Here

on 29 June 2009

We're here.

I just wanted to let you all know. We're still working on getting internet in our apartment, and when we do...

I have a thrilling tale of HATE and WOE for you. Stay tuned.

Living Dangerously

on 25 June 2009

I know that I said I need a break, but I just don't know how to quit you.

I'm writing this on stolen internet. I just had to tell someone, the guilt was eating me alive.

I had dinner tonight with a friend who has really been my best friend here in North Carolina. It breaks my heart to have to leave her. She's one of those awesome women who totally accepts me the way that I am, flaws and all. I love to be around her, we have great conversation, she always makes me think (I can't pay her a higher compliment than that), and she has a wicked sense of humor.

We stayed far too late, the Boy was hellishly tired, he's conked out in bed right now and I'm wired up and can't sleep.

We packed all day. All. Day.

Everything we own is in boxes. Well, for the most part...there are those odds and ends, the true detritus of our lives, the things that don't go in boxes until the very last minute before you drive away. I took down all of our pictures, posters, calenders, curtains, cards, postcards, and post-it notes. The walls are bare and echoey without them...and the windows are all naked and bright. It's this part of moving that I hate most...when you're still in what used to be your home but it doesn't feel like home any more.

I was chatting with another friend over some delicious Indian food last night. She's preparing to move in the Fall and we were talking about the contents of those boxes. You know the ones. The ones we all have. Those boxes that we seldom delve into but we can't bear to throw away. Her's are piled up in her attic, mine were in the top of the Boy's closet.

We got to talking about those boxes because she was saying that she hadn't even been up in the attic for years, that she knew that she should throw them away, but that she just couldn't bring herself to do it. And I found myself saying something that I never thought that I would say. Ever.

I started to talk about the significance of the things we keep.

I've never wanted to leave things behind. I like the idea, somehow, of leaving this earth and leaving no trace, no trail, no sign that M was ever HERE. I don't generally hold on to things. I hate the clutter, and I have a strong affinity for open spaces.

And yet. Here I was talking about the significance of the things we keep.

The fact remains that the things that we choose to keep, especially in this disposable society of ours, are far more significant than the things we use. We give them space, time, and frequently we give them energy. Those things, the detritus of our life here, they tell the story--not of what we DID, but of who we became. And someday, someone will come along who will pick up something and through that inanimate thing they will know something of us. Of me.

Whimsy keeps cat whiskers, among other things. I confess I have a couple too; long, slender white ones from Leike and short wispy gray ones from Agnes. They are indeed, imbued with their own magic. But I leave mine in books that I favor.

Chris keeps shirts. T-shirts, polos, button downs, guayabaras, the man can't seem to throw away a shirt. I asked him to purge his closet and he parts with 4 shirts. FOUR. Out of 50, or more.

He and I were talking today about how everyone just seems to collect certain things around themselves. He used the example of my mom who has a lot of bowls. We tease her and say that she never met a bowl she didn't like. He helped a classmate move and she had a lot of bags, all kinds of bags, bags everywhere.

Me? I have a lot of books. Some that I've never read, some that I've read many, many times. Sometimes I have more than one copy of the same book. Just know, I have my reasons.

I'm not the kind of mom that has scrapbooked my son's life. We threw away his hospital bracelets, all of the cards that people gave us before his birth are in one big manila envelope. The pictures are backed up on CD, but not printed out, and I've nothing cutesy saved up for him. I haven't meticulously documented his development.

But I can still remember the books I read when I was pregnant with him. I remember (and have) the books I read and studied when Chris and I were dating. I know which books I took on our honeymoon. I know what I was reading when I made that long, painful move from Seattle to Georgia (for grad school). And I know what I read immediately after the Boy's birth.

Certain books I associate with certain people whom I love. Lord of the Rings for Whimsy and Samwise. The Stories of Isaac Babel for EAK. The Asher Lev books for my sister. Desirable Daughters for my mother. Persuasion for Kristin. Harry Potter for Chris (he's read most of them aloud to me and when I reread them, I still hear his voice in my head).

My shelves tell the story of how a small girl, from a small town, grew up. Went to school, learned a lot, fell in love, got married, traveled a bit, had a baby, and learned some more. I box up my books for a move and I travel back to the different versions of myself; I pick up and flip through the books that were seminal in my own personal history and I see these flashes of where I was and who I was when I read them. I box up the books that I have yet to read and I wonder where I'll be when I finally pull them down and steep myself in them. I wonder how I'll be different when I come out the other side.

I've never been a great journal writer. I just can't bring myself to document the inanity of my daily life--it's one of the many ironies of my life that I now keep a blog. I guess that I've never felt the need to write everything down. The story of my life has already been written, you just have to read the books that I keep.

It's not you, it's me.

on 22 June 2009

So...

I just need a break.

It's not you, it's me. I need some space. Some time. My life is really crazy right now. I mean, really crazy. We're talking, boxes stacked to the ceiling crazy. I can't sleep. I can't eat. All I do, is pack and think and worry obsessively.

We're loading the truck Thursday afternoon. We'll drive down Friday. Spend the weekend unpacking. We should get wireless again sometime early next week. I...I hope to be back blogging by then.

Chris has some sort of conference the second weekend of July (AKA: The Boy's Birthday Weekend) and the Boy and I have been invited to tag along...it might be fun, so there's some blog fodder, right? Also, once things are unpacked and put away I'm going to do a photo-spread of the new digs.

I applied for a teaching job at a local college--if they call for an interview I'll be sure to let you know. Many are the levels of my insanity. Do not underestimate my insanity at this time.

Whimsy requested a blog post about my feelings towards fruit served HOT. That's forthcoming, some time this summer. (Heads up: It's WRONG.)

It's hard to gauge how much I'll have to talk about. The town is small and seems pretty uneventful, I don't know anyone there, and knowing no one, I won't have much going on. I guess I could keep you updated on my...fitness-y stuff. I plan to keep running...so there's that, I guess. And there's the Boy and his endless cycle of cuteness.

Speaking of which, I think I hear him. And yes, I have been up since 6am. Please see the aforementioned insanity.

2,002 Words of Truth

on 19 June 2009

So, if a picture is really worth 1,000 words, I have a short essay for you:

HATE.

LOVE.

(This is my nephew who is 18 today! and my adorable child who is not yet 1.
Happy Birthday, William!)

Late Night Neurotic Behavior

on 16 June 2009

I really hate moving.

In case anyone might be in doubt about that. I really hate it. It makes me feel fantastically insecure. In the past this has manifested itself in obsessive consumption of books and over-loving the cats. Now...

He's underfoot. Almost always. When I'm trying to clean out, trying to pack, trying to organize and prepare, he's right there...between my feet. Generally complaining--he's getting a new tooth and his favorite playmate is occupied with cleaning out, trying to pack, trying to organize and prepare. And yet. I have these moments during the day when I can't bear to look at the bare shelves, the stacked boxes, my email inbox, facebook, or blogs. And that's when I sink down and hold him. We rock and sing and I attempt to lay his hair flat and I apologize again and again and again that his house is a wreck and his life is upset and everything is messed up and in transition. I try to explain to him that this just happens sometimes, that someday he too will do things that he hates--that this is what it means to be part of a family, that life is change and that change is painful, that we don't always get the things we want. That's just life, but for what it's worth, Mama is sorry that it hurts.

In those moments, I'm not sure if I'm saying it to comfort him or me. I know. I know that he doesn't understand, and other than the loss of his playmate, he probably doesn't care. But I care. I care a lot. The one thing I wanted to give the Boy when I brought him here was stability. I feel like I've failed him.

The thing is...I'm completely crazy. My dad moved us a lot, and now that I think about it, I'm grateful that he taught us how to move. How to pack up our lives and go and settle somewhere else. It's not something that generally scares me...I hate it, but I'm not afraid of it. He taught me to do hard things by making me do them. And yet. These are the things that I don't want for the Boy. It's not that I want him to be soft, I don't, I want him to be strong and brave, but I also want him to know and value roots.


Every night I go in to his room and I sit and watch him and think. I wonder what he'll hate that I did. I wonder what he'll resent, what will scar him, I wonder what he'll one day be grateful for even though in the moment he hated it. I thank Heaven and Earth for him, for his healthy body, for his sparkling brown eyes that light up, for the ferocity of his crawling when he catches sight of me; I smooth down that hair and say a prayer of thanks that in spite of having to pack up the detritus of my life, I get to take my home with me--safely buckled into the driver's seat and a carseat.

To Do ToDay

Here's what's on my To Do list today:

  • PACK
  • Clean out the Boy's closet (which is our multipurpose storage closet)
  • type recipes from back issues of Real Simple
  • stuff clean diapers (yes, the same ones from Monday have still not been stuffed)
  • Pack up clothes we're not wearing
  • Pack up the Boy's stuff that he's not wearing
  • Finish a wee project I got distracted with yesterday in stead of packing--it's for the Boy...
  • Go get a box of paper and pack up the empty jars in the kitchen
  • Pack up stuff we're not using in the kitchen.
  • Go running (I haven't been since last week and I was supposed to go this morning but it was raining)
Anyone want to make any bets as to what I'll get done today? C'mon, I've been up since 5am! I'm feeling productive...anybody?


Edited to Add:

MWAHAH! Have been a MODEL of productivity! Here's what I DID today!
  • Cleaned out the Boy's closet!
  • PACKED!
  • Stuffed the clean diapers AND put them away!
  • More purging of old files, I found all my notes from undergrad and grad school--y'all, I used to be SMART.
  • Finished moving recipes into my computer (Thank you, SARAH! You rock!)
And I'm going to work on the clothes tonight after the Boy is in bed asleep...I'm also going to attempt to finish that project for the Boy after he is in bed asleep. So there's 2 more things! See! Am a model of productivity. We just won't talk about the quantity of Thai food I'm about to consume, mmkay?

Hmmmm.

on 15 June 2009

Well, that was spectacularly unproductive.

On my To Do list for the day was:

  • PACK
  • Purge files out of the filing cabinet
  • type recipes (from back issues of Real Simple)
  • stuff clean diapers
  • Clean (including vacuuming which hasn't been done IN A WHILE).
  • Put away dishes in the dishwasher
  • go running
Here's what I've actually done:
  • purge files from the filing cabinet...sort of. I just couldn't bring myself to throw out that many. But I did get rid of all my back issues of the JASNA newsletter.
  • went to SchmallMart with Chris...and bought ice cream.
  • started making mixes of music for the car ride down to GA.
  • transferred pictures from the camera to my computer and looked at them.
  • sang songs with the Boy for a good 30 minutes.
  • caught up on blogs.
Wow. Impressive, no?

Honestly, we're just drowning in paper over here. I would love to have been more productive but I think until we get SOME of this paper out of here there's no point. And just to prove it to you...

Help! This is the THIRD load of paper recycling in the past 2 days!

10 Days

on 14 June 2009

I have 10 days people. 10 DAYS.

I am going to DIE.

I managed to pack my books over the weekend which was a mammoth task, both for the quantity of books and also the Boy has decided that his most favorite place to be in all the world is right between my feet. Generally, I'm more along the lines of A Baby on the Hip is Never Underfoot, but dude...I need my hands to pack. So he's been playing on the floor while I attempt to pack but the whole playing on the floor lasts for all of 2.6 minutes and then it's Oh LOOK! MOM!

Is there a graceful way to pack boxes of books and negotiate them in to stacks while NOT dropping them on your child's head?

On the docket for this week is to pack up all the clothes we're NOT wearing, purge my files in the filing cabinet, and pack up the Boy's stuff that we're not using. Most of it is packed away, it just needs reorganizing and labeling. Chris is taking 2 suits for alteration and we're making yet another run to SchmallMart.

Fortunately, my mom is coming up to keep the Boy out from under my feet so that I can pack, and I'll be trotting up to my sister's--she's purging her kids toys for the Boy, so we'll pick up more stuff to move, but hey! It's toys and they're FREE!

It's 8:30 Sunday night, and I know that this is totally pathetic, but I'm exhausted, I'm going to bed.



Pray for us sinners...for we are in need of mercy.

A New Share

on 12 June 2009

So...

Since the last post I've started a separate blog for recipes and ideas for your inner foodie.

You can find it HERE. I'm also going to link it with the other blogs over there-->

Please please PLEASE share any recipes, tricks or suggestions you may also have. Chris and I have very short food attention spans and are always looking to try new things.

Staging a Kitchen Revolution

My sister recently gave me a copy of Dr. Sears' book The Healthiest Kid in the Neighborhood, which is what I read this week.

The result? I'm staging a revolution in my kitchen. I'm debating the placards and banners to use, but I'm pretty sure the content is going to be along the lines of...

DEATH to High Fructose Corn Syrup!

Kill your Hydrogenated FATS!

BAN artificial FOOD!

Yes, I'm a vegetarian. I have been for a decade. But I once prided myself on being the planet's lowest maintenance vegetarian. I wasn't a health nut by any means. And then I had the Boy.

Funny how he changes everything.

The thing is, what I may not care about for myself, I care about A LOT for him. I want him to be healthy. He's pretty well doomed by his genetics for diabetes and high blood pressure--but I can hold it off for a while by teaching him to eat real food.

So among other things, I cleaned out my pantry. Mrs. Butterworth has been removed from the premises. The Nutragrain bars are in the trash. Bye-bye Nilla Wafers, you were delicious but I value my health (and my sanity) more than your crispy vanillaness. And those fruity puffs for kids? Yeah, those were tossed along with the rice rusks. There's NO nutrition in any of that. And it doesn't resemble real food. It's effectively teaching him that fruit should be crispy and puffed and that's not FRUIT.

Instead? I stocked up on low-fat plain organic yogurt. I bought tons of frozen fruit for smoothies. I picked up fish which we started incorporating into Chris' and the Boy's diet yesterday. I loaded up on fresh veggies for salads and snacks. I bought flax seed and quinoa just for fun!

Yesterday for lunch the Boy had white beans cooked in garlic and Italian herbs with a spoonful of whole milk ricotta cheese and some lemon juice, on the side he had some whole wheat Melba toasts. He's loved it before and yesterday was no different, he slurped it right up. I had the same bean mixture with whole wheat pasta and Parmesan--it was like a healthier version of cream sauce. For dinner we had salmon sauteed in olive oil with salt and pepper and some stir fried zuccini with peppers and onions. It was AWESOME. This morning I had a mixed berry smoothie with yogurt and ground flax seed. Mmmmm. I love a smoothie.

I know. It's so HARD. The same old argument. Chris even said it to me in the grocery store when I flipped over a box of Wheat Thins only to discover high fructose corn syrup. I banished them to the store shelves, and turned on him. I said, "No. It's not really hard. It's inconvenient. All of these foods--they're convenient foods. But the thing is, [the Boy] is not convenient. Being his mother is not convenient. Being an adult is NOT convenient. And if I'm already inconvenienced by my life, I may as well go the full Monty and be REALLY inconvenienced." At which point the conversation sort of degenerated, as I'm sure you can imagine.

Moving on!

The thing is. I'd rather put myself out to make wholesome food for him (and for US), than have to drive him to 4 frillion doctors appointments later on. And there's no guarantee that I still won't have to do that--but real, whole foods is a place to start.

But it's so EXPENSIVE. Yes. We've shifted money from our Health Insurance pay out (Chris will get better converage through his job and have to pay out less per month) to our Grocery Budget. I think it's well worth the investment. According to Dr. Sears, studies have shown that kids who eat healthier have fewer colds, flus, tummy woes and other infections. And that's to say nothing of dramatically reducing the risk of juvenile diabetes, obesity and early onset of heart disease.

But. Chris.

Yes. Chris. The man loves junk food. Krystals, Chick-fil-A, biscuits and gravy, anything FRIED, BBQ, everything dipped in MAYONNAISE, Vive le High Fructose Corn Syrup! He has a whole relationship to questionable food products that I do not understand.

We have a deal. He's giving me free rein for 3 months. I do all the shopping and meal planning for 3 months and he eats what I make and if he doesn't feel any better at the end of it, then he gets to go back to what he's eaten for nigh unto 30 years. BUT! If he does feel better at the end of the 3 months, then we stay on our chosen track. Which, I am that SURE that he'll be able to feel a difference. He already eats tofu with me, people, the rest will be fairly easy. And we're both committed to setting the example for the Boy. We both want him to develop healthy tastes, so we're willing to sacrifice our own bad food habits to help him to form good ones.

Today I had to pass up Mayfield's Brown Cow ice cream and I thought I would cry, right there in the freezer section. But it has high fructose corn syrup in it and I don't want diabetes. So it's staying in the freezer section and I'm moving on to produce.

14 days...this time it's for REAL.

on 11 June 2009

We're back.

We found a place in Brunswick. It's band new, slightly bigger and about the same amount of rent that we're paying now. I would be excited but I'm just exhausted at this point. Once we get moved in and unpacked I'll post some pictures.

For now...expect delays.

Or you could distract me. Tell me. What's your favorite thing about summer?

AWESOME/NOT AWESOME: the Lowcountry edition

on 08 June 2009

Hello, World, I'm coming to you LIVE from the Lowcountry. Chris and I are down here apartment hunting. We drove down yesterday--the Boy did great until we were about an hour away and then he proceeded to melt down like frozen yogurt on a summer day.

To conceptualize this trip thus far for all of you, I am stealing openly from the glorious Whimsy and presenting you with Awesome/Not Awesome: the Lowcountry edition!

AWESOME: the Boy napping for 2 hours in the car on the way down. He slept through most of South Carolina!
NOT AWESOME: the ear-bleeding screams he emmitted when I informed him that he could not, in fact, get out of his car seat to roam the moving vehicle at will.

AWESOME: My BIL Mike and SIL Kristi made us this wonderful dinner of lasagne and a death by chocolate for dessert. Saying that I wanted to dive into either of them and eat my way out, is not praise enough.
NOT AWESOME: my pants were tight this morning.

NOT AWESOME: starting your period at 3 am (3 days EARLY) and realizing the one thing you forgot to pack was...um...the necessary impliments for dealing with that.
AWESOME: an AMAZING husband who got out of bed at 3 AM to drive a dark and foggy road to the nearest SchmallMart to purchase said necessary impliments for a crampy and irritiable wife.

AWESOME: I think we maybe found an apartment. It's a brand-new complex and we'll get a bigger space for the same money we're paying now.
NOT AWESOME: None of it is resolved! We're waiting to qualify. We spent all day driving around and looking at places and we still don't know if we have a place to live in two weeks.

AWESOME: My Boy has been utterly charming. Chris has been kind and lovely.
NOT AWESOME: I am a ball of tension and nerves. I am getting nothing but a lump of coal for Christmas this year.

Censorship: a Conversation

on 05 June 2009

Clarification: I wrote the DELETED post about my descent into a FUNK to end all FUNKS on Wednesday night. I'm in a better head-space today. That, and I got a lovely email from Whimsy and another from Krista and clarifying my position to lovely friends has helped me to better understand the aforementioned FUNK.

Censorship: I have deleted the post because it made Chris mad. He's not, in fact, trying to make me unhappy. We all do what we have to do to succeed and that's precisely what he's doing. If anything my depression at having to move should really be indicative of the pleasure it's been to live in the Chapel Hill area. I have mighty friends and have been warmly surrounded by people with whom I have a lot in common, as well as people who find me highly entertaining. It's hard not to feel the love. I will sorely miss them. As well as the following establishments: Mediterranean Deli, Twisted Noodles, Maple View Creamery, Bombay Grille, Sitar Indian Palace, the Cloth Diaper boutique at the Women's Birth and Wellness center, my Awesome Doctor (Dr. Alice Chuang, M.D., if you're moving to the area or already in the area, she's awesome), the Boy's Awesome Pediatrician (Dr. Timothy Hall, M.D., so SOOOO great! Totally has endure my neurosis with a smile on his face, has justified my anxiety and been superp! I weep to lose him.).

And for the ray of light on this very rainy day, please enjoy the following conversation from Burnstopia:

M (speaking to the Boy): I can't pick you up right now, dude, I'm putting laundry in the washer.
Boy: RAAAAAWWWWRRRRR.
M: You know, boyo, Frued would say that our laundry indicates our different outlooks on life. Mama's laundry is all dark--black, grey, brown, navy--and Daddy's laundry is all light--khaki, pale blue, bright green, and yellow.
Boy: RAAAAAWWWWRRRRR.
Mama: Yep. That's what Frued would say too, Mama is a jaded cynic and Daddy is an optomist masqurading as a realist.
Chris: What?!?

FAIL

on 03 June 2009

One of the things I'm mourning in my recently mobile offspring is that he doesn't sit still for pictures! Everything I take of him anymore he's all, "Whatever MOM, I have places to go...SEE YA."

Needless to say, I have a lot of pictures like this:

Um. Thanks, dude. Nice ear? But when the alternative is more along these lines...


Well, that's a bit better...I sort of got your face, well, part of your face.

The whole situation is wreaking havoc on my self-esteem. I thought I was the prettiest, most interesting person he knows...but apparently not. Apparently, the rice steamer, his yellow plastic school bus, some stainless steel mixing bowls I was going to get rid of until my child informed me (at VOLUME) that his world would END if not for the stainless steel mixing bowls, and his very favorite snack cups are all profoundly interesting in ways that I am NOT.

oh, lovely

on 01 June 2009

I went running this morning.

I came home and checked email and took off my shoes.

Then I stepped in a pile of cat puke that I didn't see because I hadn't turned on any lights.

The day went on. Other stuff happened.

I was playing on the couch with the Boy and he was eating dry cereal and drinking lots of water and I was talking on the phone.

Then I looked down and he had thrown up cereal all over me.

Me. He is totally clean.

I am on my third shirt of the day.

Lovely.

What I did this weekend: a list.

  • The usual cleaning and laundry with the added bonus of purging things we're not going to move, only to have the Boy go behind us and discover that those steel mixing bowls that WE never use? Those are the GREATEST toy EVER.
  • Arranged to stay in our apartment until the END of June. YAY! I didn't think it would be possible since I know that demand for our floor plan is high, but lo, it worked out brilliantly. We'll stay in our apartment until the end of June and then move in some direction. Am a fantastic wife.
  • Reread The Gift of Asher Lev since I finished rereading My Name is Asher Lev. Those books make me CRY every.single.time.
  • Said good-bye to TOO many Friends. Was sad. Did much brooding over the fact.
  • Contemplated buying real groceries since we'll be in our apartment for the rest of June...we might want to eat more than just canned goods and bread.
  • Went to dinner with my awesome sister, her hubs, my Super Spy brother and his awesome wife--ate and obscene amount of salad followed by key lime pie, because, you know...dinner was a SALAD.
  • Walked around Barnes and Nobles and made a mental list of books I want to pick up and read once we have a job.
  • Sat and watched Band of Brothers with my awesome nephew who stayed with the Boy so that we could go to dinner with the aforementioned sister, hubs, brother, wife.
  • Sat and played with the Boy until he laughed so hard he got the hiccups, at which point I sat down to blog and watched him play with the rice steamer (see above item regarding Things We're Getting Rid of Before Moving.)
  • Watched the Graduate with the Husband--he'd never seen it before--and it was better than the first time I watched it. I sang the entire soundtrack and Chris bemoaned the fact that I didn't warn him that parts of that movie are just painful to watch.
  • Attempted to build obstacle courses for the Boy designed to discourage him from trashing the apartment. Result? An even more trashed apartment what with the trashed obstacle course and then the trashed apartment.
  • Laughed and cuddled and rocked and sang and danced and yet more cuddles and thought, "I might have to get me another one of these."