Thursday, July 30, 2009

Better than I expected

I just finished reading A million little pieces by James Frey... Like a few other books I have read in the past year, I am picking them up a few years after they were popular. Or in this case, perhaps notorious? I remember the big furor with the big O, and that parts of the autobiography could have been embellished for the sake of the story. Which brings up a few things for me.

Firstly, I didn't expect to really enjoy this novel. It is another one that I have been intrigued by, and well, I was a bit turned off by the hype a few years ago, although truly, I did not have a clue what the book was about. As much as you can say that you enjoyed a book like this, I truly did. It is a helluva story, a look in to addiction and alcoholism, and brutally honest (for lack of a better word in this moment), or frank, or just not prettied up. I found that I was compelled to keep reading, and that is was easy to work through, that I was interested to see what would happen to James, and good god, what a story if even a smidgeon of what he describes is accurate. Which, having known someone who was also successful through AA, probably not far off. I could appreciate how he referred to making a decision, taking responsibility for his actions, and choosing a different lifestyle from this moment on. You have to. In your own stark awareness, you have to make a choice for yourself and stick with it if you are going to be successful. I can only relate it to when I quit smoking - it was a decision I clearly made and deconstructed why I was smoking and when I smoked, and I quit cold turkey, I had one big relapse one night, looked at what I did, and truly realized I didn't want to be that person anymore that smoked - not exactly the same type of thing as what happens in the book, but in the same vein of reasoning. I also liked how the book of Tao impacted his thinking and brought him peace - I remember going through some of the stuff with Brandon and reading a book called Momma Zen and it brought me a measure of peace in it's simple message and language. So, all rambles aside, I would highly recommend this book and this came as a surprise to me. It's a helluva a read IMHO.

Secondly, I also think teenagers should read this book in school. It deals with a (potentially) harsh reality in terms I think that would really hit home, the Outsiders times at least ten. Might scare a few folks in to thinking about a few things before blindly trying them.

Thirdly, I don't recall reading that it is a non fiction book or that it is directly billed as an autobiography. I did a bit of probing in to this book's past (gotta love wikipedia), and it seems that there was a big bru-ha-ha with the big O and the reading public because everything may not have been as portrayed in the novel. I don't really have a problem with this because I feel that as soon as you start to talk about something, or commit it to paper, it is already becoming fiction because it is as you remember it, how you would describe it, and how it impacted you. Looking at this book as a book, and not as a the gospel according to James Frey and accurate in every sense of the word, the underlying truths of the book won't change and that is why it is a good book. The rest of the publicity, and the lawsuit that happened... well, I guess not being personally impacted, and well, I am detached in the sense that a good book is a good book and in many ways, as a piece of art takes on a life of it's own, away from the author. What happened here is it's own story and interesting in light of how things unraveled. I can't help but think about the impact of a book becoming an O's choice.. and the instant fame and demand for the book. I must admit, I have mixed feelings when I find a book I am reading was/is an O book, much like finding out it is going to be made in to a movie soon.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Heat Wave

I am not unique when I say that the heat wave the west coast is experiencing is something else.

Holy Shit is it hot. And humid. And seemingly never ending. I never thought I would say it was too hot, for too long.

Today was one of those days, Brandon did not sleep(seem to need to get him out and exhaust him in the morning if he is going to have a nap), Connor got woken up a lot, and the day just felt chaotic, inconsistent, and irritable. I feel like the hydration police, and the poor boys in the heat, it isn't easy for them, nor for Ken, driving in the oven of a truck he does without respite...

I can't believe the difference it makes even getting 20 minutes to myself to work out a little on the Wiiii Fit. It is good for my head to sweat a little. I noticed not being able to do that today.

It also felt like our routine was totally off, and that didn't help either. And the house feels really messy and disorganized, which adds to the chaos.

Today was not a stellar day. Nice thing is, tomorrow is another day.

On a totally different note, Connor is learning how to smile, and it is enchanting. It is also really cool watching Brandon watch his favorite show.. he loves to watch Super Why in the morning, and it is a really decent kids show, so that 1/2 hour buys me time to clean the kitchen and get a decent start to the day... although not today, but most days... I had no idea how much I would come to rely on and then develop routines. They can be such a lifesaver...

Saturday, July 25, 2009


The birthday boy in his new shirt and wearing his paws..

The hint of a smile - I love this photo, a month old...

I am absolutely biased, but I feel pretty blessed with my two boys. I wondered what I would be like adjusting to two... I know at times I have felt a few moments getting to know friend's number 2's and then adjusting quickly to the new reality and my heart swelling with love and acceptance of change, but there is no adjustment when the babe is your own. Okay there are, but not in the way that I am speaking of. It just feels right - and having our family of 4 seems pretty damn cool. Helps when you have two cool boys, and Connor seems to be doing really well and is a very good natured baby, and Brandon is growing like a weed and is mostly cool with Connor (although the heat isn't helping right now) - I just feel very blessed in my little reality and corner of the universe.

Friday, July 24, 2009


Happy Third Birthday Brandon!!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

a really good read..

I finished off The Book of Negroes last night. What a great read. It is another one of the books I have bought recently because I was intrigued by it's cover. Unlike the last one, this one totally delivered. I loved this book from start to finish. It was a very satisfying read, and I was almost sad to put it down. I even read all the end notes and all the remaining bits by the author.

It is the tale of a girl taken from Sierra Leone during the slave trade, and then the tale of her extraordinary life as she lives through tumultuous times. It is compelling, the history feels sound, and it is a tale not often heard. This book deals with some really intense topics, but it never feels depressing or truly dark, there is a thread of hope that runs through this tale,a spirit if you will. Yessiree, I highly recommend this one..

I can't believe I have found some moments to read?!!!!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

3 weeks old

It's already been three weeks, and Brandon will be turning three himself at the end of the week. Wow. The time is just flying by.

I can't say enough how much easier it is second time around. Everything not being an unknown makes such an incredible difference. Then there are the differences in me - I don't feel like I am "playing" at being a mom, I am "mom". I am more confident, and I have a better idea of what I am and am not willing to do this time around. Feeding has been so much better, and sleeping, I don't know if it is better, but it is not unexpected. We haven't had huge crying fits, but Connor definitely has a healthy set of lungs.

There are moments though - when you find your almost three year old a bit much, okay, maybe even irritating, or when you just can't get to your baby fast enough and he lets a few wails out, or it seems that the laundry exploded again, or one of the cats puked on the floor because they were eating one of your plants again.

It just does not seem as crazy as it was the first time - I wouldn't say easier, maybe it is just being more prepared for what life is throwing at us. So far, going from none to one has been harder than going from one to two. I may be singing a different tune a week from now, but for now, that is my story.

The weather has been fantastic - we have been out to the local parks the last few days. I am on a mission to get Brandon walking more and more every day, and to try to take advantage of this gift of time with both boys and try to get out and do cool things with both of them. The walking is coming, and he is getting more balanced all the time. I did have to get him new beach shoes, the ones we bought stateside just weren't working for him, and if I want him to do big walks and splash around water parks, he needs good shoes.

I had to laugh, he is definitely my kid, when I handed him his new shoes in the truck he had to show them off to poppa "Look poppa, I have NEW SHOES! They are orange and blue!" and he preened and held them up, and talked about them all the way home. I am grateful my dad has been able to come out and join us for the outings, otherwise it would damn near impossible to do what I have been doing with a two week old. Damn, we didn't even really leave the house when Brandon was this young, and here we have been out a lot, and had visitors, and my house isn't even crazy chaotic. The dishes are actually done...

Any feeding issues I have had in the past were put in to perspective yesterday... one of my dear friends came by with her 8 month old, and I got to witness what she goes through to get food in to her little one's belly. It seems like an unreal fight - she doesn't want a bottle, is picky about the real foods she will eat, and wants/doesn't want the breast... she literally fights it all the way and my girlfriend seems more than a little frazzled. If nothing else, both boys are good eaters... and neither had issues going between the bottle and the breast... and her kid is up all hours of the night... so not only does she have a little hellion to feed, she herself is over-tired and needing a good night's sleep and I think a few hours away from her daughter... or at least time to go for a run... I think if I can get her out to the park, I will park our strollers and tell her to just run it out for herself.

Amazing how important it is to carve out some space of "you"-ness once you have kids. Whether it is a book, or knitting, or exercise, or quiet zen time to reflect, it is so much more important when you have so much less of it.

One thing I can say about having two kids instead of one... you become almost instantly better at time management because you HAVE to be. There isn't as much of the, I can do that later... if it doesn't get done now.. O M G it gets that much harder to do it tomorrow. Hence, why the dishes are already done.

Friday, July 10, 2009


I finally broke out the old Isis pump today and much to my dismay, I think it has finally given up the ghost and is done. One of the key attachments is cracked, and well, it just isn't getting enough suction to pump my milk.


So I just hand expressed about 3 ounces. Bloody hell, it wasn't easy by any stretch. Connor has been down for a marathon nap after an early morning Doc's appt and I was feeling a bit swollen... will have to see how this sorts out in the next while. It is nice to have the back up of a pump for those times you aren't able to nurse as much as you would like. Connor has officially regained his birth weight and then some... he weighed in at 10 pounds, 14 ounces this morning.. WOO WOO!! in other terms, closing in on 5kg! I am both b'feeding and formula, and I am glad to see that Connor's weight gain is good (only at about 10 pounds, 6 ounces on Monday... so things must be going much better) and that things are working as they should.

Two is chaos at times, and at other times, incredibly wonderful. Your heart just expands to make room for another little person, and it is overwhelming how proud I am when I look around at my little family and consider the four of us - it is pretty cool.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Some good, some not so good.

I have no idea when I have had the time to read in the last few weeks, but I did get through a book, and a bit.

I read Bloodletting and Other Various Cures and it wasn't quite what I expected. It is almost a smattering of "almost stories" for lack of a better word. It wasn't bad, it wasn't great. I wanted to know more about some of the threads, and others where plain confusing about why they were included. There were hints of other stories, or how things ended with some of the characters, it was an intriguing book - but just not really what I thought the book was going to be like (as I have already mentioned). Some insight in to life as a doctor, fancy that, they are just people too, but I found that this book left me wanting.

I also attempted to read The Road. It did not do it for me. I got about 100 pages in to this depressing, dark, bleak book and I decided I just didn't really need to see it to it's conclusion. It is well written, and quite poetic at times, just not my cup of tea. It is in the years (?) after some global catastrophic event and follows the footsteps of a man and his son as they head to the "coast" and hopes of at least marginally better quality of life. They consider themselves the "good guys" and there are lots of dead bodies and very little food, a lot of ash, and humans gone bad. This also was not what I expected - I should have read some reviews first since I more than likely would not have been as intrigued by the book as I was.