Blog-o! Notes from

Sat, 22 Jan 2005

I am bone-weary and grumpy and nauseous and I have no appetite. At least I know something is going on, but I'd rather it wasn't so much like the 'flu.

Also I have crampy feelings, but they're not in my uterus, they feel more like they're in the tendons which tether the uterus. I think of it like a big hot-air balloon with guy-wires holding it to my pelvis -- it's the guy wires which seem to be twingeing. Weird.

[Posted at 21:24 by Amy Brown] link

Blake was reading Madeline's Rescue with Delphine this morning, and he was letting her fill in the last word of each line. It went something like this:

"In an old house in Paris that was covered in" ... "vines"
"Lived twelve little girls in two straight" ... "lines"
"They left the house at half-past-" ... "nine"
"In two straight lines in rain or" ... "shine"
"The smallest one was" ... "dead"

(A few pages later is the line "Poor Madeline would now be dead".)

Of course we laughed and laughed, so it's now her favourite party trick.

[Posted at 21:19 by Amy Brown] link

Delphine had her first real daycare experience yesterday; I left her for an hour and a half in the morning, went back for a while and then left her for another hour and a half in the afternoon. Apparently in the morning she was pretty sad but in the afternoon she was okay. She cried when I can to pick her up, and she wanted to leave right away ("Okay, let's go!") but we hung out for a few minutes and she was soon back to playing while I watched.

I was pretty miserable without her, though; I hate the idea of leaving her all alone even though I know she's far from alone. She's learning how to be a person all by herself and how to be with people who aren't family, and by definition she has to do it by herself, but I still wish I could be there with her. It's paradoxical, like teaching her to sleep by herself; she has to be by herself to do it, but I want to be there.

I, on the other hand, am wondering what the hell I was thinking. I'll be making $15 an hour, of which I imagine I will be taking home about $10. That means I have to work for six hours to pay for daycare, leaving me $20 to take home. If, hypothetically (and obviously this won't happen) I take the subway for four bucks, have lunch for eight, and get a coffee for two, that will leave me with $6. Who the hell works a full day for three shiny toonies?

Add to that the fact that I still have to cram a grocery trip, seven loads of laundry, baking two loaves of bread, vacuuming and a trip to the library into the half-week I have left makes me wonder if this wasn't a very stupid idea. Not to mention how the hell do people cook a decent dinner when they get home so late?

But I can't back out now, too many people are counting on me. And I guess the idea behind this was to build up hours so I can get maternity benefits, not specifically to make money now. And I think daycare will be good for Delphine, between the physical activity and the crafts and the structured days, all things I am not so great with. I guess it will work out.

[Posted at 21:06 by Amy Brown] link
Thu, 20 Jan 2005
First Symptoms

So far I have been pretty much major-symptom-free, apart from the tiredness, but today I peed about a thousand times, and I was bordering on narcoleptic. Granted I didn't take a nap today, which I have been able to do a lot lately. Generally the low level of symptoms is freaking me out a little bit, because I know that women who don't have morning sickness are more likely to miscarry. Or rather, I suppose, women who are going to miscarry are less likely to have morning sickness. And I'm pretty sure I had morning sickness by this time in the last pregnancy. (Actually I just checked my old journal and apparently I had no symptoms at this point, so never mind.)

Anyway, I asked the midwife whether I was likely to miscarry and she said it was pretty unlikely given my age and history, so I'm mostly not worried about it.

Our midwife (not our primary from last time, but our secondary) also said that with a VBAC you can't induce, which saves me having to decide if I want to induce if I go post-mature again and need to deliver immediately. If I do go into labour normally I think I will deliver at hospital due to the (admittedly low) chance of uterine rupture. But maybe not, there is still lots of thinking to do about that, and lots of time to think.

[Posted at 20:25 by Amy Brown] link
Twenty Months

I'm too tired to write a coherent narrative today, so here are some random notes about Delphine.

Today she counted to five. Her favourite book (today) is Madeline's Rescue. She also likes Freight Train by Donald Crews.

I was trying to get her to eat supper tonight, and she didn't want any. She pushed it toward me and said "Eat it, Mummy". Her first pronoun and her first sentence.

A few days ago Delphine went over to Baba's house with Morgan, and went to look for cheese in the fridge; Baba always has cheese in the fridge, but this time she didn't. Today we mentioned cheese and Delphine said "cheese ... all gone ... Baba ... house". She has all these thoughts, and it's such a pleasure to finally hear them.


She started daycare this week; I am sharing a full-time spot with a friend. So far I have stayed with her while she gets used to it, but I think tomorrow I'll try and leave her there and see how she takes to it. I think she will be fine.

It has been fun staying at daycare with her; I thought the daycare ladies (I guess there's a better name for them) might be annoyed to have me there, but they honestly didn't seem to mind. Actually the two days I have been there so far they have been short-staffed, so I was able to help a little, reading to the kids and swabbing snotty noses (approximately 40% of noses are snotty at any given time) and tidying up and so on. The kids are lovely. They're between eighteen months and two-and-a-half, toddling and pretending and interested and cuddly. None of them are horrible, although one of them is very spirited and tends to do whatever comes to mind, but he's also the youngest.

Once upon a time someone (someone with very few social skills) tried to give me a hard time for giving Delphine a "weird" name. The other children in Delphine's daycare are Antonio, Ethan, Claire-Marie, Ursa, Beniam, Eloi, and Laetitia (there are a couple more but I didn't meet them). It's not like she's ever going to be in a class full of Jennifers and Sarahs.

[Posted at 20:05 by Amy Brown] link

This is a collection of disparate thoughts and opinions and lists -- basically a blog -- by Heather Mallick. I enjoy her columns in the Globe; she is opinionated and clever and funny. I thought I might get sick of a whole book of her, but I didn't, I kept wanting to go back and read more.

[Posted at 19:36 by Amy Brown] link
Sat, 15 Jan 2005

Bitten is essentially a collection of case studies of bites, stings, and the other indignities that are inflicted on humans by the animals with which we share our world, interspersed with descriptions of the mechanisms and chemistry by which the damage is wrought. Awesome! It is well-written and appropriately gruesome.

Things I learned: snails can kill you; if it's dangerous in the rest of the world it's probably deadly in Australia; Sharon Stone's husband was bitten by a Komodo dragon; lots of things that seem to be healing okay for the first couple of weeks then turn really ugly; American patients often don't return for follow-up care or complete their courses of medication.

Either Nagami or her editor seems excessively fond of "sic": "The child was in a semi-comatose state and only made to give unintelligible answers with difficulty [sic]." What's wrong with that? I do not know.

How about this? "So its bacteria was [sic] then inside the bone." Plural "bacteria" and singular "was", maybe? How pedantic is that? I'm think "sic" should only be used if there may be some confusion about meaning that would be cleared if the reader knew that the quote was left in its original, uncorrected form. Using sic just to prove that you are smarter than the quotee is lame.

The last one is the best: "beautiful 19 month old Rhesus Macaque ... all the paper's [sic] from his vet showing his shots are all up to date. He has never been in a lab, he was born in a private breed does not do well with children." How did they decide to sic the apostrophic error and yet leave, oh, pretty much every other word in the quote unsicced? Why not just sic the whole thing?

[Posted at 12:44 by Amy Brown] link
Thu, 13 Jan 2005
The G.I. Diet by Rick Gallop

This book is about how to lose weight by eating foods with a low glycemic index. The book is written clearly, and describes the diet in simple terms with a few recipes and lots of hints and good ideas. If I were going to go on a diet I would go on something like this, except that I love bread far too much to give it up to the extent that the diet requires. I'd rather be fat than give up bread.

I like that the book is written by a Canadian doctor and is clearly for a Canadian audience (there are other editions for other parts of the world); he refers to Canadian brands and discusses the difficulty in getting exercise when it's snowy and miserable half the year.

[Posted at 09:39 by Amy Brown] link
Wed, 12 Jan 2005

Wow! This has started off as the worst day I've had in a very long time. On my ride to work, someone walking past me snagged my headphone cord with their purse, and yanked the cord out of both my ears, and my Clie. Damn did it ever hurt, and apparently broke my right headphone, since now no sound comes out of it. Then, I just missed the elevator, and no-one in it was nice enough to hold the door for me. Once I got to the office, I tried to make oatmeal, but it boiled over in the microwave after a minute, so I cleaned it up, and decided to cut my losses and just eat the slightly crunchy gruel it's ended up as, and on my way back to my desk, I spilled the cup of coffee I was carrying.

I'm sure it'll get better as the day goes on, but at this point, I'm just afraid of what'll happen next.

[Posted at 08:45 by Blake Winton] link
Mon, 10 Jan 2005

For the last couple of weeks I've been tired like a pregnant woman, I've been hungry like a pregnant woman, I've been cranky like a pregnant woman, and I practically fainted last week, like a pregnant woman.

What do you know? I am a pregnant woman.

I don't remember the symptoms kicking in this early last time -- I wonder if everything happens earlier with a second pregnancy because your body is travelling familiar territory.

Blake is very excited -- he's been having the baby lust lately. I am less excited because it's such a long time; summer will be over before this baby comes. But I am pleased.

[Posted at 22:26 by Amy Brown] link
Fri, 07 Jan 2005

The subtitle pretty much says it all (it would have to, being that long, really) -- this is a memoir by a forensic anthropologist who worked for the UN digging up mass graves of genocide victims in Rwanda and Central Europe to prove that they were, in fact, genocide victims. I read this book because I wanted another perspective on Rwanda, and because I'm interested in forensic anthropology.

It wasn't as sciency as I thought it might be, although there was enough detail to get the job done. The book was more about the author's (I was going to say "Clea's", that's how personal it was) journey through the various missions. She writes about how she feels when she's working and when she isn't, how she deals with the unique stress of digging up people, often children, who have been murdered. She writes about how the work she does changes her view of the world. She's very honest and forthcoming about her feelings and about her mistakes and about how her outlook changes.

She also talks bluntly about the work environments, the management, the teams, the bureaucracy. It made me realize, once again, that no matter how much you love your work, you're going to have to put up with some bullshit from somebody at some point -- no job is great all the time, not even digging rotting bodies out of soggy graves in the burning sun.

[Posted at 20:06 by Amy Brown] link
Wed, 05 Jan 2005

This book is about the CDC's Epidemic Intelligence Service, which goes out and investigates epidemics wherever they occur in the world. It's structured one-epidemic-per-chapter and pretty much every chapter is interesting. There's a chapter on anthrax, on AIDS, West Nile, smallpox, cholera in a refugee camp in Zaire, TB among a transgender community in Baltimore, and of course, SARS.

McKenna is a good writer and this is a page-turner. I hope she writes more books.

[Posted at 21:36 by Amy Brown] link

I thought this was a collection of short stories, but it's actually mostly excerpts from young adult novels with female teenage protagonists. They were all good and made me vaguely interested in reading the full books (but not actually enough to go ahead and read them). The only thing I particularly noticed was that the stories seemed grimmer than the stuff I read when I was a kid; there was one about the Holocaust, one about smallpox in a native family, one about living in Afghanistan during the rule of the Taliban... Maybe I read stuff like that when I was a kid and it just didn't make an impact -- I was pretty shallow.

[Posted at 21:28 by Amy Brown] link
Sat, 01 Jan 2005

Mayer Hillman is a smart guy, and he wrote this book about global warming. He starts by explaining global warming, and why it's a real and major problem facing the world. He presents it as a moral concern, that it is up to us to make major changes to our lifestyle in order the save the planet for the next generation. That we must.

He proposes a method by which this would be done, basically that we determine an acceptable amount of carbon monoxide we can allow into the atmosphere, divide that by the number of people on the planet, and then through one means or another enforce that limit, equally on every citizen of the globe. No special exceptions for countries and very few for individuals.

Hillman earnestly declares that the only solution to the problem of global warming is to limit the amount of carbon people are entitled to generate (he goes through numerous alternatives, and explains why he believes they are insufficient). Several times in the book he says that there is no choice in the matter, the only other alternatives are to prevent the developing world from developing or to just allow global warming to happen, and those are not acceptable alternatives.

Perhaps I'm cynical, but I'm pretty sure that last is exactly what is going to happen; time and again in history humans have seen shit coming down the pipe and done nothing. People are too selfish, too lazy, and too obsessed with economic "progress" and with status to make the huge and immediate changes that would be needed to prevent the coming disaster. I would love to be wrong.

My lifestyle is pretty low-impact (we don't have a car and I do most of my daily living on foot, we live in a multi-family dwelling, and we don't consume a great deal of stuff, relatively speaking) but Hillman's book has driven it home to me that the exorbitant number of flights I take pretty much blows that all away. Since Delphine was born we have been to Saskatchewan, New York, Florida, Las Vegas, and Saskatchewan again, and we're going to Florida again in February. That's twelve flights in less than two years: fucking ridiculous. I have to cut down, which gives me this horrible fear that I will only ever be going to Saskatchewan from now on. Argh.

[Posted at 20:38 by Amy Brown] link