Monday, July 18, 2011

Side effects may include...

This is a pregnancy post.  

RiverWalker at 8 Months
©RiverWalker Arts 
At eight months pregnant I look like I’ve swallowed a full sized watermelon whole.  When people in the community look at me I get knowing smiles, from folks with twitching hands, and even the men ask me when I’m due  -  “it must be any day now”  they say.  I don’t mind the stares, and most folks are good about keeping their hands in their own personal space and off of the domed surface of my t-shirt stretched taught over my burgeoning belly.   However what I don’t understand is what people want to hear when they ask how pregnancy is treating me??  

Pregnancy is a bodily function.  Like most bodily functions it is not really the type of thing that is fit for decent company let alone casual conversation with a stranger over the grocery cart.  I’m really not sure what they want to hear?

 Is this like asking someone “how are you?”  where you should answer “I’m fine”.  

-          - “how is pregnancy treating you?”
I am convinced they don’t want a list of bodily symptoms.  I.e. “My pelvis is slowing separating, it hurts”  or  maybe  “Oh pregnancy is good to me, I’ve managed to get my retching mostly under control, my ankles are only moderately swollen, and my fingers are too fat to wear my rings but it’s really cool... like having my own personal parasitological experiment growing inside me

Really... pregnancy comes will all sort of gastrointestinal delights and a series of discomforts the websites call “symptoms of pregnancy”  - many of the lists read like the nasty quickly hurried through side effects listed on television pharmaceutical advertisements - things like – "Ask your doctor if Pregnancy is right for you... Side effects may include: nausea, vomiting, water weight gain, lower back pain, hairloss, tight itchy chafing clothing, high blood pressure, blood clots, uneven tire wear, urinary incontinence, increased attention from your in-laws, mild to severe discomfort, constipation,  diabetes, cluttered drawers, low resale value on your home, anxiety, sleeplessness, poor gas mileage, tooth decay, split ends, chest pains, clogged drains, hemorrhoids, dry heaving, and baby brain .'

Or maybe the answer is:

-        -    “how is pregnancy treating you?”
-        -  “not too shabby – How is your GI tract these days? “

But all silliness aside... please clarify for me.. what on earth are these people after when they try to initiate small talk about my obvious “Condition” ???

If men were equally at risk from this condition - if they knew their bellies might swell as if they were suffering from end-stage cirrhosis, that they would have to go nearly a year without a stiff drink, a cigarette, or even an aspirin, that they would be subject to fainting spells and unable to fight their way onto commuter trains - then I am sure that pregnancy would be classified as a sexually transmitted disease.

  ~Barbara Ehrenreich

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Well I started Panel one... of my mural project.  Four blank white sheets of 4 x8 foot sign board (kind of like shiny smooth white coated plywood) were stacked in an abandoned industrial storefront.   A grubby place that had once served as a supplier of  industrial provisions and equipment for mining, forestry, oil and gas, industrial, and community businesses.  The rambling place had a grubby little office with fake wood paneling complete with some sort of yellowed floral print, and orange carpet.   The door to the office cut in half led out to a huge warehouse like space with an uneven  dust covered concrete floor and an assortment of peg board, cement block and aluminum sheeting walls. The maze continued through a door into a large empty and windowless room long enough to install a bowling alley but without any lighting.  Through a gap in one wall I wandered next to an old fashioned half broken Coca-Cola machine and through a crumbling pegboard hallway where I found the bathroom... a cramped little white room in behind the water heater half a step up and wedged tightly behind the door I even found a light switch.  The well stained sink looked perfect for washing brushes...

So I moved the panels around trying to figure out the best configuration for the mural I had yet to plan out...  but lifting and relocating 4x 8 sheets of plywood at a meagre five feet tall and 7 months pregnant  is no small feat.   Finally I got the panels all propped up and was ready to sketch.  Which I did in pale blue paint. 

However the project got stalled as I took off to look for some sunshine... something that we in the rain soaked north haven’t seen yet this year.  But then not many places in the Province have...   Dh and I loaded up the Car, threw the dog in the back, packed about with camping gear and a cooler full of dead and frozen fish.  We set out... 7 hours later the rain went from constant to torrential and the road was no longer visible for the water  sheeting down.  By hour 9  (and four bathroom breaks later) we rolled into the parking lot outside my brother’s abode... complete with “FOR SALE” sign on the door.   But it wasn’t until the next day several hundred kilometres south we finally hit sunshine.

It was lovely to finally arrive at MIL & FIL’s place and just sit out on the deck in the sun, in the full comfort of a jersey knit sundress pulled taught against the basketball sized lump that is my middle. 
We dropped off the dead fish, and headed out to the lake.

We camped, we swam in the lake, we threw sticks for the dog... and we toured the wineries of the Okanagan Valley....  Which if you ever decide to do – and it’s fun I do recommend it.  I would advise you wait until such a time as you are not pregnant, so that you are able to take full advantage of the wine experience – rather than having to watch your husband swirl wine in his glass, and sip while you look on with an expression much like your black lab might have while watching  as you ate a juicy rare steak.

It was fabulous to see the sun, to feel it on my skin and to wake to warmth each morning.  Sadly it all does come to an end, and I am now back in a rain soaked world, in long pants, socks, and fleece sweaters waiting for the elusive sun to show it’s face.

On the positive side I am now able to get back to my mural. 

But wait... the panels were gone, my key no longer able to turn the lock on the door...

It appears that in my absence my panels were moved into the basement, a place even grubbier than the upstairs, with a barnlike door, leading into a windowless place where piles of pink insulation littered the cracked and broken concrete that ended in a dirt floor piled with broken bits of unidentifiables  along with a few ancient computer monitors, and some metal bits which looked to me like metal tops off oxy-acetylene tanks.  A bucket in one corner filled with glass sample jars, containing bits of soil, the back wall stacked with an assortment of white bathroom fixtures, a fibreglass tub, porcelain toilet, urinal etc.  Once again I hoisted the panels stacking them against walls and beams to the best of my abilities in an effort to maximize the available light.   I poured my paints, and found to my disappointment that despite the plethora of bathroom paraphernalia, there was no actual functioning toilet.  Although a single tap stuck out of the wall - right next to some electrical cords  - no drain in sight. So at least with buckets and I was able to wash out brushes and move forward some with my latest project. hopefully I will avoid electrocution .

First of 4 Panels.

Weather is a great metaphor for life - sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad, and there's nothing much you can do about it but carry an umbrella.  ~Terri Guillemets