Sunday, August 30, 2009

Yes - I actually do still knit

Mini Circle Shrug, originally uploaded by hannah8ball.

In case you were wondering, knitting (and photographing) still actually happen :)

This one is a circle shrug for my daughter's first school sweater. I'm rather pleased, especially considering I just kind of was winging it from the big(ger) one I did for me. There've been some unintended occurrences - the ruffled edge - that I actually rather like. So, while this isn't actually designing, it gets enough of that DIY attitude that I want for it to suffice :)

Now I just need to put forth the effort to finish the sleeves and I'll have a FO on my hands.

Ravelled here.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The hour is getting late...

"All Along the Watchtower" is one of those songs that is rather special to me. Back when I first got started doing the band thing (gasp - that was really 10 years ago!!), "Watchtower" was the song that my bandmates chose to end the practice with.

It was a pretty easy song to rock out on - there are 3 chords in the song, and they are some of the easiest chords (for the keys anyway) out there - Am, G F (repeat until your hands hurt). At the time, it was really important that every instrument get their solo - which was fine for everyone else. I, however, had just ventured into the world of playing without pre-written music and I can remember just dreading my turn. Still, even with the dread, it was awesome to get to play around and really experiment and I have such fond memories of that time in my life.

Some of you will also know that I am a complete Battlestar Galactica (not the 1970s one) nut. If you haven't seen the show (unfortunately it's now canceled), add it to your must watch dvd queue now. Its an amazing show, and oh yeah, it happens to have spaceships and robots in it :) They did an excellent job of discussing/bringing up really deep questions about identity, violence, faith - really what does it mean to be "human". It wouldn't be a huge leap to think of the show as a rather relevant thought experiment. Ok, so lots of love here for BSG.

The awesomeness of that show increased by about 100-fold when "All Along the Watchtower" played a key role in the last episode of Season 3. And then they kept it as a theme during the Season 4. Its been somewhat my music theme this week - work seems so much easier when I imagine I'm on a spaceship :)

Click here to see a live recording (the video gets the whole song) of Bear McCreary (BSG composer) and Katee Sackhoff (played Starbuck) playing the most kick-ass version of this song yet. You've never heard 3 chords rock out so well :) And I highly recommend the rest of the soundtracks - they are awesome.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Twenty Four Hours Later...

I just finished watching Little Children. This was one of those movies that was on my queue that by the time it shows up in my mailbox I can't remember why I ever put it on my queue. But, the husband was in Dallas playing Starcraft with the boys, so what else to do but watch it.

And here I am, turning the laptop back on at 10:45 pm to blog about it. It was amazing.

It seemed a timely film. All about not fitting into the suburban SAHM life. About feeling frustrated with your lack of options. About feeling like you've sacrificed so very much to spend time with a demanding child who really only cares about you insofar as you remembered to bring her a snack. About questioning the decision to ever do this in the first place.

And then there was the scene where Sarah had been gone overnight and she came home and her daughter had made a picture frame for her, but Sarah was too busy doing her own thing to even take the time to notice the gift. And my heart just broke.

Our children are gifts that annoy the hell out of us, but also bring the brightest rays of sunshine and the most beautiful moments. I have wondered (too often) if my child was genetically modified to be just the level of annoying that drives me to want to hurt something. And yet, while I'm grumbling at my computer for not doing what I thought it should do, she appears and comforts me. Gives me a kiss and tells me it will be alright. Asks me if I feel better now.

And, I really DO feel better. There is something so incredibly sweet about receiving love from a tiny tot, who can't really understand the source of the frustration, but who can understand a grumpy face and being sad, and that a kiss can make it all better.

In one of the final scenes of Little Children, Sarah collapses, weeping, into her daughter Lucy's lap. And Lucy touches her mommy's hair and says, "It's ok". This is why we are blessed with children - to remind us of the power of unconditional love. That kind of love, regardless of how imperfect and flawed I've been makes everything EVERYTHING worthwhile.

And I'll try to be better tomorrow...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Work/Mommy Divide

I have a confession to make: I suffer from mommy guilt. I googled "mommy guilt" and it came up with 32,400 results. I could have gotten even more if I'd removed the quotation marks, but I think that'd have been slightly dishonest searching, as mommy doesn't always go with guilt (or does it?!). But, I digress...

See, when I first found out I was pregnant, I was completely and utterly unaware of how many decisions, and hours of worrying would come with the tiny bundle of joy we would receive in approximately 9.5 months' time.

Most of the women of my generation want to do things differently than our moms before us. Its an interesting cycle. But I wanted to do something my mom didn’t – which was be a mom and be at home with my daughter. I was fortunate enough to have the kind of job (and a boss) who was flexible enough to let me do that, so my journey as some kind of hybrid mom/worker bee began

As soon as the little one made her appearance, let me tell you, I realized why moms make end up choosing to either work or stay home. If you don't pick one, you end up stuck in grey limbo - always feeling left out of the SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) life of playdates and library readings and park visits and being totally absorbed with your child's daily accomplishments because you have deadlines and projects to finish. But you also miss out on the WOHM (Work Outside the Home Mom) perks of breaks, being able to choose where and when you eat lunch, regular adult interaction and being forced to bathe regularly because you have a child who wants to "help" you do your work.

Annan updates her blog and sends out emails

Of course, each side of the work divide feels deprived of the others' perks - and you are, but let me tell you, attempting to straddle that line has really stretched my sanity. And it’s mostly on the mommy side that I feel inadequate and like a general failure. Work, since it has the most immediate consequences, gets done on time, if not completely to the level that I'd always like it to be - I do enjoy having a roof over my head, after all.

The child, on the other hand, while being incredibly demanding, ends up losing out most of the time. She would rather that Mommy play sleepy time with her, or piggy back ride, or play in the pool, or blow bubbles, or even read a story, rather than be chained to my computer. One of the most heartbreaking things that she says is "You're all done now?" followed by "Now we can do..." whatever it was that she was wanting to do all day. And it really stinks to have to say "No, I'm not done yet, I'm just changing projects" (because the kid can tell when I'm closing down documents and spreadsheets - WOW).

I've been feeling torn between doing a good job at work and doing a good job at being mommy for most of my daughter's life. I started reading books on early childhood development and realized that now is probably some of the most important time in my daughter's intellectual development. And she is really interested in learning - this child already recognizes most of her letters, ALL of the colors, and can count correctly to 10 if she wants to, help me make coffee and roll out pita bread, help make our beds and fold clothes. She is amazing. And she has picked this stuff up from the air.

As I read more books, the responsibility of teaching and training our hope for the future became more and more overwhelming. It is clear that she needs individual, expert attention, but here I am, plugging numbers into spreadsheets and making pretty graphs. Let me also get in here that I love my job. I love what I get to do, who I get to work with, and that I get to do something that makes the world a better place (I hope). Oh yeah, and I get paid to do all that! My Grandpa told me many years ago that I needed to find a job that I loved, because everything else will fall into place if you love your job. And it really makes a HUGE difference in my contentment levels, let me tell you.

So, what's a woman to do? I have a job that I love and a child that I love and who needs me to be more present during the day than I am. What it comes down to is realizing that I am NOT an expert at early child development. And I can't possibly fulfill both roles of mommy and employee, particularly when mommy needs to put on the teacher hat more and more often. And, most importantly, the more pulled between the two I feel, the less happy I am, which affects my quality in both areas.

We've decided that the best solution for our family is to put our little one into a preschool. Can I say that the decision was a difficult one to arrive at? I mean, I made my daughter's baby food from scratch, used cloth diapers, struggled and struggled (and are still struggling most days) to get her to sleep without resorting to letting her cry it out - and here I am, deciding to let someone else teach my child.

But, I feel like a huge weight has lifted off my chest. I know that in just a few days time I'll be able to turn my daughter over to the willing and capable hands of her teachers and she will get to play with other children her age and really get to explore in a way that she can't at home. And I get to be one thing at a time (well, 3 days a week anyway). I feel released to be who I am and to do the best that I can within the circumstances that I find myself.

Which, really, in the end, is what we're supposed to be heading toward, right? It’s all about trying to live as authentically as possible without taking up too much space or resources. Hopefully, I'm one step closer to that than I was last week.

Now I need to go play hide and seek with my daughter...


Friday, August 7, 2009

Some light reading...

Some light reading..., originally uploaded by hannah8ball.

And, more significantly, my camera seems to be working again :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Watercolor, originally uploaded by hannah8ball.

My daughter has been into painting this week.

I'll admit, I'm a bit taken with it myself. I love the way the colors flow into one another and build depth. Even accidents (like spilling the water glass) end up looking beautiful.

I may have to end up taking up a brush or two myself...