Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Baby S, now one year old, had a very interesting day...it is interesting to see how FAST the firsts are coming lately. We took her to lunch where she dipped french fries in a little cup of ketchup--delicately and perfectly (she did not eat the french fries, being way too interested in the dipping). She also tried the same thing later with her green beans and my cup of iced coffee, which was much less enjoyable to watch.

After arriving at home with her dad, we took her out of the car and she WALKED to the house! Walked! It was drunken walking, including about 6 falls, and sometimes walked off to the side, laughing, but she seemed like a huge person! A child, not a baby.

She brought the phone over to me, when I asked her to "bring mommy the phone" and gestured to it. She also crawled through her new tunnel, laughing hysterically as we watched.

She can put all of her new blocks back into her bag, and said a perfect "bye bye". She has also gone from 'da da' to something that sounds more like "daddy". Amazing.

I started a new diet today, thank God. Weighing myself, it appears I have gained 6 pounds this summer. Ugh. However, there is a nice feeling to Day 1. I always like that. I worked out hard. I ate salad and skinless chicken. I drank water.

Baby S had her 1 year appointment. She is in the 50th percentile for height and the 20th for weight...tall & skinny, just like I thought! Her head is in the 77th percentile! So she's got quite a noggin', apparently. She also did a finger prick and her blood showed some lead....so we were back today, holding her down as she screamed and they took blood from a vein, just to be sure. Hopefully it's nothing, it's a trace, and vitamins will be enough to get rid of it.

I'm choosing not to panic yet.

And I got an email from a local high school saying that they were interested in possibly having me come during the school day and teaching 9 students a day on Weds and Thurs. That would pretty much solve our financial issues. So--praying. This is the first result of my contacting all of the high schools in town a few weeks ago.

So those are our first fruits of fall.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Happy Birthday to My Daughter

One year ago today, at almost exactly this time, I heard the doctor say "it's a girl?" (questioning tone included, due to her thinking I'd said it was a boy) and saying over and over to myself "I have a daughter" in this kind of strange daze. It continues to be the most surreal moment of my life. I knew that I would never be the same person. And you? You were born!

Just now, you fell asleep beside me, after getting really angry with me that I wouldn't let you play with Bubbe's phone. You cried, though it was one of your 2 second angry cries. You walked all night--all around the lawn, up and down the stairs to the porch (your favorite). You ate chinese food with us, and played your coughing game.

I love everything about you. But loving you is actually not what I ever expected. It doesn't really feel like anything. It's more like something that just is. You make me aware of my own mortality--I never want to leave you. You make me more aware of my faith, and my desire for you to have the life-changing moments with God that I've had. I want you to believe in miracles and prayer, and doing the right thing when it's hard, and always trying to know God more. I want you to be wise, and happy, and have every possible opportunity.

You were a special gift--unexpected after 35 years. You were something I never thought I wanted, but now something I can't imagine ever living without. You are really a dream come true. Except of course, I didn't even know I had this dream.

I am surprised by your blue eyes, your dexterity, your love for Baby TV, your thrill with banging things together, taking everything out of the dishwasher, rolling around with the dogs, yelling happy things in your stroller. You play a mean piano (and I do mean mean) and you sing along, and you're not even 1 yet!

You hate hats. You love taking your shoes off. You eat anything, even gross stuff, but you can never seem to get enough ice cream. You make me feel like I'm made out of love, and you can just run to me and get it whenever you want. And that is probably my favorite part.

Nothing makes me happier than seeing you run to your Dad, and how happy that makes him.

Tonight I pray that someday you know God and that we have forever together. I pray that you know empathy, that you feel compassion, that you have the kind of character that makes you walk your extra change back to the store. I pray you don't take yourself seriously too often, that you love people for being different, and that you have years and years and years before you ever have to think of yourself as "hot or not". (Maybe forever? Can I ask that?)

I also pray for a good home for you. I'll do everything I can to be a safe place all the time. And I'll ask God to do the whole thing for me too, since it's the only way I could ever do it.

Every day of my life I have a daughter. Thank God for you, Little Chicha. Your sleeping backside, pajamas dirty with God knows what, makes me feel a whole new purpose.

Happy Birthday.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The War on Garbage

Alas, as I eat this I see the dog finishing the baby's breakfast. I am not sure how to stop this if she throws breakfast on the floor. Pretty much--food on the floor is by definition the dogs'.

Our city is very strict on garbage. I know that it can vary throughout the country, and considering just the ideaof landfills and barges of floating garbage in the world's oceans, I'm kind of ok with the strictness. Some things are easy. Recycling? You can have a ton. Also, in the midwest we use yardies (needs to be defined since I didn't hear the word before 35 years old) to get rid of yard waste. And those are unlimited. But garbage...the stuff of life....you better obey the rules.

We have recently done a lot of construction on the house, resulting in a pile of debris the size of a car outside of our side door. It's an eye sore. It smells (due to old cat urine on the carpet), has who knows how many critters in it. This pile has been sitting outside since Spring. *sigh*

So I called the "garbage hauling" folks who came last year. For 60 dollars, they will arrive with a truck, load the truck in about 15 minutes, and leave my driveway clean.

And they got a better job. So much for that.

I called the dump. They charge $15 a pick-up load for trash. If we pack it all up ourselves. AND if we had a pick-up. hmmm. $5 for a carload. And do I want to pack all of that trash into my car? three or four times?

I called a new hauling company who has a $100 minimum.

I called the dump again. Any other options? They said not really.

I went on their website and searched and searched. And then found a thing that said you can buy tickets for $1.50. With those tickets you can put out a bag or can of garbage, provided it weighs 40 pounds or less. Then I called and confirmed. (Mystified they did not mention this before). And then I spent the next 3 hours packing smelly garbage into bags that perpetually broke in the hot sun. (the bags broke due to the garbage, not the sun :)

11 bags later, I was done with the small stuff. Oy. Lots and LOTS of big stuff. So now my new project is "can I get someone to come get the metal?" and how do I get rid of this insane amount of wood that won't fit into a bag?

All said and done, this $60 last year was the best money I've spent. Honestly, if I think of what $60 buys....2 dinners and a movie? Maybe? Two blouses? 5 cases of diet coke? I would GLADLY give up any of those things to not have a disgusting, long, exhausting job like this one.

Wish me luck.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Family Time

No vacation this year...and I've resigned myself to it. Instead we are having "family unit week". We are not really seeing too many other people, taking family naps, living in total squalor (I can barely walk from the kitchen to the living room). I thought today, as I walked through the house, that it appears a bachelor lives here, except that in the background you can hear the strains of "the itsy bitsy spider" coming from the tv most of the day, hubby calmly watching Baby S as she brings him various toys and sets them on his lap, and then goes back to collect more.

We have done some various tooling around--tonight involved bowling, eating ice cream and going to the hobby store (where we made a Fantastic purchase of a screen that was $129 and reduced to $23!!!) I am still thrilled about that. We took a big family nap today, hubby stating afterward that he felt he wasted the day, and me thinking FINALLY, I am allowing myself to waste a day!!!

I exercised today, which may be why I feel so much better about the world. Tomorrow morning is farmer's market, which I have no money for, but we are still going!!! Maybe we'll go hang out somewhere green that's not the house. Maybe we'll get Subway sandwiches and put them on the credit card...the possibilities are endless.

I have thought so many things that I'd like to blog about. I want to talk about the sadness of being fat and what I do to myself in that way. I want to talk about marriage, and its ups and downs. But I was just remembering tonight with my husband (after several vivid dreams about her) my friend who died two years ago. At the end of her life, so much was said about the drama, the "stuff" she was into in various ways. But when I remember how I first became friends with her, I don't remember the "bad girl" part. I remember how she was the only person I think I've ever felt I could call at 2am, because I'd run out of gas on the way home from the drugstore and lost my wallet. I could tell you she'd show up, tease me and accept me fully. She had a way of making me feel like she would love the whole of me. Despite all of our differences, she even made me feel like that the last time I spoke to her. I was just remembering that tonight, and it made me smile more than feel sad. For those who didn't know her, she was drama. For those of us who did, she was something like home. It's been a while. But I remember.

Tomorrow's plan: Sleep in. Walk. Look at green stuff.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mom Burn-Out

I can't figure out what it is, but I have such an immense sense of mom burn-out. I started to feel it when hubby and I decided to start our "vacation" and we found it too difficult (and costly) to get away or even camp for a week (our original plan) so hubby suggested that we do day trips. Mostly, these trips are things I want to do (blueberry picking, hikes, fishing, farmers markets, etc.) but I am really missing my "old vacations". I used to go to other continents. I used to see shows. I used to get dressed up. I used to eat experimental food. I even led a mission to another country. I used to feel un-exhausted. And I am just reallly missing that life.

I feel like there is just this routine. BABY. DOGS. MESS. CLEAN. BABY. DOGS. You get the picture. It doesn't feel fulfilling. Is it supposed to? I just find myself making crazy plans--what else can I do? A one-woman show? More teaching? I am always trying to find something to escape the routine. I'm tired of the whining. I'm tired of the dishes. I'm just over it right now.

This may be in part to the fact that--say what you want--it's harder to have a baby if you travel or have people around, or do anything that changes her simple schedule. It's harder if--say--you've got a great-grandmother telling you, "oooh, watch her, that's dirty. She shouldn't eat that. Does she have something in her hand? I wonder if that's hurting her knees." When I think about it, I want to cry. I am just so tired of the world reminding me, as if I'm about to let my child die. You know what? Occasionally they eat a cheerio off of the floor at Toys-R-Us. And it doesn't kill them! You know what makes you want to just crawl under the bed and cry? Having to take that cheerio out of your screaming child's mouth because everyone thinks you're a bad mother if you don't. Do you know she has rolled off the bed? FOUR TIMES! And there you all have it. Take me away.

So I wish I did have a vacation. I think, however, that this vacation would require me growing different genitals, so I could stop being the "mom" here. And I'm not ready for that.

This feeling of being tired and depressed makes me feel fat. It's my pocket. I feel guilty for this, so instead I focus on feeling fat (and therefore disgusting). I just hate my own skin right now.

And soooo begins our vacation.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Christians don't believe in reincarnation. Actually, if you ask me, it's not something I want too much. I don't think I want to do this all over again, in any form. Not to say that I don't love every minute. It's just that after this--I'm gonna seriously need a rest.

I was thinking of this today because I feel like I have lived a few lives. Sometimes, there are crazy memories of a person I was before. A single person. A New Yorker. A singer. A world traveller. I was looking at pictures of someone's trip to Europe thinking about how I've been there. More than once! I have walked through the mountains of Peru (puking)....and somehow I imagined that when finally I found love, I would still have that life. I would just have a partner. I would drag my baby to those same places.

Somehow, though, everything changed. And this still seems amazing. See, the funny thing about mid-life reincarnation is that it sneaks up on you. And then there you are, leading another life.

I just ran into someone trying for years to have a baby. Apparently she miscarried this week, and without speaking a word, she broke into tears looking at me. She said she was ok physically, and I knew. So did hubby, and we wordlessly looked at her, dumbfounded. Sad. I wanted to say, "I didn't even deserve this one. Why is this so unfair?" Having recently heard about someone I knew who had aborted a baby, I wanted to give her that pregnancy. I wanted to do SOMETHING to make it unfair. But it's all unfair. You don't always get to pick life as you want it. Where's my opera career, you know? Beautiful things are everywhere, but I don't get to write the story. For any of my lives.

Baby S is sleeping and sleeping. Full nights without waking, sleeping after I do in the morning, taking long naps. Today she actually fell asleep on the carpet with four people in the room. Amazing. We were all sitting around when she just checked out.

It's quite a blessing. Of course, in my prior life, I wouldn't have cared.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Reds 'n Greens

Today I woke up with a face half red and again covered in poison ivy. Just my face. I'm guessing it's from pulling weeds again yesterday. I immediately washed my hands after doing so, but I must've done something dumb. Maybe wiped my face with something? My hand? I'm red and puffy. I don't know. I look awful, and I'm getting on a plane tomorrow to host a party. I haven't felt this unattractive since pregnancy.

I worked outside again today, avoiding weedy-type items completely, but still getting a lot done. it was a gorgeous day, which we haven't had in a while, so I enjoyed my time outside, watching Baby S play around me. She went up on the porch, and as long as I could see her feet and hear her I felt fine.

Then there was a moment I realized she'd been silent for a while.I went to check on her, rounding the corner, and saw that she'd opened a can of green paint (I had not adequately closed it, apparently). She was in the paint with both arms covered up to almost her armpits. Her dress, her legs, her feet were all covered in green paint. In addition, she was sitting in a huge pool of green paint and her face had something like a doctor's mask of green paint. She looked up at me and grinned.

I can barely remember what happened next. I grabbed her and moved as quickly as I could through the house, trying to avoid dropping paint on the ground. I set her in the tub and (before turning any water on) grabbed the phone. i asked hubby to call poison control. I turned on the water, with her crying. I set my mind on getting the paint off of her and allowed her to cry at me. It seemed to have the tone (I hear often lately) of "mommmy, I was having fun!!!" rather than not liking the bath. I scrubbed her. I scrubbed the porch, I scrubbed the tub. I cleaned the spots off of the floor where I realized one of the dogs had peed.

Some days it's like they're conspiring against me.

I suppose somewhere in this blog I should mention she started walking yesterday. Not more than 3 steps at a time. But she does 3 steps pretty well.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Patron Saint of Liars

I taught six students today, ranging in age from 6 to 17. I am not sure I know how to teach a 6 year old, although I find her to be patient, to have good visualization skills, and to sing well. We learned a song by ear, learned how to read a bit of music, did some breathing and posture exercises--I guess that's about how that goes. Right?

I also had a student tell me today was her last lesson. It was hard to hear. She was dropping me for volleyball. It is normal--so goes the life of a private teacher of any sort. I also find her sometimes a bit stubborn, and therefore a little difficult to teach. But I am still sad to see her go. I don't know if I'll ever see her back. You never know. I am also financially disappointed. That was money we really could have used. Another student, quite reliable, has disappeared a bit. Or has she? It's hard to tell. The whole world of teaching is a little strange in August. It has to reinvent itself once a year. I also have my first male student in Iowa. I find men and women (boys and girls) often respond so differently to teaching, and that "newness" is fun. I hope he stays around, but I'm not counting on it!

Thoughts of the future swirl in my head these days. I feel something like a need to "regroup"...wondering where God thinks I should go to sing. Obviously, I'm not done yet. If only I had any idea what that meant.

Last night, at around 4am, hubby took Baby S, now 11 months old, out of our bed (where she was laying on his pillow and kicking him in the neck) and put her down in the crib. Immediately, as is her habit lately, she woke up. I heard it happening for our room, wanting to cry, exhausted. She'd been up and down, kicking me, nursing occasionally, crying, since about 3. Apparently, once in her room he pat her back repeatedly (which I have done, head on my chest, eyes shut, wanting to fall over) until she fell asleep again. After about the third time of him doing this, and her waking up, he put a stuffed animal on her back, as if to imitate the weight of his hand (funny how this logic has occurred to me too). She woke again, crying, when he hit our bed. I said, "I think we have to let her cry" with a heaviness I can't explain, and for 30 minutes we listened to her cry. It was horrible. But then I got 3 more hours of perfect sleep. I got to touch my husband again. I got to sleep in a way that didn't hurt my neck or back. And now I am not sure what to do when she wakes again.

Tonight hubby mentioned a man in a local fishing competition. He is a professional competitive fisherman (I actually didn't know this was a real thing!) who was caught cheating. He was feeding lead weights to the fish, so that when they weighed the fish, they were heavier. Two of his fish died, and so they were cut open to feed a local charity. That was when the weights were dicsovered. And now, this man is barred from competing.

I feel such a sense of sadness about him...an empathy. I guess I feel the desperation of wanting to cheat. And even though I haven't done it (except on diets, where I excel at cheating) I don't feel like judging. I feel like understanding it.