To Breed or Not to Breed

Apologies for the pun. I know it's absolutely dreadful, but I really struggle with witty, pithy, non-cheesy titles, so this is the tripe I end up with.

We have now arrived at the stage in which we are wondering whether we want to try for a sibling for P, or if I should just sew it all up and be happy with one. The Dude first broached this topic soon after P's first birthday, at which point my mind was so addled by depression, anxiety, and general malice toward children, that I kicked him in the crotch and punched his neck. The Dude, who at 36 is six years older than my fine, youthful self, started feeling his biological clock ticking before P was even born. He is convinced that if we wait too much longer to have a second child, his legs will fall off as he plays football with them, and his false teeth will slip out of his mouth when reading bedtime stories. I try not to mock his concerns, but I confess that I find they rank far below mine.

My primary worry was that I would have as much trouble adapting to a second child as I did the first. It is only in the past year that my unabashed love for P has grown exponentially, and I am terrified that it would take me two years to get to that point again with a second child. It's a horrible thing to admit, but due to what I assume were my own issues with depression in conjunction with something I can only compare to PTSD (obviously on a much smaller scale, but it's the closest approximation I can think of), I think it's really within this period that I've realised what P means to me.

I know that I have loved her since birth. Even though the first few months were the worst in my life, I knew I loved her even though I had trouble expressing it. I never felt the outpourings of boundless maternal love that other new mothers seemed to have, which is something I still feel guilty about. When I read of new mothers of babies, and even toddlers, getting pregnant again, I was not the least bit envious. Instead, I thought of how positively dreadful that situation would be for me. I had enough trouble coping with my one child.

I should add that none of this was related to P's behaviour. Though...spirited, she is the most marvellous, intelligent, and unintentionally hilarious child I could ever hope for. For whatever reason, I'm only now able to realise what that means to me. I love her more than I ever thought possible - to the point that I'm scared by the volume of adoration I have for her. It is immensely refreshing and liberating for me to finally acknowledge that I know I would do whatever was asked of me if it meant she would be happy. I could have said all of that before to superficially satisfy my own doubts, but it's only recently that I would know in my heart that I mean it.

Now instead of wondering if I am capable of being a mother again, I question whether I could cope with investing so much love for a second time. It's not a matter of thinking that I couldn't possibly love another child as much as I love P, but rather that my love for her is so all-consuming, so overwhelmingly maternal, that I don't know if I have the substance to multiply that by two. As is customary of me, my acknowledgment of my vast love for P manifests itself in anxiety. Worrying constantly about the health and wellbeing of two children? I'll need to find a host of GPs to prescribe all the medications that I would inevitably require.

I do know that my uterus is a fickle little madam, as I am now highly envious of pregnant women and new mothers. I went from not possibly wanting another child to suddenly having an incomprehensible desire to procreate. I always wondered if I would "just know" if/when the time was right, and it appears as if that cliche does actually apply.

However, don't run out and buy those Johnny Cash onesies just yet though kids. I've still got to see this anti-depressant thing out a bit more in order to be less crazy for any potential future children. The Dude is annoyed by this delay now that I'm finally keen to give it a go, but strangely enough I favour my sanity over the possible earlier arrival of a sibling for P. I also suspect that pregnancy will not be bestowed upon me with any rapidity.

So yes, this anti-maternal sort is getting all precious about babies. What insanity.


Music Monday: Little of this, little of that

No theme again today, just stuff I've been digging lately. I know, how fun for you!

I have decided that in two weeks' time, I shall have another Reader Request Music Monday, so as before, send all suggestions to barrenalbion at gmail dot com. I suspect I'll only get a handful, since Bloglines folks don't know I exist anymore, the poor mites. There is no need to pretend to be cool - after all, I'm a woman who has a Paris Hilton song on her iPod. Mark it in your diaries - all submissions need to be with me by Saturday, 7 March. Spread the good word.

The National: So Far Around the Bend

The Bird and the Bee: My Love (for as much as I HATE their song "Again and Again", I adore this one)

Oren Lavie: Her Morning Elegance (Really digging this song. If there is a better video this year, show me.)

Julie and Buddy Miller: Broken Things (Live)

Neil Young: Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing (hey, I never said it had to be new stuff!)

Ray LaMontagne: Let It Be Me (oh, how I dearly love this song)

Beck: Farewell Ride

Fanfarlo: I'm a Pilot (described in a music blog as a mix of Beirut and Arcade Fire - score!)

I'm tired now, and must lay down. Don't forget - 7 March! Hook a girl up!


Say what now?

Yesterday was the day on which I was officially knighted as an official member of the Crazy Person Realm - my repeat prescription was issued. Dr Action, the man who doesn't wait until you try to kill yourself to prescribe anti-depressants, sat me down to make sure this is what I wanted. I explained that I was getting on well with Citalopram/Celexa, other than the heavy painful periods that I have TWICE a month.

I've been telling myself that the wonky periods that just happened to start at exactly the same time I started Citalopram were due to the medication with the published side effects of painful and heavy periods. There was no mention of irregular cycles to include 30 periods a month or whatever, but with PCOS and my body being just generally odd in reaction to medications, it made sense to me.

Not so with Dr Action. No sooner did I mention the strange cycles and my PCOS, then he went deep into thought and said, "Chlamydia. Yes. Get tested for Chlamydia." Then he kind of smirked, whilst I tried to reign in my "bitch, you crazy" eyes. I go to an appointment expecting a 30 second handover of a prescription, and come out with my doctor thinking I have some kind of crotch rot.

I had grand plans of blogging about this and coming up with witty titles such as "Clap Your Hands" or "Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah (Chlamydia)!", but then Molly enlightened me to say that the clap is actually gonorrhea, not chlamydia. I should have known that the doyenne of the Southern STD Collective would split hairs. I kid of course, Molly only has crabs.

Now I must pee in a cup to prove that I am not all chlamydia'ed up, which is pointless. Dr Action wasn't even aware that Citalopram caused heavy and painful periods, and no doubt he wanted to roll his eyes at me as soon as I said, "Well, I googled the side effects..." but sometimes googling DOES help. I read about women like me, crazy of mind and irregular of cycle. Whatever. I'll do my part, if not just to prove a point.

Now, who wants to have sex with me?


Music Monday: Keystone State Sounds

Thanks to my brother, I have an idea for this week's Music Monday - music from Pennsylvania musicians. It's not arbitrary, as I'm a native Pennsylvanian (not Transylvanian, as is the joke here in the UK when you say "Pennsylvania").

The first band is Dr. Dog, from Philly. I've included three songs because they have such a diverse sound that you can't even tell it's the same band!

Dr. Dog - Hang On

Dr. Dog - My Old Ways

Dr. Dog - The Ark


The second band is Perkasie, from Lancaster, PA. One of the band members goes to college with my brother, so this is a favour to him. He's been pestering me for months now to listen to them and put them on Music Monday, so here you go kid. Don't say I never gave you nothin'.

They are a local band, so forgive them for the lack of big budget videos, it's all live performances here, but it is good stuff. Check out their MySpace page (linked below) if you want to hear some more tracks.

Perkasie - Wastin' Time/Down by the Riverside:

Perkasie - (unsure of the title)


Next up is Rachael Yamagata (Reading), who has featured on here before, but here she is again. Deal with it.

Rachael Yamagata - Worn Me Down

Rachael Yamagata - Be Be Your Love

Rachael Yamagata - I Wish You Love


The next one doesn't quite fit in with the indie and/or singer-songwriter stuff from above, but it wouldn't be my Music Monday without a bit of music that doesn't match the rest. So, with that said, here's Eve (Philadelphia).

Eve - Tambourine

Eve - Who's that Girl

Eve (feat. Gwen Stefani) - Blow Ya Mind


The next band, Aderbat, is from Doylestown (near Philly). I know less than nothing about them, as they are another recommendation from my brother. Blame him if you think they are shit.

Aderbat - Pilgrim

Aderbat - Busted Cars (live)

Aderbat - We Belong to the Sea


Another band I've never heard of before my brother recommended them is Illinois, from Bucks County. Try typing "illinois" into YouTube, and see with you come up with. I alsmot threw in the towel, but thanks to idiocy and a dogged sense of persistency, I found some videos. Not bad, from what I've heard.

Illinois - The Adventures of Kid Catastrophe, Part 1

Illinois - The Adventures of Kid Catastrophe, Part 2

Illinois - The Adventures of Kid Catastrophe, Part 3



Self-Love Day 2009

Heh. Not that kind of Self-Love Statia, you pervert. Not all of us spend our days in a masturbatory haze.

I think VDay is a crock, and so does The Dude. We "celebrated" a couple of weeks ago by purchasing a load of Lush products, fueling our newest shared vice. So rather than waxing not-so-poetically on my ginger, dodgy-hipped partner, I'm going to talk about myself briefly.

I saw this on Sizzle's blog, and thought I might as well since I'm so high on life at the moment (however synthetically). It's shamelessly self-serving, even for me, since the gist is to say what you like about yourself, thus encouraging any of your ten readers to say what they like about you. I hope to not be completely humiliated by a single digit amount of people searching their brains desperately for one nice thing to say, but conversely I understand if you don't want to indulge me. I'm such a giver. Yeah, say that.

I'm not overflowing with self-confidence, as you have probably noticed from my numerous navel-gazing, miserabilist posts over the past few years. However, despite my protestations I am actually rather fond about some of what makes Pru, Pru.

I believe myself to be intelligent. Not Alexa-intelligent, but more smarterer (JOKE)than a lot of the general population. I think I'm well-rounded and diverse in my interests. I tend to get along with a lot of different types of people because of that. I genuinely believe I'm a very good mother, and I'm confident that I will raise my daughter to be a strong, able woman. I may be a procrastinator and not get that birthday card out to you on time if at all, but I am generous to a fault. If I am given £1000 by a mysterious benefactor, I will buy myself a magazine and spend the rest on others without thinking. Much as I hate my body, I think I have pretty eyes. This means that no matter how dreadful the rest of me looks, I actually think to myself sometimes, "Uh, I've got my eyes at least." When all else fails, I do love a fair bit about myself.

So that's that. If you want to do it, here's what you need to do (lifted word for word from Sizzle with the exception of my addition of number 5. Sorry Sizzle):

1.) You’re gonna grab yourself a banner. If you don’t like the one I’ve used in this post, you can find another one here.

2.) You’re gonna post that banner and then tell us all something that you really like love about yourself (thus, the “self-love” portion of our program).

3.) Ask or beg your readers to post one thing that they too love about you!!! If your blog friends are nice, you shouldn’t have to beg…much.

4.) Enjoy yourself and spread the love by doing this on your blog! If you want to, drop me a line or a trackback so that I know you participated too!

5.) If you don't want to do this on your blog, but want to share why you love yourself, please feel free to do so in my comments section.

Let the orgiastic wonder and self-love commence!


On the road again

Am I allowed to brag? I feel as if I almost never talk of my child's obvious brilliance, which, admittedly, may be called into question once I divulge that the other day her career choice was thus - "I want to be an iceberg when I grow up. Oh, or a policeman." Alrighty then. Regardless, I'm not talking about that now. I'll leave that for some other time when I'm void of ideas for blog posts.

This time, it's about me - a blogger's favourite topic. Me, me, and me. As you know, I started running last summer and lost something like a pound. I don't believe in scales, so I'm thinking perhaps I lost about a stone (14lbs), but it may have been less than that. My trousers were all very loose, and on occasion, far too close to falling down around my ankles for comfort.

A few months ago, I thought that I should really be losing more weight for the time and effort I had been investing. I ran 5K three times a week, and I was monk-like in my adherence to healthy eating habits. I seemed to stall, which I understand is common, but it significantly affected my desire to keep running.

This, added to the inescapable depression, lead to my runs becoming more and more infrequent. I'm not a natural runner, which is to say that I am not, nor will I ever be, one of those people who grasps running in a great bear hug full of passion and admiration. I'm an athletic person, but that doesn't translate to a love of running. I do it because I have to, and as exercising goes, it's manageable. I am not clawing at the door each evening begging to be let out so I can become one with the sound of my running shoes hitting the pavement.

In November I stopped running for a week, and barring a random run or two, took a three week spontaneous hiatus. I then ran once more in the beginning of December, then gave up again. My Mom came for Christmas, barely acknowledged my weight loss, and also made reference to me borrowing her (much larger) trousers one laundry day. Up to that point, I would occasionally convince myself that I'd lost a noticeable amount of weight, but my Mom's casual approach to that put me off running completely. I know it makes no sense, as you'd think it would inspire me to run more, but this is not how my tiny, irrational mind works.

So, before I know it, it's February and I've not run for two months. I'm a born procrastinator and conflict avoider, so my approach to situations like these is to keep putting things off in the hopes they'll somehow resolve themselves via divine intervention. How that was to happen with running, I'm not sure. Most nights I told The Dude that the following evening was The One. I was going to get back on the horse, come what may. Each night, tiredness and television won out.

However, I reached a point today when I realised that I do kind of miss it. I don't miss gasping for breath or hawking huge phlegm conglomerations into the grass as I am running, but I do miss the high. I forced myself out the door at 7pm, braving the cold and wind, determined to keep trying to lose weight so my Mom no longer assumes her bigger trousers will fit me. My goal was to simply get out and do some distance - a mile and a half, two...no pressure. Well, guess who got out there and ran 5K with one of my best times ever? I'm well aware that some of you fit folks out there will scoff at my alleged accomplishment, but it's the small steps for some of us.

I hope this is me getting back into running properly, because bitch gotta pair of Louboutins coming to her this summer if she can manage a 10K before her visit to the States. I can't have laziness and indifference come between me and Loubs. Who's with me?*

*Er, I don't mean I'm going to buy you a pair as well. Though my husband does tend to buy his co-workers Lush products (don't ask), I doubt he'd stretch to a pair of Loubs for my internet friends. I'm just talking support for other exercisers or exercisers-to-be, which is surely just as good as a pair of high falootin' shoes, if not better. Right? Right?



Alas and alack, no Music Monday today. Despite only resuming MM recently, I'm already searching for and not finding inspiration, so if you think of any themes, please do let me know (not that you will, but it's barrenalbion at gmail dot com).

Instead, I shall inspire and delight you with tales of my rediscovered love of the printed word. I've always been an avid reader, but college, full-time work, and now a toddler hell bent on world domination have seriously dented any chance of me being a truly prolific reader. I'm envious of those of you who have some or all of those things going on, yet can still manage to read a book per week (or more). I'm prone to appalling laziness, and will often choose America's Next Top Model or a property programme over any one of the numerous books on my shelves.

Pathetic as it sounds, part of my lack of reading is due to insufficient light. We live in a small flat, and our lounge has a lovely, but truly impractical light fixture. The jumbled mass of delicate silver wires with small, tubular shafts really ties the room together, but it's not so good on the whole light-casting front. Shame. I have plenty of light options in our bedroom, but I don't really like alienating myself from The Dude when we have so little time to spend together anyway.

With this said, I now do a lot of my reading at bedtime, with my bedside lamp serving as a de facto interrogation light beaming right in The Dude's face while he's trying to sleep. I am also prone to 45 minute baths, or extended periods on the toilet, just so I can get some blessed reading done.

Molly committed a huge error when she introduced me to Goodreads, which has deprived me of many productive working hours in the last week. I want to add all the books on my shelves! I want to see what others are reading! I want to read reviews for every book I've ever read! Show me quotes! Quiz me! I.just.can't.get.enough. I'm more addicted to this stuff than I was to jabbing myself in the gut with my Puregon pen, so, suffice it to say, I must be in love.

I find reading quite a lonely hobby - once you finish a book, there isn't necessarily anyone to discuss it with. I talk to The Dude about what I read, but he'd need to stop scratching his balls and watching UFC long enough to take any notice of me pontificating on literature. The guy has an MBA and lectures for a living, but he's not much of a reader, the poor, simple soul.

Goodreads has discussion threads that I can just observe, or take part in. It's so nice to be able to see what other people think, rather than mulling over everything in my head as I'm going to sleep at night. People there can spell and know that "a lot" is two words. There are of course the arrogant, absurdly verbose twats like that pretentious hipster in your 20th Century American Lit class in college, but once those gasbags are bypassed, it's all good.

I finished Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" last week, and though I have "Cat's Eye" waiting, I've chosen to read Gary Shteyngart's "Absurdistan" in an effort to rid myself of my all-Atwood-all-the-time ways. I'm regretting it so far, but then I think that's largely because I've dug myself into this Atwoodian ditch and I can't see non-Atwoodian sky. I have a habit of finding an author I like and then reading nothing else until I've completed their oeuvre, and so by forcing myself to read another author right now I'm trying to break that habit. Unfortunately I've chosen a work by a male author with a frankly disgusting male protagonist, so I didn't even bother to ease myself into this transition gently. Does anyone else find it hard to read books by authors of the other gender if their protagonists are also male with a very strong male perspective?

Anyway, this is also my long-winded way of telling you to befriend me on Goodreads. No, I'm not asking, I'm telling. Because Goodreads is a mix of my online/secret life and the real one, I don't have a username obvious to readers of this blog. If you are on Goodreads and want me to find you, please send me an email (again, barrenalbion at gmail dot com). I will then look you up, add you to my friends list, and then we will be BFFs. I'll tell you if your butt looks big in those pants, and we can go and get manicures and pedicures together. I think you know this is what's best for you.

My feed does not seem to be right in Bloglines. Major Bedhead, bless her, has been trying to tell me how to fix it, but I think I might be abnormally stupid because I can't figure it out. It seems fine in Google Reader, so where is Bloglines going wrong? Help! I miss my Bloglines people, and I think they think I'm dead. Please help me disabuse them of this disturbing notion.


Music Monday: New Ear Candy

No themes today, just random things that are making me chair dance at work lately. Well, it's mostly chair head bopping with the occasional out of tune singalong. I'm stuck in a corner, so I can quite happily go about my music-inspired oddness with scarcely a person noticing.

First we have Passion Pit: Cuddle Fuddle. This song didn't catch me at first, but now I'm enjoying it far more than I feel I should. It's a jumble of dischordant sounds - it makes me think of a room with six stereos playing different music and hundreds of pounds of cutlery falling from the ceiling. I'm not trying to be lame creatively, it's really what came to mind when trying to elucidate its sound. So basically, it's kind of a jumbled cacophony of madness, but that's why I like it!


Heartless Bastards: The Mountain

My song of the moment. I'm not one for repetition, but I listen to this on loop every single day because I'm crazy like that. It's like musical Swedish Fish, I just can't get enough. Also, check out what sort of person this wonderful voice eminates from. A big voice from such a wee woman! If you only listen to one song in this Music Monday, make it this one.


Hayes Carll: Bad Liver and a Broken Heart

I can only find live versions of this song, but I'm sure if you really wanted it bad enough you could find it somewhere. Actually, all you need to do is listen to public radio. This version is much slower than the radio/album version, and I'm not quite sure which I prefer.

Hayes Carll's MySpace

Calexico: Victor Jara's Hands

Calexico won't be new to a lot of you, and I must say that I'm not usually much of a fan. However, this song has been getting a lot of play lately and I'm enjoying it a lot. It's a nice jaunty song that spices up an otherwise dull workday punctuated with idiots and incompetant managerial staff. Sorry, pointless but cathartic aside...


The Postmarks: Goodbye

The Postmarks are good for when you're in a silly, lighthearted poppy sound. Nothing too serious. I think listening to them makes me tick yet another box in the "How the Stuff White People Like website is totally about me" category. I am apparently painfully white and liberal. Poor me.

Jessica Lea Mayfield: For Today

I've emailed myself from work numerous times with this woman's name urgently typed for the purpose of Music Monday, but have only just gotten around to including her. Want to feel old? This kid was born in '89. '89 folks. Despite her obnoxious youth, listen. You'll thank me. Again.


The BPA (Brighton Port Authority) feat Emmy the Great: Seattle

Again, indie hipster music, but what a lovely voice she has.


That's your lot for this week. I have to go finish watching 24.