Sunday, February 28, 2010

Cold, Sunshine & A Real Monday

Monday, Monday....been a long time since I thought of a Monday as a workday, but tomorrow I start at the census. That being said, it's only 2 1/2 hours! Ha. But, it's still a reason to put on good shoes.

The baby sleeps peacefully in my lap as I type. Normally, as soon as she conks out, I move her right to the crib. But tonight I'm tired, and I always love the feeling of her soft, round body laying across me...usually her chubby hand in some awkward way over or under her face (just like it was in all of our ultrasound pictures!) She was pretty whiny tonight, probably tooth-related, but she's an easy baby. I should remember to be grateful.

I am struggling with a lot of new emotions--and working out some old things this weekend. Painful thoughts of my sister and my childhood are working their way out, and I have no desire to face them. I just want to be happy clappy with my fantastic hubby and baby, but I do believe that things should be faced before I can move on. Unfortunately, you can't really pick that timing.

Hubby is sick, quite sick...and I had to approach the pastor at church to tell him this morning that he could not do the video he had volunteered to do. Unfortunately, I felt about 2 inches tall when the pastor announced that all of those who had travelled far distances to be interviewed had come for nothing, since hubby was sick. Ugh. When I came home and told him we both bristled....but the poor guy could barely get up this morning--I can't even sleep in the same room with him, his snoring and labored breathing is deafening!!!

Speaking of sleep, the baby slept in today, until 9:15, which really gave me a fair amount of sleep, so I have felt wonderful all day--moving heavy items up the stairs and cleaning, as well as doing a full hour's workout. I am such a compulsive eater--still making promises to myself ("I will only eat half of what I want..." "I won't eat sugar"..."I will drink water before dinner") and breaking them. But when it comes to exercise, I never struggle to get my butt off the couch! I am back to working out 5 times a week, no problem!!

Today was cold but sunny, and in the right spot, didn't even feel that cold. It made today a perfect day to receive a "Sunshine" award from a fellow motherhood blogger whose posts I really enjoy reading, the Iowa Soup Mama. (It's not about soup--though lately in this weather that would certainly be a welcome thing. We've got a week of weather in the 30s coming...that may sound cold, but it practically sounds like beach weather here.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Count Your Blessings, Re-Counts are Always Encouraged

Today was another busy day, but I'm starting to feel happy and motivated by the movement of the last few days. In fact, the house is cleaner than it's been in a while.

Hubby's not feeling good, and Baby S is teething, so I feel a bit like I'm running an infirmary here. However, I feel my heart so anticipating spring that it makes everything a little more colorful. March is coming, after all. Hubby's birthday is 6 days away, and Baby S is going to be 6 months old in just 3 days! How time flies.

Today I had a 2nd meeting with someone about some work on heating our home (re-doing the poorly done ducts) after getting a SHOCKINGLY high quote from someone. The second bid was less than half. Really? Why is it always like that when hiring someone to work on your house? I suppose if you hired a singer for an hour you could get that big of a range. Just seems crazy in either circumstance.

I started a new job working for the census. I am working in the office, in the hiring/payroll area, and quite happy to have gotten this gig, even though I believe it's one of the lower paying positions (oddly they bring in the highest test scores for the lowest paying positions?) the hours are perfect, starting in the evenings...just a few hours a night at first, and then eventually four hours a day. It's a great way to ease Baby S into babysitting, as hubby is home two days. So that means 6 hours a week for her. Sounds easy. Except that it is so hard to leave your baby for 6 hours a week! Who knew? I am so fortunate to have trusted people to watch her, but it is funny to come home to her. wonder how she was, what she did, what she ate, and not know.

The job seems good (although I do tend to be very positive at the beginning!!) There will only be 8 of us working evenings, and the 8 seem generally fun to talk to, bright, entertaining. They have all lived in different places, and are different--quirky, varied and generally educated. Maybe it helped that we were all the high scorers? Who knows. I also did like being out of the house, wearing something nice because I had to, and the idea of earning enough to pay our bills is such a blessed thought.

When I walked out of the training session (it was all "classic government"...lots of paperwork and repetition, being sworn in, having my fingerprints done)...I was hit by the sweet, warm, friendly smell of cinnamon and sugar that coats the air in downtown Cedar Rapids. The Quaker Oats Factory, when caught in the right wind, can make it seem like you're walking into a grandma's kitchen, and cinnamon muffins are being cooled. It was a nice way to end the evening. At home, hubby and Baby S were smiling, and she was peacefully asleep by 9:30.

Not a bad day at all.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Today Baby S and I went to the assisted living home again. I wasn't sure what to do on my second visit, so I simply sat down at a table of women and watched as they fawned over the baby for the next hour. I barely had to speak, except for an occasional answer to the question of "how old is she?' "What's her name?" and various similar questions. Usually asked repeatedly by the same people.

I longingly looked at the smart opera fan that I've spoken to before across the room, wanting to chat with him, but was fairly monopolized by the three grandmas. Baby S was in a great mood, so she was very charming...cooing, eating everything, grabbing watches and fingers and anything else she could get her hands on. Various visitors came by the table to comment, sometimes referring to her as a boy (she was wearing pink pants and a polka-dot shirt with bows...I "girl it up" for these visits). The women talked about their grown children, but it was difficult to see them struggling for words. One of them couldn't remember the word for "camera." Every few minutes she would say, "I wish I had my....thingy." and I would say, "your camera?" and then she'd say yes. But the next time she would forget again.

After a while, the room started a game of Bingo. This is a brief description of Bingo with 10 alzheimer patients:

Employee hands out cards with chips. She instructs everyone to put the chips on the "free" square. Instead, they started sorting out the chips by color. She says, "Don't worry about the color," and puts the chips on the "free" square. After she leaves the table, two out of three of the women I sat with removed that chip and set it aside.

Employee starts to call out the numbers, and generally people put the chips on the numbers. The woman to my right, unfortunately, used the same single chip each time, moving it about the board. I suggested she might want to use more chips, to get five in a row. She said she didn't have enough blue chips.

The woman to my right had five in a row, I noticed, so I whispered to her, "I think you've got Bingo." She looked at me strangely while the employee came over and said, "Do you have five there?" The woman responded, "I don't know...(frustrated grunt) well gosh, what am I supposed to say now???" Then we realized not all five were correct, so that problem ended.

After some time, people started winning. I noticed the hardest part was having to repeat the numbers back to all of us after they got Bingo.

Baby S started getting a little antsy when I wouldn't let her eat the chips, so we left. It was so cold outside it burned. As I drove I imagined writing on my blog. I am not sure why, I was so excited about telling various stories. I decided on this one.

Let March be lamb-like, rather than liony. This is my current prayer.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

It's a Dog's Life

I had a bunch of nightmares last night. I guess I'm working out some of my relationships because I'm avoiding them today. News flash to me: These things do not go away.

Let's talk about pets.

We have two dogs. I have spoken of the two of them before, partly because they are a fair amount of work and also a source of comedy and endless frustration. Ginger, our two year old pomeranian, is very similar to raising a toddler, I think. She gets in everything. I can't seem to stop her from eating Baby S's vitamin D supplement, by the bottle. I am hoping that vitamin D is not harmful to small dogs, since last week she ate a whole month's worth of doses. I have Baby S in a vitamin D study, and I can't tell you how embarassing it is to call them a SECOND time and say, "the dog ate our vitamin D again." We came out in the morning to find Ginger in Baby S's pack-n-play (having jumped from a chair) in order to eat the supplement.

Ginger is not really housebroken. I have tried....God help me, I have tried. I have caged her, for a YEAR, every night. We take her on walks. We put her outside 5 times a day. Max, the other dog, is perfectly trained. We thought this might encourage her. We lock the rooms she has tried to pee in, and she finds others. We use odor-rid, and anything else we can think of. We scold, we reward, we plead. Still, she has several "accidents" a week. The term accident is optimistic. She just figures the bathroom rug, the living room carpet, and the baby's room are alternate bathroom choices, if we aren't around. If you're reading this Ginger: They're not.

Ginger is also very funny. She loves opera. She sings with me. She can't get enough of it. She is crazy, and although 15 pounds, tries very hard to run in 2 feet of snow. It's hysterical. She will try to eat anything once (and I mean anything). She also has funny, affectionate expressions. She knows I'm the alpha.. I like that too. She lays only by my feet and I can actually get her to stop barking by just staring her down.

Max is a grump. He always waits to see if better food is coming. You give him a piece of chicken, he waits for steak. Dog food? It's ok, he'll wait to see if anyone drops anything. This may be from years of my husband loving Max like the son he never had. Spaghetti night, pizza crusts, hamburgers at the drive-thru? These are just part of Max's past. Since his "new mom" moved in (I guess that's me), he has to eat healthy stuff. I suppose this is similar to my husband's point of view. Max will not let you touch his feet, or pick him up, without growling in a very scary way. He refuses to go outside to pee in the morning if Ginger is going. When it's 13 degrees, I really hate opening the door FOUR times to let the dogs out. He is also over 8 years old, and I'm not sure if Max will live a very long life. He is showing a lot of "senior dog" signs. But I am not allowed to say that. Hubby insists Max, his "baby boy" as he calls him, will life forever.

I love thinking of how Ginger will be Baby S's dog. She will grow up with a little furry friend, who already follows her around, in hopes for rice cereal, bananas or breast milk to fall into her paw. Or vitamin D, I guess.

I can't wait until the grass is green, and we can let them run outside again. I love these pups, but winter with them is a bit exhausting. Chaotic. We bought a GREAT BIG YARD for two reasons. One, which is coming soon....GARDENING! (oh joy) and that Ginger can burn some steam outside.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Too Much Caffeine

I'm in here somewhere...

I share with my old friend that I have to pronounce the word "caffeine" in Italian in order to spell it correctly. Once you've gotten into the habit ( "caf -ay -ee- nay") you can't spell it any other way.

The baby is asleep, and I am up too late....wondering why I'm wasting valuable sleep time hanging with hubby in the living room. But I am enjoying the "pre-mommy" alternate reality. Ahhhh, babies are so transforming.

We went to lunch at Wendy's today (baked potatoes, chili and caesar side salad, I'm so old school). I enjoy going to this particular Wendy's because an old friend of mine is pictured on the advertisement by the door. He's someone I met in NYC, a big gorgeous model with a shockingly foul mouth. Instantly upon seeing the picture, I am transported to doing an off-broadway show in New York. It was crazy, with co-directors and writers (two of them) who yelled curse words at cast members and showed up to rehearsals heavily sedated (those were the better days). They treated me like I was some sort of Madonna (mother of God, not the pop singer) so I escaped it, except that just like Baby S feels it when I argue with people, I felt the tension of those rehearsals. I felt it when fellow actors showed up drunk to "shove it" to the directors, and when the cast started dividing into those who wanted to suddenly jump ship and those of us who were over the age of 25 and thought this was childish.

I learned in that experience that I wasn't really meant to do the musical theater crowd. Opera singers, while dramatic and crazy, tend to come prepared, be organized in their own way, and wear more clothes. They seem less likely to simulate sex during rehearsal breaks. Or maybe that's just the groups I worked with. But mostly opera singers often seem smart, quick, and maybe a little nerdier than your average young musical theater performer. I can't explain it.

I miss a little bit of the craziness of performing. Not all of it. When I was single, I would have to bring that home with me....what I look forward to is coming home and letting the needs of my family take me out of that mindset, instead of taking it to bed.

During that show, I died in the first act. Then I returned in the second act as the ghost of someone's mother (I always figured this was more metaphorical than a "real" ghost, at least I hope so). I appeared at the top of the stage lit up in a white robe. One of the things I remember most about my friend who is on the Wendy's sign is that he was supposed to hold my ladder, so I could climb down in that extra 6 feet of robe. He often forgot.

That's kind of how I felt before meeting my hubby. Life was exciting but no one was there to hold the ladder.