Back to It

on 29 October 2014

This time last year, my Grandma got sick.  It was the beginning of the process of her dying, and while we were all hoping for her sake that it would be swift, it wasn't.  It was very hard to watch.

I learned to knit 5 years ago, partly because I wanted to be able to make clothes for me and my family, but also because I wanted to make my Grandma proud of me.  I always thought that she loved my sisters more than me.  And in our last conversation, she told me that she knew I thought that, but that really it was just that she had had more time with them than she had with me.  Yes, it was heartbreaking, but also good because it gave us both the chance to tell each other that we loved each other now and it was ok.

My knitting this time last year was all fairly simple and it was such a painful thing to go and see her so changed from what I was used to, that I need a MUCH more distracting project, something that required my total concentration.  So I started an intricate pair of Latvian mittens for my sister-in-law.  I made it through the cuff before my Grandma passed away, and then I was just too sad to face them.

They languished in my Bin of Unfinished Business through the Spring, in the storage unit, through the Summer, and just last week I got them out again.  We're going to Savannah for Thanksgiving and I'm determined to finish them before we leave.

They are intricate and pretty.  The colors that Kristi chose play in interesting ways off of each other.  But looking at them makes me sad.  I shall be glad to give them a home where they will be looked at and worn, and make the receiver happy instead.

The Small Things

on 24 October 2014

Time has been making a fool of me again.  I should just surrender any hope I have of carrying on a dignified relationship with such a fickle creature, but alas, I cannot.  And so, he plays the fool with me and I'm left looking like a dolt wondering what just happened.

Life carries on, in this hamster wheel of school and work and life, and accelerated by the nonsense of applications for medical schools.  (Am I the only one who thinks it's ridiculous to ask 22 and 23 year olds to write essays about "life changing" experiences?  They haven't LIVED enough to have any life changing experiences!  Luckily for us, we aren't 22 or 23 any more.)

Have I mentioned that we're having another wee girl?  I went in for the truly terrifying genetic counseling session, but the reward for surviving their laundry list of Everything that Could go Wrong with Your Child because You are SO OLD, is a high resolution ultrasound.  The techs didn't know if she would cooperate enough to let us check her out, but she was very amenable and also very beautiful, but I am her mother and so probably biased. 

The Boy is still sulking about it.  It breaks my heart a bit, but then, this is the kid that breaks my heart without even trying, so I'm also a little used to it by now.

I've been thinking about the small things and how they make the difference in times of remarkable stress between and happy marriage and a lonely marriage.

Chris made brownie brittle this morning for one of the physicians who wrote a recommendation letter for him.  She's also pregnant and he knows that she never bakes herself and that the recommendation letter was a greater hassle for her, than perhaps for the other physicians.  And while he was making brownie brittle, he made me vanilla pudding.  He knows that I love it and that I don't usually make it for myself (because my children hoover it obsessively until it is gone).  So he made up a pot of warm, comforting vanilla pudding.  And after lunch I sat down to have a cup.

There is this wonderful story by Isaac Babel, probably the last truly great short story-ist to live.  He wrote of a daughter who had gotten married and left her widowed father's house.  She returned once a year, and when she came back she always made him meatballs, and she used the recipe that her paternal grandmother had used.  So that when she gave the meatballs to her father, he would look at her and say that the meatballs tasted like a happy childhood.  I've always loved that idea.  That certain foods can evoke, not just a time, but an emotion within that time.

I love vanilla pudding, plain though it may be.  And when my mother makes it for me, it absolutely tastes like a happy childhood.  But today, knowing that Chris chose to make pudding for me instead of taking a shower before work, or working on his med school applications, it tasted rather like a happy marriage.

He really is a prince.  Not your traditional, white horse and shining armor and all that nonsense.  Those are hardly fit for holidays and special occasions.  He's much more your every day, work boots and clutter, inside jokes, Any Time I Want One Hugs, and vanilla pudding on a Thursday kind of prince.

There are a lot of people who think we're crazy for trying to go to med school this late in the game.  And they can think that.  They are absolutely entitled to their opinions.  But if they knew the Chris that I know, they would probably still think that we're crazy, but I can't imagine they would question why I stand behind him.  They might even join with me as I smack him on the bum and say, "Nothin' but strikes."

What we did with our Summer Vacation

on 05 September 2014


Is anyone still out there? 

I know it's been quite some time since I updated, but I think when you read everything that's happened, you'll understand why the blog was relegated beyond the back burner, beyond the stove, and out to the deep freeze of things on my priority list.

As you know, our lease ended at the end of May.  We house-sat for some friends of ours for 2 weeks in their beautiful home, the kids had a BALL playing with their kids' toys.  After that, we stayed with my sister for a week and then out to my parent's house for 2 more weeks while they were out in Utah visiting my lovely sister.  I posted pictures of my kids strip mining my Mom's berry bushes and playing in the hose.

All the time we were house hunting.  Or rather, I was house hunting.  Chris has been studying to retake the MCAT.  He's taking it tomorrow afternoon and reapplying for med school.  We'll see if we go.  I'm cautiously optimistic.

So I was trying to find us a place to live.  It was pretty stressful.  Housing is fairly expensive in Durham, but I wanted to plan as though he was already in med school, so I didn't want to be too far away.  On July 1st we looked at 3 bedroom townhouse just down the street from our old apartment.  It's a small, quiet community and it had everything on our wishlist except a yard.  Which I was willing to sacrifice to stay in the same general area of town we had lived in before.  So on July 2nd we put in an offer.  There was some dickering back and forth, which I am NOT good at, nor patient with and hadn't anticipated being in charge of, but when I say Chris spent the summer studying for the MCAT, I mean he completely checked out of everything else (except work) and focused on relearning everything he used to know 7 years ago.  Anyway, on July 3rd we reached a deal and started the whole Mortgage nightmare.

I would just like to go on the record as saying that having a BABY is less painful than buying a HOUSE.  And the mortgage company we're using, they are charming and absolutely bent over backwards to help us and to make the process smooth, but it was still an arduous experience.

Luckily for me, I started working out seriously in April and kept it up until we moved, it was a fantastic stress relief.  I lost 25 pounds, y'all.  I was quite proud of myself, and then...

I spent 2 weeks gathering up 98 pieces of paper and delivering them to the mortgage company and writing checks.  Finally, FINALLY everything on our end was done.  Our closing date was set, my amazing sister, who let us live in her house rent free for the month of July, kept the kids so Chris and I could go sign a novella of papers and take possession of 6 keys and a garage door opener.

5 days before we closed, we found out that we were pregnant.  Crazy, huh? 

So we moved in on August 2nd.  Chris continued to study and I slowly unpacked.  The kids ran around the basement which is our school room/play room and rediscovered all of their toys declaring that they had MISSED them so much and everything, absolutely everything was their FAVORITE.  It was pretty funny.  I put my kitchen in order and went back to cooking fairly regularly.  The kids are in separate rooms, which is GREAT for me.  They're still having a hard time at night, I think because it's dark and the dark makes them nervous.  Chris' stuff is still in boxes, and the boxes are neatly stacked in the rooms they belong in.  He told me today that he would unpack next week, and I laughed and said I was willing to bet money that the boxes would still be there next summer.

The Boy and I started back to school this week and it's been a long week.  Our school day is much longer, and I'm not sure if it's just because we've added material or that we've been out of the routine all summer long.

But my favorite memories of this summer all involve watching my kids play in the Eno river and hike together.  The Boy was particularly amazing, even when he was tired, and the Girl was DONE, he would hug her and say, "Come on, Lilu, we can do hard things!  And we can play in the river when we're done!"  It was the sweetest thing.  And they both walked into that river up to their necks (fully clothed), and I'm sure that there are parents out there who would cry NEGLECT because I let them do it.  But childhood is hard enough without asking kids to pass by a river and a muddy bank on a hot summer's day.  We shall not discuss the Laundry.  Both kids fell in the Eno river multiple times this summer, it was both terrifying and comical.  And everyone is still alive.

My Boy shrieked with joy at the fireworks on the 4th of July, but my Girl hated them.  They're both still missing their cousins and periodically declare that they want to go back to Aunt Sherry's to live with their cousins.  But one morning this week, the Boy declared that the townhouse is "starting to feel more like home, Mama."

Which I'm taking as a good sign.

So what did you do on your Summer vacation?