Random Ramblings

The Personal Blog of Lori Hogan

Why I Love Fall

When I was younger, I always thought that Labour Day was the same as New Year’s Day.  It didn’t make sense that the new year officially started in January.  September was when the new school year begins, when my birthday happens, and when life resumes its normal pace after a  lazy summer.  And I loved all of that!!

I still love September, and I especially love the start of fall, my favorite season.  Why is fall my favorite season?

  1. The return of reasonable temperatures that are seasonally appropriate (I’m looking at you, June 2011).  I’m not one who enjoys extended periods of warmth.

  2. Windy, rainy days that don’t make you feel bad for staying home and watching a movie and enjoying some comfort food.

  3. Wearing sweaters, skirts and tights.  I <3 tights.

  4. Walking the dog down a path framed with coloured leaves.

  5. Labour Day, Thanksgiving, Remembrance Day. The long weekends!

  6. An inevitable IEEE trip somewhere (this season there are two trips: Jersey City and Mississauga).

  7. The start of school, classes, clinics, etc.

  8. The return of loved TV shows and the start of new ones.

  9. Winter is something to look forward to still, not swear at while in the middle of it.

  10. Darker evenings mean an easier time getting Baby J to sleep, and darker mornings mean a tad more sleep. For now.

  11. Planning for Christmas. Ya, I said it.

  12. Hallowe’en! (Full disclosure: I’ve never been a huge fan of Hallowe’en, but having a kid makes it more fun this year.)

  13. The return of the pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks, and knowing that Peppermint Mochas are coming soon!

  14. Fall running. I don’t like getting too sweaty, and hate wearing shorts when I run. Fall temperatures take care of that for me. :)

  15. … SO many more things that can’t be verbalized.

Six Months In…

… and what do I have to show for it? A healthy, happy baby boy who seems to be reading the development charts and following them perfectly.  A dog who is a bit jealous, but is learning to live with less attention. An awesome hubby who has become an excellent, patient father. A house that’s no cleaner or more organized than it ever was pre maternity leave, but that’s okay, as long as the laundry gets done. A bit of a tan from those few sunny days we’ve had that I can stroll with Baby J.  A better appreciation for SAHMs and anyone undertaking childcare professionally.

… and what do I miss? Sleep (I’m getting some and I’m not complaining, just being honest). The ability to have a margarita without planning around it (breastfeeding is awesome is so many ways though). Work (yes, a bit). Travel (soon to be rectified, hopefully).

… and what surprises have there been? How quickly the months have gone by. How slow some days can seem. How interesting it can be to just watch Baby J from day to day. How much love and pride I can feel for my family. How a sunny day makes so much difference when you aren’t in an office. How great coffee can be after a difficult night. How different things actually are. How little some other things have changed.

… and what do I have to work on for the next six months? Patience (especially at 5am). Organization. Taking advantage of those quiet moments to get things done or do nothing without feeling guilty. Reaching out and staying connected to friends. Learning to ask for help. Learning to say “No”.

Random Photo


Let’s see if this works, shall we? A boy and his giraffe…

Sitting Target (of Advertising)

Because I’m currently a SAHM (which I will blog about soon) of an almost 3 month old, and particularly because I am breastfeeding (which I also hope to share about), I spend a LOT of time sitting… Either feeding, napping, or just too zonked to do much else. And I do a fair amount of sitting with TV on.

For those who wonder, daytime TV is seriously lacking - talk shows, soaps, reruns (though Spike DOES show a lot of CSI, which I enjoy) are the typical fare. But the ads definitely target “older adults” (walk-in tub anyone?) and moms. And despite my self-proclaimed superior intelligence, I find myself affected by the ads in ways I wouldn’t think of. I’m starting to care about how my house smells, and what germs are lurking because I’m not using the right anti-bacterial wipe. But besides pushing a certain product, advertising offers subliminal pushes as well. All the actors are, well, skinny, and well-dressed, with perfect kitchens and living rooms and gardens. And while I know they are actors on a set, some part of my brain is now more worried than ever before about these things and how inadequate my house and housekeeping skills are, and how I look (granted, I am carrying “baby weight”… Maybe I’ll blog on that too). It makes no sense, yet it’s getting to me!

I only hope that logic can continue to prevail, or that the weather stays good this spring and upcoming summer. I plan on switching off the TV and enjoying real life, commercial-free.

Separation Anxiety, or Lack Thereof

I don’t want to brag too much, but I went out TWO nights last weekend. On Friday night I was honored to be a judge for some Senior ECE student presentations, and Brian stayed home with Baby J. On Saturday night, Brian and I went to a movie (“Source Code”, which I enjoyed, but not the topic of conversation), and the grandparents spent a few hours basking in his glow.

I have no hesitation in leaving Baby J for a few hours, providing he’s in capable hands (which he certainly was in the above cases).  I’ve heard of new parents who go months before leaving their child for a social evening. I’m far too logical for that. I mean, I wouldn’t be going too far or for very long (not that breastfeeding would allow that) stop they’d less of a chance of missing an important development, and in case of emergency there’s not much more I can do that Nan can’t.

Not that I’m dissing those who can’t bear to part with their little people. I kind of envy their resolve. And not that I don’t question my bond with Baby J when I can go out for a few hours and come home to a happy baby who didn’t notice I was gone. But I’m okay with that.

And I’m not completely rational. Please don’t ask when we’re moving him to his crib. :)

Call Someone? Really? Maybe I’ll Email First.

Because I’m trying to make sure Baby J is cultured, intelligent and sophisticated, we generally listen to CBC Radio 1 in the mornings.

(Well, really, it’s because we listen to it first thing for the traffic updates, and I’m generally too lazy to turn it over afterwards).

Jian Ghomeshi hosts ”Q”, which is self-described as “an energetic daily arts, culture and entertainment magazine that takes you on a smart and surprising ride, interviewing personalities and tackling the cultural issues that matter.”  It features a wide variety of topics and guests - most famously, the show featured Billy Bob Thornton, who was on the show to promote his band but got… a bit upset that Jian dared to mention his OTHER career.  Here’s the YouTube video of what went down then.

But an interview yesterday caught my attention, with journalist Pamela Paul about the state of the personal and business call these days. You can listen to the interview here.  But the general gist is that, for most adults in the working world:

  • Personal calls have been largely replaced with texts, emails or instant messages with the exception of a predictable set of intimate contacts (parents, spouses, children).  The ring of an unexpected call can cause anxiety - the first thought is “What’s wrong?”.  Non-routine personal calls are normally set up as “phone dates” in advance, and the negotiation is done over electronic means.

  • Business calls are also rare without first setting up the groundwork via email; sending a quick note via email is the expected, indicating you plan to call at a certain time to discuss a certain topic, with the basics of the discussion contained within.

  • No one checks their voicemail when they have Caller ID.

This describes my communication style to the letter.  ”Back in the day”, I was a bit of a phone addict, like most teenage girls of my era.  I was even slow to catch on to the SMS trend.  These days the only people I actually call, and who call me, without some electronic communication first, are my mother and in-laws.  Like the interviewer suggests, at home I think of phone calls as almost intrusive -  Why are you calling me?  I’m busy (probably not, but still…)!  Send a note and I’ll respond on my own time!  Unless it’s something urgent, I much prefer the one-way communication methods of text, email or IM, and their non-threatening nature.  Not sure if you want to respond?  I don’t know if you got the message, so you can take your time.  One thing we DON’T have in our household is Caller ID, the philosophy being “If you didn’t leave a message, it mustn’t have been important.”

At work, I normally will send an email to a contact outlining as many details of an impending call as possible, to avoid miscommunication of important facts and details as much as I am trying to avoid the actual call itself.  Business calls have their own set of rules with respect to small talk and negotiation, and I haven’t learned all the rules yet.  If we can hammer out the facts via email, that’s just fine by me.  If we can’t do that, I’d prefer a face-to-face meeting over an hour-long phone chat.

For a while, I thought my behaviour and thoughts regarding phone communications were anti-social and unusual (I’m finding more and more that I am an introvert, but more on that some other time).  So this interview made me feel better about myself.  But do I feel better about where our society is headed?  Will we lose the art of conversation, or gain time once spent chatting inanely about the weather and vacations?  Should the ring of my home phone bring on panic instead of curiosity?

I Have a Blog, Might as Well Use It!

I’m going to start blogging again… why?

  1.  I have a lovely new little baby boy (let’s call him Baby J), and need another outlet to describe just how lovely he is and post countless pics that are practically indistinguishable from each other.

  2.  As a result of (1), I am on maternity leave and have a lot more free  time than I used to… when I’m not eating bonbons and watching my soaps, of course. Wait, I can do that AND blog, because I can multi-task.

  3. Partly as a result of (2), I don’t chat with as many people who don’t wear diapers as I used to (at least, I assume most of my co-workers and colleagues don’t wear diapers. Note, I have nothing against people, young or old, who do wear diapers). I can’t influence others with my intelligent opinions and witty insights in person, so I need to harass the general public via the internet.

  4.  Referencing (3), though I’ve tried, I can’t be all that intelligent-sounding in 140 characters (a la Twitter). I’m hoping to sound more intelligent when allowed more words. Hence the move back to “rambling”.

  5. Because I secretly hope to someday get a book deal, or influence a movie plot, or at least get some free swag for shamelessly selling out and writing positive reviews for something… anything… I’m not picky.

The Week I Became a Runner

There’s no certification to indicate that someone is qualified to be a runner. Despite the cult jokes, there’s no membership card or secret handshake or special t-shirt you get. Anyone who runs is a runner. Since there is no menbership, there’s no speed minimum, not really, nor is there a minimum time or distance you have to run in a week or month to keep the right to call yourself a runner.

I say all that knowing full well that until this week, I was hesitant to say “I AM a runner” and put myself in a category with elite athletes and amazing, inspiring people. I’m just a chick who “jogs” 3-4 times a week at a rather slow pace. My dad can walk faster than I run. I didn’t quite get it, didn’t quite feel like a runner.

But two things happened this week. The first was on Sunday at about 9am. We rose and met our running group. It was a wet and windy morning, and I did my first 10km run. Again, not very fast, but time does go quickly when you have good company (which I did!). But the 8km mark took us past a lake and the wind reached across the lake and smacked us upside the head. We soldiered on. And we made it back upright and smiling. But from wet socks and siggy sneakers I got the worst blister I’ve ever had, on the arch of my foot. Can you say ‘Awkward’? I did along with other choice words.

But that, knock on wood, is my first major running affliction. And I ran through it, and survived it, and treated it, and ran again 6km the next day. And I thought, “Now I get it.”

The second thing happened tonight. As I’ve learned recently, hill repeats are a tried-and-true way to improve your performance. You run it the way a chld runs toward an ice cream cart - as fast as you can and not stopping until you reach the target (in this case the target is the top). Unlike the kid running for ice cream, the sweet reward is not when when you stop. It comes days or weeks later, when the training pays off. And before that, hills are not fun.

And tonight, I got it. I was being pushed, literally (nudged by coach John) and though I thought my legs were about ready to give up on the fifth go, I kept givin’ ‘er. I was thinking about crying. Instead I kept running. And made it without collapsing or crying.

I’m proud. And I do believe all I said first off in this post. Anyone can be a runner. It’s not a club. But being something and feeling like you are can be two different things. I’m glad I’m now both. :)

“Cafeteria” Catholic

Some habits die hard. Others lie dormant for years, popping up when you’ve forgotten you once had then. I caught myself making the sign of the cross (“blessing myself”) when driving past the Catholic cemetary the other day. This “tick” was an unquestioned part of growing up in a Catholic household. It ranks up there with poking bits of palm from Passion Sunday mass in spots of the house, prayer cards stuck in random books, and the need to speed through the Lord’s Prayer as quickly as possible. As a child and teen, I was active in the church. But I stopped going regularly when university started demanding my time, and I never really found my way back.

As the Catholic church and the Vatican hit the news with increasing frequency, I’m questioning what role religion plays or should play in my life. I do think the notion of “love your neighbour as yourself” is the best philosophy to live by, and I think churches as organizations can do great things. I just wish that they would do more of those great things and less discriminating based on random interpretations of Bible scripture or how things gave always been done.