Maria, you get so goddamn enthusiastic as soon as you feel good!

Morning today: "I feel pretty good. Yeah, heck, today I'm gonna do lots of stuff!"

Daytime today: four loads of washing, tidy the house, visit town, do shopping, walk up a steep hill, carry The Kid on shoulders, drive lots etc...

Evening today: ...and then wonder why you feel like you've been run over by a truck and you're head down in the sink again, retching.

No, really, awesome work, Maria. Don't take it easy, don't give yourself time to build up strength again - just as soon as you feel good, just ram on ahead and conquer the world.

Yeah.

Thursday ramblings

I think it might be quiet here for a while now. For one, The Man's parents have arrived in New Zealand and so far we are making great progress at sitting behind a kitchen table or walking or just... being, really, and so I am not picking up my computer much and most of my thoughts do get channelled out through actual people, rather than a computer.

Secondly, I am feeling much better. I have made a few trips up the hill again and have started gardening, again, and life's much more beautiful when I'm not looking through queasy-glasses.

And thirdly... I am getting into a better headspace again, which is a welcome change. I think clearer and I understand the world better.

So many things pop into my mind now that The Man's parents are here.

I was thinking today how The Man and I married in less than three months from when we first met. When he called his parents (who were back in UK) to tell them he "had news", his dad thought he was going to say he'd found a job and was staying in New Zealand - when in fact, The Man told him instead that he was engaged and (!) that he was getting married in "about two weeks".

And I remember the silence that ensued.

I remember The Man asking his father over the phone, "Where's mom?" and his dad saying, "Oh, she's just popped out a moment," whereas in reality - The Man's father told me today - at that moment The Man's mom was actually laying on the floor of their kitchen, listening to the conversation through speakerphone and trying to gather herself.

It's funny to think about it now, because now they're my family.

I remember that when The Man called - with the same news - his sister, also in UK, then his sentence, "I am getting married!" was met with a bit of a pause and then, "To... whom?"

And it's funny to think about that, too, because now she, too, is my family.

Big questions

I wonder if primary school teachers go deaf earlier than other people? Or at least lose sensitivity in those higher decibels?

An evening ramble on parental relationships and on friends

Revelations come from the silliest, unexpected places.

I was playing music through Youtube, in no particular order or preference whatsoever - just random clicking from one song to another, background noise.

And then I came upon this:



And suddenly, I was crying.

I've heard this song so many times before!, from different artists, but never has it placed itself in my circumstances just like it did today and never talked to me like that.

"I was once like you are now and I know that it's not easy"

Bam!

This - this is what I want. I do not want any more advice or more suggestions, or lectures, or being told how to live my life,
or how to raise my child,
or what medicine to put on my child's wounds.

If I have a question, I'll ask, but apart from that what I want is to simply be 1) left alone to live my life the way I see fit and 2) when support is offered then for it to be in a form of a friend who has the wisdom to simply say, "I know - I was once like that, too. I know it's not easy." A hand on my shoulder perhaps or a hug maybe - that, that's what I want.

***

My dad died when I was in high school and though I know it probably has a lot to with that, ever since then some of my closest friends have been men in their fifties, sixties even. Heck, the latest one is in his nineties!

And I'm not talking sex or romantic relationships here, but really - friends.

Wherever I've lived I've had a friend like that. In Alaska I've hung out in a camping ground, talking late into the night; in Svalbard in a pub, chewing on reindeer steak; in New Zealand up on a glacier learning from a man who knows his trade well or even here, near Christchurch, an elderly couple who we call "grandparents" though they are of no relation to us whatsoever.

I know that in some ways those (older) friends have substituted what I have so dearly missed in my personal life and that is a parent who helps me grow and then, as I get older - sets me free. A parent who occasionally puts a hand on my shoulder and says, "I know, kiddo. I know."

As I watched this Youtube video here, all of that suddenly hit me. This, this is what I want! I don't want any more lecturing or "suggestions" or "advice" or "support" or "help" - what I want is to be acknowledged as an adult who has the divine, God-given right to make my own mistakes, if I so wish, and... yeah.

Basically, what I have are friends splattered all around the globe and some of them do have that wisdom to recognise me as what I am - a young adult - and though they sometimes tell me if I'm being obnoxious or outright overestimating in abilities, they nevertheless accept that I am my own person and that it is not their job to control me and instead we give each other that wonderful feeling of care, of being thought of, of acceptance and of love.

That. That is what I want.

A long ramble on being pregnant and on labour

For several weeks now I've been popping down to Birth Without Fear and reading about how other women do it. Birth stories are such a multitude, and experiences vary greatly - and so do attitudes.

Two and a half years down the track I understand now why so many birth stories get written down a long, long time after the birth itself. One reason, of course, is a baby, who - especially if it is a first one! - consumes if not a lot of time, then a lot of energy at least. When The Kid was little, so much was happening, so many lessons I was learning on this new journey of parenthood that there simply wasn't enough brain capacity and stillness left to contemplate the birth.

The other, of course, is an emotional buffer time gives if the experience has been traumatic. I can feel, physically almost!, how the further I am getting from The Kid's birth, timewise, the less quilt or other confusing emotions I am feeling about it. The further I am getting, the more I am able to accept that a lot of what happens around birth is happenstance.

(Happenstance. Go look it up in the dictionary if you feel, I'll be here still when you get back. It's okay.)

So much happens before, during and after birth that some of it simply is out of my reach, and there are much greater things taking place. Some may call it God, some may call it energy, I would probably call it... life. Life happens before, during and after birth; things I am not aware of or don't even understand at the time.

And that's the third thing: understanding. Understanding comes with time.

At the time there was so much happening that although I was pretty sure I was "there" the whole time and aware of it, in bits and pieces I've pieced together since I have also come to understand that some of what happened during that labour and in the days afterwards, I don't remember. I just simply. Don't. Remember.

As I've been thinking about pregnancy and labour, both current/upcoming and previous, and talking to The Man and my midwife, and reading the labour notes, I've actually come to understand more of what happened the first time.

I've come to understand, for example, that when my waters started leaking at 38 weeks and then ruptured pretty much in their entirety, it was because my placenta along with the sack was getting old - "gritty" they call it among medical professionals - and wasn't working efficiently.

Often it is smokers whose placentas go "gritty" (because of toxic exposure), or women whose pregnancies are way overdue in which case placenta is simply nearing its life expectancy (as it eventually would); hormonal imbalance can sometimes be the culprit, or stress (if it affects the hormonal balance), or sometimes... it just happens.

Sometimes it just simply happens.

As much as I blamed myself - for a long time! - in my baby's struggles those first few weeks, thinking that the overwhelming stress I'd let myself get into at work had caused the calcification and the grittiness and the eventual premature rupturing, and as much as I hated the man who kept causing such stress out of ignorance or stubbornness - or plain idiocy! I don't know - I've come to accept that at the time, I simply did not know any better.

And even if I had known, and had walked out of my job or at least on that colleague, it could've still happened because some of what happens before, during and after labour is happenstance.

I found healing in reading this:


I've since learned that as my body - and my baby - weren't ready for labour yet anyway (the waters had ruptured prematurely because the membrane had simply given out, not because of oncoming labour), so the eventual induction and everything that followed, including that emergency cesarean and NICU and lack of breastmilk which then pushed things even further - it wasn't my fault. It really wasn't!

I tried, I had honestly tried - and the struggles I and The Man were facing were just an uphill run against a hill that was simply too big to just leap over it, so we ended up chugging uphill for such a distance simply because it was a big hill.

Pretty much from the day when I first thought I had peed my pants - and later learned that it was amniotic fluid instead - was the day when that hill grew big and from then on, chances were that we were going to end up with an array of interventions anyway.

I have since learned that because my baby lost most of the amniotic fluid around him - fluid that otherwise "cushions" babies during contractions - then by the time the strong, syntocinon-induced contractions hit, The Kid (who wasn't ready for coming out anyway) was on his third day of being banged up and down in my uterus, head down against my pelvic bones.

If it were me in there, I would also probably start dipping in heart rate.

I've since learned that when they took him out via cesarean, he was occiput transverse, meaning, he was head down, yes - but sideways. Essentially the widest part of his head was pushed into the narrowest part of my pelvis. And for how long he'd been like that? We don't know. We just know that this is what he was like when they got him out.

I've since learned that because my baby was small, and because the amniotic fluid was mostly gone, and because initial progesterone-induced contractions were uneven, then instead of sitting low in my pelvis and pushing down on my cervix, therefore gradually stretching it open - like happy labours do - he was banged up and down, up and down, up and down, and my cervix instead of flattening and opening was thickening up and closing, because it kept getting beaten against.

(Try banging your fist on your thigh for a whole day and see if you get a bruise. The same thing, really.)

So many things I've come to understand since then.

I've come to understand that for some reason, although against medical practice, I was induced with (vaginal) progesterone which - given that my membranes were ruptured for the fourth day already - should've not really happened. Once the membranes have been open like that, nothing should go up the vagina, except for a gloved finger or sterilised equipment, because of potential for infection.

I've learned that although I laboured for that whole night in a bath and found it helpful, that should've not really happened either, again, because of the potential for infection. And when I started vomiting in a bath? Yeah.

Why all these things were done? I don't know. Maybe there were good reasons or maybe people simply made mistakes, I don't know. In those early stages of labour there was a whole array of staff checking up on us, maybe things went unchecked or unsaid.

A lot of those things I didn't know at the time - and didn't even have the capacity to know at the time - because as it happened I was moaning in a bath and later on a table in a well-lit room, and I was really not that concerned with details or procedures because at the time, most of my thought went along the lines of either

"Paaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiin!" or
"Phew, it's gone, I have a few minutes to rest, jesus how tired I am..."

And so on.

And where I'm really going with this, I don't know, but The Kid is asleep and I am sitting on a sofa and reminiscing.

This morning someone said something about my pregnancy and upcoming labour that I found very upsetting and I guess what I am doing is gathering my thought and my emotions into a tidy little bundle because I feel that this time, I am going to cut out the noise of other people a lot, lot sooner - in fact, very soon I think - and I am simply going to start focusing on what I am doing.

I am strong, and I am healthy.

The Kid is awake. Gotta go!

A little win

For about a week now The Kid has been doing a grumpy morning thing. Why - or why now? - I don't really know, but oh well.

It manifests itself in him getting upset easily and crying over otherwise petty things, like... putting a shirt on, or daddy getting up from the table, or even things we don't understand at all where he suddenly just starts crying and we're, like, what happened? Did you see what happened? I didn't see anything. Did he hit himself? Did he step on something?

No, I think he just... started crying. I think.

Part of this grumpy morning routine is not wanting porridge - or, to be exact, eating a little bit of porridge and then pointing towards other foods and demanding crepes instead, or bananas, or rice cakes.

But a week into it, I am so not heading down that path!

Usually I cannot do much about it because by 8:30 we leave the house, The Kid to our nanny and I to work, and nanny simply lets me know that he asks for food early, at, like, 9 o'clock already - as opposed to his usual 10:30ish.

But on Fridays I stay at home, and with me, mister, this is not how we play this game.

So this morning he demanded crepes, as usual, and I said, sorry, mister, but we've got porridge here. If you're still hungry, come and have my porridge, but we're not eating crepes for breakfast.

He threw himself on the floor and cried. For quite a while, too, may I say ;)

After a while we went through the same routine again: he demanded bananas and I said, sorry, kiddo, but we eat porridge for breakfast. There's still some left if you wish.

He threw himself on the floor and cried.

And for an hour and a half we did this thing, back and forth - he demanding/crying, demanding/crying, demanding/crying whilst I kept seated at the breakfast table (and killing time behind a computer), ready to offer him porridge every time he asked for something else.

And, my god, I wasn't sure if we were gonna get there, but... after an hour and a half, he looked at me, sighed and then (did this really happen!?) he climbed up onto his chair and cheerfully ate his bowl of porridge (!), now cold, and we had our usual animated morning conversation where he babbled in his baby-talk and I talked back in Estonian.

And now he's clambered down again, is playing with The Dog in his room, throwing her the ball, and I am still sitting behind the kitchen table, with a bit of a grin on my face and thinking, did this really happen? Did I really... Did he really...

He did it! I did it! He ate the porridge again!

Wow, I feel like I've actually accomplished something as a parent this morning.

PS. And in case you're wondering, I am feeling better =). Nausea started to subside this week and yesterday I actually went to sleep at 9:30 pm as opposed to my usual 7:30, 8:00 or 8:30 ;), and I feel like I'm becoming human again.

It's a great feeling, not being nauseous. I almost didn't remember how it feels like, exactly.

Yay!

The Blob


Elective or not elective

It is such a small thing - it really is! - but somehow I felt such a twinge seeing it on paper.

My midwife has made a few mistakes filling in my pregnancy papers. Nothing major, just details, really... Except, under "maternal history" I am ticked off as having had an "elective cesarean" the first time 'round.

And seeing that, I just thought... I don't even know what it was exactly that I thought.

"Elective", to me, sounds like a choice, a decision made, a preference almost - and in some ways it was "elective".

After 20-something hours I really did "elect" my child - whose heart rate, mind you, had started dropping consistently - to be taken out of my tummy in whatever method necessary. At that point I really didn't care, cesarean or more labour, I just wanted us all to be healthy and happy!

And that word, "elective", somehow made it look like that night spent in a bath, and a TENS machine earlier, and then the morning, and epidural, and syntocinon - like all that was just "phew, no big deal!" sort of a thing.

And bloody hell it wasn't.

And I know, this is just my hormones talking, but... still.

Elective my a$$!

A book I want to read next

I came across this book not through search, or pregnancy forums or anything pregnancy related at all, but through a banner on a website I was reading. It looked interesting, and so I clicked, and then I headed to Goodreads to find out more.


And now I do want to read this, not only because of NICU and my own experience with its pastel-colored walls and its incessant tune of machines - monitors, screens, pumps, warming lamps - and, of course, the warning beeps that sounded every five, maybe ten minutes when someone's oxygen rate dropped and nurses rose and watched and waited, and then usually moved away again when saturation levels resumed their healthy 98% or whatever.

I want to read it because I have a feeling there might be a writer in there I relate to and understand, intuitively, sort of the way I feel when reading Gary Paulsen's "Winterdance", or lately, Dooce.

Nowadays' carpentry

The Man is an old-school, patient sort of a carpenter - he likes doing things well, beautiful and to last. It's why he is a out of place somewhat in Christchurch where a lot of work is crash-crash, bang-bang, let's-do-this-quick-so-we-can-move-to-another-job-and-make-more-money sort of work.

He said today that he would've really fitted in better in 1960's carpentry.
To which I said, yeah, except your lungs would be full of asbestos.
To which he replied that maybe that's why nowadays' jobs need to be done so quick - it's because they need to also pay for all the health and safety standards and professionals.

And... he does have a point, don't you think.

On yesterday's earthquake

Yesterday's 4.4 was a goody, wasn't it? Though I honestly did think it would've come out 5.something because of how everything jumped, so when Geonet came out with their 4.4 I was, like, oh.

But, hey, everything good! Just made The Kid cry and woke everyone else up...

Did you feel it? Was it a "goody" where you were?

On beauty of radiology

Seeing those tiny toes on an ultrasound screen just makes it that much more real.

Hands pulled up high to the chin.
Legs stretched out, with feet crossing.
A cute little bum.

And of course what they call a "foetal position" - for obvious reasons - where that tiny little human inside my tummy curls up in a ball just behind the placenta and... I mean, man, I can see it all happen. Real time, live.

It's so cool!

And of course now that I am sitting on the floor writing this, a pat-pat-pat-pat of two-year-old feet down the hallway where he then stops in the bedroom, looking for me, before calling out, "Maa?"

"Ma olen suures toas!" I call back ("I am in the living room" in Estonian) and he runs, pat-pat-pat-pat up the hallway again. I've got two children already: one pat-pat-pat-patting up and down our hallway and another one in my tummy.

The Man is convinced there's a girl in my there. He tells our kid about "the sister" and about having to be gentle with mummy and when he counts, he points "one" to The Kid, "two" to himself and then "three and four" towards me.

I don't know, I'm happy either way, a boy, a girl, it really doesn't matter - just as long as this bloody nausea goes away already!

12 weeks. Getting there!

Life with The Dog: important life lessons

Things I've learned in the past few weeks (or am in the process of learning):

1) shoes need to be kept up on the shelf and NOT on the floor of the hallway;

2) leather remedial work - ie sewing new buckles onto sandals to replace chewed-up sandal buckles; sewing chewed-off straps back onto shoes and so on;

3) The Man's feet must be stinkier than mine because The Dog consistently goes for The Man's shoes even when there are mine on the floor next to them;

4) the weakest part of a needle is where the threadhole is so it makes more sense to drag the needle through leather with pincers rather than try and push it from behind because all that does is twist a needle into an L-shape;

5) leather work is actually quite cool, even if done whilst nauseous;

6) must buy more chew toys for The Dog.

God bless The Man

Our regular evening routine: The Man is in the bathroom, watching The Kid having a bath, and I'm standing in the kitchen mixing up food for The Dog.

I'm somewhat more nauseous than usual so the thought of the slosh I'm about to mix up (we feed her raw food so her bowl is a soup-like mixture of vegetables, chicken meat, vitamins and water) prompts me to head towards the sink with a familiar, loud "Gaaaack!"

"Would you like me to feed her instead?" The Man calls out from the bathroom. I think for a moment and then sheepishly accept, "Yes, thank you, please..."

We switch roles: I head towards the bathroom and he comes in the kitchen.

Whilst I am standing in the bathroom a familiar churning starts so I clear the sink of all the Duplos and quickly toss them in The Kid's bath, and then resume swinging my weight from foot to foot now above the bathroom sink.

For a few minutes I stand like that, breathing in and out, in and out. A mild breeze comes through the open window - it's refreshing and it makes me feel better. I look out the window and sigh - it's a beautiful evening outside.

I straighten up and turn towards the bath, ready to start interacting with my child and play with his Duplos. But then... I pause.

Whilst I've been standing above the sink, he has shat, pardon my English, in the bath - alongside Duplos and an array of other plastic bath toys now float chunks of baby poop.

"Oh..."

I consider for a moment taking up the task myself, but my eyes well up at the thought of it and my bottom lip starts quivering. Sheepishly I walk back to the kitchen where The Man has only just finished feeding The Dog.

"Sweetie," I say, sheepishly. He doesn't hear me over the clatter of dishes in the sink. "Sweetie!" I say more loudly.

"Yes?"

I'm about to start talking, but instead, I start crying first instead. I so want him to know that he is doing a wonderful job helping me and that I really do want to help him, too, but... all I can think of is that he's taken care of The Kid almost the whole day, and he's come to feed The Dog, and now I'm about to tell him there's shit in our bath alongside The Kid and could he please, please go clean it instead of me, because even the thought of doing it myself makes me have images of vomiting in the bath.

But I've got to ask.

And so I do. "He's pooped in the bath," I say, lip quivering, tears welling.
"He's pooped in the bath?"
"Yes."
"Oh sh*t. Literally."

"Could you please... Could you please... clean it up?" I am a little embarrassed to even be saying this, but I feel like a fraudulent failure, making my husband head from one household task to another whilst I sit on sofa chairs and sleep on couches and grumble elsewhere.

But this, this is what it's like. This is what a household with a young family in it is like.

He gives a little sigh, and he hugs me, and then he goes and cleans our bath, and The Kid, and the Duplos, whilst I resume a position by the kitchen sink, swinging my weight from foot to foot and breathing.

Bittersweet ponderings

I sometimes - okay, who am I kidding, often - pause and ponder. Am I going to skydive again? Am I going to work in Antarctica? Am I going to backpack again?

And the answer is, I don't know. God willing, yes, health continuing, yes, children growing, yes... but then I get that "but".

Life's not a given. Maybe in a few years' time I am still in full health and ready, willing and wanting - but maybe I'm not. I don't know.

What I have is now and what I can count on is now, because everything after that is a hopeful maybe. Right now - okay, maybe not now now as I am pregnant at the moment, but you know what I mean, generally - I am in good enough health to climb into a frickin' plane and arch my frickin' back, and to climb hills, and to wear bulky, heavy snowgear, and to just go and do it.

But I'm not doing it - I'm postponing.

I've shown a remarkable amount of patience and continue on doing so on a daily basis. It's the life choices I am making where I am spending time with my kid and washing his poopy nappies and playing fetch with my dog in the yard; a comfortable, conventional existence; and every now and again I think to myself, but what if I just went? Today, maybe tomorrow evening? What if I told The Man that look, I love you and you're a wonderful man, but I need to go now, not because of you, but because of me - because of the things I need to do for me.

I toy with this idea every now and again, of going and doing what's important, and leaving everything else behind for a while so I can come back, smiling, and do what I am doing with pleasure.

And it's not that kids aren't important, or dogs, or husbands, or houses - they are, but they're also hard. They're tedious. Children, especially, are tedious.

Every day - every single day - The Kid stands and points to something, angry at me for not understanding him, and every day I think, jesus, I so wish you started talking already, in a language I can understand so you're not screaming at me in the kitchen whilst I am, yet again, doing dishes and thinking, really? Is that it? Is that how it's just gonna keep on going, forever?

It's tedious - really, seriously tedious. People who take care of their children every day (and by that I mean people who don't have family/friends/nannies who take kids every now and again and give parents a breather) and say that they're enjoying each day, well, to that I can only say: f*ck you and you're either lying or you're really boring, or both.

I toy with the idea of packing a few things and heading out the garden gate and seeing where the road takes me because doing this, here, is not fulfilling.

Well, that's not true either: it is fulfilling, sometimes and on a certain level, totally!, but there is also another level in my life which feels like a dying lake stranded on a piece of dried-up valley floor and sometimes I think about that part of my life and I'm not even sure when it was that I stopped doing the things that made me light up and started doing this... family.

Wow... Second month of nausea where I haven't been out, alone, a single time all this time and where almost every evening I am in bed by 7:30 pm because I just cannot go any further, I am tired and nauseous and bored, and I keep on taking care of this household and of this young family and I just want to pick it all up and give it to someone and say, look, you take care of it all now, thanks, and then I just want to give away my nausea and tiredness also and be an energetic, young person again for a change - and then I just want to go.

Seriously bored and tired. And nauseous, yet again, and so sick and tired of just sucking it up and dealing with it.

Today I stood in the bathroom and thought to myself, it is probably the last time in my life that I am going to be 11 weeks pregnant - because looking at how tiresome this process is, I just simply don't want to go through it yet again, especially now that I don't really get to rest anymore with The Kid around - and it felt only partially bittersweet, because even more than bittersweet this thought felt... elating.

I felt hopeful that I will (probably) never again have to go through this again. Hopeful.

A hitch-hiker... with a fridge

If you see a guy standing on the side of a road, with his thumb up, asking for a ride - and he's standing next to a big, white Simpson fridge - give him a ride! He's okay, really, totally safe.

His name is Rob Cope and he is hitch-hiking around South Island with an old Simpson fridge for company. A regular Kiwi bloke, really ;). He's due to be around Christchurch in a few days' time.

There's an interview with him up on Radio New Zealand's website and another one in Otago Daily Times. I suggest listening to the Radio New Zealand one.

I suggest you skip reading this one

No, really, what is the evolutional function of nausea? Is there even one!?

Respite, crash, respite, crash, respite, crash - I guess respites will just start becoming longer from now on...

Whinge, whinge, whinge. I am so not a fan of this physical sensation of churning. Ugh!

Confessions of a first season hayfever-er

In theory I probably should've known better - but theory is theory, and practice is practice, so... The Things I've Learned In My First Season of Hayfever.

I learned, for example, that itchy eyes won't actually get help from rubbing or scratching them.

That, to me, is counterintuitive because the rest of my life experience goes along the lines of 'If something itches, I scratch it, and then itching goes away' - but unfortunately in the case of hay fever and itchy eyes rubbing them simply meant that I popped some blood vessels and then even blinking became oh-so-painful.

But only in one eye.

But how do I keep my painful eye from blinking, whilst viewing the world with the other, undamaged one?

I tape it.


The Man found it hilarious (I probably would've, too, if I weren't so grumpy). I tried to explain that by blinking I kept getting hurt with each blink (as the damaged vessels kept getting rubbed against my eye/eyelid), whereas by taping it shut I could keep looking through one eye and keep the other one shut.

The Man still found it hilarious. He fished out a marker and drew an eye on my piece of tape, and then took a photo of it, me sitting on a sofa chair, grumpy, nauseous and with an eye taped shut.

But, hey!, I learned a lesson.

Hayfeverish eye? Rubbing? They do not go together, trust me on that - or if you don't, try rubbing it, too, and let me know how you go.

Conversations in the yard

"You know the saddest thing about picking a four-leaf clover? That by doing it you're reducing the chance of there ever being another one."

Supply and demand.

Conversations in the car

"Gaming lounge - makes it sound so friendly! They should call it... debt supplier instead." Offers a few more options. "Oh, I know: cash extractor!"

Grumpy

On days like this I wish I lived somewhere near family or close friends.

I wish I could just drop The Kid off at my mother-in-law - or somewhere - and go to bed and sleep; or at least call a close friend, go over for a cup of tea and a good cry/swear behind his/her kitchen table; to feel like there's a shoulder and a character that cared.

Instead, I am alone in this effin' house, The Kid has had two naps 45 minutes each - meaning, two times today I've just managed to fall asleep and have been woken up by a crying toddler - I've made The Kid a bowl of pasta and upon smelling it have ended up head-first in the kitchen sink; everything smells, almost everything is nauseating and it just feels like such a long, hard day...

Being nauseous effin' sucks. Just really, really sucks.

Up and down

And here we go again...

Standing by the kitchen sink, crying. Everything smells, stomach's churning, The Kid is wanting attention, but I'm standing by the kitchen sink, crying, because I'm sick.

Geesh I'm tired of this...

On sleeping

Going through a bit of a tired phase again: I was in bed by 6:45 pm yesterday (even before The Kid!) and slept all the way until 6:30 am this morning, so over 11 hours.

...and going by how I'm feeling now, at 3:10 pm, tonight might be a 7 pm sleep time again.

Sigh. Piles of dishes, washing and tidying in general will need to wait - just haven't the energy.

Makes me wonder

A busy, busy businessman - the sort that's always planning, always reacting, a guy who doesn't spend much time at home with his children - goes to see a doctor and finds out he's got cancer. And you know where? On his hip, right underneath the pocket where he always, always carries his mobile phone.

Makes me wonder.

Fascinating stuff!

On why black holes are the brightest objects in the universe.

Getting smarter by the minute

Houseworth of vacuuming. Conclusion? Dog hair sticks to everything except The Dog.

My life

Me: I did most of the dishes and only left a few for him to finish. And still I get up in the morning and there's dishes in the sink!

The Man: I came in the kitchen and there were so few dishes in the sink that they weren't even worth doing, so I'll just do them tomorrow night then.

An afterthought to earlier

Somehow it occurred to me only this afternoon that... it's not New Zealand I'm struggling with - it's Christchurch.

The reason I'm feeling this religious debate so strongly at the moment is because I am living in an old "heritage" town - Christchurch - where there are long parental lineages and strong roots in Christianity, traditions are upheld and now, after the earthquakes, continuity is important not only because people have been through a lot and want stability, but because there is already plenty of change architecture-wise, and community-wise.

If I were still in Wanaka, I'd probably be oblivious to the fact.

And it does actually help understand it...

On King David

An article I read in National Geographic yesterday is one of the most intriguing articles I've ever read in this magazine - and not because of how it was written, but because of what it was discussing.

It was an article on whether King David really existed or not, and what are the archaeological/historical findings around this subject, and a wider political picture behind why this topic is important to begin with.


Now, pardon my English, but... Jesus F*ckin' Christ!

I'd known that Christian bible has a story about David and Goliath, and that Jews have their King David who's important (why exactly he was important, I didn't know, but oh well), and I remember covering King David in my art history classes... but to suddenly realise that all three of the major religions - Christian AND Jewish AND Muslim - all talk about THE SAME King David, and in all three he is one of the cornerstones of their religion, I just suddenly went... wtf?!

I mean, it should've not really been that big of a surprise: for all the fighting and arguing they seem to be doing at the moment, I knew that all three have the same roots and essentially have grown from the same space in time... but still. I somehow hadn't connected the dots in my head about Christian David being the same guy as the Jewish David, and now, turns out, it's the same David that Muslims hold dear. The same guy!

"He has persisted for three millennia - an omnipresence in art, folklore, churches, and census rolls. To Muslims, he is Daoud, the venerated emperor and servant of Allah. To Christians, he is the natural and spiritual ancestor of Jesus, who thereby inherits David's messianic mantle. To Jews, he is the father of Israel - the shepherd king anointed by God - and they in turn are his descendants and God's Chosen People." (NG December 2010 page 78)

And then to read into why arguments over his existence are so heated - Robert Draper has even said that "in no other part of the world does archaeology so closely resemble a contact sport" - it really made a lot of sense.

"Most Israeli archaeologists would prefer that their work not be used as a political wedge. This, nonetheless, is the way of young nations. As Bar-Ilan University archaeology professor Avraham Faust observes, "The Norwegians relied on Viking sites to create a separate identity from their Swedish and Danish rulers. Zimbabwe is named after an archaeological site. Archaeology is very convenient tool for creating national identities." (page 83)

...and also for arguing where a national border should stand this day. (And Geesh Louise are they arguing over that!) Being from a country that only recently got independent I have experienced first-hand how political Estonians versus Russians, or Estonians versus Germans debates get, but here it's debates over something that (possibly) happened 3000 years ago, and the fact that stories started being written down 300 years after both David and Solomon were dead already - doesn't seem to be much of a bother.

And then it's the little bits. Page 75:

"The story is that Goliath came from a giant city, and in the telling of it over the centuries, he became a giant himself. It's a metaphor. Modern scholars want the Bible to be like Oxford Encyclopedia. People didn't write history 3,000 years ago like this. In the evening by the fire, this is where stories like David and Goliath started."

It's just... fascinating.

***

I keep battling this topic in my head, over and over and over again.

I have never before lived in a country where so many people are openly religious - except US, but I didn't stay there for long - and it has come as a big surprise to me to see how heritage-based decisions of religion and political views are in New Zealand.

In US I could see that Republicans mostly came from Republican families, and Democrats from Democrat families - but to keep hearing in New Zealand that someone votes National or Labour (and people here share this surprisingly openly), and then hear them explain as their first reason that their families have always done that.

To me, it's just... what?! No wonder change comes so hard here.

And to keep seeing different denominations and how people practice their religions - and I have nothing whatsoever against personal joys and meaning people find in their rituals! - but to try and make sense of it, big picture, and to understand why on earth they keep arguing like that and to have seen how much the frickin' Bible has changed over the centuries, and to have read how these changes have been made, how committees of men have come together and voted on what texts to put in and what to leave out, and then keep hearing the news about car bombs and whole countries waging wars, and to have read about Hazara and about women in Afganistan (and many other places, but that just came to my mind first) and all the other things that are done in the name of human-written texts whose origins are so old no-one can't even be entirely certain when and how they were written, and how...

...and I just want to take my workmate to some telescope and let her look up through that lens, and wonder.

Young Earth views are the ones that really get/irk me the most. Especially when important decisions are then made based on those views, and a single argument being "because it's right".

Wow, has this become a rant or what...

Well, at least I'm not nauseous and I can breathe through my nose =)

Naked and movies

The Kid is running around naked after having been in a bath.

The Man: "We're playing a game 'guess the movie'."
Me: "Huh?"
The Man: "Free Willy!"

I love my family.

On sleep

I slept almost the entire night!!! Good, healthy 7 hours! 5 of them straight!

For the first time in three weeks.

That's what two doses of antihistamine can do, plus a steroid-based anticongestant.

Dear god how good I am feeling this morning. Wow. For the first time in three weeks I've had more than 4-5 hours of sleep. It's AMAZING!

Grateful, grateful, grateful. I will never again underestimate the word "hayfever", or the balls you people have who get hayfever every year and keep living in Christchurch regardless; balls the size of elephant's.

Big picture, small picture

I wrote a long, long post and then deleted it - but it kept playing in my head, over and over again.

I feel I need to write some of the stuff happening in my head down, because this is how I let go, but on the other hand I... don't want to. I'm capable of appreciating how complex this topic is to even be attempting it at 9 pm on a Friday night after a long, long tiresome week.

But it needs to come out, raw or not, sorry.

And the topic is - big picture versus small picture.

Giving birth is just about the most resource-consuming thing a person can do, ever. You know people who fly a lot? (Resources and emissions.) Waste energy a lot? (Resources and emissions.) Drive a lot? (Resources and emissions.) Well, try calculating how much adding another person into this world is going to cost, emissions- and footprint-wise, over an average lifespan, and then think how much flying, driving and wasting you'd need to do to even come close to what having a baby does to this world.

But then it's the small picture, too: families, connections, communities, cultures... People.

Driving an old car: wasteful and emissions-hungry, yes. But! Try calculating what running this car costs compared to what it would cost to recycle/dump the old one and create a new one.

Living in those big, sprawling subdivisions that New Zealand seems to love oh-so-much - how much underground communication needs to be laid, road to be laid and then maintained, land lost under roading and housing, families who are then always commuting to go anywhere and do anything. But then again, small picture: people's habits, culture of how things are done, "traditions".

Big picture: so many different religions proclaiming to have the truth and be the only way to salvation, and how senseless it is to think that if so many think they're right, who then is? But then the small picture of contentedness these religions bring to people who practice them. (And how I keep on thinking, live and let live - I allow you the space, so allow me the space, too, thank you very much.)

Just all these things where I keep hearing people talk about truth and rightfulness and push their viewpoint, stubbornly and selfishly - which I am capable of doing, too, and often do when I have a point to push - but how most of these things are way more complicated and interconnected than that.

It's not "This is right" and "This is wrong" - it's "This is right for this" and "This is not right for that".

And how in the end, everything depends on what the end result and aspiration is.