Reverb11: Day 7: Community

Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2011? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2012? (Cali Harris)

I’ve been a fan of Scott Johnson (web comic artist and podcaster) for a few years now, but I only just started participating in the community this year.  His podcasting studio is called Frogpants studio.  The live chatroom during the recording of shows has been dubbed the Tadpool, and we call ourselves Tadpoles.  It’s a very cool and nice group of people with similar tastes and senses of humour, who come from all walks of life.  They come from all over the world, are a multitude of different races, span from the very young, to the very old, men and women, liberal, conservative, straight, LGBT, Christian, Muslim, Pagan, you name it, all united by one man and his nerdy, goofy sense of humour.  And bacon.

I also became more involved in the blogging community, beyond just reading and commenting on the blogs of people I know IRL.  I’m still a bit on the outskirts, but I have commented on one or two blogs of people I don’t know(!).  It would seem my social anxiety follows me into the internet…

As for communities for the new year, well, it’s time I let you in on something.  For some time, I’ve wanted to create a community where nerdy Moms can connect and talk about nerdly stuff and momly stuff with other nerdy Moms, without fear of boring anyone.  One of the hardest transitions of becoming a mother was that I started automatically being grouped in with the other Moms.  I’ve heard it said that having kids is the great equalizer.  But it didn’t take me long to start feeling out of place.  I dress strangely, I don’t like things (*cough* Twilight *cough*) that the other Moms tend to like, and when I dress my kids in retro video game clothing, or a certain Star Wars onesie, people always assume it’s Mr. G’s influence.  HA!  We’ve long since established that I’m the nerdier nerd of the two of us.  So once talking about our kids is out of the way, what else is there to talk about?  On the other side of the coin, my kids are a huge part of my life, so I tend to want to talk about them without the stigma of the “you used to be cool, but now you’re a Mom, and talk about poop all the time” thing.  I know I’m not the only one walking the nerdy Mom line, and I think we’d all benefit from sharing our struggles with being unconventional in a conventional life with other like-minded individuals.  This blog was the first step.  Now, I just have to figure out what the rest of the steps would be….


Reverb11: Day 6: Dreams

What dreams came true in 2011?

My dream of having a boy came true.  Not that I aspired to have a boy, but I dreamed it and it happened.  Plus our boy name is really cool.

My dream of having one of my e-mails read on a Scott Johnson podcast.  It was everything I had imagined it to be.

My dream of creating a blog.

My dream of being prescribed reading glasses.  I’m going to make a comic about this sometime to illustrate (see what I did there?) what I mean by that.

My Mom asked me for advice, and found my advice useful(!!!).

Reverb11: Day 5: Let Go

What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

I let go of much of how I wanted the Boy’s birth to be.  I wanted it to be like the Girl’s birth.  There’s something of ancient magicks in giving birth.  There’s agony, blood, endurance, sacrifice and ecstasy.  You walk right up to the line between life and death, and you bring a whole new life back with you.  I opted for no drugs because I wanted to experience it all.  By the end I opted for no drugs because I feared giant needles in my spine more than the pain.  In the dark, with blood pulsing in my head like tribal drums, the Girl’s birth was equally the most horrible and the most wonderful experience of my life.

I expected the Boy’s birth to go similar to that.  I was looking forward to it, in fact.  I knew what labour was about this time, and knew what to expect.  I was actually pretty good at it.  I was going to be so prepared!  Heh.  When we found out at 39 weeks that he was breech…well, my vision crumbled away.  I had to get a giant needle in my spine, and my baby was surgically removed from me under the harsh O.R. lights.  I saw my son for the first time from across a room.  It was two hours after the procedure before I could hold him.  It was cold, and clinical, and unmagickal.  Definitely more horrible than wonderful.  I had to let go of what I wanted, in favour of what was.  For the health of my baby, and myself.

It still stings me a bit.  There was a picture being shared on Facebook last week of a woman holding her baby right after a water birth.  The look on her face of utter exhaustion and pure joy brought out pangs of regret and envy in me.  It surprised me, because I thought I was past all that, but I guess it’s still a bit of a tender spot.

Reverb11: Day 4: Wonder

How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year? (Jeff Davis)

Having two young children helps in keeping a fresh perspective on things.  Things that lost their lustre for me, have had new life breathed in to them by watching them react to them.

The Girl is so amazed by everything, and so full of questions, it’s hard not to be swept up with her enthusiasm.  How can you dread the first snow fall, when there’s someone who wants to be out in it before breakfast?  I do admit to finding her constant interrogations to be frustrating at times, especially when she doesn’t accept my answers, or corrects my answers (if you knew then why did you ask me??).  But then she’ll ask something that will completely knock me sideways.  “If you had no heart, would you still love me?” for instance.

The Boy, on the other hand, is so simple in his desires.  A full belly, and cuddles are enough to make him ridiculously happy.  The other day, after he had been digging through my cupboards, I found him pivoting in a circle on his bum, in the middle of the kitchen floor with my stainless steel kettle in one hand, giggling wildly.  Who could be prosaic in the face of that?

Reverb11: Day 3: Moment

Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Ali Edwards)

I found this one really difficult.  I’ve spent this year kind of numbing out.  While I can recount things that happened that were happy moments, things that stirred me, I can only recount the sensory details of one or two of them.  And then I started worrying that they didn’t “count.”  I will forge ahead, however.

The phrase “one moment during which you felt most alive” brings to mind moments of exhilarating action.  I think this is why this tripped me up, because my moment is one of stillness.

I recall one evening, back in early summer, I was laying down with the Boy, nursing him, on my bed.  The huge picture window was open, and I could feel the cool summer night air caressing my arms, carrying with it the earthy smells of moss and pine trees.  I could see the sharp outline of the horizon, moments after the sun had set, and fireflies danced right in front of the window.  A sateen sheet covered my legs, and I rubbed my toes against the smooth softness.  As he nursed, the Boy’s bare, impossibly soft belly tingled against my bare stomach, and soothed the numb, achy feeling that had plagued me since the c-section.  I kissed his perfect little head and as I inhaled his sweet baby scent, his feathery wispy hairs tickled my nose.

This image comes to mind mostly because at that time, I felt like I was pulled in all directions.  My more complex relationships required more from me emotionally than I felt capable of giving.  I always came up short, leaving me with feelings of guilt and inadequacy.  But not with the Boy.  He was my little oasis.  He just needed me to Be.  In that moment I felt peace, knowing that all I am was all I needed to be.

Reverb11: Day 2: Create

Describe one thing you created this year. How did it feel to create it? How does it feel to look back on it now?

Well, one obvious thing would be this blog!  I had wanted to create a blog for some time.  I found that I would tend towards hijacking other people’s blogs with long essays about things I wanted to say.  I usually stick to short responses thinking that anything longer than that should be its own post.  Coupled with the fact that I think A LOT, and needed somewhere to put it all.  Thus, my blog was born!

It was difficult at first.  Even though I had lots to say (I even had a LiveJournal account once upon a time), I wasn’t sure what to write.  Words came very slowly, and it was very clunky and unfamiliar.  I was convinced that everything I wrote was boring and unfunny.  In the first 3 months I wrote perhaps 15 posts in all.  I would have nightmares (seriously) about people leaving comments saying, “why is this even a blog??”  In October, I went for almost a whole month without writing a single post.  And then came November, the traditional “do something every day for a month” month, and I knew I wanted to participate in something.  I thought about NaNoWriMo, but decided I really didn’t have the time or brain power for that.  Enter NaBloPoMo.  It would force me to crank out a blog post every day, and I thought it might help me get back to a place where blogging would come more easily to me.  And it worked in a big way.  (It didn’t hurt that I started getting more comments, the life-blood of my blog).  On November 3rd I wrote this post, and it was the first time in a long time that my writing just seemed to come together, and I didn’t have to force it.  As I was writing it, I was thinking, “this is good.”

Looking back I’m still really proud of that post.  It’s been the only post to date that Mr. G has read (at my request), and I still go back and re-read it every so often.  The posts that came after that, came more easily.  My blog, in a short amount of time, has become a huge part of my life.  It feels so good for the swirling milieu of thoughts in my head to have somewhere to go where others can read them.  Organizing them into a blog post also facilitates breakthroughs and revelations that would otherwise be lost, a fact which I had not realized at the outset.  I love you, blog.

I love you too, Grace.

Reverb11: Day One: One Word

Dec 1: One Word. If you had to choose one word to encapsulate the past year, what would it be, and why? If you were to choose a word to represent 2012, what would it be?

The word for 2011: Numb.  Near the beginning of this year, the Boy was born by scheduled C-section, as he was a breach baby, meaning, his bum was where his head should have been.  This came as a shock to me, as the Girl had been a complication free, drug free, natural birth.  While rational me can be thankful that as far as complications go, this was pretty minor, and still resulted in a healthy baby AND me, it was huge blow to me psychologically.  It’s something that I haven’t really talked about because it’s something I feel like I can’t afford to get mired in, having two smalls to look after, and also I feel like if I talk about it in a negative way, it might seem like I’m complaining.  And what right do I have to complain when he and I came through relatively unscathed, when so many others are not so lucky?  So I numbed my feelings on the subject, and concentrated on my new baby.  But my abdomen is still numb, literally, even these many months later, and a near constant reminder that I had been split open.  One month after the Boy was born, my Granddad died.  Again, I felt like I didn’t have time to feel the loss, as I had a newborn and a two and a half-year old that needed me.  Plus it all happened outside of my presence.  I was on the phone with my family nearly every day, but it did not register on an emotional level because I wasn’t experiencing it for myself.  Coupled with my own needs being put aside to care for a small infant, I just continued to numb out and shrink.  I’ve definitely started to break-free, and to feel like myself again, but Numb definitely defined most of this year.

The word I chose for 2012? Practice.  I plan to develop and employ several spiritual, emotional and creative practices to help me begin to deal with these issues, and others that will inevitably crop up.  It also refers to how I wish to develop my drawing, writing and digital graphic design skills through consistent practice throughout the coming year.

I must be crazy

Last December, my friend, Meg, over at SpiritMovesDance participated in Reverb10 as hosted by Gwen Bell.  The idea was journaling in response to daily prompts for the entire month of December, with the purpose of reflecting on the year past, and manifesting the vision your year to come.  I very much enjoyed reading those posts last year, and Meg found it to be a huge help to her on her journey.  We were both looking forward to participating in Reverb11 this year.  Unfortunately, Ms. Bell announced on Tuesday that she would not be hosting Reverb11, but she encouraged those of us who expressed interest in it, to host our own Reverb11.  Meg picked up that gauntlet, and has edited the prompt list from last year for herself and anyone who is interested in doing Reverb11.  I’m so very glad that she did, because I am pleased to announce that I am TOTALLY DOING THIS.  That’s right, I’m coming off of one post-every-day-for-a-month challenge, and I’m entering right into another one 🙂  If you’re interested in participating with us, get the prompts over at SpiritMovesDance Facebook page every day at 6:30 am AST.

I’ll be posting my first Reverb post later on today.  Until then REVERB11, YEEEEAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!

(I’m pumped, can you tell?)

A kick ass trip down memory lane

As NaBloPoMo, and more importantly November, draws to a close I’m left to ponder all that has happened over the past month.  Let’s see:  there was vomit, runny noses, coughing, busted ear drums, ear pus, walk-in clinics, antibiotics, a filthy kitchen, a screaming night-time baby, headaches, Pre-school parent-teacher meetings, Christmas shopping, a Christmas parade,  portraits, and a new Professor Layton game.  And I still managed to get one blog post done every day, without once resorting to those bizarre prompts.  Had I known what kind of month I was going to have, would I have decided to pick up the gauntlet?  Probably not.  I would have let life get in the way again.  But, pick it up I did, and I’m so glad that I did.  Because not only did it get me back into the blogging mind-set, it also served as a huge lesson to me on making me a priority sometimes.  And it definitely served as a good distraction from all that Fuckvember has come to represent.  And look at that, we’re almost rid of it for another year!  Now it’s time relax and get swept up into Christmas.

Or is it?

I may have something cooking for the month of December.  I may be insane.  Stay tuned!

In the meantime, this seems as an appropriate time as any to watch this:

November Rain by Guns N’ Roses

Do they make music videos this freaking awesome anymore?  I don’t fucking think so!  First Axl meets and falls in love with statuesque Stephanie Seymour who would be, if not for his all his fame and money, WAY OUT OF HIS LEAGUE.  Then they get married!  In a church!  Then Slash, presumably out of respect for Jesus, removes himself from the church (which is in the middle of a desert) to play the devil’s music.  For 2 minutes.  Wedding reception!  They’re so in love!  Surely they will live happily ever after!  Oh NO!  The reception has been RAINED OUT.  Everybody panic!  And then, for no discernible reason, SHE SUDDENLY AND TRAGICALLY DIES(maybe pneumonia?).  Look at Axl!  Look at the PATHOS, people!  LOOK AT IT!  Interspersed throughout are the boys playing in a theatre with a full supporting orchestra.  Slash jumps up on the grand piano at one point like a boss, it’s GLORIOUS.  Seriously, this video made my day yesterday.  Happy last day of November!

Secret Santa

I apologize in advance if this post was not well thought out.  I am sick.  Again.  I feel like we’re handing over $200 a month to the Pre-school to infect us with disease.

In general, I love giving gifts to others.  Slight correction.  I love giving gifts to people when I know what to get them.  There are two people in my life that stress me out whenever gift giving season comes around, because I know I’ve got to come up with something, and I have no fucking clue what to give them.  They are my Dad, and Mr. Goldragon.

Both of them have expensive wants, and they don’t even ask for that stuff.  While my Dad will buy himself everything he wants, and therefore wants nothing, Mr. G buys himself nothing and still wants nothing.  I mentioned my Dad for completeness sake, but I will leave him be and focus on Mr. G for this post.

By a comity of two, we decided that Mr. G should have a pair of sturdy winter gloves.  The ones I bought him last year exploded on the second use, as they were cheap Wal-Mart gloves.  But he can’t think of anything beyond that.  Let the good times roll!  I, on the other hand, have a great long list of things that I want.  But I have to lay it out in no uncertain terms, because he doesn’t want to take the risk that he will get me something I don’t want.  Once in a while, I wish that he would take his own head for it, so that I might have a surprise on Christmas morning,

This morning, while we were blatantly discussing what it is that we will get for each other, I put forth that maybe we shouldn’t bother buying for each other this year.  Like, I’ll get him his gloves, and he gets me my scanner (or fixes the one that I have) and call it even.  Because really?  What I want for Christmas is for the kids to enjoy the season, and to see the looks on their faces when they open their presents.  If someone wants to give me a present, I won’t say no, but I don’t want a duty-bound present.  AND if I know what I’m going to get ahead of time, because it was all pre-planned and everything, it takes the fun out of opening gifts.

It makes me feel like such a no fun Grinch.  My parents always exchanged presents, no matter how little money they had.  Most people I know love to have the excuse to shower their S.O. with gifts.  But every time one of these gift exchanging events comes up, it just fills me with dread and malaise.  That’s not in keeping with the spirit of gift giving in general, in my opinion.

How do you feel about gift exchanges with your S.O.?  Awesome or stressful?