I could hear my mother-in-law in the kitchen, washing the dishes. Although Sarah had a dishwasher, my mother-in-law was old school and preferred to do them by hand. I think the extra labour made her feel virtuous.
Hunter wiggled as I sat us both on the couch; he'd finished his apple and was already bored. Frankly, I was amazed he was still conscious after a night spent awake and in discomfort. But he seemed much better now, so I let him slide down onto the floor.
"Shhh," I cautioned him in a whisper. "Don't wake Mummy."
He smiled at me, put one finger to his lips and nodded. What a good little man. Honestly, I didn't know why Sarah complained so often about him being a demon. Every time I came over to see them, Hunter was well-behaved and adorable. I put my feet up on the sofa and watched him play quietly with his favourite doll.
I'd given him that doll when he was still a little baby who wouldn't sleep for more than a couple of hours at a time. Sarah had been at her wits' end, so I'd forked out a couple of hundred dollars and bought the latest in baby-soothing technology: a doll with a heartbeat, and the ability to hum lullabies when you pushed on its lips. It had been well worth the investment: 18 months later and it was still going strong.
Now he was pretending to teach it how to walk. Occasionally he'd lift it up to his ear, as if listening, then smile and pat it gently on the head.
It made me hope, for his sake, that Sarah would succeed in getting pregnant again. Shortly after Hunter turned one, she'd told me that they were trying for another child. Ike had some idea that kids did best when close in age to their siblings, so they were determined to give Hunter a brother or sister sometime soon. Watching Hunter now, so loving towards his toy, made me sure that Ike had been on to something. This was a child in desperate need of a sibling to cherish.
Hunter carefully lay the doll on the rug, and loped to the corner where his potty sat. "Need to wee!" he announced, at a volume that made me wince. As I sat up, I looked towards Sarah - still asleep, thank God. She'd earned it. Her mouth was open just a touch, and her breathing heavy without quite being a snore. She looked younger in sleep, all those worry lines relaxed, and it made me smile.
Then I heard a tinkling sound, and whipped my head around. Somehow, Hunter had managed to remove both his shorts and his nappy entirely, and his bare butt poked in my direction as he peed, standing up, into his potty. My mouth dropped open. Surely he was too young yet for this! How had Sarah managed to teach him this?
Hunter laughed, a short and wickedly gleeful chuckle, then turned and ran toward his mother. Urine was still spurting from his penis, splashing over first the bare wood floor then the Turkish rug as he made his way across the room.
"Hunter, no!" I cried, reaching for him before he could go any further. I swept him up, and felt urine soak through my shirt. "Baby, you know that pee needs to go in the potty. Now you've made a mess everywhere. Why didn't you wait for me?"
I carried him to the nearby change table, as he wiggled against me. By the time I put him down, he'd finished, and simply lay back watching my expression. I schooled myself to calm, then gave him a sad face.
"What happened?" said a sleepy voice, and I glanced over to see that Sarah was sitting up, bleary-eyed. "Oh, Hunter..."
"It's okay, hon. You go back to sleep. I got this," I reassured her, rubbing the baby down with wet wipes before securing a new nappy. I peeled off his shirt, which had splash marks sprayed across it, and grabbed another wipe to thoroughly clean him. "Someone will need a bath tonight, though." I poked him gently in the belly with one finger, and he giggled.
Sarah lumbered across the room and lifted Hunter from the table. In resignation, I let her see to him while I raided the laundry for some cloths, a mop and a bucket.
As I re-entered the lounge, Sarah's mother appeared from the kitchen with a can of carpet-cleaner in hand. She said nothing, but began cleaning the puddles on the rug. I followed her lead, and mopped the bare floor as efficiently as possible. When I finished, I knelt to help Joan with the rug, but she shook her head. "See to the baby," she advised.
I stowed the mop back in the laundry, before heading to the nursery to check on my sister-in-law and the baby.
At first, I couldn't believe my eyes. Hunter was standing beside his cot, holding an axe-head. It was the single-bladed type, like a small hatchet without a handle. An axe. Being cradled by a not-quite-two year old. It felt like a dream; or, more accurately, a nightmare. Hunter hefted the axe-head in his tiny hands, smiling happily.
"What the hell..." I began to say, startled into speech, but as Hunter saw me, he let out a screech and ran into the hallway, still clutching the wedge of metal in both hands. Sarah was nowhere to be seen.
"Hunter!" I yelled, and lurched after him. He'd made it back to the living room by the time I caught him, and was hiding behind the television cabinet. Sarah and Joan were nowhere to be seen.
"Hunter, no," I pleaded, straining to slide the cabinet out further so I could reach him. "Give that to Aunty, please!"
He smiled at me, that angelic smile that had won my heart the first time I'd seen it. "Mine," he said firmly.
I reached him, finally, peeled his hands off the dangerous thing, and hauled both him and it back into the safety of the lounge. "This is not a toy! Naughty! Where did you get it?" My voice was shaky with equal parts fear and anger.
Hunter frowned now, and wiggled so furiously that I had to set him down or risk injuring us both. "Mine!" he growled, staring at the axe-head. "MINE!"
When I refused to relinquish it, he began to cry, and finally my mother-in-law materialised again, holding a slightly damp doll. "Nan Nan," whimpered the toddler, and she picked him up, giving him the doll to cuddle, while staring daggers at me.
"What have you done?" Joan asked me furiously. "Why is the baby crying?"
"For Christ's sake, Joan," I responded with some anger. "I haven't done anything. He had this!" I flourished the heavy iron blade at her. "Where the hell did he get part of an axe?"
"MINE!" cried Hunter, seeing his treasure again, so close.
"You have no right to tell the baby 'no'. Give it to him," Joan said, so low and slowly that I had trouble understanding her. "Give it to him!"
I stood there, lips parted in shock. Surely she didn't mean... But yes, that was exactly what she meant.
"Nan Nan mine too," Hunter cooed, rubbing his doll against his grandmother's cheek. "Don't want aunty now. Want toy."
"Give it to him." Joan's gaze had turned cold and deadly, and part of me wanted to do as she said and then leave forever.
I felt, rather than heard, the movement behind me, and turned my head just in time to see Sarah swing the missing handle from the axe towards my head. The blow stunned me, sent me sprawling, and I dropped the axe-head as I fell. As I faded into semi-unconsciousness, I heard her say, "I warned you that he was a demon. What Hunter wants, Hunter gets."
Last weekend was taken up with my godson's 1st birthday party - how I miss the days of family lunches for baby b-days! The peer pressure my friends face when it comes to throwing their kids a party is ridiculous. Would that I could rest on my child-free laurels but instead I somehow volunteered to host the godson's party at my house and so ended up with 20 sugared-up kids making a mess all over my back lawn.
Everyone had a blast, though, so worth it. I did spend most of Sunday sleeping... at least until hubby decided that popping all the leftover balloons would be a good idea.
In fact, I've spent most of the week sleeping... as well as reading (finally finished Maplecroft, and got seven books for my birthday so devoured those too) and writing. Yep, I'm 27k into my effort for this year's NaNoWriMo and determined to finish on time, especially after bombing out with 2k to go last year.
Picked up the Passenger album Whispers II for some chill music to help calm my brain because I write more easily when I'm relaxed. I guess that's why some people drink or smoke pot. I can do neither - but then I have other tricks, like the music!
"Depression is hard to understand, because it is not a consistent state. Depression is rather like a virus, but like a virus, it has its manageable days and its acute, life-threatening flare-ups. You can be in a depression and still laugh at a friend’s joke or have a good night at dinner or manage low-level functioning. You grocery shop and stop to pet a puppy on the corner, talk to friends in a café, maybe write something you don’t hate. When this happens, you might examine your day for clues like reading tea leaves in a cup: Was it the egg for breakfast that made the difference? The three-mile run? You think, well, maybe this thing has moved on now. And you make no sudden moves for fear of attracting its abusive attention again.
But other times…
Other times, it’s as if a hole is opening inside you, wider and wider, pressing against your lungs, pushing your internal organs into unnatural places, and you cannot draw a true breath. You are breaking inside, slowly, and everything that keeps you tethered to your life, all of your normal responses, is being sucked through the hole like an airlock emptying into space. These are the times Holly Golightly called the Mean Reds.
I call it White Knuckling it."
Via Libba Bray on Wordpress - Miles and Miles of No-Man's Land
"I wear glasses. Can I manage without glasses? Well, yes, probably. I could squint a lot, constantly move up close to anything I want to see, take the bus or a taxi if I want to go anywhere. I could just accept that I’ll never be able to see eagles flying in the sky or whales jumping out of the ocean.Via TeachThemHowToThink
But why? Why try so hard to manage life when I could just put on a pair of glasses? No one would ever suggest a near-sighted person should just work harder. No one would say ‘Maybe that’s just your normal’ to someone that needs glasses. They would say 'Let’s go to the eye doctor and get you a prescription so you’re able to see again.’
You shouldn’t have to try so hard."
My doctor (paraphrased), when I expressed doubts about going back on an anti-depressant.
"Until I started taking my antidepressants, though, I didn’t actually know that I was depressed. I thought the dark staticky corners were part of who I was.Via Not Everyone Feels This Way — Archipelago
It was the same way I felt before I put on my first pair of glasses at age 14 and suddenly realized that trees weren’t green blobs but intricate filigrees of thousands of individual leaves; I hadn’t known, before, that I couldn’t see the leaves, because I didn’t realize that seeing leaves was a possibility at all.
And it wasn’t until I started using tools to counterbalance my depression that I even realized there was depression there to need counterbalancing. I had no idea that not everyone felt the gravitational pull of nothingness, the ongoing, slow-as-molasses feeling of melting down into a lump of clay. I had no way of knowing that what I thought were just my ingrained bad habits — not being able to deposit checks on time, not replying to totally pleasant emails for long enough that friendships were ruined, having silent meltdowns over getting dressed in the morning, even not going to the bathroom despite really, really, really having to pee — weren’t actually my habits at all.
They were the habits of depression, which whoa, holy shit, it turns out I had a raging case of."
But I think the key is that we check in regularly.
One of the gifts of my battle with depression and anxiety is that I’ve learned the benefits of self-care, and how it’s as useful to have a regular mental health checkup as it is a physical. Am I experiencing stress or distress? How does it affect me? What tools do I have to manage it? Are there any warning signs to which I should pay attention? How can I minimize the stress and effects as much as possible?
So hubby and I talk about this often. He helps me with my mental health, and I help him right back. It’s hard in the same ways normal stuff is hard - you know; managing finances, planning trips away, compromising on TV shows, taking turns doing chores, looking out for each other.
So really it’s not that hard at all. It’s life. And that’s a much better option than the alternative.
She knows that, and yet in her depths she mourns the loss of that intense connection shared only by the two of them. They had been each other’s entire world, and now the aching distance between them is breached only by the demands of their offspring.
She worries sometimes about her stormy middle child, who loudly and violently expresses his anger over the separation. Alone of his siblings, he is blind to the necessity and benefits of the divorcement. When he throws those fierce tantrums, she soothes him as only a mother can. She knows that he too mourns for those days of closeness. But the others, auē! His brothers and sisters rejoiced when their father finally took his leave, and frequently reassure their mother that it was for the best.
At night she still dreams of her husband’s embrace, and in the morning as she watches the sun rise into the sky, she wonders whether he too reminisces fondly. Sometimes, when it rains, she imagines him weeping for her, and it is a comfort of sorts.
But during the day she works as she always has, and cares for their tamariki as best she can. In truth, she openly cherishes her children as her greatest joy and it is in her hidden heart that she laments the changes they have wrought. And if she never mentions that part of the reason she takes such delight in her children is that they often remind her of their father, it is because that is a blessing she is happy to hold close.
Sometimes she thinks that her children know her secrets anyway, and then Papatūānuku does not attempt to conceal her sighs as she yearns for her husband’s warmth, and the earth heaves and strains to reach the sky.
Inspired primarily by Matariki - the Māori name for the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades which rise in mid-winter. Matariki literally means the ‘eyes of god’ (mata ariki) or ‘little eyes’ (mata riki). According to myth, when Ranginui, the sky father, and Papatūānuku, the earth mother, were separated by their children, the god of the winds, Tāwhirimātea, became so angry that he tore out his eyes and threw them into the heavens.
Inspired also by a Scorpio horoscope which warned of an interfering third partner between two people who were unlucky in love.
This is the thing: When you hit 28 or 30, everything begins to divide. You can see very clearly two kinds of people.
On one side, people who have used their 20s to learn and grow, to find… themselves and their dreams, people who know what works and what doesn’t, who have pushed through to become real live adults.
Then there’s the other kind, who are hanging onto college, or high school even, with all their might. They’ve stayed in jobs they hate, because they’re too scared to get another one. They’ve stayed with men or women who are good but not great, because they don’t want to be lonely. …They mean to develop intimate friendships, they mean to stop drinking like life is one big frat party. But they don’t do those things, so they live in an extended adolescence, no closer to adulthood than when they graduated.
Don’t be like that. Don’t get stuck. Move, travel, take a class, take a risk. There is a season for wildness and a season for settledness, and this is neither. This season is about becoming. Don’t lose yourself at happy hour, but don’t lose yourself on the corporate ladder either. Stop every once in a while and go out to coffee or climb in bed with your journal.
Ask yourself some good questions like: Am I proud of the life I’m living? What have I tried this month? … Do the people I’m spending time with give me life, or make me feel small? Is there any brokenness in my life that’s keeping me from moving forward?
Now is your time. Walk closely with people you love, and with people who believe that life is a grand adventure. Don’t get stuck in the past, and don’t try to fast-forward yourself into a future you haven’t yet earned. Give today all the love and intensity and courage you can, and keep traveling honestly along life’s path.
~ RELEVANT (via Krissy)
( Cut mostly to experience the joy of the new cut tag... )
I really struggled to finish The Law of Nines and Empire, because the preachy tone of both was infuriating and pretty contrary to my personal paradigm. On the other hand, I LOVED First Meetings, Temeraire, A Madness of Angels and Guardian of the Dead. And any book by Terry Pratchett is entertaining.
This is a record of books that I read in April 2010. A title with an asterisk (*) indicates that I've read it before.
- For Kicks by Dick Francis *
- Dead Cert by Dick Francis *
- Odds Against by Dick Francis *
- Forfeit by Dick Francis *
- Enquiry by Dick Francis *
- Rat Race by Dick Francis *
- Knockdown by Dick Francis *
- Risk by Dick Francis *
- Reflex by Dick Francis *
- Banker by Dick Francis *
- The Danger by Dick Francis *
- Proof by Dick Francis *
- Break In by Dick Francis *
- Bolt by Dick Francis *
- The Edge by Dick Francis *
- Straight by Dick Francis *
- Comeback by Dick Francis *
- Decider by Dick Francis *
- Wild Horses by Dick Francis *
- Dead Heat by Dick Francis
- Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett*
- A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett
- The Ninth Circle by Alex Bell
- Persona Non Grata by Ruth Downie
- Medicus and the Disappearing Dancing Girls by Ruth Downie
- The Owl Killers by Karen Maitland
- The Art of Digital Wedding Photography by Bambi Cantrell and Skip Cohen
- Professional Techniques for the Wedding Photographer by George Saub
- Decision at Doona by Anna McCaffrey
- 61 Hours by Lee Child
- Nemesis by Isaac Asimov
- Funland by Richard Laymon
- Witch Crafting: A Spiritual Guide to Making Magic by Phyllis Curott
Some thoughts from tonight:
- American Idol RPF : vampire!Tim/Adam Lambert = hawt.
- I liked Desperate Housewives when the male characters were simply accessories to the females' stories. Now the dudes seem to be actual fully-fleshed characters, and meh... I'm just not that into it.
- I must be getting old... saw a young (16ish) girl with the loveliest porcelain skin, and thought it was a shame that she had so many facial piercings, ruining her look - luckily, I realised that actually the piercings ARE her look! But I've obviously internalised a lot of bullshit about style and appearance that I need to deal with.
- I like winter 'cause it means I get to wear coats and scarves, but I'm just not a fan of air so cold that it hurts to breathe. Lucky that I live in mostly-temperate Auckland.
- I need to get online more. Shouldn't let the fact that I spend all day at work on a PC put me off. I feel like I'm missing out on brain candy.
- I'm not gonna take any medicine for this 'flu tomorrow, but I am going to drink a lot of wine at my uncle's birthday bash. This may not be the best option, medically, but I bet it will be fun.
Worked from 7.30am to 6pm today, which is nothing compared to my S.O. who left at 2.30am and still isn't home (and it's currently 8.15pm).
Going to a wedding on Saturday & have been manipulated into making 3x trifles for the reception dinner. Bought some lovely big crystal bowls for displaying them and then had an aunty ring me to make sure that my bowls would match the rest of the serving-ware... Honestly, when you're attempting to match bowls, you're taking things a bit seriously. Especially considering that this wedding has kinda been thrown together over the last couple of months. Still, it'll be nice to catch up with everyone, and the bride & groom deserve a nice day.
Got my exam results back, and it was a very good pass mark, so I'm happy about that. Doing two papers this semester, which doesn't seem like a lot until you realise that I'm working 45 hours a week at one job & helping my partner run a business & doing most of the chores at home. Makes for a busy week.
Heading to Rotovegas on Easter weekend (4 days off, woo) to spend some time with Mum & my lil brother. I'm very excited about this, mostly because it means I can finally box up all my Dick Francis, Patricia Cornwell & Lee Child books and bring 'em home.
Speaking of home, my partner and I are currently looking for a new place to rent. This one is okay, but it's kinda small and _old_ - now that we have a fair bit of extra income, we're looking to upsize. But OMIGAWDZ is it hard to find a place that fits my S.O.'s demands... Must be newish, 4 bedrooms, with a garage & backyard, no shared driveway, close to the motorway, close to a bus stop, close to my work, etc etc. I think I've found one place that might be worth looking at (out of about 100 local places for rent), but co-ordinating our schedules to actually go and inspect it is gonna be a mission.
Today was clear and cold; summer is definitely heading out. That's fine with me, as it means I get to start wearing jackets & scarves. I love my winter wardrobe.
While reading the newspaper today, I found out that he was paroled last month. I feel appalled, sick, and despairing.
I keep thinking things like:
How can people like him even exist in the same world that I experience?
Why is it so often men that do things like this?
What would I do if I ran into him on the street?
I want to write more about this, but I'm honestly too distressed.
I FINALLY MADE IT THROUGH SEASON ONE OF FARSCAPE!!!!!!!!!
And, wow, did it grow on me. It took me three attempts to finish the first episode, and then the next five or so were kinda meh, but when they finally started focusing on world-building (as opposed to just telling a stand-alone story per episode), I started to enjoy it. So much so that I would watch multiple episodes in one sitting, which, for me, is pretty unusual.
I even managed to get over my dislike of Rygel-the-puppet (honestly, if it isn't Muppet Treasure Island, then the use of muppets just makes me uncomfortable).
AND. I got used to the Australian accents. Sort of. Plus I figured out why those accents upset me - American or European accents are uncommon enough here to be suitably exotic, which works for scifi/fantasy-type productions. Australian or NZ accents, on the other hand, are familiar enough that hearing them throws me out of the story.
I gotta say that Claudia Black is mighty fine, and makes Aeryn Sun my favourite character.
Te Putake Mai o te Pu Harakeke
by Arapera Hiniira Kaa
E ki, e ki, e ki,
He pu, he pu, he pu,
He pu harakeke,
He tangata, he tangata!
He pu, he pu, he pu,
He pu harakeke,
He wahine, he wahine!
Anei haki te patai,
Ma wai, ma wai, ma wai,
Ko wai, ko wai, ko wai,
Te putake o te ora?
He rito, he pu, he
pu harakeke tu
Who is Important?
The time has come for some
of us to abandon
imagining flax to be mankind!
Aesthetically, such growth
of fan-shaped symmetry
can only be that of womankind!
Weigh, consider, who gives
regenerates, who is the
source of life?
There is but one reply,
Birth, growth, life with meaning
cannot exist without
(Dedicated to the Maori Women's Welfare League, written after getting bored with a repetitive phrase.)
- The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever by Stephen Donaldson *
- The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
- The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson
- The Case for God: What Religion Really Means by Karen Armstrong
- Valiant: A Modern Tale of Faerie by Holly Black
- Green wedding: Planning Your Eco-Friendly Celebration by Mireya Navarro
- A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
- The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
Kinda feel guilty about that. But! The books I did read were pretty good brain food (also, I cannot begin to express my love for The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms... review coming soon), and god knows I get enough of that at work too. ;-)
Came home pretty tired, so instead of cooking dinner, went to the beach with the S.O. and ate fish & chips while watching the sunset. Have I mentioned how much I love summer? Long evenings spent outside... blissful!