Functional Human Being

I had a great weekend. 

I handed in a paper. Then I saw people, I had dinner with family. I went to a baby fair, I went to the Vancouver Fan Expo, I made a little balcony garden. I tried my best to enjoy parenting my beautiful, irrepressibly spirited daughter. I was able to forget, just a little bit.

Happy Easter. 

My continuing failure and my continuing failure to do work is crushing me.

It’s totally mental, i know. I can’t shake it. I start to, and then it comes back and leaves me in this crushed puddle of bony bloody splinters in the hallway, and by the time i siphon up a bit of the slop and pick through and find a couple soggy metatarsals floating amongst their usually neighbouring phalanges so that maybe I can start walking again my brain seems to sneeze out some more unidentifiable slime and all that mopping just seems to be making the floor more slippery and spreading the slop around mostly, even though I took the whole weekend to try and RINSE OUT THE FRICKING MOP

and worse, i feel guilty for taking the time to RINSE OUT THE MOP.

It’s totally mental, i know.
Everyone around me and even I myself know it’s totally ridiculous and unproductive and that there are immediate solutions to get the work I need to, done. I’m trying. I will apply the tools from therapy to bootstrap myself back to functional human being, if only for the next 8 hours.

But at this particular moment in time, I feel shaky and teary and like a pile of slop in the hallway that is unable to mop itself. 

I’m really trying. 


“When you’re lost in those woods, it sometimes takes you a while to realize that you are lost. For the longest time, you can convince yourself that you’ve just wandered off the path, that you’ll find your way back to the trailhead any moment now. Then night falls again and again, and you still have no idea where you are, and it’s time to admit that you have bewildered yourself so far off the path that you don’t even know from which direction the sun rises anymore.” 
― Elizabeth Gilbert




i have no idea what is going on right now with me. Days are starting to disappear into months. First, February disappeared. Then March. Then April. My brain is mush. I’m trying to fix it, I’m learning to be gentle on myself, but still, my brain is mush. It doesn’t feel good to be broken.

Achievement unlocked! I’m Going to SPACE with @SFU and @csa_asc

So this happened on Pi Day 2014:

Pi day 2014 - shoot day for the SFU semester in space spoof promo video

Pi day 2014 – shoot day for the SFU semester in space spoof promo video

Then this happened on April 1st, 2014.


Then the Canadian Space Agency retweeted it.

What a fun project.

Some of the vid got broadcast on Global BC as part of the feature on April fool’s jokes too.

Met some stellar (haha) folks at SFU Creative Services along the way.

Actually fooled a bunch of my friends, a few professors, and my poor dad.

As my brother said in a message the next day, “So…Dad legit thought you were going to space.”

Sorry, dad.:)
But it sure is awesome to at least get to legitimately pretend.

Baby sign language milestone!

Baby E turned 16 months yesterday. She has approximately 50 words/signs in her combined vocabulary.

This evening, I was lying in bed trying to rid myself of an oncoming migraine, when Steve and the baby came back from their walk to the grocery store. They came in to “wake me up” (because I asked them to, so i could make dinner). The kiddo attacked me and we had fits of giggles, but eventually when things calmed down, she sat up on the bed, looked around for a few seconds, then spontaneously signed toilet! I’ve been showing her the sign for the past few months, whenever I use the washroom, and she first imitated the sign earlier in March. So when she spontaneously signed it, I asked Steve to take her to the toilet. Steve asked me why he wanted me to take her to the toilet and I said it was because she signed it. Well, guess what? She had a poop in her diaper. So that was SO COOL that she was able to communicate to us the need to change her diaper, when she clearly does not have the verbal word for toilet, or poo, or diaper yet.

SO COOL. So glad I’m using signs and spoken words with her – it wasn’t like she was able to hugely communicate super early before 12 months or anything, but the signs and spoken words now seem complementary – sometimes she’ll pick up a sign first, sometimes the spoken word first, sometimes later drop the sign when she learns the spoken word, sometimes use them in free variation…

I think we’ve hit the oncoming edge of the first vocabulary growth spurt… seems like I hear or see the sign for about one new word a day.

On March 25th, We showed her this picture I took after the bath that night and said “look, that’s you!” And tapped her chest. She then tapped her own chest and said, “me. Me.” Whoa. Just like that. It’s so crazy watching it happen right before my eyes.

And yesterday I think I heard her imitating the spoken word railing “ray-ree”and a couple other words that I’ve already forgotten. But it’s  all SO COOL.


I feel so guilty, and absolutely ridiculous for feeling guilty, and absolutely ridiculous for feeling sorry for myself for feeling ridiculous for feeling guilty. Or something like that.

Nevertheless, I must unapologetically spew forth some quantity of digital ink in an effort to rid myself of the sprawling octopus on my face that is preventing me from getting work done.

I feel guilty for sleeping.
So much so that the dreams of my night-sweat, tortured, fragmented sleep consisted of nightmares, exclusively.

These nightmares included some very literally figurative scenarios where my professors were yelling at me for not getting work done.


Despite the very likely potential of this blog sounding like a recycling depot for sad, cracked vinyl, my situation, yet again, is this:

This February (essentially the past three weeks), my poor daughter has had:

1. A nasty fever/cold/cough (I got the same one – it knocked me out, energy-wise, for pretty much two whole weeks)
2. Stomach flu (not FLU, just several days of vomiting and diarrhea)
3. Oozy/sticky/yellow eye discharge (what daycare calls pinkeye, despite the whites of her eyes not really being pink)
4. Another cold/cough (yes, I got this one too…different from #1, and is the one that is currently causing me grief).
5. Four molars cutting through at the same time (she’s not an easy teether, but thankfully the top two just poked through – her top left just poked through this morning)

So she is truly miserable, I am miserable, and I am not getting any work done. I took two days off last week to take care of the non-daycare-admissible kiddo (my non-class get-shit-done work days!) and time off during reading week as well the week before. As it is currently Sunday, noon, I have one paper basically overdue (if not for the extension generously allotted by the professor) that must be handed in in <24 hours, and another one due in ~48 hours. The first one is not done yet, the second is not started yet.

As you can see, this is a bad situation.

But the main thing though, is that I feel guilty for sleeping instead of working…which is completely ridiculous. Common sense and all reasonable medical advice I’ve encountered since the mid-90s dictate that when one is sick with some sort of medicinally incurable, but self-limiting viral infection, the quickest route to recovery is plenty of fluids and rest.


So why do I feel guilty for sleeping? I absolutely need to sleep. Being too sick to properly take care of my kid during the daytime means I really need to sleep at night, right? And with the kiddo up screaming and/or nursing half the night, I really need to sleep when I can.

So I slept last night. And the night before. And the night before that.
Each night, feeling progressively more guilty for not waking up in the middle of the night to get at least SOME work done.

And haven’t really gotten any work done on these papers.

So I feel guilty for sleeping.

This is ridiculous.

And the work I am going to hand in is embarrassing.

Embarrassing does not feel particularly good, nor is embarrassing work good in any way.

As one of my classmates put it, February just sort of…exploded.

No kidding.

On the plus side, a 1 year old is WAY more fun (when she is feeling semi-well) than a fussy 0 year old. Also, I finally decided to seek treatment in January for longstanding depression that has over the past year just become a bit too much to deal with on my own with the added stressors of motherhood and grad school, and am generally feeling quite a bit better and am more able to be joyfully present and in the moment on a day-to-day basis. Despite the horror stories of the side effects of antidepressants, they’ve done only very good things for me so far, and I feel like it’s something I should have tried a long time ago. Also, my migraines are back to status-quo (a couple times a month, compared to last semester’s every day/every second day situation). So not everything is bad. Also, it’s snowing today and I’m feeling cozy even though I’m sick and stressed out.

After Nearly Thirty Years, I Think I Finally Have a Celebrity Crush this Valentine’s Day (hint: @rustyrockets)

In all my years, I’ve never really understood the lure of crushing over a celebrity. It seems madness, an ashily unappealingly indulgent waste of time over equally indulgent, badly behaved fools. Serious little twelve year old Beverly could, at any given moment, be caught rolling her eyes and tuning out her squealing squirrely girlfriends in their irritating and unabating fawning rampages over tween charmers of the Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Backstreet Boy and Leonardo diCaprio sort of yesteryear, in the way that #beliebers might be imagined to do, present day. The raging hormones of puberty had no more effect on my unusually low propensity for falling in lust with the cover pages of checkstand magazines. This pattern of behaviour has followed me for nearly thirty years. The unjustified silliness it seemed twenty years ago is still the same unjustified silliness it is now. Even to little me, it seemed beneath me, somehow.

Unfortunately, the point of this post is that, after all these years of celebrity celibacy, it appears that I have fallen in love with an unusual suspect.

The victim?

Russell Brand, the poor man.

He’s not particularly handsome, in my mind. Nor is his life experience appealing in the least. Interesting, of course, but thoroughly unappealing.

But his way with words is something else. Effortless spider silk, that seemingly issues forth with unstoppably great quantity and speed, but of a poetic quality unmatched in this chaotic day and age.

I am bound, intoxicated, by the beauty.

I do hope he continues writing.

Overgeneralization…oh hi, holophrasis

12.5 months now. Just want to write down what’s happening because it all goes by so fast.

  • Buh bye and hi

Baby E is really fond of saying bye bye to everything right now. I think it means both hello and bye bye. Sometimes she will say hi too, but usually it’s bye bye everything with the corresponding open/shut hand “wave”. She’s even replaced her “all done” sign with “bye bye” + hand wave…it must be more efficient. She says/waves bye when she reaches the end of a book, throws away her diaper in the garbage, sees daddy leave the room, closes the fridge or the dishwasher, puts away toys…

  • Baby / bee bee

She loves babies. Any small child or doll or animal or picture of one is currently a “baby” or “beebee” and gets a point (see pointing below). Will enthusiastically hug stuffed animals and dolls (we have a couple of androgynous soft dolls from ikea…one asian one that looks like mummy and a blond one that looks like daddy). She has even replaced her “buh” words for “bear” and “bird” with “baby”. Why not lump them all together for now?! And they all get the overgeneralized bye bye hand motion, which I’m sure originated as a merge between “bye bye” and the approximation for the “bird” sign.

Also, one funny story about perception…We bought those meatballs from Ikea, and I had Baby E on my lap, eating dinner, and she kept pointing to my meatballs and saying “baby”, over and over again. I kept saying “meatball, not baby”.  She finally grabs this small portrait picture of a cute smiling black kid (she loves this picture) that came as the filler pic in one of our “baby’s first christmas” ornaments from last year (that I haven’t gotten around to replacing) that was still on the dining room table, and emphatically places it in my bowl of meatballs. I don’t know if I’m connecting too many dots here, but then I saw it. Smiling black baby’s head was approximately the same size, shape, and colour as the meatballs in my bowl. And then I just howled with laughter, because maybe all that time, she had seen something I hadn’t. Yes, baby. Baby baby baby!

  • da da

Today, she actually said “da da” to the right person. Granted, she was primed, because Steve was just wandering from the bedroom to the shower, and I told baby E to “go say hi to daddy”. As Steve walked by, she said “da da”. And both of us reacted with excited praise, because she hasn’t really done that before today.

  • sh

She repeats this (quietly) after any words I say that contain the “sh” sound. Like “fish”. Just “shhhhhhh shh shhhh”. no “fi” yet, but with context you can definitely tell she’s trying. 

  • the point & the emphatic point.

She now points at my chest (actually, will poke my chest quite emphatically if I’m holding her) if she wants milk. Then when I say, “do you want milk?” she will sign for milk. Which is again, a repeat of that same open/close multipurpose hand sign, but with context, most definitely means milk, and not bye bye, or bird, hah!

She points at where ever she wants to go, or what she wants to play with (if it’s out of reach). If she wants it a lot, she will point, arm fully extended, retract that arm, and point again (and repeat). It’s quite funny. I call it the emphatic point. 

  • the head shake

This, of course, means no. The yes nod has been attempted a couple times, mostly mimicking adults who have tried to teach her. She sort of throws her head back in a gigantic roar. So she doesn’t nod yes yet. It’s just no. NONONONONONONONONO. 

  • walking

She also just learned to walk. She took 2 steps the day before her first birthday, almost by accident, and then we went away to Mexico, where she took several more steps (maximum 5 at a time), but explored quite confidently if I was holding her hand(s). Then we got back to YVR, and Steve took her out of the Baby Bjorn while we were waiting for our bags at the carousel. He plopped her on the floor, and she just took off! For real! Then fell, then got up and kept on walking! (then fell, then got up and walked some more). She now can walk, slowly, and carefully, but she does do it, unless she needs to get somewhere quickly, then speed crawling to the destination is employed. 

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