Thursday, December 31, 2009

All the Cider Was Gone


Today is the end of day 2 with no sugar, and already I feel the effects of not having that "cushion" to my emotions.

It's New Year's Eve, and as the day went along today I remembered the past years I'd had...packed with adventure. I have celebrated New Year's Eve in 4 countries, in different languages, at Disneyland, at the Big Apple Circus in New York. I have celebrated it at the Met, at other operas, in Wash DC, at the National Symphony, atop mountains, standing in fountains, dancing until I was drenched in sweat, and laughing. The only thing common to all of those is that I was lonely, deep inside, on every one.

My husband doesn't drink...so tonight we drove around town looking for a place that still had non-alcoholic (i.e., sparkling cider) champagne. It was sold out EVERYWHERE (does that mean we're in a small town?) We had a nice dinner, at Ruby Tuesday's, shopped for diapers at Target, and generally enjoyed each other. It was a great night, and Baby S was talkative. But suddenly we were running home, hoping for the predictable bottle of non-alcoholic champagne, to watch the predictable ball drop (I hate that show), and I felt so frustrated.

Who am I here? Unfortunately I told hubby about all of these thoughts--about missing the singing, about wondering if he could be adventurous the way I could. And he heard all this as my regretting marrying him. So it was a stressful few hours--as we waited for that ball to drop. It wasn't what I meant of course. The last 3 New Year's Eves with him have been the only ones where I felt entirely un-lonely, which is pretty much the best feeling you can have day-to-day. It's just not the most exciting. I am so lucky to have him, to have baby S, but I am still feeling like there's this HUGE part of me not existing here, and I have no idea how to find it.

It's just past midnight, and I am in the living room, wishing I could eat a bunch of chocolate. But mostly I long for him to understand me fully, which is a lot to ask of someone. Instead, he always loves me fully, always figures out a way to stand behind me, and he has transformed all of my New Years that way. I am so grateful for this family--whether or not it was my goal in high school. I am blessed, and full and just looking for the other part now.

And we are now closing out day 2.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Back-Breaking Motherhood




First day back from our trip was a little painful.

I am still sore from the trip, I guess, my back so tight it goes into occasional spasms. The worst of it seemed to happen during the five times I got up during each night on this trip--to feed and soothe the confused travelling baby.

I got up this morning determined to do a long laundry list of things...amazingly, I got most of them done, but I am apparently still not "baby trained" enough to know that Baby S can change everything. She wanted to be held ALL DAY today, eating, eating, eating, and of course smiling at me. I get the feeling if she had her way I would just gaze at her happily all day long, holding her up on her feet and singing songs to her. Everything else seems to be torturous after a few minutes.

So I did manage to clean the house, exercise, unpack a large amount, use the snowblower on the driveway, organize the bills, make 4 important phone calls, set up Dr. appointments for everyone but me, and even cook meals. This was in between the 7 or 8 times I nursed her today! I am one sore mama.

Oh yeah, and my c-section incision, which JUST closed after 4 months, opened up a little after the trip.

I do want to mention that today I did not eat any sugar. I am not saying this, as usual, knowing that well, I did have that one little bite. I am kicking this cold turkey. I had 2 meals with no starches, and feel GREAT right now. DAY ONE. Hallelujah. Now, where's that ibuprofen?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Yeah, You Can Go Home Again



Well, I am back from my "week off" of blogging. I'm not sure what made me stop--maybe just the irregularity of the schedule. I loved the vacation with family, both Tye's and mine (I should say both "ours" now) and amazingly we did not argue once! The whole thing was stressful, with snowy highway travel. Having come from Arizona, the feeling of your truck sliding across a freeway makes me want to throw up and cry at the same time. Even if he is driving--it took me about 3 days to unclench my backside.

Being away from home meant a lot of bad eating choices--and I'm left with a few regrets. I am starting a detox from sugar already tonight, and hoping to feel better in 7 days. We also got a Wii for Christmas (and Wii fit) so I am eager to add some to my regular exercise plan.

But here's what I want to talk about. I keep dreaming about singing. I feel this strange division in my life, and I want so badly to be on stage again. This "bug" is no mosquito...it's more like a vampire...and I am trying to figure out how to get back there again. Actually, better put, I want to start where I left off. There are too many things I haven't done!!

It's so easy to get caught up each day with cleaning spit-up and reading baby books and nursing and finish the day without practicing. I am still filled with the desire to sing. I want to work in this art again.

One weekend, while living in New York City, I went to a wedding in Wash DC. I left on a train at 5 in the morning. When I arrived in DC, I realized my keys were gone. My house keys. When I got back to the city I had NO idea what I would do...how would I ever find them? I had no roommate, and no extra set. My super was great at hiding from me when I needed him. I was let into my building...and when I got to the 5th floor I saw them. My kees. In the door. For FOUR days. I opened up the apartment and all was left in perfect shape.

It was the same feeling I had when we got home tonight and our driveway was shovelled. Moments later our neighbor B came over with a bag of our mail, and said she had watched the house. We had never asked, and I felt so touched by this gesture. I went to the store later and bought a chicken. Somehow random acts of kindness always make me want to cook people a chicken.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

All Relative


It is an interesting experience to be married, and experience a "new family" through your spouse. You have heard the stories--you know the tragedies and the humorous stories, but you don't feel them as a spouse. At least not with the depth the other does.

So it has been interesting to travel around, exploring my hubby's home town (he loves to point out everything that's changed in a city of 10,000, i.e., "that's the new McDonald's" and "wow. That Rite Aid used to be the school administration building." These things mean little to me, but I like the experience of being here with him. After all, the first time I saw him interact with his family made me really fall in love with him.

The baby is the real show--and there's constant pressure because I'm so worried that she will be grumpy, or start crying when someone picks her up. But the best part is seeing my husband's face when someone he loves and grew up with picks up his baby and hugs him and says "you did a good job". I know that as a 40 year old first time dad, a lot of people thought that would never happen. Jokingly I said, "you must be pretty proud on this trip, huh?" and he said yes. I said, "Are you most proud of finding a woman who wanted to make babies with you?" and he said, "well, that's the hard part isn't it?"

Our baby is named after my hubby's cousin--they grew up like brothers, my husband adored him, they went to college together, worked together, dieted together. And then at 42, 2 years ago, he passed away, suddenly, on January 2nd. He was loved, loveable, kind, easy going, spiritual, faithful, and a father of 2 small children. We didn't think twice about naming our daughter after him. I love thinking of the meaning that name gives her.

Tonight we watched his aunt (mother of the cousin baby S is named after) hold our baby. And my husband's face filled with an emotion I don't even know--I've never felt. But I certainly felt a profound satisfaction at being a part of giving him that.

Oh yeah, and two more things happened. My c-section scar is closed. Four months after the baby. Thank God. And she laughed today for the first time. I was pretending to eat/tickling her neck, and she gave a real belly laugh. She only did it twice--and I can't get her to do it again tonight. But wow, that was fantastic.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Long Day's Journey Into Night





The goal: take 2 dogs, a man, a woman, and a 4 month old from Iowa to Michigan during winter in an SUV packed high with suitcases, gifts and "supplies".

The time estimate: 8 hours

Ideal departure time: Early (this is a relative term)

At around 9:30 I roll over and asked hubby, "what time is it?" and then of course responded "crap." He leans over, looks out the window and says, "it's snowing." I say again, "crap." We begin trying to pack the car as fast as possible, to get ahead of the snow. The baby is cooperative--not really crying. I dress her, give her a vitamin D supplement, feed her, and put her in the swing. Hubby pulls the truck to the house and leaves it running. We throw our toiletries into a plastic bag and get them in the suitcase (pre-packed). Hubby gets the suitcase in the truck. I bubble wrap the large, breakable gifts. Hubby gets that in the car. The floor is already snowy with hubby's boots. I'm still in pajamas and barefoot. We get the diaper bag (pre-packed for extensive travel) in the truck. I jump in the shower. Baby starts crying (the
shower is always her cue, unfortunately). I get out, dress, and hubby has packed the gifts into the truck. We pack assorted miscellaneous items, food, drink packs, we do a review of the house. Hubby has packed up the dog carrier, we drug Max (cuz this trip ain't happenin' if the Lhasa isn't drugged) and we get in the vehicle.

The whole first part of the trip is about 35 miles an hour on the highway, slick with snow. Our vehicle slides a bit, making me want to throw up with fear--I am not used to the snow.

We stop for lunch. It's only 12:30 and we're barely an hour away from home, but we need to eat, baby needs to eat, and the snow is making me hate the trip. Upon getting out, we discover the dog has vomited on the baby seat cover. Joy.

Breastfeeding in the car while hubby orders our meal, and the dogs go nuts. Oy.

Back in the car, baby sleeping, we make it out of Iowa and the snow is disappearing. The streets are wet (YAY!) and we are passing through Chicago. We get out to get gas and drinks. It's already 4:00! Wow. I get the baby out and the dog has puked again. Huh.

We pass through Indiana, and into Michigan. It's not the route hubby wanted, as we will get "lake effect" snow. Not good. On I-94, we are again going 45, only now it is dark, and cars are lined up. On the sides of the road are lots of cars, facing the wrong direction. More setbacks.

After the last stop, the baby is FREAKING TIRED of getting in the car seat. She would like us to know that. I get in the back seat with the baby and the dogs, and ride out the last two and a half hours. It's hot, and I find myself drifting in and out of sleep. I have almost given up on the goal--I just want to get through the trip!

Around 11:30 we arrive. We are asleep by 2, and the baby is up again at 6:45am. Needless to say, I'm tired today. But we're here. Safe.

Items we forgot:
Baby S's pictures with Santa to give to relatives
Ebay item that I sold and needed to send from Michigan
Cell phone charger

Not too bad for a first time out, I think.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Long Days that End with Surrender


Today started nicely but early. We had a visit to the house by cousins of my hubby whom I really enjoy. They brought gifts--a corn ornament for my vegetable christmas tree, and some adorable outfits for Baby S!! I wish we could see them more--I really enjoy them and I am surprised at how much I feel a kinship with them. They are also so genuine! They are the closest of our relatives but about an hour away.

As I said, it started early. We all had to be up and dressed by 9 am. I know, this sounds easy--but the baby is on a schedule where bedtime starts somewhere around midnight, she gets up around 5 or 6, is up again about 90 minutes later, and then we get a nap from about 8-9:30. I love that last nap, and it's what gets me through the day. Unless of course, we go without it, like today. So that would explain my eyes wanting to close right now.
Cute when she's passed out, right?


We are travelling tomorrow--and my to-do list is huge and only partially done at 11pm. On top of that, I am feeling anxious about the whole thing, so I overate today. I am familiar with this habit--looking for something soothing in food. I didn't make time to exercise. No wonder I want to kill the dog, ignore the baby,and yell at some ridiculous news thing I just watched.

The dog peed in the baby's room tonight while I was packing. TWICE. And both times I stepped in it. The baby has cried every time I put her down. During packing. During wrapping. During cleaning...she fussed, squirmed, cried. As soon as I give her full, undivided attention--she smiles at me. UGH! So like clockwork, she's asleep now, at 11pm. Finally. But I am too exhausted to get any work done.

So...I'm calming myself down with the blog. But I don't think I really have the energy for this. So, wish me luck. Or better yet, pray for me, since I'm not a believer in luck. Or at least that I have it!

I wish I could lie on this bed...if the suitcase weren't open on it. *sigh*

Friday, December 18, 2009

Facebook and Who I Am


Ahhhh, facebook. I have enjoyed it quite a bit since reluctantly joining somewhere around a year ago. It's a perfect place to post adorable pictures of baby S, and get in touch with friends that unfortunately I've left all over the country. For people who have moved around as adults, the way I have, facebook is such a treat. It also has some surprising points.

About 6 months ago I got a "friend request" from the first person to ever reject me. I can remember it like it was yesterday--I was around 8 years old and I worked up the courage to ask a girl to go see a movie with me. I wanted to be her friend so much. And so I called her, with my mom supportively standing in the background. She said no. It was pretty crushing. So instantly, when I saw this person's friend request, I was 8 again! I thought, "NO WAY" and waited days to respond to her. In this way, facebook has reminded me so much of the awkwardness of my childhood.

I was slow to become myself, I think. For years I was painfully awkward, painfully shy, and often "younger" than other kids around me (I don't think I had my first crush until after other kids were already getting past first base). I was a happy kid in a lot of ways, but when it came to playing "the game". . . I was not very gifted.

This is funny given my life as an adult--since, maybe, college...I have had such amazing friends, and a rich, rich social life. I have so much confidence in the richness of my life experience. I'm kind of proud that I waited until my 30s to date, although that was not on purpose in any way. I feel in some ways that I wasn't "held back" by chasing boys! And as a parent, I want the same for baby S. I guess in many ways, I am not afraid of the pain of feeling "outside" as a kid....because for me, it enriched my inner life. Sure, I wrote depressing poetry at 15. Iwished to be more accepted. But I also learned how to keep trying after being rejected. I have such confidence in auditioning, even after being told "no" 50 times! As an adult, I am so proud of my ability to try, try again. I am also happy that my faith is mine--and in times when no one around me believed what I believed....it became stronger. There's a lot to be said for knowing that you've come from an adolescent who felt "flawed" to an adult who thinks of their flaws as uniquely theirs :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Travel in the Snow, Ho Ho Holding on to my Sanity

Bird on the Suet Feeder

So, hubby's home for a few days, sick as a dog. I guess he has what we had, although it always either hits him harder, or it's that old adage about men not doing "sick" as well as women seem to. I'll try not to assume.

Even sick, it's nice to have us all here. He holds the baby when I need to dash out of the room, and it's just fun to have that big house feeling. I'm not sure why that is quite so attractive, as I had lovely days as a single person in the city, when the house was clean and I could cuddle in for the night with my little dog, and have the rest of the bed to myself.

Yesterday was a big day--I ran a ton of errands with the baby, which resulted in her sleeping from about 6:30pm to 10pm, and then 11pm to 5am straight. Amazing. She also went right back to sleep at 5 after eating for a while and slept until 8! This is a new kid.

My errands included buying the last box of Hanukkah candles (TJ Max is the only place here that sells Hanukkah candles besides the synagogue. Weird.)

Going to Jo-Jo's oriental food shop and buying chinese hot sauce (see previous hot sauce article), and unfortunately giving way to my urges to also get chia shiu bao (pork buns). I reminisced about being in Chinatown in NYC with my friend Julia. We'd both lived in Hong Kong, and loved one small shop--it felt like Hong Kong, run by a few old chinese guys with questionable dental hygiene, absolutely no decor, but great tasting pork and yellow bean buns, and little paper cups of black tea, all for about 60 cent
s. The place felt like a tiny pocket of another culture--politeness coming a far second to efficiency, the health inspection report tacked up to the wall like a painting. It was fun to be transported.

I took baby S to her vitamin D study (where they measured her naked and then took blood from her heel--she may never forgive me for entering her in that).

Today is all about preparing for travel. We have two crazy dogs, a 14 week old baby and two adults, travelling in winter for 10 hours. I can't wait to see what this is like. The dogs are neurotic in the car. So here is day 1: call to get the dog a seditive, do laundry, clean house, make to-do list.

Single travel did have its good points.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Winter is Coming


When I sang as an artist-in-residence for Opera Memphis, we had a song for a school show called "Winter is Coming". It was a show-stopper in the worst way you can imagine. In the middle of a fairly bright CHILDREN'S SHOW I sang what sounded like a long, slow, repetitive dirge in the lowest part of my voice. Even the subject matter was depressing:

Winter is coming...
The sunlight is gone...
etc.

The end of the piece was repeating the words "Winter is Coming" pretty much literally ad nausea, until finally it just ended. I sang the whole thing in a leather mask. On days when we couldn't take it anymore, we cut it down to as few measures as possible (with all apologies to the composer if they ever read this) but really...you must have been phoning that one in.

Winter is hard. In the midwest it means sunlight is hard to find, and you can't spend a long time outside, walking, playing, sitting on the porch. All of those beautiful green views are gone...your garden is buried in snow. Your baby is stuck inside, as are you. So that's how it feels this week. And now hubby is sick (he just IMed me that he wanted me to make him some frozen waffles...). Pardon the generalization, but men are such babies when sick!!! It's the same thing I got over last week. It's a bad, bad cold. It's freezing outside....I'll go ahead and pity him. Last night, sick as a dog, he shoveled the other side of the driveway so I could run errands. For 90 minutes. Sick. At midnight. Yeah. He's a sweetheart. Looking back, I feel guilty for mocking him about the waffles.

I didn't exercise for a week, so my 30 minutes of work out just about killed me. But I'm healthy, and so is Baby S. Time to get back on the wagon. I am really looking forward to the next sunny 40 degree day. REALLY.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Baking: Men's work



Yesterday I attempted to make a snowman meringue cookie. It's delightful, low in fat, and very whimsical to look at. Reviews online touted it as "easy" and "fun for the kids." I had no other conclusion to draw but that it would be easy for me. And after all, as a temporary stay-at-home-mom, I should be trying these types of things out.

For the record, my husband is a baker. He makes his own recipes...he knows the difference between cream of tartar and baking powder. He has special measuring cups, and looks for the opportunity to bake for other people. He revels in seeing people swoon in delight when they have his pie.

I have never baked--I think that it has to do with years of dieting. After all, why walk down that road when it means you may gain weight? I'll stick with learning how to cook veggies and make them taste good, thank you very much.

So the recipe calls for 2 eggs. I decided to double the recipe, and hubby bought me a box of eighteen "just in case." My first attempt at beating the egg whites was helped by my recent experience singing the role of Julia Child. I remembered the egg whites should be a little warm, that they should be beat in a metal bowl (she sings, "but the ones in the glass bowl, will soon turn granular...and loooooose, that lovely sheen") anyhoo, I was singing in my head the whole time. I measured, and the egg whites were perfect. They scooped out exactly right. But I made a few errors--errors in the baking and the decorating, and they were gross. And chewy.

SO I scrapped that batch. And then I scrapped another batch. The baby was crying by the third batch, so I had to pick her up, put her in the front pack, and attempt cooking with her. This resulted in a heartbreaking moment where she swung wide, hit the canister of cream of tartar, and spilled white powder in both the silverware and utility drawer (and everything had to be washed for about 20 minutes). It also resulted in some awful cookies. Awful. At the end of the day I had one single, passable cookie--that was really only "passable" at best. I took a picture of it, shown above. I also had a fair amount of cookie carnage, also pictured.

I called my husband, ready to scream. Are you kidding me? By the end of the day, and somehow 16 eggs into the day, (having eaten WAY too many raw egg whites with sugar) I asked him to bring home some butter, so we could make a whole different cookie.

This morning he shouted out instructions while I made the cookies in the kitchen, following his instruction exactly. I did, however, when he turned away, drop some chocolate chips into the cookies (straying far from the recipe). I am a perfectionist, but I guess I have trouble following someone's instructions and not adding my own touch. Why is it so difficult? And without a baking background....how can I calculate exactly what it should be?

He looked at me with disdain, "you just can't follow directions can you?"


*sigh* He may have a point.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

House Arrest



Well, I am essentially under house arrest. I have not been outdoors since Tuesday, and it's Saturday morning. The snow holds us (the baby and I) in like a beautiful white Great Wall of China. The issue, however, is not the snow. It is my car, with a flat tire, sitting in the side of the garage that we did not dig out. So we're waiting for hubby to have a day off, since I believe this needs a second hand to be tackled.

When I was single, I handled any issue on my own. I never had a "strong guy friend" to help me move heavy stuff, and I never had anyone to come fix something in my apartment, without trying to harass the super. It makes me feel a little wimpy now, although let's be honest...this is WAY better. I have taken on various digging projects...but the area in front of the garage is 3 feet high and about 25 feet by 25 feet. It just feels too enormous. And nothing's melting here until next Friday.

So basically I'm cleaning. The house looked like we'd had a frat party as of Tuesday night, so for 3 days I have been organizing, scrubbing, taking out sweaters and putting away shorts, and trying to get poop stains out of my favorites of Baby S's clothes. This is satisfying enough, but not really my thing. So I'm starting to get an itch to go on "snow walks". I guess I could seriously bundle up the baby and give it a shot. I have also not been doing my exercise videos for about a week. So I doubt heavily I will see any weight loss on Monday. I was so depressed by the results of my Monday Dr's appointment that I've had trouble working my way up to it.

Speaking of dieting, I am going to a "cookie walk" tomorrow. This is one of those very foreign things about the midwest. One is the thought that I have EVER made cookies for Christmas. This is not my thing. The second is that I have ever HEARD of the term cookie walk. Had you? It sounds like people walking around in a circle with cookies until someone stops the music and a chair is taken away. Only this is just people bringing 2 dozen cookies to someone's house and then exchanging those for 2 dozen random cookies. We don't need the cookies here, I just like the idea of being social.

And so I've decided to make "snowman meringue" cookies. http://www.duhlicious.com/2008/12/snowman-meringues.html. They're practically calorie free and pretty. I doubt they taste amazing, but at least people will think I tried hard. That's the goal, right? And if I eat 6, I still won't gain weight.

Last night was the first night of Hanukkah. We did a "Skype" Hanukkah with mom, sister, Hubby, baby and me. It was quite nice. Virtual holidays are not as cold as they sound. Plus, shhhh, don't tell anyone, but I far prefer Hanukkah to Christmas.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Snow Days


I didn't write on the blog yesterday. I think at the end of the day I was just so exhausted. We had a big day. An "epic" snowstorm hit, and we started the day by plowing for 2.5 hours. Hubby got all dressed up in about five layers, boots, coat, hat, scarf, gloves, etc....until he looked like an entirely different person (but still adorable) and started out with the shovel. I joined him after about an hour, each of us working from one end of our ENORMOUS driveway (should we have thought of that upon purchase of the home) until we met in the middle. I under-dressed, so my hair and eyebrows were icicles, and he gave me a lecture and made me go get a hat.

The first time I saw snow fall from the sky I was 17. I had seen it on the ground many times, as we would go cut down a christmas tree sometimes in Northern Arizona, and we had travelled once or twice. But I remember thinking I had no idea what a snowflake looked like in high school. So I saw it snow that year--right before the end of high school. My friend, who I also had romantic ideas about, took me up to Flagstaff in his car, and we made snow angels.

After that I saw a lot of snow--I went to college in California, but I saw snow when I lived in Italy (it was a rare snow in Florence, but I lived through several in one winter!) I finally actually LIVED through a real winter in New York. I remember my first year there I used to fall all the time, because I didn't know how to see ice on the sidewalk. I had a lot of bruises. I also remember how much I adored the way snow would silence the city. I loved the glistening trees on my walk home--covered in heavy ice. I also used to feel a tang of loneliness seeing couples in the snow. I didn't feel it any other time of year the way I did at winter.

I made hubby come outside with me and stand in the snow the first time it came down in Missouri. Something happens in a good relationship where you desire to right a bunch of wrongs, or absolve a bunch of loneliness by doing things like dragging someone out in the snow. It's like saying, "hey snow....someone loves me now."

Today I shoveled a path for the dogs to run in. They seem to love it out there...it's 4 below right now. They're insane. It definitely beats the first day where I had to stand out in the freezing snow begging the dogs to pee while I shivered in my peruvian hat and scarf and unlaced boots. (This because they were afraid to go into the foot-high snow).

It is beautiful, although I can't wait to get outside again. And already I'm looking forward to Spring. (Staring down the barrel of December...we're a long way off).

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Inspiration, Perspiration and Money


I promised myself years ago that I would not waste my life worrying about money. Then I got married! Hah. Just as a reminder to myself: money is never owned, it is not concrete, it simply passes from person to person, is only to be treated as wisely as possible, and then let go. whew.

I'm still stressed. God forgive me.

Just noticed a payment I forgot to make with a big late fee tacked on. I may call them tomorrow and beg to have it waived, who knows. In general, we are playing catch & tackle & pray with our bills. It sounds more fun than it is.

I went to the Dr. today and my A1C is up. It's over 7 right now. And I'm a little angry with myself--but she said it was not unusual with nursing and not taking the higher medication. I'm still angry. I'm considering it "inspiration" for my diet to be better. I hate going to the Dr. The only fun part is the swarm of nurses on Baby S. Today she made a huge orange poop at the office. It's a thrill a minute. She seems to be so in love with me right now...it's very flattering. Lots of flirty smiles, and crying out for me. She's always so happy when I look at her or talk to her.

I just saw Julie & Julia. It certainly makes it into "films that make me feel quietly inspired". Am I too old to do all the things I long to do? Not according to this movie. I am also not too fat or too moody or too much of a person who doesn't complete things. So that gives me hope again. The movie also made me feel so lucky that it was so easy for us to get pregnant. I never want to take that for granted.

Hubby is out shovelling the driveway. We're in a storm the weather station calls "epic". That doesn't sound good. I guess I'll be cleaning the house for two days, while I look for transcripts...what the heck.

Oh yeah, perspiration. I've got to start working out again.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Searches, Shatters and Sugars


I am frustrated, and taking a break to write about it here.

I just applied for a job I'd really like. I mean really. I reviewed a gazillion times what I needed to send them, and then sent it priority mail. Everything here with the dogs, the baby, the house...it's just hectic. So I got it in the mail. And it looked good. And today I got an email thanking me for my application.

We have the following on file (it said):
-Complete CV
-Five References with phone and Email
-Unofficial Transcript Copies
-High Quality DVD/CD performance recording

THen it occurred to me....I never sent them a transcript. So--that means at some point they're going to realize I didn't. And I just spent two hours looking for the transcripts I ordered last year. In case you don't know, ordering transcripts is more complex than getting a passport (at least, at my schools). For my graduate school, EVERYTHING is done through the mail. Not online, not on the phone, no credit card payment...seriously??? I'm a gazillion miles away from you!

We moved to this house in June. And still, so much of our lives is boxed up, in the attic, in the basement, SOMEWHERE I can't find it. We had a 2 hour search for winter boots today (successful, but annoying). Ugh. The chaos makes me want to cry.

I have a doctor's visit tomorrow morning....to get my A1C done. I am nervous--I have been eating low(ish) carb and taking insulin, and exercising--so I guess I shouldn't be nervous, but it feels like a test. After all, it does have a number and you either pass or fail (basically anything under a 6 is a big old pass, and over 6...well, it depends how high over 6. My last was a 6.6) I am disappointed in myself that I only lost 5 pounds since our last visit. This was due to a 3 pound birth-control related gain, and then having to lose that as well....but still I really wanted to be 10 down. arrrrgh.

And last but not least, we shattered our beautiful front door. The door to our 80 year old house is one of the "special" parts of this place...a beautiful etched glass door. A few nights ago, a screw (we think) hit it, driving a perfect hole into the door and shattering every inch of it. It looks like a huge spider web, and we are just waiting for the moment when it finally falls out. So....I'm frustrated. Quite. *sigh*

Sunday, December 6, 2009

SongSmith


I love to write music. I wrote my first songs when I was about 12. I used to write them on paper, by hand. One night I pushed my parents' piano down the hall into my room so I could play it at 2am. I would lean over it, tired, and pour out my feelings.

I suppose I write about a small list of things. I write about love, but more often when love is sad. I write about God, in every form I can think of, and I write about my personal journey of self esteem. And that's about it. I've written hundreds of songs. Some recorded, some written down, almost all performed, at some point. I've written songs where I laugh maniacally, and songs where I use different voices. I can write a song in 10 minutes, and I can work on the same song for 20 years.

I consider myself more of a songwriter than any other talent I have. I think I am more of a songwriter than an opera singer, or a composer, or even a mother! I think this is because songwriting has always come so easily for me.

I wrote my first Christmas song last night. I am not a fan of Christmas...unless I separate it from Christianity. I know this seems weird, as someone who's a Christian. But I can't reconcile the way we celebrate Christmas with the life of Jesus. It doesn't jive for me at all. So I just think of the two as separate. There is the secular holiday of Christmas--which is a fun time to buy presents and make stuff shiny. Then there is the story of the messiah's birth--which happened in August, in Israel, and has nothing to do with pine trees. At all.

I wrote a Christmas song because I was singing in church and I couldn't stand the idea of doing someone else's Christmas song. I know--I'm so high maintenance. I loved writing it. It made me personally connected to the story. Unfortunately, I didn't record it or I'd post it here--but I thought it went pretty well this morning. Even though I was sick and tired and Baby S was up several times during the night and had a lot to say at 7am.

I never feel so connected to either myself or God as when I am hunched over a piano at 2 am, trying to find the chord that best expresses awe, or pain, or my personal history. I wish everyone had something like this. It's the stuff of happiness.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Mommy Trauma


Well, we've been sick for 3 days.

I say we because there's no possibility that just the baby or I could be sick. Each day I look at my shirt to see if the map of vomit, breastmilk, baby poop and food that I've spilled while eating and holding her reveals something of my future...like reading tea leaves or something. You can't exchange that much body fluid without risk of illness.

Today we finally got out. We haven't even attempted it since it's been snowing and baby S just wants "mommy time" all day, so it seemed impossible.

Today we went to pick something up at the store...seemed simple enough. We pulled into the parking lot with a significant amount of screaming happening in the backseat. I took the baby out of the seat, thinking, "ok, I'll nurse her in the car and she'll be good." As I took her out, I realized she was wet. Completely wet. With runny green poop. Her onesie, her pants. I realized I'd taken the extra outfit out of the diaper bag. Crap! I started changing her on the front seat and realized that the baby wipes, which had been sitting in the car with the diaper bag, had frozen. So she's still screaming, because all she wants to do is eat, she's naked, I'm warming baby wipes in my hands and singing songs to her hoping (with some futility) that she will stop screaming. I can hear her rattling nose as she tries to breathe through it. I found an extra sweater, so I exchanged the onesie for that and put her semi-wet pants back on. Then I fed her, with her periodically screaming after eating for 30 seconds or so....I suppose just remembering the trauma. Ugh.

Then I wrapped her in a blanket and we went into the store, and all the women at the entrance noted how adorable she was. And oh yeah, thank God for pacifiers. *sigh*

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Girlfriends....


This morning I put my sister on a plane after a week-long visit, and I cried a bit. This may have been influenced by the cold I realized the baby & I both had moments later--but it also followed a few days of sleeping in, getting pedicures and talking endlessly. Things I haven't done for a while. There was one point when I was talking and talking, and she was just listening, and I thought--oh no, she'll get tired of my just chatting away. And then I realized, no she won't...she's a girl! And it was delightful to have "girlfriend" time. More than delightful.


Before taking my sister to the airport my lifelong friend called. She was missing our mutual friend, who died suddenly in an accident two years ago. And I couldn't regale her with what I thought was a fabulous story--it was too "on the spot". Our friend, D, who died at the age of 34, was a great girlfriend. Well, I mean, I would not want to have been her boyfriend--I think with boyfriends she was a little likely to have some 'indescretions'...she didn't like being tied down, and kept a lot of secrets. She tended to put men in their place. But as a girlfriend--D was a rescuer. She was hours of fun, she told you your boobs were perky and your skin was wonderful, and made fun of you for your bad handwriting or the way you annoyingly sang along to the radio in harmony. She was a confidant--kept your secrets, never judged you, listened for days. I remember when D visited me at college-- I was maybe 19--and somehow she convinced me to run along the beach with no clothes on. I went to college in California, and I was painfully shy about my body, so how did she do it? No idea. But I can remember clear as day running along in the sand, in my birthday suit, a little horrified someone might see (it was pitch black, and probably around 3 am) with her yelling into the night, "I feel like a jungle woman!!!'" and anyone who can talk you into that is a true girlfriend.


Remembering her death this morning made me think of my sister's friend, a handsome, charming, charismatic, brilliant 23 year old man, who died of leukemia. At the time of his death, my sister and his girlfriend were at odds--after all, he took care of my sister, though they were platonic friends, and she relied on him to tell her when movies were too scary, or to be the one to rescue her from herself. At the moment of his illness, all of that faded, and the two women sat by his bedside and cried together. And then out of that was born a new girlfriend relationship. And that healing power is certainly not to be ignored.


So this is what I long for today--here I am with a new everything. New life, new baby, new husband, new house, new dog even....and nothing of the past seems to call to me. Nothing except for the fact that I had a life rich with close girlfriends. Sometimes when I want to cry at a movie, or complain about my husband, or just switch from subject to subject and complain about breastfeeding, I long for it again.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Pedicures & Putting up Christmas


The long anticipated "preparing for the holidays" boxes came up from the basement today. This is a day my husband awaits with bated breath. The first time I saw "christmas" come up from the basement I almost had a seizure. It's a lot. A LOT. But it's one of those things you start loving about someone. So when he brought things up this time, it was nice to see how happy it made him, and it made me feel happy too.

One box contains Hanukkah, my preferred holiday. It's soft and spiritual and there's not a lot of commercial crap to make me feel frustrated. One box contained my tree...it's a vegetable and fruit themed tree. (I love produce, call me crazy). It also has sentimental ornaments on it--baby's first ornaments, handmade stuff (when we get it).

I am up tonight, talking to my sister at 2am. It's incredibly dumb. My daughter's going to be up, crying, in three hours, and somehow I'm going to have to raise myself from bed. Today my sister and I had a great day--we got pedicures, my first in a YEAR! and drove around looking for an open sushi place, which we could not find. It was pretty frustrating and made me miss New York. I wanted to be my single self, drinking sake and eating raw fish and wearing cute boots as I chatted with one of my incredible girlfriends in NYC. But instead I went to a chain restaurant and had very average food. Good but average. The guy serving us was a 21 year old with 2 kids.

You don't have to have a certain kind of life to have joy. You don't have to have a certain friend, or a mate, or a child, or a city, or a tree. You also can feel trapped and depressed if you have all of the above. Being with my sister has made me miss girlfriends IMMENSELY. After all, I made it to 33 without ever sharing my intimate thoughts with a man (at least--a straight man) and I depended on women to keep me sane. Now, here, struggling without that type of relationship is even harder than trying to forge a career 2 blocks from a cornfield. So I'm joyful, but I guess there's always something.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Exhaustion & Sugar


For about a week, baby S was doing whole nights of sleep. It was miraculous! But it seems that blessing was short-lived, and I am now up again. Oy. As I type this I am falling asleep--fingers first, eyelids second....I am considering leaving my sister and husband to sit in the living room while I crash into bed.


I may have clever things to say, but I mostly just want to crash.


In two weeks we are going Christmas carolling with a group. Who doesn't love random groups of singing people? It makes me think of childhood. My sisters and I would rehearse carols in 3 part harmony and walk around the neighborhood singing. I'm sure it was adorable, but honestly, we did it for the profit. We would usually come home with cookies and cash. Ahhh, childhood is so simple. It was a simpler time too--we never once considered not eating a stranger's cookie!


My husband baked tonight--apple carmel pie and cookies. Why did I marry this man?

He simply loves it when we're out and someone asks me if I'd rather cut "my pie". He loves the moment when I tell them I don't bake--it's my husband's pie. It's our rare break from stereotypes.


I finished the packet to send to the new job prospect--cv, recordings, referrals, and letter. I guess we'll mail it tomorrow morning. We had it ready today, but realized in the car on the way to the post office that my cv had no contact info...I mean, I feel destined to get the job, but not giving them any way to contact me seems to be over-testing destiny.


Enough thoughts. Goodnight. Hopefully, I won't be up again until after....at least 7am?


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Basic Log of a new diabetic mom


Today's activities/highlights

fed the baby
diapered the baby (she peed a bit)
clothed the baby
tested my blood sugar
got out the christmas/hanukkah boxes
cleaned
fed the baby
tried to soothe her yucky stomach
peeled paint from the porch (hours)
worked out
tested my blood sugar
fed the baby
tried to soothe her yucky stomach
sat in front of the tv on the carpet watching Schroeder play Moonlight Sonata to a video of brilliant colors while the baby watched, fascinated
said hi to my sister in law via playstation 3
did a little decorating, took insulin, ate some turkey
tested my blood sugar
fed the baby
tried to soothe her yucky stomach
watched some tv, chatted with my sister
ate turkey soup
pumped some milk
made a wreath
waited for husband to go home
typed a blog
bed.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday?


Thanksgiving has a new tradition in my life. My husband always works Thanksgiving day, producing a tv news program, so my family comes to visit (or at least my mom) and we go to the tv station, bringing something to eat (I prefer vegetables, as I would like to be known as "the lady who brings vegetables" and my husband brings pie. And we love each other). Anyhoo, the station usually supplies some form of turkey and the basic bland starches. I was excited to find someone brought liverwurst, because I have the taste buds of an old chinese guy--if it makes others cringe, I am at the least intrigued.

It was a lovely day, with my mother and sister and daughter, sitting around the news station break room laughing and watching interns load up on stuffing. My sister just remarked to me how odd it was to have a thanksgiving meal and then coming home to see the other people at the meal on tv. But with the exception that one family member was notably missing, it was a beautiful day.

My husband is a fan of black friday. Yes, you read that correctly. Honestly, having grown up in some sort of artsy cave, I had never really known what this day was before him. I had never read a black friday ad, I didn't know people camped out in front of stores, and I certainly knew the one weekend to AVOID stores at all cost was the weekend after Thanksgiving. But I didn't know why.

So he got up this morning, wallet in tow, having moved a little cash from our meager savings, and hit his first store at 5am. Yes, 5am. It's the only day all year that he sees the sunrise. When he got to the first store, the item he wanted (to get me, how strange is that?) was sold out. It was 5:15. I was up anyways, feeding the baby, but had no desire to see that kind of madness.

The most humorous part of the day was when I felt like maybe I should get a little shopping done, so I walked into radio shack (casually) at 10:30 AM, on my way to the grocery store, and asked if they still had a sale item available. They looked at me like I was insane. They said, "uh, we sold out of that at 6am". For a moment I felt embarassed and then responded, "Well, I have a 3 month old, I was willing to take my chances and sleep in." Ain't that the truth?

I don't really use coupons. I never have, because I think that the purpose (which is logical) of a coupon is to get the customer to make a purchase they wouldn't normally make. I found black friday to be the same...everything coming together, the goal being that I might buy something I wouldn't have bought if a "doorbuster" hadn't brought me in.

So I may just offer to watch the baby from now on. 5AM is better seen while camping, meditating or painting a sunrise.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Fillings and Feelings



I had a filling done today! I start with that because it's 12:31am and the pain just surfaced. Ugh. My mother spent her day mostly alone with baby S (me stopping by occasionally to nurse the baby and then rushing off again in the freezing rain) doing ...photojournalism? I'm not sure what you call positioning the baby with just about everything in the house and taking pictures of her. Entertaining, to say the least.

I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my sister for Thanksgiving. I miss everyone and I love how happy they are to see my daughter. It really takes the stress off of me having to be entertaining. Much is forgiven, actually, and my mood this week has been horrid.

I can't figure out if it's low blood sugar, or exhaustion, or what it is...but I am a real crab this week. My husband is too, but that's his M.O. I'm trying to teach him not to hand the baby to me every time she cries, but I'm not sure it's working.

The hardest part of a relationship is negotiating someone's feeling language. It is so difficult to determine what things are communicated when you say, "can I put away your puzzle, it's been on the table for a week and I feel like I'm going to cry every time I see it". You think this is a gentle request. He feels this is undermining his source of joy. And how many times did it take of me flying into hysterics when he said something like, "are the cookies gone already? I just bought a whole package" when I've been crying on the couch that I can't believe I ate 7 cookies that day. (how could he know?)

I looked at pictures of myself the night before the baby was born. MAN! I did not look like myself at all. I can't believe that was me, and yet I don't remember not being able to recognize myself in the mirror or anything. I guess you get into a habit of seeing yourself a certain way...it's why that damn scale is so shocking.

I am all over the place tonight. Baby S is asleep, lying next to her grandmother in front of me, while my husband and I furiously communicate in our silent parallel laptops. I feel like I wish he'd come over and hug me and say, "my moodiness has nothing to do with you tonight, you are the light of my life and thank you for taking care of my daughter every day, when you lose yourself in it, and you don't even remember what your dreams were by the end of the day sometimes. I am so lucky."

So this article is either about feelings or fillings or filling yourself with feelings in hopes that the dentist's numbing isn't the only kind you feel.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Exhaustion & Cool Whip


Today at the mall with my husband, daughter and mother, I thought my legs would give out. I was so exhausted I couldn't even see walking back to the car. I have reached this level of exhaustion a few times in my life...studying for comp exams for my master's, learning how to drink coffee as an 18 year old and being forced awake from within for days at a time, etc. However, this seemed new. I checked my blood sugar, it was pretty normal, and had lunch. I hadn't eaten for a few hours, and was running around, taking care of me, baby, home, family. Am I cut out for this? I still ask myself. I am looking at getting a job doing what I love doing, and the thought of that seems so much easier (even though I am expecting massive amounts of work) than running a household. How do people clean, how do you keep track of what day it is? How do you know when you last ate lunch? It's more than exhausting.

We had baby S take her picture with Santa. No lines--that's the good thing about TUesday afternoon in a practically abandoned mall. She is a great baby for pictures. Sure, she doesn't smile on command (what 11 week old does?) but she stares at the lights and doesn't tend to cry (provided she is well fed and has napped). Oddly, I have noticed she does better if her diaper is full of poop. Perhaps it's like sitting in a warm bath, I'm not sure. Not really ready to try it myself.

Hubby is taking some pies into work for Thanksgiving (we will be having Thanksgiving dinner at his workplace--since he can't get off for it, it's our new tradition!) He is compulsively buying pies to bring. Since he is the boss and organizer, I think he has just decided to bring stuff he wants to have in his freezer. Like pie. This resulted in the purchase of cool whip.

We debated in the store how many to get. We decided 1 tub per pie, 1 tub for me to accidentally eat in its entirety and 1 tub for my mom to apologize that she also ate. This was 5 total. We are down to 3. It's lite cool whip. Come on, that stuff is really a freebee.

My mom is a slim woman who I am thinking of tweeting about (can I tweet? that seems wrong). What I'd like to do a tweet on is "what my mom had for dinner". On a normal day this would be: 3 wasa crackers, some egg whites cooked in the microwave, and some "salad toppers" spray. Yep. On a night while visiting me, it's more like: a diet coke, a tub of cool whip, 2 bowls of cereal without milk, but with powdered cocoa, and a few pieces of candy. Then she talks about feeling ill. We are trying to explain to her that tripling your normal caloric intake can do that. Even if you're just going from 800-2400. It's a big deal.

My mother is an expert at self-denial. Really, she puts people to shame. It starts in her fridge. I recently joked with my sister since she said she'd lost weight at my mother's house. I said, "really, is that because the current content of the fridge is water, diet coke, a bunch of 80 calorie yogurts and some eye drops?" She laughed. I was confirmed.

That's why she has to eat the whole tub of cool whip. Can you blame her?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Journeys

Today I took a long trip in a rented pontiac with a new baby to meet an old acquaintance about a new job. I am so tired.

I finished the day off with a scoop of lite cool whip mixed with coffee grounds. Does that sound good to anyone else?

Oh, and I lost a pound and a half!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

C-Section, or Healing Can Be Slow


Uhhh, I'm not sure if I'm even ready to talk about this, but I'm worrying myself by looking at pictures on the internet, and so maybe it's more rational to go through my experience (and possibly helpful). Note: DO NOT ever do a google image search for "c-section healing + infection". HOLY COW.

I had a c-section. I had diabetes, pre-eclampsia, an induced labor which resulted in my blood pressure going "severely" high and having to have "seizure pads" on the bed (and a crazy experience with magnesium sulfate, avoid at all costs). Finally I ended up with the c. I think this was the right decision medically, I have no doubt about it. However, what happened after that has been the hardest part of mommying.

I initially started a heal from the c-section very well. The nurse said she'd never seen someone pop up out of bed so fast after a c-section. Especially after 2 days of magnesium sulfate pumped into them. I was already running errands with my husband by day 5. I was wondering when i could start exercising. My sugar numbers has been very high in the hospital, but I figured it was from my downing iced coffees like they were water...I didn't worry.

Six days after the surgery I was at home with my mother, and my husband was outside, mowing the lawn. I was in a chair, skooching my body back to breastfeed the babe. And then it happened, the front of my body opened up and poured quarts of red liquid all over me. It was like sitting in a bath. I had no idea where the liquid was coming from. I shrieked a bit, and handed the baby to my mother. My mother, always the optimist, started screaming, "You're Hemmorhaging!" I yelled back, "no, I'm not...I'm not, it doesn't feel like that"...and she ran out into the yard, "Tye...your wife's hemmorhaging"...I could hear her as I stood in the shower, trying to wash off the liquid.

We rushed to the hospital, where nurses said, "oh I hate these c-sections, this stuff happens all the time" and we watched as they re-cut open my wound, and stuffed it with gauze. It was painful. Tye was staring blankly the whole time, as if he'd been shot in the leg or seen a horrible accident, obviously still feeling the immense fear from our rush to the hospital. I kept apologizing for having ruined the recliner in the living room.

For the next six weeks, my husband was educated by nurses on how to open my wound and pack me full of gauze daily, removing the old, bloody, disgusting gauze each time. It was horrible. It was painful for me, painful for him, and made me remain a "sick" person for weeks. Finally by about 6 or 7 weeks past the birth, the wound got too small to pack. It was still open, a bit, but seemed to have closed up from the inside.

The problem is, now I have a very small portion (about the size of a raisin) that will not close. We are 11 weeks out, and I still leak a little from that small sore. It doesn't seem infected, but I am preparing to show this to my internist next week.

When will my body be mine again? WHEN?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Go Blue or Go Home

Early indoctrination



So here's an entirely new experience if you haven't had it: I married a sports fan.

I grew up in a family with no sports "loyalties". We liked figure skaters, tennis players, maybe a few other individual sports. But teams? I remember the first time I asked someone where he was from and he said, "Well, I was born in Illinois, but I grew up in Phoenix, so I'm really still more of a cubs fans, but I have adopted the Diamondbacks as a second team." WHAT??

So I married the worst of them, I believe. My husband refers to his teams as "we" as in "we won". He doesn't like wearing green, or red, or any colors which might be teams which are rivals of "our" team. The most interesting thing is how wins and losses affect his mood. I have never been affected by a team, so I don't relate at all, but I remember the first time I heard my husband curse. We'd already known each other for a year, and his team had lost (against michigan state? ohio state? I don't remember, but I bet it was an important game). I watched the 4th and final quarter with him...I watched them lose. We were tense and quiet. And then, with very little drama, my husband got up from the couch and said, "well, shit." and walked out of the room.

So now I watch Michigan games knowing that it will make my husband SO happy if they win. I hope against hope that the Lions will have a winning season...don't they deserve one yet? I feel invested, emotionally, in interceptions. I kind of hate seeing Ohio State win...ever. It's weird. And it's all because I love him, and I know that he internalizes things.

I remember being in a store and I saw a shirt his sister might want for a gift. I looked at it, and before picking the size, I checked....did it come in blue? Because if it came in BLUE, it would be a better gift.

So Michigan just lost. Normally, this would just be disappointing because I feel empathy for being on a one sided rivalry for 9 years, where those other bastards keep winning! But today, I feel like, "how can I cheer him up?" because I know the level of disappointment that "he" lost this morning.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Small Victories


Working out every day, I have noticed that my body has that slight soreness that I used to feel in my single life. Back then I hated going a week without exercising. By my 9th week of pregnancy, I could not do anything more than walk without some discomfort, and by the 20th week....wooh. I had always heard you should exercise during pregnancy (and I believe it) but even with my idea that I would be the best, most active, perfectly exercising pregnant woman, that did not happen. I walked a lot, but could never do long distances, or hills. The ligaments around my uterus would KILL me with any strain.

So now I'm doing cardio and lifting weights and MAN I feel good! You forget how good this feels...it's funny. You forget the level of energy exercise gives you. Sleep is better, and stamina, forget about it!

Even though my weigh-in had disappointing results, I had a small victoy yesterday that I still feel so good about. My wedding ring fit. For the first time since my seventh month of pregnancy. Now--I'm not sure I can get it off, but it's on there and it's comfortable! We celebrated with a little bottle of "bubbly" (apple cider) that Tye got for free at work last June. Who doesn't love a free celebration?

The baby is sleeping peacefully now--it's 10am, and I just had breakfast without feeding her at the same time. Yay! She was up a little more last night. She is really sleeping through the night now--sometimes up to 7 hours. But last night was a lot of eating. I'm guessing growth spurt. She ate all day yesterday.

I will practice my piano and singing today, and get some housecleaning done, and maybe even put on a coat and take a walk! It's a little "Novembery" for walking, but I can't wait to get that cold air in my lungs.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My History of Hot Sauce



The item shown here is the single most used ingredient in my kitchen. I can't tell you how much I love hot sauce. My current favorite is a can of "healthy request" homestyle chicken noodle soup, cooked with very little water and a tablespoon of garlic chili sauce! Ahhh, talk about a cure for the common cold!

I'm not sure where my love of spicy came from. I did not grow up in a household filled with spice! The earliest I can remember the love of hot sauce is with my friend Dari, during my high school years. We built off of each other over the next five years. Dari loved spicy, and together we pushed each other until we were having meals together that made us sweat and burned our pee the next day. She would purposely cook me meals that I knew would be half meal half sport. I remember so fondly going to a thai restaurant with Dari, ordering everything extra spicy, and ordering a bowl of chilies to go with it. We left those restaurants in pain, but laughing, and delighted and energetic.

In college I met the world of "authentic asian spicy" with my friend and conjoined twin, Eugene. I developed a love of my favorite meal: steamed whole fish with black bean sauce, steamed chinese vegetables (chinese broccoli or "gai lan" being my favorite) and rice. By itself, the meal is good, but with the cut up chilies immersed on soy sauce, OH LORDY that stuff was good. It only led to more discovery of spicy foods. I believe my favorite spicy food is still anything stewed in spices. Slowly. For days. mmmmm!

In New York I used to go to chinatown and buy fresh prawns, a few chilies (I don't know the name of these red chinese chilies, but I know 'em when I see 'em) and then take the shrimp home, clean and steam them, and put the chilies in hot sauce for a day. The shrimp dipped in the very hot chili soy sauce! Fantastic. But beware of leaving the chilies in the soy sauce for too long...too intense even for me.

Another deserving mention is kim chee(I'm not sure how to describe this beyond "korean heaven"). I know this is an acquired taste--my husband can't stand the smell of it, but it is so many wonderful things...spice, kick, tang, crunch. You gotta love it! Maybe I can trace this back to my Korean friend in high school and her mom cooking us authentic food on my frequent overnights at her house.

Hot sauce is low in fat and calories, it slows down how much food I can actually eat! I feel energized after eating it, and it's so fun to try each culture's version (although I must say the continent of Asia still does it for me!)

I guess the downside is that my addiction to hot sauce makes everything else bland. hmmmm

My recent favorite meal creation is tilapia and hot nutty noodles
1 thin sliced tilapia filet (works better a bit frozen)
brush with olive oil and broil for about five minutes, until almost cooked through. I prefer if the edges get a little crunch to them.
1/2 cup whole wheat linguine
1 zucchini, thinly sliced to look like the linguine.
boil together until 'al dente'
add soy sauce, 1-2 tbs garlic chili sauce to taste, 1 tsp chunky natural peanut butter
slice up fish and lay on top. Serve immediately.
Scrumptious!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Watchdogs



We have two dogs. Max is a lhasa apso. He is around 8 years old, only about 23 pounds (although that's pretty big for a lhasa). Tye refers to him as "my boy" in a babying tone. He has double jointed hips and walks as though he has just gotten off of a horse. He is cuddly, and very social, but he is also a grump. He has nipped at both of us, and growls when asked to do something he's not in the mood to do. He has some funny quirks--hates to have his paws touched, even gently, always waits to eat until he's seen if there are other "food options", doesn't like going outside to pee in the morning, and "plays" like he's fighting. To the casual onlooker, the way he plays with Ginger looks and sounds like he's gonna kill her. But he never actually does more to her than mat her hair.

Ginger is our pomeranian. She is 10 scrappy pounds of quirkiness. Ginger will be 2 years old next Spring. Tye got her for me after my beloved (but very senior) dog Mini died last summer. She is everything my Mini wasn't....she barks at nothing, loves to run after cars (seriously, you're going to take on that minivan by yourself?) She has perpetual amnesia (or doggy alzheimer's as my dad called it). She can be lovingly sitting in your lap, but you leave the room, out of sight, return, and she barks at you as if you're a stranger. It's odd. She plays with her food, has an incredible love for opera--sings herself, comes running when she hears me start singing, and for lack of a better word, goes "nuts" when she hears it.

They both bark excessively for visitors, but are extremely gentle in the house with the baby.

This morning, after Baby Stevie slept for 6 hours straight! AMEN ALLELUIA!! (sorry, I got distracted) I woke up to get the "house" started. I had to go out to Stevie's vitamin D appointment anyway, and the daughter and hubby were still sleeping. So I ran outside in the verrry cold rain, grabbed my husband's lunchbox out of the truck, and ran back to the house. At this point, I realized I had locked myself out. I was barefoot in an old pair of shorts and a jacket. I proceeded to knock repeatedly, thinking, "surely the dogs will hear me and go crazy". After about 5 minutes, when I couldn't feel my feet, I ran to the front of the house and knocked on the other door. THEN they decided to wake from their fairy-tale slumber.

Tye was utterly baffled as to what I was doing on the front porch. He slowly opened the door as if to protect himself from the strange visitor. I even noticed he was wearing pants.

The dogs? Worthless! They bark every time they see me go outside, but they can't hear a knock from 4 rooms away? The special irony is that Max STILL wouldn't go outside to pee, since it was morning. of course.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Realtors, Romans and Rush


My baby and my beloved republican pizza addict.

Our first friend in Cedar Rapids was (and is) our realtor. She was assigned to us arbitrarily when I clicked on a house on her website. We looked at dozens of homes with her and instead of driving her insane, we made a great friend. She has an "urban" thing about her, a quickness, which I appreciate, while still being originally from this area. She knows what dim sum is. She also knows the difference between a goat house and a chicken coop (which I don't).

Today we had a chinese lunch with her. It was delightful, and Stevie was fantastically calm and sweet, although secretly creating an enormous orange liquid poop in her diaper while she gazed at us. Five minutes after lunch it had already stained her shirt.

It was fun to show off how much we'd done to this house (by "we" I mean largely my in-laws, but we've done a fair amount of slaving work!)and we had a real intimate conversation with her, where she shared her problems and we shared ours, and I didn't feel needy or complaining, which has been an issue for me this year--always needing someone's help becomes old, quickly.

Later on in the day Tye announced that tonight he would be eating Little Caesar's pizza. For the record, my husband loves Little Caesar's pizza slightly more than he loves me. Perhaps in years to come he will remember his daughter's birth happening just a few months before the Little Caesar's opening. He actually clapped his hands in a rather girlish glee-like moment when he saw the COMING SOON sign. He has talked about it daily since we saw the sign, I believe.

So he is off to get his pizza.

Driving around town today we listened to Rush Limbaugh interview Sarah Palin on the phone, while I made comments like, "why do we reward angry people who have their own radio shows" and "how long is this show anyway" and "I must really love you to let you play this stuff". I topped it off with a few quizzes for him on health insurance which he told me he would not participate in. Somehow this is our very functional relationship. We are practicing "true america" I think--you believe the politician you want to, and I will believe the politician I want to, and we can love each other because somehow deep inside we actually want the same things and hope SOMEONE's going to give them to us. In other words, I'll get dim sum you get pizza? Or something like that.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Hand to Teeth


Today has been difficult. It's a little after 3pm and my family is taking a nap while I try to make a mental list of what I'm grateful for--to get over what I'm stressed about, or try to convince myself today was not as bad as it feels.

I weighed myself this morning and I was up a few ounces. I suppose that counts as "no weight gain" but it is disappointing. I have been heavily exercising, and working out with weights for the first time--so this could be a muscle gain. It could also be a result of my not having met my calorie goal as many times this week as last, and most likely, it's because I talked myself out of recording my food as much as I had been. I know that this is simply a marker of where i am and what I need to do. It is not a death sentence or a judgment, as I am likely to take it.

After this I went to the dentist for my first cleaning and checkup in a few years. This went surprisingly well (albeit painful, since she had to do a hell of a lot of scraping). I have one small cavity. Easy peasy. I asked them about my husband's coming dental work, and she pulled up his file for me, showing me that we will owe (after insurance) over $700. Then I was informed they don't do payments...all payments have to be made at the time of the service. This means that A) my husband knew about this 700 dollars and B) He picked a dentist where you can't make payments after our family income was cut almost in half. I want to cry about this, about having to put 700 on a credit card. I probably will cry later.

I asked him to pick up some d-con for the basement while he was out (on his way home from a root canal, but he was stopping to pick up stuff anyways) and he picked up traps instead. That means I will be home by myself with 2 dogs and a baby when one of those traps accidenally half-kills a mouse and it screams to death for two hours. I've been through it. Several times. And I am not happy. He argues it's better than smelling a dead mouse in the wall. I beg to differ.

I got a bill today from a creditor collecting on 65 dollars from my apartment in NYC (the electric bill). At the time, I had a 50 dollar credit from my cable company I had been waiting for, and a 65 dollar bill for electricity. My plan had been to use one to pay the other--but since the cable company never sent me the credit...you know the rest. I don't have 65 dollars. I mean...I DON'T have that money. I also don't have 700 dollars or the 800 dollars that our old apartment wants for 'carpet damage' because they ate up our security deposit on silly stuff like painting a wall we never hung anything on.

We decided babies deserve to have their own parents with them--and I want to be home with Stevie. But financially, I can't even imagine where this next year is going. I have no idea.

I have a huge headache. I'm frustrated, tired, and sad. I have no answers for these financial issues. I also want to point out that not celebrating "christmas" in a traditional way for about 7 years as a single person, I was happy. And now I am married into a world where gifts are expected, anticipated, etc. And I don't know how to do that when I can't pay for my husband's teeth.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Dry Run




Well, right at this moment the adorable peanut is sitting next to me, smiling away, as if to say life is perfectly plummy. She is talking some, and blowing bubbles.

This morning was daddy's dry run at having her by himself. I played piano for two church services, meaning that as of 8:30 I would be out the door, she would just be waking up (normally he would be sleeping) and he would somehow have to get the household up and running by 10:30 or so. Originally his goal was 10:00 but I thought that was pushing it.

Like everything Tye tries for the first time, I asked him if he was nervous and he said no. It seems it has become a lifelong goal for me to get him to be nervous about something!

As I left the house, I heard her start wailing from the room. (A wail that seemed to say, "hey someone just left with my breakfast!" I did him the favor of pulling her out of the bassinet and putting her next to him on the queen size bed. I also brought him some warmed-up breastmilk, a towel for when she spits it up (she has not done well yet with the bottle) and her vitamin D drops. THen I said a little prayer and hit the road. I'm not sure why this made me so nervous--he is certainly very capable.

My chest was killing me and leaking all morning. blech. But everything went well, and Tye showed up at the church with her at 10:30, with her in a lovely ensemble-matching from her jacket to her socks! I'm not sure if it was a matter of seeing me, but all was fine until about 10 minutes later, when Stevie had the worst weeping, wailing event I have seen (we rushed her out of the church right on time). She would NOT absolutely not, take the bottle again, and when I finally did get to nurse her in the fitting room at JC Penny's across the street, she was still hysterical. She was hysterical after eating, until I pulled out all my tricks to get her calm again.

This was so stressful that I may need a nap this afternoon.

I am worried about my weigh-in tomorrow. I have been great with the exercise, having kept all of my goals, but my eating has not been tracked with as much care as I'd like. I am writing it down today, but I have had 2-3 days this week with no writing. Arrrgh.

And lastly, to entertain myself last night, by myself, I put Stevie in a flower costume and ran around the room like a giddy five year old taking pictures of her and yelling, "O you are so cute!" over and over. It was embarassing, even more so when I posted some of the pictures to facebook. If I get depressed today, maybe I'll put her in it again!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Do not go gently into that goodnight

I have no picture for today...it's Saturday, which is a strange day for our family. My husband works from 1pm-11pm. This day has become family sleep-in day. We all relax in bed until about 11. Then we get up, cook breakfast and he leaves for work. It's just like a normal morning, except 3-4 hours later. That means I just looked at the clock after a little cleaning around the house and it's 3:30. I also need to exercise now, while the baby is finally sleeping, and I don't have to put her in the frontpack. (If you haven't done it, 45 minutes of aerobics with a 12 pound baby strapped to your chest is seriously difficult).

Last night we went to a mexican restaurant. I insisted, because I wanted something spicy. I also wanted a margarita. I was pretty disappointed--I felt the margarita tasted like gasoline on ice and drank maybe 4 sips, and the way they made my "Pollo chipotle" spicy was by throwing raw jalapenos on top. You know a dinner is disappointing when you start wishing you could just run into the kitchen and re-do it.

I miss NYC food. A lot. Honestly, this deserves it's own blog, but I will briefly comment: Though I am not a vegetarian, I eat MANY meals without animal in them. In fact, I think food should always be good enough to stand on its own, and then a small amount of meat well-cooked can be added to that. If you think that chicken will somehow "carry" your plate, and that the rest of the stuff on it should not be good, well, sir, do not serve that to me. It's disgusting. Don't serve me something without a vegetable. EVER. I know your veggies are frozen, or canned. I know you pulled that garnish out of a tub from this morning. And most of all, do not think that melting cheese on something makes it better. Again...masking. I see through it!

Perhaps I will return to this subject.

What I was thinking when I started was....when do we change from thinking that falling asleep is uncomfortable/painful to blissful? When the baby is in the frontpack, she has a great time...until the moment when she starts feeling tired. She fights sleep, flails her arms, and cries. I then have to facilitate her sleep a bit...turn down the music, keep moving, sometimes use a pacifier, etc. And if not, it appears so PAINFUL.

Let me tell you, if someone put me in some footie pajamas and laid me down in a clean crib in a dark room I would be in HEAVEN! just thinking about it now makes me feel a little softer inside. It must have been, 34 years ago, that I felt like her--fighting sleep tooth and nail. So when the change? College? When I would force myself to stay up? High School, when I never wanted to get up for school? Who knows? She's out like a light, in the swing right now. If I slept with my head curled over the way she does my neck would KILL me. But she hates to be laid flat...so sleeping sitting up it is! Sweet Baby Sleep.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Happiness in a Nutshell


When I was pregnant, mostly to cheer myself up because I was so miserable being pregnant, I used to imagine what would be the BEST part of having a baby. I would picture the cute little hands and feet (why are those things so adorable!??) and the sweet milky breath and the way the top of a baby's head smells like heaven. But still, just like marriage, I had no idea what to expect.

One of my great joys is actually breastfeeding the baby. Who knew? I decided I wanted to breastfeed for a bunch of practical reasons: I was going to be home, it was cheaper, and in my experience nannying the breastfed babies always seemed to have fewer GI problems. So, that was it.

The first few weeks were very difficult. She never opened her mouth enough, and ended up pinching the heck out of my nipples. I got a "milk blister". Sound terrible? It is. The thing about breastfeeding is that if you let yourself rest...if you let her wait between feedings, or use any formula, or use a pacifier--anything at the beginning really, it might not work. Therefore, if your breast hurts, if the baby is screaming, if you have to wake her up and piss her off, or sit in the back of an SUV in a mall parking lot, you do.

And then by about the 5th week, it was old hat. She and I have a rhythm. She loves to wave her hands over my arms while she nurses, and it makes me laugh and smile. She makes sighing noises while nursing, like, "this is so freaking good". I think I make the same noise while eating chocolate souffle, or my first time having korean barbecue, or eating at Matsuhisa in Los Angeles. She loves the physical closeness of the feeding, and therefore, I have grown to love it.

I love the softness I feel during nursing, and the way she looks at me after eating. She's mad at me if I don't allow her a bit of 'afterglow' actually. A bit of time to smile at mom, and rub my arm, and grab at my hair, and smile until a dimple appears on her left cheek.

Not to mention I finally have boobs.

I am working on a CV today. I have no idea how to do this, so I'm trying to look at examples. Happiness is really having a sense of purpose. A place in the story. And so the combination of my daughter sleeping (under my arm, she seems to love that)and my working forward, thinking of what would come next, creates a beautiful morning. (Even though I haven't showered and it's 1pm).

Tye and I used to be asked if we were "excited" about parenting. Jokingly, we would answer, "Well, we've heard good things." Truth is, it's one of those experiences you can't imagine until you get there.