I'm not worried that the curriculum and public system will fail her (it will, but likely not enough to bother me). I'm not worried she have to deal with bad teachers and mean kids (she will, I did, it sucks but I don't think it can be avoided). I'm not worried about her safety in the classroom or on the playground (we live in a safe city in a safe country and pathetically people are way too freaked-out about American law suits to let kids play "dangerously" anymore anyway). I'm not worried she won't make friends or have a good time or learn some useful stuff.
I'm worried about what to pack her for lunch.
My friend's daughter started junior kindergarten this year and they sent home a disturbingly long list of items that are BANNED from the classroom. As in, send your child with any of these items and we will take them away, throw them out in a biohazardous bin and your child will go hungry. All to keep the other kid(s?) safe from LIFE THREATENING allergies. The list includes the obvious total nut ban but also: anything with whole wheat/gluten, anything with eggs and anything with dairy. They also provided a helpful (?) list of recommended items such as very expensive rice crackers and other gluten-free items.
My friend is a single low-income mother who's picky eater lives on eggs, cheese and Cheerios. So she's SOL on the snack front.
Now, lest it seem I'm unsympathetic to children with allergies, I was the loser weezy kid with all the allergies (dairy, cats, dust, fish, etc.) who had to bring her own dessert (Twinkies - nothing harmful there because it contains no actual food) to birthday parties. I also have a serious full-anaphylaxis to salmon. I've never needed it but I carry an adrenaline kit with me everywhere just in case. But here's the thing: none of this stuff will kill me if someone else is eating it. I understand that the peanut/nut thing can actually (though very rarely) cause serious issues based solely on proximity but when the hell did these other allergens go airborne? Is anaphylaxis to wheat that common these days?
So far my kid seems to have dodged the allergen issue (knock wood) but I can't believe that even if she had a problem I would try to have it banned from the entire school. I would definitely make sure she knew that she was not supposed to eat other kids food and tell the teacher if I was really worried but hell, if my kid is allergic to cats should I make all the kids with cats take showers and wash their clothes before entering the building?
Make no mistake, I'm a control-freak so I understand the impulse to try to protect your child from harm using every means possible but what the hell do these people think their kids are going to do on field trips, when they go to high school, in a mall food court, etc. But maybe I'm blaming the wrong people. Maybe the lawsuit-paranoid schools are to blame. It just kills me that risk-adverse decisions like this one, made with no evidence or logic to support them, will likely do more harm to the kids whose parents can't afford the time or money to be able to find nutritious food that fits the rules (and that their kids will actually eat). I'm willing to bet Twinkies haven't been banned.
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When you've spent all Sunday sneezing (thanks random allergies!!!) and then spend a shit night tossing and turning and blowing your nose, on your way to work in the morning, when you're feeling like a snuffly sucky lump, do not listen to Rosanne Cash sing "Motherless Children". It will turn you completely maudlin and make your eyes water in a way you can't entirely blame on the allergies.
In a town with a ton of fun things to do with your kid before dark, I think there's a real niche to be filled for parents of babies those circadian rhythm more resembles a teenager than an infant. I'm also a complete snob when it comes to paying too much money to eat/drink in horrible chain restaurants/pubs. So I'm working on a list of decent places in Ottawa where parents can get a pint and well-behaved babies can enjoy yams fries after dark (read: 8pm, I'm not completely neglectful):
The list so far:
Wednesday night I walked into her room to find her very methodically placing all her socks in the heating vent. And then taking them out. And then putting them back in. Last night the stuffed animals were getting this treatment.
To be clear, there normally are vent-covers on but ever since she could scoot herself anywhere she's been obsessed with taking them off.
Message to soon-to-be-new parents: seriously, don't bother buying them any toys (especially not the award-winning ones) - no toy invented by adults will ever come close to having the appeal of a non-toy. Oh and you may need to baby-proof the heating ducts.
Hopefully his family and mine won't mind. After all, it'll only be the paranoids like us and the Mormons who survive "The End" so we'll all need to stick together and live communally anyway. Bring on the polygamy. Or polyandry. I'm not picky.
Plus he also introduced me to the word "TEOTWAWKI". How could a survival-fetishist (mostly in the literary "likes to read books about it" sense) like me not know about this word before!? I am chastened by my lack of skillz and knowledge. I think in addition to stockpiling some water next to the Twinkies in the basement I have a lot of work to do to really be prepared.
I'm going to go learn to tie some knots now since the stupid Girl Guides didn't teach me anything other than the art of the trans-fat cookie up-sell.
Internet love-connection assisted by sub-studio.
"I didn't know shit about shit when I went to college. If I had to do it over again, I would have taken a year off after high school and volunteered in a developing country to 1) lose ten pounds from intestinal parasites, 2) get my priorities straight (after having lost the ten pounds) and 3) separate myself from external influence. But I didn't. I had no idea what I wanted out of college - all I knew is that I was there and I had to do well or else, because that is the way I am programmed."
And, as a bonus to weight-loss, there's also lots of good evidence now that parasites help maintain a happy balanced immune system.
Ahahahahahahahahaha. Ha. Ahahahahahaaahaha.
I'm not sure I'm not more distressed and dismayed about the thought of being made into a Guinea pig.
Failure to make eye contact and provide a greeting would make it completely acceptable and reasonable for someone to assume you're a total bitch, correct?
Or, perhaps I'm just projecting because she was wearing at least $500 worth of coordinated running gear and did not appear to possess sweat glands.
Na. Bitch should have a least nodded.
"Mr. Jackson our brindle Boston Terrier, is nothing but a big beating heart of love."
This picture and this quote make me smile. In a not-so-nice kind of way.
However, I can't decide whether these people are extreme hipsters or totally authentic. The post-modern confusion makes my head hurt. Like watching Keanu Reeves' acting.
Image: Rue via the brilliant MFAMB.
Multi-tasking: exercise and creativity.
My favourite quote of the day. From a very interesting article in the NY Times by Errol Morris.
There's a list of projects I'm dying to start on and I keep adding to it in my head. I can almost visualize my ant-self running around trying to get everything done before snuggling up and hunkering down for winter. A couple of the things I want to do are on the creative side including doing some painting. I always hesitate to talk aloud to anyone about my artistic impulses because somehow I'm embarrassed by having them. Like it's my own dirty little secret. I know that's weird. I'm not sure where along the way transitioning from childhood to adulthood I became so consumed by self-consciousness that it often prevents me from expressing my creativity in ways other than rearranging the furniture (which, actually, is more likely an expression of my borderline-OCD but whatever) but it's pitiful. I get discouraged from even trying something artsy because I'm so concerned it won't be good or worthwhile.
There's also a part of me that considers time spent being creative as a waste. Not for other people, just for me. As though I should be using my scarce personal resources doing something more intrinsically useful or valuable. Like washing windows. For me, doing anything artistic seems like a luxury. I so envy people who allow themselves the time and space to be artistic and create. My husband is an incredible musician and I envy not only his talent but also his ability see the value in creative work. I especially admire him for pushing himself to get over his own issues with self-confidence so that he can get up on a stage and perform.
Anyway, all this to say that this weekend I'm going to force myself to take some time to be artistic. To take some photos, to spray-paint some canvas... and, maybe to rearrange some furniture. Because that, I can always justify.
I don't think I should need a dictionary to read the only language I speak. Actually, I'm pretty sure they made up some of those words (and Google spellcheck agrees with me). Macro-prudential? Contestability? Seriously, who speaks like that?
Goddammed OECD. They should be stopped. Don't even get me started on the part where they recommend that Canada should implement user-fees for healthcare services. I can feel my blood pressure rising. Someone should do a study of the impact of OECD Reports on rising healthcare costs. I'm certainly gonna bill them for my aneurysm.
My little bro just moved back across the country to do his medical residency. A sample:
"At the beginning of June, the patient drove across the country, unwitnessed, with roughly $2500 worth of IKEA utensils and clothes stuffed into the back of a silver station wagon, all of which he claims belong to him. The journey took him 10 days, of which he actually drove 4. Upon arriving home, he was greeted by two loving parents and a socially-maladjusted cat. In hindsight, the patient feels he should have driven in the opposite direction."
This is his first post so I figured I'd use the threat of all three of my readers to pressure him into keeping up with it.
For context, it helps to have read the brilliant book "House of God".
How to get to your new job
Taking the bus is very economical and practical. To learn more, visit the following Internet sites.
OC Transpo: www.octranspo.com/Main_MenuE.asp .
The Société de transport de l’Outaouais: www.sto.ca/index_e.asp ."
No other modes/options are mentioned. Apparently if I wish to walk, bike or drive I'm assumed to be able to figure out the details on my own.
Last year's trip was a touch insane. What with the 2 dogs, 2 large backpacks, 1 hour hike in, very cool weather, oh and the 6 week old infant. It turned out to be a wonderful time but I was definitely stressed-the-fuck-out. This year I feel I'll be a bit more relaxed even though the kid is far more high-maintenance. She'll likely be walking by then and she's already getting into enough trouble crawling; we'll likely be breaking out the custom kid leash at some point.
I am feeling much more motivated to bring better food this year. Last year I was a tad distracted by panic (see: backcountry camping with a 6 week old) and we ended up with edible but boring meals. For this trip I've been very inspired by this gorgeous post from These Roving Eyes.
That charcuterie looks so simple yet brilliant. I think a charcuterie may be the perfect idea for a backcountry evening meal. A selection of interesting meats and cheeses, bagette, olives, fruit, wine.... yum. For dessert, I may try to pull-off something with mini brownies and caramel sauce.
Damn, I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.
Edited to add: pumpkin brownies..... mmm.
In financial parlance, the opposite of liquid. That which cannot quickly and easily be converted into cash, such as real estate, collectibles, and thinly traded securities.
Suffering from a long-weekend extreme case of the Mondays.
I'm feeling grumpy, frumpy and about 5 years old. I trudged to work this morning in the rain in knock-off Chucks and a dark blue trenchcoat that has never fit properly and makes me feel like a child wearing her Mother's coat.
Feeling like a bridge troll in all my glory, I'm waiting for a crosswalk light and one of those girls/women that seems to walk without touching the ground glides up. All 90 pounds of her in ballet flats, skinny jeans, perfect blazer, gorgeous bag and amazing hair.
Is it too late to just go back to bed?
P.S. That's not my view in the picture above, it's my manager's. From my cubicle I have a stunning view of the wall of the tower of the building next to me.
Her incredibly beautiful description of Delhi:
"Shirtless men urinate on the sidewalk while infotech entrepreneurs whiz by in German luxury sedans; street children beg for rupees in the eternal fume-choked embolism that is every Delhi roundabout. Barefoot women in psychedelic saris go about their business washing clothes in the make-shift shanty towns outside the guarded gates of Mughal forts and ancient mausoleums. The back street bazaars offer an olfactory deluge of street food, men's cologne, human excrement, burning garbage, burning incense; touters yell Madam! Madam! Madam! And everywhere, long-faced street dogs."
I finally gave up reading "The Strain". Not finishing a book, even a terrible one, is something I rarely ever do but, since my reading time is precious these days, I tossed this one. It was completely awful from the start and just kept getting worse.
So now I'm onto the first book in the "Dies the Fire" trilogy and so far (page 158) it's pretty enjoyable. Enough talk of grim death and destruction but not overwhelmingly so (hint hint, Cormac McCarthy). The writer is obviously a giant nerd who's a tad obsessed with Wiccan and Tolkien theology but not enough to get too annoying.
One campy thing that I did get a chuckle out of was the extremely well-time and "peaceful" (diabetes, no insulin) deaths of a Mormon couple that results in our heroes having a bounty of supplies on which to start their new pre-Industrial revolution lives. Oh those Mormons and their helpful stockpiling. I laugh but in all practicality, I really should figure out where the closest Mormons are to me. I feel somehow that when/if the shit hits the fan, I may become slightly more inclined to convert.
Signs from my trip to work.
I live in an area of Ottawa that has yet to experience the joys of gentrification. It's already beginning - I call myself a First Wave Gentrifier - but hasn't touched the core business areas. There are still some amazing storefronts totally devoid of pretension or any of the well-groomed niceties of the modern big box strip mall.
I think my favourite sign is "Zak's & Tony's Hair Stylists". I have this image in my head of two very queenie gay guys fighting over who got the apostrophe; saving the future of their business partnership only by agreeing that they could both have one.
Edited to add - my husband noticed this one on the way home:
It's been a long time since I've had a relaxing message.
This story was recommended as a "You might be interested in" following an article I read in the Seattle Times. The more I read that headline, the less sense it makes. It's kind of beautiful really.
Of course, I'm not sure what this recommendation says about my taste in news items.
Lots and lots of numbers. Formulas, decimal points, fractions, percentages, etc. I didn't realize how many numbers would be involved when I took the gig. I don't think I would have taken it if I had known since I have an almost Pavlovian/Clockwork Orange response of overwhelming nausea when I see too many numbers. When I'm reading something and I see numbers I just stop thinking and skim until my eyes get back to proper words. It's my coping technique to avoid the nausea. To sum: I am most definitely not a "math" person.
I think I used to be. At least, I remember being pretty good at math and enjoying it when I was younger. Though, I know I never did well when math questions were given to me out of context. I remember taking an enrichment program screening test in Grade 6 and scoring very well in all sections except math, despite having good marks in that subject.
Grade 8 was a turning point on the good marks part. I started at a new school that taught integers using plastic bingo chips (?!). I'd already learned integers in school the previous year but the bingo-markers so confused me that I started getting Ds. I was a pretty serious kid so the Ds freaked me out. I felt stupid and that made me feel sick. That year destroyed any confidence I had in my math skills.
After high school I chose my undergrad degree path based on wanting to avoid taking the difficult math classes. I gave up on my "dream" of going to medical school because I refused to take those classes. In the end I don't regret not trying for med school but it's a tad pathetic that I felt forced to make that decision because I was so scared of failing the math prerequisites.
A few years ago I got it in my head to apply to graduate school to do a Master's in Epidemiology. The school required a Graduate Records Exam as part of the submissions process. One part of the GRE is algebra; a kind of math I hadn't done in the 10 years since high school (those bastards so lie when they say you'll need that shit in real life). I tried to prepare for the test by attempting to re-teach myself the concepts and writing practice exams. It was an expensive test to write at a time when I had barely enough money for food. I was determined to do well. The time came to write it, I started the algebra component, panicked, blanked out and spent the rest of the test fighting the urge to puke. Needless to say, I didn't get in to the program and the experience only reaffirmed my instinctual avoidance of all things numerical.
Which brings me to my new job. The one involving numbers. I'm determined to take a mature adult approach to this situation and try to deal with my shit. Rather than going with my first instinct of begging my old job to take me back. Actually, some really nerdy part of me is almost excited at the thought that I may actually get a chance to enjoy numbers again and feel more confident about them.