Thursday, February 26, 2009
I haven't been doing much else this week either. I gained about 4 lbs last week somehow and I think Im continuing in that direction this week too. The sun is shining and I want to exercise but I just never get around to actually doing much of anything. Then I get depressed and the cycle starts all over again.
I've also had to cut my grocery budget even more so that I could afford all the damn taxis that I needed to take this week. It's been costing $40/day plus the little bits that I give my brothers for picking up/dropping off Rayden for school. UGH!! Not having a car in this city costs so much more than having one does. And the most ridiculous part is that I gave up my 3 year old car last year so that I could save a bit of money! So far, I haven't saved a penny.
I've been in such a negative mood that I haven't wanted to do anything productive and that always makes me feel guilty. Not only am I gaining weight, feeling lazy, stressed about money, and not interacting with the kids, but then there is the whole guilt about not doing anything to make our lives better. I know that only I can get this family into a better place and yet I find it so hard to motivate myself sometimes. I get those thoughts in my head that Im not good enough or why bother applying for that job because I'll never get it anyway. It's so frustrating!
Not long ago I actually wrote an article that I was extremely proud of. It was one of those moments where I was thinking clearly and felt like everything was just flowing out of me. I emailed the whole thing to my mom and she wrote me a lovely email back encouraging me to submit it for publication. Then I got a similar email from my dad saying that it had brought tears to his eyes. BUT even with their validation, I still feel like Im not worthy/special/good enough to even think about something like that. I mean Im just a nobody that has never even taken a high school English class! Why would I even think that what I had to say or even the way that I chose to say it would be appreciated by anyone but my family? To be honest, I actually spend way too much time reading over my posts before I publish them because Im always worried that I will sound like a total idiot due to my lack of writing ability.
I hate feeling this way. Im usually so determined and ready to take on whatever it takes to reach my goals but Im just not feeling it lately.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
I suspected that the man was looking to do another driveway for a bit of money so I politely chatted with him for a minute. When he offered to go get his ramp so that he could take down his snow blower and give me a hand, I declined and used every excuse I could think of. I had no intention of paying anyone to do a job that I can do myself and I hate taking favors from anyone. I tried to tell him that I like the exercise, I don't mind, it's ok....no, really, it's ok! But he insisted and finished the job in no time.
I awkwardly continued to shovel the steps and stay out of his way and when he finally finished I tried to make my escape inside. It didn't work. He ended up inviting himself in for a glass of water and really after his help, how could I say no? So in he comes, we talk, he holds the baby, he hits on me and finally leaves. Seriously. The man was probably 40, which to tell you the truth is not even close to some of the age differences that I have experienced in the past. But um, weird.
He managed to find out that Im divorced, do not have a boyfriend, have four children, am 25, have a degree, the age difference of The Ex, I don't get out much, have lived in this house since September, what area I used to live in, my name, my field and I think that may be it. At first I didn't mind answering his questions because it's kind of the culture here to be in everyone else's business. The idea is to never share anything about yourself but to ask a million questions about the other person. Im not terribly interested in strangers though so I don't usually bother to play the game and I end up just telling them way too much info about me.
What a weird experience though. This guy wasn't giving up but eventually I told him I had to give the baby his lunch and off he went. To my surprise, there was no contact info exchanged either so I was off the hook. I expected him to give me a card or something using the snow blowing thing as a reason for contact, but he didn't and can I just say; whew! I was not interested but I have a really hard time actually coming out and saying that to people so instead I try to make sure there is no flirting back or anything that can even be considered flirting.
This isn't the first time that I've been outside shovelling away only to be 'rescued' by a man with a snow blower. Its funny how they see a woman taking care of something that she is perfectly capable of doing herself and they feel the need to swoop in and make it all better. I am a single mother and the last time I checked, I didn't need a man for much of anything. How the hell do I communicate that to strangers though? Do I just shut up and let them think they are saving me from having to do this horrible 'man chore?' I couldn't have declined his offer anymore than I did but Im at a loss as to what I could have done about it.
Hehehe, my brother just stopped by (Ross, for those of you who read my SIL) and while I was standing at the door the snow blower man drove past and honked his horn!
I think I just made a new friend...
As for me, I have a new neighbor in the basement. Neighbor Man seems to think that the driveway is his and that he can park nearly anywhere that he desires. Because of my lovely car situation, there is little I can do to persuade him otherwise.
For over a month I have been clearing both sides of the driveway so that whoever moved in wouldn't have to deal with a mountain of frozen, icy snow. This has been a challenge, let me tell you. Now though that this man has moved in, I seem to have to be paying for it. There was no clear divide as to where he could park because the whole driveway was nice and neat for him. Straight down the middle seems to be his preference.
Yesterday I noticed that he did not have a shovel and so I felt bad for him. That was until I looked out to see that he had borrowed a neighbor's shovel and was moving all of the snow from around his car to the area at the bottom of my steps. We have a walled driveway and so snow needs to be lifted and thrown. This must be too much trouble for him, though I did it all for a month.
Now somehow this morning the end of the driveway (a wall, thanks to the plow) was cleared just enough for his car to squeeze through. Guess where he put the snow? Yup, on top of the rest of the damn wall of snow. Not only does he think he can park anywhere he wants, move the snow so that we cant even go down our front steps, and somehow get through the winter by borrowing everyone else's shovels, he also thinks it ok to do the bare minimum even for himself. One of the biggest things to remember in this area is that there will be more snow. If you don't move your snow far enough from the edges of your driveway, you will end up with huge mountains of it that get in the way later on. We have up to two more months of snow and yet Neighbor Man is too lazy or whatever to properly clear the driveway. Actually no, not 'the driveway' but his HALF of the driveway. Its a tight squeeze as it is but if he lets a foot or two of snow to build up beside his car, there is no way Ill ever fit a car into my spot.
I really don't mind living in this climate. I like to shovel snow! Its a great workout and it allows me some precious thinking time while in the quiet beauty of the outdoors. Seriously, I love it. But I have like zero time for it. The logistics of getting outside to do anything is just crazy when it comes to four young kids. So guh! Im frustrated! I want to be able to just go out and shovel my half of my driveway, making it all nice and clean and then if I feel like it give the neighbor a hand. There is really no reason why I should be forced to do twice the work because he cant be bothered to put in a little extra effort.
Monday, February 16, 2009
This year I spent the day with the kids, cleaning their bedrooms. I didn't even realise what day it was until just before I went to bed. Then I dismissed the thought just as easily as it had popped in my head. It really is amazing how fast things change.
There is a new boy now. Well, there was one last year too so I cant say that's why Im not an emotional wreck, but it helps. :D New Boy and I have been talking online for two months now and we are finally going to meet. Im not normally one to wait like that, but its just how it happened and now Im glad. I really got a chance to know him and Im more excited to meet him than I have been for any of the others that I've met online. But also, NERVOUS! Ack! I've really started to care for him, but other than one phone call, all of our communication has been online. Its so strange because I feel like I already know him, yet I haven't even met him.
So lets recap, shall we?
Excitement over meeting New Boy + Nervousness over meeting New Boy = Breaking out like a teenager.
Seriously. Im 25, someone has to tell my skin to back the hell off. We meet on Friday and my face looks like Im 15 again. This is very much not cool, especially since New Boy is 32 and probably hasn't dealt with such problems in what? 15 years? Shit.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Since June of 2006 I have worked as a research assistant on a national research project called Lone Mothers: Building Social Inclusion. Basically, I have a couple of women assigned to me who I periodically interview about their lives. I meet them at their homes with a tape recorder and we sit down for a couple of hours to chat. The interviews are semi-structured which means that I have a basic idea of what the lead researchers are looking to get out of that particular interview and I come prepared with some questions. The really great part is that the participant gets to decide the flow of the conversation. Depending on what she says, I might ask questions from my sheet or I might get her to give me more detail about something she mentioned. The women always end up crying and sometimes I do too. There are strict confidentiality issues involved so I can not really say much about the specific women that I interview, but the stories that we hear are heart-wrenching.
When my co-workers and I were hired for this project we had no idea what to expect. We were hopeful that some sort of good or change would come from it, but we had no idea how. Over and over we asked what the end result would be. A five year project worth one million dollars to find out that the life of a poor single mother is hard? Why not put that money towards some sort of social program to help that mother? There was no way that we could have seen what it would do in our own lives. We sat around that boardroom table with thoughts of the future, but never once did we consider how it would affect us. Now, half way through, the changes are unbelievable.
Last night I spoke in a women's studies class with three of my co-workers. We were there to talk about the effects of single-parenting on the mother's health. I cant tell you how good it felt to be out doing that kind of thing again. The last time I spoke anywhere was October 2007 at a conference about including the voices of those who have experienced whatever a policy or program aims to help, when designing that policy. I've had so many opportunities since then to be a part of talks and papers and various other projects but I've had to turn them all down. Finishing school last year and Josiah's birth in the summer took too much of my time and I couldn't possibly think of adding any more to my already full plate.
But last night? I cant describe how good it felt to be a part of this kind of thing again. The looks on the faces of those young women as we shared our stories and the stories of the participants were enough to tell us that change is being made. Some of them were bored and had an answer for everything, but some of them really got it. I felt useful again. I felt like I was teaching them something that would help others in the future. I felt like I belong there. This is the work and the life that I want. This is what fuels me and drives me and what I get so passionate about.
Our hopes that we had for this project have been realised; we have made a difference. It isn't yet a huge one, but with every shocked face or even raised eye brow, we are creating change. Even bigger than that though the change within our own lives is more than we could have ever imagined. Of the three other ladies that were involved in this with me, two of them have made major life changes because of this project. One, a single mom of two boys (one with Autism) found the courage to enroll in university. She said that if we (about half of the research assistants were single moms in university) could do it, so could she. And she has. When I first met her, there was rarely a smile on her face but now she's always beaming. It makes me proud. The other woman has found herself an amazing job doing something that she loves and was able to move her children out of public housing. She wouldn't have been able to do that without the confidence or the contacts that she has gained through being in this project.
The three of us sat there last night before the class just in awe at how much our lives have all changed because of something as simple as a part time job. And we never would have guessed it.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Can you make a reasonable guess as to what you will be doing at say ten o'clock next Tuesday morning?
A couple of weeks ago I could tell you with a fair amount of accuracy that I would most likely have just laid Josiah down to nap, set up Michael and Chris with play doh on the coffee table and be sitting down myself to read blogs.
Now though? I have no freaking clue! Josiah's sleeping pattern is all over the place for one. He seems to think it is perfectly acceptable to stay wide awake until 3am and then sleep until noon (with occasional feedings, mind you). He cries all the time for various issues, the biggest one being his new chompers or maybe its his insistence on getting a hold of my boob rather than the formula I've been trying to cram into his mouth?
Rayden has been missing school so much that I got a call from his teacher today. Either there is a snow day, he's sick, my brothers cant pick him up, or some other freak happening keeps him from school. We try to keep up with his work at home but this kid is seriously forgetful and most of the time he doesn't even remember to bring home the right books. And its not as if having to spend an extra day with my kid is the issue, it's that his presence is not something that can be ignored. Rayden is like a little tornado wreaking havoc on every room that he enters. Both Michael and Chris are louder and extra boyish when Rayden is around. Play doh just doesn't happen and quiet time consists of much screaming and fighting coming from the upstairs bedrooms.
Personally I've been working on so many things that reading blogs has become something I only get a chance to do when my brain cant handle much else. Im usually either writing, reading something about healthier eating, watching a YouTube video from the weight loss community, trying to get some exercise time in, cooking, keeping my house at a new level of clean or working. Most of these things are obviously not all that important and can be fit in whenever I have the chance. But I hate living like that. I would prefer to have a set time for each thing in my day and I almost had that up until the last couple of weeks.
I know life is constantly changing and that's not really what Im talking about here. What is bothering me is the rhythm of each day needs to be at least somewhat consistent. We need to wake up and go to sleep at similar times each day and eat our meals on a schedule. When my bedtime can range from 10pm to 3am, that messes with me.
Like everything else, this will pass and we will be on a consistent schedule again. Until then, you'll understand why I might not comment on your lovely blogs. I read them all, believe me. I cant wait to see what Drew's furniture looks like, or maybe a picture of that blanket thing that I now cannot remember the name of. Grocery round ups always inspire me to find coupons and do better with saving money and OMG the possibility of a new niece/nephew? Squeeee!
Sunday, February 8, 2009
His writing made me cry. I cant begin to imagine the pain that he faces on a daily basis but I wanted to share this with you because he is so much better at updating than I am.
Even though he is only 17, he has taught me so much in life. It is because of him that I write and for good reason; this guy is an awesome writer. I have five brothers but Sam has always been the one that I have felt most connected with. He has a beautiful mind and an unbelievable compassion for anyone. I really am blessed to have him as a brother and I only wish that I could do more to help him through this incredibly painful time.
Now Im supposed to nominate 10 bloggers to pass this award onto but the problem is that I don't think I read that many that haven't been nominated already! Whatever will I do?
I think I might just cut that number in half and just nominate a few myself. Most of you will probably already read these ladies, but if you don't, go ahead and click on them...you wont be disappointed!
Alice at Alice's wonderland. She's fun, quirky and single which translates to a pretty great read. Every time I see her blog name I think of my Alice in Wonderland themed wedding...don't ask
Jess from Du Wax Loolu. Her and her husband are about to pack up and completely change their lives by moving to a new State. Having done this before myself, I am incredibly interested in their journey and I cant wait to read more. Plus she is smart and can write really well; not in the stuck up academic way, but in an every day magazine article type of way. Um, now that I think of it, that's probably because she's an editor. Duh.
Amanda at My Version of the Story. She is 7 months pregnant with her first little boy! I love preggo stories and reading about all of the details and anticipation that comes from that incredibly long 9 month wait. Amanda also has a step son with an um, less than stellar mom. Having a similar relationship with P, I feel for her.
Tara at The Brain. This is a new read of mine but oh so interesting! Im still navigating my way through her posts and trying to get a feel for her but I love her mix of everyday life and thoughtful posts. Check out her most current tidbit of a Bush quote.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Yesterday my chubby little monster finally sprouted his first tooth! Squeee! He was exactly one week shy of being seven months old.
I don't normally get overly excited about baby milestones, probably because I've been through so many of them, but I do love baby teeth. They just look so adorable with those little chompers and drooly mouths!
I've had a baby that got teeth at four months old and another baby that didn't have a single tooth in his head until well after a year. I think Chris was around 10ish months with his first one and now with Josiah at 7, they're all over the board!
So tell me, when did your little one sprout their first little chomper? What about crawling? I know that one will be soon but Im curious to know when other babies have done it...well, other than my own anyway :)
Monday, February 2, 2009
I enjoyed writing about the kids and what they were doing or what was going on in our lives, and I viewed this blog as a place to document all of that.
Taking a little look back though, most of this garbage that I've been writing isn't the kind of things that I'd really want to document. I mean, there are the posts about Josiah's eating and I'd like to keep them, but most of the rest of it is garbage.
I realise that sometimes Im going to be inclined to write about nonsense or amusing things that appeal to those of you who read this (and give me a laugh, Im sure) because otherwise this place would be insanely boring. Even I know that! But is there a trick that any of you might use that helps you to stay focused in regards to what you write, but also keeps you writing? If I just wrote about the particular parenting issues that I face, then I could go weeks without writing anything.
So please, impart your wisdom! Im all ears...