Laying the Day of the Dead to Rest

on 31 October 2009

Happy Halloween, y'all.

Ok. I'm done. On to the next!

What? I'm not done? You want photographic evidence? Well, ok.

This isn't Halloween, I just thought it was cute. My little tough guy and his blanket. Ok, are Halloween pictures.

He was a skeleton. I thought it would be awesome with the big giant diaper bum, but alas, the belly proved my undoing. And what does bones good? Homemade wheat bread toast for breakfast.

Why, M! How is it that you can post all of these Halloween pictures on Halloween MORNING? Well, Internet, I'm glad you asked. All of our celebrations happened yesterday. We went to Chris' party at work and then we were supposed to go to Trunk or Treat at Church but alas, the Boy was FRIED so we opted for Thai food and decided that we are all Halloweened out.

As you can see, Chris was elected to dress up with a group of the ladies he works with. They were clowns. He was Not the Happy Clown. He was the I'm Annoyed that I have to do this Clown. Also, he was the I'm MAD at the Meeting I just Finished With Clown. I did his make up. And picked out the hat. And the nose. And well, all of those clothes. I'm a good wife. He was busy. Carving a pumpkin. For 3 HOURS. But just you wait...there's more.

Chris had told me that people go ALL OUT for Halloween at the hospital, but frankly, I had no idea. They really do! Look!

Whimsy! It's the CAT AND THE FIDDLE! And YES! I did sing her introduction for the Boy!

These nurses dressed up as pink piggies, they were the Swine Flu! They are also nurses in Pediatrics and they invited the non-scary costume-wearers to come to the Pediatric floor to visit the kids, but then they added, "YOU HAVE TO WASH YOUR HANDS FIRST!" I cracked up laughing. I love the invitation to cheer the sick and afflicted with an admonishment attatched!

The IS department (apparently they win EVERY year) they dressed up as children's nursery rhymes (hence the Cat and the Fiddle), and the second most awesome one was the 3 blind mice guy! He was so great! And funny!

So after all was said and done, there were 2 Thrillers, the nursery rhymes, H1N1, the clowns and some other people that must not have been very good because I can't remember them all now. The point being that when the votes were counted, the huge UPSET was that the IS department DID NOT WIN!!! But the Legal department (one of the Thrillers) DID! We were all floored, most especially because from an aesthetic point of view the IS department had the better costumes, but for FUN and Personality, the Legal department totally worked the crowd better--so it just goes to's not always Fancy that wins!

But speaking of FANCY! Guess who took home the blue ribbon for the pumpkin carving contest? Go on, GUESS!

The man spent 3 hours Thursday night and used his POWER TOOLS to carve a juggling clown into a ginormous pumpkin. I kept shaking my head saying that it's not the time distribution that I would choose, but then he and I are different people and at the end of the day I love him to bits. The pumpkin looks thoroughly cool! And I had no idea he could do that! Skillz, people, my man has some mad pumpkin carving skillz.

Look at the size of it!

Happy Halloween. Now, for people who ordinarily do approximately nothing for Halloween, we are understandably exhausted. Please excuse us while we go to bed early.

The Strongest Memory

on 30 October 2009

Remember that one episode of West Wing, when Toby's dad comes back? It flashes back to Brooklyn in the 50s and Toby's birth and how his dad came to be what he was. It was a lovely episode and it ended with Christmas carols and Toby's dad shaking his head and saying, "Tobias, I am having the strongest memory."

That's me lately, I am having the strongest memory.

But it's not a memory of anything really consequential, just a memory that has come back with such clear focus that I find myself day-dreaming it whilst playing with my Boy. Shall I share it with you?

Walk with me back to the fall of 2001. I was not as I am now. I was not yet the M that you all know, I was as yet, only partially formed. I was just returned from Europe, disappointed and disoriented. I had taken a room with our brave Samwise and her friend and roommate Juliet, whom I only ever called JULIET-TA (pronounced like the fantastically over-the-top nurse in Baz Lurhman's Romeo and Juliet).

I was taking a variety of classes, I'm sure French was in there somewhere, I'm sure I had a history class, though, I can't remember for the life of me which one. And nestled in among these was the THORN in my proverbial side, my 19th century literature class du jour, The Dark Side of Victorian Literature. Though I'm pretty sure the darkest thing about this class was the instructor. He was awful. But we'll get there.

(Raise your hand if this happens to you, you think about one memory and then the threads of that memory pull on the threads of other memories until you're lost in this knot of time and space and you can't pull just one memory out, you have to pull them all other words, forgive me as a ramble and here, have another madeleine...)

So I was living with Samwise and riding the bus to and fro from UW to little apartment and back again. And while riding the bus I would read because I got almost NO reading done at home--Samwise and Julietta were FAR more interesting than what I was reading.

I remember among other things we were reading Dickens' Great Expectations for the horrid 19th century class, because I was reading on the bus one day, when a woman I didn't recognize sat down in the seat next to me. This was a busy route so that wasn't unusual, what was unusual was that this woman spoke to me. (And spoke coherently, I have ridden buses that could claim Mobile Mental Institution on their tax forms, but that is another story.)

She asked how I was enjoying Dickens and I answered truthfully, "Well, I think I would enjoy it more if it weren't for my professor." Which made her smile and look quizzically at me (I have always wanted to use the adverb quizzically in a sentence and now I have!), and ask, "Why?" To which I answered that I thought my professor was fully of hooey, he kept going on and on about homosexual undercurrents and queer theory and masturbatory references in DICKENS! (I still think he's full of crap and I am very nearly his educational equal so I'm fully allowed to think he's full of crap...but that is beside the point.) This lovely woman smiled and asked what my professor had said specifically and so I told her, getting more and more agitated as I remembered my professors abuses against an author I had long admired from a distance and was pining to really sink my teeth in to and she nodded and said, "Yes, I've heard these claims before and while they are correct in assuming that these details are significant their interpretations are sadly incorrect." She went on, for the duration of my ride, to expound on the thematic significance of Great Expectations. When it was time for her to get off she introduced herself, as the Dean of the English department (and a Dickens scholar) and said that if I had further questions regarding Dickens she would be happy to speak with me at any time.

(Why yes, I was STUNNED. I still smile when I think of that, and then feel slightly disappointed that more higher education isn't like that. I was truly blessed to have had that conversation with that wonderful woman, she solidified in me, my own desire to be more like her. To use literature to nurture people and foster their own ideas and interpretations, rather than brow-beating them with my own.)

After that, I remember applying myself in that class, I read and read and read and read some more. I worked myself into a lather, falling asleep more than once in the library...I wrote an air-tight final paper on the how and why Joseph Conrad is not a racist. And I may have led a slight mutiny in class...towards the end of the semester...what? he had it coming...

Hey, Samwise! Remember how Wendel and Julietta would come home from work and Juliet would cook dinner and Wendel would sit looking hungry and forlorn at the table? And how I would sneak him tootsie rolls if he would tell me gruesome stories from the ER? You probably don't remember, you were pretty busy and you're much more focused than I am. But I did and he would. And then there was the time that Juliet put her favorite pillow in the washing machine and of course it got all unbalanced and she asked Wendel to check it out and he pulls up this sopping wet pillow and bellows, "Well, no wonder! JULIET YOU CAN'T PUT A WHOLE PILLOW IN THE WASHING MACHINE!" (Wendel's bellowing was never really angry or mean, it was FUNNY!) and I laughed until TEARS ran down my face because the image of this doctor, quiet, unassuming Wendel holding a sopping wet pillow was just so ridiculous and funny that I just couldn't help it!

I've written before about how certain books just take me clearly back to a specific time and place (and version of myself) that was then. Dickens does that for me, well, certain Dickens does that, because Bleak House will always take me back to Athens and our drafty little apartment on Prince.

This same semester I read Wilkie Collins' Woman in White, Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness (for the third time), Dickens' Great Expectations, I'm forgetting something, I can feel it...

We had those bizarre neighbors, upstairs and down, one of them was a horse woman...she lived in this poky little apartment because she spent all her money on her HORSE. Which I thought was a bit weird, she was always complaining about how LOUD our bathroom fan was and did we have to run it ALL THE TIME?! No, and we didn't and I thought she needed to get out more. And then the other one who would laugh and then say things like, "But you're all tiny little things! From where I sit it sounds like a heard of ELEPHANTS live upstairs!" And I would have to think about whether she was complimenting us or not.

I think not.

It was a strange time for me. I can't imagine why I've been thinking of it so much lately. I didn't live there long, moved back in with my folks in an attempt to save money and also get more homework actually done. Juliet and Wendel got married. Samwise moved and moved again, poor Samwise, I should have been a better friend.

And maybe I should go back and reread Great Expectations.

An Oldie but Goodie

on 29 October 2009

So, I actually read this old conference talk (from 2005) and it made me feel all weepy (of course, I read it whilst hormonally imbalanced but it's still good!) so I thought that I would share.

"I plead with you young women to please be more accepting of yourselves, including your body shape and style, with a little less longing to look like someone else. We are all different. Some are tall, and some are short. Some are round, and some are thin. And almost everyone at some time or other wants to be something they are not! ... sisters, you are our greatest examples and resource for young women. And if you are obsessing over being a size 2, you won't be very surprised when your daughter or the [young woman] in your class does the same and makes herself physically ill trying to accomplish it. We should all be as fit as we can be--that's good Word of Wisdom doctrine. That means eating right and exercising and helping our bodies function at their optimum strength. We could probably all do better in that regard. But I speak here of optimum health; there is no universal optimum size."

  • Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Quorum of the 12 Apostles

Falling off the Wagon

on 28 October 2009

I have fallen off the nutritional wagon.

Or so it would seem.

We were traveling, and therefore eating anything and everything we wanted, essentially. More refined stuff...sugar, carbohydrates, etc. Fewer fresh fruits and veg. More fat. More rich. More creamy. Less healthy.

And, then there was the road trip back from Callaway Gardens. The day I was exhausted and frustrated and annoyed and all I wanted in my whole life was a WAFFLE. And please please please can we stop at WAFFLE HOUSE?

Do you know how long it's been since I ate at a WAFFLE HOUSE? 5 years, people. 5 years.

So we stopped and I had a waffle. AND hashbrowns. And eggs for that matter. I was hungry.

Anyway, then we got home and we all got sick and it was all I could do to get 2 yogurts a day into my Boy (to help counter balance the affects of the antibiotics), so if all he wanted was string cheese and pretzels then I pretty much gave them to him. And if after my yogurts (to counter balance the affects of my own antibiotics) if all I wanted was a waffle...well, then, we're having WAFFLES.

So I find that there is a box of waffle mix (read: HYDROGENATED FATS) and a small bottle of artificial (read: HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP) maple syrup in my pantry and a HEARTY promise that once that mix is gone (read: EATEN IN WAFFLE FORM) then we're going back to eating WELL and HEALTHY.

(And I'm working on it, I am. I have the fridge stocked with fruit and veg, soy milk and organic yogurt. I've rid the house of Diet Coke (again, sigh) and candy. I'm TRYING. I am.)

mmmmm. Waffles.

What have you done lately that you feel bad about?

Writing to keep from laughing

on 27 October 2009

The Boy is trying to run.

At least this is what I suspect. He's more than generally clumsy lately and watching him walk is cracking me up! I don't normally feel guilty for laughing at my child, but I suspect he's not being clumsy on purpose so I feel a bit bad.

Allow me to attempt to describe this to you...

He starts off at a walk but soon just the toes of his left foot are touching down as he attempts to trot, but his right leg can't quite keep up with his over-exuberant left leg and so he generally stumbles. Then, catching himself before he crashes down, he slows, walks, and a goose getting ready for take-off, he speeds up again and soon we're back to just the toes of the left foot and THEN! CRASH!

Don't worry. He's ok. He's also taken to carrying his favorite blanket around with him everywhere he goes and he usually crashes down on top of the blanket which cushions his fall.

And in case you're at all concerned, he's much better. After two days on antibiotics he was back to his normal self and I was just coming down with his plague. Apparently, he got the better drugs because after a week on my antibiotics I am not measurably better...needless to say, he's running circles around me. Fortunately for me, he's not very coordinated.

Drawn and Quartered

on 26 October 2009

And so we come to the end of the Travel Posts. I have learned some stuff, oh yes I have. And this is the part where I share it with you.

I was packing up in New York to fly back to North Carolina. Back to my Boy. Back to our life, his and mine. But I was flying without Chris. My Man. And thus, I was miserable.

As we hung out and talked that night, I was telling him that this must be the modern day equivalent of being drawn and quartered.

When it was just us, just me and Chris, I never felt pulled in any particular direction. We spent time together, he and I, but if I wanted to do my own thing, I did it. If I wanted to go my own way, I went. I didn't feel pulled or tugged or pushed or torn. Now that we have the Boy, that's all different.

I feel pulled in 3 different directions most of the time. I feel torn when I can't be in all places all at once. It physically hurts to have to choose one over the other, even if it's just for a short time. I can only imagine that this is going to get worse as we add other children in to the mix.

But fly away, I had to. And I did. And I hugged and kissed my reluctant and decidedly ANNOYED Boy. He sulked and howled and pushed me away. And it hurt, but I would do the same thing again. Chris and I were before the Boy was. And We will be, when the Boy goes his own way. We have to nurture what we have, sometimes that means that we choose to spend our time and energy doing just that.

But, when I got in the car to drive home the next day, I could feel it again...that insistent pull, drawing us home, fasterfasterfaster, pushpushpush, don't stop, don't take a break, drivedrivedrive until you're home and all together again. The Boy screamed for the last 3 hours of the drive (and I mean, 3 HOURS, I cried with him for the last 45 minutes or so...).

Chris really believes that Love is Liberating. It sets you free. I've been skeptical of that, and I think that I feel more comfortable now saying that no, Love is not Liberating. Love binds us to others, it subjugates our will, our freedom to come and go at will, and ties us to someone else. And yes, we want it, we choose it, but it's still a binding and confining thing. We sacrifice ourselves to be drawn and quartered again and again because we love them.

Some things I never thought I would do...

on 23 October 2009

Stay in a swanky resort. (Chris was there for a hoity-toity conference for Georgia Healthcare professionals and he wanted me and the Boy to come along and it is entirely possible that it was the WORST idea he has EVER had.)

Order room service (TWICE!) in a swanky resort.

Send text messages to Whimsy from the bathroom of said swanky resort.

Consume the aforementioned room service in the dark because the Boy was not asleep and it was an HOUR past his bed time and eating in the bathroom just seems wrong, while texting in the bathroom is perfectly logical.

You know. I've heard that marriage is compromise, but I don't you think that might have been taking it a bit too far?

Broadway, Baby

on 22 October 2009

I used to perform...on the STAGE. Shocking, I know. When I was in high school and early on in college I performed in plays and musicals. It was something to do...and at the time it was a fun sort of release from the mundane.

What? You want to know what musicals? Well, ok...Me and My Girl, Anything Goes, Imaginary Invalid, Servant of Two Masters, and Washington Square. More plays than musicals, turns out I'm a much better actress than I am a DANCER (which, I am not at all).

Anyway, for a brief period of time I dreamed of seeing a show on Broadway...I knew it was expensive, but it was just something I wanted to have done once in my life. But then I grew up. I became even more practical and let that dream go. I had better ways to spend the money and the time.

So when Chris' co-worker asked him if we wanted tickets to see Jersey Boys I said that it wasn't a big deal to me, and that I thought he would enjoy just walking around a people-watching more than sitting in a dark theater. So we said no.

And that night, after the fancy dinner, we did just that. We walked around, we people watched, we considered going for a night-bus tour of the city but lo, it was RIDICULOUSLY expensive so we did not.

The next day I got a text message from Chris saying something along the lines of, "MS (another colleague of his) got us tickets to see Chicago tonight. I don't think we can say no." So I thought, "Um. Ok. I guess we're going to go see a show."

We got all dolled up again. Went to a fancy steakhouse (ate at the bar, just appetizers, natch), and headed over to the theater.

First, let me say this, the theaters are a lot smaller than I had originally thought they would be. The show was amazing, of course, the sound was a bit too loud (the singers were sometimes incoherent because of it), but all in all it was GREAT.

That said, and at the risk of sounding prudish or self-righteous (two things I try to avoid) can I just say, I don't get it? Not anymore apparently. I don't get why 10 men and women prancing about a stage in what is effectively lingerie and singing about alcohol, illicit sex, and murder is ART. And I like to think that I have good, discerning, aesthetic taste, but I don't see how that's art. They had beautiful voices, and AMAZINGLY toned bodies, but I still don't see the ART in me, that's Hollywood, not really ART.

But I could be mistaken. It's happened before.

Anyway, I'm grateful to have had the experience, it was certainly something that I'll never forget.

Chinatown: but I left my passport at home...

on 21 October 2009

Chris' friend Jefe has been raving about soup dumplings for quite some time, and so it was that we went to Chinatown in the company of Chris' other friend Dave for soup dumplings and knock-offs.

(I have admitted that I was more than a bit nervous about the knock-off expedition. I had heard it was a sometimes scary affair and I honestly don't want or need a handbag badly enough to get in trouble for it. But...I can see we're getting ahead of ourselves.)

We took the subway to Chinatown, Canal Street to be exact. We wandered for a while and I wondered why I hadn't been asked to show a passport. I heard a cacophony of languages (seldom English), we saw fruit and vegetable stands with unrecognizable produce, were solicited for "massages" that I'm pretty sure weren't really massages, and we finally came to the soup dumplings.

We were seated at a table and were joined by 3 other hipster looking fellows. Dave immediately began ordering a TON of food for us, only to inform us that he thinks he may have picked something up in Peru while he was there and wasn't feeling great, so we were going to have eat ALL of this. I immediately started to feel bad that we had dragged poor Dave away from his bed and his own bathroom to tote us around Chinatown, but he waved off my sympathetic overtures and well...then the food started to arrive.

He had ordered us a scallion cake and "vegetarian duck" of which I was IMMEDIATELY skeptical. It was thinly shaved tofu, marinated and then roasted, and then wrapped around marinated mushrooms and then the whole dish is served cold. It was good, but I think it would have been better hot. The scallion cake was awesome.

I had ordered Pan Fried Rice Noodles, expecting them to be similar to Thai noodles (Thai food being the one food I could eat every day for the rest of my life and be perfectly happy), and lo, they were NOT. They were totally DIFFERENT from Thai noodles. They seemed to have been boiled first, and then laid out flat and then fried crispy. They were topped with some really yummy veggies. Chris had ordered Pan Fried Rice Cakes (with chicken I think) and oh dear, they were delightful. They were disks of thick rice noodle that had been stir fried until they were soft and ever so slightly gooey. This, he had in addition to the soup dumplings, of which there isn't a vegetarian option.

Look how happy he is!

From there we just wandered. We wandered the side streets and the alley ways, the main thoroughfares and pedestrian only by-ways. We wandered into shops and browsed. I guess I thought that the knock-offs would be sort of in plain sight, but they weren't. I guess I was also expecting that be a bit more assertive than they were. Dave finally suggested that we just start asking them if they have "anything else". And I say we, because while I was looking for a knock-off bag, Chris was looking for a knock-off watch. A Faux-lex to be exact. So, getting into the spirit of things, I started to ask.

We saw cops walk by pretty frequently which spooked me and I was ready to let it go and head back to civilization but Chris was insistent (he was having FUN. Thought it was an ADVENTURE. Yes, this is the crazy man I married).

We entered this odd little shop. Narrow at the front, with just a small counter for watches and a large wall of perfumes and then it opened up at the back with handbags in various shapes and sizes hanging from the walls. Stacks of luggage rested against all of the walls...all but one. And if you looked up the wall you could see the cut out of a Super Secret Door. when I asked the woman if this was all she had, she tugged on my arm and said, "What you want?" And I said, "Um, I don't know, something red maybe?"

(Now I know why she looked at me funny because as we were waiting, women would come in chanting designer names: GUCCI-COACH-PRADA-LOUISVITTON-FENDI. And the woman would nod her head and take them back. Who knew? I guess you have to know what designer you want and then go looking for that...I don't know designers, 8 times out of 10 I still carry a diaper bag! And the handbags I have and carry know...JC Pennys cheapo on sale-o.)

Anyway, she looked at me weird and went through the Super Secret Door and brought out a BIG red bag with Gucci stamped on the front. I said, "Hmmmm. Ok." I was nervous and just wanted to be out of there. But Chris was looking at the bag and looking at me and said, "No. What else do you have?" And they started listing colors, at which point I came alive again and said, "I would probably use black more..." So she brought it out. The perfect black handbag. Well, it's perfect for me right now. I don't usually abide by large handbags, I like something just big enough for my wallet, my keys and my phone. Maybe a chapstick if it's more than just one errand. But now that the Boy is bigger, I really need something that will hold a snack up and a sippy cup and maybe something to distract him if necessary, so a bigger handbag was very much in order. And it's perfect. Soft black leather (it's probably pleather, but oh well), two big pockets with a zipper pocket dividing them. A small pouch for my cell and a bigger pouch for my keys. Big enough for a book and my other essentials in addition to the Boy's essentials. It's lovely. I care not a whit for what is written on the front. And I got it at a good price, she wanted more but I told her, I'm not paying more than $ __ and I meant it. She could tell. She said, "Ok." Bagged it up, took the cash and Chris asked about watches.

Here is where our luck ran out. They had to call someone else to bring them over. They took FOREVER. And when they got there (arriving in a beat-up Gap bag), Chris tried on a couple, they were big and flashy and not really what I'm accustomed to seeing on the arm of my beloved. But he selected one that he liked, bargained the guy down, watched the guy set the time and the (incorrect) date and off we walked.

Chris started fiddling with it on the next block. He realized the date was incorrect and was trying to correct it. Only to realize that he COULDN'T. Nothing he did would change the date or time. He fiddled with and fiddled with it and fiddled with it. All the way back out to Canal Street. All the way back to Times Square on the subway. All the way back to the hotel room. Once back in the hotel room, the watch finally STOPPED. DEAD. As a doornail.

Can I just say for a moment how hard it was NOT to laugh? I know I shouldn't. And I didn't laugh in front of him...but I just thought, "We deserve this! For trying to get something for next to nothing!" Anyway, Chris is still smarting at the rip off. He messed with the watch the rest of the weekend, but finally concluded that he's just going to have his plain watch repaired (the band is broken and the battery is dead) and someday when our finances are GREENER, he'll get a fancy watch.

That night was the fancy pants work dinner. We got dolled up and headed down to meet up with the rest of his colleagues. We went to this restaurant called Remi. It was a lovely Italian restaurant. I ordered Parpadelle with wild mushrooms in truffle oil and it was so good I could have BATHED in it. Once over, we walked with everyone to the theater (they were all going to see Jersey Boys, but Chris and I had opted out of it) and then we headed back to Times Square.

Chris' boss, we'll call him GRC, had a small fit that we weren't joining them for the show. Such a fit that he started machinations for us for the following night. But that is a tale for tomorrow.

Have you seen this?

on 20 October 2009

I've been watching this series that NBC is doing on Women.

Have you SEEN this?

So far as I can tell, we are ALL unhappy. Miserable. Indefinably morose. With careers or without. With children or without. Old and young. Black and white. Blah and blah blah blah.

And then the EXPERTS go on to talk about BALANCE. Like it is a pill to be prescribed by someone in a white coat. Like it's some oasis on the horizon and if we just focus and BALANCE then we will ALL be magically HAPPY.

Let me tell you what I think.

BALANCE is a MYTH. A big, FAT media-perpetuated MYTH to make us all feel MORE inadequate.

Want to know some of my secrets to contentment (I hate the word HAPPY. Happy is FLEETING, it's TEMPORARY, FICKLE and EPHEMERAL, so I refuse to use it or to seek it. I look for contentment, I look for PEACE.)? Two things (well, more than that, but I have that link over to your right about what we believe, that's a big part of it, but not the point of this post): PRIORITIZATION and MODERATION.

Revolutionary, I know.

I have never been one of those women who wanted to have it ALL. I'm not capable of BALANCE. I know this about myself so I spare myself the frustration and depression and I don't chase after that illusion. Instead, I prioritize what I must do, what I need to do and what I want to do. The rest, I let it go. Someone else will do it, some where along the way.

After that? I remember this: Moderation in ALL things. That statement shifts in meaning if you shift the emphasis, this is where I place it. And I remind myself that there are times and seasons in our lives...we're just not meant to have it ALL, ALL AT ONCE. We have kids when we're younger because we can't keep up with them when we're OLD. But you know what we CAN do when we're old? We can travel and sew and read and write and serve (in ways we can't do when we have kids).

I think I've watched the last segment of this series that I can stomach, if they try to tell me one more time how to be HAPPY, I think my a** will begin to TWITCH. (name that movie!)

A random and unconnected list of nonesense.

Why is it that when your child is sick you seem to have these reservoirs of patience that you don't have access to when they're healthy? The Boy is SICK (all caps), he's got a sinus infection and his first ever ear infection and let me tell you--it sucks. He and his mucus went to the doctor today and even the doctor was impressed with the state of infection in my child's facial orifices. He dispatched a prescription to the pharmacy and we picked it up and began it posthaste. Here's hoping he actually sleeps tonight.


I am getting sicker. If someone could please explain how I am supposed to take care of the aforementioned non-sleeping child while I am sick and also not sleeping, I welcome the advice.


I had arranged to have the same friend come in to take care of the cats while we were in New York and then in Callaway Gardens, only I told her the wrong dates for Callaway Gardens because there is too much (TOO MUCH) in my brain right now. The cats are fine, they were hungry when we got back and Leike was a bit sulky, but fine. I, on the other hand, am still eaten up with guilt.


I have been amusing myslef with C Jane's archives and Little Dorritt alternately. They're both lovely in their own ways.


As the mother of a currently sick child I would like to confess that I suck. I let him eat junk food (all he ate yesterday was pumkin bread and milk), watch movies (Little Dorritt, anyone?) and cuddle me until we're both sweaty. I get nothing done, I do nothing to enrich his mind or his body which, when you think about the fact that he's sick, seems sort of counterintuitive.


And on that note, I am throwing in the towel. I have not done laundry (though the pile is now so high that when you add something to it, it rolls down to the floor), I have not cleaned the apartment, I have not exercised, I have not made bread, read a book or written to my grandmother. I have done nothing but keep my child alive and realtively calm for the past two days and so far there is no relief in sight.


I have one more post from New York (at least) and at least one from Callaway Gardens, but they require editing and I have neither the time, energy, not mental facilities for it just now...just know that they're coming and they're somewhat entertaining. I can't promise completely entertaining until we're all healthy. So, November, right?

Someone cheer me up, please. What are you (or your kids) going to be for Halloween? I bought the Boy a little skeleton costume because I think the sight of it on his fluffy cloth diaper bum will be HILARIOUS and I am all about my own amusement for nonsensical holidays such as this one. Tell me that we will all be healthy again soon. Tell me what you're reading right now or what I should be reading if I weren't the chaise lounge for a sick child.

The Sacred Spaces

on 19 October 2009

When I got back to NC, my mom asked me what my favorite thing was that I had done while in New York.

I thought for a minute and replied with the Public Library and St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Which surprised even me because I hadn't planned to see either of them.

Thursday morning came. Chris got up too early, headed down and was the first one at early registration. He registered and came back up stairs to hang out with me while I pondered and planned. We watched the news and chatted sleepily--something we never get to do and therefore a novelty. He finally headed back downstairs for breakfast and his first class and I headed for a hot shower and my Search for Bagels.

My plan was just to wander until I found bagels and then to head in the general direction of the Public Library. I had been told, when we joined the group for drinks the night before (we were the only ones drinking water), that the Public Library was indeed impressive as was St. Patrick's Cathedral and they were relatively close and FREE so I thought I would check them out.

I found the Bagel Bar. And a choir of angels started to sing. Their bagels were full and soft and chewy and once toasted they achieved a perfectly crunchy crust. I ordered 2 whole wheat ones, both toasted but only one with cream cheese. I picked up a diet coke, double-checked the map and off I walked. I knew that Bryant Park was adjacent to the library so I had intended to settle myself there in order to fully appreciate my bagels.

I found Bryant Park with no problem at all. I found a quiet seat with a table on a tree-lined walk and a view of 2 men playing chess and a couple of cops eating donuts. I pulled out my Isaac Babel and my bagels and settled down for breakfast. The story I just happened to be on was "Public Library" which I thought fitting. I read and I ate and I people-watched and I listened to the sounds of the city and the people around me.

I sent Chris a text message that said, "Do two bagels and a diet coke consumed in Bryant Park make for a perfect breakfast? Why yes, I think they do." He got a chuckle out of that, but I'm pretty sure he was jealous.

The Library didn't open until 10am and while I was waiting a woman (a NATIVE) walked up and asked me for directions. I hesitated for a minute, not sure if she was serious but then shrugged and gave her directions and then laughed after she was gone.

Once the library opened, I headed in. There was the habitual security line with the obligatory bag search and then up up up the long staircase and along the hallway and then...then...

The main reading room.

There's a reason the light is golden and the ceiling is painted with clouds like the heavens.

Because this is what Heaven looks like. Books line the walls, long and wide tables with soft lighting. Plenty of space to spread out. The chair wrap around your back so you can sit up or slouch comfortably. I settled down and read two more stories before getting up to wander.

The New York Public Library is a library like European libraries where the public doesn't actually have ACCESS to the Books. But they do have an ample staff of qualified librarians who will obtain the books you want and bring them to you at your request. I didn't request anything, I had hoped to wander the Slavic section, but instead contented myself with the reading room and in my wanderings, who did I happen to find?

Jane Austen.


Charles Dickens.

I swear. It's like I have some kind of programming that leads me to them where e'er I may wander.

I found another hall that had some lovely paintings of authors, but then realized that I was starting to run short on time, so I headed down to St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Now. I'm not Catholic. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But I am someone who can appreciate a wide variety of sacred spaces. I actually find it quite thought provoking to visit the sacred spaces of other religions and says A LOT about the people who build them and worship there.

I've visited a variety of cathedrals before, but not for quite some time. It was awe-inspiring to be in one again.

The space itself is amazing. It's HUGE. With stained-glass windows all around. They were getting ready for 12 o'clock mass so the organist was playing and there were Catholics praying in various languages all around me. I sat down in the middle and said a quiet prayer for my Boy, my Husband, my family.

And I thought about that wonderful story from Elijah:

He's hiding, fearing for his life, and he begins to despair and as he prays he says, "I, even I only, am left; they seek my life, to take it away. And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still, small voice." (1 Kings 19: 11-12)

I was thinking of how we build the grand, spacious, beautiful, intimidating spaces in which to worship God. And yet. He's not in those Grand, Expansive, Elaborate spaces. He is in the still, small voice. He's in our Homes. He's in our families. He's in the quiet (well, mostly quiet), comfortable, cozy, simple spaces where we live our daily lives. If we let Him in.

I got up quietly and slipped out.

The Deluge

on 17 October 2009

Hey, you know what's super AWESOME.

Coming home from 2 weeks of exhausting travel only to find that you are ALL sick! I LOVE that.

The Boy started coming down with it this morning, AKA our first morning back at home. Though it's entirely possible that 2 of his 3 hours of screaming in the car yesterday may have been due to the impending Sick.

I blame Chris.

Chris in turn blames New York, he came home from said metropolis a bit under the weather. It seems there is something in that vast ultra-urban setting that his body reads as FOREIGN! and DANGEROUS! And is attempting to expel with chest cracking coughs.

I am (so far) the least sick, whether it's because I am just barely starting with it, or because I have somehow won the Blessings from Heaven lottery, I know not. I have been elected to stay home with the Boy tomorrow as it is our ward's primary program and Chris is the one who has been to all the rehearsals. I'm sure he'll rock. He's got this amazing phlegmy voice right now...

And in spite of being sick, it's just so darn good to be home. We're having this freakish snap of Fall-ish weather (I didn't have to turn the air conditioning on ALL DAY), I chef-ed up 2 pots of soup (chicken noodle for the Sick Man, and minestrone for moi), pumpkin muffins and a loaf of pumpkin bread. I'm all tuckered out.

I have some posts from New York still to go up and a few observations from this past weekend so stay tuned.

I find that I've missed all of you, what are you up to lately?

The Not-so-Fun Friday: Getting Lost, Getting Found

on 16 October 2009

So, I've mentioned before that Friday was the only day I got lost. I shall now commence the Tale of the Friday.

This was the only day I felt indecisive while plotting my day. I had originally planned to see the Ukrainian museum and Little Odessa (out in QUEENS), but then I double-checked the hours and discovered that it wouldn't be possible. I had wanted to see the Jewish Heritage Museum, but it was WAY far away and I didn't relish the idea of taking the subway by myself.

So I laid in bed and stewed and stewed and stewed.

I carefully planned out another itinerary which was all within walking distance, but comprised of sights that I was indifferent about.

So I laid in bed and stewed and stewed and stewed.

The problem was that I could hear my sister's voice in my head. Rolling her eyes and saying, "Oh, M, don't be DUMB. You can take the Subway! Don't be DUMB and you'll be FINE! Just GO. And don't be DUMB. GO." I hated the thought of having to face her and tell her that I hadn't seen the museum because I was too scared to ride the subway by myself.

So I screwed up my courage and got out of bed.

I showered and dressed and headed out with the intention of stopping at the same bagel place I had stopped at the day before, loading up with my bagels and my diet coke and then marching myself to the subway and down to the Jewish Heritage museum. I remembered that I had headed out 46th street the day before so that's the way I headed. But I couldn't remember if the bagel shop was on 9th or 8th and the subway station I needed was on 7th, so I figured I would just walk and keep my eyes open and I would find it.


Yeah. I never did find it. I walked and I walked and I walked and I thought SURE I should have found that bagel shop and if not THAT one, then I should have found ANOTHER bagel shop because, dude, this is NEW YORK, Land of the Hallowed Bagel! But no. I found no other bagel shop. I counted 6 (SIX) Starbucks and 2 diners and 4 pizza joints but NO bagel shops. So in a Low Blood Sugar desperation, I stopped at one of the SIX Starbucks, bought a scone and a big glass of milk and marched myself to the Subway and admitted Bagel Defeat.

I picked up the subway with no trouble, other than being in a car full of Italian students. I drank my milk and people watched and scowled at the Italians with their skinny jeans and high heels.

I got off the subway and walked right down to the museum. I bought my ticket and headed in. And it was absolutely amazing. The first floor was Jewish heritage up to 1930. The second floor was the Holocaust and World War II. The third floor was the Jewish resurgency. It was all amazing...full of life and tradition and hope. I cried three times...well, I'll just show you.

There were ELEVEN (11) of these wall displays. They were 6 feet tall and probably 3 feet wide and filled with tiled photographs of Jews and Jewish families killed in the Holocaust. Attached to each display was a notebook inscribed with the words, "They had homes and families and names." and the notebooks were filled with identifying information of the people in the photographs. It was amazing, you were walking through this maze of faces and the curators had carefully named every one of them.

There was a separate section on each floor for the experience of Jewish children and I have to admit that I cried every time. It was hard to transition from the joy and affection of the children in the pre-1930 section to the absolute horrors of the Holocaust for the children affected by it. Aside from the pictures of the children starving and horrifically abused, there were interviews of adults who had been sent away by their parents before the war began in earnest and how all those years later they still wept for the childhood they had lost, the parents they had lost, the innocence they had lost. It was marvelous and so SO sad.

And then to get up to the third floor and to see the happy faces of Jewish children around the world, in spite of the current violence in Israel. It was lovely.

Chris called just as I was finishing up so we arranged to meet in a cemetery near Ground Zero and to view the sight together. I walked and walked and walked right past Ground Zero and peered into the MASS that the site is now. I expected to feel slightly sick, scared, small, torn. But...I don't know. It's a big construction zone now. It doesn't feel empty or frightening. It feels like a beehive.

We headed up to Central Park for a long meander and then on to the Museum of Modern Art.

Please understand, I am a walker. I prefer to get around on my two feet as God intended. I've walked all over, in Seattle, in Athens, in Germany and Ireland, in Boston and Savannah. But by Friday, I had walked myself into the GROUND. I was exhausted and my feet were killing me. But I had never been to Central Park and I wanted to see it and spend time with Chris. So off we went.

We got off somewhere in the middle on the West side of Central Park and just wandered. And it's GORGEOUS. Right there in the middle of this enormous city is this great swath of green and almost fresh air. It's not quiet, but it's quieter than the city bits. We walked and chatted and laughed. We pointed out New York Hair for the Blog Post that Was Not to Be. We stopped and bought frozen custard cones and they were DELICIOUS.

mmmmm...frozen custard.

We were looking for an Alice in Wonderland sculpture because Chris really wanted to see it. He said he felt like Alice the whole time, lost in Wonderland and not sure of how to get out again. Unfortunately we weren't sure of where we were at this point, nor of how to get to the Alice and Wonderland sculpture, so we just kept on wandering.

We found this awesome bridge with an amazing view...

You'll just have to take our word for it that the view was great. What? Chris NEVER smooches me in public, I was enjoying my fleeting moment of Public Affection.

We actually DID find the Alice in Wonderland statue but some film students were filming some scene for some amateur film that will very probably suck, so we didn't get a picture.

We were trying to kill time because the Museum of Modern Art is free of charge from 4-8 on Fridays and we were trying to see Monet's Waterlilies. It was painted in 3 panels and they're almost never displayed together, but the MoMA had them all three hung together and we really wanted to see it, but my husband is CHEAP, so we were trying to time it just right so as to not have to PAY to see it.

So in our rambles through Central Park we saw these crazy street performers. They were pretty funny and moderately talented.

After walking and walking and walking (until I could no longer feel my weary feet) we ended up on 5th avenue and headed towards the museum.

We walked through the doors and oh, my...someone catch me I am going to FAINT for it was literally body to body PACKED. LOADED. AT CAPACITY. FULL of PEOPLE. We got two of the last tickets available and headed up to see the Waterlilies.

You have to understand, at this point, I was at maximum saturation, overstimulation, need-to-hide in order to absorb everything. But Chris? Chris had been stuck in a boring conference all morning! This was an ADVENTURE! FUN! C'mon! Let's GO! So up up up the stairs we went. We joined the throngs there to see the paintings. I have to admit, it was impressive. But I was relieved to be out of there.

We headed back to the hotel because Chris finally realized that I had had ENOUGH. I ran a warm bath and soaked for a while before we had to head out to dinner.

Which is another story for another time...

The Grown-up World

on 15 October 2009

The last time I was in New York I was much younger. Still an adult (in my early 20s) but not quite an know. Still reliant on my sister to get us around, content to go where she decided and to see what she deemed necessary. Before that I had been when I was 17 and I was with my parents and my older sister and her family. So I have never really been to New York in a situation where I had to make the decisions and get myself around town.

It was weird.

The other element to this comparative exercise is that both of those earlier visits were pre-9/11. The are glossed over with a golden light. In truth, I remember very little. I know that on the first visit the World Cup was being held there and the hockey team...not the Knicks, or the Jets or the Yankees or the Mets the other ones...the RANGERS! (and yes, I had to ask Chris what their name was...) had just won the Stanely Cup. I remember this because there was a ticker-take parade and I had never seen anything like it. I remember Jeff got us all sandwiches from Carnegie Deli that were so big they wouldn't fit in your mouth...I remember the statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. But that's it. I think maybe we took the subway. I can't remember if we walked all over, I don't remember shopping or anything specific. After that, in my 20s I remember the Natural History museum. They were having an exhibit on Native North Americans and it was very good. But again, I don't really remember anything else, other than being with my sister. I never felt indecisive, I never looked at a map, I never felt unsure or nervous about anything.

Now? Well, it's just different when you're the grown-up. And well, we live in a different world now.

Now there are mandatory bag checks in almost all public places. There are metal detectors almost everywhere. There are police and mean looking security gaurds everywhere. And no one, NO ONE questions any of this. No one feels like it's an imposition, people wait patiently in the long security lines, people happily strip off shoes, belts, scarves, hats, bags, headphones, and empty pockets every where you go. It's this extraordinary apathy, this acceptance that this is simply the world in which we live now. What is depressing is that no one seems to remember that other time. That time before when we could just walk in to a building, when security gaurds smiled and a woman could carry tampons in her bag without everyone else visiting a building knowing about it.

The planning part was puzzling but also fun. Chris would get up and get dressed for the conference and I lounged in bed with my guidebook and my map and plotted my day based on the sights I wanted to see and the routes I would take to get there. Up and dressed. Game face on. Long strides and a quick pace. Act like you know what you're doing and no one will question you.

Except to ask you for directions, which I got on my second day there. I smiled and told the woman exactly how to get to where she was headed.

The difficulty factor was raised by trying to mesh my agenda with Chris' and our determination to spend time together. And then there are the limitations of certain museums or sights. The Ukrainian museum was only open 1-5pm Wednesday through Saturday, and since Chris wasn't interested in seeing it, it was quickly axed. Ground Zero and the Jewish Heritage museum were sort of in the same area so I saw the museum and Chris met me at Ground Zero. Ellis Island would take the most time so we went the first day before the conference started. And then there was the pull of the group and the need to network...which, when it wasn't actively complicating things, it was making us feel twinges of guilt for NOT being with the group.

Friday, the only day I got lost, I was bemoaning the loss of my youth and the blessing of having a wonderful and smart older sister to tell me where to go and what to do and how to get there and don't be DUMB. But once I found my feet again, I realized that while it has it's own difficulty, it's still better to be the adult and be free to go and to do and to decide than otherwise.

I wish I could say the same for the world in which we live. I wish I could say that I think we're in a better place, a safer place now than we once were, but...I can't help feeling that something good has gone.

How to Begin...

on 14 October 2009

I feel a bit like Bilbo at the start of the Red Book, I have such a tale to tell but where to begin?

I suppose I begin with leaving...

I think that the Boy's entrance into our lives was difficult because he changed me. Fundamentally. From the version of me that I had been into a new (and probably better) version of myself. The old M is still there, it's the elements, the building blocks that make me who I am, but in thought and actions, I'm different from what I have been. That was really circular, even for me.

When I was packing, I brought out the clothes from my Before I Became a Mom days. Lovely button down shirts, thick cotton sweater vests, belts, scarves, funky socks and clogs. It was so nice to be able to wear the same clothes all day, so nice not to be drooled on, wiped on, snotted on. But oh, then I would feel awful for taking such delight in such a little thing...but that is a whole different ball of guilt.

So, while I was there I felt very much like my old self, I wore the lovely clothes and jewelry. I went where I wanted when I wanted without thinking about someone else's nap schedule or eating habits. I ordered whatever I wanted to eat rather than thinking about what someone else would eat. I had intelligent conversations without singing anything at all. I went to the bathroom by myself.

But at the end of the day, I was missing something, or rather someone. I had a ton of fun, I would do it again in a heartbeat. And believe me, when these opportunities arise, we'll be taking advantage of them. But I still felt like I was missing something. Maybe it was the Boy, but maybe it was ME. The version of myself that I am now, every day.

Elizabeth Gaskell wrote about this conflict in a letter once. She and her family had just moved into a nice, new house and she was writing about her preoccupation with it when she said, "is it right to spend so much ourselves on so purely selfish a thing as a house is, while so many are wanting--thats the haunting thought to me; at least to one of my Mes, for I have a great number, and that's the plague. One of my Mes is, I do believe, a true Christian--(only people call her socialist and communist), another of my Mes is a wife and mother...that's my social self I suppose. Then again, I've another self with a full taste for beauty and convenience which is pleased on its own account. How am I to reconcile all these warring members?"

My experience of the last few days is that maybe it's a choice like most everything else. Maybe we choose which version of ourselves we live...maybe we choose not to be selfish and vain and preoccupied, and instead choose to be patient and kind and generous. I don't know. Maybe this is old news and I'm just behind. I had fun. But it felt a bit like dress-up, where I wasn't quite the most truthful version of myself. And now that we're home and I'm back in my plain, ordinary life, I feel like I'm ME again.

The Blog Posts that Weren't

on 13 October 2009

So, I sent Whimsy this text on the first day in New York about the blog posts that I wanted to write (so badly!) but knew that I could not. I simply could not. So for your amusement, on this Tuesday morning, I provide you with an explanatory list of the Blog Posts that should have been (if I were a meaner girl).

  1. A Photo Essay of New York HAIR. I can't tell you how many bizarre, unkempt or just ugly heads of hair I saw while I was there. There was the long and shaggy 70s man-do, there were mullets to bring a swell of pride to any redneck heart, there were long chunky spikes, bad dye-jobs, mohawks and afros that should NOT have been. There were comb-overs and helmet hair and people who obviously thought they looked fabulous when they left their apartment that morning. When asked why I do not have photographic evidence of this Tour de Force, the reason is simple. I cannot bring myself to surrepitiously take a picture of someone's hair in order to mock them. I just could not do it. I wanted to do it. Chris and I continued to point out examples of horrific hair to one another throughout the visit, but I just couldn't do it. You'll have to take my word for it. It was something else.
  2. A Photo Essay of How all New York Women Look the SAME. I was surprised by this one, but it's true. They all wear the same scarves, they have the same spikey shoes--how they walk in those, I have no idea--they carry the same handbags, they use the same phones and ipods, wear the same style jeans (it's all skinny jeans all the time and really, is there anyone who looks good in those?). It was moderately discomforting to look around and see how homogenous the world is.
  3. A Scratch and Sniff Essay on the following places: the Subway, Hell's Kitchen, Times Square and Ellis Island. Really, people, this is what the internet is MISSING. SMELL. WHEN is Bill Gates going to work this one out? Anyway, I wish you could imagine the variety of these smells. The Subway...oh how it stinks. It's this weird mix of stale air, exhaust fumes, body odor, and bad breath...really bad breath. And what made it even stranger was how you'd find a perfectly tolerable pocket of air and then woosh! you'd get this breeze of stench that would make your face wrinkle up and leave you gasping. Then there was Hell's Kitchen--a neighborhood not far from Times Square. There are TONS of restaurants there, it's eatery after eatery after eatery, a foodie paradise! And you can literally find any ethnicity of food you can imagine, Afghan, Thai, Barbeque, Mexican, Vietnamese, pastries, fresh food markets, delis, diners and Starbucks! Starbucks on every corner imaginable. But the smells! It was AMAZING! You'd be walking down the street and smell something spicey and aromatic and then walk 6 feet and it would be pungent or floral, or sweet or sour or limey. It was extraordinary. I could have spent the day just walking up and down and smelling. Times Square was a bit more exotic than the Subway. Still smelly, but with greater variety...more colognes, more tabacco, more alcohol. Ellis Island? Ellis Island is a treat! You get all of those human smells, soap, sweat, whatever, but then you also have random food smells, and then there's this aromatic patina that's leftover from the years and years that Ellis Island was in operation. It's amazing and indescribable, which is why we need Bill Gates to get on that internet-scratch-and-sniff.


on 12 October 2009

How do you NOT laugh at your child when they're having a temper fit?

I'm just curious, you know. It's not the end of the world because I took away the hair clippies that he was chewing on because I was pretty sure he would choke on them. But there he sits, wailing away like it's the end of the world as he knows it. Is it wrong of me to find this humorous?

For the record, I ignore him. I tell him, that I'm happy to play/cuddle/read with him when he's DONE. But he needs to go and finish that temper fit elsewhere.

It's still really hard not to chuckle.

New York: the Preamble


I have many stories to tell regarding New York, and they'll be told in good time. But, by way of a preamble to a whole New York Series, I thought you'd enjoy some statistics.

New York in Numbers:

  • Plane rides survived: 2
  • taxi rides survived: 1
  • Days spent in the city: 3
  • bagels consumed: 4
  • subway rides: 6
  • times Chris got us lost: 3
  • times I got lost: 1
  • knock-off bags acquired: 1
  • metro cards bought: 3
  • metro cards LOST (on the FIRST DAY!): 1
  • museums visited: 3
  • population: more than 8 million
  • languages spoken there: 170
  • languages I heard while there: Russian, French, Yiddish, Italian, Spanish, Arabic, Thai, Chinese (no, I don't know which dialect...), Vietnamese, oh, and English.
  • blocks walked: 4 million
What we Did:
  • Ellis Island
  • Times Square
  • the NY Public Library
  • St. Patrick's Cathedral
  • Chinatown
  • Museum of Jewish Heritage
  • Ground Zero
  • Museum of Modern Art
  • Broadway
  • Rockefeller Center
  • Central Park
  • the Subway
  • Katz's Deli
  • TWO fancy dinners (I was only expecting ONE...but that's a whole other story)
What we didn't DO:
  • Ukrainian Museum
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Natural History Museum
  • Little Odessa

Back on the Ground

on 10 October 2009


I'm back.

Back in NC that is. My Boy is spoiled rotten and FOUL (with me, he thinks my mom is made of GOLD). We're both exhausted and climbing in the car tomorrow to drive all the way back to GA.

THEN! We get two whole days off and we're off AGAIN! Because I took my extra dose of CRAZY this month.

BUT! I have a TON of new blog posts, some that will be written and posted over the next week, and some that cannot be written but oh how I WISH they could! I shall list them all for your amusement, because after 3 days amusing myself to death, I'm so full of the love for all of you that I'm just going to give give give like the little stream.

For now, I need to go gently wake my sleepy Boy so that he can eat dinner and have a bath and then bed again. I need stretchy pants and curling up on my parents remarkably cozy couch to numb my mind with some television.

So what are your plans for Saturday night?


on 07 October 2009

Why is it that, right before leaving your only child for the first time, you can't seem to remember how awful those first few weeks were? Or the teething that made you want to die? Or the diapers that haunt your dreams?


Why is it that the only child is always lovely and sweet and tender and so SO attatched to you? Why does it hurt my heart so much to leave him behind?


Last night, I fed him dinner. I bathed him. I dressed him in his fleecey pajamas. I held him tightly while he drank warm milk. We brushed teeth. We said prayers. We had a long cuddle in the dark. I explained that Mama had to go away for a little while, but that I would come back. I will always come back. That Grandma and Grandpa love him and won't let anything bad happen. And I will always always come back.

And then I laid him down to sleep and left the room.

I woke up this morning, I dressed in the dark. I zipped my bag and walked out the door. I'm trusting that everything will be ok. I believe that everything will be ok.

It still hurts.

We have Arrived

on 05 October 2009

We're here.

The Boy was awesome. Many prayers were said and heard and answered. And here is a brief list of what I've learned:

  • October is Road Kill Fest on I-95, I saw 4 dead dear, 2 dead foxes, 2 dead opossums and 1 dead and decidedly still recognizable golden retriever. And yes, it made me SAD.
  • A mylar balloon is all it takes to win my Boy over. And endless snack cups.
  • Singing will save your life every time. I sang myself hoarse after 7 hours in the car.
  • Nobody spoils quite like the Grandparents. They had completely won him over within 10 minutes.
  • Some things never change. Home is one of them.

Tomorrow I'm off to catch up with lovely friends. Tuesday is laundry and lots of hugs and kisses for the Boy. Wednesday, off I go...

Lists: The New York Versions

on 02 October 2009


I am getting in my car tomorrow and driving 7 hours north.

With a 14 month old child.

Just the two of us. The whole way. Pray for us sinners.

And because of a sense of my impending doom, I'm feeling lazy as a blogger, and so I am presenting you with the variety of lists floating about in my grey matter regarding this trip. Enjoy!

Things to do in North Carolina:

  • Visit with Mom and Dad and get the Boy acclimated to their house.
  • See my lovely sister and her charming children.
  • Catch up with some lovely friends.
  • Pop in at former workplace to catch up with lovely friends.
  • Get ice cream with another lovely friend--Hi, Mona! You never comment but I KNOW your out there!
  • Get a pedicure with my Mom.
  • Visit with my Grandma
  • Stare into the face of my child and hold and cuddle him before I have to climb into a giant metal tube of death for the flight to New York.
Things to do with Chris in New York:
  • Walk around and people watch.
  • go for Chinese food in Chinatown with Chris' friend Dave.
  • Go to the Met
  • Go to the Natural History museum
  • Eat my weight in bagels (what?)
  • schmooze, mingle, network, hob our nobs off.
Things to do by myself in New York:
  • Ukrainian museum
  • attempt to acquire a knock-off bag (apparently the wife of a coworker knows how to go about doing this and thinks it would be a great adventure for us. I am scared. I have no wish to be kidnapped and sold into white slavery. I am a nice girl, I pay my taxes and have insurance and abide by traffic laws.)
  • attempt to make my way to a section of town known as Little Odessa. It's the Russian section, there are supposedly loads of great Russian bookstores, music store and Russian restaurants. I have no idea where it is or how to get there, but I do have a MAP.
  • consider going for a run in Central Park just to be able to say I did it.
  • Go and see Ground Zero and think.

And now your job begins. I provide you with FREE entertainment and occasionally thought provoking reading material, I need you to tell me what I'm forgetting!

The List of the Boy's Eccentricities

on 01 October 2009

Unfortunately, the Boy's eccentricities are far less entertaining than my own. And it is perhaps when his eccentricities are seen in context with mine that they become FAR more entertaining. But since I'm here for YOU, here is the list.

  • He hates to poop in his diaper. We've already covered this one.
  • He hates cold milk--it should be warm or NOTHING.
  • He likes to pull the blanket over his face when he's falling asleep, which means that about an hour after things get quiet I have to go in there and uncover his face. Most of the time, he's already worked his way out, but you know...I still like to check.
  • He enjoys a refreshing drink (or 8) of his own bath water. Because Baby Boy Broth, mildly seasoned, is delicious.
  • He doesn't care if his food touches (this one drives me CRAZY), in fact, he happily mixes the broccoli with the chicken with the eggs with the fruit and if he spills water over the whole thing, Oh well! Less chewing! La la LAAAA! (Meanwhile, I'm trying not to make Mama is Grossed Out Over Here faces.)
  • He likes to move objects from one container in to another. Apparently, most kids like to just take stuff OUT of containers, mine likes to reorganize. Go figure.
  • He hates to have his bottom teeth brushed. He likes the top ones brushed, but if you try to brush the bottom ones you get a lot of clenched jaw and the tongue pushing the tooth brush OUT. (Yes, we fight him on this one to get the job done.)
  • He has a Toy of the Day (over and above his binkit, that is, his blanket). At some point in the morning he picks one Toy that becomes the Magical Object of the Day and if he drops it or loses it or is in any way divided or sundered from this Toy, then WOE, WOE to Boy! (And it's totally obscure things too, like a chapstick or an unused key chain or a travel pack of tissues.)
  • He loves to look out the window but gets freaked out when he sees the wind moving the trees and the plants. And yes, I have tried to explain to him that it's just the wind and nothing to be scared of, but he's what? almost 15 months, he can't quite grasp that concept yet. In the meantime, I sit next to him and he holds on to the collar of my shirt with a Death Grip by turns captivated and terrified. (We went outside Tuesday afternoon because the weather was bearable and he made the connection between the wind and the plants moving and it was adorable to see him warm up to the friendly waving plant!)
  • Like all kids, he loves to read the same couple of books over and over and over and over again, but really it's just certain PAGES that he likes. For example, in Goodnight Moon, it's the page that is "good night stars, good night air..." and in The Going to Bed Book it's the last page that says, "The moon is high, the sea is deep, they rock and rock and rock to sleep." And in the Very Hungry Caterpillar he just endures the other pages in order to get to SATURDAY. He'll put both hands palm down on either side of the Saturday Page and hold it there for 10 minutes if allowed. He pokes his right index finger into each and every hole SEVERAL times. He takes particular delight in the "1 piece of chocolate cake" and "1 slice of swiss cheese". I don't know why.
  • The Boy is a Fruit Bandit. (Though, I'm not sure if this counts as an eccentricity so much as something that just sort of irritates me, but also makes me happy and so I'm complaining/bragging about it.) We have fruit every afternoon for a snack and he eats whatever I give him, usually it's bananas because they are his favorite. And I prefer apples, so lately he's taken to shoving every piece of banana in his mouth and then begging for my apple. I'm so happy that he begs for healthy food that, of course, I give it to him. But then! He shoves a big bite of apple in his mouth and continues to beg until he has big bites in each fist and as soon as his mouth is empty he shoves one handful in the now empty mouth and comes begging for ANOTHER handful. And this repeats until the apple is gone. Greedy little fruit bandit, isn't he?
I'm sure there's more, but I'm hungry and he's hungry and I really should feed us both. So, now it's your turn, in what ways are your kids eccentric?