Friday, May 28, 2010

Newfoundland Screech Comedy Festival

If you are going to be in St. John's on June 5th-13th you might want to check out the Newfoundland Screech Comedy Festival. It looks like a good line-up. I would love to watch Louis C.K., that guy can make me laugh so hard my jaws ache. It would also be a treat to catch Shaun Majumder and Derrick Edwards. I have no idea what Mike Bullard is doing on the bill, as I thought this was a comedy festival- maybe he is an usher?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Old Hag

Have you ever had a nightmare where you were aware you were dreaming but unable to wake yourself up, unable to move, and in some cases unable to breath? It is a phenomenon that has been documented around the world; in Newfoundland we call it ‘The Hag”, scientists call it Sleep Paralysis.

The experience varies from person to person. Some people see a woman’s face in the distance but they cannot pick out her features. However the dreamer senses something is very wrong and becomes anxious. As the figure draws near they realize it is an ugly old crone. When the Old Hag finally reaches the terrified dreamer she slowly crawls up over the person’s body and straddles their chest; slowly crushing the chest cavity in, cutting off their breath. All the while the dreamer is hyper aware of what is going on: the fact that they are sleeping, that this is not really happening, and yet they can smell the Old Hag, they feel her leathery touch as she stretches over them and breathing becomes a struggle.

Sound like fun? Yeah right.

I have had this happen to me a few times, while I have only ever seen the Hag herself once, my experience with sleep paralysis is a little different. I usually do see a figure, but the figure is just out of my sight, watching me. Sometimes the figure moves closer but I miss the actual movement I only catch the change in position. That is when the panic starts. My breathing turns to desperate gasps for air. I struggle to move, to get away, to wake myself up- but I can't even move my baby toe. I try to call out for help, but I cannot make a sound. Eventually I wake up with a start, gasping for air, with sweat cold on my skin. Every time I have one of these dreams something awful happens in my life soon after. I know it is just coincidence, or my subconscious mind picking up on cues my conscious mind doesn’t want to see- but it is still unnerving.

Last night I had the dream for the first time in a long time and this morning it is all I can think about. I was hoping I could just write the experience of my system but so far it isn’t really helping. I still have that anxious feeling, like I am waiting for something.

How many of you have had a visit from the Old Hag? They say it can run in families, if you experience sleep paralysis, it is likely you have a relative who suffers these lucid nightmares as well. If you are not from Newfoundland, what do you call this type of dream?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Monday, May 10, 2010

Galactic Empire State of Mind

I may be a huge science fiction geek but that doesn't mean I can't laugh at the stuff too. Check out this parody: Galactic Empire State of Mind which reworks Alicia Keys hit Empire State of Mind with the original Star Wars Trilogy. This is just too well done not to share. If you like this video there are a lot more at the College Humour website, check it out.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What a mother knows

It was story time at my house just a few short moments ago. Don just finished negotiating his way through the bedtime ritual where Wilson tries to finagle "Just one more book", and then "A drink of water please daddy?", and "Where is my Gaugi?" When all his demands were met it was my turn- it is my job to tuck him in and close the light. I also ask for the last goodnight kiss. Tonight the response was a nonchalant "Sure". Then he thrust his arms up in the air and raised his chubby little cheek to my lips.

In that moment, with his tiny little hands around my neck, I am reminded of him as a baby. It was a sweet moment, but it gave way to sadness, and a little fear. This is all going too fast. My baby is gone- he has grown into this soft spoken funny little boy who is trying to master the alphabet and Velcro shoes.

I just seems like months ago that I was desperately trying master being a mom to an infant. My first challenge was to breastfeed him. I had it drilled into to me by the Breastfeeding Nazis that this was best for baby and that everyone can breast feed- it is a matter if you care enough too. Besides, they stressed, breastfeeding is natural!

Yes, it might be, but some mothers in the wild eat their young. That is natural too.


To any of you ladies out there in cyberspace who are gestating right now, or perhaps your bun is just fresh out of the oven, listen to me: Breastfeeding is a learned behavior; it takes time and it can be painful. Do what is best for you and baby, sometimes the bottle is best for you both. I was foolish, I hung in there for nine months of breastfeeding- but man I suffered. He was feeding every 45 minutes, he had a horrible latch, and he would not take a bottle of expressed milk. I remember one afternoon, after a particularly long night, holding Wil in my arms and dreading feeding him. I was just too sore: cracked and bleeding sore. I looked down at this cute little bundle crying and thinking to myself: I don't know how much longer I can do this kid.

My sweet little babe just looked up at me and smacked his lips.

I lost part of my right nipple at one point. Not pretty.

As difficult and painful those late night feedings were I do miss that part of his life. I loved the feel of his little body tucked in close to mine. While he fed, whether it was the breast or later the bottle, he would rub my arm softly and would stare up at me until he passed out in a milk coma. For a little while longer I would hold him, rocking him slightly and trying to coax out any burps that might be bubbling within. I remember the soft whisper of his breath on my neck, the scent of his bath oil, and his tiny little hands on my chest.

More than once- as I stared into the blue of his eyes, I wondered to myself if he knew: if he could ever know, just how much he was loved?

And here I am, with Mother's Day approaching, as I tuck my young son into bed, suddenly wondering if there was a time when I was a baby, that my Mother held me in her arms and asked herself: "Does she know, could she ever know just how much she is loved?"

Yes mom. I do.

Thank you.