Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Fun

We had a fantastic day. I acted AND felt patient, which is not always guaranteed to happen at the same time! Especially during special events, or in crowds. After trick or treating in our townhouse complex and the neighbouring one, we went to Trinity for their "Harvest Festival" a.k.a. Christian alternative to halloween. I have no problem with halloween and don't quite understand those christians who do? They seem like killjoys. To me. Anyways, we went and had a blast with the games, the boucey castle, the candy, and a fantastic balloon artist. Finally, Ayden said to me, "Mommy, I'm tired. I want to go home."
Wow! That's a first! He even volunteered that each boy have ONE story instead of the usual TWO, to expidite bedtime. Poor kid. He looked kind of pale beneath his red spiderman face paint. He fell asleep while I was still reading.
Halloween was a rousing success! I want to kiss everybody! It is hard to pull off these things all on one's own without stress or impatience, but I was ON it!







Pumpkin Carving







Pumpkin Patch

We went to the pumpkin patch with Ayden's preschool class last Thursday. Boy, was it muddy! And cold!











As you can see, we had fun, and Matthew got pretty crabby by the end of the trip!

The Foxy Boots

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I did say I would post more stories...

Here is another work story for you. This one is not one I would place in the miraculous category; but then, one can't ALWAYS be seeing miracles, or people will start to wonder.
11 or 12 days ago I did a night shift, and we were up all night. We had the usual calls; some transfers, a fall incurred while running from security at the grocery store with a stolen pumpkin, some cross coverage in Abbotsford, 'seizures' that turned out to be an elderly woman's wild-eyed reaction to her newly implanted pacemaker firing off in her chest (it IS alarming if you don't know what it is), a kid with high blood sugar, and a few false starts to calls that are cancelled by police or the calling party. By 4:30 we were headed back to Chilliwack for one last transfer, and then home to bed at 6 a.m. At 4:45 dispatch cancelled our transfer and sent us out on a major burn call. They hauled ALS out of bed and sent them screaming behind us, and started a helicopter which was later cancelled due to foggy conditions in Chilliwack (you know it's a big one when the helicopter is dispatched), 2 fire trucks, and a police cruiser. We were the first ones to arrive. I LOVE being the first to arrive, but I have to admit that for this one I didn't want to be first. I had not seen burns this bad yet, and until I see a 'type' of call I'm not 100% comfortable in my skin dealing with that type of illness or injury.
Here's the lowdown (which I pieced together over the hour and half we spent with these people). This couple was in an upstairs bedroom of this rundown house, converting cocaine to "rock" which I guess is smoked as crack, when some of the methylhydrochorothiazide (or some other hideously long chemical name) spilled on the mattress and the woman. This chemical is unstable and caused a flash fire, engulfing them and the mattress in flames. When the man called 9-1-1 he lied and told the dispatcher it was a mattress fire caused by a cigarette.
That's right, save your ass from jail, and make your paramedics sick. In fact, it doesn't really save your ass from jail, because as soon as people get there SOMEONE is going to figure out what actually happened and you are going to wind up arrested. If you survive.
So we arrive and I was thinking "fire" but not "drug lab" per se, though I did take a quick look around for obvious signs before stepping inside, and I asked if the mattress fire was out. Our first job is safety. But damn, I was kicking myself after this call for not being MORE suspicious. Some days my job is very dangerous. I was VERY glad I'm not pregnant, although it turned out to be quite safe for us to be on the main floor, and the upper floor was cleared for HAZMAT by the fire department so everything was safe in the end. But the potential was quite high for danger. Low lives who risk MY life for THEIR illegal addictive shit are a whole other post.
I walked into the kitchen and saw two burn patients. One sitting on the floor, and the other pouring water over her as she screamed "Pain! Pain! Pain!" That's all she ever said to me. Her hair was burned off, her skin was white and shiny in some places, and white and leathery in others. We estimated 40% of her body to be covered in third degree burns, but later the hospital rated her 60%. Anything over 15% third degree burns generally do not survive, though it takes awhile for infection or shock or respiratory complications to set in. Burns are the most painful injury one can sustain, by far.
Was I ever happy to see ALS come in a few minutes behind us. All I had time to do was put oxygen on her, and flounder a bit trying to assess the extent of her injuries. Her boyfriend spent the entire time screaming at us to help her. Whew! ALS is here, they will tell us what to do! And they did. They started an IV and we got our sterile burn kits on the beds, and we loaded the more critical, female patient into the ALS ambulance and they intubated her. ALS took my partner with them and left me in charge (by myself! yikes!) of one patient with 15% second and third degree burns, 6 firefighters, and one police officer. Another ambulance was on its way to help me. I slammed an IV in my patient and started cooling his burns, assessed him as much as I could, and gave him something for pain.
They were both so high on cocaine that our pain meds didn't touch them.
The woman's skin kept coming off in my hands as we tried to load her onto our bed.
Then, hooray! The second car was there and we took off for the hospital.
I felt upset at myself for missing the clues to the drug lab, but we turned out to have a Get Out Of Jail Free card on that one; I'll not miss them again. I also felt pumped because I learned SO MUCH on that call! Not having seen burns this critical before, every minute of this call I socked away new information, new tricks of the trade, and new experience. Awesome!

I went home buzzing. I really needed to debrief this call! Brent, my ever present ear for post call debriefing, was obviously not present, nor available as I don't have any way of calling him and must wait for him to call me. He doesn't usually call me at 8 o'clock in the morning! Especially after a night shift! So I went to turn on my main computer so I could debrief on my blog, but the computer had died. No problem, I'll just go use Brent's Mac laptop instead, so I fire that up and try to connect with the internet, and it won't work.
Mwwwaaaaaaaaaa!!!! I'm stuck with this call in my head and no one to talk to! I considered using my handwritten journal but all of a sudden I was just too tired. So I crawled into bed and slept for 8 hours, instead.
There you go, another story. Hopefully not too graphic for you all.
Life is graphic. I live for graphic. I hope it's not too raw for you!

Mad at Boss

Something I like about the nature of my job is that paramedics don't have to see their bosses very often. We work fairly independantly and I really appreciate that. In fact, I have now been in Chilliwack for a month and have only seen my boss once, for about 30 minutes, while we were on a call together. He is ALS (not the asshole kind) so there were four of us working to help one patient, and they needed my help. Actually, that was the day I worked with That Woman who made me so angry all I could do was pray in the elevator! I have heard good things regarding the Unit Chief in Chilliwack.
I didn't see good things this morning! I worked Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Last night I fell into bed, preparing for an early start: up at 4 a.m. to get ready for work, leave at 5 a.m., and start at 6 a.m. This was to be my 5th of 5 consecutive shifts, and a good one at $240. At midnight Ayden woke me up with his screaming; his head hurt and he was feverish. At first I panicked: HE'S GOT MENINGITIS!!! But then I calmed down. This is the downside of being in medicine. Alarms go off for simple fevers. I had the achy flu last week, with a fever and headache, so I guess he caught it from me. The thing is, I can't send my sick four year old to daycare! Not only is it not fair for him to be hustled off to daycare when he is sick; it is against the daycare rules to send a kid with a fever to daycare. For obvious reasons! Normally this is not a huge issue, mostly because my kids are rarely sick with fevers or vomiting/diarrhea (the other not allowed symptoms at daycare), and less so because until recently, Brent could take a sick day from work to look after the kids if needed. It is much harder to staff an ambulance at the last minute than an office manager who is semi redundant and has a fabulous staff capable of functioning without him. Of course, my better half is gone. Ergo, I needed to call in sick. It was midnight! I don't know HOW to call in sick!! I've never done it before!!!
I called the station, gingerly, and there was no answer. This meant either #1 all three night crews were out on calls, or #2 they were sleeping. I called my friend who was dispatching that night, but she had no idea who to call for last minute fill in for Chilliwack. Not knowing if this was the right move, I paged my boss and left a voice message explaining that I could not come in to work tomorrow and leaving my cell number.
I then moved on to attempting to lower Ayden's temperature and soothe his headache. I did not hear back from my boss, so I set my alarm for shift change at 6 a.m. so I could call the station when I would be guaranteed not to wake anyone, and to have people around to answer the phone (barring some major MCI~mass casualty incident...aka major disaster...). When I called in the morning I was informed that booking off sick required phoning the "scheduling pager" so I got the number and called it. It informed me to page my unit chief as the scheduler was on holidays, so I paged him again. At least this time I knew it was the right thing to do! He called me back. He was MAD! He tried hard to guilt me into coming in anyways, citing the inconvenience of trying to find someone last minute, and the inconvenience for the transfer fleet of having an ambulance whose day is planned 24 hours in advance book off for the first few hours while trying to find a replacement for me. He even called me a "no show." Hey, I tried! MY KID IS SICK!! I politely stood up for myself~whew, I'm getting the hang of this~informing him that I know full well how inconvenient it is, and that I had paged him at midnight when my kid woke up sick in order to give him as much notice as possible, but that my husband is out of town and my daycare won't take a sick kid, so I was staying home. He was frustrated because he did not receive my midnight page. Apparently I was supposed to re-page him if I did not hear back. This I did not know!
I'm not truly mad at him: he was simply frustrated. He also doesn't know me from Adam, so how does he know I'm telling the truth? How does he know I NEVER call in sick? There are people who do it all the time. In fact, how does he even know I am a hard worker, since he only met me that once? I guess this is the downside to the inherent freedom in working independently of one's boss.
Part of my frustration is that he seemed not to understand or at least express that one's family comes first, and that staffing issues are a part of life. My unit chief in Lions Bay expressed that understanding all the time, and I really appreciated that he did: he was the first I had met who expressed this. Or lived it. At all! Most unit chiefs are workaholics. Actually, most paramedics are workaholics! In BC, anyways. Sure, it is inconvenient that a transfer car will have to scramble for staff at 6 a.m., but my kid comes first. Another aspect of my frustration is that we ended the conversation without any closure or reassurance regarding his irritation, so I walked around much of the day trying to leave it in the dust but generally dragging it with me everywhere I went. To the laundry room. The kitchen. The kids' room. The mailbox. I didn't let it take over my day, but it hung around in the shadows, nagging me every once in awhile. THIS is a time when I really miss Brent, because normally I would pick up the phone and call him at work to vent and get reassurance, and then I would be able to leave the conversation in the dust. Granted, if he were here I wouldn't have needed to call in sick in the first place and there would not have been an uncomfortable conversation with The Boss!

That reminds me: I now have 8 days off (was supposed to be 7, but then Ayden...) and I leave on FRIDAY to go see my SWEETHEART and spend 48 hours wrapped up in him. Hooray! Thank you friends!!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I'm not lost...

I have not had the time to post in awhile! Also, for 4 days my computer was broken, and for 10 days I was struggling with a hefty bout of insomnia which finally resolved on Friday night. Today I am working my 3rd of 5 day shifts in Chilliwack. I have some stories for you!!
First of all, Ayden and I had a serious conversation recently about the nature of law enforcement:
"Mommy, look! A police officer! I bet they are catching bad guys!"
"Ummmm, I think that police officer is just giving someone a ticket for bad driving."
"No! It's a robber! My daddy catches robbers!"
"Yes he does."
"And he SHOOTS THEM!"
...................[insert internal panic here as I frantically sort out what to say].......................
"Actually, he doesn't shoot them, honey. He puts the bad guys in jail, but he would never shoot them unless they were going to shoot daddy or somebody else."
"Really?"
He thought about this for a few minutes.
"What is jail?"
"It's a place where grown ups go if they do really bad things. It is kind of like a big long time out for grown ups, so they can think about what they did and how they might do differently in the future."
"Oh. Bad guys don't love anybody, and nobody loves bad guys."
"God loves bad guys."
"REALLY?!?" He was astonished.
"Yes, He does. And bad guys love people. They love their families and their friends, just like you do--they just make bad choices about how to treat people. That is why we put them in jail, so that when they are done their long time out, they have an opportunity to choose to be better. If they choose to love God and listen to Him, and try to be a better person, God can help them to change. God always, always loves people no matter what they do. And we always have opportunities to change our behaviour and make it better."
"God loves BAD GUYS, too?"
"Yes! God loves everybody. Everybody is special. That is why your daddy wouldn't shoot bad guys, because God thinks they are special, too. Bad guys just make choices that hurt other people, so we have to put them in jail."
"Wow........"

It was really neat to be able to teach Ayden about these truths that are really important to me: law enforcement using minimal necessary force, redemption, God's love, the value of human life, the choice involved in poor decisions, the choice involved in changing ourselves from making poor decisions to making better ones, and the universal nature of family, love, and choice. Thanks, bad guys, for giving me an opportunity to teach my son these things. :)
Especially traffic patrol :D

My second story is another miracle. One of my patients the other day had a fall where she hurt her ribs. Because of the fall, the hospital did x-rays and discovered 'something extra' on her x-ray that made them suspicious...they called her back and did a CT and discovered an Ascending Aortic Anyerism. This is a leak in the main blood vessel that comes from your heart, much like a bulging tire, which can burst and cause the person to die within 2 to 3 minutes. They immediately did surgery to repair this anyerism and when the surgeon opened up her chest, he discovered that the outer layer of her blood vessel was so taut that it would have burst within another 24 hours, and she would have bled to death. They repaired her vessel and she's as good as new (or as new as you can be at 78!). Hooray for miracles!

I have more stories but will have to post more later...I'm tired and must get up at 4 again tomorrow, so i will go.
Ciao!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Spiderman

Ayden was wearing his halloween spiderman costume at the dinner table tonight. He leapt on my lap for kisses, and I asked him,
"Do you think Spiderman likes kisses from his mommy?"
"Yeeeeessss!!"

Food in Sake

Ayden told me today that in Sake, all candy does not have sugar, so it is healthy; and all the vegetables have sugar in them so they are unhealthy. He also told me that they always eat dessert first, and supper last. I wonder if that means he eats his vegetables first, since they are dessert like?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Everyday Miracles

So, the other day at work I saw another miracle. I actually see them often, I just don't always have the time to tally them up and blog about them~but this one had to be told. At 5:30 a.m. a 23 year old was driving from Chilliwack to Langley for work (we should trade: it would save us each 80 minutes of driving every day). He was driving a beautiful yellow Echo, new or nearly new. He thought he saw something moving in the dark over the median in the middle of the freeway, panicked, and jerked his Echo into the slow lane. In his blind spot there was another vehicle, which blared its horn at him, and he jerked his Echo back in the direction he came from, lost control, and rolled his Echo four times, landing upside down in the fast lane. Five or six people got out their cell phones and called 9-1-1, and our pagers dragged us out of bed and flying down the road for 'a rollover'~which in our business generally means helicopters and the jaws of life and blood everywhere and crunched bones. Meanwhile, the driver of the pretty yellow car unbuckled his seat belt, fell onto the ceiling, climbed out his shattered driver's side window, and lit a cigarette. Every window in his car was busted, every exterior surface scratched and dented, and there was glass and debris littered for 100 meters of highway leading up to his car, and there were no bruises, no scratches, no bleeders, and no busted bones.
Every day, I see miracles.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Good Openers

An excellent book grabs you from the opening line (though if not done well, 'openers' can seem to strain towards suspense rather than grab one's attention). I just finished, for the second time, "The Glass Castle," a memoir by Jeannette Walls, and it begins like this:

I was sitting in a taxi, wondering if I had overdressed for the evening, when I looked out the window and saw Mom rooting through a Dumpster.

Doesn't that sound interesting?? The book is fascinating! A memoir full of deep poverty and suffering, yet devoid of any self pity. I highly recommend it.

A Girl's Gotta Have Boots

For four nights in a row, I have not gotten enough sleep. The first night I was working, so I expected not to get much sleep on account of those darn sick people. The next night, Wednesday, I had trouble falling asleep, and tossed and turned until about 2 a.m. The boys got me up at 7. The next night I thought, Ah! This will be a deep sleep, but lo and behold, I saw 2 a.m. roll around again before I could settle down to sleep. Then last night I thought, Ah! THIS will be a deep sleep, but *f* me if I didn't see 4 a.m. blaring on my clock before I drifted off to sleep, and right at 7: "Morning mommy!!!"
{{{{{SIGH}}}}}}

I don't know what is wrong with me. Remember my long ago post regarding Tao? We're supposed to walk the path life gives us with grace? There was no grace in my step today, I tell ya. I disliked those boys from the moment I opened my eyes at darned 7 a.m. this morning, and I had no backup, my spouse being seriously AWOL. Oh, I wanted to cry.
I managed to roll out of bed and make them breakfast (after they had gotten into the cookies!!) which they quite liked for once, and which I was impressed with myself for as it required mixing and pouring and measuring and BAKING for heaven's sake!! I made Amish oatmeal which is oatmeal, cinnamon, eggs, nutmeg, milk, vanilla, & etc mixed together and baked into a loaf, with organic yogurt and frozen blueberries on top (anyone who wants the recipe, just ask! I'll post it here if you want!) SERIOUSLY yummy!. Then I needed a shower.
The house is an obstacle course at this point. When I don't have time, I don't pick up the toys. When I have time, I don't pick up the toys. I'd rather play with the kids than clean up after them, so I usually do. But it gets to me after a few days of tripping and kicking and slipping on random small, semi invisible toys with pointy bits that dig into the heels. Or trying to sweep AROUND them rather than pick them up and sweep. Ha ha. Also, I'm so tired I feel like I'm running underwater. Also, the boys are bored and have cabin fever, but it is raining and I don't have the energy for creative energy burning solutions! Also, it's 11:00 a.m. and I already am too tired to fathom making dinner.
After my shower, I was blow drying my hair when Matthew attempted to stand and pee, rather than sit and pee, but him being too short to actually reach the rim of the toilet and opting NOT to use the stool, he pissed all over my floor. I pretty much lost my temper! I have control issues regarding piss on my floor, I fully admit to this. Not only am I yelling at him WHILE he is streaming piss down the outside of the bowl onto my floor, but because I'm yelling he's getting upset and now he's turning left and right, shuffling his feet while he panics, and is dribbling bright yellow pee in arcs all over the floor, cupboards, and my foot.

I left the room and called my in-laws to see if the boys could go to their house so I could have a break!
Insert HOWLING here (painful, not humorous), for I am the world's worst mother because I cannot handle a weekend at home with my sweet boys who spend too much time in other people's houses at the moment, and I can't help hearing the refrain "Other mothers do it better" thumping in my head over and over.
I feel a very strong urge to bite something.

I think I'm too hard on myself.

So my in-laws rescued me within 2 hours, and with some cajoling the boys climbed into their truck and off they went for a Saturday evening of fun in grandma and grandpa's house, complete with hot tub, doggy, and junk food. I breathed a big sigh of relief and then burst into tears.
I'm not even halfway through this single parent thing yet! 10 weeks down, 14 more to go.

To make myself feel better, I went to the mall and bought myself some new boots! A girl has gotta have foxy boots! I feel a bit better. Boots are not a miracle drug, but they help a bit.
Here's a pic!

Blogger and my computer are not getting along at the moment, so I'll add the picture later!

Friday, October 19, 2007

We did some painting today...








ohhhhhhh, mommeeeeeeeeeee, I got paint on my leg!!!!!!!!!


I love to share my love of art with them!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

My New Car

I've been wanting to post about my new car for months. In June Brent's sister Cherilyn moved to Montreal and put her '95 Toyota Corolla up for sale. Since we had just paid an entire pay period's worth of money on repairs for the van, and I had been feeling the disdain for the monstrous van for months, we made an offer on the Corolla. =)
We got storage insurance for the car and waited for an opportunity to sell the van...mostly just waiting to see if Brent would be accepted, and too busy to get the van up to sellable speed~you know, replace the cracked windshield, replace various burnt out bulbs, and clean the interior. After Brent's departure we put the van up for sale on a Thursday, and hoped and prayed...and it was sold by Sunday morning, for pretty much our asking price! Thank you, Brent's dad! He's the world's best haggler and he did all the negotiating for me. Awesome!
So we then paid the remaining loan on the Corolla, and paid for a plane ticket home at Christmas for Brent, and that took care of the proceeds of the van.
Hallelujah! I can't believe how quickly the van was gone. Goodbye and good riddance!
Here are a few things I love about my Toyota:
-it is small, maneuverable, and compact
-it is fantastic on gas
-it is reliable as heck...it has 219,000 kms on it and makes 3 or 4 trips a week out to Chilliwack and back but it never complains
-it is a standard
-it brings back nostalgic memories of my very first car, an '81 Toyota Tercel with no gas gague, two broken door handles, and only three working doors. And 300,000+ kilometers on it. That thing never complained either!
-it fits both boys, myself, and four days' worth of camping gear if you really try hard
-It has no computer or fancy gagets to fall apart
-it is red
-it has a nice CD player in it
-previous owner a reliable source of info on the vehicle!

Here are a few drawbacks:
-no air conditioning in the summer
-no intermittent wiper speed in the winter

Definitely worth the investment, and I'm overjoyed to have my new, cute, reliable Toyota to taxi me around. Woohoo! It's nice to feel better about my commuter vehicle, since I have to have one. I've even kept it miraculously neat and tidy (I won't say clean per se, but tidy for me, for a car...I'm infamous for my 2 feet of crumbs, bags, toys, and yes, on one occasion, an inch or two of mold on the floor of my vehicles), visiting the nearby carwash for the use of their vacuum every six weeks or so. Kids are so messy.
I'm so messy!

Update

I don't have much to update you on, except some cool news. A group of my friends took pity on me and pooled their resources to fly me out to Regina AND put me up in a hotel there for a weekend! I'm going to visit my sweetie!!!!!!!!!!! Yahoo!!!!!!!!! I have the GREATEST friends in all the world!!! I leave November 2nd and come home November 5th, and my mom is going to come down to Langley to take care of the boys here at our house. I am SO EXCITED!!!!! And not to see Saskatchewan, per se. I feel awefully guilty leaving the boys behind but am positive we can't afford to fly them, nor would it really be much fun for me to corral them on a plane by myself, and in a hotel room all weekend, trying to connect with Brent over the tops of their heads, and over their constant chatter. They'll see him at Christmas, which is just around the corner.
Plus, the best gift I can give them is a good marriage.
Yahoo!!!! Three cheers for awesomely generous friends!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

ALS=Assholes in Lotsa Situations

Grrrrr...I'm so mad I could spit...I'm so mad I have to blog to get the anger out of me...
ALS (advanced life support) paramedics have 2 years more training than us BLS (basic life support) paramedics. They are strategically situated througout the province, in urban and metropolitan centres, to be available for very sick patients. When a 9-1-1 caller is sick enough for ALS, dispatch always sends a BLS crew to back them up, since 4 sets of hands are better than 2, and to take the patient if it turns out that they are not that sick. They have more drugs. They have more training. They have more experience. I have respect for this.
I do not have respect for ALS members with no emotional IQ. I do not have respect for ALS members who think it funny to humiliate or put down BLS crew members just because of an archaic old boys' club mentality where one is either "in" or "out." What is this, junior high school? A redneck hick town? Well, yeah, I guess Chilliwack could be considered a redneck town, but still.
So I neglected to close the garage door behind us when I drove out of the ambulance bay tonight, twice, apparantly. I thought the doors were on timers and closed on their own. During a call with a sick patient, one of the ALS (Assholes in Lotsa Situations, see post title) members turns to me and sarcastically points out that the doors need to be closed for security issues, and that I forgot TWICE tonight to close the doors. He reminds me, "There's a button on your visor for stuff like that." Fuck you. Seriously. There are SEVEN people in the room and we're taking care of someone who doesn't want to hear about my shortcomings in the common sense department. If you REALLY want to say something, why not make it positive, like "Please don't forget to close the bay doors when you leave the station." Straight up. Gives me the benefit of the doubt. Polite. To the point. I can take correction. I just can't take assholes.
The thing is, there is this weird initiation phase mentality in the old farts that I just don't buy into. I don't know if they notice that I don't buy into it (my reply to the visor button comment was, "No, really?" which made him sputter). I've been doing this for 5 years now. I've put in my time. I'm not putting up with any more initiation phase, bottom feeder, ass kissing, please-let-me-into-the-club shit anymore, because the last time I checked we were on the same team, working for the same company, doing the same job, wanting to help the same people. I'm 100% willing to learn new things and to adjust to other peoples' style of work, and I'm 200% willing to take constructive criticism, but I WILL NOT take people being rude to me. I can't fight with people I'm working with (by the way, for anyone who is following this work situation, that post regarding the woman who was so rude to me that I was shaking and frieking out? Her husband is ALS. In fact, I believe her husband is the one who was so rude to me tonight. It's DAMN lucky I didn't snap back at her because I'd be in the doghouse around here forever if I had), but I sure am not pandering to anyone just because of their license level or years on the job, I'm telling you that! I respect the education. It doesn't mean I respect the individual until they demonstrate a social intelligence I can feel proud to stand next to. A little humility would help, too.
Bite my ass, Ernie. I may be little, I may be female, and I may be part time, but I have no respect for you, and you aren't pushing me around.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day

So I found out from my friend Rob that today, October 15th, incidentally also my husband's 32nd birthday, is Blog Action Day. There has been a blog-world challenge for people to post an entry regarding environmentalism. Woohoo! That's right up my alley. Here are some thoughts on the environment a la me;

Earth is splendid. Huge in scale, yet on a cosmic level a mere speck, Earth manages to balance and sustain a wide variety of life forms, ecosystems, and cosmos with simple forces like heat, water, ozone, and gravity. I believe nature to be neutral, neither benevolent nor malevolent; it simply is. Yet it exists with such beauty! The balance required to sustain life on our planet, along with the intricate complexities of nature, are what inspire in me a belief in God. Earth gives so much to us, and I think sometimes we get in the habit of taking, and not giving in return. Or being all that grateful. One season without rain is all it takes for us to go hungry~can you imagine if it didn't rain anywhere on earth for a whole season? Those with crops near rivers would possibly grow something...but not nearly enough to feed all of us.
I have this love-hate polarized view of my body. I love that I'm alive, that I breathe, that I run, that I carry people at work and at home, I love that my body can grow life and nourish it, and I love that I'm healthy. For the most part. But then, I eat fries. Sometimes I don't exercise. I will get too busy to eat enough, or to eat well, or to shop for groceries. I hate my squishy bits. I love to take my body for granted, it seems! I'll make it skip a night's sleep and then be confused as to why my body won't cooperate with me as I try to take care of my kids and home and life, and why I'm grouchy? I think the earth is like this for humankind. We love the wind, the sea, wild animals, the turning of seasons, food, water, and the means to create anything we might discover or desire to build with our hands, and we love that Earth is always there. Always balancing things. But then, we make garbage. Sometimes we make radioactive sludge. We get too busy to recycle, or rotate smaller crops, or to find better sources of energy than fossil fuels. We hate the hurricane bits. We burn too much and thicken the atmosphere, trapping more heat and warming up the earth, and then are confused as to why the Katrina-sized hurricanes pound our shores, and the weather patterns worldwide are shifting. The average temperature in Alaska has risen 7 degrees in the last 10 years! Permafrost is melting! But we are arguing over IF global warming is real. To me, it doesn't matter whether or not it is real: it matters that what we are doing in creating pollution and garbage and massive crops with fertilizers and pesticides and green lawns that need water (yes, I have one!) is hurting our Earth, and we need to stop. Whether it is a matter of our immediate survival or not.
I've always been a bit green. Ask my mom. I made her buy her milk in glass bottles for years because glass produces less garbage and eventually can be either recycled, or if it does end up in a landfill, it will eventually completely break down back into the sand it started from. Mom rolled her eyes, but she did it. This was thanks to a Grade 6 teacher I had who was an avid environmentalist. I protested (not publicly) the burning of rainforests, and the extinctions of species. I thought solar energy was cool. I cheered when McDonald's switched from styrofoam to cardboard~ I've never been much of a styrofoam fan.
My first big green peeves were landfills and garbage breakdown. If a substance, such as styrofoam or plastic, couldn't eventually completely break down into something natural, then we should cut down on that substance, and try to find natural alternatives. In my college years I was big on recycling. In more recent years I've developed a concern for air pollution, and the amount of fossil fuel combustion that is currently contributing to global warming (or not, but for the sake of argument lets err on the side of caution, shall we? If global warming is wrong and we clean up our act, oops, we're more healthy. If global warming is true and we don't clean up our act, oops, we're dead...unless we live in bubbles...presumably sustained by fossil fuel combustion), pesticide and chemical overuse, and unhealthy changes in agriculture.
Of course, I am no saint. I owned an SUV for 8 years. I don't actually think all SUV use is negative...we just need a better way to fuel them, like hybrid power or etc...especially for those who live and work in snowy conditions and for those who have larger families whose children each require 8 years of carseat use and whose carseats will not fit in a prius or a smart car if one has more than 2 (prius) or 1 (smart) of the rugrats. One could argue that overpopulation renders large families unethical, but I don't. I tend to trust nature. For the most part, nature made us capable of producing more than one offspring per couple.
I know there are holes in my logic there. I don't care. I love large families. This is a moot point anyways, since the vast majority of couples in more developed countries have 2 or fewer children, and the vast majority of environmentalist rhetoric happens in more developed countries...of course, in true poetic irony, these developed nations are also the biggest polluters...
Back to my not being a saint. I drive my car a ridiculous amount of kilometers in a year. I make garbage. I consume. I take Earth for granted.
I also believe profoundly in the limitlessness of human potential, and I believe we have already affected change. Katrina alone woke up this continent. I believe hybrid cars, while not a perfect solution, will be an interim solution for reducing greenhouse gases until we can find something better (is a battery really better than a combustion engine, when it comes to the environment? Does it take a lot of energy to make a battery in the first place? Aren't batteries filled with acid and other bad chemicles? Doesn't a car we plug in still require electricity to make it run? Doesn't electricity use up resources for the most part?), and that expansions on existing public transit needs to and will take place. We're already sitting up and taking notice. More people are asking, "What is in my food? Where is it grown? How does it get here? How much of my garbage is really necessary? How much of it can be recycled? How much of it can be eliminated? Are there natural products I can clean my house with? What ingredients are in my shampoo and why? How can I drive less?"
There is a loud environmentalist voice out there which shouts shame at people for the way they live and consume and produce garbage and pollution. That voice is good! But if we truly want change, we are not going to get it by preaching hell and damnation to the masses. The masses hate preachers. The masses hate shame. Isn't there enough guilt out there in the world and in our psyches to fill up an entire other, larger planet? If we truly want change, we need to be positive about it. Celebrate small or large steps towards cleaner air, water, food, and greater sustainability, and, instead of asking people to revamp their entire system of thought, although we want 'US' as humans to change as much as possible, we should ask ourselves to start thinking critically about what we put in their bodies, our landfills, our air, and our water, one by one. If we are thinking critically instead of feeling shamefully, we have greater potential for positive change.

Here is my Blog Action Day challenge. If we all commit to considering changing one small thing we do for the sake of the environment, we would probably have a pretty good chance of succeeding. If we succeed, we tend to feel positively and be more open to considering one more small thing. Soon, we will see change on a larger scale. Shop with a cloth bag. Not fourteen at first, just one. See how it works. Try out different bags to see what size/shape you like. Buy Borax instead of Tilex. See how it works. Ride your bike instead of driving. See how you like it.
To me, sustainable change needs to be positive, and manageable. Accessible. Otherwise we environmentalists wind up pushing ourselves to the fringe, where our voice fades.

Just some thoughts.

Happy Blog Action Day!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

empathy

Today I took the boys to a Thai restaurant for lunch. We had delicious hot & sour soup (Matthew ate all the tofu), rice, spring rolls, and peanut chili rice noodles. Yum, yum! The boys mostly ate rice. Ayden was thoughtful for a few minutes after the meal, and then asked me,
"Mommy, Matthew's tummy mommy is from Thailand, right?"
"Yes."
"Why didn't Matthew stay with his tummy mommy after he was born?"
"Well, she didn't have enough money to keep him. She didn't have money to send him to school, or buy him clothes, or buy him food, or a house to live in, so she gave him to us."
Tears just flooded down his face.
"But mommy, that would be very hard for them to say goodbye!"
Being the weeper that I am, tears flooded my face too, so fast it was difficult for me to talk.
"Yes, it was. Very hard for Kun-Mae to say goodbye to Matthew, and hard for Matthew to say goodbye to her."
"Why?"
"Because Kun-Mae loves Matthew, and Matthew loves Kun-Mae. But you know, it was a good thing in the end because we got to have Matthew in our family as our littlest brother, and we are all happy now.
Someday we'll go back to Thailand and visit Matthew's tummy mommy again, so it was not goodbye forever."
"Okay."

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Awesome day

Today was my 2nd of 4 days off. We all slept long and quietly...I had NO night walkers, criers, nightmarers, requests for water, or even wimperers. What a sleep! I haven't had a sleep like that in years!! This morning we woke up to the alarm, but easily because we had all had enough to sleep. Ayden helped me make breakfast, Matthew went to the bathroom without crying (usually, the first thing in the morning pee is just too much for him, emotionally...I mean, c'mon, pee is just too much for God to ask us to handle, don't you think??), and I didn't get impatient even though we were running about 15 minutes late for preschool. I even cooked a hot breakfast; cream of wheat porridge with raisins, brown sugar, and milk. It was yummy.
I've determined that shopping with Ayden is pretty much the WORST activity known to humankind and I officially hate it now that I have the luxury of shopping without him while he is in school. Matthew is such a sweet, gentle, cooperative three year old, especially when away from the influence of his brother (this influence goes both ways, as Ayden is much more cooperative when Matthew is not in attendance, as well), that he is actually nice to shop with because he is good company. One doesn't want to get lonely while shopping.
So, we went shopping. I had to weather a million 'why?' questions but by now I'm used to them...they are so close in age that I didn't have much of a gap between their why stages and so have been answering incessant whys for about 2 years. He's helpful, and hilarious. He's always cracking jokes, seriously.
"Matthew, can you hold this yogurt for me?"
"Mommy, no yogurt. No," as he takes it from me.
"What do you mean it's not yogurt? It's yogurt!"
"No; bum bum!"
famous. I wonder if you can be a standup comedian with the word 'bumbum' as your signature joke?
We then picked up Ayden, who screamed at me for 10 minutes on the way home for a minor infraction, accompanied by a request for an attitude adjustment, and finally a minor punishment. I gave his teacher some crackers to keep at school for his snack, and he didn't want me to, I asked him to stop screaming at me or he would not be allowed to have a snack in the car as per usual, and he didn't stop screaming so I revoked his snack priviledges. Sometimes I feel like a police officer or referee at some hideously petty sports event?!
Then he hated my lunch.
After lunch I put on a movie for them and went upstairs for a nap. Hallelujah! I slept for 30 minutes!! Then we went for a 45 minute bike ride (see pix below) in the hazy autumn sunshine. Gorgeous!!
I even made a supper that was eaten by all! Nothing but success today! Too bad one can't make 2500/month carting to and from preschool, shopping, cooking, and going for bike rides!
Thank you to those of you who keep posting encouragements; they really make my day!! It is good to know I have you rooting for me. Thanks for reading :)