Friday, March 30, 2007

my little quilting habit

One of my little habits, is cutting up large pieces of fabric and sewing them back together. It is a fun little habit, exciting to see the different fabrics sewn together to make interesting shapes and patterns. If you ask Bones it is a nasty habit of mine, it has taken over our house – literally.

Take this photo, this Big-Ass Machine. That is what I have named her after years of not knowing what to call her. It seems appropriate. She currently resides in what should be a dining room. In fact the living room is smaller than this room so we crowd into a furniture-stuffed room so Big-Ass Machine has room to breath.

Our second bedroom in our little house was supposed to be a sewing/office/guest room. It has the guest bed, the dining room table and the computer in there but, the bed is covered in fabrics that require washing, (I am an old school girl that washes all her cottons before using them, something that isn’t quite needed anymore with the higher end fabrics, unless you are making clothes), the table is covered in piles of little bits of fabrics from various projects that have yet to be sewn together and the computer is in pieces and has yet to be put together since we moved into the house almost 2 years ago. Oh ya, and there are the bookcases that hold my fabric stash, piles of financial paperwork that should be filed and my UnFinished Objects, (projects), UFOs, over 80 of them in total. This will eventually be the babies room. I would have a snazzy photo to show you all but am a little embarrassed at the disastrous state of the room. If I had to stand there and take a photo I may wind up setting my hair on fire and running through the neighbourhood naked, no wants to see that.

But it doesn’t end there. Both of my sewing machines are in the furniture-stuffed living room, one only does straight stitch really fast, the other has the utility stitches that I use to attach labels to the backings of my projects. There is a piece of fibre board I put on the ottoman so I can cut my big pieces of fabrics into little pieces, and there is an ironing board & iron in the front hallway.

Currently there is no quilting stuff, except for the occasional bit of thread or fabric that got stuck to someone’s sock or fur, in the bedroom, the kitchen and the bathroom. Oh wait, there are my big rolls of batting in the bathroom.

Needless to say I have clean this up, and the best way I know how is to complete some UFOs. Here is a photo of one of latest finished projects, it was donated for a Breast Cancer fundraiser that one of Bones’ friends had. It is a crib quilt with Black & Whites with colourful bug fabric thrown in.

This spring we are rebuilding our garage to make a quilt studio.

Now what do I do with all of these beautiful creations? Mostly I hang them on the wall, our personal padded cell. Allows us to get as crazy as we like and saves on the heating bill too!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

'Till September my athletes!

Tonight was the last night for the Beginner Special Olympics Swimming. Even though it was only 5 sessions in total that I coached, I’m going to miss it. I even got a couple of Thank-you gifts which totally blew me away. We celebrated the season with games, Achievement Certificates, snacks and juice boxes.

The most touching moment was when one of the athletes touched my belly and said she was worried about me, she didn’t want me to die in the hospital. I promised that I wouldn’t and that I would see her next season. She said that she would miss me, gave me a hug and admitted that she didn’t want to cry.


Yes we are excited.


Saturday, March 24, 2007

Who knew buying ginger ale could be so complicated?

Bones and I live in central Calgary, in a neighbourhood in transition. Houses are being bought up to renovate or tear-down and rebuild. There are high-end million dollar executive homes, run down crack houses and everything in between. It isn’t a bad neighbourhood but it is interesting and because we live across from a 7-11 we get front row seats to the more colourful aspects of the neighbourhood.

Today I went to the 7-11 to get some ginger ale, (these days I can’t get enough ginger ale, never been a pop drinker and now I am like a strung out junkie for ginger ale, I limit myself because of the sugar), and a drunk native offered to buy it for me and once I declined he insisted, then he started to get belligerent with the staff. Once he paid I high-tailed it out of there and ran into my house and hid hoping that he didn’t see where I lived.

It kinda made me feel like shit to be so worried. This person does something generous and in return he gets a quick thank-you as I am running out the door to hide in my house.
While living in Halifax and Ottawa I didn’t really see the ‘drunk native’ stereotype that much. In fact I was more used to seeing the opposite having worked alongside many natives. Calgary is a bit different. Walk the paths along the river and the ‘drunk native’ stereotype is everywhere. Today was the first time I can say that I reacted to my fear of that stereotype as opposed to the individual. A lot of people are belligerent when they are drunk and I wouldn’t run and hide from them.

I am not friends with a lot of the people I first got to know when I moved to Calgary, there was an assumption that if we found enough common ground to be friends that we would have similar attitudes. Slowly I would begin to notice negative comments on different cultures and alternate lifestyles that I found offensive. And I am one of those people who believe that if someone makes a prejudice comment that I am just at fault if I don’t speak up. Obviously not every Albertan has these attitudes; it is just more predominant in comparison to where I have previously lived.

One of the things that scares me about raising a child in Alberta is the ‘conservative’ attitudes of most of the population. Sure they will be raised by Bones and I, will be part our friends lives who not all white or heterosexual and hopefully that will be their predominant influence. But they will go to school within a province that is not as accepting of diversity.

It is difficult to not be affected by their surrounding environment and today I proved that.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

My furry babies

Thought it was about time to introduce everyone to my lovely poopies. That is not a typo, they are poopies, because they love to poop. I have even made up a little song about how they love to poop. One silly thing I love to do is change the lyrics to songs and sing little Odes to them. Such as Jack is Every Inch a Sailor has been changed to Jack is Every Inch a Puppy.

Jack Trouble was the first of the Darch Dogs. She is border collie/golden mix, with a heart of gold who will protect her family in a heartbeat and still be able to roll around on her back and let puppies crawl all over her. I often joke that I can only aspire to be as emotionally well-adjusted as she is. She is a therapy dog who used to visit the psychiatric and palliative care wards. Jack is the best one to get down on all fours with and wrestle. She is happiest when the pack is all together and she is cuddling up to one of her humans. Jack is the one I go to when I need comfort from a furry friend.

Samson Grunt came next and she turned my household upside down. Jack was house trained so quickly and Sam through a huge wrench into that. Sam is the runt, a 90lb runt but a runt none the less, and had many issues, one being house training. And if Sam could do it, Jack figured she might as well too. It was a tough go at the beginning but you can’t help but love Sam. She is a Dane/Chesapeake Bay Retriever mix, a true athletic retriever in the dog park and cuddly dane in the house. She is a real princess, can’t lie on the floor, must have something soft to lie on. She is the most self-centered of the Darch Dogs, she has to get the ball, must have the toy anyone else wants etc. Regardless we love her, I mean she is the best cuddler out of the bunch.

Cody was the last to arrive in our household, the only one that came after Bones and I were together. He was only to stay at our place a few months but his original owner moved, didn’t forward their phone number and never got in touch with us. He wasn’t very well trained but had such a great personality he won me over quickly, with Bones it took awhile. Cody the little Boston Terrier, (he is not a mutt, we have his papers, he is just a genetic throw-back), thought he would run the show in our house, he would hop up on our couch and try to mount the girls, (Jack & Sam), they put him in his place pretty quick. Cody is definitely Bones’ dog. I don’t exist unless Bones isn’t around. Bones adores him too. We have managed to get him trained enough to live with us, (it is hard with 3 dogs as they feed off each other, so we like them to have manners in the house and on the leash, in the dog park, they are dogs), and the girls seem to be ok with his shenanigans. Cody’s big personality has won him many nicknames, Cheech, Batboy, (his long hair from his ears makes a bit of a bat look when they are up, Cody-Sore-Ass, (one time on a camping trip he had an impacted anal gland, it looked so sore....) and Grandpa, (he snores like an old man).

The dogs all get along great. Sometimes I refer to them as Cody and his Bitches. Thankfully they are great with kids but of course aren’t allowed alone with young children. We have started reducing their access to the house and the attention they receive so they don’t associate any changes to the arrival of a child. It is hard because it is their house too but with 3 shedding dogs in dusty Calgary you have to take some measures so that you just have to worry about eating, sleeping and feeding the baby for the first few months. Or at least that is my theory.
There you go, that’s the furry portion of the Darch/Bones family.


Monday, March 19, 2007

Advice wanted

So I got some unsolicited advice today as I ordered my medium sugar-free, soy latte. “You should stay away from caffeine for the baby”, the stranger told me. I smiled and replied, “Thank-you for your concern for my baby.” For those who don’t know me this is quite a tame response, I am not a good advice taker, especially from strangers.

I am one of those people from the School of Hard Knocks. We don’t learn from other’s people’s mistakes, we have to jump off that cliff before we truly believe it will be a bad idea. It isn’t a pleasant trait of mine that is for sure, it made parenting me quite difficult. Sorry mom & dad. No matter how hard I try, and I really do try, I need to work it out for myself. Now with age I like to think I have mellowed somewhat, if those who are close to me, (family, good friends), give me some unsolicited advice I listen, may not take it but I listen and appreciate that it is given because they care. As for strangers or acquaintances well that is a different story.

Every pregnancy and parenting book I have read touches on the unsolicited advice issue, and most of my friends have ranted to me about it at one point. The thing is, when I look at my friends, who have differing parenting styles, their kids are all amazing so who is right? Why does there even have to be a right? The books suggest to be polite and smile, and I couldn’t agree more, but and here is my problem, the big but, BUT at about the 50 billionth time I get some unsolicited advice I am sure the polite option would be a distant memory.

When I relayed this bit of advice-getting to my good friend and co-worker she thought I should have said, “oh I am just so tired from being up all night drinking….”, then I had to add, “….and eating unpasturized cheeses with raw tuna sushi.” But at the moment it seemed easier to just be polite and not bring out the sarcasm, that and I didn’t think of it at the time.

So my blog readers I am looking for some advice here….suggest some strategies to help me chose the polite option when all I want to do is cover my ears yelling, “I CAN’T HEAR YOU”, while stomping my feet up and down.

Hey I just realized that the advice-giver thought I looked pregnant! Awesome, now I am not feeling so prickly, a stranger saw I was pregnant and not just fat.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

Thoughts on a disturbing documentary

I really didn’t want to get into politics or religion on this blog but it looks like I am now about to. It still has to do with parenting though.

A couple of weekends ago Bones and I watched the documentary Jesus Camp. Wow, disturbing. If you haven’t heard of the film this is what it is about:

‘A growing number of Evangelical Christians believe there is a revival underway in America that requires Christian youth to assume leadership roles in advocating the causes of their religious movement. JESUS CAMP follows a group of young children to Pastor Becky Fischer’s “Kids on Fire Summer Camp”, where kids are taught to become dedicated Christian soldiers in God’s army and are schooled in how to take back America for Christ. The film is a first-ever look into an intense training ground that recruits born-again Christian children to become an active part of America’s political future.”

Here are some key things I have ‘learned’ from the movie:

  • Dancing for fun is dancing for the flesh, but should you dance for Jesus it is ok.
  • Muslims are sending their kids to camps in Palestine at the age of 5 to learn how to use hand grenades.
  • Science can be used to prove the literal interpretation of the bible such as Creationism, and disprove the theories the majority of the scientific community accept, such as Evolution. Oh ya and global warming is crap, something made up to cause fear that can be used to manipulate the masses.
  • An Embryo looks like a ‘baby’ at 7 weeks gestation.
  • Children are more open so God or Jesus actually talks to them.

See what I mean about disturbing. Every statement above is either an out and out lie or filled with such hypocrisy that I can’t believe someone could say it with a straight face or that someone else could truly believe the message.

What I did appreciate about the movie was the opposing voice used was from a Methodist. So it isn’t some agnostic challenging the religious right when they have no appreciation of their faith or don’t find their moral compass within Christianity. The children were shown as intelligent, articulate and confident. The Youth Pastor obviously loves the children in her ministry and cares a lot for their future. Again it is quite disturbing, it would be so much easier to not relate to them at all, (I related mostly to their fears about the future, their children’s well-being etc, not the religious fervour), and just see them as religious zealots.

Now I am not a religion hater. Bones has faith, me I am up in the air, sometimes I definitely do, other times it is hard for me to believe. I do believe that attending church and being part of a religious community brings many benefits. I am totally in love with a man who was raised within a religious family and many of the qualities I admire in him I attribute to that upbringing. So this is not about Religion as a whole.

This is more about raising children in an environment that likens brainwashing and does not allow in any way shape or form a differing thought. This is ensured by using the fear of going to Hell or the threat of rejection from family and community. An ‘enemy’ or ‘war’ is created to shift focus from challenging the messages being sent to fighting the scourge that threatens their way of life. The old, ‘you are either with us or against us’, mentality. There is no room for difference, no room for tolerance. The hate continues.

Check out the trailer:

Apologies to any of my religious friends and family that I may have offended. That was not my intent. I feel lucky to have such diversity in my life where we can care and accept one another regardless of our differences.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Yes I do speak english....supposedly

Over halfway there and only a bit of a brain to spare!

Pregnancy brain has been a real joy. I have always had a tendency to screw up my words, replace a word with something that sounds like it. As an example I went to the doctor as I was concerned that I had a urinal tract infection. The doctor being ever so professional didn’t even crack a smile and I only realized my error when the doctor asked why I thought I had a urinary tract infection. At which point I turned beat red with embarrassment, and started laughing pretty hard.

Well this tendency has grown to new proportions. I still replace words with something that sounds like it. Like this little snippet from lunch:

Discussing a concern I had, I said, “…well I consulted with my daughter last week…”, my baby Ellen is so brilliant that she giving medical advice from the womb, I meant to say doctor.

But you see now it doesn’t matter if the words sound alike or not:

Last weekend we had all 3 dogs in the car and I rolled down the window a bit to give them some air. We were headed to the car wash eventually and I turned to Bones and said, “remind me turn up the light before going in the carwash”. He was so kind with his response, “sure but I might call it a window.” Now the whole reason I had to ask for the reminder is that that one time recently, going through the car wash I did not have my window rolled up completely. As the water poured in I was in a crazy panic, “the soap, the water, my pants, the seat….” After a few moments I realized there was nothing I could do, one of the downfalls of power windows, and accepted the little shower I was receiving. At least we were headed home.

And finally, it doesn’t even matter if it is a word, as is can be a combo:

After teasing a co-worker I said, “…just harasling you..” It was a combo of harass and hassle. She knows me so well she knew what I meant.

So communicating with me can be quite a chore these days, have a drink, bring some patience and don’t worry if you have a wee chuckle at my expense. I am getting used to it.


Thursday, March 8, 2007

More details on the detailed scan.

Sorry for the brief update yesterday, it has been quite hectic these past few weeks. Well maybe not exactly hectic, more I really can’t get done in a day everything I want to get done.

The ultrasound was a huge relief yesterday. It has been difficult to really think this pregnancy will all work out. We have gone through so much to get here, so much loss that I needed to protect myself from any possibility of hurt. Not that it is an achievable goal, each step has brought reassurance and hope. What started as a way to inform our family and friends of our pregnancy, has turned into a way for me to let the positive experiences and feelings in. Try and shed the hurt and anger that has built up over the last few years and that I have been wearing around as a shield.

The last few days before the ultrasound, I woke up from intense nightmares that the baby was dead. Yesterday I woke up at 4am, full of excitement and dread. It is so hard to explain the opposing emotions, it was all quite confusing, even to me. As the scan began she didn’t move at all, then there was a twitch and we began to see definite movement. A wash of calm passed over me that hasn’t left.

We are so excited, it is a lot more real now; she looks like a baby. Head-on she looks more like Skeletor but that is just the nature of ultrasound imaging. Her profile is delicate and simply beautiful.

We have been asked so many times if we have a preference, my answer has always been, ‘a live baby’. Even though Bones was convinced it was a girl, he would have been ecstatic with a boy. It would appear that I was one of the few who didn’t have a clue as to the sex. My neighbour saw some 0-6 month old tights on sale and bought me some, most of Bones’s coworkers thought it would be a girl and my girlfriend’s husband thought it would be a girl because he could see me as a mom to a girl. Maybe my fears got in the way.

Thank-you so much for the well wishes.


Wednesday, March 7, 2007

The detailed scan....

.....and it is a wee pea is a wee she!