Friday, November 30, 2007

Thanks, day THIRTY!

HAIKU FRIDAY


"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.

video

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.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Thanks, day eighteen


My man was in Europe this morning, and now he's home! Smelling all smoky and stuff because tobacco is alive and well inside public buildings where he was. (I'm wondering if he read my post about my secret feelings on the smell of cigarettes?) So that's nice that he's home. We are all back together again. Of course he pretty much went straight to sleep since he had been up for a bajillion hours traveling. But bubba was so excited to see daddy he couldn't sit still, immediately got his appetite back and could not stop giggling.

My feelings about our reunion aside, allow me to repeat, he was in Europe this morning! How wild is that, how quickly we can travel? I love those travel days where your mind isn't caught up with your body yet since your body travels so darn fast. Being the self-absorbed American that I am, I have a tendency to think that other places in the world stop moving when I'm not looking at them. And having my man blow in all full of stories abut baguettes and jingling coins from other currencies reminds me that this is not true in the least.

Yay! Homecoming! Yay! Europe! Yay! Airplanes!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Thanks, day seventeen

I think today I shall be thankful for my neighborhood. I live in a small house in a cute 1920s neighborhood. It may actually be the smallest house in the neighborhood. We moved here as newlyweds, wanting to make a small carbon footprint, live within our means, all that. Now that bubba is here and we have transformed into consumers--plastic! Yay!--we are busting out of our little bungalow and moving is a recurring topic of dinner conversation. I don't know that we could swing a bigger house in this neighborhood, and leaving makes me sad.

Living in a mild climate in a walkable neighborhood has made a large difference in my ability to be a sane new mother. Any time I wish, there is is a whole world right outside our door to help me not feel alone and to provide learning material for bub. Bus! Flower! Tree! Dog! Cat! Cat! Cat! A few things I appreciate about my neighborhood:

Sidewalks. The better for walking and strolling and (as you can see) cat stalking. There are a million cats in this neighborhood and I chase them all, needily looking for a cat snuggle. Some of them love it, others (like this one) run away because they are smart enough to know that I am a Crazy Cat Lady. But seriously. I love knowing that we can go for a walk and be reasonably safe.



Dis crazy chik evn tak pitcher uz mah eskaping butt
Ther goz nayburhud

So cute! My house doesn't look like this. My house was probably a servant's house for people who lived in the bigger houses. But I get to walk by them, and they are cute, and it makes me happy.


A park! Nice for the bubbas. Big kids playing soccer, swings, wading pool in summer. Love it.


Nice views too, that's the Space Needle there.


I took these photos on a recent afternoon when I was tired of being cooped up inside. I am lucky indeed.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Thanks, day sixteen

Today I am participating in a party over at Derfwad Manor and telling yall about my favorite things. This is also my thankfulness for the day, because of course I'm thankful for my favorite things...

(Leaving people and animals off this list, by the way)

-Just about any combination of bread and cheese. Haven't really found one I don't like yet.
-My kitchen
-Autumn leaves of any sort
-Most things that have anything to do with autumn, really. Hot chocolate, football games (I don't even know the rules, just like the feeling of game day), rain, scarves, down vests
-No, my down vest gets its own bullet
-The rolling hills of Pennsylvania
-Our piano
-My collection of trashy chick-lit novels
-Mount Rainier
-Lake Tahoe
-My wedding ring
-Our Tempurpedic bed
-Taking cab rides in Manhattan
-Getting a surprise upgrade to business class on a flight to Europe
-Fresh blueberries in summer
-The weather in Northern California
-The redwood forests in Northern California
-The wine country in Northern California
-The wine in Northern California
-Having money in the bank
-Fire in the fireplace on a winter night (we don't have a working fireplace)
-Christmas lights all year round
-The theme song from Titanic
-Naps, especially if they involve snuggling
-PG Tips tea, with milk of course
-My laptop
-My photos
-Photos of me that make me look good
-My blog
-Kindness of strangers
-My Netflix subscription
-Scones, no nuts
-Caramel
-Finding a parking spot close to the cart return at the grocery store

Wow, you don't have to read that, it's too long. But that should give a taste. Thanks, Mrs. G!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thanks, day fifteen

I've been tagged! Thanks, Mac and Cheese! This is all very exciting, not least because I hadn't thought up an idea for today's post. Here are the rules:

Rules:
1. Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 random and or weird things about yourself.
3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

OK, so here are my seven random things:

1. I am 5'11" and have been since I was, like, twelve. I got talked into playing basketball because of my height and I hated it. Hated it, being singled out because of my appearance and then not living up to expectations that I was some great athlete when I was not. It took from then until maybe two years ago to learn to like my height.

2. I work in public health and cancer prevention and I know that tobacco is bad, bad, bad. But the first guy I kissed was a smoker, and he was a bad boy, and he was hot. Ever since, secretly I think the smell of cigarette smoke is sexy.

3. An embarrassing number of random things that are popping into my head involve my shady past with weird ex-boyfriends. I guess random times of life make random memories.

4. I pass out easily. During a pap smear, on a hot day, at the thought of a needle, at menstrual cramps, during a tough workout. Just randomly. It's a little better with age, but not much. I spent part of each of our birth classes in the hallway so I wouldn't keel over from all the talk about pain and needles and "here let me pass around the thing they use to break the bag of waters so you know what to expect" and such.

5. My husband snores sometimes, and I'm really sensitive to noise so I can't stand it. He's a deep sleeper, so sometimes I push him, hold his nose shut, pinch him, anything to make him change positions and give me some peace and quiet. He's caught me a few times, but I think mostly he doesn't know what I do to him.

6. I'm scared of swimming in the ocean. When we were kids and on vacation in North Carolina my brothers talked me into going swimming during a tropical storm. I got all flipped around and lost my footing and really thought I was getting swept away. Ever since I am happy to look at the ocean instead.

7. I am a closet patriot. I think the US is great, and that our constitution is one of the most beautiful documents ever written. Every July4th I get all choked up at the fireworks and national anthem.

OK, since I just tagged some folks a few days ago, tags to truly random people who I don't know from the "30 days of thanks" group:

Susan
Punkin Pockets
The Lisa Show
Fiddlemama

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Thanks, day fourteen

Today I'm thankful for Blogger, because it has been telling me I'm doing a good job in big lovely letters for 14 days in a row. I still get a little rush every time I see it, like a gold star on my homework in second grade. This is what I see every time I hit "publish":

Your blog post published successfully!


How awesome is that? Big letters, an exclamation point! I! Published! A! Post! This must be a major accomplishment or the letters wouldn't be so large, surely.

I have to take what I can get, some days...

And, another image from my cookbook collection, this one from "Twenty Lessons in Domestic Science," published 1916. This book belonged to my great grandmother.


I'm tempted to be all, housewife? ha! Less fortunate sisters? ha! How far we have come! Our worth as women isn't all about the quality of your cooking anymore, thank heavens. Then I see this headline on the cover of the latest issue of Sunset magazine: "recipes your friends will beg for."


Yup, at least some of our worth is still tied up in the quality of our cooking. And that's okay with me even though most would consider me their "less fortunate sister" in the cake department.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Thanks, day thirteen

Today I had a job interview! I think they liked me, even. Thankfulness everywhere! I have been interested in this job for awhile, but had concerns that they would only be interested in making me a 100% FTE offer. I was waiting to bring up working part time until I saw if I liked it, and if they wanted to make me an offer, etc, but felt terrible about the whole thing. But when I met with the director he basically offered part time work as an option. Needless to say, that made the whole thing much more attractive. So I may actually have gainful employment next year, imagine! I am not, however, ready to abandon my plans to open a bakery just yet.

I'm also thankful for Pennsylvania. In photographing all my cookbooks, I found a few Pennsylvania Dutch ones that I inherited from my mom when they were moving house. My home state. Now that I live far away from there I get frequent homesickness, especially for a lot of the local cuisine. Much of it is an acquired taste, but now that I can't get it easily I miss it so. You've probably heard of pretzels and sticky buns. But scrapple? Any other fans? If there are, you know what I mean. Yum yum. I found this recipe in my book, best not to read it too closely. But again fantasies of being a Pennsylvania Dutch farm wife pop into my head.


(I'm totally going to lose my Seattle passport for this, meat is not always trendy in the circles I run in, except for the occasional white-meat chicken on top of organic local greens. But who cares? If you know scrapple you know what I mean. And really, it's halfway through this daily-posting madness so I think I can do whatever I want.)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Thanks, day twelve

So today I am thankful for the veterans. I don't actually know too many myself, but both Jeff and my grandpas were in WWII. My grandfather signed up to be a math teacher, I think, something bookish since he was a teacher in real life. They did the ol' switcheroo and instead he got to be commander of one of those landing boats that took the soldiers from the big ship onto shore. You know, the ones from the old footage where the front flattened down to let the soldiers out and often the first few rows of guys were just sacrificed to enemy fire. So my grandfather wasn't really the same after that, came back kind of wacky they say. He died soon after I was born, and I think I (and more importantly, my mom and grandma) lost him long before that, on that boat somewhere. But the country got his service, so we all could be safe.


And today I am thankful that bubba is in one piece. Today we were waiting at a crosswalk and one car stopped for us to cross but the car behind him didn't and rear-ended him going at quite a clip. Both cars skidded and came within a few feet of the stroller. I think bubba was all like, Cars! Cool! But my heart stopped. That thing where you'd throw yourself in front of a moving train for your bubba? Yup, I'd do that.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Thanks, day, what is it now? Eleven?

Today my man left for a business trip far, far away for a WEEK! I am sad. Bubba and I drove home from the airport kind of lonely and out of sorts (is anyone ever "in" sorts?). Now, my man is not, you know, Mr. Here Let Me Do Those Dishes You Go Rest And Work On Your Blog or anything. In fact, sometimes I get annoyed (imagine!) at his sloppiness and inability to turn his crippling perfectionism to the housework. But he did make an effort to clean up his sprawl before he left. I love that, but not having him or his stuff rattle around here with me makes the place kinda quiet and echoey.

So today I am thankful for music. It filled the car on the rainy drive back: Eddie from Ohio, some jazz from the radio, always my celebrity boyfriend Lyle Lovett. When we got home to our dark, strangely clean house: Johnny Cash, Barenaked Ladies, and for bubba, Tom Chapin. It made the hours pass much more quickly.

And funny that I have music on my mind today, because Anna over at The End of Motherhood? invited my submission for "Songs we sing to our children." I hum "Simple Gifts" to bubba several times each day for his naps. I love it. It makes me happy and calm, and I like to think that it has the same effect on bubba (though it might be my boobies). In the interest of full disclosure I do not get dressed up in a tuxedo for my own performances like Mr Sims here, nor can I seem to remember the words past the first line. Which is just as well because I couldn't e-nun-ci-ate half as well as he does. But here is a nice performance of it by Robert Sims.

And I am tagging WhoSheShe, Suzanne and Melanie for this, have fun!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Thanks, day nine

Today I am thankful for coffee. The happy occasion for this rush of thanks is to commemorate my official return to chemical dependence, discovered today.

All my friends know this story--it illustrates my loser-ness, and it is now a family joke, so I'll tell you. Back at the turn of the century, I had a major coffee habit and had a hard time getting started without it. Periodically I would feel guilty about this and decide to go off it cold turkey. One of these times happened when I was on a trip to Florida for a conference. Probably I had to go without while traveling and realized what a crutch it had become and how pathetic it is to leave a perfectly nice hotel room just to feed your coffee habit with some nasty cheap hotel cafe sludge. I came home from Florida with a new resolve to stand on my own two feet.

Checking the health news on my return, I saw that West Nile virus was discovered in some sentinel chickens in Florida (they put chickens in cages out in the swamps and such and see what they get infected with, I think). Among the symptoms people were encouraged to look out for were headache, fatigue, disorientation. And guess what? I had all those! Oh my! I promptly started freaking out, sure that I had been infected. I was all on the CDC website to see what I should do to report my participation in the outbreak. In the midst of my alarm, a friend and coworker who knew about my recent coffee fast suggested (a little more kindly than this, but not much), "Dumb#ss! Why don't you have a cup of coffee and see if that cures your West Nile Virus?"

And I did, and I was cured. Imagine! A narrow escape.

After that I just accepted that coffee and me were going to spend our lives together and stopped with the cold turkey. Years later when I got pregnant, I resolved not to stop drinking coffee because there really is little evidence of a risk in pregnancy and while I drank . But with the glorious glories of the first trimester I had an "aversion" to coffee (that makes it sound tame. It was more like, get that stuff away from me I can't have it in my house or near me or I will hurl violently for the rest of the day and don't think I won't smell it if you have had coffee within two hours of being near me and that will make me hurl too). Or something. So peanut-sized bubba and my hormones made me do the cold turkey thing once again. It wasn't so bad, really what's some headache and fatigue when you are throwing up so bad that you get hickies all over your neck?

I resolved to not become so dependent on coffee again. When the nausea stopped, I switched to americanos because they have less caffeine, and our drip coffee maker is gathering dust on the bottom shelf. But I have gradually gone from a couple americanos a week to, oh, one a day. And then today, I didn't have one. And the West Nile virus symptoms returned, and were cured once again with the first sip of wonderful, wonderful coffee. Mmmm.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Thanks, day eight

Today I am thankful for my overeducation. It really is ridiculous, how much of it I have. The craziest? I haven't had to pay for the last five years of it. Guess who has? You! (If you are American, that is. My friend who outed me is a Canadian, some other foreign-type folks are paying for her education).

Yup, a few taxpayer dollars are earmarked to teach me to do research (operative word there is "few"). Armed with the training yall are providing I am to go out into the world next June and conduct research that helps prevent disease and, even harder, improves well-being. Fighting the good fight. I don't think about this all that often, but I'm actually for real life grateful for this opportunity. I lived in a "developing" country as a child and I know that it is just luck that I got to be born in a free country that values the health of its citizens. So philosophically I'm right where I need to be. As if that weren't enough, it is a nice life. I have time to have ideas, and smart people listen to them. No way! I am a lucky one indeed.

And it is all thanks to you! Thank you!

Shoot, now if I can't find a job when I graduate and open a bakery and have ten kids instead yall can be like, what? Where's the disease you are preventing? Time to pay the piper! And I'll be all, oops. But hopefully the joy you will get from eating my scones prevents much disease and improves your well-being.

Tomorrow I will take pictures of my cookbooks. There will be visual aids at some point this weekend, just you wait. It's party time over here at WC.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Thanks, day seven

Man, this is tough! And it's only the seventh day of the month. Perchance I needed a few more months of blogging chops before taking on this NaBloPoMo thing. I'm all, OK! I'll do it! Will it make you like me? Sure, I'll try that funny cigarette! You have a bridge in London for me to buy? I'll take it! "Gullible" is too in the dictionary. Isn't it?

No seriously, this is fun. I hope I'm still married at the end of the month though. (Tired. Punchy. Going to bed soon).

So today I'm thankful for America's Next Top Model. It is such a wonderfully guilty indulgence. And it is guilty, because I know that by my very fanhood I am encouraging the objectification of young girls. I know! But they are so horrible to each other, it makes me feel good about myself (schadenfreude, anyone? Seriously.) And it is cute how badly they all want this, how they want to prove themselves to Tyra. And I am always happy for the one who wins (my money's on Heather), for real. I'm waiting for one of them to make it big. And I love the photography. Seriously, it's art. And for an hour I can be who I was before this mommy thing happened.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

I've been outed! and thanks, day six

Oh no! A friend of mine found my blog!
This is a major moment that I hoped would never happen, where my impostor syndrome kicks into high gear. I've been found out. Deep breaths.

Wait, where are the flashing lights? The blog police? The report that I've been uncovered as the fraud I am?? This is all very anticlimactic. Still just sitting here, typing away...

Oh well, another excuse to post a picture of bubba. Pretty sure he doesn't think I'm a fraud. And he's right. I'm the real deal with him.


Today I am thankful for the coffee shop where I worked today. Instead of being cooped up in my office seeing the same people who are just like me, I got to spend a few hours overhearing other slices of life. A mangosteen juice saleslady, a house inspector, someone who had just quit her job to strike out on her own doing something nonprofitty and important like feeding the hungry, a bunch of lawyers having a meeting. And those were just the people who talked. Who knows what all the singletons like me were up to. Things got interesting when it turned out the house inspector knew the hunger lady, and they had a big hug and "call me later yes I'll call you later SO SO great to see you" exchange. And then the hunger lady explained to her friends how the house inspector lady was such a bitch because she (hunger lady) had forgotten to add house inspector lady's partner to an Evite and it was a simple oversight because there were like 50 people on the Evite and anyway house inspector lady should have known that her partner was invited. And ever since said Evite incident house inspector lady has been snubbing hunger lady. I love this stuff.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Thanks, day five

Does anyone else do what I seem to do ALL THE TIME? I buy the clothes that I already have. What is up with that? I have at least three red shirts of varying shades of redness. Love them. Which is a relatively new thing since I started wearing pink in pregnancy only because that was what was available and on sale. I have since gone a little nuts with the red because like one person, once, told me I look nice in pink. Which she probably said because she couldn't think of anything nice to say about my enormous exploding pregnant massiveness, because I sure as h#ll wasn't glowing. But now? I have enough red shirts. But still am a year behind on fall clothes because of last year's aforementioned massiveness. So I go to buy a new shirt. And my mind just goes into some weird time warp, where I blank out on that I have plenty of red shirts, and I can only remember "me like red shirtz" or some such robotic thought. I could totally use a black shirt, a nice blue one or green one. Even stripes, heaven forbid. But no...no...I come home with a red shirt.

It's like a hangover, I wake up from the stupor and see what I have just done and totally regret it and pine for a green shirt. What was I thinking? But shopping being the opposite of retail-therapy that it is (it's more like a cause for latte therapy) I know I won't return it. Me and my closet full of red shirts.

And thanks! Today I am thankful for all of ALL YALL in blogland (where is that, anyway?) who read my blog. It's surprising how much it matters to me, in such a short time. Thank you!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Thanks, day four

Today I'm thankful for my books. I have many stacks of books (and I invite you to think they are neatly organized as actual stacks, not loose categories INSIDE MY HEAD while the books themselves lie scattered under heaps of laundry and mail and any horizontal surface in the house)--

  • novels that I have read and can't part with yet (eg Good Night Nobody by Jennifer Weiner)
  • novels that I want to read, and will, sometime, in the hours of 8pm and 10pm when I'm not working on my blog (eg Blindness by Jose Saramago. This one, however, is very smart and I am afraid I may not be ready for it yet. This is a book for when I have nothing smart going on in my life, and now is not one of those times. Books like this win every time right now.)
  • borrowed books that I plan to read (like The Careful Use of Compliments by Alexander McCall Smith. My mother and I are huge fans of his. We have this great system where she buys the books, then passes them to me and I read them. See the symbiosis? It's poetic and lovely.)
  • books for school that make me feel very smart (beside me right now is Global Public Goods for Health, edited by Richard Smith and colleagues. Totally never been opened. But v. pretty picture. And seriously, if you saw me poring over this in the coffee shop would you not be breathless with the spectacle of my smartness?)
  • the cookbooks! Oh, the cookbooks! They make me so happy. This may even be another "thanks" entry. Thank you, oh muse, oh 30 Days of Thanks! My latest: Indian Home Cooking by Suvir Saran and Junior League Centennial Cookbook. My current favorite: The Cheese Board Collective Works, because oh my wonderful recipes (Corn Cherry Scones? Don't get me started). And because this is my backup plan if I can't find/don't want a career in research. Just bake.

Books remind me of who I am and where I've been. They make me feel safe. They are full of potential. They are better than computers. They make me want to be a better person. All the companies trying to make books all electronic and read on a computer screen and such? I hope they all fail. And if I were alive when women could only become teachers, librarians, or nurses? Totally librarian.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Thanks, day three

Today I am thankful for my husband. Can you believe I have a husband? I usually reserve that word when I want to be a girl and defer responsibility (as in, I'll check with my husband when he gets home before I buy that set of encyclopedias). Today we had a joke that I am the starting-things fairy, because I have most of the ideas about things that need to get done around the house but I'm sort of sloppy on follow-through. He is the finishing-things fairy because he comes in to clean up my mess and cross all the t's but he never gets around to starting anything. It is fun, this family life.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Thanks, day two

I'm thankful for this computer, and my camera, and our internet connection. They make this blog possible, and help give me a creative outlet. Of course, I do have a fantasy of moving to the country and leaving all technology behind, but until that happens I'm pretty darn thankful. I've said this before, but I am sure that blogging must prevent post-partum depression in some women. Someone (me?) should study this. Go technology!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Thanks, day one

OK, here goes! I'll start with an easy one, because hello! How could I not? And because I'm not feeling well (I'm sure I'm the first parent EVER to get sick after caring for her sick bubba). I'm thankful for my bubba, of course! Yippee!!!!!