lenora_rose: (Default)
2017-04-10 09:58 pm

(no subject)

1) This is NOT crossposting to LJ. I think I may simply abandon my LJ and not delete, since deleting requires me to agree t the new terms long enough to get in. I am hoping to retrieve comments. I do intend to contact two people I see there and check if/how they plan to post in future, but otherwise, anyone I know who was posting there either crossposts here or has effectively abandoned this style of blogging.

2) This is a repeat of my last facebook post, so no new content for anyone who sees me post there.

Two in a row "why I suck as a person". Took Elise to the vet today because 2 claws had overgrown so far they were cutting into her paw, deep enough one of them left a bit of necrotizing tissue. (Cue all my freaking out about how none of us noticed sooner even though she cuddles up in peoples laps and gets petted still - but within the weekend alone me, Colin and my mother all held her and missed seeing it. It was a friend who finally said he saw something wrong with her paw.)

She's fine, home and stuck in a cone for a week while it heals. And pills, yay.

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!

So the litter boxes were a disgrace and with an injured cat, I was bound and determined to clean them up. The day was cool but nice enough I cracked a window for the upstairs box. Normal so far.

The downstairs boxes have no convenient window, so I popped the front door open.

Shortly thereafter Joseph appears at my side, first commenting on what I'm doing (I already had to stop him "helping" once while upstairs) then stepping out onto the porch. I grab him ag once and bring him inside, telling him both it's not time for a walk and it's too cold to be out barefoot. He heads around the corner and plonks at the piano for a while. Colin, incidentally, is well within earshot and attention, or would be if he weren't worn out and sick . So he misses all of this. And stupidly, I don’t point it out.

So neither of us sees Joseph quietly slip right behind me and back out the door. And up the alley barefoot.

So after a dpuble check of the house I grab my phone and shoes and head off. Colin calls 911.

Two streets down, a woman, leaving her parents' house, sees a barefoot boy in a light shirt cross the street, and brings him over to their house. They get his name out of him (kinda, he says Joseph Patrick but he also adds something they interpret as David, which was probably "Dave and Ava") and also call 911. (The mom also recognizes a child with some kind of developmental delay, and seems quite taken with him, both further points in her favour if "sheltering lost child" isn't enough.)

So a minimal amount of panic later we're reunited. But I am left feeling like a horrible person all around.

(Let me make clear; nobody else did or said anything to make me feel that way and I am not looking for reassurances about my own nature. Just recognizing my own fragile emotional state, itself a reasonable reaction.)
lenora_rose: (Default)
2016-09-06 10:28 pm
Entry tags:

(no subject)

Twice within the last week, my world seems to be being turned upside down because someone made an incorrect assumption and never actually asked or cleared it up. in the first case, i can say with my own experience the person is someone competent and capable in other circumstances, in the latter, I have no idea.

Event number one:

I've been working full time for the last several weeks on a temporary contract (basically as a file clerk, but with a particular file reorganization project in mind). I am at best partway through the project I'm supposed to be working on (partly due to a snafu with supplies but also because two other departments have borrowed me for their own projects, to the tune of roughly 3 weeks' work.) and my immediate manager had made it clear in casual conversation that she assumed I'd be around for a while yet.

Well, my contract was up September 2nd, and while all the unofficial conversation assumed I was still going to be there, I had seen nothing from the temp agency or the company that officially extended my contract. So, since I tend to let things lie until they're almost due (that part of both snafus I will happily own), I pointed this out to my manager on Thursday.

Because the other two temps working there (at another location) had contracts that run to September 30th, she'd believed mine did, too.

But normally, one day's notice is still time enough to extend a contract. It's happened to me before, and not just once.

Turns out, though, that the CEO of the company, somewhere down in the US, had put out word of an hiring freeze WITHIN THE WEEK. So they literally could not extend my contract despite pretty much everyone involved on the ground really really wanting to. (Me included. Despite this incident, it's a lovely place to work, I really liked it.)

There's some hope that my manager can eventually get some kind of a special permission, or something, and summon me back, and I have made it clear to both the temp agency and everyone involved with me directly that I'll show up as soon as I'm called. But I'm at best on unpaid leave again for a couple of weeks.

Just in time for the first week Joseph goes to real school.

Which leads directly to Event number two.

I hadn't heard anything from the school (which had my application since just after last year's spring break), but when I called the School Division's Special Needs Support person (Not her title but I am too tired to look it up), she'd said I probably wouldn't hear anything from them until right before Joseph is due to go to class.

Well, that's now, and I still had nothing. So, being off work, and with a husband who HATES doing phone calls more than I do, I finally called today to find out how exactly they arrange Kindergarten.

The school said they thought he was going to another school.

A couple of phone calls more, and I finally twig to what happened.

St. Amant is a private organization that does (among many other things) a whole lot of programs for autistic children, including a full blown home tutoring for preschool children (which Joseph never got due to being diagnosed late enough he aged out before the waiting list hit the end), a pre-Kindergarten preparatory class (Which he has been doing, and thriving in, and which ended last week), and sending tutors to schools to help support children whose needs they feel the school division support system alone can't handle. (school divisions vary in both budget and staff, though not as drastically as in some places.)

We got our acceptance letter for St. Amant's School Age program within the last 2 weeks.

So did the school. But they thought it meant J. would be going *to* St. Amant and not to the school division, not that they would get additional support.

When, after calling the school, having the school staff member in charge of special needs (not the principal as I was told to expect) call me, calling St. Amant, and calling the school back, I finally figure this out. It took that long partly because the guy talks in buzzwords a bit, and partly because I had assumed that someone working for a school would, well, know how this works better than a first-kid-in-school mom.

I pointed this out to the person I was talking to, and he went to call the person in charge at St. Amant to clear things up. I hoped to hear back before the end of the day, but nobody called me today.

If they don't call tomorrow AM, I'm debating whether it's better to walk in and deal with this in person, or phone again.

HOW DOES A SCHOOL NOT KNOW THIS? I was told when I applied that another child with autism will be in Kindergarten, so they can't have never had this support before, can they?

All in all, though, not exactly the way to impress a nervous mom that your school will be remotely aware of what inclusion and integration actually entail, or that he'll get the support he needs from them.

The first of these two has me sad and a bit frustrated more than anything. The second one has me simmering.
lenora_rose: (Baby)
2016-07-06 10:41 pm

Last week...

So; this is how the week has been:

Saturday:

- I turn 40. Celebrating with family is put off until next day because Mom is sick, and we all suspect that won't be long enough.

Sunday:
- Nice church service. Family celebration put off again until Tuesday. Not surprising. Alex is a bit fussy from a long-running running nose, and Wilma asks a couple of times if he feels warm to me, and he doesn't, any more than usual, I think.

Monday:
- First day at my new job, a few weeks' term position for a company that makes pharmaceuticals. ("All" I'm doing is sorting and documenting and other paperwork tasks). This day is pretty much all training meetings: First an intro to the company and its vision, then health and safety, then Good Manufacturing Practices (And why they exist; the long history of how and why the regulations for pharmaceuticals exist, including everything from snake oil up to the person who tainted Tylenol on store shelves). Then good documentation practices, the only part directly relevant to me, I hope, health and safety being the sort of thing you need to know but where you don't want to have to use the knowledge.
- I get home to learn Alex has been feverish, very fussy and altogether not well. He throws up a bit in the evening before supper.
- Regardless, I get to go out and do the planned birthday thing with some friends, which is essentially go to Baked Expectations for dessert. I bypass my entire general favourite category of dessert (cheesecake!) of which they have many excellent ones, in favour of a hazelnut meringue torte. The hazelnut meringue part is amazing. The hazelnut buttercream filling is excellent but starts feeling very heavy at the end. I give it 8/10, would order again, but maybe to split a piece with someone.

Monday Night/Tuesday Morning:
- Alex is very fussy and ends up sleeping with me in bed from midnight or so on. Around 3, he starts wriggling and kicking and being very awake, so I move him from where he's kicking Colin to the other side of me (Also so he can try to nurse a new side) ... and he promptly throws up instead. Clean up, temperature taking, anti-fever meds, and a long slog to convince him to go back to sleep ensue. He falls asleep after 4:30, but before 5.
- Fever was 103.1, enough we know he's going to the doctor in the morning, not enough to run him to Emergency on the spot.

Tuesday:
- Work starts giving me real work. Yay! Also, there's a lot of what's effectively self-directed on computer training to do. I am closer to zombie-like than I would like to be on my second day, but it seems alright.
- Colin takes Alex to the doctor around lunch; the doctor sends him for blood tests and asks for a urine sample to be dropped off next day. I contemplate the logistics of getting such a sample from a 15 month old; my best suggestions is tell him we're going to give him a bath, and stand him naked in the bathtub for about 30 seconds (water in tub optional).
- Later, the doctor calls back, and says that the fever (103.6) plus the elevated white blood cell count means Alex should be seen by emergency. Which Colin has to do, me being at work at the time.
- At least this means I can go for my usual run with Joseph... although Joseph does in fact make this a bit less fun when he both tries to run down to the river in the park without me, AND has a minor accident (The kind that means he needs to change his pants, not the kind that means he's hurt or upset). While the fire pit near the river is a frequents spot for some of the transitory and homeless populations and that meant that this time he was being watched before I got there, "Down to the river" is really a place I do NOT want a 4-year-old with a tendency to run off to ever get the idea it's safe or permissible to go alone.
- Colin and Alex stay at the hospital until past 1 AM. this at least means I get 4 hours of unbroken sleep first, before they get home and I nurse and settle the baby in bed.
- Alex, alas, had been catheterized and given a battery of tests (as Colin put, it, probably the worst day of his life to date) while they tried to find out what was wrong. They eliminated many possibilities but didn't yet have a concrete diagnosis; some tests take longer to resolve. They're expected back the next day.

Wednesday:
- More work. I'm more awake and getting the hang of the general idea, though there are a lot of things about how a typical day will go that aren't gelled yet. I also chose an earlier start (eek) and end time, because the earlier end time works better for seeing the boys.
- Colin takes Alex back to the hospital. More tests, more items eliminated. Alex is home before I am.
- Alex seems on an upswing; lower fever, and some cheerful play. Right up until bedtime, when he gets warm, gets fussy, and is up late. And up a LOT. Basically it feels like a reoccurrance of the worst of things, though he does not, in fact, throw up in the bed this time.

Thursday:
- Would have been an employee appreciation day, over at Investors Group Field (The football stadium), except I call in "Baby sick". The manager's remark was, "If you're going to miss a day, this is the day to miss."
- This means when the doctor calls and says Alex has signs of bacteria in his blood, and we should go to the hospital, it's my turn.
- The good news is, this also means they can start giving in an antibiotic because they know antibiotics as a genre are the thing to do. Details about whether the antibiotic is a resistant strain left as guesswork. Less good; the IV comes loose in the last few moments (while flushing out) so it can't stay in to the next day. Which means more needles for the repeat dose, hurrah.
- Alex seems to start feeling better, but also he and I get a nap in the afternoon. His fever by nightfall is borderline maybe-still-there maybe-not.
- and as a minor insult-to-injury, my brother has been sick a couple of days by this time, so even if we'd wanted to push Alex, we couldn't do the family gathering.

Friday:
- Canada Day!
- Starts off with ANOTHER trip to the hospital and another shot of antibiotic. On the plus side, his fever seems to be gone at last, and this was more like a routine doctor's visit, even if it happens in the emergency ward. And the IV stayed in.
- Taking Joseph on his usual run is not nearly so usual, as it weaves us in and out of the Osborne Canada Day stuff. He really doesn't like the crowds but did seem to like his ice cream sandwich. He tried some bouncy castle type stuff (Even said an explicit yes to trying one. Explicit yesses are less than 3 weeks old at this point and usually meant), but was less than wholly delighted after all.
- the fireworks go off shortly after Alex woke and fussed anyhow, so he fell asleep not long after they ceased without being overly troubled.

Saturday:
- the LAST shot. The last hospital visit. We go home with a prescription for more antibiotics. (And they call to confirm Sunday that it's not going to be resistant to the change in medication.)
- I get to do a get-together with my brother and some friends for my birthday. Not quite the long since cancelled family gathering but great anyhow. Alas, the Indian place we wanted to go for dinner was closed for some event (My first thought seeing the saris through the window was a wedding but it could have been any kind of banquet) so we had to make do with good burgers. Nice but not the same...



This week, incidentally, is no better for busy-ness, even if it's much more cheerful and much less fretful - work is settling in nicely, and the real project is starting to take over, but also, it's Folk Fest time. I was on shift at the fest today, I'll be at work tomorrow, and on shift volunteering again on Friday at the crack of seven AM.

This will be the first time EVER I have been working but not had the opportunity to take the Monday off.
lenora_rose: (Labyrinth)
2016-05-24 02:01 am
Entry tags:

(no subject)

I talked about this on facebook, but I have longer thoughts, too.

Joseph and I go for walks after school most days, and sometimes on other days (like Sunday). Well, as I joke, they are more like "runs"; he will run whenever there are cars moving on the street, as if he's trying to keep up with them -- and a bit extra for things like buses or motorcycles or oddities. I usually jog as much as I'm willing, so it goes in bursts of speed-up and slow-down as the waves of traffic pass.

I also let him pick the route *most* of the time, although I may put my foot down on going home once we've been at it a while. My focus has been on teaching him street crossing, reminding him to look for cars, and to wait for lights. I sometimes make him go my chosen way, or make a stop, partly to train him for when I really need him to go with me in a particular direction (like, again, Sunday). But mostly he has his little routes; they almost all start almost always up the alley the same way, down the first street the same way. It varies afterwards, but I can make some pretty good guesses where we're going, and it loops back on itself; we sometimes go right past home, and sometimes come pretty close. He tends to stick to major streets for much of it, because more cars.

He's been, I think, also using it to get a mental map of the area and how it all links up. Some of the repetition is autistic routine, or bits he particularly enjoys (We often make extra repeats of ramps), and some is testing his map, especially when he unexpectedly varies his path.

I kind of enjoy the routine, even if I often come out of one tired and footsore. It's also pretty good exercise, trying to cooperate with a 4 year old's energy level.

I feel even more glad he mostly chooses the routes, and that this means I know his most likely choices.

This is what I posted on Facebook:

Anyone who also has Colin on their news feed knows Joseph ran out of the house earlier today. He was found by a young woman who took his hand and tried to get him to lead her home. He led her instead on one of his walking routes (exactly the wrong way from home, though it would have looped back eventually.) Colin, at home, called the cops while one of the people I (out searching) asked flagged down a pair of paramedics on bicycles, who found her and then let m know she was bringing him my way (meanwhile the police Colin called also ended up intercepting her and brought her and Joseph to me and then me and Joseph safe home.)

We owe thanks to so many people; the woman who took his hand and looked for where he belonged and who, most of all, meant he was travelling safely and not running into traffic, the people who talked to me at River and Osborne who loaned me cell phones (my phone? Are you kidding? I left the house without putting on shoes. Granted, if such an awful thing happens again, I'm taking the phone if I can, but still screw the shoes.) and/or walked/biked the neighbourhood to search, the woman who flagged the paramedics while my panicked mind was still thinking, "but that's the wrong emergency services", the paramedics and police themselves. Even the one person I talked to who remembered a blond boy with a woman going by.

I'm still shaken, though.


It's so easy to second-guess everything.

This has happened now two and a half times for real, and a couple of other close calls. (The half is when he made his escape after leaving the car, not out of the house). The other two involved us being close behind, even in sight, so not quite the same as not being sure exactly how long, how far.

We have a latch on the door to the back hall but we know he figured out what to climb onto to reach it. Should we have moved that thing, so he at least needed to drag a chair over? We have a different fastener on the outside door we know he CAN get at, again with something to climb onto, but again slows him and causes trouble. We even have a windchime set so that opening the door will make it ring, and it's audible on both floors, though probably not in the bathroom with the fan or shower on.

I was upstairs in the shower. Well, except after I finished the shower I sat upstairs alone for a long time, just reading a book. And I mean half an hour or more. (Colin was downstairs, and could speak to his own reasons for not catching on; I will say that while they weren't any better than mine, they weren't worse, either.) I went downstairs, past Colin and into the kitchen, thinking we were overdue to deal with lunch; and saw the door. I don't remember what I said, but enough to get him up and moving, and then I was off, shoeless and purseless, down the alley as I was.

Colin was a bit more active than I make it sound; he made sure Alex was safe, checked Joseph's route the opposite way, and the playground, then sat down at home to call the police and mind Alex (and the phone). I found most of this out afterwards, when I borrowed the phones, or even after I got home.

Do we need to have a more orderly plan in place? More than just "Next time I bring my cell"? Colin did exactly the right thing. I was keeping it together in most ways until Joseph was safe (I had a really obvious increase in panic and stress symptoms once I was told he was found, and more once I had him, but I was aware even as I was managing to think out plans while I walked that I wasn't thinking entirely clearly.)

Had I come downstairs sooner, would I have seen Joseph while he was still in the house? He starts working on getting outside when he's bored with indoor stuff; I could have started an activity with him. We need to do more of that; more things that aren't default habits. Might I have at least arrived soon enough to nab him in the first block? Did I hear a chime and assume Colin was in control? I don't remember doing so, so probably not, but the other escape out of the house happened when I heard the chime but had thought Colin (who was working on renos) was doing work that involved going outside as well as into and out of the basement.

There's the things I have done lackadaisically, like teaching Joseph to say his name (Which he can do -- but the officer said he never got a peep out of him, and the only thing Joseph said to me in the police car on the way home was "octagon stop sign" when we reached an intersection.) I've talked about making him an "all about me" book to teach him rote answers to "what's your name?" and "where do you live?" but haven't made it.

I keep wondering if we should get him some jewellery that has his name and address, but teaching him to wear it, all the time, would be some doing; he doesn't like wristbands, and he's very good at figuring out fasteners (see again: everything we've done to our doors to slow him down)

I've also wondered about preemptively flyering the neighbourhood with his picture and home address and an explanation that he's a flight risk with poor verbal skills. The houses and apartments and condos, probably not; not only would it be a dauntingly huge undertaking, but it carries a lot of OTHER issues. But maybe the businesses, at least the ones that have a view out the window? I keep thinking this is a bad idea, but is it a worse idea than not doing it, if he vanishes again? And yet again, most of my samaritans were just people shopping or going about their day, although the woman who flagged the paramedics is one of the people who runs a street kiosk.

We're planning on building a fence around the yards this summer; that was part of the plan already.

The other bit I posted on facebook:
And for a super-fun follow-up: we were at a party at the house of one of Colin's old friends this afternoon, in their back yard. We'd figured out how to keep him from opening the gate right away. Then he followed the other kids inside once ... and inside, went instead to the front door, opened it and was off down the street. In Fort Richmond, which he doesn't know and where we would have no idea where to look after 5 minutes. One of the other parents caught on and chased him down, so he was brought back quickly (he leaves doors open behind him), but we had to spend half of the rest of the party minding all possible exits. It's that fast.
lenora_rose: (Default)
2015-09-17 02:21 pm

August and Reno plans

August was a significant step up from July, though almost anything would be. And it started with one more small kick.

Context: We have (had) an RV, a rather small one. It was basically a converted van (Ford Econoline size or only slightly longer) with a raised roof so a second bed could be put in above the driver. We got this from Colin's parents for $1.00. It gave them a place to stay when in town that was on our property (sorta, see below) but not in the house, which was a good balance between making their visits easier and giving us a semblance of privacy. (the area with the spare bed in our house is separated from my private study by some shelving, not even a wall. This is Not Good for any of us.)

Thing is, our property is a lot of house and not much yard. We do have a two car driveway but even when we didn't have two cars, we used both spaces because there's not a lot of street parking.

Our neighbours' house is a rental property mostly used by seasonal workers. The main regular there, R, we get along with pretty well when we see him at all. And they have a pretty good sized parking area that's underused.

The house owners had trimmed their hedges back then left the pile of cut branches on their parking pad, a pile of wooden debris that, when our yard was a mess, other neighbours also blamed on us in their note asking us to clean up. (which we did, but often have to re-do...) So we made an agreement with R that if we cleaned those branches etc up for them, we could use that space for the RV. It's been there since the summer before Joseph was born (we turned on the engine a couple of times to make sure it would run, but that's it.)

So at the tail end of July and start of August, the property owner decided that was it and asked us to move it. Which is fair, no complaints, and he agreed to let it stay until mid-September (ie, yesterday) when the in-laws would be heading back to BC.

AND, it turns out, if we sell it, R wants to buy it, to use when he goes up north.

But that left the dilemma, where do they stay when in town?

They'd been considering renting, but priced it out and looked at the Winnipeg market and didn't like either. They considered also buying a condo, but for at most 3-4 months of the year in use (2 months most summers, and some extra weeks as needed, usually just for mom-in-law), went nope.

They then looked at our house, at the amount of money they were considering, and said, "if we give you this, you could do the next big stages of renos you were considering. Would that possibly work out?"

...

yes. yes it would.

So, we have plans. It starts with redoing the half-bath on the main floor (the only part of the main floor under current consideration), because there will be a lot of plumbing done anyhow, and it's the one most guests use, so it should be pretty.

Then it involves a nigh-complete rearrangement of the upstairs floor. (Joseph's, later to be Joseph and Alex's, room will remain unchanged).

-Colin's computer alcove and our closet will become a significantly smaller but completely separated study for me.
-Our master bedroom will be a guest bedroom/sewing room.
- The bathroom will be enlarged by about 6-8 inches to fit a better bath, and redone.
- The chunk of my study right up against the bathroom will become an ensuite bathroom with a shower stall.
- The hall alcove across from the bathroom, and a part of my study adjacent to that will be a laundry area.
- The last bit of my study and the entire back storage area will become Colin's and my master bedroom.
- My much-neglected pottery stuff, which is occupying a lot of that back room now that isn't sewing stuff, will go in the basement where the laundry was, where it's sufficiently separated from Colin's woodworking stuff that I think we can live in harmony - we could even have a door or curtain. (the reason I wanted to set it up upstairs anyhow, before the back room got turned into as much of a sleeping space as it is.)

I will need to reduce my books and even more, reduce the depth of my shelf space (most of my shelving units are 12" deep and that won't do in a smaller room) but I definitely do not mind a smaller room. And while it's tricky to do reno projects around a curious pre-schooler, Colin being home allows for doing more stuff himself to save on money. He's fully capable, as demonstrated last time, of drawing up the plans, and he has a fair chunk of those done. He's already started on taking out the remains of the chimney that does nothing but cut into the bathroom space, and the plumber was by for initial estimates and to arrange times to start each phase of his work. (plumbing is not a DIY part of renos like knocking down walls -- at least not parts that involve moving and adding stacks. Colin feels up to putting in the shower stall we bought, and that level of plumbing.)

Anyhow, so that will be the big project going forward. We're not likely to have it far enough along to matter for my mother-in-law's next visit, in a month and a half (IE,. she'll still be sleeping in the current spare room) but we should be through at least the lower bathroom and working on the others.

I've mostly been boxing up a few of my books and starting to unearth my desk from the crud and papers. My main job this time around is almost certainly going to be keeping two small boys.
lenora_rose: (Baby)
2015-05-04 02:28 pm
Entry tags:

(no subject)

It's official.

Joseph had his language assessment 2 weeks ago, and his general assessment last Wednesday. His speech issues are exactly as we thought, no surprises.

His general assessment really wasn't a surprise either, to me. Apparently either I have been extremely negligent in discussing my concerns and thoughts with my husband, or Colin tried so hard to put the possibility out of his mind so as not to trigger his anxiety disorder that he let himself be blindsided instead. (Colin is the one who suggested the latter, not I. I have to confess, between discussions with his mom and mine, I might well have thought he and I addressed it more than we did.)

Joseph has autism spectrum disorder.

He's what they would call high-functioning, and not just because he's obviously smart - he does express affection at times, and even as we got him assessed, his language use is improving, with more spontaneous sentences, and more mimicry (touch is still his best tool for communication). But even some signs of his brightness are themselves flags - his level of interest and obsession with numbers, his ability to memorize and cite songs and books. It helped that there's a boy in his class who's also high-functioning autistic, and bright and interested in Joseph, and when she and I discussed our boys, we described a lot of the same behaviours and tendencies. (she also remarked on how much she sees her younger daughter doing that she didn't see with her son, in hindsight.). Those conversations I know I didn't share.

Another tool helping to prepare me is, well, seeing others go through the same process in public. So yes, posts like that matter.

In spite of this not being a surprise to me, and in spite of the fact that an accurate assessment will help provide services and tools for teaching him how to cope with his weaknesses, it left me fretful and depressed, a reaction I suspect is more based on the bogeyman version of autism than the reality, at least as far as our boy's level and degree.

Colin's anxiety shot through the roof on the spot, and he feels he has a lot more catching up to do. I really feel like I failed on good wifing. :P

That's where we stand until we have a chance to get to some information sessions and further appointments. Probably steady through the summer.

______________________


Alexander is doing very well, for a one month old. I think he's learning to smile.




(And on a whole other topic, yes, [personal profile] leonacarver, that's your book that snuck in the picture. Finished now, and liked it better than Piper.)
lenora_rose: (Default)
2015-03-29 04:24 pm
Entry tags:

In Short...

Went to bed Wednesday night/Thursday morning past 1.

Woke at about 3 with a weird and distinctive backache/abdominal pressure many women would recognize. (Didn't check time until I decided I needed to get up, after; it said 3:11.) I considered having a shower, but the 4th or so contraction was a bit too strong to be safe alone.

At 3:45 or so, after MAYBE 6 contractions, I woke Colin telling him the last two were 5 minutes apart and getting serious. We talked about how soon we might needed to leave.

THE VERY NEXT ONE, just after I slipped off the bed to try and ride it standing, my waters broke, the urge to push started. I could not move (literally, though I could actually bend the knees and the back, as I demonstrated trying to ride the contraction. Taking steps down the hall? Nope.) and told Colin we weren't making it to the hospital. He asked what he could do. I said Call 911.

They asked if we could feel anything. I reached down and I finally understood; the baby was CROWNING. At 911's behest I managed, barely, the herculean effort of getting back onto the bed and rolling onto my back on the towels Colin grabbed. And the next contraction, the baby's head was far enough to have started crying.

At 4:04 by the 911 dispatcher, my husband delivered our second son, Alexander William, wrapped him in a towel, handed it to me, and went downstairs to let in the paramedics (who got to cut the cord.)

7 Lb 8 oz.

All healthy, all home safe.

lenora_rose: (Default)
2015-01-12 12:24 am

Travel, and parental fretting

Feels half pointless to say so when I haven't exactly been blogging as much as I used to, but I almsot certainly won't in the next couple of weeks. We're headed to Orlando as of Wednesday for a family trip/visit (We'l;l be seeing my in-laws, including Colin's sister, again). At the time the trip was planned, it was assumed we would have maybe seen my M-i-L in November and nobody else since summer or longer, not that the loss of a family member would cause them all to visit in December.

Mostly we're planning the expected touristy things - some of the more toddler friendly with JoJo, some with just Colin and I (or with his sister as well) while JoJo stays at the resort with the grandparents.

Travelling while fairly heavily pregnant is something I'm not entirely looking forward to, but we are all planning carefully around, and I suspect the result will be the same increase in physical activity I've been wanting anyhow. And I have the sense to monitor my need for down time.
___________________

Joseph saw the doctor for a check-up, just because he hasn't been since he was around 18 months and needed his last vaccination until he's 5. And the Doctor strongly suggested, just from his behaviour in the office, that we have someone from Child Development Clinic look at him. Because some of it struck him as very abnormal for Joseph's age. He was, I admit, being especially bad at the doctor's office, being bored and restless, and thus even less responsive than usual, but not so far outside his normal range that I could shrug it off as just a bad day.

I can see it. Joseph is bright, and physically active, and displays high intelligence. Yet he often doesn't pay attention. He's got excellent memory and a good vocabulary but still doesn't always do dialogue or respond. He's missing some social skills and social cues, and even his lack of fear or shyness around strangers, which I consider a plus in most cases, could be symptomatic.

One oddity that has stood out for me for a while is, he knows Mommy -- especially, but also Grandmas and Daddy -- give him kisses. But he has never, or at best extremely rarely, tried to reciprocate. He's always been bad at imitation games, at copying things other people do. Usually because he stops watching them, not because he can't understand when he does look and think about it.

I would not be surprised if any look at him determines he falls inside the range of neurotypical, even if he has a few outlier traits (That's where I am, after all, especially re the outliers). I would be not at all surprised to learn it's mostly ADD, with the social skills mostly a matter of distraction -- a result rather than a symptom. (His uncle has, and one grandmother almost certainly has, ADD). I would be a bit more surprised, but consider it well within the realm of possibility, that there's a bit more going on and that some of those are symptoms of something in the range of low-grade autism or Asberger's. (He pretty definitely doesn't, at least at his age, have any sign of Colin's family's depression and anxiety disorders.)

I would be HUGELY surprised, and deeply skeptical, if anyone thought it was something serious enough to require medication.

I can say that there's nothing serious enough that he couldn't have learned to cope in a time period where forcing kids to cope or fail was the norm. I consider it plausible that, in these days of more awareness and accommodation, there are ways me might be happier and more able to learn if a diagnosis can be made.

And yet I fret. Is he having these problems because of times I didn't pay him enough close attention? I love him dearly, I try to express it daily, I try to give him social time. I also try to give him time to learn to play alone, while I work on other things (lunch, or a puzzle, or a book of my own.) He's seemed to be good at coming up and asking for attention or for a specific thing he needs while I'm doing this, but did I overdo the "mommy is doing other stuff" moments and underdo the rest? I don't think so, I think I struck a fair balance between over-hovering and under-attending, and one that doesn't seem too different from most other parents I've seen -- except apparently in my deep anxieties.

And yes, I know the "refrigerator mom" theory has been pretty heavily debunked (unless you're talking levels of isolation and non-socialization that would be visibly abusive), and that that's pretty much what the anxieties are pressing.

But I'm not a perfect mom. I get horribly frustrated when he does the things he knows are wrong and that we've said no to for the fifteenth time in 2 days. I get frustrated he doesn't do things I think he should know how to do by now, because he's been shown dozens or more times (especially when there are other things, things that play to his strengths, that he has learned how to do in a snap.) I get frustrated, period. I fret about not getting to do my own thing, when frankly, I DO, a fair bit (And a number of times when I don't, it's self-inflicted.) I fret about doing too little for him. I fret about doing too much for him. I fret about paying less attention to him while we have guests over (Even though the guests often also help with him, or pay attention to him that's new and different.) I fret about him not spending enough time with his Daddy as caregiver. I fret about asking Colin to do too much when he's tired from work and I don't have a solid reason. I fret I don't clean enough (I'm right about that one).

All of which means, of course, that if something is wrong that will be an issue for his whole life, not just a brief hitch in his early years, my brain has ample fodder for ways to blame me.
lenora_rose: (Default)
2014-12-20 10:46 pm

Kind of a downer.

It's been a long week. At the tail end of a long month. I am so totally not feeling Christmas is here.

Colin's aunt passed away earlier in December of pancreatic cancer - it was a decline of about a month, sharp and fast as these things go. In a way, it was as good as such a thing can be; it lasted long enough for a lot of out of town kin to come in and say goodbye, and short enough she didn't suffer horribly. She actually passed on in the presence of her brother (my father in law) and a friend - literally the day he returned to Winnipeg to help with funeral arrangements and packing away her apartment. Her funeral was well attended and there was a lot of sincere respect and love expressed, from family, from people who worked with her, people who went to church with her, friends in the community, people she volunteered with. She was 83.

We usually spent Boxing Day with Colin's aunts, and found a day on the Easter weekend, and some other occasions. He visited slightly more often to help with her computer issues, or other things of that nature. She wasn't a huge presence in my life specifically, but she was the one of Colin's kin we saw most often after his parents.
_____________

This week in particular was mostly about being sick. I took Joseph to Children's Hospital last Friday for a false alarm (He'd got into a bottle of Tylenol, but there was, it turns out, only one pill left in it; the one he took out of his mouth and offered to me still intact when I found him).

Thanks to the 2 hours and up of waiting surrounded by 20 other kids and their parents, he picked up a flu bug from someone. I'm pretty sure it was there and not as school earlier the same day, but of course it could be either.

So yeah. Fevers, aches, and while the worst only lasted a day or so each, the cough lingers. Ever had a cough while 6 months pregnant? Let's just say you spend a lot of extra time on the toilet because the bladder is already under serious pressure.

So we were well enough yesterday to feel up to getting to a friend's Christmas party and not worrying too hard about infecting the whole room. I REALLY hope I'm right about that> otherwise I owe most of the people I like best some serious apologies.

Also, I don't know if I'll be up to singing for the Christmas Eve service, because between this and the family stuff, I've missed all but one practice this month AND I don't know how I'll be cough-wise by Christmas Eve. (And the one practice I *Made* it to I had to pass over a favourite alternate activity to get to.) So argh.

I'm not a soloist, I don't think *the choir* will lose a lot for my absence, but I did want to end my singing with them with the big day, and it meant something to *me*. Because I've been losing breath control rapidly as I get more pregnant, so I wasn't really intending to press on in the new year.

I'm not even sure we'll make their Christmas party tomorrow. Because we kinda pushed our limits this weekend.

At least the Christmas Eve service is early enough i think I'll make it to See it.

____________

We're also not doing anything resembling the family get together with all the aunts and uncles and cousins. For several different reasons, nobody is up to hosting, and some aren't up to attending. Not doing Thanksgiving, as we didn't, is one thing - we've missed that before as a family. But Christmas and Easter are sorta bigger deals.

____________

And, tiny and petty as it is compared to the rest, my brother and I haven't been able to do our annual shopping session together yet - it got put off to Tuesday because mom is also sick so no Joseph-minding was available Friday - and I have even less idea when I'll go shop for *him*.

____________

AND we're not doing our new Year's Eve cabin retreat, but this one I think was a good choice, and we're *hosting* a New Year's Party with the same suspects instead, possibly bookended by another friend hosting related activities to attempt to get the same "2-3 days of escape" feel. I also think we need to suggest an outdoorsy session of something during that stretch. IF it bothers to snow a bit more by December's end, instead of giving us freezing drizzle. Sledding, skiing, snowmen, quinzy-making and skating are ALL better with actual snow (Or rather, skating is better when the only ice is the ice deliberately meant to be there, not the stuff that makes you fall on the way...) Even just a quick romp through a park feels better if it's in snow proper.
lenora_rose: (Default)
2014-11-22 10:29 pm

(no subject)

Life has been busy. Joseph just turned three, in the course of which we've taken the crib out of his room and apart, because he really didn't want to switch to the twin bed. (We're months from needing even the bassinet, and I suspect a bit longer before we move on to using the crib again and making Joseph share his room with Sibling. But I still want him well past trying to crawl in with Sibling.)

Speaking of which, we don't get to be more specific about the baby to come. The ultrasound was beyond inconclusive as far as gender goes; the baby was turned the wrong way and had its legs folded in front. (They got clear views of everything else, which looked normal and confirmed it's exactly the age we thought it was.) Ah, well, we just need two conversations about baby names then. I have already vetoed Derek Eric Yorikk Patrick.

There's another family crisis happening, alas: Colin's aunt has pancreatic cancer, which hits fast. On the one hand, this meant we got extra visits from his father and sister and even some of his cousins. While those visits were focused on aunt L., they did take time to see us and visit (My father-in-law and sister-in-law both stayed part time at our house; the cousins only came for dinner, with their two kids near Joseph's age. A fact which pleased him greatly.) which made it a sort of a silver lining. On the other hand, it's also had the opposite effect on my mother in law's long-since-planned visit to see us and Joseph in the vicinity of his birthday, in that she's also been taking some days over there. Colin and I (and JoJo) were dealing with colds which mostly meant not wanting to infect an elderly and ill lady, we're not only due to visit, once everybody else has gone, we're likely going to be among the few left who can see her as regularly (She has a goodly passel of friends, as well as family, though.) Her sister lives in Steinbach, and while she's been staying over in the city a lot, it's a hard job for an 80-some year old.

(And within 2 days of learning about that, I learned that one of my own Uncles - not much seen as an adult but a notable influence on my childhood - had a fatal heart attack. It's not the same as it might be if it were a relation I see several times a year, and not one far off in Northern Alberta, but it made a sad time sadder)

And of course, my hips decided to give me a crisis moment over the last weekend, when I was having trouble crossing a room. All muscle spasm stuff, not worse, but the heavy-duty relaxants they normally prescribe are contraindicated for pregnant women (The normal ones are, too). They've eased some since, and a physio has given me some useful stretches assuming I keep being good and doing them.

And I realise all this makes it sound like it's been more of a downer lately than it has been. And really, it hasn't (I suspect things with Aunt L. will get much more real much closer to the end, and after.) I mostly feel good, at least when I get sleep. Speaking of which....

(I had a pile of writing related thinkies I decided warranted their own post.)

lenora_rose: (Default)
2014-10-05 11:47 pm

(no subject)

Progress Notes for October 5, 2014

First day writing since the last progress note.

Total words new or revised : +468. Discovered yetanother scene needing a whole fix. I think this one may lead to more cuts later, but I have 53 pages left (Of 351); even single spaced that's not a lot.
Tea: White Chocolate Frost. Which is mostly mint.
Music: Computer playlist. And it was picking mostly more obscure less regular repeats. Except Tao Seeger's Well May the World Go.
Currently Reading: Kate Elliott - Cold Steel
Next on the to-read pile - Martha Wells - The Serpent Sea and the Siren Depths

Inevitable asides:
- had friends over last night. Yay people.
- Colin and I got a rare afternoon to ourselves today. Yay!
- Looks like tomorrow may be the first time in MONTHS I'll be painting the mural in Joseph's room. I guess I could try to use some of the nursery days for it, but once you include set up and clean up, a 2 hour window really only gives me an hour of painting time. Still, I has horses to paint.
- As I mentioned to a friend on Facebook, Joseph weirded me out, slightly, in a good way, today. He likes counting. That's fine, that's even good. We have a playlist of songs he knows quite well, including a fair number of instrumentals (classical and demi-classical included, not just kids' songs). He started counting "one two" or even "One one two" during some of the songs. And repeating.

Either in time to the rhythm line, or in time to the melody.
lenora_rose: (Default)
2014-08-27 10:29 pm

(no subject)

Progress notes for August early 20s, 2014

Total words new or revised : +286
Reason for stopping: Stupid writing avoidance tricks.
Books I (was) Reading: Drew Hayden Taylor - Motorcycles and Sweetgrass, George MacDonald - The Princess and the Goblin, the Princess and Curdie


Progress notes for August 27 2014

Total words new or revised : +1488 to finish the last totally new scene to insert, then -1041 in revisions.
Reason for stopping: Another chapter end, bedtime.
Tea: Decaf white mocha (Morning for adding new scene), decaf apricot, watermelon-lemon soda, plain water.
Music: Usual playlist. Highlights: Rush - Bravado, Lennie Gallant - Without Love, Jars of Clay - Goodbye, Goodnight, Heather Dale - Never Quite Eden
Tyop du jour: Rustle's whispered face
There's Always one more Quirk in the character: actually, the new scene was all about characters being out of character, which was why I was daunted writing the scene.
Mean Things: unexpected rejection by friends, sorcerous mind-manipulation of several kinds, self-injury, warranted distrust, unwarranted dislike. Oh, and being stabbed to death by one's own spouse. Ish.
Currently reading: Diana Wynne Jones (Yes, one more) Hexwood.
Next on the to-read pile - Martha Wells - The Serpent Sea and the Siren Depths, Kate Elliott, Cold Steel, Joshua Palmatier - The Skewed Throne

Inevitable Asides:

Joseph had his test run at the nursery school, which is why I had nigh on 3 hours where I needed to be someplace close but not in sight in case it didn't work out (And thus ended up at a picnic table in the playground, typing away). According to her (And this sounds exactly like Joseph at home) he needs a lot of supervision. But she thinks it will be good for him.

We solved the ongoing this week problem that he figured out a way to reach his light switch (And thus had more excuse not to sleep) but, to quote facebook:

Second night in a row of checking on JoJo after he was in bed to find him naked... and a wet patch in his crib. Last time, the only other thing wet was the diaper. THIS time, it was the only other thing in the crib not wet.

Colin's question: "Is it time to break out the duct tape?"
(For the diaper, not the boy)

____________

Also restarting practice driving. I seem to remember most of the essentials. At least, I didn't crash.
lenora_rose: Happy JoJo @ 2.3333 (YAAAY3)
2014-08-20 10:53 pm

(no subject)

Lots happening with JoJo:

- he's supposed to be starting 2 mornings a week nursery classes at a Montessori in relative nearness to our place. Relative means about 1/2 hour via foot or bus (Slightly more for the one, slightly less for the other. I may be getting a bike trailer finally, which will help until winter sets in. (It's easy to plot a relatively safe and quiet route there)

- he's really getting into the idea of the tantrum. He's recovered from the bedtime ones, but he still protests naps, with occasional force, and he has almost inexplicable ones when he wakes from a nap. (I open the door to his room - he's cheerfully signing or talking to himself in the dark - until he sees either the light, the open door, or me. Since 3/3 of those are things he usually prefers to siting or lying in the dark, I can only say ????)

- one of his naptime protests almost broke my nose. No really. The bruises around my eye got darker and worse since this was taken, and it was the day after. But the hospital confirmed the nose was straight, no sign of actual breakage or other alarming symptoms.


- his book on tractors (With only about 5 pages and very few words) is narrowly edging out the Very Hungry Caterpillar as his favourite book. Robert Munsch's Zoom is holding its place at third, which is impressive since it's about 4x as long, or more, than the others. but he has the majority of it memorized. Ditto for Munsch's Mortimer, which is in fourth.

- potty training is just ... oh, god. He's figured out that he should take his diaper off when it gets wet/messy, but he's still a bit unclear on almost every other part of the concept. I've resorted to starting up his music video playlist to keep him sitting long enough for me to clean up, and I still had to throw the couch cushion covers in the wash today (And significant parts of the floor have been washed and mopped.)

- The Log Driver's Waltz is his absolute favourite video right now; the one he starts asking for whenever the tv is turned on. So I really am producing a thoroughly cliched Canadian*. :)

- Fred Penner, especially this song and this animation to Singin' in the Rain's Moses Supposes are very close behind. (He also doesn't mind the actual Kelly/O'Connor tap dance from the movie.) The nice thing about all of these is that they're music I can stand to listen to on its own merits, where, other than the Munsch, I read him his current favourite books out of self defense and love of him. Of course, one can still have too much of a good thing, and I've taken to playing more of my own music videos, or trying to show him new-to-him stuff whenever I'm not trying to get things done or trying to keep him on the potty.

- We do get outdoors most non-rainy days, unless my hip is all asplody (Sunday and Monday, right when my nose was at its worst, my body decided to prove it could cause me worse pain without the outside help. Hurrah.) Today it was to a wading pool at the next-furthest out park, which kept his attention probably for the longest I've seen a wading pool do yet. He still prefers to swing and swing and swing over most other things, but if the climbing structure is less familiar to him, he at least explores it more. And when he's going to his own park, he's now pedalling himself on his trike, with only moments of assistance from Mom (Or grandma or dad). So he is getting exercise, not just sun. (And I have a total farmer tan).

_______________

*For non-Canucks, this short animation used to get shown every Saturday morning during the long commercial break between regular cartoons, along with Heritage Minutes, which were mini-history lessons. I think Log-Driver's Waltz would happen about 2-3 times a Saturday, for at least a decade, ranging from from its release in 1979, when I was about 3, to a point where people rather younger than me know about it. For all I know, it's still going...
lenora_rose: (Default)
2014-08-08 12:21 am

(no subject)

Progress notes for August 8, 2014 (and some bits in the days between this and the last report, but not as many as should be)

Total words new or revised : +616. I have ONE more scene to add before I start delving into the places others can get taken out.
Reason for stopping: Need sleeeep. Chapter end. Also still debating structure and exact placement of scenes.
Tea: Reduced-Sugar chocolate milk.
Music: The usual playlist, just went through "Let it Go" and Stan Rogers' Turnaround. Hit the slow version of Thunder Road at almost dead on the right spot, though. That was sweet.
There's Always one more Quirk in the character: Heather did want magic before she got into this mess.
Mean Things: Serious puncture bite to the jaw.
Research: The date by which a certain cliche had become cliched, the geographical source for another turn of phrase. The timeline regarding basic knowledge of DNA.
Books I'm Reading: Elizabeth Bear - Shoggoths in Bloom, Terry Pratchett and Jacqueline Simpson - The Folklore of Discworld, Drew Hayden Taylor - Motorcycles and Sweetgrass, Terry Pratchett - Wintersmith


Inevitable Asides:

The last couple of days of Joseph have been ... extra super interesting. I think they warrant their own post, though. Because it was alternating things to laugh at and things to make me despair.

Just one example to reward those who read to the end: Joseph has been "Helping" with unloading the dishwasher for a few months now - he did it before his grandparents came, but with them, it became a big Thing for him. (More people = more dishes = more dishwasher loads). he's very meticulous, sorting by colour and size as he goes. But he's not always clear on the difference between clean and dirty (IE, he has regularly caused trouble by tryign to unload dirty dishes *while* his grandfather was loading the dishwasher).

So yesterday while I was upstairs doing a quick scrub-and-dress, he pushed a chair up to the counter below the dish cupboard, took out all the clean purple plates (both sizes) and very neatly lined them up in two rows in the dishwasher.
lenora_rose: Happy JoJo @ 2.3333 (YAAAY3)
2014-06-27 12:49 am

(no subject)

I've been wanting to write a general stuff happening post but was kind of stalled by the fact that i had a heap of words sitting here in saved form on another topic. SO. Stuff happened:

JoJo:

- has been quite enjoying going to the park again, and getting outside.
- he also seems to be enjoying getting out of his clothes more. We've had a couple of interesting moments and had to get a bit more creative with his sleep gear.
- Began potty training in earnest about, oh, today.

Household:

- My in-laws are here (And were gone until yesterday for a week in Ottawa). Probably to the end of July, though the exact day of departure is still kind of open.
- The last patch of garden to be dug out this year was finally planted Today. This, a month after I should be saying this, has been par for the course for the year. The previous garden beds, done just over a week ago, have had days of morning sunshine followed by afternoon rain, or daytime sun and nighttime storm, or... from a newly planted plant's perspective, probably perfect weather, though the humans could have used less rain and more sun. It has been a coolish summer thus far, after our horrifically late spring.
- Mostly flowers this year, but we have tomatoes and cukes too (And mint). I tried a raspberry bush, but we'll see if, in its establishing year, any of the fruit makes it to humans. I may toss down some basil seeds just to see if anything comes; it's an annual here anyhow so no sweat if the season is too short for it to establish.
- Our neighbourhood bunnies include a bitty one who's possibly a baby but definitely adorable. Thus far, they seem to be favouring eating the dandelions over the plants I care about.

Family:
- My grandmother has had a steady decline in her health, and the end result is that she is now in a nursing home, albeit on the low-care end as far as they're concerned. Her mind is fine but her strength is gone and she needed a lot more help than Mom and her other children and grandchildren could give - and more than home-care alone would support. The place she's in seems nice as these things go (more after hearing someone else's story about the place her aunt is staying), with her own room and a fair amount of respect. The big disadvantage is that it's far across the city from pretty much everyone's place. She's on a waiting list for a closer one.
- Even grandma, now she's there, seems to agree this is an improvement in her life. As long as her kids continue to visit. Next step; Get her the hearing aid she was supposed to be being fitted for right when her last hospital stay began. (Literally, as in they had to cancel the appointment)
- The symptoms of tiredness etc Mom was having, and even some of the sadness she attributed to the care for her own mom, proved to be B12 deficiency, and having learned that, she's already improving, after just a few days of it. (Jeff claims placebo effect. He would. But even if he's right, I think Mom's happy at any improvement. :P )


Writing:
- A nightmare, an old story idea, and a second nightmare seem to be coming together as yetanother vague idea for novel or at minimum novella, this one about a world where everyone has one of two kinds of dopplegangers, one usually evil (Nemeses) and one usually not (Greens). And a weird creepy take on faerie and attempts to lure children away from the mortal world. And evil ice cream. For now I've been using the code name Nemesis, though the only Nemesis so far on screen is actually a good guy. I'm debating about whether he's up front about the fact or not.
- The issue I have with this is that I already have one relatively new half-baked story idea that's about perfect for using for NaNoWriMo if I want to participate again. I don't need another. But I have at least one scene to write along with all the notes I've scribbled so far before I set it aside wholesale.
- Otherwise, I have just switched from trying to make forward progress on older works and into the (much dreaded And much anticipated, at least by me) rewrite for Labyrinth. So far it's been the extremely crude cut and paste, forcing scenes into what seems like a reasonable order from the two separate files I had (there being two separate plotlines), and almost no in-scene work other than a few typos. I'm half afraid skimming over it enough to organize the scenes and move them around has already made me too aware of what's on paper to rewrite it with the harsh objectivity the job requires, but I'm gonna give it a go anyhow. (The other possibility is that it has given me the shape of the story sufficiently firmly that I know what I'm aiming for much better and can thus make my rather shoddy prose that much closer to the ideal in my head.)
- My main ambition is that by the end, I *will* have a better title, and fewer total words. (I would rather 120 than the current 150, and I know several spots I dither and the characters just talk -- I also know of at least two scenes that need writing out, alas.) I make zero promises of quality. :P

Other:
- Folk fest getting fearfully awesomely close.
- Fringe soon after. It's THAT month coming, alright.
- Life feels pretty good overall.
- Books recently finished, all pretty good: Silvia Moreno-Garcia's This Strange Way of Dying, Sherwood Smith's Banner of the Damned, Chris Hadfield's An Astronaut's Guide to life on Earth.
- Smith's book took me a while; it starts at what feels like a slow pace, and it's only afterwards that one realises how very important all that puttering about in Colend and Colendi politics and romances and their more-alien-than-it-first-seems mindset is - how much MORE important than the "action", ie, violence, which the lead finds so reprehensible yet which we as readers are likely to find more familiar ground. Also, the unreliability of the narrator (who claims, correctly, to be able to state the definite truth about other peoples' opinions and perspectives) doesn't become clear, or relevant, until about halfway or more. and then it starts getting scary how much she denies - to herself - along the way down. I was actually reminded a bit of my reaction to Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner, and how it felt at the start, because it was so alien, and how it took time to sink into the culture and grasp what was going on from that internal perspective (Or at least the reader/watcher's illusion thereof).

- painting the mural has been going painfully slowly (As in very few opportunities to do so) and I've mostly been working on landscape details, but here's an update pic:

lenora_rose: (Default)
2014-03-26 04:55 pm

Sorry. Politics. Personal. Both. You know.

I'm not pregnant, again.

No miscarriage, unless it's the kind you can't tell from a regular period. Just not pregnant. But I'm more depressed about it than usual.

And yet, it, and some coincidental reading, and some stuff about Joseph, all have me thinking again about the hard world of child raising, and trying to have kids, and choosing not to try to have kids. Then I ran into these (Because I've been reading her Narnia Deconstructions, but a few months behind, and slipped into the Storify one, and linked back to the older one from there...)

And in some ways, even though our situations as regards EVERYTHING (fertility, cause of failed pregnancies, efforts to get pregnant, even feelings about wanting children ahead of time) are different - I felt like I had seen a strong mirror of my own feelings. (Also, some serious WTF??? about the Grown Babies in Heaven from every lost zygote. Like, nuclear explosion degrees of WTF???)

The miscarriages were alive enough to me to have possible names, if only after the fact (Names I would never have applied to an extant child and names that are no-one's business but mine and Colin's), but they were mourned as she says; as potential, not actual children. It was losing a whole attachment of dreams (Dreams that didn't cover half the reality I already face, but she talks about that, too) -- but it was not half of what losing Joseph on the day of his birth, when he was a real and whole and solid BABY, would have been. And it is NOTHING, and I repeat that with huge emphasis, to what losing him now would do.

Potential, not Person

Storify: Infertility and Abortion

I wonder what it is about having faced the consequences of our own reproductive efforts (None of which actually WERE abortion in either my case or Mardoll's) that makes it so very clear why reproductive choice, including abortion, is so very important? Maybe it's because it's us, not some abstract woman, and our zygotes and fetuses and babies, not some abstract "Fetuses are babies" platonic ideal. (I held and touched one of those fetuses, an inch or so long at the time, and I knew exactly hat I was holding, and it was devastating -- but it was not a baby.)
lenora_rose: (Yaaaay!2)
2014-02-10 11:56 am

If you miss the buried Lede: Book draft finished!

I've been fighting a cold the last week, mostly just coughs and explosively runny nose and not being much able to sing. And extra care for Joseph, who has all of the same but less comprehension that this is a temporary state, and has needed a few more middle of the night snuggles than usual.

How a mom, or at least this mom, feels about mid-night child cuddles is probably the definition of ambivalent. When I drag myself from the bed, and he's howling and won't stop, or wriggling and flailing and refusing to settle, it's all bad, some of the worst mom-stuff that doesn't involve diapers at *their* worst. But when he settles and is lying on you because it's the one thing that makes all the sickness feel okay, and he's dropping off to sleep, warm and trusting... well. There's times you want it to linger just a bit more after he's sound asleep before tucking him back in his bed and sneaking off to get your own desperately needed sleep.

This is complicated by the fact that he can get out of his crib entirely, and has at least once found a way over the baby gate (We now have a knob cover on the door, so the latter part is solved. That it's almost the only door in the house that can *use* a knob cover was lucky, though.)

Dealing with the colds in the daytime is helped somewhat by the fact that my mother in law is here visiting her grandson (Oh, and the rest of us). Though I feel badly, because when we were at their place in November, we arrived with colds, too. The timing is coincidence, but we really didn't invite her to come to be a nurse.

Dealing with not being able to sing has complicated a second project of mine, though, which is my current pledge to practice mandolin at least 1/2 hour for every day for 55 days (Ends March 28th. As I explained, it's a purely arbitrary number based on a vaguely remembered and probably equally wrong thing about 55 days being what it takes in ingrain a daily habit (And 3 months for a habit that is not purely daily). But hey, pledging to do NaNoWriMo is arbitrary. And pledging to have to write 5000 words to allow myself a coffee flavoured drink until such time as my draft of Labyrinth was done was also successful in producing a finished draft. As of yesterday.

My last three days therefore, have been me being up past midnight to respectively:
- Finish the whole of the book besides the epilogue.
- write what I thought was the full epilogue, though I had a nagging feeling some loose end of the dissatisfying kind was straggling
- write the piece of Epilogue that I had figured out I needed to add.

AFTER which i finally scrambled to get in the mandolin practice. (I kept telling myself to get the mandolin work in firs,t and kept going, "But I just need a few more words...". I actually the think the chosen order might have got me to bed marginally sooner, because doing the mandolin practice last, I tended to stay much closer to the 1/2 hour minimum, where I might have lingered if I'd done it the other way. I'm still regaining practice and callusses both, and I'm not making my elbow explode, so I think I'm not doing the mandolin wrong by it.)
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SO. I have a complete draft.

It's 150,272 words. It's much more drafty than a lot of finished drafts of mine, and oddly, most of the bits that I already know need the most revision are prior to the NaNoWriMo rush.

What the NaNo rush did on that front is prevent me from going back to do the small revisions I always do during a draft when I hit a later point that makes me change my mind about a previous one. Or where I realise there's a plot hole. Instead I just inserted notes for the most part. (There were monsters in the way a few minutes ago. What happened to them?).

There's also a LOT of dross wordage. Partly due to those not-revisions, but also when I was failing for the key plot or figuring out world-building on paper through the NaNo and post NaNo bits. (These characters stand around and TALK so damn much, and a lot of it is "As you know Bob"s I needed to write but nobody but me should ever be forced to suffer through reading.)

AND there are some plot twists on paper I'm debating dropping and possible others I'm considering slipping in. (One ends up fucking with gender. Also making one character more consistently reliable in spite of having their brain played with, and another much more bitchy and antagonistic even though they're decidedly a victim not an antagonist. Whether these are plusses remains to be seen, but it's all in character for the villain's fondness for mind games.)

I anticipate being able to make this a 120k book.

Final verdict? I think it's a solid story under all the first draft baggage. I mean, I would and should think so. But I have done a bit more attempt to pick apart the viability than just "Well, I liked it or I wouldn't have wrote it." I liked and wrote books whose immediate commercial viability I doubt, after all (Looks sadly at Raising the Storm).

It's much less bog-standard fantasy than the Serpent Prince books but in a way that might be pitchable as "fresh" not "Look, it's weird". (It's a portal fantasy - though one in which the word "Unsustainable" is directly relevant) It's MUCH less depressing than Bird of Dusk, but has some of the same urban fantasy audience accessibility with the modern world protagonists. It has a non standard heroine (or two). I think it can become a less unwieldy and unsalable length than Raising the Storm. Unlike Bird and RtS, some of the ways it's less traditional feel like things I can point to as selling points, not forces working against it. It's easier to sum up the gist of the story for a blurb, which always helps. (The fact that the heroines are lesbian and bi of course can count against it for some publishers and readers, but for it for others.)

It's also at least one significant revision from even a beta reader call, which probably means a year or even two to sales pitch time, especially as I need some time to clear my head of it (And do some relevant research) before I dive into revisions. So I'm not stopping shopping around Bird (or Serpent Prince if I get the rewrite of THAT down pat). But I think it's more likely than either to get more positive attention.

I could be wrong, but I'm content with it until the betas destroy it.
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So... what's the next project? Well, #1 is actually a beta reading for a friend with a relatively short deadline. So, not writing per se, but analysis of someone else's writing is always good for the editorial muscles.

#2 is some of the research I need for Labyrinth itself. (It's all character background stuff, and I could probably leave it as fudged as I have. But could and should aren't the same.) That can be relatively ongoing until i decide it's time to do the revision though.

#3 is that I have a small hope of scraping together a working short story for one of the Eggplant anthologies, but the deadline being in March, it's a slim hope.

#4: I don't know. Back to revising Serpent Prince. Back to writing The Poisoned Tongue. Off to try another of my various partly finished projects. I was after all looking at the old OLD OLD draft of the Allerleirauh screenplay, and thinking how to make it A) a stage play rather than screen play, B) less cringe-worthy when it comes to a few racial tropes I was doing my then-best on but are horrid now C) More selkie-y, if that can even be a word and D) both better and finished. And I was thinking about Meri's tale because a story about a girl saving a god from the Fae has to have some appeal. And there's the apocalyptic one. Or ones.

#5: After whatever I choose comes the revision of the Labyrinth story.
lenora_rose: (Default)
2014-01-21 12:03 am
Entry tags:

And the inevitable follow up to the last update.

Just posted on FB, but relevant here.

In spite of his newfound ability to get out of the crib, Joseph has actually stayed in it every night at bedtime (It's middle of the night wake-ups that have differed.)

Until tonight.

When he will not stay.

He went to bed at 8:00.

He was last seen at the baby gate on the door at 10:45.

I am (at midnight) about to check on him so I can put him in his crib instead of the high non-toddler-railed bed where he was lying the one time around 10:00 that he looked like he was trying to sleep. (I put him in the crib. he lay there until the music ran out on the bassinet. then got out to turn it back on.)

Long night already...
lenora_rose: (Default)
2014-01-20 02:49 pm

Random Catchup via facebook comments.

Since I have been so behind on posting. These, for those who don't read my facebook or who missed some, probably sum up several things I don't feel like discussing at length.

On the Desolation of Smaug:

I liked expanding Bard's story so he doesn't just appear at the end of the Dragon thing. I liked the dwarves in the mountain attempting to do something other than just wait for Bilbo and actually confronting Smaug, up to the point where it turned into more video game antics. (Also, you'd think they'd have, you know, some dwarf sized corridors....). Most of the other changes I think could have been dropped in favour of more time with Beorn and more of Smaug and Bilbo's banter, both from the book.
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(Re: Someone's comment that Legolas was there for the women....)

Legolas was indeed unnecessary (And I say that as a woman). He made a little sense being there as the son of the King, but only a little.

But what he really made me do is long for the Legolas of Lord of the Rings.

Jackson seems to have decided that he wasn't badass enough -- but *this* Legolas has me wondering why he let all those annoying humans and Hobbits slow him down in the Lord of the Rings. As he was shown in Smaug, he'd have been all the way to Mount Doom with the Ring before it even had time to tempt him, hopped over the giant black gate in a couple of Parkour tricks, killing all the guards in the process, chucked it in, surfed away from the lava explosion on a piece of debris, and wouldn't have even mussed his hair.
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My son:
Dec 19: As I just mentioned to Colin, I was just re-watching "The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances". And, hearing it so often on screen, Joseph starts repeating "Mummy. Mummy."

Not sure whether to giggle or shudder. #WhoHumour

Mid December Photos, including the Christmas Tree I made for JoJo. )

December 27 (The first not miserably freezing day in a while at that point, and only a day or two before a cold snap that lasted distressingly long. We're talking vicinity of -40 for DAYS cold snap... and when it wasn't that, it snowed...)
photos behind cut )

Jan 2: JoJo has sung along to music a few times now. He's had some rhythm (Not enough, but some) for a while, and has seemed less random in his choice of notes and sounds, if not harmonizing at least clashing less and less.

But today, he found the actual melody for London Bridge.

Toddler progress is progress after all.


Jan 9: It's official. Joseph can climb out of his crib on his own.

He got out of his playpen (Used as a travel crib) twice on New Year's Eve, so it's not like we didn't know it was coming.... but still, sigh.

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Other:

Jan 4: We got to archery today! Current plan is to keep going on all Saturdays we can. (Though Not Imbolc, obviously, but I did reserve babysitting for the Friday night shoot)

(ED: we have kept this up. Shooting regularly again feels GOOD.)

Jan 8: First day of work since Before our trip to AB and BC! Finished the horse, other than the bits under and around water.
photo behind cut )

Jan 15: Sigh. Mom was sick (Get well soon - and not for my sake) so no chance to mural paint because no babysitter. Then ploughed through the snow with a stroller to get JoJo and myself flu shots. Sigh. Well... on the plus side, the new orthotic insoles I slipped into my boots WORK LIKE AWESOME. A lot less pain now...

(ED: Plantar fasciitis. Had it before, but this last bout was BAD. Days of barely being able to walk bad. I still galloped around daily with Joseph on my shoulders, though, because awesome.)

Today:

"Imagination is a little white light, waiting for a chance to grow
bigger and bigger till it glows so bright it eliminates all you know..."

Wait, what?

Oh. ILLUMINATES.

Enunciate, Fred.

#FredPenner #mondegreen