group I’d loved because were talking about WRITING and ideas about writing and publishing and research and I hadn’t had a space to talk about those issues for way, way too long. So I talked and talked and talked maybe a WEE BIT too much because it was so darn exciting. And though the group facilitator said she was going to get in touch about the next session, and though I checked with her a number of times, she never contacted me about a follow-up meeting. I assumed I’d been black-listed, denied access to a university service because maybe I was a bit too chatty and took over the group, or maybe she just didn’t like me.

“No! I thought I’d been kicked out because I talked too much!”

“Really! I didn’t go to any more either, and I thought I’d been kicked out too. I was telling my supervisor, I can’t take the rejection anymore …”

“I bought the book.”

“I did too!”

“Wow! High five!”

(small pause as she grapples with the fact that this supposed professional literally has her hand up in the air to do a “high five” and is waiting for her to reciprocate. Then she does.)

We talk more about our shared experience of feeling we were kicked out of the group, but still wanting something like it to move us forward in our writing. We agreed that she’ll get in touch with me in a few weeks when some of her work wraps up and that we can try and work through the book (12 weeks to writing your journal article) together. The writing group, all on our own. I’m psyched!

And earlier in the day, I had a lot more meetings than I usually do, and ran into a friend a couple of times, plus some chatty conversation with some faculty I know. Then on the way out, ran into a friend who’s studying/working on campus and got to talk more (hello there!). And headed to my car overflowing with energy and enthusiasm.

Being with people truly energizes me. Yes, I have my limits and do like alone time and sometimes don’t want to be social. But in general, interacting with people feels good to me. I love it. Good to realize about myself.

The story from here

Standard

Life has a mysterious way of filling up.

Last night, after blogging, I continued to rush around. Both husband and I spent the whole evening, until after 11, cleaning, organizing, purging, preparing for the following day. And guess what? There’s still a lot to do today too!

Baby woke up at 11, then 1, and she did not want to go back to sleep. She was kicking me, crying, and asking to go out into the main room and was up for at least an hour. She kept asking to nurse then was upset when I didn’t have any milk. I was very very grumpy about the whole thing, and discussing today with husband, we both believe she picked up on my extreme negativity. I was exhausted, I was not showing understanding of where she was coming from, I was not treating her lovingly, and she was upset as a result. This morning, and last night too, I apologized to her for my lack of patience. She is just a baby; why do I get so upset when she needs attention?

This morning, though, was quite dream-like. Baby was up by 6:30, and with husband’s help, I had a full shower and we were on our way by 7:30. Amazing!!! Baby had a great time playing in the morning and I didn’t have to run all over the house to see where she was: both very time-saving. Work was a bit mad (this whole week is, really) but positive and productive. Not bad baby pick-up after work; yummy supper; long but happy bedtime. And now it’s late again and I’m going to bed as I have an early start and important meetings tomorrow.

Classic day in the life of a working mother

Standard

I had a big meeting at work today. I was facilitating a process with a group of faculty to help them come to a common understanding around some urgent decisions. I was a bit stressed. It was a challenging decision and a group of intelligent, engaged people. It had the possibility to go very poorly.

In fact, it went very well. Not perfectly; I can definitely see things I would like to do better next time. But overall, we basically did what I said we could and should do. The group got through discussions to get to common, united understandings of potentially contentious issues. They actually now have (or will, once I format the details in the morning) a working template for their upcoming work. I am thrilled, particularly as it was the first time going through that process for me, and as of a month or so ago, I had only the vaguest theoretical notion of what it meant to do what we did today.

They were also thrilled. Or at least, most of them, happy with the outcome. They thanked me, commented repeatedly on my skills in communication, and said how valuable they found the entire process. It’s so rewarding when that happens, and particularly as it can open up future work possibilities and enable my office to engage more fully with the campus.

I went to pick up my girl at the end of the day. She didn’t mind seeing me, though she was thoroughly engaged with putting magnetic letters on the fridge. Then it was time to leave. It did not go well. She cried. Wailed. Was completely miserable. Didn’t want to leave, didn’t want to come with her mama. Eventually, with many hugs, some walking about, and nursing + a bottle + talking about the fun of home + her new noisy “Eh-mo” book, she settled contentedly into the car seat. In fact, she was perfectly happy on the ride home, laughing, talking, playing with “Eh-mo.” Home was also good: yard play with dad, great dinner eating, fun bath, stories, nursed easily to bed. Delightful!

I want to work. I need to work. I want more time with my girl. She’s doing okay. Being a working mom is a roller-coaster, and it’s what I’m doing.

Oh, the glories of shopping!

Standard

Yes, I’m shopping AND checking Facebook. Just enough to keep me happy, not too much to drive me crazy.

After moving into the basement, we noted a few things we needed to fill in the gaps so headed out this morning to get them. One stop at Jysk yielded some baskets and odds and ends. Then to our shopping mecca: Value Village.

The whole family loves VV. We find clothes, shoes, books, toys, kitchen supplies and games. There’s a wide variety of goods, most in really great shape, for really really low prices. Yes, we can overdo it, but in general we keep it under control.

Baby has a great time. Really. She plays with toys, telling me which ones she wants or doesn’t. She runs down aisles and through the clothes. She looks at herself in the mirror, talking to her reflection. She plays with the books, taking them down and spreading them all over. She particularly likes “baby” books (booh): little books, generally for adults! And going in the change room with mom or dad – and in and out, crawling under the door – is a blast.

We spent $87 today on toys, house supplies and some clothes. This doesn’t include the $5.99 shirt my husband accidentally wore out of the store without paying for. He remembered when we were about a block from the store, but baby was tired/busy/ready to nurse, so we kept going. I plan to take the tag back with me on my next trip to cover it.

We ate at Latin Fiesta. Can I say: OOOH I love Mexican food! This was delicious, hot, super super super yummy. They serve Mexican and Salvadorean dishes. If you like beans, cheese and all that other goodness, go.

Soccer game for a niece, gardening at home, visit with friend, visit with neighbour, nursing and baby bed by 6. We did a bit more settling in after that, and are about to snack and possibly watch something on Netflix, volume permitting.

This coming week will be very busy with a lot of key meetings and a workshop – so I look forward to staying on top of things, and getting to next weekend in good spirits.