I am typing from my new, fierce laptop. T hooked it up to the Bose. Ahhh.
There are so many details to tweak.
We're taking the opportunity to rearrange and clean the office. Somehow I really want to be able to share my huge desk. There's got to be a way. It's huge but there's not so much leg room. It's a bit of a puzzle. We have to find a way. It would be so cool.
Will we go to Miami even if baby and I have a cold still? I don't know. I want to go. We have colds. Tomorrow is another day. Maybe Saturday will be better and we could take off early.
My new computer is like a puppy. Extremely cute and exuberant, but doesn't always get it right. Luckily, unlike a puppy it won't take two years to get it ramped up the way I like it. Probably just a few days. Still, it's funny, like a baby animal.
One thing that would streamline my office surface is to have a spiral-bound, blank page notebook adjacent to the computer for jotting down notes about things to check out, remind myself of. This would replace the alarming pile of scribbles under my old keyboard. It can't have any lines or I won't use it.
You know I write things in the blog, and then I think, Well, it's there, so I'll remember. But I don't. And then it's like a worthy and wonderful tourist attraction. I think I'll be able to go see it any time, but I don't go. Like the old thumbs-up songs in Pandora. Or like old friends I really like, but they're not in my face like the kids are, so I fall out of touch.
I suspect this of being some lack of character, of maturity. There is no lack of fondness, but there is also no follow up. Weak. This would be something to work on. I'm nearly forty. When you're forty your face is your own. Someone told me that when I was in my teens.
After brushing my teeth today I smiled in the mirror to see what happened. I don't usually bother. I don't even use makeup, so there's really not much mirror time. Anyway, I smiled.
It was a bit lax. I was hoping for more. So I turned on the old professional smile from my modelling childhood.
Now that would be cool, to feel comfortable responding to the world with that smile.
What would it take for me to put that kind of smile out there?
I'm happy, so that's not all there is. Fear definitely stops me. Fear of not getting one back, fear of being "too much", fear of appearing confident (!).
But smiles are like magic. Does that sound trite? I'm serious, though. They're catching, they actually make you clinically happier whether you mean them or not, and they are kind of fun. So what am I afraid of? I've perfected my "don't even think about it" look, so why not resurrect the money-making smile?
That's my new Lenten goal. I know it's not very mournful or serious, not a sacrifice, but what if I focus on the good in it and head straight for the practice of smiling like I mean it?
The most important people to smile at probably get the fewest of them and need them the most. I know I smile at my kids, but if it is the lax smile, there's no excuse. I'm going to work on the real one.
Then, when I'm forty, I may be in touch with old friends, seeing things I mean to see, remembering cool things, and very definitely smiling.
I can't leave it there! It's so sweet my shoulders tense up. The necessary balance between sincerity and irony is so delicate.
There's no way to fix it. I'm going to just practice smiling and go back to training the new puppy 'puter.
Wait, it's totally a message from God: "Spread Your Love" by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. There you have it, folks.
Thursday, March 29
I am typing from my new, fierce laptop. T hooked it up to the Bose. Ahhh.
Wednesday, March 28
I woke up begging her to just sleep a little. Teething. Then the rooster was at it. She nursed a little more and then T got up and took her with him. I got to sleep hard for awhile, dreaming I went to Paris without a map and sort of knew my way around, but couldn't remember the location of my hotel at all. And I'm coming down with a cold, I think, so the other dream was about little yellow leachy things in my throat making it sore, and T and I took them out and I felt better. In reality my throat is still sore and one nostril is running.
But I don't care! It may help explain some of my funk yesterday, but today was lovely. I don't think it was just the sleep, because last night was tough. The family facilitated early shower with dog was good.
By the way, I realized why everyone thinks my showers take too long. They really don't, but I change or clean the cat box first, empty the garbage, give the toilet a once over lightly, and sometimes scrub the shower as well. I don't want to shower with a smelly cat box. Duh. And B pees on the toilet, which is also smelly. And the garbage often has diapers in it. I really don't scrub the shower often because I just don't have time before Baby cries. Plus we moved our room and haven't really set up the closet properly, plus my clothes are, um, in flux (mostly old and worn out shirts, and pants still too tight), so getting dressed can be a challenge and is, more often than not, the Naked Mommy Show. With D staring at her breasts and saying, "heh, heh, heeehhh," in a frustrated and wanty way.
That's an aside.
Today was productive and good. I did some business research, cleared my desk and came up with a plan for the office, put garlic in the slow-cooker chickpeas, made potato salad, peeled the dyed eggs with the kids and deviled them with curry. Sat in the tree with D, B and T for a bit while Mom and K were at Kung Fu.
T talked about the goodness of it all. I heartily agreed.
He sprayed the citrus with Sevin (not much choice if we want the trees to have leaves). I re-arranged the last of the boxes from NYC and swept the back room they're in, T helped me move the computer in there for the kids, began to unpack the new vhs-to-dvd recorder/player (must start digitizing old videos!). Washed the shower curtain (hot water in the machine with a little detergent and a couple of washcloths). Did the bathroom clean up described above, plus wiped the walls and floor from wet dog. All that and got the kids to clean up their messes in the living room and their room, and kept baby happy (with much appreciated help). It only worked because T was home a lot and he and Mom tag teamed with K. T wore D in the MacPac quite a bit.
People ask how I do it all. The truth is I don't. We all pitch in and a lot of it gets done. That's it.
A change actually is as good as a rest. I guess the rest was pretty sweet, too. We may try to hit Miami this weekend. Wish me a twenty four hour cold. Mt throat is hurting more tonight...
Tuesday, March 27
Sometimes my reaction to a perfectly fine day is not ideal. I suppose there could be hormones at play. Nursing mama sleep loss might be part of it.
Yet the legitimate but small gripes are certainly real.
Buying plants is therapeutic for me. I bought a monstera, a gardenia, and three red and pink gerbera daisies. Ruby crashed into one and destroyed the flower (but luckily not the plant) almost immediately. I'm not sure where I'm going to plant any of these things. I am still obsessed with getting a macadamia tree, coffee, and cacao. Our mango is flowering like crazy and it looks like there's been good pollination. The papayas are good enough, but best on the just-ripe side or they rot. The starfruit is recovering from my post-partum failure to water, as is the mulberry. I want bamboo in pots.
The small gripes?
I would like to be able to shower first thing in the morning so I can get rid of old-injury-plus nursing-back-and-neck stiffness. This has not been facilitated for all kinds of good reasons I'm not feeling particularly interested in. Even if they're vitally important. It's a bad attitude, and it will pass, but there it is.
I don't even remember my second gripe. I told you they were small. The thing is I'm not pulling a princess maneuver here. We're just talking basics.
I'm not really happy about the options.
--Make K take D, even if she's grumpy about it. Even if I have to wake her up.
--Put D in the stroller in the bathroom with cheerios in the tray and try to shower before she loses it completely, playing peekaboo the whole time.
--Wake up before the early morning nurse-a-thon, shower, get back in bed. I'll be clean, but no less stiff, and D could wake up completely at a point when T is either still asleep, getting ready to go to a pre-work meeting, or is already gone, thereby leaving D in our bed alone and out of earshot.
--Shower at night. Doesn't address stiffness. Pushes my bedtime horizon even later. T sleeps too hard to leave baby in bed with just him in the early part of the night. She doesn't necessarily cry, just crawls around looking for me. Even off the edge.
--Settle for a slow take-off and shower as soon as someone cares that I'm grumpily still in pjs after lunch. I'll take clean but stiff over this option any day. But I still worry about baby in bed.
--Get in with D. Take a cool shower, soap one-handed, forget hair, end clean-ish and stiff-ish, and get a clean baby bonus.
--Employ any of these as necessary. Except the baby in bed ones. That leaves together, late-in-day, make K, and the stroller. Only the stroller one is new.
I don't have a genius solution. Patience. That's it. Just patience. Still and again.
The second small gripe just came back to me. I pump milk, freeze it, thaw it in anticipation of use, and throw it away. This is largely because if I feed her the bottle my milk lets down and I wish I were either nursing or pumping. Or both. None of us has the bottle mentality, which is good, but puts my eventual greater participation in business farther and farther away. There are classes I'd like to take, for instance, but haven't been doing the bottle thing with other family members (T, Mom, even K) providing the care, so it's out of the question. It's just a thing we all have to work into our thinking. Not really a big deal. Easily resolved. We should be able to work in two bottles a week. That will make babysat naptime a much more comfortable and possible thing. And that will allow me a little leeway for business.
Lately I've been very jumpy. My homeopathic remedy helped, but not for long. I think I just need a fresh bottle.
Ugh. I hate this kind of post. It's so weeny. Whatever. I'm in a funky mood.
This silliness cheered me up a little: Woe unto thee, O ye bull of Bashan, for you will be mocked by eunuchs! Look out, the website is bizarre and irreverent. The curse generator is one of the tamer pages. I make no claims. (Tip to D)
Saturday, March 24
We've been dying Easter eggs and listening to the Chili Peppers. B dances like Flea and he's never even watched a music video. (It turns out it's innate.)
I've discovered several good stops. See 8 Centimeters Deluded. And the study I found that inspired Ruby's new vegan diet (pdf) may have been affiliated with (severely deluded) PETA, but I knew about the concept from M. F. K. Fisher in her genius How To Cook A Wolf, and the vet said no animal protein for a while, then trial and error, so that's what we're doing. (That was a mess of a sentence, but it's that or forget blogging at all tonight. I'm even too done with the day to be able to decide which is preferable, a loopy, poorly phrased post, or none at all.) Lentil or pea soup, no onions, veggies, raw garlic and brewer's yeast, whatever grain we have on hand (so far oatmeal, rye muffins, kasha). And still no real issues. We have hope!
Regarding human allergies, what if the iodine for the kidney x-ray a year ago has something to do with my iodine sensitivity now? Will it go away? I think I'm going to start drinking my greens.
Also, with no homeopath in town I feel justified in cutting to the chase. I know the constitutional remedies for everyone but B and D, so if I get the Hompath homeopath software, probably the "Vital" package, I could perhaps make some progress tweeking ours and finding theirs. But there are these to look into as well. I'd love to study homeopathy, but now is just not the time. Even correspondence is pushing it. And not social. (Still think it's phooey? I've seen it work, and so have these people, never mind the history, but you know best.)
I have to go to bed. Just watching K's Kung Fu class was exhausting! I want to do it too, but I have another project for now, right Baby?
Ruby's madly trying to figure out what she did right. She's loving the new diet, and seems to have no itchiness. Ha.
There was knitting today at the park with the homeschool gang. I'm almost done knitting one legwarmer. I'm making them in celebration of taking the Fluidity plunge. I still want a studio mirror and some dance clothes. I prefer them to yoga clothes for this. Or maybe summer yoga, a tank and hot pants. That would work. My dancer self is ecstatic. I just wish it was a group class, but this is a close second, and maybe K will do some with me. The homeschool mamas want a moms and kids knitting class again. I may just do that. Twice a month?
In the meantime, while I await the arrival of my computer and the barre, I have to ask: what are they thinking over at Phillips? Are they serious? Is the word "women" really general enough in this instance?
And why, oh, why do I so often think I will not get sunburned when I'm the one in the group who will even if no one else does? My eyes feel hot, my forehead is pinkish and tender. I'm a genius, clearly. It gets better. I used night cream this morning because I'm out of day moisturizer. So there I was, 2 pm, no spf, basically facing the sun and trying to keep baby in the shade, which I did, but at the expense of my forehead. Oh, well. I'll not bother with botox anyway, so a little too much sun will just make me look, in the words of my great, great grandmother, like a Choctaw.
Choctaw. It feels strange to try it on.
But there are pieces that are eerily familiar when I do any research. I'm going tell you what I know. It's not much, but it's what we have. My great, great grandmother married out of the tribe in Mississippi, lived there for many years on a plantation, then moved to Texas where Indians were not allowed. I guess she "passed" and people didn't ask too many questions. The family figures she thought it wise for some reason. Her missionary education may have has some bearing, combined with intense pressure to move to Oklahoma. She talked about claiming her land there, but never did.
No one admitted to being Indian in the family, but she did admit it to my grandmother on her deathbed. There are fun cultural hold-overs as well. These things, I understand from my grandmother, are decidedly Choctaw. My great grandmother, whom I knew, had a famous vegetable garden. The myth was she just threw the seeds out the kitchen window and they magically grew delicious vegetables, bigger and sweeter than anyone else's. Indeed. She also made calico, rick rack covered, ruffled aprons (a very Choctaw thing) and we received at least three or four each, every holiday for years. They were really cool. And her mother was Spartan minimalist, clean, clean. My mother remembers her house. Shaker furniture, sun, and a clean smell. They were very, very frugal. And very, very industrious. Mamaw made five pies a day well after every one of her seven children had moved out. Well into her 90s. Mom and I suspect she fed them to her many dogs.
It's somewhat removed, I admit. But my kids are 1/32 Choctaw. During WWI if they had been 1/32 Japanese, they would have been interned at a wartime camp in the U.S.. If they were 1/32 African, they would, until recently, have been considered Black and been segregated. Every now and then these factoids run through my head. By this rubric, my kids are Choctaw, no matter what the government or the tribes say. That's a lot of generations, yet there it is.
I should get Grandmother to tell it all on DVD. Maybe this spring when she comes to visit. She's blood type B. That's not Choctaw. It's probably African (as opposed to Russian or Asian, which it would definitely not be, in this case). But that's for another post. This is an interesting map of alleles.
Thursday, March 22
There's nothing cute about Server Not Found. It's not like I had some burning topic to bring you last night, but still. I was forced to play Triad instead of writing...
We've had to focus on domestic bliss a bit. Grocery store, health food store, Costco. We all go. Or at least most of us. Going with kids in tow is the only way to really have the full experience. They're so full of ideas.
The Sonlight catalog has arrived, so we're thinking thoughts of next year's curriculum. I've worked out how to do it in a way that works for us, finally. And they've separated the Bible component, which is a less wasteful improvement. I'm going to happily mull over the catalog for weeks, trying to decide the best configuration for the kids. And I called student services today and begged their indulgence: I want to report for last year and this year together because of the baby delays. They graciously agreed and made a note of it. Whew.
Mom took K over to check out Kung Fu classes. She's really excited. More than I expected, and more than I've seen in a long time. It's so cool to see her excited about something like this. I think she likes the magical realism in the movies. Hey, what ever it takes.
She's working on a self-assigned report of Spiderwick's creatures. I told her if she re-writes it with corrected spelling and illustrates some of them we can bind it and she'll have her own book. She assured me it would take a long while. I said I'd be there when she was ready.
Hormoneous should be a word available to parents of tweens so they can reframe their ideas about these years. It reminds me very much of two. Two is a year of assertions, separations and ideals. Eleven is really similar. (Funny, I hadn't made any numerological connection, but there it is in reality, coincidence or not.) They think they've got so much figured out. They're changing. And yet they're still really kids and don't know much at all. (But don't you dare even imply it!) Then they want to snuggle like littles again. Darling.
Some creature is cracking something outside the window. Maybe the possum. Maybe snails. It's a weird sound. Can it be both creepy and comforting?
On the domestic creature front, the vet suggested we cook for Ruby since she hates her allergy food. So I made up some lentil soup with red peppers and yams. She had it with challah scraps and applesauce. We'll see if she becomes the nibblizer again.
Tuesday, March 20
I ordered the NX860XL. Oooohhh. With a bunch of extra RAM. Aaaaahhhh. It's so exciting! Then the kids will get my dinosaur to run language software and an occasional game. No internet though. That's got to be on one of the main, grown up computers. For the same reason I wouldn't send them walking through Times Square on their own.
Almost as exciting is trying to figure out which bag to get, because they're all so fun! I just cannot do one of those horrible things they sell with the 'puter. I like this one, even though it's not terribly practical, and adore this one, even though I won't be using it that much... But, truth be told, this workhorse is really most likely.
In celebration of my amazing purchase, I roasted a duck. Head and feet on, from the Asian market. I did it Asian style, a la the new(er) Joy. It wasn't quite as crispy as just pricking and roasting, but it was good. I used sour orange juice (in the Mexican section) for the o.j. and simmered the remaining basting mixture for a sauce with shallots and ginger. I also put on some congee (or juk, recipe to follow), and sauteed some baby bok choy and then dressed it with oyster sauce. Oh, it so rocked. It was like being home, on the edge of NYC's Chinatown, with favorite comfort foods. It would be a great thing to set up and have to come home to. Cook the duck ahead of time, the choy at the last minute, and the congee is ready to go. Perfect for after work, after church, after a big day out. And really great on these last cool nights.
Congee or Juk
In a large slow cooker put:
1 c. jasmine rice
1 gallon water
optional--smoked turkey parts (neck or thigh--what ever the store has) or a small piece of smoked ham hock
optional--1 small onion, whole, unpeeled
Set on high for four hours or low for eight. Check your machine, of course. It could be different.
Before serving, whisk to break the rice a bit. Add salt to taste. It could be quite a bit, like a tablespoon, but do it a bit at a time.
Ladle into bowls. Some people put small, thin pieces of meat in the bowl for the congee to cook. With shrimp it's often served with peanuts as well. Be careful! It's Hot!
a few drops of roasted sesame oil,
chopped ginger, scallions, cilantro,
a spoonful of the cooked basting sauce--to taste
pieces of roasted duck
a dash of tamari
a dash of salt to taste
(The kids just wanted salt and duck.)
By the way, you can't put what you don't eat in the fridge because the starch dies. You have to keep it heated, so adjust the ratios for your number of people. I just added water and put in on low for the night. We could have it in the morning.
The kids asked what would be likely for breakfast. I said traditionally probably some dried shrimp or fresh fish, or sliced fish cakes and greens. They asked what we might do. I'm not sure. I bet butternut squash and red beans would be good with it. Or it could be a mess. What about some small bits of crispy bacon and an egg on top? What about toasted almonds, chopped dried figs, raisins, a touch of cinnamon and honey? I like the fish and greens idea, personally. Or we could save it for lunch and do a duck encore.
Monday, March 19
This is the first article I've ever read about bisexuality that was not only not critical, but written from the inside and which discussed the true, and even beneficial, perspective bisexuals bring to their relationships. Brava! It's about time. Maybe I've been in a cave, but everything else I've read on the subject, which is not much--but I thought that was because bisexuals are unpopular on both sides and for all press, has been about as informative as men writing about sexism in the '70s. Even if supportive, too far removed from the experience to be of any use. It's actually a book review by Jessica Clark in In These Times of Jennifer Baumgardener's book Look Both Ways: Bisexual Politics.
I can't say I'm in alignment with Baumgardener on much, but there were a few treats pulled from the book that really got me thinking. The relaxed and easy assumption of hetero rights and treatment within a homo relationship was not news, and is usually one of those things criticized as naive about bisexuals. I liked the idea that this attitude might not be a liability after all, but could be part of a homo revolution of sorts. What had never occurred to me was how the understanding of power, the compassion of having "played both roles" if you will, the expectation of equality and communication of desires, could all inform and strengthen a hetero relationship. She calls them "gay expectations", which is reason enough to send her flowers, but the eureka is the real cake.
The best is a quote from Baumgardener's book:
“People who look both ways deserve to have a sexuality that originates in them, not one that’s a reflection of who they are currently sleeping with—a core of sexuality that is our own.”
Interesting she didn't even register her sexual differences until after college, when now there are so many young women in college at least experimenting, and certainly more than a few who have always looked to both boys and girls for their intimate ideas. I can't imagine suddenly being bisexual, but I guess it's a thing. I guess I should read the book for more clarification there...
A friend has been asked to be the new chapter president of Integrity, but our Rector suggested he talk with me first to see if I could help with "discernment". Of course I'm available. I'm just not sure what to tell him, or if I tell him anything of substance it will get through.
You can't be so in the trees you miss the forest, and this is hard if you're mad at the church for even conversing with Akinola supporters, which is both rational and justified. If you're mad for even more local reasons, forget it. Keeping a longer timeline and the prize in view at all times were the only things that kept me going as president. It's not easy when emotions are raw and tensions high. It would be too easy to shoot the whole conversation in the foot, and then nothing moves forward. Also, several of the members aren't even attending Deanery churches anymore, so it's easy to feel like they're quite willing to put your neck on the line when they have nothing to lose.
Can I tell him all that? It's not terribly careful, but it's true, and only scratches the surface. Ugh. What do I tell him? Welcome to the lightening rod club?
Sunday, March 18
Per a usual Sunday morning of late (I can't even remember when I went to church last...), I give you some Easter eggs of delight.
Speaking of delight, Delightful Blogs had this bit of fun for kids and those who love them. It's one of those businesses I wished existed, and whadayaknow? It does! I love it.
Have you put Kung Fu Hustle on your Netflix list yet? Please do so now. I'll wait. I'm serious. Did you get distracted? I did too. A bunch of new releases had to be added.
Now get some high brow culture by checking out Art Daily. Wander, peruse. I'll wait. Go have fun. If you're homeschooling, grab the kids first. Or better yet, email it to the older ones so they can peruse for themselves. Did you watch Hitler's dance? Possibly not the most high brow entry, but hilarious (stick with it). If you subscribe to their email newsletter you get to download screensaver art or architechture.
And it wouldn't be a proper Sunday without anxiety. Warning: My problems today are truly blessings, if you want real problems read the newpapers.
Should I go with a Gateway? Should we buy back into Manhattan for investment (we still have six days to identify property in the 1031)? Will D behave on Easter Vigil for her baptism? Will her borrowed dress fit? Will this crazy time work itself into a routine that makes sense for our family? Should I have a different team for B in Odyssey next year, or should he stay with the older kids? I could co-coach two teams.
I talked with the other parents about getting the team together over the summer and they liked the idea. I'll teach them to knit, we'll play D&D, we'll go to Miami to see art and the zoo, we'll hit the water park, they'll play in the treehouse, we'll practice spontaneous problems, we'll put on mini-productions, memorize poetry, we'll make a quilt. It's going to be fun. And they'll operate so much more smoothly when we get back into the school year. It's a plan!
Friday, March 16
The rooster might be lost in our neighborhood.
He starts at around five, and I'd like to say he finally stops around nine, but it's not that. The traffic picks up, so each and every one of his crows is not as intensely audible. He would have had to come from about three miles away, or jumped off a truck to get to this area. Unless someone is keeping him as a pet. But he sounded much closer for a brief period this morning, then far away again. Small mercies. With the sea breezes all we needed were cold coconut with hot salsa, snapper with garlic, and the distant braying of a donkey to be in a seaside Mexican village. It was funny, I woke up unsure of where I was. Speaking of Mexico, did you see Mexico City is doing civil unions?
This evening Mom happened upon Kung Fu Hustle while channel surfing, so we all piled into what she's begun to call her Bijou. What a fabulous movie! I had heard it was good, but don't think it even showed here...I suppose I could be wrong, but it's unlikely it played for long if it did show. Anyway, Netflix it. The coolest part? The kids heard the difference between the Cantonese spoken in most of the film and the Mandarin spoken by the blind assassins. Ho, ho!
B's latest pronunciation struggle in Mandarin: Yi ge chi zai ma shang da nang har. (My guess is it's, "the boy is on the horse", but I'm not sure if the horse's standing is implied there, as chi seems to imply movement or energy and zai is a component of "walk", so perhaps it's, "the boy is on the standing horse".) B goes all blither-lither towards the middle. But his comprehension is rocket fast. His speed makes me proud as a mother, but also a bit annoyed as a fellow student. He's like those little kids on the ski slopes with hands free. Stinkers.
K meanwhile, it is generally agreed, has visibly grown taller in the last two weeks. She used to be affectionately known as Thundering Horses, but she may need a new nickname. I've been calling her Bamboo because you can watch her grow. Her movements looks so graceful with her longness.
This Iconochasms "quiz" is really interesting. I only got a few right, mostly having to do with Ghandi and Steiner. Here's the big question though, why are there no people listed in the lower right quadrant of their political compass? I find myself usually around x+6, y-4 on the axis, near the center, more "right" than "libertarian", but where are the others? It's echoingly empty and has been for years. I guess it might explain the lack of feeling I have a political home. There is no icon. Any suggestions? I've just been picking and choosing, taking what works and leaving the rest. There's no one thinker, though.
T put this Fran Lebowitz quote on a post it on my monitor:
"When you leave New York, you are astonished at how clean the rest of the world is. Clean is not enough!"
True to form, she says it the way I never could, sums up my feeling and validates it as a common sentiment. I aspire to believe clean could one day feel like enough. For now I count myself as part of a coping diaspora. Up with clean. Yipee. Who needs searingly fast wit and people so quick they make one sure of feeling like an idiot (but not in a mean way, just an, "Oh, my God, this person really is smarter than I'll ever be," way)? What have they got that clean can't beat? I am breathing fresh ocean air, I have a rooster to look forward to, and I'm surrounded by people who iron their clothes. So there.
I swear I just heard a quiet b'kok near by. I wonder if he's a pretty rooster?
Thursday, March 15
How can I be so tired but so happy?
T and I went on a date last night (with D, of course) to Margulies in Miami. There was a speaker at seven, but he served primarily to assemble something of a crowd. D wouldn't do it, so we walked around looking at the art. Then everyone did the same when the talk was done. It was fabulous, D was popular. We loved seeing so much NYC art and hearing the accents, the fast talk, seeing the fashion and expressions. Some of the new stuff is really, really good. I want to take the Odyssey team to see it.
We took off late, at nine when it closed, and tried to telepathically find our way to a restaurant for dinner. We did not have a map (oops) and would not ask directions (that would be me, not T). We were thinking South Beach, but went too far south before we went east so missed the causeways and ended up downtown, kept going south with the idea of hitting Coral Gables, left Coral Gables without realizing and ate adjacent to it at a Greek place. It was the most fun either of us has had getting lost in a long time. The drive back, on the old highway (41) was made rough by a lack of coffee for T and general tiredness for me. He swerved once and I made him switch.
Have you ever played maybe-I'll-see-a-panther-what-was-that?!? in order to stay awake while driving? There's a section of 41 that's a panther crossing, five miles at 45mph, and there were police at the end and maybe panthers jumping across the road, so I had to be both vigilant and awake. It was the longest drive...but it ended by crashing into nothing but bed, which was lovely. Next time we sleep in Miami.
Today, just to add to the excitement, we got our loan out of the NM duplex. We banked the money by putting down 100%, then took out equity for a portion while maintaining cash-flow. Yeehaa! Tax free cash. And T started his RE investing class today. There's tons of homework but we're excited.
For dinner T bought a half bottle of Piper-Heidsieck, some Livarot, incredible porterhouse steaks (which T cooked perfectly on the fire pit, and it was a perfect night for it), grilled asparagus, mashed yukon golds, and Martinelli's for the kids. K and I ate grapefruit for dessert. D loved it all. When she wants what we're eating she says, "de, de, de, de, de, de," in a most musical and sweet way. Lovely baby.
Tuesday, March 13
What are the odds we'd go to the botanical garden on Sunday and meet some homeschoolers from the other coast? A boy about the same age as K, interesting parents, walk the whole thing together, talkety, talk, talk. Stop and nurse the babies together, walk, talk. We're going to meet in the middle, somewhere between Ft. Lauderdale and Naples, and go camping together.
Speaking of camping, the Roots & Shoots Earth Day shebang is happening in April and P got some extra tent sites, so we can go after all. I'm not actually that big on the whole Earth Day thing (although I wouldn't say no to a home permaculture class in it's honor), but adore camping and it will be fun to hang out with everyone, let the kids ride bikes and play, do some Earthy projects. I love the Roots & Shoots gang, really, even though they're forever having peace rallies, I like their groove (not that I'm against peace, that's idiotic, but our ideas about how to achieve it just differ). The kids are really excited.
I love cooking for camping. I usually make a fritatta, asparagus and shallot, or poblano and cheese. It's good reheated for lunch with a salad, or breakfast with cereal, and keeps everyone going. I also like to pack boxed Indian food, dals and such, and some cooked rice and vegetables. Then we can heat it up and make bowls for dinner. Not being able to eat tomato anymore, I guess that one's out. Maybe Thai instead. Some green curry with coconut milk. The boxed soups from Pacific or Imagine are good, too. Pancake mix. Smoked chicken and apple sausages. Grapes, carrots, and other snacky fresh fruits and veggies. Okay. I'm a little excited, too.
Speaking of camp, T came back from NM and neither of his watches works. He was awfully close to Roswell. Maybe it's because of aliens. He was checking out places near the space port.
I so want to go to space. I really wanted to fly the Concorde once before it was retired, but alas, it is not to be. Now there's hope with this extremely cool new reality. If we could have a Mars Day, that would really get me hopped up. I would want to go to the workshop on Mars gardens. Yeah.
I've been thinking about our culture, modernity, babies, nursing.
Here's the thing. While most people I run into are fully supportive of nursing a little baby, at eight months they're beginning to ask how long we'll nurse (I choose to make the "you" in their question plural). They are usually pretty shocked when I tell them K nursed for 3 1/2 years, B for 3 and, God willing, D will go for something like that as well.
Even then, they're more impressed than disdainful. I count that as supportive, too, even though having an attitude of awe creates a divide, an otherness that is its own form of disdain. We get that homeschooling as well.
But the main thing is all of the other small things. With nursing there are different rhythms, different expectations of baby and mother, different time-frames. I guess it's really also about the nursing aspects of attachment parenting.
Case in point: my baby is very unlikely to sleep for 8 to 12 hours at a stretch before she is two. Sometime between her second and third year, she'll begin to do that, but for now, five hours stacked at the beginning of the night is considered sleeping through the night. It's natural and appropriate for her to wake up and want to nurse. She nurses like she means it, milk lets down, and we are locked in an ancient sleep and family bed ritual.
The expectations must be different when nursing and aiming for attachment parenting.
I don't want to go on vacation without her until she is fully weaned. I don't need to leave her with my mom over night.
I will not often sleep a full night for the next two years. Cumulative sleep loss will cause me to forget points I was about to make, words for things, important appointments. I will in all likelihood forget to plug in my Palm Pilot as well, which I use much less now that I don't always have two hands.
It's possible I won't make it to things because her naps are a priority. And I may let her sleep on me the whole nap. Especially if it's a choice between that or a shorter nap. I will avoid waking her if I can.
I will probably seem flaky and spacey. Distracted at best. Whatever. Look at D. She's happy, I'm happy.
The main thing is there's no provision for this way of being. I don't want to be patronized, just not treated like I'm nuts. Thank God I had such incredible women around me in NYC for so many of the baby years with the first two. That and Mothering Magazine. I know what I'm doing is fine, right even, good, normal, and healthy. To look around Naples, well, don't get me started on Naples. I'm in a love-you-but-don't-like-you phase with Naples.
The buggiest thing of all is that the damn La Leche meeting is at 10 in the morning, and only once a month. It might as well be at dawn once a year, because that's what it seems like in my world. It's 30 to 45 minutes away, depending on traffic. I'm not volunteering with this complaint. Just frustrated at the lack of variety here.
In NYC I met with several nursing mamas in the Community Garden in the afternoons. We took blankets and our babies slept nursing in our laps, or under the apple tree while we talked. It was lovely. We compared notes, talked about the exhaustion, shared thoughts, zoned out sometimes. It was good to be understood, to feel normal, and to be with women who assumed nursing would continue so felt okay discussing the hard parts.
La Leche exists to promote breastfeeding, so if there is any complaining about the difficulties, there's always a poo-pooing of it if it's just a whine. Being tired, it's often just that. LLL is great for solutions, but if you just want to be able to say, "this is hard work, I don't feel appreciated by anyone for it except baby, and I really want a nap once a week," they reply, "well, yes, but bottles are harder, and surely you can work out a nap...". Not the point. At all. I don't want to be patronized there either. I want to feel validated. Seriously.
T tells me I'm amazing. He is totally supportive. Even strong for me in those moments when I feel at my wit's end. He takes D and walks her around, feeds her some food, changes diapers, does laundry one armed, and never, ever questions her in our bed, loves it in fact. I'm truly blessed with him.
I never expected to see the strange societal norms played out with the kids, though. That has been tough. Like the outside world somehow got them and gave them this stupid message when I wasn't looking. But I have been looking. If they have been acculturated without nursing mamas around them it is because I have not made a point of it. More accurately, nursing mothers have been around us, but the kids have always been off playing. The problem is they wonder why we can't do as much so easily, why I'm tired, why plans change. They're understandably annoyed, even as much as they adore D. So I'm tired and getting flack from them.
Granted the past two months have been really rough, with T out of town a lot, and even Mom out of town a bit. Also Odyssey of the Mind was intense. The 1031 decisions have been intense as well, with properties needing to be identified so quickly after the apartment sold. We're about three weeks into the identification period, with one more decision to make, and only about two more weeks to make it. And D has been teething the past few days. And scootching further and faster. And eating every tiny piece of fuzz or wood chip she manages to find. GAAaaaaa!
It's about to get much easier. She's almost nine months. The kids won't even remember how bugged they were. A few more weeks and we'll be in a whole new ball game.
In the meantime, we're reading Johnny Tremain, which has sucked us in totally. He's just started riding. And the kids are hand sewing a quilt for their grandma while I read aloud to them with baby in arms. We're certainly making the most of it.
What is it with mocking birds? One will occasionally start tweedling away in the middle of the night. It's not even a full moon.
Friday, March 9
dooce got me hooked on this song. Now I want the album.
She has this fun link thing going on. I wonder which ones she gets paid for, if any. How does it work, and is it duplicable? Wouldn't that be nice?
And Jamila Akil introduces logic and facts into the health care debate. I like her thinking. Very, very refreshing.
T just walked by with smiling baby in a full laundry basket. Adorable. And Ruby has been very vigilant about the evil phone company guys on the other side of the hedge. They must be stopped, and made to leave the edge of her yard. It means B can't go hang out in the tree until they're done for lunch.
T is off later to NC to look at property. It's hard to know what to do with the last bit of the exchange. The rules are funny. And Mom is in NM until Monday.
I think we'll hit the botanical garden tomorrow. There's some dino sculpture thing going on B wants to see.
I've been tagged by C-A over at Feminist Figure with a brand new meme. In fact a meme I suggested, which she has sent forth into the world to be fruitful and multiply.
Favorite things about feminism, five points, five people:
1. No torpedo bras. Though Liz Taylor really looked hot as Cleopatra. Oh, wait, maybe it wasn't Liz barging down the Nile.
2. Female doctors & nurses, midwives. 'Nuf said.
3. Women throughout the legal system. Not that it makes too much difference in rape cases, but things have got to be better than they were. I will say gigantic, dangerous male prisoners should not have small, female guards. That seems obvious, no matter how un-p.c.. Otherwise, it's a good thing all around, I'm guessing.
4. I can own property, from my own clothes and bank account, to my own house, to a corporation, even an island.
5. C-A grabbed voting, so I'll have to go with t.v. dinners. Mmm, mmm, good. Why are they feminist? Because when you're just not in the mood to make like a wife, there they are, all frozen and lovely in their little buy-what-you-want packages. What's for dinner? I don't know. What is for dinner? Pick anything in this aisle! Go for it! Thanksgiving in July!
I so want to keep going, but I'll save some for the rest of you.
I'm going to tag Madame M. (because that was funny), Stephanie (because you might need a thankfulness project, Ms. Thing), Working Girl (though I realize I already just did this to you, I'm hoping you'll like this one even more), tz (because that's what you get for wandering over here, making insightful comments), and belledame222 (because you voice the hard parts).
Thursday, March 8
T is making me finish watching Sketches of Frank Gehry. He likes his woman to git some learnin'.
Actually, he just wants the next movie in from Netflix. We've had to limit ourselves to two, and one is Mom's. In fact the Gehry was Mom's, but he says she can just put it back on her list. Nice, huh?
Gehry is, of course, a genius.
Speaking of genius, did you see that Baudrillard has died? Some may jump up and down that his irritating and nihilistic ilk have one less proponent, but I like the irritators. They're very important. Without them there are no pearls of insight, disagreement, passion, wisdom. Agreeing or disagreeing with him is not really the point, having your brain stretched is. If you can work up a related feeling and opinion after that, it's gravy.
Also speaking of genius, did you see me mentioned at The Greatest Blog You'll (Probably) Never Read in the 33rd Carnival of Feminists? Okay, that's a tiny, itty, bitty, stretch, but still, I'm pretty derned excited.
I would add Phyllis Chesler (thanks for that, P), and Hitchens talks a tough game regarding the reframing of victims into culprits, and/or the rampant imposition of moral equivalence between aggressor and victim in light of some media treatment of Hirsi Ali.
And last, there are seeds of hope for change in China. More than I thought. That and Chinese Punk is totally the next big thing.
Tuesday, March 6
Another one bites the obey-your-man dust. This was in her bathroom. I am mortified. I just cannot believe I really do live in Stepford. It doesn't seem real, and then signs crop up again, like this one. Actual shivers of freaked-outness in my spine. Blllluuuuaaaahhhggghhh.
When they come for me, I'm running. I'm going to be one of the ones that gets away or dies trying. In the meantime I'm tossing all kool-aid into the plants.
Men and ladies. Ugh. I hate it when men are called men but women are called ladies. Lady is a title, not a generic, or if it is used as a generic its counterpart is gentlemen, not just men. Madonna/whore pedestal bull. The male commenters on Amazon seem creepy and testosterone-challenged in that boomer sensitive sexist way.
From a Christian perspective? So that means the tell-all book about what men are really thinking either fails to mention blow jobs, or finds a way to Christianize them?
"Jesus wants you to, to show how you cherish and respect me."
Are blow jobs even appropriate during Lent? What if you don't swallow?
Granted, I just read the reviews and checked out the author website, but it was plenty. I can't even ask my casual friend about it. It's too weird.
Sunday, March 4
There were 28 teams doing problem #3, in our division. Four will go to State.
I coached a Seacrest team, and both K and B were on it, along with five Seacrest students. We were there at nine (it was an hour away). Our "spontaneous" problem was at ten, and the team felt they did well. It was a verbal problem (the alternatives were hands-on, or verbal/hands-on). We scouted out our room for the "long-term" presentation. We milled around at the Seacrest tent, nibbled on snacks and lunch, the kids played, jumped rope, did some Yu-gi-oh card game, bought tee shirts, and got talk to the other Seacresters.
At one we unloaded the props, got into costumes, went over all the forms, had the kids fill out the last one, and tried to mellow our nerves until we were called in.
Then it was showtime.
We were led into a room. There was a panel of six judges. We sat in the coach's seats and tried to look encouraging and calm. There were only about 20 people in the room, several of them from Seacrest. Tha-pump, tha-pump, tha-pump, tha-pump. a
The stage was small, taped out on the rug. The kids all huddled around their scaffold of props, with B looking like a deer in the headlights. The MC said something like, "Mwa, mwa, mwa mwa, mwa mwamwa." We clapped, and the timer started.
And let me tell you something. This motley crew, this gang of fool-arounders, this group of kids who made me want to pull my hair out, give up, let them stew in their own lack of seriousness, they, they snaped into gear, did everything in a well-timed, professional manner. They were entertaining, they moved like a well-oiled machine, we could hear and understand every word, in short, they were brilliant, and they nailed it. (I knew they could do it! I knew it, I knew it!)
It was our first year, though two of the others had previously been on teams. Not only that, but other teams started in August and we didn't begin until November because the team wasn't assembled yet. And they really nailed it! The judges got up at the end and asked questions. They wanted to know who painted the sets, who made the masks, how some of the props worked. The kids really shone, each eagerly demonstrating, explaining. They thanked the judges, we went out, and it was more waiting until the scores were available. We got a basic performance score: 145 out of 200.
Average. Still in the game. It would be down to the style and spontaneous problem scores.
Style: 39.5 out of 50.
Spontaneous: possible 100, but the scores weren't in the folder for some reason.
They should be posting the scores here within the next few days.
Final result: we placed Fifth! Ribbons, hand shakes, glory. I kid you not! First time out and we placed fifth. The other Seacrest teams were very happy for us, and impressed that a first year team placed at all.
It was such a cool experience. There were so many teams, the giant Ft. Myers High School was overrun with volunteers, kids, cars, parents and coaches. A hundred and fifty teams were there from Collier, Lee and Sarasota counties. There was such great energy and excitement. We're already thinking about what we can do better next year.
I did carry our dear little 20 lb. baby all day in the sling, or out of the sling, there was nowhere to put her down, and I did more walking than usual as the van was parked at the far end of the parking lot and we were back and forth, and I wore shoes that are comfortable for four to six hours and we were there for twelve hours. Sneakers next time, and a tee, and some stretchy pants. And a stroller.
If aliens could abduct me and immerse me in some soft, warm foam, tube some soup into me and download a chick flick directly to my brain, while the foam massaged my feet and neck, whompa, whompa, then I would really be able to get some R&R. The closest approximation today was to watch goofy movies, blog this, make everyone else entertain and hold baby, and make blondies instead of dinner. (We had so much food left over from yesterday, we just ate that.) Four hours of sleep was not really enough the night before, and it felt like it caught up with me in the absence of adrenaline. Even now I feel like I ran a marathon holding a twenty pound baby and counting backwards from 99 in French. Quatre vingt dix neuf, quatre vingt dix huit, for twelve hours.
I'll fill out the participation certificates and see the kids on Friday. Maybe we'll have a little party.
Whew! What a ride!
Thursday, March 1
Oh, man. Odyssey dress rehearsal is tomorrow, the real deal on Saturday, all day. I feel like Ron Clark when his kids were testing, but with papaya enzymes instead of antacids.
I cannot wait until Saturday is over. Then people say, "But what if you win?"
Don't talk about it.
Although I guess it gets a little easier because the performance aspect is resolved. Just keep up through to World, I suppose.
I can't even think about it, and thankfully our team is untried, with two unseasoned coaches, one of whom is me, so we're really unlikely to even place.
It has been so much fun, so frustrating, so dear, such a challenge. It makes me really admire teachers and coaches. Whew!
The kids are so cute. Wish us luck.