7QT: I'm screaming in the rain, just screaming in the rain

Linking up with Kelly for Seven Quick Takes this Friday.

1. The other day I had to run over to the school to take care of something relatively urgent, but Anselm was napping upstairs and Stan wasn’t home. So I called a neighbour of ours and she came over with her son, who’s a month older than Anselm. I got home about ten minutes later and as soon as I got in the door all I could hear was screaming (in stereo, even, since the baby monitor was still on downstairs). Upstairs I go: R was in our bedroom trying to calm Anselm while her son lost his mind in the bouncy chair in the office. Anselm had woken up from his nap screaming — terrible habit — and had set off BabyJ, who set off Anselm, who set off BabyJ… a perfect feedback loop. We took both babies downstairs but there was no chance of a visit since whenever they laid eyes on each other the terrified screaming began again. Sometimes I am less than enchanted with babies’ empathic responses.

2. On the other hand, sometimes the empathy thing comes in handy. Once a week Anselm and I spend the afternoon at anther friend’s house, babysitting their son E while both parents are in class. E is about thirteen months old, and yesterday he slept so long that I had to wake him, which ensued in a lot of distressed… well, whining, really. But when I took him downstairs — “Let’s go see baby Anselm! What’s he doing? Baby Anselm is sleeping!” — things cheered up considerably, especially after Anselm woke up. He thinks that E is just about the best thing going; it’s hard to stay whiny when another baby is staring at you with the love-light in his eyes.

3. I am finally reading Susanna Clark’s brilliant novel Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, only ten years after everyone else did. I’m halfway through but I know that this is one that I’ll be reading over and over again — for the footnotes if nothing else. It’s a mystery why, but few things tickle my fancy like a footnoted novel (see also my feelings for Jonathan Stroud’s Bartimaeus trilogy).

4. It appears that winter is finally over; instead we have entered the drowning time spring, which so far has chiefly manifested itself in significant amounts of rain. And thunder. And rain. And lightning. And rain. I don’t know why this surprises me since spring happens every year.

5. Speaking of things that happen every year, hey, Easter! It was a very quiet Easter for us this year — pretty much every Holy Week service happened either at naptime or bedtime, so I didn’t get to go to any of them except Sunday morning. But Anselm had his four-month vaccinations on Good Friday morning, so rest assured that there was still much reflection on pain, suffering, and travail going on in our house. I don’t know if vaccinations really count as part of the cruciform life, but I’m willing to make a case for it.

6. Anyone else on Reddit being driving crazy by The Button? To press or not to press? And if to press — to press when? I am spending way, way too much time thinking about this.

7. Meanwhile, as I’ve been reading novels and pondering a stupid button that does nothing, the baby has achieved mobility. Danger! Doom! He can’t crawl yet, but he can roll from his tummy to his back, and now from his back to his tummy, and he can certainly squirm. I haven’t fully integrated the fact that he’s mobile into my brain, though, so the days are frequently punctuated by exclamations of “How did you get there?” Time to start babyproofing, I guess. Also we should probably sweep the carpet.

America, America, my country tis almost of thee

Hooking up with Jen for Seven Quick Takes.

1. It’s summer here! I know that the calendar says that it should probably be spring, but we had spring already: it was about a week ago and it was ten minutes long. Now the temperature is hanging out in the solid mid-twenties, and we’re all walking around with sunburns and stunned expressions.

The fun part, of course, is that it would not be unheard of if we got another snowstorm before the month is out.

2. Having grown up in The City, I never particularly needed to drive, and so I didn’t bother to learn. But last year I decided that I was going to get my licence (only ten years overdue) and so I went through drivers’ ed and then took lessons with an instuctor. And he was — how can I say this? — a gigantic jerkosaurus. So a month or two after my lessons ended I wrote a letter to the driving school detailing my experience. (This is something that I’ve recently discovered: when something goes wrong, it’s ok to complain. Crazy, no?)

The upshot is that they were very apologetic and are sending me out with their senior instructor this morning to make sure I’m ship-shape for my road test at the end of the month. All I hope is that we can practice parallel parking, because I haven’t done that in yonks.

3. Part of the reason I decided to learn to drive is because we’re moving! At the end of July we’ll be leaving our city… and our province… and our country (!) as Stan is going to be pursuing graduate studies in the States. It’s both exciting and daunting to think about living as ex-pats for the next three or so years. And to add to our sense of displacement, we’re moving from a city of a million (note: this is the smallest place I’ve ever lived) to a town of 7,000. That’s the size of five of my highschools.

Stan says that I’ll love small-town living, and he’s probably right, but right now — in the abstract — it just doesn’t make sense to me. The town: so tiny! What do they all do there?

4. One of the used bookstores near us is having an all-summer-long five-books-for-a-dollar sale. This is basically like handing me a bag of cocaine. But it’s helpful for the next stage of my reading resolution: I want to read one French book a month. I’ve been easily exceeding my goal of at least three nonfiction titles, and so I think it’s time to add French to the mix.

This resolution also comes in light of the upcoming move, since I won’t be using my French daily in Tinytown USA as I do here.

5. You know that Yiddish saying about God laughing when we make plans? Years ago I told God (and anyone else who would listen) that I would never live in my current city. And even more than that, I told God that I would never, ever, ever ever ever, not even a little, ever live in the United States.

Ah ha, ha, ha ha ha.

6. This post has basically been all about the move so far, and that makes sense I guess, since it’s a pretty big deal. We’re getting excited, and we’ve finished our paperwork and lined up somewhere to live, but there’s still one thing that’s giving me some major trepidation: odds are, I won’t be able to get a work permit. Getting into the States is no problem because I’m going down as the dependent spouse on Stan’s student status. That means that he can work, with some limitations, but I can’t at all. And looking at the regulations and conditions and incantations necessary to obtaining a work permit, I’m pretty daunted — especially because I’m not in any sort of specialty occupation.

I’d be happy to have your prayers that we’d find a way for me to get a permit, because (a) it’d be awfully useful for me to be able to bring in some income since Stan will be working and studying both, and (b) if I have to sit around the house for three years I might die.

7. On that note of (slight) hyperbole, I shall close. It’s almost time to meet my instructor, so I’ve got some parallel parking videos to review!

Things I never get tired of

1. Eating pomegranate seeds (juicy rubies you can crush between your teeth!)

2. Watching the way the wind blows snowdrifts over a frozen river

3. The way that a dried-up sponge expands when water hits it

4. Stomping around in great big winter boots

5. Wrapping Christmas presents just so

6. Spontaneous toddler hugs

7. Fart jokes

We mustn't forget beard research

Friday’s seven quick takes, hosted by Conversion Diary

1. I realised a little while ago that because this is our first Christmas together, Stan and I have zero tree ornaments or other decorations. This sent me into a small flurry of sewing, as I had the bright idea to use some of my fabric scraps to make ornaments. I pinned, cut circles, sewed them together, turned them inside out, stuffed them, sewed them shut, and then spent some time contemplating how difficult it is to sew stuffed circles. A number of them look more like the little ghosts from Pac-Man, and at least one distinctly resembles Australia.

Stan came home from work one night to find me sewing the benighted things closed.

“What are you making?” quoth he.

“I’m making… Christmas… blobs.”

2. Goober and Goobrette are now two and a half, just about, and their vocabulary is starting to pick up. Specifically, they’re really starting to get the hang of body parts. Last night I overheard Goober playing with his little playmobile people: “Man! Penis! Man! Penis! Man! Penis!”

3. I recently stumbled across a neat little programme that solves the problem of turning your laptop on at night and your eyeballs immediately wanting to die from the horrible blue glare. Flux actually changes the temperature of light that your screen emits throughout the day, making it bluer in the morning/daytime, and much warmer at night (if you plug in your longitude & latitude it’ll track your local sunrise and sunset). It took about a day to get used to the night settings (it’s all a bit pink-y) but now I love it. No more late-night eyestrain! Yay!

4. A week or two ago I bought a dress from a friend of mine, who buys hideous pieces of clothing from Value Village et al. and then upcycles them into cute things. She’s pretty brilliant, and I love the dress, but maybe the best part is that I paid for it over paypal and neither of us have grown-up email addresses (you know, the kind with your actual name) linked to our paypal accounts. The line item on my credit card therefore reads “Paypal: WHIPPERHEAD”.

5. I know that I talked about Ordinary Time in my last post, but I’m not over them so they get another mention. Go listen to track twelve and then try telling me that they’re not amazing. Go on, I dare you. (Be sure to go to the end — it starts to get super amazing just before the two-minute mark.)

6. Speaking of music, here’s a dude singing a one-man medly arrangement of Les Mis:

(What I would give to have a range like that! Holy cow.)

7. I have a (bad?) habit of bookmarking virtually everything on the internet that catches my eye, and then never sorting out my bookmarks folder or visiting any of them ever again. Possibly I should delve into them more often, since I am missing out on such gems as Dorodango, Rock Paper Saddam, and Beard Research.

But it's summer and dishes are boring

Friday’s seven quick takes, hosted by Conversion Diary.

1. I finally have a name at work, which came about a few days ago when Goober started calling me Mama. Uh, no, sweetheart. Not your mama. “Christine” is mega-hard for little mouths (especially little mouths with expressive language delays) and so we’ve compromised on Nana. Goobrette says Nanny, but Goober has rejected that option soundly… so Nana I am.

2. I dreamed last night that tiny black-and-yellow spiders were nesting under all of my finger- and toenails. Oddly enough, in the dream I wasn’t so much concerned with that fact that this is supremely disgusting, but with the mild social embarrassment whenever one of them crawled out. Apparently tiny spiders were akin to acne; everyone’s been there, so it’s not a big deal, but you still don’t want people to notice.

3. I realised a funny thing with how I got the job working for La Saucisse’s parents. I didn’t hand in a resume, or references, or anything like that, and I think it was only on my first day there that her mother grabbed my cell number. But in the neighbourhood I work in, I am my own reference. Parents see me at the park every day. If they want to know if I’m good with children or if I’d be a good fit for their family, they can just watch me and decide. This is both convenient and daunting.

4. I went to a women’s retreat with my church last weekend. The speaker, Jane, was probably only around the age of my parents — older, but not yet old — but her face was very deeply lined. I saw when I looked closely, though, that every one of her lines was a laugh line. It was amazing to see someone who had been so marked by joy. When I am wrinkled, I hope they are laugh lines.

5. At the retreat I ended up a few times telling the story of how Stan and I got together. Our first date involved a nine-hour hospital ordeal during which he stood by my side (me being the one who needed the hospital) for six hours because emerge was so crowded. That was also the day I decided that this was the man I wanted to marry (and, lest you ask, I decided that before I had the morphine). I like telling this story; I like praising my husband in public. He’s the best.

6. Sometimes commercials make me cry, because I’m a huge sucker like that. To wit:

7. Things to do today: drink morning tea, paint toenails, fold laundry, try not to eat the entire pan of bread pudding for breakfast, drink more tea with a girlfriend, go to work, come home & feel guilty because I still haven’t done the dishes and we’re going to start running out of glasses soon.  I could do them now but I’d rather get my nails finished. Is it bad that I’m prioritizing red toes over dishes? Probably.