Saturday, October 17, 2009

Internet - 1, Me - 0

So I've been toying with the idea of calling it quits here. And by "toying with" I mean actually decided. I just don't have the time and motivation to keep this blog going. You just *might* have noticed. I still have tons of posts in my head waiting to be shared. And they are mind-blowing, let me tell you. I would be infamous in the blogosphere if I only wrote them down. But alas, it was not to be. Count me among the many failed blogs out there and move on, if you haven't already. I won't take it down as it looks all pretty with the links and my shop advertisement and such, but I won't leave you hanging with the promise of my return. Maybe one day . . . but don't hold your breath. It's bad for you. Yes, I've succumbed to corny jokes. The shark is waiting for me to hop on, so I'll oblige. Have a nice life, and do think on me from time to time.
--The Happy Cheerio.

Friday, September 25, 2009

15 Books . . . and blurbs

So the Facebook Meme reads like this:

"RULES: Don't take too long to think about it. List 15 books you've read that will always stick with you. They should be the first 15 you can recall in no more than 15 minutes. Tag 15 friends, including me, because I'm interested in seeing what books my friends choose."

I posted mine, and then decided it would be a good blog post if I expanded and told ya a bit about each book and why I picked it. Notice the instructions say books that "will always stick with you" not the coolest books, or most literary books, or even favourite books. But books that for whatever reason, are part of who you are. The number 15 is a little artbitrary, I'll admit, but it does keep things nice and neat. Here we go . . .

1. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - Betty Smith. This also happens to be my all-time favourite book. Why? Because I identify so much with it. Because, really, I grew up dirt poor in Brooklyn with one brother, a hard-working momma and an adorable alcoholic father. Well, you know it's a good book if you indentify with it even though your own life is nothing like that. I guess what I really appreciate about it is how it's an everygirl's childhood story. It really appeals to my nostalgic side (which is a really big side of me), detailing beautifully what it's like to wish, imagine, love, hurt, want, grow up . . . all that stuff. And I cry every time I read it. "Momma is somebody!" Oh, my heart hurts.

2. Boys Life - Robert McCammon (not to be confused with "This Boy's Life"--that movie with Leonardo DiCaprio--totally different). Actually I like this book for a lot of the same reasons I like A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Completely different setting and plot, and yet--the nostalgia! The coming of age! Think "Stand By Me"but more developed and whimsical. The magic realism elements are fantastic. It's not what I would call literary, not quite beautiful writing, perhaps a little over-sentimental at times, but a real gem nonetheless.

3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling. Yes, of course I mean the whole series, as you can't have one without the rest, but that would be breaking the rules so I picked the last one. Say what you will about Harry, I love him and I can't help it. It's one of the few bandwagons I joined right on time, before it was huge, before the movies were made, and I loved every single minute of it. Some of you may be wondering why Harry made the list while other, better written fantasy greats like Narnia and the Lord of the Rings did not. Well, I read those and enjoyed those too, but I would be a phoney if I put them here. I read LOTR after seeing the movies. I know, I'm awful. And I only read a few of the Narnia books as a kid and didn't finish the rest until a few months ago. Enough excuses. Harry is the bomb. Word2yourmother.

4. East of Eden - John Steinbeck. A classic for a reason. I love stories with lots of connected characters and family tensions. I love stories that make you ask moral/philosophical questions without it feeling forced or preachy. Timshel. Pure genius. Read it in grade 12 for school and then again a couple years ago. Just as good the second time.

5. Fall on Your Knees - Ann M. Macdonald. I wouldn't say it's one of my favourites, but it's certainly unforgettable. Tons of stuff happens in this book. Probably too much stuff. But it's compelling somehow, and leaves you with a bit of an ache when it's over. Only read it once, maybe I should read it again.

6. Life of Pi - Yann Martel. My favourite English professor of all time said this book bored her to tears, and yet, here it is on my list. Actually, I couldn't put it down. Go figure. The narrator is just so likable. The story is incredible and yet, it moves at a nice easy pace, which allows for reflection. I love the way Martel highlights the awe and holiness of each religion. Plus, I have a signed copy! It reads: "May turtles always float around your lifeboat. --Yann Martel."

Aaaand I've run out of steam. But rather than hold onto this post any longer, I shall release it and publish a second installment later. Hopefully sometime next week? No, really! And in the meantime, post some of your favourite books in the comments if you feel so inclined.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I have a new post coming

I know, you don't care. But I really do. It's in my drafts right now waiting to be finished and it's gonna be good. Happy Sunday!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

More Window Shopping

Loving this crocheted headband. Super cute. From BrokenHallelujah.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Look: I'm Not Going Back to Work

Sound a little defensive? I often sound defensive or aggressive in my writing when I feel like I can't be that way in person. It's my way of venting.

On the docket for today is that little question, "When are you going back to work?" In Canada, we have the blessing of a full year maternity leave. Which is *great*, don't get me wrong. But I find with that kind of time off, people tend to assume that it's more than enough for any mom, and that any mom will return to work as soon as the last government check arrives on her doorstep. I mean, she's had a year, right? She must be dying to become a productive member of society again! Her baby must be weaned and eager for social interaction as well. So, when's the big day?

Well, sorry to disappoint, but that day, if it ever comes, is way way way in the future for me. I have a very hard time admitting this to just about anyone, even to fellow moms who profess that they wish they could do the same. In fact, sometimes they're the hardest ones to admit it to because I don't want to seem like I'm flaunting it (see comment 5 in the list below). It seems no matter who it is, they're just not comfortable with the idea. Don't believe me? Here are a couple of responses I've heard from people I've told I'm not going back:

"So, part-time then?"
"If child care's an issue I know so-and-so would probably take her."
"Yeah, it's nice if you can do that . . . for a while."
"Well, you could work______ instead of teach."
"I hate you." (Followed by an I'm-joking-but-maybe-not-really smile)

So, what's the bfd? (Pardon my abbreviation)

You know, not every mom who chooses to stay home is rich beyond her wildest dreams. Nor is she a traditional religious nutcase. Nor is she just plain lazy. She can be a normal, sane, educated and hard-working person, just like you. And wasn't it only a couple decades ago when this was the norm and women had to rationalize going to work?

Well, because I'm a defensive person, I'm going to give you my reasons to stay home and hopefully bust up some of those assumptions.

Why I'm Not Going Back to Work:

I don't have a job I could realistically go back to. Before I had my daughter, my official job was "Occasional Teacher." Apparently it's politically incorrect or something to say "Substitute Teacher" now, though "Supply Teacher" is a little more acceptable.

Anyway, being an O.T. for a school board means I'm on call every day, but I have no guarantee to work every day. It means that when I do get work, I get a phone call at 6am from an automated system offering me a job for that day from any school in a 60-km radius, and oh yeah, classes start anywhere from 7:30-9:00am.

Now, that was all fine while I was pregnant and racking up mat leave credits. Being a free agent was okay, if a little tiresome. But can you imagine trying to work out childcare with that? Unless they lived next door and were very flexible and understanding or maybe just decided to move in with us, I don't see it happening.

I don't have a job I want to go back to. Like I said, it was okay back then, and decent money and all that, but it's not what I had in mind in teacher's college. I don't have my own classroom, I don't plan lessons, I don't know the kids, and most times I know nothing about what I'm supposed to be teaching. That's because I can be assigned anything from woodworking to calculus to cosmetology to boys phys.ed. There are very few "teachable moments" or any "moments" at all in supply teaching, and when they do crop up, you often need a sense of humour to appreciate them. Why would I choose this as a career?

I don't want to look for a new job that I might find more fulfilling. The time to find a teaching job I would actually enjoy has passed for the time being. I know myself well enough to know that raising a daughter and balancing my first year as a high school English teacher would probably kill me. I am a procrastinating perfectionist when it comes to lesson planning and marking. I found this out during practice teaching. I love the teaching part, but the prep part was hard.

Now, if I'd been teaching for a few years already and had some materials and experience under my belt, I might be ready to go back in a little while, but for my first year? Way too stressful. Like, throw-up stressful. And when I'm stressed out I'm cranky and depressed and not "present" at home. This is unacceptable.

Financially, we've found a way to make it work. No, we're not ballin' it, but we have enough room to try it out for a while, hopefully for a long time. I know not everybody has that option and I'm sorry not everyone does. But I won't feel guilty or sheepish because I do. Or at least, I'm getting better at not feeling that way.

I want to stay home! I enjoy it. It's not always perfect and sometimes I'm ripping my hair out, but for the most part, I really like it. I love being with my daughter throughout the day, watching her play, taking her out, feeding her lunch, taking naps together. I also like having a little bit of time to sew my clips, promote my shop, read novels, bake something special, write occasionally, and plan dinner.

So, there you have my answer to that pesky question. Not right now and not for a while. I may pick up a few days here and there just to keep my name active on teaching lists because you never know and all that, but basically I've decided to become a rich, lazy nutcase and stay home. And that's my final answer.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

August Randoms

What's new this month?

Well, the immediate news is that a few days ago I made these cookies and this morning I had 3, yes 3, of them for breakfast. I did it to myself because I drove my husband to the train and had a Walmart excursion all before eating anything, so when I got home the cookies were the first thing I saw and I knew then it was all over. And so good.

Prior to the cookie making, this past Saturday I celebrated my sister's bachelorette with her. She gets married in 2.5 weeks. It was a good time with pizza (that's always a good time), games, some naughty gifts, and then out to the club. Well, the club was pretty good for an old fogey like me. Yes, the ripe old age of 27 has me bidding goodbye to my youthful days. You know you might be too old for the club scene when you experience following:

* Everybody in the bachelorette party wears rub-on tattoos just for the fun of it, and you contemplate where to put yours so that it won't be visible in church the next morning.
* You know maybe 2% of the songs being played. (Although when I knew a song I sang and danced with the best of them.)
* You find the music deafening and keep silently apologizing to those tiny little hairs in your ears that are responsible for picking up sound. I'm sorry, little hairs! Please keep working after this!
* You are shocked--shocked! at the way some young people behave on the dance floor.
* The heels you stupidly decided to wear once-in-your-whole-5'11-life have you going out to the patio not to smoke, but just to sit down.
* When you're feeling a little foolish about being the oldest person in the club, you think, "Hey, at least I can blog about this when I get home!"

Now please don't think I'm a grump and I didn't enjoy myself. Truly, I did. And it was nice to have a girls' night out; I hadn't had one in forever. Plus there were free chocolate strawberries and champagne involved (bachelorette special). So, all in all, it was good.

Make that four cookies. Hide them from me. I have a bridesmaid dress to fit into.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Cutest Thing EVAR

Doesn't he just say, "Love me" with that little smile? Great job, ColtPixy!