Sunday, December 30, 2007

Step away from the spoon (Or, some gratuitous photos of bubba)

Bubba has his first attachment to an object. Not a blanket or a teddy wooden spoon. Not a wooden spoon that was a Christmas gift from the Wooden Spoon Toy Company picked out by his loving mother Spare No cruddy old spoon that I don't even know where it came from. That I wouldn't even cook with.

Kind of charming, eh? I swear none of these photos were posed. He has been clutching it for days, and pity the fool who tries to take it away from him.

Here is the precious thing itself (aren't you jealous he found it first?). Shouldn't be too hard to spot as we go about our daily activities:

Hanging out with dad:

Don't touch my spoon, lady.


(Note that b does not know how to use spoon to eat)

On a walk:


On the changing table:

And because the internet really needs a photo of my b##bies, he won't even let go of the spoon for the Amazing Nursing Adventure, aka The Best Thing Ever:

(Why yes, I took this photo myself. Since you asked.)

And of course:

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I'm so not as cool as Queen Elizabeth

Sigh. I am a shameless royal watcher. Love them all. Love Britain because of them. Envy Britain because they have them. Love their crazy antics and watching them all figure out how to be celebrities and regular folks all at once and still make time for all that pomp and charity.

I was eight when Prince Charles married Lady Diana. Talk about eight-year-old girl crack--I have been hooked ever since. I didn't get to watch it live like the REST OF THE UNIVERSE because of my parents and their "we don't own a TV" shenanigans. Didn't mind most of the time, but seriously? The Royal Wedding? Come on.

I have stood by them through thick and thin. I had crushes on Charles and Andrew. I turned a blind eye to Charles's antics turned true true love with Camilla and rooted for Diana out there in the mine fields. Now I have crushes on William and Harry. It's like my DUTY as a bajillionth generation loyal subject whose ancestors rebelled against the tyranny of theirs. (Me? Totally not a rebel or a pioneer, reason #786 why I don't deserve to live in Seattle. I would totally have stayed in England and had a cuppa tea humming God Save the King, much less come to Plymouth Rock and such. If I had, never would have made it from there out west. Total pansy.) And they are all led by their stalwart and lovely matriarch, the lady who married for love and serves the kingdom tirelessly. Dude, and she had four kids while ruling said kingdom. Queen Elizabeth.

Love her. As if it couldn't get any better, this year she did her Christmas address on YouTube. She totally rocks. Love her more now.

The only thing I have ever collected, besides stickers--Royal Family memorabilia. I have postcards, collectors magazines, spoons. I may just schlep it all to Antiques Road Show one day. How cool would that be? As if I could ever part with it.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Happy Christmas from us here in the balmy Northwest!

May your children be clean and helpful.

And grateful.

And may your neighbors give you an eggplant.

Now go back to your family fun! Shoo!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

What is your hometown claim to fame?

Mine? Crayola crayons.

Bubba has recently started coloring, thanks to his father who thought that daddy-bubba coloring time was a good idea (he also thinks crawling and walking are good ideas...whatever. He seems intent on facilitating the disappearance of my eight-pound baby). And so Jeff comes bouncing home from the store with Crayola crayons. Memmmmmm...reeeeeeez...all alone in the mooooon..liiiiight....

Several of my friends worked in the Crayola factory for summer jobs. They hated getting assigned to the chalk department because of the dust. I've never been there myself but seriously. Crayola crayons. Who on this earth has not heard of Crayola crayons? It kind of makes me famous by association. I know what you're just sort of sensed that I seemed special, different, headed for greatness, right? Now you know.

At least there were no cheap waxy knockoffs in our school, we got the real deals. It still gives me a little thrill to see "Easton, PA" on every box, though I see they have outsourced some of their manufacturing to south of the border.

If you go to my hometown you can even visit the Crayola Factory Discovery Center. Which of course they didn't build until after I moved away so I missed out on the fun. I don't have any people left in Easton except a few school friends but totally planning to take bubba there some day. Crayons!

(This may actually be marker art. But it's Crayola marker art.)

Other claims to fame? Larry Holmes, the boxer. Mike and Ike's candy. Bethlehem Steel. And Allentown, from the Billy Joel song? Right down the road (listen to the song here). Totally depressing, but we loved it, and it is still on the radio there all the time. I was in a friend's wedding in Colorado a few months ago and she had them play this first at the reception. We were all, woooooooooo! ALLENTOWN!

Now you go! (Wait! Is this a MEME?) You are prolly from somewhere way awesomer like Manhattan and famous for the Rainbow Room or something. That's cool. I can take my crayons there, order scrapple, and color on their tablecloth.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Our Kauai trip by number

Days of travel-free vacation: 13
Days it rained: 13
Days there were rainbows: 13
Days we went to the beach: 13

Naps I wanted: 13
Naps I had: 2
Naps bubba had: 26
Pretty drinks I wanted: 13
Pretty drinks I had: 10
Evenings with my man: 13
Number of banana trees outside our cottage knocked down in storm: 1

Days we had fresh island-grown fruit: 13

Coffee plantations visited: 1

Days we drank locally grown coffee: 13

Houses on our road falling into the ocean from beach erosion: 2

Stretches of our road falling into the ocean from beach erosion: 1

Days I fretted about global warming: 13

Days bubba got to be naked in the sun like the tanned Italian baby down the beach: 0

Looks from hot Italian mother of tanned Italian baby that said in international mother-mother language "you are a lame-#ss": like 4, maybe 5
Days bubba got to be naked in the shade because I am so not a lame-#ss: 13

Sets of matching daddy-bubba aloha shirts purchased: 1

Green vegetables consumed besides avocados: 0
Days totally amazing and sublime perfect Hawaiian salty sweet Asian rice snacks, snacks involving macadamia nuts, or Maui onion flavored potato chips purchased and consumed to "support the local economy": 13
Days chocolate ice cream consumed, again to support the local economy: 5

Trips to local urgent care clinic to get bubba's ear infection treated: 1

Trips up the mountain to perilous 3600 feet deep canyon that I was terrified to stand near because clearly I would fall in isn't it obvious but stood for "scale" for Jeff's pictures because I'm nice like that: 1

Minutes I spent after 30 minute drive up to canyon looking in canyon: 1

Hours they delayed our flight home before cancelling it all together: 7
Number of times we boarded the plane and "prepared for takeoff" before they cancelled it all together because of a "funny noise" in the brakes: 3
Number of hours it said on our itinerary it would take to get home: 10
Number of hours it took us to get home: 27

Total days I spent with my husband and son with no work or computers or phone calls: 15
Days I thought, this is awesome: 15

Monday, December 17, 2007

Eight brushes with fame

Hello! Back from Hawaii all rested and would be more tan if I wasn't such a loser about sun protection. Returned to a TAG! Yay! Thanks again, SheShe.

So while my brain gets back into gear here tis:

1. Totally waited on Ted Lange (aka Isaac from The Love Boat)

2. Ran into Bill Clinton in the bookstore in Reagan National airport after he left the White House. Turned into the new fiction aisle and literally ran into him and his tall broad chest. I felt safe and loved instantly. He had me at "hi there."

3. Speaking of running into people, I also ran into Ric Ocasek from The Cars on the street in Greenwich Village in Manhattan. Very tall man.

4. While ushing for my hometown's local theater I talked with George Burns for a bit and got his autograph.

5. I worked with Joshua Bell's cousin's wife for a few years. I never met him but I loved the stories of parties at his Manhattan pad and how he was booked up for three years out and such.

6. Because of random series of events that I will post about in excruciatingly painful detail should it ever come to pass, there is a fair-to-middlin' chance that I will meet Martha Stewart sometime in the next year. How AWESOME would that be? And I don't even deserve it because I am the least crafty person ever. I'll be all, what's a doily?

7. Saw Ralph Fiennes in Manhattan. Did not run into him or talk to him, but there you have it. He is yummy, as near as I can tell.

8. Michael Jordan and I share an alma mater (University of North Carolina Chapel Hill). While I was there he gave some money to open up a center there, and I snuck in to the press conference to get a look at him. At one point we were the two tallest people in the room, and he looked at me, and he WINKED. I swear he did. My feet didn't touch the floor for days.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Bubba TV

See you in a couple of weeks!
Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 30, 2007

Thanks, day THIRTY!


"All you have to do:
Post each day in November."
WHAT? An understatement.

I felt the burn, but
I SO did that daily post.
I win! Victory.

I write better now
Now a well-oiled blog machine.
New blogger friends too

Now time for a break
Off to warm place for awhile
To think up new posts

Thirty days of thanks
Thank you, boogiemum, thank you
Thanks, NaBloPoMo

I hope you check back in mid-December for my triumphant return. It's been a fun and wild month, and surprisingly intense. Think of me here, recuperating, nursing my mouse finger back to health with margaritas and long naps.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thanks, day twenty nine

Thank you for all your good wishes for bubba's birthday! We are blessed indeed. I'm (finally) about full up with all my memories and attending nostalgia and sniffles. But one last hurrah--since today is the actual day, here is what I made to show at his birthday party tonight. See, we do actually call him bubba, for real life. And I promise my sense of humor and ability to talk about something besides my baby will return right after this. I promise!

Enjoy! (And turn the sound up!) If it doesn't play right, try this.

Thanks, day twenty eight

Today I am thankful for pain control. Because I went to the dentist today to repair a filling and I'm really glad he had more than whiskey to give me while he drilled into my mouth. And because on this day last year I was working on my second 24 hours of back labor. And I'm all about the natural birth, ALL about it really, but they have stuff for 48-hour back labors and that is a wonderful, wonderful thing.

OK, that was the interesting part of my post for today. For the heartiest and most bored among you, here is what I remember from this day last year (the first 24 hours are here):

My back labor went on through the night, of course. Our doula and Jeff took turns supporting me so they could sleep. It's all pretty fuzzy, but I remember (besides the PAIN) a bath, a popsicle, and some napping during the longer breaks between contractions. The bed, the couch, the chair, the floor, try kneeling here no that won't work. And at one point I took Tylenol, which is comical to imagine that I thought it would help but maybe I had a headache or something. I had all kinds of fun and joking with Jeff and our doula. Our doula spooned me in bed so she could push on the pressure point near my sacrum to support the contractions. The punk-#ss contractions that STILL weren't in any kind of pattern. We were still at home, still being told to stay home. I do remember thinking very clearly that if another nurse told us I wasn't in "active" labor I was going to drive there myself through the ice storm and throw something at her head. Laboring women are supposed to do stuff like that, right? I was ready.

OK, so that morning of November 28th last year I had had about enough of 24-plus hours of labor. I knew where to find my OB since I was supposed to see her in clinic if I hadn't gone into labor yet, so I called her clinic nurse and got through that way. She made magic and arranged for me to come in to the hospital to get assessed and possibly get some pain control so I could go back home and get some sleep. So in we went around noon, the roads were fine because they were deserted because of the ice storm. The wonderful, wonderful residents who took care of me validated that I was in real labor (so I forgive them for calling it "dysfunctional") because I was at 4cm. Into a labor room, yay! Having a baby, yay!

I labored more, more, more, more. Then some more. Eventually got myself to 6cm. Finally I oh so reluctantly consented to an epidural at 40 hours of labor, from gorgeous wonderful Todd the anesthesiology resident. We had a nice little thing going, jokes about how he googled to find out how to put a NEEDLE IN MY SPINE. Love him. I consented only partially because he was hot, but mostly because my OB was worried about my pain, exhaustion and ability to push after 40 hours and she wanted to break my water to see if that would speed things up. It did--I went from 6cm to 7cm in the moment they broke it. Oh, and this is funny--for the last 12 hours at least of labor I hiccuped at the end of each contraction, and so did bubba. We were in sync. The residents, in a loving and validating tiny gesture, trusted me that a hiccup signaled a contraction and used that instead of all their machines and printouts and such.

Then, some sleep. Another popsicle. Wondering whether bubba would have a 28th or a 29th birthday. My OB came in. Finally around midnight it was time to push. And after all that I had a "short" pushing for a first baby. Wonderful Todd came back and reduced the pain stuff so I could feel the contractions and birth. I pushed for 90 minutes, which felt like 20 in my time warp, and then I met my bubba at 2am on the 29th. I felt him coming out, and he was perfect.

My God, he was perfect.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thanks, day twenty seven

Reason #876 why Nora is a terrible mother:

“WARNING” – “Never use on a raised surface. Never use as a car seat or bath seat. Designed for floor level use only. Never leave your baby unattended as the seat is not designed to be totally restrictive and may not prevent release of your baby in the event of vigorous movement.”

More about the Bumbo voluntary recall. Which is not for the seats themselves, but so they can add the warning label. I still think the Bumbo is wonderful.

Today is the anniversary of the day I went into labor. This day last year, around 2am the contractions started. They stayed irregular and early-labor like until about midday. I remember checking my email and puttering around savoring the regularness of labor, how a part of normal life it seemed, and how joyful and constructive the contractions felt. Then after lunch sometime it turned into a back labor, and the contractions were suspiciously still irregular, between two and fifteen minutes apart. It got hurtier and hurtier (this may be one of the more spectacular understatements of mine in recent memory). Jeff ran out of space on the sheet they gave him to log the contractions. The hospital didn't want us because it was too "early" and the weather was terrible. Our doula arrived that evening with some magic pressure point that made the back contractions on notch less unbearable. I went into a time warp and didn't realize that from one contraction to the next a whole day had passed and still I was not having a labor with any kind of pattern. Night came, along with a nasty storm:

- A storm that dumped as much as 2 feet of snow on some parts of Washington state turned freeways and city streets into icy gridlock and left thousands of people without power.

The snowfall was capping off a month of heavy rain in Seattle - which was edging closer to a wettest-single-month record. As of 10 p.m. Monday, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where official measurements are kept, had received 15.26 inches of precipitation - just .07 inches short of the 15.33 inches recorded in downtown Seattle in December 1933.

So that's what I was doing a year ago. Still wouldn't meet bubba for two more days, though...


Today I am thankful for the flood of memories that is helping me remember birthing my baby, and for our wonderful who drove through the ice and snow to be with me.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanks, day twenty six

Today I am thankful for being mostly over my cold. Yay! It's surprising how much a little thing like that can affect your life. Of course, then I was riding the cancer center shuttle with patients today all identified as an employee and I broke into a coughing fit, hacking all over the place. I was not, in other words, anything like this:

(from my trusty government agency, the CDC, which also advises me in how to diagnose myself with rare infectious diseases)

Sorry! I get a D+ in public health for today.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanks, day twenty five

Today I am thankful for my parents. The older I get the more appreciate just what it is they built. They both came from divorced homes (in the midwest, in the 50s, the scandal!). They met and married at Earlham College, a nice Quaker school in Indiana. They moved to Pennsylvania, my dad's childhood home, so he could go to graduate school. They bought a condemned 18th century grist mill out in the country (for $2000) that had no roof or electricity, and on their weekends and holidays they built it up into a working home. Then they had four kids in five years, me number four. They continued to work on the house, and made it lovely, preserved the history of the place and in general a magic place to grow up. They took us around the world. And all without help from their own parents and very little money. It wasn't perfect, of course, but they truly built something from nothing. Now they have been married 45 years and are still supporting each other against whatever comes their way. They raised us in a house with no television, and taught me about family dinner, about reading aloud, about Scrabble. About scrapple and shoofly pie. About homesteading. And books, they taught me so much about books. My dad told us the Canterbury tales as bedtime stories. My mom taught me to bake from her cookbooks from the 1950s when baked goods invariably involved that wonder ingredient, Crisco.

Now that I am a parent myself, they give me so much more than what they had. More help than they had to do less than they did. Help with child care and building projects around the house, moral support, treats. They accept and love the man I married. And most of all, they are still together and still teaching me to be kind.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanks, day twenty four

Thursday is bubba's first birthday and in my fantasy world when you check here Thursday there will be a birth story for the ages and a video montage of his first year to make you cry cry cry and go, oh NOW I see how much she loves her bubba. I GET it. But his birth story locked up inside me and it won't come out. And I still haven't picked music for said video montage. And other thoughtful posts seem to be backed up behind that there clog. I need some writer's Drano. So. I like it when other bloggers post mundane details of daily living, it is like taking a walk at dusk and seeing into people's windows. Want to see in mine?

Today, "later" arrived to clean off my desk. Here's the before shot:

I read somewhere that there are two types of organizers. First, the ones who file everything as soon as they are done with it. And then there are the pilers, who let things accumulate to some sort of breaking point then sort everything at once. I am a piler (to state the obvious). The article also said that filers have neater desks but their files are often difficult to navigate because there is a lot of unnecessary stuff there. And pilers, we have messy desks but our files are pristinely beautiful and easy to navigate because they only contain the essentials.

So today I am thankful because I do actually have the capacity to sort and file! Here's the after shot:

Not bad for a piler. I found the lens cap for the camera, and some loose change, and I recycled a lot of paper that did not need to be filed. I kept these, though:

And in the spirit of remembering the first year of motherhood--since that birth story may or may not be forthcoming-- I found (and kept, for now--it was just so intense) the literature from the lactation consultant after bubba "failed" to regain his birthweight.

See it there, in fine print, where it says "you are a terrible mother who is starving her baby"? Just after "if he were born on the tundra ten thousand years ago he would die because you cannot nourish him" and before "all women who make enough breast milk are better than you." Then a little further down: "if you had only tried a little harder you wouldn't have to give him formula which I guess won't kill him but see above." I could have sworn it said that the first ten times I read it last December. That part about bub's newborn days, I don't miss that. Falling in love with him? That was better.

And one more thing, a postcard that I bought because surely I will send it to someone someday. Here! I'll send it to you. Wish you were here! XOXO, Nora

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanks, day twenty three

Today I am thankful for low expectations, because Thanksgiving went just FINE. Sheesh, what was I worried about? It was totally fine. I'm also thankful that my family is not big on Christmas presents, because I feel no pressure to go out and shop. And my man is home from work for four days. Yay!

I think we are going to BREAK THE LAW and take bubba out for his first drive in the front-facing car seat tomorrow. He is not officially one year until Thursday, but he past the 20 pound mark at six months. I can hardly believe he is almost one. Where is my eight pound baby??

And I have a cold, which has put a serious damper on my creativity. Snuffle.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanks, day twenty two

Here, in case you run out of things to talk about with your relatives:

Ten pound hairball removed from woman's belly

Many happy returns of the day. Do you think it really looked like this?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanks, day twenty one

Is it twenty one or twenty-one? Hyphen or no? My mother-in-law arrived today. That's all I'll say about that for now. We are having Thanksgiving with both Jeff's and my family all together for the first time since our wedding. Could go either way. Each family's insanities could cancel each other out and it could be fine. Or, they could multiply, like bunnies in Woodland Park. I am now happy that I have done fuzzy good-person posts about cats and hunger, it's like a free pass, right? I just put a speedbump on my road to h#ll. In case there is a mean ol' post brewing in my soul.

If it gets rough, I'll just focus on the stuffing. Yay! Large plates of it for all! Yum!

I'm thankful for Thanksgiving. We have people who get on planes to come see us, that is a nice thing indeed.

Happy happy day to all.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanks, day twenty. TWENTY!

Today I have decided to be thankful for our abundant food supply. I went to the grocery store today to buy celery. I bought more than just celery but that is the only thing I need for the big day on Thursday. My parents are hosting Thanksgiving and I'm in charge of the stuffing because it is the best comfort food ON EARTH.

But I digress. It was a madhouse in there! You would think there was a blizzard coming or that a hurricane just hit and that people were scrambling for their very last meal. There were cart traffic jams at the ends of aisles, people glaring at each other to get to the broth or turkeys or whatever. I got to the celery display before it was too depleted or who knows what I might have done. If you were at the store today too you wouldn't have said, oh look everyone is so cranky and mean except that vision of beauty and serenity over there buying celery. No, you would not have said that.

It really was kind of gross, all that consumption just for one meal. There was totally enough for all of us in the store. If all katrillion of us had been shut in there we could have eaten for weeks, even as crowded as it was. (Hopefully I would not be the one stuck in the mayonnaise aisle should that occur, but who's being picky?)

There is a lot of hunger in the world, and a lot of people who live that every day--fighting with each other, probably with their own friends, for some food for their bubbas. Probably fighting for not enough food, at that. Life would look very, very different standing from there.

What do I say? That we should help them? Of course we should. That I'm glad I'm not one of them? That's really stupid, because it is, and because it could be any one of us, any time. I'm ashamed I don't remember it more often. For today I will just be thankful for the pile of groceries in my kitchen and for how easy it was to get them. Slightly less easy today than other days, but really shamefully easy. So easy that if I wanted to (and some days I do) I could CHOOSE to make it harder and more expensive by going to buy local organic unwashed celery.

You know what else? I have also decided to believe that at least some of the people in the store with me felt the same way after that store experience and are thankful this evening too.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Thanks, day nineteen

Today I'm thankful for my cats. They have been with me for a long, long time. I got them when I was 21 and they were babies, eight weeks old, in 1995. They have been lovingly at my side through about eight moves, four cities, many tears, much angst (my whole twenties, for heaven's sake), a couple roommates, a husband, and now a bubba. Who, I might add, they are very gracious about even though they are sure he is a troll and would much prefer I take him back to the troll store now thank you very much. It takes some serious grace to go from first most important in Nora's life EVER ever ever to second, there's that guy around all the time there goes having a crazy spinster cat lady for a person, to third (troll) without so much as a pee on the rug in protest. These cats have some serious class.

Bubba is bigger than this cat now, but it took him awhile.

They have taught me about unconditional love, and about the importance of just sitting there sometimes. Like my sweet amazing cat did with me through every minute of two days (TWO DAYS!) of labor. I'm thinking this was not that fun for her. Seriously. She even let me squeeze her during contractions. I love this cat.

I can't believe I'm posting a picture of myself in labor. These were to go into the vault of pictures never ever to be seen again. Perhaps the vault of pictures that should never have been taken (my man had to do something to amuse himself for two days, eh?) THAT is how much I love my cats.