It appears that May 23 is not this baby's birthday. Unless something majorly changes in the next couple of hours, which is highly unlikely.
But that's the thing about being a history major. Sometimes random dates get into my head, and I have no idea why they're important and why they're in my head.
May 23, 1430
Joan of Arc was captured by the Burgundians and subsequently sold to the English. Hmm, I was just talking about Joan of Arc yesterday. I really was.
May 23, 1788
South Carolina became the 8th state in United States.
May 23, 1873
The North West Mounted Police force was formed in Canada. It would later be known as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
May 23, 1911
The New York Public Library, at the time the largest marble structure ever built in the United States, was dedicated by President Taft in New York City after 16 years of construction.
May 23, 1934
Bonnie (Parker) and Clyde (Barrow) were killed in a police shootout.
May 23, 1945
Heinrich Himmler, head of Adolf Hitler’s Gestapo, committed suicide while in prison.
*yawn* There was not good sleep to be had in these parts last night. Not sure what was bothering E, but he had trouble sleeping. And, of course, there's the whole pregnancy thing. All that after a busy day heading into the city for speech therapy. Yes, I think it's a sleepy day.
For the past few weeks, I've kept thinking that May 23 was somebody's birthday. At first, I thought it was E's little friend, but his birthday was last week. Maybe May 23 belongs to one of my million cousins.
Or maybe today is this baby's bday. *sigh*
Not much else to blog about this morning. My sister is coming around for a few days. That'll be nice.
I finished up another pair of baby shoes for the baby. I picked a nautical theme for this pair. I made a skirt last summer out of the same fabric I used for the sole, so, hoping I can squeeze my post-partum self into an elastic-waisted skirt, we may get a little matchiness going. heh.
We love sailboats in this family. Chris and his family have always enjoyed sailing, and growing up, C prowled around nautical museums on family vacations. If the boat is wooden, all the better. One of our first big outings after we started dating was Chris taking me out sailing for the first time in my life. Other memorable sailing occasions include renting a sailboat for an afternoon in Bermuda (our destination for a family cruise that my great-aunt and uncle took us all on) in 2002. We sailed all over finding patches of reef. Then we'd hang over the side of the boat and stick our head in the water with goggles on and snap pics with an underwater camera. Way better than snorkeling. haha! That was so fun! Then, of course, there was the wild ride in a harbor in Maine last summer for E's first sailing experience.
Sailing is great. The thing that strikes me every time we manage to get out on the water is how quiet it is--skimming across the water so noislessly. Occasionally the rush of water adds a little punctuation to the quiet.
Boats are special icons in our family. When I look at sailboats, I think of some really happy times with C and hope for future fun times with our boys.
Went to midwife. Still pregnant.
Granny, Mom, and Luisa came.
Made taco salad for lunch.
Grace H. came over.
Went to the arboretum and walked and walked.
Crashed back at home.
Ellis decided to wake up in the middle of the night for several hours.
Ellis decided to wake up way early.
Got ready for school.
Took E to school.
Went to parent meeting.
Chatted with another mom for awhile.
Went to CHOP.
Got a Happy Meal for lunch. (so sue me)
Went to speech therapy.
Took a very circuitous route home through center city and Fairmount park due to university graduations and regatta on the river.
Picked up dinner at friend's house. (thankyouthankyou)
Crashed on couch.
"Still here?" 35 times (rough approximation)
"When are you due?" 27 times
"You look ready!" 15 times
"Boy or Girl?" 12 times
"What are you doing here?" 7 times
"Are you having twins?" 1 time
"Shall I call labor and delivery?" 1 time (security guard at CHOP)
no comment. priceless
* I don't know why I've been in such a bloggy mood lately. But I am.
* I got my haircut this week. I like my short, short hair. I never have to deal with it. But I do have great hair (not to give myself airs or anything), so sometimes i feel guilty for liking it so short. I always get happy vibes from the stylist when s/he cuts my hair. What I don't like is when they get a vision for my hair. It's usually not in my vision. Thankfully, this last time the stylist managed to keep her vision to verbal conversation about the potential of my hair. I have found that I tend to get the haircut that I want from male stylists. My hair style is short and feminine, and men seem to accept that more than women.
* We started eating cold cereal again this week. There are few times in life when I buy cold cereal. At the beginning of my pregnancy when I need to put something in my stomach asap, and I usually get a gingery cereal to help with the nausea. At Christmas, when we can choose our favorite cereal. And now at the end of the pregnancy when I just can't seem to make anything happen. We're pretty big fans of oatmeal, and not buying cold cereal saves a lot of money. But there are just some times when you need cold cereal in your life. Incidentally, now I can add cold cereal to the list of Things Ellis Will Eat (he does like oatmeal, too--just not granola).
This morning, E and I were out the door bright and early for my weekly midwife appointment. All is well. We're just waiting. I measured 35 cm, which is a nice size. I asked if she thought he was engaged (in the pelvis) yet, but she said she didn't expect him to be until after I started labor, he was sitting nicely in the dip, though. But I could've told you that. He's been hanging out there for a long time.
Since I'm GBS positive, they want me there early on to get my doses of antibiotics. And since my first labor was, as she described it, efficient (5 hours of active labor, with a little help from Pit), my second labor will likely be even more "efficient." So "your bags are packed, right?"
She also said something that was music to a pregnant woman's ears: just rest as much as you possibly can. She did not say that I would go into labor tomorrow. She did not say that I would go into labor at 40 weeks. She did say that we're just waiting for the baby to be ready. And was very chipper about it. I did not cry after my appointment.
Afterwards, E and I went to Park Day and met up with our buddies. Maddie is moving soon. Boohoo. I found them in the tunnel playing. Maddie said they were watching TV. E was just kicking the sides. Funny to see the difference between girl and boy right there.
I stayed at the park for three hours with E. It took him about two minutes to fall asleep tonight.
C started a new job. Yea, as if two weren't enough. Fortunately he can do some of it from home, but sometimes needs to go to the office, about a 35-45 min drive from our house. We have one car. Hopefully, with this job we can buy another. C is basically a self-taught computer geek. He's basking in the fact that with his most recent two jobs he's getting paid to work on the computer. It's nice to see him enjoy his work and use his skills.
I was trying to explain this to myself earlier today, why we do what we do with respect to some of our parenting choices. I feel like this post by Sally Clarkson really nailed a lot of what I was trying to hash out in my own brain:
Not too long ago, I was meeting with a sweet mom in a coffee shop and she brought her two children along. They were sweet children, but they were all over her and ran her ragged. I was talking with my older children later about it and asked them what we did differently. It was humorous to hear how opinionated they were, but it also reminded me how intentionally we taught them to be patient and to wait their turn–because they all remembered it the same way. It is the concept that I call self-government–probably a Victorian character quality that I read about along the way and in a book about the principle approach to life.
The definition of self-government is the idea that a person learns to command himself, his impulses, his work habits, his emotions, His intellect and talents and rule over his will in a productive way. Children can begin this at a very early age, but it is also of utmost importance to adults–as one cannot be a mature believer unless one has mastered self-government and self-control and patience.
Sometimes when people find out that Clay and I are grace-based in our approach to parenting, people assume that that means lenient and undisciplined. However, we were very idealistic and had high expectations for our children, but we instructed them through consistent training, not primarily through force and multiple spankings but through relational discipleship based training. Our philosophy also looked at each child differently–as an individual–so that we could best figure out what appealed to and reached teh heart of each child. Introverts responded differently and behaved differently than our extroverts. Boys were differently wired than our girls. Learning issues and maturity levels greatly influenced a child’s ability to be mature. All factors which cause us to understand that we needed to appeal to each child’s heart based on knowing the heart of each child.
We went over to the arboretum again this afternoon. It's hands-down a much better place to walk than, say, the mall. The mall is sort of the cliche place where a pregnant woman who is desperate to have her baby goes to walk and walk. Since I go to the mall maybe once a year, if that, you can see how much appeal that has for me.
When we go over to the arboretum, it seems that one special thing strikes me every time, whether it be birthday daffodils, exhilirating flowering trees, or fiddle-headed ferns. I never know what it's going to be until I get there. Today it was dandelions. Last week, my mom showed Ellis how to Pick a Dandelion and Give to Your Mom. We walked along, and he picked a puffy dandelion for me. I showed him how to blow the puff (sorry, arboretum). Before I knew it we were plopped in the grass blowing puffs and sniffing buttercups. It was magical in the way only a kid can make an pesky weed be.
Before we went over to the arboretum, I was in a majorly crabby mood. I didn't sleep well last night. I'm cumbersome, tired, and huge. blah, blah. I know it sounds cheesy, but being there in the quiet with the green and the trees and the scent of honeysuckle in the air was incredibly soothing. Yes, it really is that idyllic there. Communing with nature is in my roots, and it comforts me in a deep primordial way. I hope I can give my kids a similarly satisfying experience, of pointing out all the details that my parents showed us, to show the pleasure we take in watching the ordering of the seasons, first the bulbs, then the trees, trillium, lilacs...
Ellis noticed the pollen strands littering the sidewalk underneath the oak trees. I showed him a branch with a few strands still attached, and we watched them blow down in the breeze.
We stopped by the little cabin that sits next to a gurgling brook. I sat on the bench and Ellis threw bits of leaves into the stream. I saw a woman painting with her easel set up on the bridge. I thought that if I could paint, I would want to capture the way the sunlight glimmered through the young maple leaves.
I enjoyed this afternoon with E. We have so few remaining, just the two of us. He probably won't remember his life before his brother, but I will.
We've been having a lot of spring fun at school lately.
Almost two weeks ago, the early childhood center had their spring fling, which included presentations by all the classes. Ellis's class (the youngest) did a little play/presentation of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which they've been studying this unit. E and his best buddy A and Cute Little Girl were the "narrators" with some help from the power point on the big screen behind them. The other kids took turns showing big posters of fruit. E and A were especially cute. They were like a standup comedy routine, totally playing off of eachother and interacting with the powerpoint. They had everybody cracking up! I wanted to make a little movie of it with my clips...there's still time. My boy's first play!!
After the presentation, the kids played outside for a bit in the warm spring sun, and then we had a little pizza lunch in the kids' classroom. E was such a little host to me, I was really touched. He went up and got a plate from the teacher who was serving and chose his little pieces of fruits and veggies (he doesn't like pizza). When the teacher instructed him to go sit down at the table, he said NO, picked up another plate and signed Mommy, and made sure I had exactly what he had and then we sat down together. It was so sweet. *melt*
Saturday was Community Day at PSD, which basically translates for our family into Inflatable Paradise. Ellis went down these slides for about two hours straight. As soon as his feet touched the ground he was saying/signing "MORE", and off to stand in line again.
The Grand Finale for the class's unit on The Very Hungry Caterpillar was a trip to the Academy of Natural Science. One of the perks of being a stay-at-home-mom: getting to go with my kid on his first field trip! And let me tell you, there's nothing cuter than a little school bus full of car seats. So how does a field trip of 2-3 year olds work? One adult per child. There were a couple of other moms/grandmas and some extra staff, and I was impressed with how smoothly everything went.
We had some time to look at the exhibits, which the kids loved.
Then it was our turn for the Butterfly Exhibit, which is a room like a greenhouse, humid and full of plants. Butterflies and moths were flying freely everywhere and sitting on the plant life. It was really cool. I think everyone was entranced from the littlest kids to all the adults.
We went back to the arboretum this afternoon when we had more time to wander and to sit and stare into the trees. I think I forgot about spring, and now that it's here I feel like I can't drink it in enough. Pictures don't quite capture how amazing it is to sit under a canopy of flowering trees.
The Virginia bluebells are blooming. When I was a kid, I loved the bluebells.
Shower and coffee before 8am. That's got to be some kind of record. Except I did it yesterday, too. E's been waking up earlier lately, despite his blacked-out window. But he's been sleeping better at night, so I guess I can't complain. Except that I haven't been sleeping better, what with that annoying bladder that needs attending and stiff hips/pelvis/entire body that won't get comfy. Seriously, every day I just feel like this baby is just gonna fall out. There is so much pressure it's hard to move sometimes. I suppose that's a good thing, because I hope that's exactly what he does--fall out, that is. Just a bit uncomfy in the meantime.
C set up the crib yesterday. After much measuring, moving, and pondering, we decided not to get a cosleeper, but set up the crib in a cosleeping arrangement, like with one side off attached to our bed. I'll post pics once it's finished, in case you're having trouble visualizing this. Our new arrangement is a little crowded, but it works. Honestly, our room is so small it's pretty much impossible not to feel crowded, but I think when we're done with Total Bedroom Makeover, it will feel cozy. I sewed the tricky part to the top of my quilt on Saturday and then sent the rest of the fabric and my sewing machine home with my mom. She'll add the borders and attach the back and sew my curtains. Thanks, mom! I've had plenty of evening time to sew, but absolutely zero evening energy. Basically as soon the dishes are done, I make a beeline for the couch until I stagger to bed. I do try to do a little yoga before bed. I feel so much better when I do.
Anyway, my pre-baby to-do list still feels a bit overwhelming, but it's starting to get under control. I actually made a to-do list for C, too, which I don't think I've ever done in our entire almost seven years of marriage. Since basically the majority of the things that need to happen require his brains and strength. I play the role of distressed female. He keeps asking, "how long until this baby is Ellis?" like if this baby is born as early as Ellis was, how much longer until then? Can you tell we were a little traumatized by that event? haha! As of now, we have two weeks until this baby is Ellis, six if this baby is your average pregnancy. I'm rooting for somewhere in between.
I'm kind of cracking up at us, though, because we're acting like first-timers. All the frantic household upheaval, rearranging, redoing. With E we were packing up and moving our household, so no decorations, fun paint colors, etc. Even though we're driving ourselves a little crazy, it is a little fun. E's infanthood paraphanelia was so haphazardly thrown together at the last minute. I was actually kind of shocked at how much we needed to do the infant thing again. I either can't find it or it didn't exist--probably a combination of both. Though, we are totally set on blue baby blankets of all sorts, shapes, sizes, weights--it's fun to get those out again, especially since so many people made us such nice blankets. It's fun to remember those gifts. Anyway, enough rambling. Better go do something productive while E is at school.
Our first really beautiful, nice, and warm truly spring day. The flowering trees are blooming and are spectacular. Our drive along the Schuykill was just gorgeous between the daffodils and trees.
Ellis and I went to the zoo along with the entire population of the Midatlantic Region and got our zoo membership. We didn't have time to see much because we had to move on to speech therapy. The zoo is right on the way to the hospital, so this will be really convenient. We stopped and had a snack with the giraffes. I'm fascinated by the giraffe faces. Did you ever notice how much they look like camels?
Thanks for the nice birthday wishes. I love my birthday. And I'm happy turning 30. I had a great decade for my twenties. I did a lot. I went to college. I traveled a lot, including studying in Europe a couple of times. I got married. I lived in New Orleans. I went to grad school. I met tons of cool people. I had a kid. I did cool things and went cool places. I'm satisfied with my experiences. I think my thirties will be a little different, but great in their own way.
I had a fun birthday. My mom came for the day and went with me to my midwife appt. Heard the heartbeat. Everything is chugging away normally. I feel gargantuan, and if the four pounds I gained in two weeks has anything to do with the fact that my front feels more and more like a bowling ball, I'm hoping there's a baby fattening up quite nicely in there.
We went to the fabric store where I picked up some fabric for the spread I'm going to make for my bed. I'm going with a batik-y theme. The blues look so dreamy. Then we picked Ellis up from school and went to lunch at a coffee shop that makes yummy crepes. We got Ellis a brioche roll and jam, which he was happy with until he saw our crepes. (he wouldn't have liked the crepe and had lunch at school anyway, so wasn't that hungry. but I was so glad I had had the camera out when they set the crepes down on the table, b/c the look on his face had me rolling!)
Then we went to our local arboretum, where my mom got me a membership as a birthday gift (yay!). The bulbs and forsythia were blooming. The buds on the flowering trees were fat and ready to bloom soon. I always think of daffodils as my birthday flower, because my mom tells how when they brought me home from the hospital, she noticed all the daffodils blooming. I wish I had something as poetic to think of with Ellis, but I don't: all I remember was "it's so cold!" (it was unseasonably cool that day, and we had been used to New Orleans heat) and "I hope we don't get lost" (having just moved to the area two weeks before).
Well, folks, I've made it three decades. Today is the big day. The day I turn 30. Youth, or whatever was left of it, is officially over. Now I'm just Living Life--kinda makes me wonder what I thought I was doing when I turned 20, but I wasn't blogging back then, so I can't remember.
It's sunny today. Yay! A bit chilly, though, but that's okay. The forsythia are brilliant. Ellis slept all night. And there's fun things to do.
So celebrate with me! Everyone drink root beer floats!
Ellis and I took advantage of the slight increase in temperature to go for a walk in Fairmount Park, which is Philly's extensive park system. You can feel like you're in the middle of nowhere but are really in the city's backyard. It's lovely. I finally figured out where to park to actually go for a walk on some trails.
I was surprised at how well E did. He knew just what to do and took off down the trail. I was impressed at how well he handled hill and rocks. But we didn't get very far when he decided we had had enough. That's okay. This belly isn't going very far either. We spent some time by the water throwing rocks and having a snack.
We looked at pretty sparkly rocks, quartz and graphite, noticed the first flowers, and budding trees. Spring is coming.
(thanks to my church friends who explained to me where to go and gave me the great idea to send forth my child into mud and water in his favorite yellow boots)
We had a really busy weekend.
First, we got a new camera.
We helped my parents move out of the house they've lived for the past eleven years--the longest they've ever lived in one place. It may also be the most idyllic location they've ever lived in. We're going to miss the cozy fireplace and fun yard. They don't have a new place yet, so put their stuff in storage and will stay with friends while they house hunt in the area.
And we also did a some fun Eastery activities. I dyed eggs with Ellis for the first time. We enjoyed it so much, i felt kind of lame for only giving him 5 to do. But I didn't plan on eating them, since I didn't use natural dyes, so didn't want to waste too many eggs. Every egg got about 10 dips each.
I also made him a fun Easter basket, with homemade bean bags instead of grass (which he immediately thought were therapy bags that you stick in the microwave to heat up--haha! life with a poor aching pregnant mom) and jingle bell bracelets. He also got a little bit of chocolate and jellybeans, but I felt genius at tricking him with raisins packaged in appealing boxes with Cars characters. He wore his new suit to church, and really did well in the service (which we've been working on). And we had a nice ham dinner at my ILs in the afternoon.
(click on each photo for its respective set)
here's another post about The Husband. (See, I'm blogging twice about you.)
For over a year, we've been a one car fam. It's worked out pretty well. Every once in awhile there's a little glitch, but mostly it's fine. I'm kind of proud of the fact. But it does leave you desperate quickly if something should happen to one car, and though we do have access to public transportation, it's not quite as convenient as it would be if we lived more in the city.
Our van is a great. It was a gift to us, so that's always been fantastic. And really, for being as old as it is, with the mileage it has, it's given us very, very little trouble. Today, though, it had a brush with death. We were very close to total van disaster.
C was driving Ellis to school, and it started overheating. He pulled off right away, before the engine could die. If it had been me, I probably would've kept going and called him with "should smoke be pouring out of the hood? oops! I didn't mean to kill the car." Thankfully, he was driving. Our kind friend rescued him (another downer to having one car) and got E to school.
C then got new hoses and coolant fluid and fixed the car. It seems to be okay. We'll see how it does over the next few days. He's optimistic. I'm thoroughly impressed that for $50 at Autozone he fixed the car...a car THIS close to Very Expensive Utter Disaster. He may not be able to identify a Canada Goose, but he can replace a very important hose under the hood of our car.
in honor of hubby, who complained today that I never blogged about him. sheesh, thought I was doing him a favor. haha
Scene: yesterday driving around.
C: There were these gigantic ducks in our yard today!
Me: Are you sure they weren't geese?
C: No, they were ducks.
Me: Are you sure? There's a whole flock of Canada geese in the marsh across the road, and sometimes they come over into the yard.
C: Aren't geese white?
Me: Uh, not Canada geese. Are you SURE they weren't geese? Were they Canada geese?
C: What do they look like?
Me: Are you kidding me?!!? Did they have a long black neck with a white marking on the chin?
C: I don't know.
Me: Did they look like that? pointing to a small group of Canada geese--one need not look far in SE Pennsylvania in the winter for Canada geese--but C didn't see what I was pointing to
C: hmm. Maybe they were geese. I don't know. Anyway, there were geese in our yard today, and I almost called you to get Ellis to see, because he would've loved it. But I couldn't find my phone.
Me: laughing harder and harder
C: Are you going to blog about this?
Ellis and I went to the penultimate day of the Philadelphia Flower Show today. This is a major annual event that I remember going to once or twice as a kid. Every year there is a theme, and this year's feature was a New Orleans/jazz/Louisiana theme. So everything from music to bayou themed displays or both.
One of the bayou themed displays had the facade of an old shack with lots of Spanish moss hanging all over the place (and a brilliant metasequoia in a place of prominence--thought of you, dad). There were fake alligators strategically placed. E looked at me and signed alligator, and a woman saw him (and his CI, no doubt) and began signing (and talking in a jovial manner, she was hearing), "do you see the alligator? is he scary? is he gonna bite you? wow, look at the alligator!" It was really sweet.
But it was the end of a week, and the flowers were starting to look a bit lack-lustre. I didn't make it to the vendors, and I didn't see anyone I knew or was related to. And they were out of 2008 souvenir mugs. Still, I was thrilled to be able to go, and it was a fun date for E and me.
We took the train home, which was probably the highlight of E's day. He signed train and said "ooo-oooo" (for choo-choo) the whole way.
I go back and forth between "needing" an SLR. But really, my final conclusion is that I don't want one right now. It's too much. I was at my friend's house yesterday and played with theirs for a little bit. It was fun, because I could catch Ellis signing something without his hands being blurry. But it was too much camera for me and I like greater zoom capabilities (and not have to worry about switching lenses) for when I'm hanging out in the yard with the kids. And you cannot throw an SLR in your purse. If I'm totally honest, gorgeous as they are, what I want is smaller. Okay, I have officially talked myself out of an SLR.
Then I had the brilliant idea of searching Flickr for shots taken by the various kinds of cameras I'm looking at.
I've pretty much ruled out the SD750. I need image stabilization (thanks for that affirmation, RT).
The SD1000 is so sweet and compact. It's face is about the size of a credit card and it's super thin.
This was take with an SD1000:
Originally uploaded by Vince Alongi
I'm not totally convinced of it's people pictures, though.
I like Moriah's suggestion, too, the Canon Powershot A710 IS. Our previous Powershot is an A series. It is a little bulkier, because of the non-proprietary batteries (which, to be honest, we kind of like...the batteries, that is, not so much the bulk). But you know, in the grander scheme of cameras, it's not that big and fits well in a purse. Anyway, I'm going to see her tomorrow, so I'll get to inspect the cam in person.
These were take with the A710. (I love these reflection photos--SOOO not possible on the stupid camcorder, which does take great movies):
Originally uploaded by arekolek
Originally uploaded by Alberto Ferrero.
Originally uploaded by sue323
Originally uploaded by pj_in_oz
Before we have another kid, we really need a new camera. I loved my Canon Powershot that my sweet friends bought me at a time in my life when I needed serious cheering up. And I used that Canon, oh, did I use it. So often, in fact, that it has seen the floor one too many times. I dropped it a few times. It happens. But with enough squeezing and love, I'd get it working again. It really looks beat up. And it got to the point where it was like, sorry, dudes, can't muster myself together again.
Shortly thereafter, in a moment of rashness, we bought our Canon camcorder. We wanted it before E's surgery. And I'm really glad we got it. I've been taking pictures on the memory card of the camcorder for several months, and frankly, it's a camcorder, it's not a great picture-taker. And it's driving me crazy.
So, one of the things Daddy said we could do with our mongo tax return is get a new camera.
I was looking at this site that Andy recommended. And I think what I'm in the market for is a small, compact, throw-in-your-purse camera that takes totally awesome pictures. I think I would LOVE to learn explore more possibilities by splurging on an SLR (especially since my main subject is my active kid). But I don't think that's realistic for me...wiggly kids and all. I think what I want is a camera that I can throw in my purse and have constantly handy. And Canons take awesome pictures.
There's the Canon PowerShot SD750. It gets rave reviews, and has a sweet 3" LCD screen on the back. Ken Rockwell's review began with the phrase, "The Canon SD750 is built like a tank." That means a lot to me. The two things that concern me, though, are no image stabilization (and I do use my zoom) and you have to remove the battery to charge it (which, I imagine, can add up some wear and tear). And it's under $200 on Amazon.
Then there's the Canon PowerShot SD1000. I don't see the same gushing love for this one as the previous one, but still very, very positive reviews. And it has image stabilizer and a 2.5" LCD screen. Trying to figure out the battery situation, the same? Also a good price.
Aaugh. I don't really know how to read all the reviews. And then I start hitting on nicer and nicer cameras trying to find the Perfect Camera. But as one site said, you can take great pics on any camera. It's also about me and my pic taking abilities. And I can be content with a solid, workhorse camera. I just want it to last more than a couple of years, you know? Is that realistic for a digital camera?
Thoughts, oh digital masses? Is an SLR really worth it?
A couple of weeks ago we finally bought a rug for the living room, after a year and a half of looking. Nothing seemed quite right, in design or price. Finally we found one that suited both categories, admirably so, I must say. We got a fantastic deal at a place in the city that we found on Craigslist. And I swear this rug was created for the room, nothing ties the orange walls and earthy tones together quite so perfectly. We are absolutely thrilled! And can't wait to have a little baby rolling around on it.
I went to my friend's annual Oscar party last night after church. This year I had seen all of one nomination...Ratatouille. haha. Yea, so our life is currently a little Pixar heavy. I usually watch the Oscars to see what came out last year. This year, I actually didn't want to see too many of them. I do want to see Juno and La Vie en Rose and that other French one Becki recommended to me.
So i go to the party for the food, fellowship, and one-liners. I was really too tired this year, though, and by the end of the day, I'm too uncomfortable to really ignore my discomfort. But I had a good time. I'm so paying for my late night today, though. Ugh.
Nothing struck me particularly about anyone. Jon Stewart was sort of funny. Some of the dresses were okay. But I didn't notice anything particularly striking.
Helen Mirren gets the Classiest Person Award.
Tilda Swinton gets the I Wore a Black Garbage Bag to the Oscars Award.
Cate Blanchett gets the Classiest Pregnant Woman Award.
All hail independent musicians who make it!!
And congrats to the Coen brothers for getting a shelf full.
Hooray for non-Americans/non-native-English speakers getting up there! I really think they should just speak their own languages. It would do our isolated continent some good. And do they have to point out that Penelope Cruz can speak 4 languages every year?
And why didn't Paris, Je t'aime get nominated for anything? seriously baffling.
Alright. 'Til next year.
We played outside for a solid two hours.
And built a snow Daddy and a snow horse.
And enjoyed some drinking hot chocolate and watching a little monkey when we came back in.
It looks like we may have our one real snow. And it's still coming down.
It started snowing in the middle of the night. When I got home from book study last night there was a deer in the driveway. It just ambled around. When I got out of the car, it just looked at me. We stared at each other, about 100 ft apart, and then it wandered around a bit more eating grass. No white flags of alarm for me, just passive coexistence. I've never been around a deer so calm before. A few times this winter there's been a veritable herd out back, like 8 or so at a time, that will go bounding away when I pull up. Hmm. It was kind of cool.
I'll be back later after I take E outside for the complete snow experience.
(Originally uploaded by hbomb1947)
Ellis didn't have school today, for President's Day. It also turned out to be a really nice day, and I was feeling pretty good, no doubt thanks to the wonderful nap I had yesterday. So I decided to take him to the Art Museum again. I wanted to go in the morning while he was still somewhat fresh, but we didn't get off until around 11. I didn't have high expectations, but I thought he might enjoy it a little. He enjoyed about 5 paintings, a sculpture of a duck, and a small pool and fountain in a room full of Cezanne, Van Gogh, and the south of France. But that's why I finally bought my membership today, so that we could enjoy the museum five paintings at a time. In the room with the small fountain, he sat on a bench for a long time looking the water.
Eventually, I put him on my back in the Beco and was free to linger over these beautiful tapestries in the modern art collection.
But a security guard came up to me and said that it's against museum policy to allow children in back carries. WHAT!? Even though I can understand a tiny bit (it's harder for parents to monitor wandering, tiny hands programmed to explore when little ones are on the back) I'm really annoyed. This will drastically alter how I pictured my museum experience for the next few months. Oh well. Five paintings at a time, five paintings at a time. Just have to really come to terms with that. Maybe I'll go back and look at the tapestries when he's in school.
The day was gorgeous, though, we really should have gone to the zoo. After I left in my Beco-rejected huff, we ate lunch outside on a park bench by the river next to some boat houses. The sun was warm and lots of bikers, joggers, and dogs passing by entertained Ellis much more than Cezanne did. We walked around the grounds, and he was elated by the waterfalls and ran around in the false spring euphoria with his arms outstretched like the seagulls.
Last time I was at Cono was in 2001. After I said goodbye to Miss Thompson, I was walking to my car to leave and I said to Jane, "That could be the last time I see Miss Thompson." And Jane, in her usual candor, said, "Don't you feel like every time you see her might be the last?"
It was the last time, until heaven.
I love Val Day. I think it's fun. I love the homemade valentines, cookies (because usually I never got around to decorating C'mas cookies, so it's my time to redeem myself), and a yummy dinner with hubby. We don't make a big, expensive holiday. But I like the opportunity to do something a little extra special. We actually ended up celebrating the day after this year, because it was more convenient.
We had some little kids over yesterday for a little Valentine's party.
I cut out PB&J hearts for lunch for the kids. And after the moms ate (no hearts for us: with 3 pregnant and 1 nursing mom, we were just concerned about FOOD), they decorated a few cookies. for Ellis the cookie merely served as a platter from which to eat frosting.
In the evening for our Valentine's Dinner, I tried to recreate our favorite meal from our favorite Lebanese restaurant in New Orleans. It's simple and dippy. But I don't have a lot of experience with Mediterranean cooking, so I had to look around a bit and consult with a friend for what to do. It turned out pretty near perfect. Trader Joe's helped a lot, too. I got the hummus, baba ganoush, and tzatiki sauce from there, and a preseasoned, boneless leg of lamb. For the lamb, I didn't do a real kebab on a spit. I cut it up into cubes, pan-seared the chunks with red onion and then baked it for a little with tomatoes. And then stirred in a yogurt-tahini sauce. SO GOOD!!!! And so tender! We ate everything with pitas "al fresco" (in the living room). Pretty much perfect. Afterwards we watched Paris, Je t'aime. So everything went as planned and was a lot of fun. I love dippy meals. We're going to have to do this more often.
It started snowing tiny, small, annoying snowflakes this morning. I picked up Ellis from school and ran a quick errand, stocking up on hot chocolate. When we got home I knew we had a limited window of opportunity to play outside. While we were outside the "snow" turned to sleet. I'm not really sure what it is doing now. It's apparently going to be rain by the morning. I wish we could get one solid snow, you know?
But, my boy got a chance to use his snowpants!! There was snow on the picnic table. The grass looked like frosted miniwheats. E swished the snow off the tables, and I dragged him around on a blue Ikea bag on the pathetic dusting of snow. We played outside for a long time, and he came in rosy-cheeked and happy. So the snowpants got one wear. I think we'll be able to get another season out of them, though. There's plenty of room in the straps. I really doubt we'll have opportunity to use them again.
My brothers are here. Where else to go if you're in the area and it's wintry-mixing? They played with E, got a warm meal, and are watching American Idol. Punctuated by constant banter. Glad I have hot chocolate and cookies.
Today was a balmy 67 degrees. Unseasonal for early February in Pennsylvania. It felt like winter in Louisiana, where you're not sure whether to wear a jacket or a Tshirt.
Chris and I have been passing a weird mood back and forth all week. I think we miss NOLA. It was Mardi Gras yesterday. Today I wore the same maternity Tshirt I wore to the last Mardi Gras parade I went to, when I was pregnant with Ellis. I wore it today as I stood stirring a steaming vat of gumbo. I don't think it's possible to make gumbo in quantities smaller than Big Vat.
Some early morning reflections:
The Man with the Yellow Hat has got to be loaded. A house in the country? A condo in the city? And a vacation to Hawaii in the winter?
We love George. He is a master of Inductive Reasoning.
Update on toddler plus store:
I bought my friend's Beco carrier right before Christmas. E loves it. I love it. But I forget that I can use it for everyday mundane things. I think I need it for complicated city experiences. Since the shopping cart poses as a thing to be climbed rather than a thing to contain to my toddler, I popped him into the Beco yesterday for our shopping. And it worked out great! He loves it, I love it. And it's surprisingly comfortable. I carried my 30+ lb toddler on my 6month pregnant body for almost an hour, and it didn't bother me at all. My boy likes to snuggle, and he's always loved to be worn. I hope the next is as obliging.
Sometimes when I look in the rearview mirror to glance at E, I see him calmly smiling at the world passing by. Could we all be so winsome as a toddler?
This week has not been in a shining point in my career of motherhood. My 2 1/2yo is developing a particular kind of relationship with stores that doesn't enable typical adult shopping. I'm either going to never take him shopping again, or strap him to my person next time there's something we absolutely need.
Hubby's schedule has changed gloriously. We now have evenings together. He works early in the morning at his first job and then comes home for the rest of the day for his new work at home job. He has a little spot sequestered from the rest of the apartment where he goes to work at his computer. It's nice that it's not far. He shares his computer programming delights and woes over lunch, and I just smile and nod, barely understanding as foreign computer words fly by me. He's home in the evenings. We've eaten dinner together as a family every night. This has been a rare occurrence until now. I've actually planned menus for the week. This is my third week in a row. You don't know what a miracle this is. Since I got pregnant frozen pizza was pretty awesome there for quite awhile. I go shopping at Trader Joe's while E is in school. I feel like leaping from aisle to aisle singing a Broadway tune about how I'm out all by myself.
E really is very sweet. He's growing so fast and changing so much. I can't imagine what's going on in his head. I've had some interesting exchanges with him this week, language-wise, we might not have had a few weeks ago, in sign, speaking is much too rudimentary yet, whatever. I think he's grown 6 or 7 inches in the past 2-3 months. I'm packing away the 2T clothes. It seems unreal. It's hard to feel him out, where is he a big boy? where does he not understand yet? My brain is foggy, I can barely formulate what to do. Just stop a minute and let mommy think, here have a cookie. What? you won't eat cookies either? fine. Have a Swedish meatball.
And I'm pregnant and tired. I'm not one of those people who loves being pregnant. i've had a really bad attitude about it lately. I just want to hibernate, but I can't. My body hurts like it never did with E. I sleep less and in awkward positions thanks to my growing boy's occasional insomnia--which, for the most part, seems to be abating, only one night this week so far. I bought a prenatal yoga DVD. It arrived this week, and I did the stretches and relaxing practice last night, and it felt so good. Any exercise practice that closes with my lying down on a pillow is an A+ in my book.
Coffee and I are good friends again. There was a point when the first trimester estranged us a little and then we eyed each other suspiciously. I took tea out a couple of times, but in the end coffee and I made up. The other night I made C's coffee for him and set the timer so that he would wake up to fresh coffee. I didn't even notice the karafe wasn't there. (We have a truly awesome coffee maker) We woke up to a puddle of coffee on the floor. It wasn't a tragic mess or anything; one can't really cry over spilled coffee. Like I said, pregnancy and I just don't always get each other.
I'm setting myself very vague goals, because if they're vague enough, I will meet them, right?
Goal #1: Read more (that's on paper, not the internet).
Goal #2: Continue to think about exercise more.
Goal #3: Have a baby. (okay, so not a vague goal)
Goal #4: Continue to try to find the SAHM groove.
Goal #5: Get memberships to Cool Places and visit them often: Art Museum, Arboretum, Children's Museum, Zoo
Goal #6: Sew more, and, for pete's sake, start an Etsy shop already.
Goal #7: Get better at ASL
Goal #8: Love more.
that's enough, right?
I'd probably sip a little if I had thought to buy some, but I didn't. So I'll just use the excuse that I'm pregnant.
Happy New Year!!!
I keep forgetting that today is New Year's Eve, but since I'm at midnight anyway, I thought I'd ring in the New Year! Hugs, kisses, auld lang syne!
I thought you'd also like to notice that I posted this entry at exactly midnight.
I went to visit my friend's new baby. She is the first of the seven (now six) of us that are pregnant at my church. Baby Josephine was born on Friday morning, and Phil, Em, and baby are doing great!
It was so fun to visit them by myself. I don't know what was more fun, seeing their new baby, or being able to sit and chat for an hour without the lovely company of my crazy kid.
a few more cute pics on Flickr, since i know some of you know Phil and Em and may be interested
Christmas morning we were home. Just the three (four) of us. See we had gift time with all the other grandparents, it was just our gifts to each other on Christmas morning, which made for a nice relaxing time. I made breakfast, scrambled eggs and bacon with the cinnamon rolls my mom had sent home with us the previous night...and, yes, we ate all half dozen right there. heehee. I brought breakfast into the living room, and we watched a little of the Scrooge that was recorded on the TV, and then all of a sudden Ellis noticed that there were presents under the three, which was a nice segue to the opening thereof.
He was so cute. He happened to have his little pair of scissors handy and decided that they were a most essential gift unwrapping accessory. I was so happy to see him like the things we had gotten/made for him.
After a delightfully relaxing morning, we went to my ILs for a fabulous dinner. They invited a bunch of church people not otherwise with family--mostly people our age. and kids--Ellis, his best girlfriend Maddie, and a 4yo and 6yo brother and sister. E was tired to begin with. Too much partying and a bit of a cold. And he was starting to go crazy. Maddie finally came up to her mom and said "Eyis. house. all done." Poor kids. E was just way past himself. His sweet daddy took his plate (and we were enjoying a lovely 5 course meal that MIL made) and Ellis to the basement to be quiet with him and watch Thomas. E just needed to be saved from himself. He was sick, tired, and after this weekend, peopled out.
We did enjoy the day, though. And had a nice time visiting and eating (!). And E was better after his rest for a little while until it was clearly time to go home.
Today, we've had a deliciously quiet day. Chris had gotten up early, so took care of Ellis when he woke up, which meant I got some extra sleep. We ran an errand to exchange a gift. I actually got Ellis to take a nap--he is clearly tired from the holiday, and we all have low-grade colds. I took a nap.
I picked up a DVD of the three Wallace and Gromit shows for us for Cmas, but forgot to wrap it. We got it out today, and I'm pleased to say that E is a Wallace and Gromit fan. I've been munching on cheese and crackers ever since.
It's nice to have a quiet day at home, playing with Ellis and his new toys, and relaxing with each other. I love my family and am so blessed to have them.
One of my family's tradition is to have junk cereal for Christmas. The one time of year my mom would buy it for us. I happen to like oatmeal a lot, so I don't mind eating oatmeal every other day of the year, which I do. But it's kind of fun to pick out a stupidly magically delicious cereal just for Christmas.
Visited my grandma. We were all tired, but she was in a jolly mood, which made it fun. And Ellis was adorable. And that's all that matters.
Went to my parents' house. Mom and I made an Italian dinner. Crab ravioli, baked cod with anchovy and parsley paste, roasted zucchini pizza. We exchanged gifts before rushing off to hear Sam sing in his church's choir. It was perfect. Kind of lowkey, but absolutely perfect. Sat around the fire and started It's a Wonderful Life. After the rest left for church, we packed up our exhausted boy in his Christmas jammies and headed home.
We caught the radio re-broadcast of the radio version of It's a Wonderful Life on XPN, whose holiday tunes we've been enjoying off and on all day.
XPN serenades me as I finish wrapping gifts for my boy. His loot from us: a wooden tool set, a tape measure, metal toy pots/pans from Ikea, a wooden rolling pin just his size, some handpainted wooden farm animals that I bought in Lancaster, and an art smock just for him that I made. I can't wait to see him open that tool set. He's going to love it!
Feels good to be home with my little family.
Online shopping. CHECK
Postcards ordered. CHECK.
Christmas tree that we've now had for a week put up and decorated. NO
House clean. NO
Nearly every part of Philly and its greater surrounds traveled to this week. CHECK
Cold gotten over. NO
Sleeping well. NO
Presents arriving in the mail. CHECK
Pretty much the most brilliant invention of the modern era. I hate being out there in the crowds and craziness. Especially now that I have a very curious toddler. I just can't imagine trying to do C'mas shopping on foot. So *click* Amazon order which takes care of two people and E's big present from us, a wooden tool set.
Amazon is a no-brainer, but have you tried Etsy.com. Hundreds of fine artisans listing their wares. Do something different: buy handmade!!
I do intend to open an Etsy shop one of these days, and hopefully that will happen sometime before the rapture. I just can't get from under the mound of gifts or stuff I want/need to sew for my house.
I'm buying these crayons from this seller for Ellis, my alphabet-obsessed boy.
A couple of friends have shops:
* Check Luv Lugs. She makes really cute stuff with reused materials. Brilliant.
One of my favorite things is the migrating geese in the fall. I can remember as a kid sitting outside shivering in the late afternoon autumn coolness just to watch the geese a bit longer. V's poetically crisscrossing the sky. Their call individually sounds like an obnoxious honk, but corporately rings the air.
Scene: Granny and Aunt having lunch out the day after Grandpa died.
Waitress come over to take their. She and Granny are acquaintances. Granny pats her on the arm and says "Let me tell you something." She proceeds to tell how Grandpa has been suffering physically for the last ten years, and then she said, "And you know what? Last night angels came down and took him to heaven!!"
Waitress: "Oh, I'm so sorry."
Granny: "NO!!! We're happy! HAPPY! YAY! YAY! YAY!"
My grandparents were never ones to mince words.
We laid grandpa's body to rest today. It's freezing rain outside. Just an awful cold day but full of family and friends. And there was definitely singing! The aunts started crying. "Dad would've loved to hear this." But he's singing in heaven now.
My grandpa died this weekend. He's been going downhill that past 10 years, and it is with great joy that his earthly body is replaced with his heavenly one. On the Sabbath he found his Eternal Sabbath.
We've been expecting it all week, and left our Thanksgiving gathering wondering how soon we'd be together again. Quite soon.
Ellis and I got haircuts today. We're driving out to Iowa, leaving Wednesday, with my parents for the funeral on Saturday.
Earlier in the week, my mom and I put together a CD mix full of songs she knew her dad would like. She sent it overnight. Even though he was in a stroke-induced coma, if music could through, it should be there.
My grandpa had a beautiful voice. His "signature" song is "Ol' man river" from starring in Showboat in high school. I remember him singing hymns, in his deep, strong voice. I was in college before I realized that families typically don't gather around the piano (or the dishes) to sing together. So I imagine there will be singing this weekend. A taste of heaven.
Unlike last year when the cameras were going from start to finish, I only managed to get a few shots of my cute kid in the beautiful fall yard. My parents are probably moving soon, and I'm just drinking up the last days we have in their incredibly comfortable house and yard and FIREPLACE! I think I will miss the yard the most. And setting Ellis free in it.
I arrived Tuesday evening with a huge amount of stuff, mostly fabric and a sewing machine. I had high hopes. Wednesday the cousins arrived. I sewed a little. Chris came for the night. Thursday we woke to the smell of turkey, which roasted overnight. It was nice to lie there with my stomach growling and think, "Mmmm. It's Thanksgiving." I gotta say, it was a darn good turkey this year, too. It had to have been, because the 22lb turkey was consumed IN ENTIRETY in less than 24 hours by 4 siblings, 1 spouse, 2 cousins, and 2 parents, and I think Ellis may have eaten 5 bites. Potatoes were more his thing.
The Macy's Day parade was viewed. Football games put on. Helping mom in the kitchen. Dinner consumed. The noise level was very high between 4 siblings, 1 spouse, and 2 cousins. It had to have been, because my mom actually asked us to speak one at a time. That didn't work. We all fit around one table.
Grandma was visited in the retirement home. Hugs given all around. Great-grandson gets the most points for being Absolutely Adorable.
Sat around the fire for pie later, but mom forgot to put the sugar in the pumpkin pie. I did that once. It's sad. Thankfully, she was on a roll earlier and on a whim made two apple pies, too. Which I also enjoyed for breakfast the following two days.
Football abandoned for Paris, Je t'aime and turkey sandwiches. Did I mention the fireplace?
Friday and Saturday I sewed, we shopped...strategically. Popping in Amish stores and markets in Lancaster. i found handmade things for Christmas gifts and came back laden with oranges and apple cider. We got Ellis a rake and a broom just his size. He always wants to help.
A cold wind blew on Thursday night. All the leaves blew off the trees. It was like Charlie Brown. All the leaves in a pile around the tree where they fell off. A thick layer of gold on the ground. I admit, I hate raking leaves mostly because I think the leaves are so beautiful on the ground. Regal carpets.
4 siblings, 1 grandson, and 2 cousins ate all of the food. I went home tonight. The school bound leave tomorrow. I texted my parents as I left, "Milk all gone." I just didn't want cereal to be a disappointment in the morning.
Today was warmish and rainy with a cool breeze. It felt snuggly. I had this strange urge to go to the Art Museum. Something about the fall color and snugliness of it all was inspiring. Taking Ellis to the Art Museum is something I've been meaning to do for awhile; it's been too long. We brought our friends Maddie and Her Mom. I think they were the only children in the entire museum, and I was relieved for the majority attitude towards them welcoming, helpful, and warm.* Their enjoyment of the museum was moderate. I think they enjoyed looking at some pictures. We had fun pointing out features of different paintings: yellow flower, guy riding on horsey, lady wearing red hat, etc. They were distracted by eachother and their own tiredness. It was a spur of the moment trip; next time I should go in the morning. We took our snacks to the cafe where the moms splurged on drinks and the kids unwound a little, driving home in the dusky canopied by the fall glory.
I'm really excited about bringing the Philadelphia Art Museum into our life this winter. I think I will buy an individual membership, which will be affordable with Christmas money, and if Chris wants to go will pay each time for him. The membership basically pays for itself in four visits, and I expect I will have more time to go than he does. Ellis is still free for quite some time. yay!! And they have some stuff that i'm eager to do with E, like "Tours for Tots" with a different theme each month.** We live in a great city, and I feel like I should be taking better advantage of it.
* I think I probably got the most amusing reaction to E's CI yet. The coat check girl (who was a little hipster) saw the little red light blinking that let's me know if it's working said, "what a cool sparkly thing on his head!" I really doubt she knew what a CI was. It made me laugh. Now the CI is the Cool Sparkly Thing.
** Grrr. Just looked at the schedule. EVERY-SINGLE-thing is scheduled on a Sunday. How inflexible!!!
Last night as Chris and I were dozing off to sleep in bed, I said, "Do you realize that The Office comes on in an hour?"
Yea, we went to bed at 8. And it felt good.
Since relatives (grandmas) are starting to ask what we (Ellis) wants for Christmas, I thought I'd start early with the Cmas list.
link to his Amazon list to jumpstart ideas.
A few ideas of things I'd think he'd really like:
a SMALL, simple, WOODEN dollhouse with a FEW accessories (I really like the Melissa and Doug one I linked to on the Amazon list).
WOODEN or FELT/cloth play food
you can't go wrong with art supplies, stickers, coloring books, Matchbox cars, socks. He's starting to get into dressups, so maybe crafty ones can make funny hats or something. You get the idea.
Please talk to me before you get anything "major".
I think his big toy gift from us will be a toy tool set, so no one else get that for him.
Clothing size 3T. Shoe size 8 1/2.
Also I thought about getting him a baby doll and accessories, since he loves playing with them. But I think we'll save that for a "big brother" gift come May (which will be kind of appropriate then anyway)
Membership to the zoo and/or the Please Touch Museum would be great, too.
his Amazon list is up to date (note esp. the DVD of Through Deaf Eyes)
Chris is happy with DVDs. He loves DVDs. You could even get a dollar bargain DVD and he'd be happy.
Good "littles" include wool socks, salty snacks, apple butter
regular Amazon list (incl awesome crafty books) and Mommy Book list
gift cards to Old Navy for maternity clothes
rotary cutter and cutting board and measuring stuff
don't get me socks. I know I used to like socks, but I'm really picky about socks now.
Family Membership to the Art Museum and/or the Morris Arboretum(!!)
a great non-stick pan
a watermelon (it's my favorite)
I'll keep thinking to add some littles for my brothers with no moolah. I like Skittles. *shrug*
After spending the morning at CHOP, getting speech therapy and a new mapping for his CI (the last mapping of the initial series of mappings after activation!), we had a lovely afternoon and evening hanging out at my IL's in their great yard and neighborhood.
Ellis's best girlfriend Maddie came over, and they both enjoyed wearing her headbands.
Ellis was Mr. Potato Head for Halloween. And Maddie was Mrs. P. Head. We were joined later by their buddy Judah, who was a Doctor. Maddie's mom and I had a lot of fun making the costumes. I used camel colored polarfleece and stuffed the lining a little to give the potato some shape. The kids actually didn't eat too much candy; they were having a blast running around and being crazy together.
We made it to a whole four houses this year!
I painted on a red nose and little moustache. Which was totally smeared off by the end of the evening. (For those who get will a kick out of it: Ellis is wearing his Spud Fest sweatshirt underneath the costume. The one that Spiker made in 2006. heehee.)
(thanks, amanda, for the great pics!)
I spent hours cleaning the car on Saturday. The final touch was vacuuming up an incredible amount of smushed crackers and rice krispies.
My favorite car commercials ever. When these were airing we watched TV just to see these commercials.
We're having another baby!
I about 8 weeks along with late-May baby. I'm already starting to get something to show for it. :-P And I pretty much feel like crap. But I'm totally excited about Ellis having a sibling, because I think he's going to love it! They will be almost exactly 3 years apart. I'm liking this kind of age gap.
This pregnancy feels almost exactly last Ellis's. I'm not throwing up, but do feel nauseous a lot. And right now coffee is one of those things that inspires feelins of nausea. That is very hard for me, because I love coffee. Same with taco salad, which is pretty much my favorite food ever. I have been drinking chai and eating mashed potatoes.
And there are about 6 other women at church who are pregnant, which will make for a very interesting spring. Can't miss out on a good party. Park day should be crazy next summer. haha!
Anyway, we're totally excited about this new baby. We were ready for #2. The only question is, where to put the baby, which shouldn't too much of a problem at first, since I'm a fan of cosleeping. But babies grow. And I still don't have my prenatal care figured out. I'm exploring a variety of midwife options. I'm really thankful to be in a place with so many options. I just need to find one that will work for me and my pocketbook. But I have some time yet. I mean, what are they going to tell me at this point? uh, yea, you're pregnant.
It's nice to be facing pregnancy without feelings of utter freak-out like I was last time. heh heh.
p.s. I think this baby's in utero nickname will be Secundo (unless, of course, we find out it's a girl, then it'll switch to Secunda), 'cause you know, we already have Primo.
We went to a lovely wedding today. A church friend got married and it was quite the party. The wedding was at 10 am in center city. They hired charter buses to take us over to the Curtis Center (right next to Independence Hall) for a brunch reception. Ellis was happy that his best girlfriend Maddie could come, and as soon as we got there, he took her hand and escorted her everywhere. Adorable doesn't even begin to cover it. They kept wriggling free, grabbing each other's hands and running off. The reception was sort of in this atrium area. It was really awesome. In the corners and halls were shops (obviously closed). Ellis kept dragging Maddie over to look at the display of a certain jewelry shop. I kid you not! Maddie's mom and I were practically doubled over laughing so hard. We had a fabulous time!!
* Much cooler temps!!! Seriously, I thought summer would never end!!! It was pushing the 90s for a long time, but it appears that cooler fronts have moved in. It's in the 60s today. I can finally get my Fall on.
* Harriet's post on Babe and Saint-Saens--two of my favorite things.
Hubby is officially in grad school again! Woohoo. Future techno-geek librarian at your service. E and I went to ctr city to Hubby's New School today to buy his books, but the book store was out. Go figure. I mean, when has the uni book ever pulled through for me. We took the train, because I thought E would have a blast. But it wore me out. I think it wore E out, too, because he fell asleep at 6pm watching Cars. And then he was doing that climbing all over me thing on the train on the way in. On the way out, I was armed with gummy bears.
Today I went to Coffee Shop #2. I had a small coffee and a lemon crepe drenched in creamy butter. I've had a smile on my face ever since, full of lemony-sunshine.
I've been doing more research on the internet. I think I just need to go away and read a novel. I'm dreaming about deaf issues lately. It's just all deaf all the time. I'm trying to get a feel for the CI community. It's something I've resisted for a long time, because my first experience with it was so depressing. But it's a reality in my life now, and at some point I'll have to reckon with it.
I have mixed emotions reading accounts. For one, I can't believe how quickly people move. How in the 2 or 3 short months of their child's life they have a complete understanding of all educational options and laws in the area, two hearing aids, a possible CI surgeon, genetic tests, and the gamut of other tests done they urge you to do. How is that enough time to truly process that information? How is that enough time to really establish a breastfeeding relationship, for pete's sake!? I wouldn't bring my newborn infant into the germy hospital that often. aack! *sigh* at the end of the day, I just want to say, you know what? he'll hear, he'll have his CI, just relax, sign a little with him. get to know your baby. Recover from childbirth, establish that relationship. You'd sign with a hearing baby, how is going to hurt the deaf baby to relax a little and just sign for a couple months.
It's dizzying reading the race for hearing on these blogs. They don't get a chance to get to know their deaf baby.
Sorry, if I offend, I'm just kind of overwhelmed, reeling from the frenetic grasping for hearing.
The first time in a new coffee shop is like a first date. I look it over. Sip the coffee expectantly ascertaining its quality. I listen to the conversations between the regulars and the people behind the counter. I'm greeted warmly, a newcomer. I feel embarrassed as i try unsuccessfully to tap into the open wireless network. I'm smelling the pastries and going crazy with desire. Artsy people come in and comfortably settle in small groups of intelligent conversation. There's the bin where you return your dishes, and don't forget to get a stamp in your stamp card.
I'm hitting up two coffee shops these days: the first has wireless, good coffee, music a bit too loud but I like it alright, and the service is terrible. The second does not have good wireless, good coffee, pastry shelf to DIE for, extremely warm and pleasant environment, good service, and it tempts my wallet more. We'll see where the mood strikes. Being the internet addict I am, the every day shop might be the former and the special treat one may be the latter with a good book.
Saturday morning has got to be the quietest time ever on blogosphere. I wander around the internet. No new updates.
I sit here drinking my coffee, eating my homemade granola, my favorite cereal. Ellis is crawling around like a maniac in his Ikea tunnel at my feet. He occasionally surfaces for tickle.
I'm listening to Nickel Creek dreaming of fall days on the mountain.
I better go change that soggy diaper.
E and I are at my parents' for a couple of days.
Hoping to enjoy friends, the dog, throwing rocks in the pond, riding trains, fresh tomatoes and peaches, And I have a couple of brilliant sewing projects to finish.
So back to our regularly scheduled blog-lite. Thanks to all who contributed to a lively discussion here this weekend. You've certainly given us a lot to talk about, as we hope to have contributed just a wee bit, too. Cheers, peeps!
Lately, Ellis has been into the movie Finding Nemo (I know, someday he'll discover there's life beyond Pixar, but the secret's safe with us now). He'll sign "watch, fish" when he wants to watch it. It's pretty cute. Well, it's touched Daddy's soft spot, let me tell you.
Last week, I was really dragging, and Chris insisted that he would take Ellis with him on a couple of errands. I didn't need much convincing. They got back 2 hours later with a 10 gallon tropical fish tank! He told me he originally went to Petsmart for the goldfish and the bowl, but got totally hooked by the Fish Enthusiast salesclerk. I did not know any of this was happening. We are holding off putting fish in the tank until after our vacation.
In order to satiate the anticipation that goads us every time we walk past this empty fish tank, Chris suggested totally randomly out of the blue after breakfast that we go to Baltimore to the aquarium that very day! C is my major home-body introvert, so I jumped at his suggestion. Though, after talking about it, we decided to hit up the more local Camden aquarium instead, saving Baltimore for better laid plans. And we invited Ellis's best girlfriend Maddie and her parents along. And it turned out to be a crazy fun rainy day.
Now when you start the day thinking of Baltimore's aquarium and end it going to Camden's, it's a little anticlimactic. And the crowds were merciless. I took E's CI off and wished I could be deaf, too. The noise was dreadful! It's hard to know if the aquarium would've been easier to maneuver without so many people. It was a decent aquarium, but not stunning. Some highlights we managed to find at the very end: the hippo with the underwater glass so you could see him swimming (and pooping! and everyone yelling "eewww!") and the shark tunnel. I like all the tropical fish tanks, but it was hard to get a good look. And I had hoped for more jellies, but maybe they're more of a special exhibit kind of item.
The kids loved it. Ellis would stop at a tank awhile and then turned around and sign "more fish". Maddie kept saying "fissshh" "shakkk" "upoh" (hippo) and signing along with E.
And it was fun hanging out in the backseat with Amanda, being slap happy in the rain, finding McD's somewhere in Philly as we snaked through the rainy streets home, opting for better scenery than the congested interstate. Being with our buds totally upped the fun factor several notches! They probably took better pics; I had trouble not getting blurry pictures.
Last night, Lilian invited me and another blogger, cloudscome, to join her at guest night at our local arboretum. Between the three families, there were five boys and lots of running and fun. The arboretum has a fantastic garden railway that was like wonderland to those boys. And, of course, mine was the one who thought he could climb in and play with the trains. ha!
I love blogger meetups, because it's like you have a new friend, but you don't have to do all the small talk. At the same time, though, I'm afraid I was a bit zoned out last night, tired from traveling into the city for speech therapy. Ellis had fun running with the boys. I hope we can get together with our new friends again soon.
This morning at 8.30 my buddy Grace sent me a text message, "I'm at the Philly airport 'til 11. Come visit me!" So I did!! I knew she was traveling so it wasn't totally out of the blue.
We got a good hour together, settling in a bridge between terminals that was quiet and allowed Ellis good running room and a view of the airplanes.
How fun to sit and chat!
There is a break in the heat wave. Today was a bit muggy, but not too hot. I was going to take Ellis to spend some quality outdoor time at the playground, but on my way decided to hit up Wissahickon creek in Fairmount Park. I have the hardest time trying to figure out where to go to walk in Fairmount Park; I never can seem to find the parking lots. Anyway, I found a parking lot next to a walk that was kind of out of the way and down close to the creek.
It was a little overgrown, but there were a lot wonderful stops that sloped nicely to the creek, perfect for toddler boys to go down and throw rocks in the creek. At one point, another family came and stopped where we were with their fun dog, and the kids and dog played together for a little bit. Ellis got thoroughly wet and muddy, but it was worth over an hour of great fun. I have no idea if that creek is clean enough to play in, so we had a thorough bath when we home. It was absolutely lovely. Cool by the water under big towering trees. The creek rippling and gurgling. Rocks made big splashes.
(p.s. The pic is just one I found on the internet of wissahickon. I forgot my camera)
Well, we found a new frig for $100 on Craigslist, and we got there fast enough to get it. The first time C'list has ever worked out for me. And we couldn't have needed it more. A friend helped Chris move it in and the old one out. Now we just have to figure out how to dispose of the old one. And the kitchen is in ENTIRE UPHEAVAL.
I'm so tired I could scream. Ellis was so tired that he was screaming, on the bus; a fine moment in toddler history.
But I'm REALLY thankful that we were able to find a new frig and didn't blow the money that is set aside for our vacation for it. It's actually a little nicer and bigger than our old one. Really, really glad.
Not looking forward to starting this day.
It's hot again.
E and I are taking the bus to his school. Which means more walking in the heat in the city, like yesterday. I don't really feel like taking the bus today.
But that frees up the car for C to take to look at this frig we found on Craigslist for only $100. Looks promising. Hopefully it's still there and we can buy it then and there.
Then there's the matter of figuring out HOW to get a new frig up to our 3rd fl apt, the busted one down, and then how do you discard a frig? I guess I should what the township says.
Not to mention that I've gotten like zero quality rest in a long time. I'm starting off exhausted.
So anyway, guess I better quit my whining and start the day already.
So I think our refrigerator has broken.
4 gallons of milk spoiled.
And the frig is ours, not the landlord's. :-P
*sigh* Buying a new fridge and discarding the old one is SOOOOO not on my list of Things I'm Dying To Do This Week.
* My sister was here Sat through Wed
* Tuesday we took Ellis to see Ratatouille. It was his FIRST MOVIE!!! in the theater. And it was everything I had hoped it would be for him, clutching his popcorn in wide-eyed wonder.
We really loved the movie, too. Really excellent. Multivalent.
* Wednesday. First day back at summer session at PSD for Ellis in the morning. Went to Lancaster in the afternoon. Played with fabric in the evening. Spent the night.
* Spent the morning at my mom's, did a little shopping, went back home.
* Friday. In the morning went to Please Touch Museum with friend from church. Boys and moms had a great time. E and I went to Costco in the evening and then I took him to Friendly's for supper since daddy was working. He's been in a whiny state all week, no doubt in part because of a really sore bum awful diaper rash. He was getting on my nerves and I needed to change how I was feeling, so I did something fun with him, hoping that not being in the familiar spaces would clear up negativity from both of us. He was really sweet all evening. I think he enjoyed his one-on-one mom time. (Like we never get it! *rolling eyes*) There was a big group of deaf people there, but we didn't talk to them or anything. But it was kind of cool to be around people who were signing and not talking, since that is mostly what we are doing with E.
* Then I stayed up WAAAAY too late reading Harry Potter 5. I reread the whole 870 some pages in less than 24 hours. I have a headache.
* E went to Grammy's for the afternoon, and C (who did NOT have to work!) and I went to see the movie. I wish I hadn't finished the book half hour before I watched the movie. It felt so gaping with what out of those 870 some pages they couldn't include in 2 hours. As a movie we thought it was quite good, though. No spoilers here. I intend to reread HP6 over the week (instead of 24 hrs) to prepare for book 7 coming out. Starting to get excited.
So I hereby declare that Friday night is Chinese night!!
I've been rather uninspired in the kitchen lately. I'm too pooped, have zero counter space and an over-eager toddler. It doesn't encourage me to stand there making wonderful delights from scratch like I used to.
So I get a little help now and then from the Trader and the Joe.
We've recently discovered the frozen Chinese stuff. All you have to do is heat it up on the stove or microwave. It's WAY better than take-out (I don't really like Chinese take-out), and probably cheaper, too. So far we've tried Orange Glaze Chicken, Chicken Chow Mein (Ellis really liked this), pot-stickers (!), and edamame dumplings. Asian cuisine is a mystery untapped for me. I'd like to do more in the future, when I have time, energy, and SPACE to cut up vegetables.
Gotta do something to celebrate Friday night.
Today is our anniversary!!!! Six years!
I know our anniversary is on June 8, but I've had the worst time this year actually knowing what day it is. It's like I go by a calendar and all this information I've blithely ignored comes popping out at me. Like going by a mirror, you can ignore a lot until you're face-to-face with it.
I have been looking forward to our anniversary, though, and trying to make myself remember what date/day of the week I'm on. We obviously can't do much today for it, since I'm going to Lancaster for an extended family function. But we will do something soon.
Not much to say here. The endless parade of days.
Ellis got his first pair of scissors. He is thrilled. Scissors, markers, glue--my goal for him to learn these this summer. He spent almost an hour in rapt scissors and washable marker attention yesterday.
My screen printing exploit failed. I didn't use good material for the screen, and it ended up kind of smushy looking. (Following this tutorial.) I'm almost done with a new skirt, though.
Sorry. This is turning into the most boring blog ever. But, hey, the day is done and that's what happened. Scissors, a few weeds pulled, hair cut, dinner, bed. In between, I sew, read, plan a baby shower, a birthday party. It's kind of nice not to live in Grad School Crisis Mode, though I think I tend to retranslate that mode into other areas of my life.
Ellis and I are off to Lancaster today.
It's been hard to gather my brain cells together this week. Hours pass and I wonder what has happened.
Weekend? ups and downs. Downs are personal. Ups included one of my best friends announcing her first pregnancy. Woohoo!
I'm trying my hand at screen printing. Monday I prepared my screen. Tues I went to try it out and discovered that the ink i bought works on every surface EXCEPT fabric (go figure it was the in Tshirt decorating section of A.C. Moore. Grrrrrr). So stay tuned.
E has had some bad sleeping moments. Including one of his frustratingly frequent bouts of insomnia. I was a wreck last night. C put him to bed. My mom came and helped me do a little yard work. I wandered around the yard with our small weed whacker edging everything in sight. The only thing I could hear was the weed whacker. It was therapeutic.
I'm reading Augustine's Confessions with the Bookies. Crafting has been fun lately, but I'm foremost a reader.
Today I went to the Art Star Craft Bazaar. Let me tell you, it was flippin' amazing!
This is the first craft show I've ever gone to. It's this whole huge world that is so brilliant and beautiful. Stall after stall of creative and talented people that are happy and excited to share what they're doing and will sit and chat about it. (It was SO different from an academic conference: the whole jaded expression thing didn't really jive here.) I was excited and overwhelmed. I saw some stuff/people that I had seen on the internet. I visited the Etsy booth and got a free bandana! It was all just such a wow experience! And it's a good thing I didn't have any cash with me.
* people being friendly to Ellis. This is kind of a dread experience as a parent of a toddler: a whole day of no-touch. But people were totally pumped about E and didn't mind a nice touch.
* seeing these fun Tshirts and onesies in person.
An aside: I had this weird conversation with this one lady. She had these sweet appliqueed onesies for sale, and the onesies were in all these cool colors. Having overheard a few other conversations about places to obtaining blank clothing items upon which to venture creative expertise, I offered the following question: "where did find such cool onesies?" Her reply, "I made them." And I'm like--duh! this is a craft bazaar. So I clarified: "where did find such cool colors?" So at the end of the day, which of us should be the one feeling dumb? (probably neither--but it just seemed really weird). Okay, aside over.
It was so cool to see all this great talent in real life. Stuff I've only ever seen on the internet. I felt like I got a great initial view into the whole indie craft thing. If I weren't so durn tired at the moment, I'd be in there sewing like madster with all this inspiration. But I think I've done enough sewing this week to be satisfied. Lots of projects coming up though.
When I as a kid, there was a teensy time in my life when I thought it would be cool to live in Little House on the Prairie land. Such dreams are quickly altered upon realizing that such a land doesn't not come with air conditioning.
Last night, Chris stuck in the last AC window unit. There are small ones in each bedroom and a larger one in the living room. We are already a much happier family. Our apt is on the third floor and has been hoarding the heat mercilessly. I couldn't get it to ventihilate well, so I'm really glad we have these units. Summer all of a sudden got way better.
Can you tell I'm a total wimp dealing with the heat? You'd think after Louisiana...
For the past couple of weeks it's just been non-stop. Graduations, graduation parties, resulting farewell parties, and ensuing moving parties, throw in Memorial Day you got yourself a recipe for non-stop fun--and a tired family. Ellis does great, but I can tell all the excitement is starting to wear on him. He's more fussy, more clingy at home. Thank goodness we have a couple of quiet days now. Can I think of anything going on next week? not really. But middle of June things will start picking up again.
Yesterday we helped our friends pack up their moving truck. I mostly stayed in back and herded kids. At one point there were ELEVEN kids in the backyard: age 6 or so and under. Ellis got to play with his buddy J one last time. They like to give each other hugs. TOO CUTE! We're going to miss J and all his signing goodness. I swear, those boys need about two signs to play happily together: car and train.
And I'll miss Jonesey. A real kindred spirit. I looked at the clock around late morning and thought, well, the Js are probably half way there. Bye, friends!
I've been really blessed to have such great friends up here. And even though this is a transient time for some, I look forward to the continued joy of our friendships here and there. (thank goodness for blogs! dudes, keep updating!)
Yesterday as we sat around eating Moving Day Pizza for lunch, I reminisced about a Wednesday after Memorial Day two years ago, when we pulled out of New Orleans, and how I bent down taping boxes with my huge pregnant belly. That has got to have been the worst day of my life. I rarely have been as miserable as I was trying to move when I was SO pregnant. So much has happened between now and then.
So here we are now, a hot afternoon on the last day of May. Chillin' on the couch, staying quiet for the day. I'll get some more sewing done later (pics soon); maybe we'll watch a movie; race a few matchbox cars across the floor; eat leftovers for dinner. Sounds good to me.
Because I was a dork and forgot my camera, I'm still all my pics.
We went out to Lancaster today for Memorial Day/Graduation Party. Our friends Jason and Amanda came with Ellis's best girlfriend Maddie. My mom had an awesome pool ready for the kiddies.
We ate super yummy food outside. My favorite great-aunt and uncle came, too.
All five of us kids were there, WITH our spouses, and 2 grandbabies. A rare moment.
We're going to miss Jman! (in the blue)
taking a breather with Dad
It was a really hot afternoon, but the rain held off, and the shade was pleasant. Adults chilled on lawn chairs with tasty beverages, and kids ran themselves into sweaty fun. It didn't seem like we were there to say goodbye. It seemed just like another fun afternoon. I don't think it'll sink in until we look around for the third little boy, and he'll be in Chatty with his mom and dad.
Yesterday Ellis and I went to the graduation ceremony for the Seminary Across the Street (from our church). We knew a lot of people graduating this year, so, hey, may as well go. It was a nice ceremony. Small. Handful of doctorates, a bunch of MDivs. We cheered and waved to our friends.
It's funny at these kinds of Reformed World Events the people you run into. For instance, as they were reading names off and distinguished graduates marched across the stage to receive their diplomas, they called off this guy that not only went to college with, but was in the same class, the same major!! It was weird to see him pop up like that! Then there's the cloud of people you know vaguely and you say hello and acknowledge that you know each other, making slight references to the context in which you know each other. It's kind of fun. I managed to mostly escape this while living in NOLA, and the networked world lost some of its sheen. But it's still fun hanging with the peeps!
In the name of all things crafty and good, Faythe Levine and Micaela O’Herlihy crossed the continent numerous times documenting the new resurgence of craft. With a working title of “Indie Craft Documentary,” the film has now been officially christened “Handmade Nation.”
Last night I spent a lot of time sorting through the pile of file boxes that have been sitting in a corner piled high for nearly a year. One the one hand, I'm impressed with how well I sorted on the other end of the packing chain. It was pretty easy to transfer the contents directly into a filing cabinet. On the other hand, there were still the few "why the heck do I still have this!?" like the Counterpoint notebook from the oh, one week I was in Counterpoint class as an undergrad before I decided that persisting beyond a week was a total waste of time due to lack of pedagogical interest in student learning. (He really was a truly awful professor.)
I also found some fun things. A notebook from highschool that various friends and I had written different memories in, especially our first impressions with our new school (since we all came at different times). That was kind of fun to leaf through. I'm a hopeless sentimental. I keep stuff like that.
I also realized what awesome classes I had in grad school!! I remember having enjoyed them. But it's just been such a weird two years since I was in classes, that I've forgotten a lot about them. I had the coolest series of classes/seminars with my advisor, and to see the notebooks lined up together is inspiring. I will always be glad to have those. They are the kind of thing I won't be able to find anywhere else, because he's like a Major Expert along his field. And his take was particularly lucid and thorough.
And I found this whole huge chunk of cello music/resources. My cello is floating around the room I'm cleaning, and it kind of made me turn around and say "hey, Mr. Cello, we should get together soon. It's been too long." There was a time when a lot of my life was devoted to the cello, not that I've been particularly awesome, but I could hold my own.
Regrouping. A good thing.
Watermelon season has opened at our house. This means obsessive watermelon eating by yours truly. I get addicted to that stuff. I dream it, I sneak it in the middle of the night, I am never dehydrated. I adore watermelon.
Watermelon season also signals the arrival of another pleasant side effect: a permanently sticky kitchen floor.
My posts have been so down lately that I feel like I need to post about my great day. In many ways it was just an ordinary, tired --and dare I say? hot!?-- day.
Ellis and I got groceries, which is cause for great rejoicing. I stocked up at my fave discount produce store, and we came home and had cheese, tomato, cucumber sandwiches on yummy 10 grain bread from Trader Joe's. (Oh! We forgot to get a balloon!) There's nothing like the advent of summer produce to really make me happy. I mean, I can get it year round along with the rest of America, but it just takes like sunshine in the summer.
Then my friend called me from England where they've been living for the past couple of years. (I know, my week to reconnect with overseas friends.) We hadn't talked on the phone in two years, yet it was like no time had passed. We talked for an hour and a half.
(And while we were talking I made cool new placemats--keeping the hands busy.)
Then my friend called me up to see if we wanted to hang out, since both our hubbies were busy tonight. So she and her daughter, E's best girl friend, Maddie, came over. We ate, they played, we gave them baths together, they giggled, and then they went home dreaming of summer walks and afternoons by the pool.
Good food, good friends, good times.
So today I entered the mysterious and wonderful world of Skype.
And I got to talk to my good friend who lives in France!
This is very good.
Anyone else out there Skype-ing?
an antibiotic for strep throat--finally, after a week of painful sore throat, I'm hopefully on the path to recovery
a Macbook, courtesy of a generous re-sum from IRS, to replace my ancient G3
I thought my post-Thesis life was perking up a bit, but apparently not. A persistent sore throat has got me in its grasp. This morning when I woke up, it had kicked up a notch, so I stayed home from church, which will totally throw my week off. I'll probably call the doctor in the morning.
I hate to be either absent or a downer on my blog. But in the end, it's where I record my life. And I will want to know what happened. I was going to start Mommy Boot Camp this week, which included starting a diet and exercise schedule. But I haven't planned my two week's menus yet, and I'm not going to try this until I've planned well, because it'll be constant frustration if I don't. And I just feel sick. So it's not going to start Monday.
This past week, though, I did sew a bit more, and that made me glad. I like to have a project, work toward a goal thing going. I'm making summer placemats for us and finishing a baby gift for a friend. My camera is still a bit wonk, so I think when we get our tax return I'll get a new memory card, since I think that's the problem (it keeps saying 'memory card error', ya think?). I feel like my blog is gasping for pictures. *must illustrate life*
I've also been realizing that it's not as easy as you might think to just close the books and walk away for an undefined period of time. No, I don't want deadlines and annoying projects. But I'm a scholar, which means a life-long learner, and I've invested a lot of my life in acquiring particular skills, and I don't want to lose them. So, somehow I want to work in keeping up some these skills. Latin, French, and medieval/Ren music notation are foremost in my mind. But I can do these things without being a slave to them. And maybe in a few years, I can get an article out of something. *shrug* I know I'm not really being clear, and I know that if I continue to write, I'll become even less clear and more rambly, because I don't really want to come out and write what I'm REALLY thinking, because now my blog is read by so many people I know, and I would just feel weird about continuing to ramble and having people I love not "get it" because I don't really "get it" thus my rambling would be useless. So don't try to psychoanalyze me. Maybe when I come in a few years, this little ramble of its own will spark me back to my thoughts, and I can remember them in retrospect.
After being in school for the past 24 years, a day at the playground is welcomed with a sweetness that few could understand.
It was warm, sunny. We played, ran, spilled bubbles, got tons of sun on our arms. Then we went to Border's and E got a smoothie and I got a Perrier. We got new books: Eric Carle's 1,2,3 Animals in the zoo (or something like that) It has a train, animals, and numbers. All things Ellis loves. I got mommy books. i'm getting ready for a Total Mommy Makeover. It takes planning and then I will hit the ground. I need to cultivate my health, spiritually and physically. I'm going to the dentist *dread, dread, dread* and the eye doctor this week. And I'm reading helpful books, so that I can be a better parent.
So between Playgrounds and Planning, it makes for kind of boring blogging.
We had a great weekend. A visit from our old pastor/best friend in New Orleans (they moved the same day we did). It was SO great to visit and to catch up a bit.
On Saturday, we went to the Community Day at the deaf school Ellis goes to. It was way fun. Lots of inflatable fun that E just went crazy in. I saw like all the Deaf people I know. And it was so fun, because a year ago we started attending Deaf events, and it was hard, because we could barely sign our alphabet. And a year later, it's still slow going, but I can have a conversation! And we have friends! And it's so great to be in a playing environment where everyone is signing with Ellis and not just us!
Okay. back to my books. I'm reading like 4 books at once right now.
Today we went to the zoo!!!
Another mom from church organized the trip and we all bundled off. 8 moms, 17 kids.
My favorite quote (names disguised to protect the guilty, you know who you are):
M: you want some? *handing baggie*
J: no thanks.
J: oh! are those chocolate chips!? I thought they were raisins!
We had a great time with our friends, saw a ton of animals, and everyone signed all the animals with Ellis.
I think the Philadelphia Zoo was the first zoo in the country. It is huge! And there were a lot of animals. The New Orleans Zoo (our most recent zoo experience, thus the one to be compared) is very different, a series of habitats, that you walk through like a park, so not as much variety (I actually prefer that kind of zoo). The philly zoo is pretty cool, though, with so many animals!
Perhaps I shouldn't blog in the evenings. I'm so tired and blah. But when else am I going to blog? I should've blogged yesterday It was a great day.
The sun shone.
The park was played in.
The sinuses were cleared.
Gelato was consumed.
Ikea was wandered.
Big boy bed was assembled.
Little boy snuggled among happy animal festooned bedding.
School was gone to.
Nap not finished.
Boy head meets mom's nose.
Boy cries all day.
Mom does not smile at the end of the day.
It seems that at the end of every day, I feel more than just tired. I feel stretched too far. Our schedule, the struggles, still trying to figure out what we're doing in life. I'm not sure how much more I can take. I've got a gagillion things in my head that I want to create, now that I'm free from black and white words. But at the end of hte day, I don't have it in me.
I'm just too discouraged by the time Ellis is FINALLY asleep and dishes done (mostly). I go to bed hoping to sleep a good chucnk of time before the Anti-Sleeper ruins it. I wake up hoping just to survive another day. I hate living like this. I keep optimistically trying to maintain order. And it all just unravels.
The house the we live in is this big historic house. The front door is big and heavy and locks when it closes. So if we're popping in and out, we leave it open. It is big and heavy and usually takes an extra oomph to pull it closed all the way. In fact, I'm mostly worried about accidently NOT closing it than its closing on me. Nevertheless, I do take precautions. On windy days, I'm sure to prop it open with a door weight. Well, today, a calm, sunny day, I popped out the door, around the corner, deposit my trash in the garbage can, and pop back, like 5 seconds max. And somehow the door had closed and latched!!!! AACK! Ellis is asleep inside; Chris is at work; and I have the one car. I called Chris. I tried climbing up the back of the house to the second floor porch door I just left unlocked a few minutes earlier. But like I can't climb up the back of the house. AND I'm in my bare feet, since it's an amazingly beautiful day. Chris borrowed an colleague's car and came to my rescue. Ellis still lies sound asleep. Grrr.
My sinuses are still clogged. Sudafed doesn't help. I called my doctor who recommended this OTC drug that I'd never heard of before, so I'll give that a try. My snot was orange last night! Never seen orange before.
Oh, and I finished Umberto Eco's The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana (Finally!). I really enjoyed it, though I liked Baudolino better. In fact, the ending (of Queen Loana) kind of reminded me of the ending of Jules et Jim. more later, gotta try to do a few more things before nap is over.
My weather.com sticker says 79F! SEVENTY-NINE!!!! A week ago it was snow flurries. I'm dying to be euphorically soaking in the sunshine. But I'm so cold-y, that the thought of being anywhere that might induce a headache is blah. I don't think I have a sinus infection after all. The pressure started to break yesterday morning, and now feels more like a proper cold. I don't think it's allergies. Never had them, even though I've lived in some of the worst allergy climates our country has to offer. No, just a cold. Exhaustion. This is the kind of blog entry that only writer likes to read. Who cares about a cold?
For my birthday Chris got me a movie. The one I wanted wasn't at the Awesomest Movie Store Ever, but after talking to the Awesomest Movie Store Guys, he chose another, Jules et Jim, a 1962 Truffaut movie. Loved it!!! (We finally finsihed it last night) But now E is waking up. So that's all.
I think we can all breathe a sigh of relief. It will be spring after all. Phew! I think we were all starting to get a bit worried.
I think I have a sinus infection. My sinuses hurt so bad, all down the right side of my face. My nostrils are tender. Even my teeth hurt! And nothing I take helps. Neither do any of my home remedies that alleviate sinus pressure (soaking feet in hot water; hot compresses; cold compresses; alternating hot and cold compresses). In short, slightly miserable.
Fine Arts Night turned out well, and I was relieved. This was the first church function I was kind of responsible for (and I had great help), and I wanted to be nice.
I'm trying to figure what feels worse: my sinuses or looking at my dirty house. *groan*
My word of the day is BARRAGE. And I feel like pronouncing it BEAR-azhe.
It's not been a good week. Yesterday we had a nice day with friends. I fudged with E's nap a bit, so that he would go to bed earlier. (He's been getting in the habit of lying awake til late, and I wanted him good and asleep early.) It worked, and C and I had some time to start a movie together. We used to love watching movies, and now we hardly have time to. We went to bed early. I've been exhausted. My fingers are sore. I've had a headache forever.
At 1.30am E woke up with diarrhea, which he's had the past few days, but not really bad, and hasn't been acting sick. So whatever. I changed him, tried to settle him, but then he threw up. Probably because he just chugged a bottle of milk that I stupidly gave him. But then he was fine. And totally awake, asking to watch TV, play wiht cars/trains. No. Ok. I was so tired. I just dragged the crib mattress and put it on the floor. I didn't think he'd throw up again. He wasn't acting sick. But I wanted the best possible surface to clean up should the occasion occur (something besides my bed or the couch). It didn't occur. He's not sick. He woke up this morning cheery as a bird. Funny after wiggling around for hours last night.
I, however, woke up on the hard floor, where I finally fell asleep, with bright green snot and sinuses that feel like they're in a vise (is that how spell that word?). Thankfully, C has off the rest of the day and most of tomorrow.
I now have to force myself to open a Word document (an activity I'm not sure if I'm ready for) and get the rather anemic program ready for tonight's Fine Arts Night at church that I ended up being in charge of. Somehow, participation is low this year, and my campaigning was fruitless. Okay. Better get this over with.
E and his Peer Group (E in middle).
Late April. Cold days, cloudy skies crankiness.
Sunshine just around the corner.
Tired minds. Tired bodies.
Hard times. Good times.
Friends who will cook you lunch and drive you home.
Books that deny their shelf space.
A cry in the night.
An alarm clock in the night.
A crazy dream in the night.
"There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me.
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea."
Now that my thesis is over, I'm trying to embrace this stay-at-home mom thing with some degree of professionalism. So while Ellis was avidly pouring over pictures of lions, I mapped out my week in terms of major cleaning projects and menus. I made a list and packed up to go shopping. We first had to drop Daddy off at work at Big Coffee Corporation, and I was hurrying so that he would have time to fill my travel mug before his shift started.
In my haste I somehow managed to close the sliding door of the van on my hand. I had to open the door to get my hand out. OUCH! It hurt so bad!! I cried like a baby. My fingers started swelling and going numb, and I was convinced I had broken at least one finger.
Since C had to go to his shift (and its being retail and somewhat inflexible), my MIL came to the rescue (man, it's nice having family). We dropped Ellis off at a friend's house, and she took me to the emergency room, where we sat and waited forever watching the media maul over the tragedy at Virgina Tech and feeling sad, esp since we have extended family with ties to VT (past/present students) for whom, I'm sure, the pain is acute.
Two hours and a few x-rays later, the verdict was that my fingers were bruised but not broken. They splinted my fingers for comfort and we came home. To be honest they are feeling much better now. The splints do help as they are quite tender, but I don't need pain meds or anything.
I'm very tired. My eyes continue to spaz. What does one have to do to get a day off around here?
It has been a whirlwind week.
Monday, Ellis and I rode Amtrak to Lancaster to my parents and sundry visiting relatives.
Tuesday, my mom drove Ellis and I back to Philly by way of old Amish lady who does reflexology or whatever. It helped Ellis's cough.
Wednesday, I finished my thesis. Yea, that's right.
I FINISHED MY THESIS!!!!!
I called a friend in Louisiana who more than kindly printed it out and took it to the graduate school. (Like this was a REALLY NICE thing this friend did, and I've got to find some nice gift to send him.)
Then I packed like crazy and Ellis and I got in the car with my MIL headed for Roanoke, VA to visit the grandmothers.
While I was in the car, the cranky editor called me with the few formatting changes.
Then we got hit by a tractor trailer on the turnpike. It was seriously a huge mercy, because the only thing he touched was the sideview mirror. It could have been so much worse. THat set us back a couple of hours, because it took a long time to process, because the guy was, uh, had illegal status in these parts.
Then I drove through the stormy, dark mountains to get to Roanoke to visit the great-grandmothers.
So I'm sick. Ellis is sick and clingy and cranky. But we do get a few precious moments in with the great-grandmothers.
I relay all the formatting changes to Chris, who fixes my document, changes it to PDF, and uploads it.
He told me they sent a confirmation email. But I haven't been able to relax until I got home.
It's really and truly here.
I'm done. Now all I have to do is sit back and wait for my stinkin' diploma to arrive in the mail.
We are Protestant. For us this means we don't pay too much attention to the liturgical calendar, in favor of the Sabbath (though there is a variety...even among Protestants--and I really don't want to have a discussion about this here, it's just what we do). At our church, if a holiday (like Christmas or Easter) happens to fall on a Sunday, it's not necessarily cause for a specially themed sermon, rather continuing on with the next chapter in the book that the pastor is already preaching out of. It seemed fitting on this cold Easter Sunday that the next chapter our pastor reached in his series on the gospel of Luke was Luke 2, the Christmas story.
Ellis did have a sweet new suit to wear, though. A tan and white seersucker suit with tie and tan and white saddle shoes. So cute!! It lasted for about 5 minutes, though.
Scene: Mommy getting dressed in bedroom. Daddy and Ellis brushing teeth in bathroom.
Daddy: Ellis doesn't like the tie. He keeps taking it off.
brush, brush, brush
Daddy: OH NO!!! OH NO!!! (actually it was more colorful than that)
Mommy: puts head in hands Did he throw his tie in the toilet?!?!
Daddy: sheepishly yea.
Then after church he had drunk so much juice that he wet through his diaper before I could catch it. So, uh. no Easter pictures.
I made him an Easter basket with playdough eggs and matchbox cars. 20 eggs. 2 cars. And he played with the cars.
I took E to the doctor this morning, and she proclaimed him fine. I guess he's just getting over a little something. So we went to Lancaster today to catch a glimpse of my sister and her husband and baby cousin Katarina. But as we were figuring out how to manage with one car and Chris's need to be at work at 2 am, we decided that Amtrak was the best option, and in order to catch the desired train of choice, I had to leave for the regional rail in 10 mins. We packed and were out of the door in time! E and I are quite the travelers.
Ok, off to watch Netflix with my parents.
Brilliant, yellow forsythia outside all the windows. I'm going to have pick some in case big white fluffly flakes of SNOW come pouring down in spring flurries. Not that that has happened recently or anything, no, not yesterday. Mmm.mm. Nope, no snow in spring. It just doesn't work that way.
I'm kind of low on blogging brain lately. I sent some revisions to my advisor. The Grad School due date is looming ominously.
Ellis has been weird all week. He has a low-grade fever that has come on and off for the past several days. And that's it. No other symptoms. No runny nose. No cough. Diapers fine. In fact, his appetite is awesome; he's eating full meals at mealtimes. I don't think he's had a pick toddler goldfish cracker in two days. So he gets warms, whiny, clingy. We watch a movie. Then he's fine, up, running around playing, happy as ever. I don't get it. I've been keeping him quiet for the past couple of days. We do a little outing, because that cheers him up. But other than that, we stay home and quiet. Maybe he's just tired. He's been sleeping fairly well at night and naps.
As an aside, I just want to say that I totally love the movie Cars. The animation is so good. And the story just keeps growing on me. And Pixar is so good at so much detail: in animation, in dialogue, storyline, music. I love it!
Thanks for all the nice birthday words. I love my birthday. And I'm not going to pretend to be aloof about it just because I'm 29.
Some highlights from the electronic sector:
* my sister send me e-card in which she informs me that though the bday cards were fun, she liked the Easter card better. So I got a interactive paint your own Easter egg ecard for my birthday. I loved it. It cracked me up, because it was so my sister.
* the fun song that Funke left me on Facebook.
* working on my thesis!!! Yippee. I just love my thesis so much that all I wanted to do on my birthday was sit and work on it. Aaaaaall day. It was way more fun that going to the zoo on a warm spring day with my son and my mom and my mom's best friend, so I told them to go without me, because it would be way more fun to sit and work on my thesis, revising stupid commas and staring at the inadequate conclusion, because really how do you conclude such a monumental work. *sigh*
* [okay. end sarcasm] the day ended well, though. my good friend and her husband came over to babysit E while I went out with my MIL and two friends from church. We had Mexican and yummy margaritas. And it was a fabulous time.
* and today, finally Daddy got to be home. It was a sleeping day for him, catching up on all the sleep he hasn't gotten this week, poor guy. But I stopped at Whole Foods and got a super yummy coconut cake. E went to bed early and we ate half the cake (it was only 6 in) and watched part of Season 2 Gilmore Girls. So that's it.
So this morning Ellis was outside with daddy, and he sat in a mud puddle. He was covered in mud. He clothes and shoes were drenched and slathered in mud. It's great to be a little boy in spring.
It got so gloriously warm. E and I went shopping. I found a fun egg playdough kit at Costco for his Easter basket.
I'm trying to avoid candy of any kind. I just don't even want to think of being around that child after eating candy. On friday, I made chocolate chip cookies with him for the first time. (it was a PMS thing.) He was out the roof hyper off of cookies; which was fine, because I had planned a long park trip immediately following during which he could work through the sugar.
Today I did something very stupid. Somewhere in the vicinity of bedtime, I gave him undiluted juice (I usually give him like 1/5 juice, the rest water). And instead of drifting off to dreamy sleepy land, he was in the alternate reality of Incontrollabibble Wiggeledom, eventually after long efforts succumbing to the desired reality of Shut eye, which is where I must go now to ensure that Crankilicous Mom doesn't take over my body tomorrow on National 'Nette Day.
I had a really nice time with my boy today.
We're not having another baby.
Happy April, folks. So it's April 1. April 1. Does that make you think of anything....like April 3? like somebody's birthday in two days?
Ever since I read Edward Muir's Civic Ritual in Renaissance Venice, I've been inspired as an historian and enthralled by La Serenissima.
In 2004, I had a day to blow in Venice, and not enough money to check my huge suitcase at the airport much less ride public transportation, so I walked along the alleyways, along canals, heaving my suitcase over bridges, picturing dead bodies floating down the water (thanks, Edward Muir). I had been to Venice once before in college, so I didn't HAVE to go see San Marco. I could just sit there and watch hot Italian construction guys work on the canal (just kidding! I was watching hte boats go by!).
The thing that Muir really gave to me was the picture of Venice as Not East, Not West, but a passageway between. And walking through the passages of that amazing city, the phenomenon of East Meets West creeps up everywhere: like window frames...
Lately, I've been waking up feeling like I've not slept.
My eye is spastically twitching.
And I'm cranky and impatient.
Let's just blame it on spring.
I've decided that though I like the warmer weather, the new life, the trees, the flowers, reinstated park time, let's just hurry up and get to summer, shall we? I'm not a huge fan of spring. It's unsettling and exhausts me.
I didn't get my token Welcome Spring post in on the first day of spring on Wednesday. It's hard to believe that on Monday Chris was taking Ellis to slide on the snow, and that a week ago we were at the zoo in New Orleans.
We went over to E's peer group for cuppa yesterday. It was nice and warm and a tad balmy. A gorgeous spring day, and it looks like we're in store for another nice day. The mud, though, is daunting! As streams of water from melting snow sog in with last night's rain, I am determined to stick to paved areas.
Thought I'd share a couple of pics from our recent trip to Louisiana
My friend Erica took this pic. My camera is acting weird. I love that double decker bus we found at the thrift.
Here we are in front of our old apartment where C and i lived for 4 years (upper right--man, I miss that porch). No repairs have been done since Katrina. The water was about half-way up the first story. Frankly, that house had serious structural issues before, I'm not sure if it's even worth fixing up. But it was home, had character, a great view, and a lot of memories. Ellis lived there for the first 8 months of his in utero life, because, yea, I moved 1200 miles while 8 months pregnant.
At least I don't have to beware anymore.
Ellis and I are enjoying the Louisiana sunshine. He's loving all the outside time in my friend's backyard. Not much else to say
I'm leaving soon to go to the airport, but I'm super cranky.
I recently had a conversation with someone after which I felt like my love for music was misunderstoond and undermined. I guess the passion is still there after all these years. Anyway, I felt like old presuppositions were dragged out and put my arms behind my back. It was frustrating, and has put me in a sour mood. I was feeling excited and enervated before, but then it fell flat. It just totally wasn't what I needed to hear right before I go to my defense. That's I why I needed to blog about it. I just have to get it out of my system, because ultimately it's the stupidest thing ever and I'm doubly frustrated by the fact that I'm so distressed. Because the conversation honestly wasn't that big of a deal. I'm actually crying. I feel like such a loser!
Anyway, I'm trying to decide whether I should use my remaining time before I go to the airport to make a nice meal or to sleep. I think I need both equally. I'll probably go eat. Adrenalin will probably inhibit my sleep.
Here's to good travels!
So anyway, I just folded a mountain of laundry, mostly packed a suitcase, got the snacks together.
I've got a fair amount to do tomorrow.
The backpack is way fun. When my camera battery is charged, I'll post a pic.
E is going nuts with new toys in da house. We put his new matchbox cars in the new backpack to show him how it worked he just freaked out and burst into tears. He didn't want to see those cars disappear. He fell asleep clutching one of his new little cars during his nap. "Car" was his first sign upon awakage. So funny! I found a travel size magnadoodle with the movie Cars all over it. E is a fan. It'll match his Cars sippy cup.
Busy day tomorrow. I'm kind of dreading this trip. I'm looking forward to seeing my friends in NOLA. But, to be honest, I'm not digging this airplane thing. Normally I love to fly, but it's going to be more difficult this time. And I'm too tired to deal with airports. Actually, the hardest part is packing, getting myself all set up for the airport ordeal.
Then I'm afraid once I get there my thesis will flop. Or I'll have an overwhelmingly huge amount of revisions.
Well, going to bed would be a good start.
That would be what Daylight Savings Time did to me. Smackeroni! When you're used to it coming in April, you subconsciously psych up for it, but all of sudden it's DST and we haven't even had the spring equinox yet!!! (yea, I pay attention to stuff like, so I'm a nerd) So anyway, so not into getting one hour less last night, especially since I already stayed up too late sewing. But Ellis's new backpack is way cute. I'll post pictures tomorrow. Oh wait. It is tomorrow. I'm freaking still up!!! I'm outtie folks. My quick cup of tea just got too long.
It's too early to be Saturday morning. Seriously. Thankfully, I just found Tom and Jerry, which Ellis thinks is absolutely hysterical. It's hard to find shows that are just as funny with the sound off. What? Using TV to entertain my child? you bet I am. I hope I get a second cup of coffee out of it, too. Because, baby, I need it this morning. (Hey, at least it's not Itchy and Scratchy.)
I just don't really have much to blog about, though. I'm super tired. We went to the ENT doctor yesterday. Uneventful. Another check on our list toward the cochlear impant. I had a nice dinner with a good friend last night over here after E went to bed. It snowed on Wednesday. I saw an old friend on Wednesday. I'm nowhere near where I want to be with my sewing projects, because I'm so tired (I'm not pregnant, why do i have to add that caveat?). Sleeping on Ellis's floor probably doesn't help.
Uh, so anyway have a good Saturday folks. Here's hoping you got to sleep later than 5.30 am!
So last week my college friend's French husband stayed with us. They live outside of Paris, but he was here for a conference. It was fun to catch up, to talk to Alison over his Skype account, and to hear stories of their two little boys.
And he brought fun presents, including a copy of MC Solaar's Cinquieme As!!! woohoo!!
He made sure I got a good pic in case I posted it on my blog. So...I couldn't disappoint. Hopefully we'll see everyone this summer if we can work out a rendez-vous. In the mean time, big waves and hugs to our dear friends across the ocean. (I know you're reading this.)
Throughout my life, I've sought wide open spaces. Spaces to feel the wind, think, pray, cry, rejoice. Something about the freedom of the air can clear a tortured mind and invigorate an enthused soul. Pivotal moments in my life have been processed through a wide open space.
These are some of my favorite wide open spaces in the past. I haven't found a new one yet since our move over a year and a half ago.
(Caveat: I've lifted all the pics off of Flickr. I didn't take any of them. It was fun looking for them.)
For the record, "closing the computer" was just a figure of speech. I wouldn't seriously close the computer. No way. Not when there's a milion blogs to read. I can just read them guilt-free now.
That said, there isn't a whole lot to blog about anyway. It was super rainy, but now it's super sunny and downright spring-like. Yesterday was so gorgeous. I hope today is nice, too. I have errands to run. It's waaaaay too muddy to take Ellis to the park. Or basically anywhere outside that isn't paved.
I'm doing some offline journaling and thinking. I'm working through something that isn't fun and quite private, so if you know me in real life, please don't ask about it. All that to say, my online self feels a bit lack-lustre and I don't have much interesting to say. This week I hope to get some fun sewing done, so maybe I'll make some crafty posts later.
Signing Time is over. I'm outtie, folks.
Yesterday I was reading about leap year in the Oxford Companion to the Year. This year isn't one. Today is the last day of February.
Just when I thought technical difficulties were bad, this afternoon my cell phone and my internet weren't working. We don't have a land line, so I was out of touch with the world.
I just have a teensy few more formatting things to do before my thesis gets distributed. But I'm too exhausted. Last night was like a nightmare. At 1 am I was still working, and then I heard E fuss, so I went in there and tried to settle him. And he just kept getting more and more awake. He was awake until 4 am. I have no idea what that was about. But since he had initially woken up for the previous day around 5.30 am, I was up for almost 24 hours. Not a happy camper today, I must say. That would be me. E is downright slap-happy.
Anyway, not all is sad. We have an overnight guest who just played me the funniest thing ever: Spicy Pony Head. It makes it even funnier that our guest is French. More tomorrow, when it's not difficult to put more than two words together cohesively.
So the question on everyone's mind is why didn't Peter O'Toole win for Lawrence of Arabia?
Because he was up against Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird.
The 1962 Oscars also had two separate categories for Cinematography, one for color and one for b & w. Lawrence fo Arabia won for color. It better have! Those long deserts scenes are stunning to this day in our cool cgi world.
(except just to say again...WHY doesn't Philip Glass win every time!? WHY?)
You know that montage (or whatever) they did about writing?
It wasn't funny.
It would've been fun to liveblog the Oscars, but since I only saw 2 of last year's movies (The Devil Wears Prada and Cars....I know, I'm SO cool), it would've been not informative. And I had real people to spend it with, worth trudging out in the wintry mix falling from the sky.
So quick Oscar impressions before I go to bed:
*Cameron Diaz (I didn't like it at first, but it grew on me)
Movies I want to see after seeing the Oscars (but actually I wanted to seem them anyway)
*Little Miss Sunshine
*Letters from Iwo Jima
*Peter O'Toole (it's about time! even though I was glad the other guy won)
*I thought Ellen was kind of funny at times
*uh, Melissa Etheridge?
Warm fuzzy awards
*Ennio Morricone (I so love that he spoke Italian!)
*I heart Helen!
Okay, that's it!
Both Ellis and I are dressed and hanging out in the living room. It's before 9 am. This means I'm already showered. And I'm drinking coffee and on the computer. Did I mention that it's before 9 am? And no, he didn't get up at some crazy early hour like yesterday, merely a respectable 7 am. Yes, we are up and dressed before 9 am. Miracles do happen, folks. Miracles do happen.
Actually, lately Ellis has been content to watch Signing Time while I take a shower, and that has improved our mornings considerably. Usually it has been very distressing for him to have me disappear into the bath; I even leave the bathroom door open. So I would just wait until Daddy came home after 9 am. But lately, it's been better, which is why you're getting a boring blog entry before 9 am. Just because I can.
E hasn't had too bad of a night lately, but for some reason I am dog tired (no, I'm not pregnant). I wake up feeling wasted not rested. A heavy night of intense dreams (no, seriously, I can prove I'm not pregnant) leaves me feeling worn out. I don't know what is up with me. Last night I dreamt I was offered funding to start a PhD program in Los Angeles. Of all places! Totally not on my radar. I've never even been there. And the funding was too good to pass up (yea, must've been a dream) and we up and moved out to L.A. Weird. But it would be warmer than this sogginess.
Anyway, so maybe some extra coffee and a brisk walk will do the trick. So, uh, good morning, folks. Have a good day.
Valentine's Day dawned wintry and blizzardy. Sleety snow misted around us, and a chilly wind found the spot between my scarf and coat collar. At 7.30 am I was trudging through snow in inadequate (yet my sturdiest) shoes with the umbrella stroller strapped to my bookbag and a heavy Ellis in my arms, awkwardness compounded by the fact that he was wearing a million layers and a very puffy coat (in fact, we just call the coat "Puffy", as in "let's put Puffy on; we're going outside"). We met up with my MIL who had valiantly slid her way over to our train station, and took the express train to CHOP (the children's hospital of philadelphia) for Ellis's appointment. Last May I had called to make the appt and was put on the waiting list. In Oct they called me with a scheduled appointment for today. There was no way a little snow was going to stop me. We had an appointment with the geneticist to, hopefully, find out why he's deaf.
When meeting with a genetics specialist was first presented to us as an option, we didn't think too much about it. For one, we didn't mind that Ellis is deaf, and two, we don't mind if we have more deaf children. But since there weren't obvious reasons for his congenital deafness, such as, family history or illness, we were advised to go ahead with one to rule out any other possible problems that may accompany hearing loss, which seemed reasonable enough, and insurance covered it.
This was a stressful appointment for me. Probably more stressful than the MRI last June with its sedation and scariness. First I had to gather all his medical records from in utero on, which meant a lot of time on the phone and trying to get faxes done. And I find it difficult to spend that kind of time doing serious paperwork, because I don't have it! (the time, that is). And I was worried that I would do something wrong and they wouldn't have the right information, which is kind of silly, but nevertheless, I was kind of stressed about it.
Then there was getting to the appointment, which had us moving a little earlier in the morning than usual; so I was on edge to get us out of the door on time. I wasn't too worried about the snow until I was actually in it and all of a sudden realized that I don't have snow boots and hadn't occurred to get any, since I've been living in the South for the past 10 years and forgot what winter can really be like and oh no! my feet are wet and cold. I knew the train would be running, so all I had to was get to it.
Then the actual appointment. I didn't know what it would be like or what they would do in order to have a genetic evaluation, which seemed so tantalizing exotic. They did a brief physical examination of Ellis. Took our family medical history, for which I was especially grateful to have my MIL there for so that she could account more fully than I know for Chris's side. It's amazing what they were able to tell from that. With Ellis's physical evaluation, they were able to rule out with a degree of certainty any syndromic cause, which comes with a package of other problems. But then they needed blood and urine to do the actual genetic analysis.
Yea. Blood and urine from a 20 month old. The blood part was short, traumatic, over, and soothed with cool stickers. Very scary to see the tiny needle in my boy's arm, but he was a trooper. Then a urine sample. So how do they that? They give you a sack with adhesive around it, and you stick it to the baby's bum in such a way that they will pee into the sack. Sound like fun? Yea, that's what we thought, too.
I had given him a sippy cup and juice box, so I knew he was ready. But I think it was too weird for him. I felt bad, because I knew that it must be dreadfully uncomfortable, so I took it off and let him play free on the examination table, cup handy. Well, he wanted to play with the cup, and I was stupid and let him. So by the time he started peeing, I couldn't grab the cup in time, and there was pee all over the table, and he walking in it in his sock feet. And, of course, I don't happen to have an extra pair of socks with me. At this point, I was about ready to lose it. Between exhaustion and the need for lunch, I was shaking and desperately wanted this to be over. My MIL came to the rescue. She went back and got another sack and another cup. I put the sack on a little more comfortably, put a diaper on over it, hoping it would feel a little more normal down there, and took his socks off. We went down to the cafeteria for lunch, and I cuddled a very sleepy Ellis and gave him another juice box, hoping he would relax enough to pee.
Down in the cafeteria, we bumped into another family we know from PSD whose daughter is in Ellis's class. She was there for an ENT appointment. Polite begging obtained us a loaner pair of socks; thankfully, they had come prepared. After awhile, I took Ellis to the restroom to check our progress. Bingo! The restroom didn't have a changing table, so I just had him stand there while I took of his diaper and pee sack. I needed to put some it in the sample cup right away, because it was an open sack of hard-earned pee that I didn't want to lose. So I quick set about doing that, and Ellis is standing there with his fleecy pants down by his ankles, and wouldn't you know it, he pees again, all over his pants, which thankfully were absorbent enough to protect the borrowed socks. Well, I did have an extra pair of pants.
So to shorten the story, as I'm sure you're all absolutely riveted by my child's bodily functions, he's cleaned up, the sample is delivered (and I run to more friends from PSD), and we head home. Poor baby was so tired and actually fell asleep on my shoulder on the train, and didn't even wake up when I put him in the carseat in my MIL's car at the station.
It was still snowing and the road's weren't great, but driving into our driveway with a slight incline at its entrance, my MIL spun her wheels and couldn't really get up. There was a lot of yucky slush. Well, I was afraid that the slush would freeze and that Chris wouldn't make it into the driveway when he got home frome work later in the evening. So I go put on his boots and shovel that entrance to our parking lot. Well, I shoveled for quite some time, made enough progress for my MIL to get up and into it, but I didn't deal with all the slush. It was incredibly difficult, because the slush it very heavy. And I'm paying for it today with a very sore back (love sitting up against our radiators!) and legs and knees. And then all my work was for naught anyway, because it still kept snowing and it was covered again, and then around 9.30 pm someone came with a snow plow and plowed our driveway. Yea, I felt like a loser.
So, it wasn't the best day ever, but there were a lot of things that made it better. I was really glad for my MIL's help and company. I don't know why it stressed me out so much. I think this whole appt was kind of focal point for me to channel other stressors in my life. Since I got home and settled I've been crying. I'm so exhausted (so go to bed, why don't you, instead of writing mega, super blog entry). I cried myself to sleep last night. And I cried all evening tonight. Poor Ellis. At least he thought it was hilarious every time I blew my nose.
We did manage to celebrate Val Day a bit today at a party at a church friend's house. Ellis and I were both a bit tired to really get into it, though. But we have a busy weekend ahead. And with the aid of some nice tea and some incredible Lindt chocolate a friend brought from Switzerland, I think I'm set to sleep...for a little while, until somebody decides he wants company (somebody short and cute and who shall remain nameless).
My grandma said in an email once, we all get fat in the winter, because it's cold, so we want a hot drink, but when you have hot drink, you want a little something to go with it...a little something sweeeeeet. And since having a baby, my body's psyche as been irrevocably altered to really having an awful sweet tooth. End result: fat bum.
It's snowing outside. It seems like this whole country was dying for a snow today. Many are getting it. We're starting to get it. I'm loathe to go out, but I have to. It's not snowing too hard yet. My pediatrician is a crazy old Italian lady, and while in some respects she's wonderful, very personable etc, in others she drives me crazy (e.g. she can NEVER understand me on the phone; I'm shouting, repeating over and over. grr.) I've been toying with the idea of switching peds for awhile now. But I think today is the last straw and I'll actively begin looking. I faxed her a form so that she could fax E's medical records to the genetics office at the hospital. It was sent to her last Thursday. Yesterday I called her to make sure she had sent the forms, and she's like "what am I supposed to do with this? I don't have all his records. I don't have his audiology records." [Obviously. Send the ones relevant to you.] And I'm thinking what you haven't sent them yet?!!??!?! So even though the form specifically states to fax them to this number (and I underlined it and starred it, so that she couldn't miss it), she tells me she'll leave them in The Box for me to pick up today. It's useless to try to argue with her, because it's taken ever ounce of effort to have the conversation thus far. So I have to go to her stupid box in the snow, pick up the forms, take them to MIL's office, and fax the durn things, that should've been faxed last week. IN THE SNOW. With Ellis. So yea, I'm a little pissed. She doesn't accept Medicaid, so that'll be a good excuse to get outta there.
And I'm exhausted. Ellis has been having these weird nights again, where he's just awake. Eyes blinking open and close in insomniac hour after hour for no apparent reason. But hey, he's increasingly using multiple words to ask for/describe things, so maybe it's just a good ol' case of Developmental Insomnia. Which is what we apparently have to look forward to after the bulk of teething is over. Joy.
So I'm outtie. Sorry my blog is boring these days. Gonna try to catch a few zzz's myself in the remaining naptime minutes.
First, there was Margaret Thatcher, then Nancy Pelosi.
Now there's Drew Gilpin Faust! First woman president of Ivy League University, elected president of Harvard today. And she's a historian.
I've been working a lot on Ellis's room. Making it a wonderful place to be. A toddler paradise. Not just a boring bedroom. Thanks to Ikea solutions, a lot of it is coming together. I'll post pictures when I'm further along.
I've been enjoying looking at websites and getting ideas or just looking a pretty, fun, and funky children's decor. I came across this website/blog last night: Apartment Therapy: The Nursery. There are a lot of neat things to look at/ideas. Usually they are WAY expensive; so I just look at it and think about what I can do with my sewing machine or whatnot.
One thing I have notice throughout a lot of my perusing is the dearth of books in children's rooms! Sure their rooms are neat and spare and uncluttered looking, but there are no bookshelves. No books. None. Anywhere. It's unusual to find a child's room featured in children's decor circles that have book shelves.
Maybe I'm missing something. Like maybe the child has their own library. But somehow I don't think so. Does anyone else see this as a problem? As a parent we're setting patterns for life for the kids, isn't that supposed to include reading?
It's like the weather took all the coldness we should've had in January and combined with what we get in February, because baby, it's COLD outside.
This is my study day, when my mom comes to help with Ellis. And let me tell you, this is a sweet deal, because you know what she did!? She cleaned my room!! Have I arrived or what!?!? (thanks, ma!) Anyway. I'm just glad she can come. So I had to use this day to go to the library, which I REALLY did not want to do. Because traveling to the library meant that I was not writing. Unfortunately the necessary writing could not happen without said trip to the library. Grr. And it was really cold. I even wore pajama bottoms underneath my jeans (like Ramona Quimby), and my legs still went numb (not like RQ).
I did find good stuff at the library, and then came home to clingy Ellis. He seems fine; but I think he's tired and maybe a little bit more clingy. He hasn't had any dairy except for a little yogurt with its healing bacteria. He ate a hearty breakfast but picked the rest of the day. Probably partly due to upset over lack of parental presence. Sorry, dude.
Anyway, I was griping to myself over the cold, I tried to keep in mind the fact that I grew up in Iowa where it was routinely this cold and much more windy. And I survived. My last winter there was the absolute worst I have ever experienced. One evening in late January (or Feb?), it was so cold that if you threw water up in the air, it froze before it hit the ground. I lived in a suite situation with 3 other girls (boarding school): 2 in one room, 2 in the other. A few nights got so cold that the four of us huddled into one room. We had heavy blankets over the window and the baseboard heater jacked up all the way. We put our mattresses together and pooled blankets and body warmth. The room's thermostat registered 45 degrees. (Okay, I think the pooling matresses might have been a little extreme, but considering the circumstances, who wouldn't be up for a slumber party?) Is it any wonder that for the next nine winters after that one I enjoyed living in the South and Deeper South? Well, I'm back up North, remembering how to layer and bundle again.
Happy Birthday, Luisa!
Today, my baby sister turns 19. Uh-oh. This means that in two months and one day, I will turn 29. Which means, that as she is entering her last year in the 'teens, I'm entering my last year of my twenties. Which of us do you think has the better deal? :-) (Actually, I'd much rather have my twenties behind me than before me...fun as they were. There's nothing like the shock of becoming an adult.)
Anyway, Lu, is off as a big freshman at my alma mater, letting me relive college vicariously...no, seriously, she's having her own experience. It's fun to see her share some of my loves (and share them with her), especially French.
I love you, Luisa!
I can see a traffic light from where I sit on my couch. The changing lights catch my attention out of the corner of my eye.
The green is only green for FOUR SECONDS! I keep counting, because it seems so unreal. Is that legal? Is that enough time for even one car to make it through an intersection? I guess they have engineers to figure these things out.
Chris thinks I'm a freak for obsessing about the traffic light so much. I just see it there and it pervades the evening's conciousness.
C'mon, guys, you can't resist a title like that.
So anyway. Margaritas and Mending happened last night, and I deem it a great success. I didn't mend much, except for Phil's Phavorite Sweater. But I did make kick-ass margaritas. And TJ's chips, salsa, avocados. Mmm! Good times! My next plan is Margaritas and wedding albums! Because it's my goal to have the wedding and baby albums done before it's time for our 25th anniversary album and the baby goes to college. You know. As much as procrastinate shoving pictures in a book, albums are important to me. I've always loved looking at family albums, and I want that to be a part of this family. Despite digital photography. (Or maybe thanks to digital photography. hmmm.)
In other news, Sam turns 21 today!! WOohooo!!! Look at my handsome little brother!! Sam, I have one word for you on your bday: moderation, dude, moderation. Wish I could join you tonight, but since bars late at night (or at all) aren't the most kid friendly of environments...ain't gonna happen.
I'm valiantly blogging on my parent's dial-up. I came to Lancaster for a couple days to work on my thesis. We'll see how it goes. I need to get a good chunk done this week.
The fireplace is very cozy and nice.
After being out of commission for a few months, my minivan is back in the groove. It was nice to have my CD player back. The van has an awesome sound system thanks to the previous owners, and I really soaked in my new MC Solaar CD on the way. I catch more of the lyrics at every listen-through, but am still trying to get the gist of the French bulleting by me. He's incredible with words, like they're another instrument in the orchestra. Solaar's style is so musical; something I can't say about all rap, some of which seems more 'literary' (?). I don't want to get into it now, because I want to do a proper review of the CD.
Anyway, we had like one centimeter of snow last night. That made it fun to run around on the driveway. Ellis's little tracks are so cute.
So, I have a couple of posts percolating: MC Solaar and greater academic angst and Ellis stuff--he's just exploding in communication and personality. He's incredible. But I meant to go to bed early and now it's 11 pm. Boo.
Yesterday I made cinnamon rolls. It's been for.ever. since I've made them, and they turned out absolutely perfect. Couldn't resist the picture.
When i was growing up, we used to have cinnamon rolls and boiled eggs for Sunday morning breakfast. That was just what we had. In fact, every one I knew had the same Sunday morning breakfast. It's because they all came from the same place, a boarding school in Iowa that always served cinnamon rolls and boiled eggs for Sunday morning breakfast. Imagine my shock when I went to college and found out the vast majority of Christian kids didn't grow up with cinnamon rolls and boiled eggs for Sunday morning breakfast. What?!
It's really genius. The rolls are prepared the day before, so it makes Sunday morning special. Boiled eggs are super easy to prepare, and they add a shot of protein to get you through until Sunday dinner.
I have some very pleasant Sunday morning breakfast memories. And this morning, as I made the boiled eggs to go along with the cinnamon rolls, I remembered burning my fingers every Sunday morning on the hot eggs as I tried the peel the shell fast.
My brother and C's best friend crashed in our living room last night. It was fun to have a nice breakfast for everyone this morning. A taste of civility.
Yesterday as I was cutting the rolls with thread before baking them, I said to my brother, "do you remember watching Mom do this?" he said "Yea, and I always wanted to do it."
It does look like magic.
My workroom is cold. So I snuck my laptop back into the apartment, but i don't want Ellis to know, so I slide it underneath the couch. He is currently on a brief outing with Daddy, and I'm sneaking in a blog entry while squatting behind the couch. See, it's this major stealth operation.
But I don't have much to blog about. I could blog about the nearly fatal injury I had earlier this morning. Okay, not nearly fatal, but enough to make me feel sorry for myself. We have this flimsy mirror in the bedroom that props against the wall. Ellis loves playing in front of it, and it was entertaining him while I folded laundry. Occasionally it falls on him (it's super flimsy, no harm done), but I do try to catch it if I see it falling, because even though it doesn't hurt him, it annoys him to have this flimsy mirror on top of him. Understandble. Well, in one of my rescue attempts, the top corner dug a gash into the side of my finger. It really hurt. And it bled and bled. It bled through two episodes of Signing Time. Now a gross bandaid is tightly wound around my finger. (See, I'm really hurtin' for blog material today.)
The funny thing, though, is that it's just annoying to have a bandaid on my finger, but not tragic. There was a time in my life where an injured finger was cause for minor panic. When I had a finger injury, the first thought that would pop into my mind was oh no, cello hands!. And I would wonder to what extent and for how long my role as cellist would be handicapped. Now, it's more like man, it's super annoying trying to type with a bandaid on my finger.
Okay, quit reading my blog and go be productive with your Saturday afternoon.
It's been kind of a weird day.
First. Ellis and I feel asleep around 5 am on his floor. Again. He's been wanting a milk bottle in the middle of the night. Well, usually sometime after 4. I've been trying to really stuff him with food before he goes to bed, but to more or less success. He's getting to the point where it's difficult to get him to slow down to eat. So I just try to let him graze all day on nutritious things (like goldfish crackers; I mean they're just PACKED with nutrition), which means he's not really up for a full meal at the evening. Or may he just wants the milk at 4 am for security. I don't know. I give him the bottle and we konk out on his floor and awake sometime after the sun comes up. I miss my alarm clock. I miss the feeling of setting it and knowing that when it went off was the next time you would be awake. So, I wake up on Ellis's floor.
Second. While I'm still in pajamas, the peeps come to tow my car away. Chris goes out there to take of it. But since I'm in my pj's, I don't go out and take a picture and say goodbye. I just watch from the window. And you know what? I cried. It was sad. I know it was just a car, but it was my first car. His name was Childebert and we had a lot of good times. Childy got me through many miles. Back and forth to grad school. My old debit card is still stuck inside the door. We have a history.
Three. Then Chris and I had kind of had a fight. It was kind of stupid. And quickly resolved. But I had just been crying about my car; so I was feeling blue even more.
Four. So I decided to go visit my grandma in Lancaster (about an hr away), during this brief time when we are a two car fam. (We're borrowing a car from a church friend.) By this point Ellis is really starting to need a nap, and I figure all I need to do is get him in the car and he can nap on the way. I just have to deal with his Needy Nappiness while I gather stuff. But then I'm just on the brink of walking out the door and it starts snowing. Really coming down. Scratch that. Well, here we are with our coats on anyway, let's just run a few errands.
Five. First, I need to fill the car with gas. So I do, but then when I go to start it again, it doesn't start. Freak out. It's not the battery. The nice Middle Eastern guys in the gas station pushed it into a parking space. I try one more time, and it starts. Chris says, 'yea, it does that occasionally; where it doesn't start and then it will again.' Oh yay. Well, I'm glad it started.
Six. So then we go do a couple errands, pass through Big Coffee Company that Offers Benefits where Chris was working and got a free latte. Come home (still snowing). Amazon is here! Woohoo! Finally nap for E. I have a headache. E wakes up. We go over to my MIL's. Have dinner. Do laundry. Come home.
So, it's just been a day of not quite starting. The car didn't start. My day started wrong. My Honda is dead. I didn't get to Lancaster. But it did start snowing.
And the snow was pretty.
Amazon is rockin' my house today! I got back from running errands to find both my Amazon orders (the new and used ones) on the doorstep. Just makes a snowy afternoon even better.
MC Solaar CD Mach 6
Handshape ASL dictionary (our fave ever)
And the newest Umberto Eco novel.
For some it's vacuuming.. others cleaning the toilet... for others it's bringing the trash can back up...
For me, it's hemming. I hate it. I've been sitting here wasting time on the internet for over an hour, avoiding hemming. I have three pairs of pants that would be fabulous if I would just hem them. The travails of being short. Grr. I will. hem. one. pair. tonight.
I'm pretty clueless about football. For instance, i didn't know until quite recently that the NFL is in the playoff part of their season. But it hit me weird about tonight's game: The Philadelphia Eagles versus the New Orleans Saints. It's kind of oddly existential for me. The city where I live versus the City where I used to/wished I live before all the Changes.
Little doubt about who to root for: Geaux Saints!
So anyway, let's say there's something you want to know more about, and you don't have any books about it. What do you do?
First, Google it. If that doesn't turn up with much what do you do next?
A) Go to Barnes and Noble and peruse books and magazines while drinking a latte.
B) Go to your university library.
C) Go to your local public library.
If you're answer is A, then you're like me.
Let's say that after you've Google'd and gone to B & N and you still aren't satisified, what do you do?
If it's an academic topic, going to the uni library is the logical next step. If it's not, do you?
A) Search for cheap books on the topic on Amazon.
B) Go to your local public library.
Sadly, A again!
It never occurs to me to use the public library.
But things are changing around here, folks! We finally got library cards, and every day, I delight once again in the epiphany of 'hey, we could just go to the library for free!'
The library system around here is waaaaaaaaay better than in New Orleans, and between that and being in a university setting all the time, I just got out of the habit of using the local public library.
Both Chris and I have fond childhood memories of stocking up on books from the library and proudly possessing our very own library cards. We want Ellis to have that, too.
And, I'm really enjoying all these books about sewing I just checked out. And Umberto Eco's book On Literature. I'm enjoying the chapter in which he talks about how he writes his novels, from constructing the world, choosing the style, the source of his inspiration. I just ordered his newest novel used off Amazon (okay, there are just some books I want to own, and I got it for $3!). I'm very excited. Hmm. Better stop now before this post turns from being about the public library to being about Umberto Eco.
One of them would be to keep my desk clean. (but we all know THAT isn't going to happen short of a miracle)
In other news, I've been catching up on blogs, and thus, the news. My very first major academic conference was in Atlanta. I have pleasant and unpleasant memories of it. But I'm sure none will be quite so unpleasant as that of an eminent historian's memories of conferencing in Atlanta, wherein he was thrown to the ground and arrested for...jaywalking!!! I kid you not!!!! It seems that the Atlanta police force is more than staunchly opposed to jaywalking and will vigorously discipline infractions thereunto.
Today I found myself with some extra time in Germantown. It was the perfect opportunity to hit up the fabric store I discovered a couple of months ago. Folks, they just don't make them like this anymore. This place is for serious. And it's delicious.
I've been getting more and more into sewing this past year. Now that I've finally conquered my Fear of the Bobbin. I found some fabric today that might help me make the leap from piddling around with kids stuff to actually making something for myself. I found this wool swatch, a yard and 5/8. The green corderoy found the wool. They were made to go together. The woman who cut my fabric cooed in delight at the combination. I love it. I want to make a dress, but I'm still looking for inspiration on how to incorporate both fabrics. Any ideas?
But, I might actually have to like go get a pattern or something this time. Patterns scare me. The stupid tissue paper to keep track of. *shudder* But I don't want to mess up my pretty wool, and I've never made a dress before. I'm going to have to mull this on over.
No, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. I'm just SOOOO tired. Too tired to sit at the computer. Ellis cut eye teeth and now he's going through some kind of developmental insomnia. That's my term for it anyway. He's going through some crazy mental growth, signing more every day, and simply understanding more about the world around him. At night he does that annoying thing where his eyes stay open for hours and hours... *joy*. Sometimes he lies there and just signs and signs. That's why I call it developmental insomnia. He also FREAKS OUT if I leave the room. It's like he hasn't gotten used to his new self yet. ...And we were doing so well with sleeping through the night before the holidays.
THe other cool new thing he's doing is saying "mom". He still babbles a little from baby days. He uses labial mutes and plosives mostly. One of the things that come out is a sound that sounds remarkably like "mom". I've been reinforcing it with the sign for mom. Now he says it sometimes when he looking for me or is trying to get my attention and I can't see him (like in the car). But Chris and i definitely think he's associates "mom" with me. That's cool. I said to C, "He may have signed 'daddy' first, but he said 'mom' first." :-)
In other news, Childebert died. Yep, my 1991 Honda Civic bit the dust at 237,000 miles. It was a good life. It served me well. He stopped dead in his tracks on the way home from church a couple Sunday evenings ago. And will not start again. *requiem for a Honda*
In other deaths (not to mention two that have made their mark in the news: RIP Pres. Ford and Saddam...but will they in P? Hmmm.) my phone died. It was the weirdest thing. Like if my phone was a computer and the hard drive crashed, that's like what happened. The Blank Screen of Death. Thankfully, a week later I hit the date of eligibility for a free upgrade from Sprint, and now I have a cool, new phone. Aaaah. New technology. Gotta love it.
In happy beginnings (oh, yea, other than the year), if you want to see cute pictures of Linnea, you can visit my aunt's new blog: Over the Ord and Back. Visit it now, and you'll find out why we call her Aunt Sperlonga.
And to close this cursory post, I'm reincarnating my blog self. Time for the phoenix to do its magic. I'm not sure how or when yet, but do not be alarmed if/when you see changes. I need a fresh slate.
Wow, a whole week without blogging. Wonders never cease.
Not really had much computer time lately. We went out to Lancaster to see my parents on the 26th. Chris had to come right back to work, but I was going to spend the night. I ended up spending three nights, we were having so much fun, and Daddy had a lot of wonky hours that would've left us lonely and home. So we had fun at Gramma's instead.
There's a gagillion messages in my email. And I don't even want to think about how many unread blogs.
But I need to go bring order to post-Christmas lives, and eat some plastic food Ellis has cooked up in his new kitchen!
Woah!!! How did THAT happen? Only 10 days!?!? Where have I been!?
I've been officially sick for a week now. Weird sick. Not enough to stay in bed, but bad enough to get through the day très sub par.
And though I've been fairly upbeat through the week, as of today I am officially Falling Apart. Behind on the December Photo Project. Zero presents wrapped. A few bought. No handmade gifts completed yet. And absolutely no sweet moolah. (Actually, I've done admirably well so far. I've managed to do all my shopping on C's tip money from the Giant Coffee Corporation that Offers Benefits.) Cookies!? HA! double HAHA! Anyway, lest I waste nap time by listing how much I'm NOT ready for Christmas to arrive, I better wrap this up. Or rather, wrap a gift. Ha. (I'm so delirious. Not. Enough. Air. Getting. Through. Sinuses.)
I've also been pondering that this Santa Claus thing is a Brilliant Idea!! Seriously. Christmas being delivered to your home in a red bag, free of charge? Sign me up! It's worth waiting until Dec. 24 for!
And lest I end on a whine. One Very Happy Addition to our home came yesterday. A Christmas Tree!!! Woohooo!!! Chris and I were beginning to seriously think that The Tree wasn't going to happen. I was considering stealing one from the State Park we live in. (Just Kidding!) But then my blessed MIL drove way out into the country and found awesome trees for $15 and got one for herself and us. Yaaaaayyyy!!!! Ellis is really enjoying it so far. He keeps pointing at all the little lights and signing "red" (they're multi-colored). And I put all the Okay if the Toddler Plays With ornaments at the bottom. Great fun. Good times. And every once in awhile the piney smell seeps past the evil Sinus Wrenchers prohibiting such sensory pleasures.
Cheers, friends! Happy One Week To Go!
I absentmindedly looked out the window while on the phone this evening, and...is that snow? snow coming down? No way!!
But, yea, it is snowing. Which is kind of funny, because just earlier today some friends and I were talking about snow and sort of musing how it's usually snowed by now. And none of us thinking it would actually snow tonight. So, Jonesy, guess you can make those snowflakes with the boys after all?
We had a fun playdate this afternoon. It's so exciting to see my kid off running around with other kids and having a blast. As a result, he had a late nap, and with Chris working in the evening, I didn't want to be stuck all evening with the Beautiful Screamer who wouldn't stand a chance of going to bed early. So we hopped on the bus, went to Chestnut Hill, walked around looking at lights, and buzzed through the kiddy section at Border's. It was chilly, but not enough for me to suspect the snow of a few hours later. And the night air and walking wore out my dude. He loves riding the bus, too. He kept signing 'car' and 'train' excitedly all evening.
Totally loving this warm weather!!!
Chris works a lot of evenings. That makes the 5 pm to bedtime shift really hard. Ellis is a fun companion and all, but we're both tired by then. I try to vary it up, make it as fun as possible (complete with Mommy Dinner Theatre), so that the time will pass quickly. Sometimes, if C isn't working too late, I drop him off and pick him up right before bedtime so that I can have the car.
So today Ellis and I hit up some stores. I never did end up doing the more Christmas-y items on my list (mostly pricing, so that I can make a prezzie budget). I had a gift cert to Babies R Us (man, I hate that place), so that was the only reason we went. It's so hard to find stuff there, because it's either stupid or overpriced. And there must be a bazillion June babies out there, because I can never find his size! I let Ellis wander a bit.
From across the crowded room, his eyes lit upon his one true love. Oh the joy! The tenacity!! A red Radio Flyer Tricycle!!! It's just a tad too big for him, though promises to be appropriate for the 1 1/2 year old. Size does not daunt, however. He was on that thing for about 40 mins straight. (this was a very relaxed shopping spree.) he did not get off of it while looking at other things. He tippy-toed all over the toy section on that tricycle, stopping periodically to grin and sign "car". My boy loves wheels. And he may find a certain red trike under a certain festooned evergreen tree on a certain day in December, because Grammy and Mommy are push-overs. But then, you would be, too, to see the gleam in that kid's eye.
Well, now that Thanksgiving is over, The Question is being thrown around: so what do you want for Christmas? In my family, we shop after Thanskgiving. Far be it from us to plan ahead. In fact, it's kind of a tradition between Dad and the boys to do it all on Christmas Eve, mere hours before the Grand Exchange.
So, sorry my posts of late have mostly been directed at the family contingent of my readers. But here's the Christmas Lists of our family:
* Kipper DVD (i saw them at Barnes and Noble)
* Signing Time DVD (he has vols I and II)
* Toy cars
* more train track from Ikea
* Board books of signs. (Like the Signing Time books
* ABC stamps
* membership to any age-appropriate museums and/or zoo and/or aquarium (this is going to be a long winter).
* Gift cards to any of the following: Amazon, Old Navy/Gap/Banana, Victoria's Secret (I want to get a new bra in their biannual sale after C'mas), IKEA
* All my kitchen knives sharpened
* MC Solaar CD "Mach 6"
* membership to the Philadelphia Art Museum
* Flickr Pro
* an iPod
* the complete works of Umberto Eco (I already have the name of the rose, baudolino, and Art and Beauty in the middle ages)
* My Amazon wishlist
* Christmas ornaments/decorations from ten thousand villages
* Chris's Amazon wishlist
* gift cards to any of the following: Amazon, Borders, IKEA, Home Depot
* a shirt from Wooden Boat (size L)
* wool socks
* fleeces (like this)
* nautical tree ornaments
* apple butter
* ABC travel mug
...I'll update if I think of anything else...
My grandma's 26th grandchild was born last night. Yay!!!
That means that my youngest cousin is younger than my kid and my niece.
I love being part of a big family.
(ooh. And now I have someone else to make the Christmas booties for!)
We spent Thanksgiving at my parents' house in Lancaster. It was like Cousin Thanksgiving. My aunt and uncle and their 4 kids were there. My other cousin and her boyfriend. And two other cousins from college in addition to 3 of my siblings. There is only a few years gap between my youngest cousin and Ellis.
These are some of my favorite of my coz Meredith's pictures. I'll share some of mine tomorrow:
For real. Done baking. Kitchen cleaned. Floor mopped.
Chris's aunt sent us this awesome "I love You" cookie cutter the other day. Since I like to make a little decoration for the top of hte pie, and since I was making a pie to take the Fall Feast at Penn. School for Deaf, the stars lined up perfectly.
I linger as long as we can the days we go. I enjoy seeing Ellis play with the other Deaf boys (yea, there seems to be mostly boys in his class); and they're all getting to the age where they're starting to interact more. I can see subtle differences already between how Ellis interacts with hearing kids and deaf kids. I also like to talk as much as possible with the Deaf adults there. Everyone is so amiable, and I'm getting better at ASL, so it's more fun. (But, oh! I need the practice!!) When we leave PSD it's back to just our hearing world. And our constant work each day to sign more and more without the benefit of being around the native speakers. I really treasure those times there.
And finally, I present He Likes to Be Involved, Part 3. I let him help me make biscuits. He loved it. But he was so serious about it, it cracked me up!
I like to think of this one as the "Emeril Edition" given his attire of Mardi Gras beads.
Happy Thanksgiving, folks!! Safe travels and all that.
I really want to get him a play kitchen for Christmas. (Or in our case, build one from salvaged wood we already have.) Anywhere we go where there's a kitchen, he loves playing in it. But I don't think it's the right time now, because 1) we have no where to put it and 2) I think he would still end up spending all the time in my kitchen. So back to what we're doing: finding ways to help him be involved, which is ultimately what he likes.
I'm too tired to really write much tonight. I've got to go to bed.
I just got back from the train. I was at CHOP (Children's Hosp. of Philly) this evening attending a parent's panel for cochlear implants. A few parents on the panel, a few in attendence.
I wish I hadn't gone. Other than the fact that I was totally bored. These people were so Not Like Me it was just really hard. In fact, I'm usually the type of person that can't resist participating in these kinds of things, because I'm social and I like to talk. But I couldn't find a way to say anything this evening. I was just on such a totally different wave length.
For one thing, I don't mind that my kid is deaf. And for another, I don't mind that he knows that he's deaf either. That is one fundamental difference between me and the others. And then it's just down hill from there.
It was just depressing. I know that there are many options. And that every family is different with its own needs. So why do I feel so out of place when I say that we sign and want E to be part of the Deaf community?
I just left feeling annoyed. I don't fit the mold. The white, middle-class, suburban Thing To Do is not what I'm doing. Once again!
So this post is more about how I'm feeling annoyed at once again being on the fringe, but absolutely depressed by the mainstream. I'm annoyed about being on the fringe, not because I want what the mainstream has or does. I'm annoyed because I feel like I'm tacitly judged (whether I really am or not).
I know I'm not making sense. You know what, later, I'll post the more thoughtful version, which will include the visit to the oral school that we did last week, which also ugh-ed me out.
Okay. Just ignore my brain barf.
Two positive things to end with: I got to spend quality time with my good friend Em, who was kind enough to accompany me. And I met another mother whose 2mo old was just diagnosed; at least I could offer an encouraging word. She seemed cool. I wish I could've chatted more with her.
So last night pretty much was overall miserable. I think if you added it all up I may have gotten 3-4 hours of sleep. Certainly not consecutive. I don't know what Ellis's problem was. Nothing worked. I tried teething tablets, a drink, a diaper change, rocking, baby Tylenol, lying down with him, more rocking, screaming (him), more milk, more rocking. NOTHING!!! Finally around 6.45 am he fell asleep; exhausted, I slumped into my bed. Just as I was getting to that place of sleep, he started crying again. Grrr. Somehow in my utterly exhausted, foggy state of mind I came up with an idea that seemed perfectly okay at the time. A hot toddy. The ancestors told me to do it. I made another milk bottle and popped a few drops of Kahlua in it. He guzzled about half of it. And then we slept for two hours. I dreamed of screaming babies and how I was going to explain to Chris that I put Kahlua in the baby's bottle.
The sleeping thing is still a challenge. I will say that he does sleep through the night every one per two or three nights. So it's actually a reality at this point. The next stage in the battle towards rest is getting these nights to become more frequent. And he sleeps in his own bed. We were sort of co-sleeping for half of the night until 12 months when he would wake up and realize that he was in bed with his two favorite playmates ever. Uh...yea. That was the end of that. *honey! Get the baby off my head!*
I was supposed to get good work done on my thesis this morning while Chris took Ellis to PSD, but between exhaustion and printer woes that didn't happen.
Then we got some disappointing news. Over a month ago a company (to whom he had submitted a resume months ago) had contacted Chris about an opening. Then he had like a bazillion interviews with every one short of the cleaning lady. It seemed like they wanted him, and then it didn't work out. So we've been going along for over a month. Hoping. Starting to dream We Can Afford Groceries dreams. And then, nope. So back to Plan A that involves UPS and Starbucks and a hundred bazillion hours and a crazy whacked out schedule and no family routine and no sleep 'til Brooklyn. And resting in the knowledge that He who sees the sparrow is also caring for us.
But there were happy things today, too. For one, I got a haircut. Yay! FINALLY! My nice friend watched Ellis, gave me a hug, and sent me home with dinner.
So anyway. I haven't written much about Real Life Stress, but that's a glimpse into the background story of my other life, when I'm not writing a thesis, taking care of Ellis, including the deaf aspects (e.g. learning ASL, dr's appts, school stuff), and moving towards a new grad school application.
I can hear Ellis's steady breathing of slumber coming over the baby monitor. He's turning into such a big kid. He's a toddler. Each day he's more of a kid and less of a baby. I'm almost embarrassed to admit, but I'm kind of sad. I mean, I'm glad, definitely, but a little sad, too. That was a special time.
I think he's weaned, too. It's been a couple of weeks now. At 15 months he was still nursing a few times over a 24 hr period, and then somehow we got down to just in the morning when he got up. And then one morning we had to go somewhere quickly, so I rushed our routine and skipped the nursing and handed him a milk bottle. And the next morning, I just thought, "I'm done." And I haven't nursed since. I think if the opportunity presented itself, he'd take it, but he's perfectly happy with the bottle/cup, too. I didn't feel anything when I stopped nursing, no fullness, no pain. So I guess we truly weaned. I feel a little guilty. Sixteen months of nursing is good, but there's part of me that says that i should've gone to 18 or 20 or two years. I'm glad to be done, but at the same time, I'm a little sad.
We've had a busy weekend. A church event last night, worship today. I volunteered for Nursery Duty last night and then realized I was scheduled for Duty tonight. I've spent a lot of time in the nursery negotiating social relations of the Under Two Crowd. Is it any wonder I have a headache? Sharing is an abstract concept. It requires you to think beyond yourself. The Under Two's are just beginning to think; how much more is it to think beyond oneself? It's hard with Ellis being deaf, too. I can't call to him across the room, "Don't take!!" It's a social situation that requires immediate attention, because the offense is so quickly forgotten. It's hard explaining to him not to take, because inevitably I take the pilfered toy from him. He looks at me without understanding as I try to explain to him to give. How much more is Give Back? Ellis climbed on top of the toy kitchen in the church nursery. In addition to sharing, I hop around the nursery teaching him to sit when encountering a chair and not to climb (skills we are also working on at home).
I've also expended a lot of energy of late negotiating my own social relations. People who I don't know well. People who are not Like Me. People with whom I would like to spend more time. My baby is becoming a toddler; how I mother him changes. My husband works a bazillion of insane hours; how we maintain a relationship changes.
And recently, I feel like I've spent a lot of mental energy negotiating my own self relations. I've felt really stupid for a lot of this past week. And it's hard to explain why (beyond hormones). It's like I'm walking down the street, feeling like I should be walking down the street. And then I glimpse my reflection in a window that I pass, and I feel exposed like I'm on the wrong street and everyone else knows it. Feelings of inadequacy? isolation?
I'm exhausted. Hopefully, I will not spend part of tonight on the floor of Ellis's room.
It's just one of those days.
This afternoon was one of those days when you have to get out and enjoy the fresh air. Since Chris was working there was no thesis work to be done. My friend and I went to the local incarnation of Fairmount Park with our kids. Her Maddie is 8 mos, and she's a social baby like Ellis. They were Thrilled to be together. They kept giggling at each other. It was so cute. Then Ellis tried to climb all over her stroller.
The peak of Fall's colors is over. But the pathway was lined with copper beaches whose remaining leaves created an amber canopy around is.
My iTunes shuffle just landed on "It's Christmastime in New Orleans!", Louis Armstrong.
I'm. going. to. die.
Ellis has been getting molars. Which means that I have not been getting good sleep. Somewhere around 1am and 3 am he wakes up, I settle him, make him as comfortable as possible (one night it took teething tablets, Tylenol, a diaper change, and a bottle of water). But he takes awhile before he's really settled, so I hang out by the crib to pat his back in case he starts stirring so that he doesn't really wake up again. The length of time gradually increases, and finally he doesn't wake up until morning (or the next bout of discomfort). But I'm left hanging. In desperation, I snooze on a big pillow beside his crib between settling sessions. When he doesn't wake up because he's finally settled, I don't wake up and end up sleeping for I don't know how long on the floor, and then wake up and drag myself back to bed. I didn't know where I was when I woke up at one point this morning. Bed? Floor? Huh?
So I had another crazy dream, most likely floor-induced. It was probably inspired by the fact that I had been thinking a lot about my Latin Professor Who Died, due to the previous night's dream. In last night's dream, it was my advisor who died of cancer (like Latin Professor). Weird. As far as I know, my advisor is in perfect health, thank goodness. But it was one of those weird dreams that seems so real when you're dreaming them. I was even calculating effects on my thesis, which he had passed before he died, so that was good. Hmm. That's like when my Undergrad Advisor's dissertation advisor died suddenly. He had a heartattack on a gondola...shortly after he had passed my advisor's diss, so all was well on that front.
So my kind friends were nice enough to pick us up and bring us to their house for the past two Fridays. I sat in the basement and worked, and Ellis played upstairs. As Erin said, "Clearly, another boring day at home."
Three kids each for my two friends, and the cute red-headed girl was visiting, too. They used to go to our church, but now live far away. Great to see them!
Ellis is to the left of Yellow Shirt Boy. Clearly, he's suffering having to go to other people's houses while I work.
It's raining and cold. The window is rattling. It's a little annoying, because it's this low constant rattle. Grr. I think I'll go stuff a towel in it. I'm sifting through Foucault. I was up 'til 2. I'm not NOT having fun. But it's not like a blast either.
Ellis and I went to Pa School for the Deaf this morning. There's a structured play parent-kid time for infant/early toddlers on Wednesday. We've missed the past two weeks, but made it this time, thanks to the city bus, which we rode for the first time. So all I have to do is ride the trolley, and I will have mastered Philadelphia's public trans system. It's a little bit of a novelty for this girl who grew up in the country. I enjoy public trans, probably because I don't have to depend on it, but find it useful on occasion. Since we're down to one car for awhile, I'm finding it very useful that a bus stop and a regional rail stop are only a couple hundred feet from our house.
Anyway, it was fun to be back at PSD. Ellis needs to be around deaf kids his own age, and I need to be around deaf adults, with whom I can sign and watch them sign with the children, so that i can go home and be more effective in signing with Ellis. I met a delightful deaf grandma who was there with her grandson, two months younger than Ellis. Ellis and Alex ran around the room giggling. We had a great chat, and I felt the sweet exhiliration of beginning to actually communicate in another language, even though I didn't quite catch everything at first.
So anyway, life isn't as bleak in the morning. I slept for 10 hours; my body is stiff, it's not used to reclinign for so long. Ellis slept through the night for the second night in a row!
Since I got a piece of art (see E! below), now I have to give art.
The first five people to respond to this post, will get some form of art, made especially for them, by me.
The only catch: If you sign up, you have to put this in your own journal as well.
(p.s. I will give it away already, the art will be a piece of photography, because that's about all I can do.)
how about Google Transit!?!?!?
Only a couple of cities (mostly in the NW; not including PHilly) are available right now, but it is so freakin' awesome!!! I can't wait until Philly is included, because i can already think of like 3 times in the past 2 days where this would've been extremely helpful.
My college friends Grace and Joanna (not pictured; she had to go home early *is sad*) came to visit me last weekend. We always have such a great time. I had to go to a library right next to Independence Hall, so we posed with the hall, and Grace played in the park with Ellis, while I peeked at the books.
September pics up on Flickr. Since I don't have a pro account, I tend to just upload a bunch at the end of the month. Featured this month are: my new niece Katarina, my great-aunt and uncle's 50th wedding anniversary party, and Grace's visit.
Currently pondering how much the Starbucks logo and the Aldine mermaid/siren thingy look alike. Coincidence? Subliminal message?
My sister just sent a picture of Her Prettiness, baby Katarina modeling her new shoes!
On Saturday, we painted the kitchen a lovely, creamy pale yellow. Ellis got a haircut at the barber with Grammy while over there for the day. He's pictured with his little farm animals that he loves. He walks around signing "cow" and "horse."
The first sacrificial pumpkin of the season, with perfect twisty stem.
Playing in the lane out back which is part of the state park property (as is our house). The days have been cool and fresh. Ellis enjoys the sticks, the rocks, the black walnuts that come down encased in limey green balls (we play catch with them).
Fun article in today's CSM about the Tabasco factory on Avery Island, in south Louisiana. We always meant to go out to visit there, but never did. We had a time for a Saturday in the bayou, it was usually in a canoe in Barataria, paddling through former haunts of the pirate Jean Lafitte. *nostalgic sigh*
In other Louisiana-ish news, the new All the King's Men is released this Friday. I remember when they were filming parts of this a few years ago in our old neighborhood in New Orleans.
As Sarah aptly put it, hobbies are a mental power nap. When I've been thinking about a lot, when I just can't take another minute of pulling Ellis out another potentially life-threatening situation, or when I'm just plain tired, I need to interact with color and creativity. I need to! I need color. And I need to DO.
Well, the next best thing is running around in blogosphere to see what others are doing. It sure takes a lot less time. Five minutes in after-dinner computer time, reveals: really sweet ideas for a little girl's first birthday. Check out the flickr group for bitty booties. So cute!!!!
We haven't had a doctor's visit in a couple of months, and man, I was gettin' complacent there. So we hauled off to see the audiologist today. Complete with arriving at the train station two minutes before the train and realizing that I forgot my cash and the ticket counter was closed. So we skipped that train, went to Wawa to get cash and snacks, and arrived at our appt 15 min late. Thankfully, our audiologist is very nice.
Ellis is such an amazing kid. He loves living. He loves riding on the train, he loves his snacks, he loves the audiologist, he loves his hearing test, he loves the little chicken that lights up when he hears a sound and looks at it, and he loves everyone that passes and smiles at him, which he rewards with a big cheesy grin. He was such a big boy today. He sat in the chair all by himself today in the hearing booth, and he didn't squirm or try to climb. He was focused and attentive. I sat on the floor in front of him, blowing bubbles and doing whatever, to distract him so that he would only look at the lighty chicken in response to a sound that was played through a wire stuck into his ear. He did so great! He kept smiling and signing chicken. Funny boy. Today he had two hearing tests, with and without aids, and he got new ear molds. Since this will probably be his last ear mold before he gets a cochlear implant, I ordered him one in fun colors, blue and green stripey. I can't wait until they're ready. And, man, they were expensive, I can't wait until this Medical Assistance thing goes through, so we don't have costs like this anymore. Sheesh!
When we had some down time waiting for a hearing booth or for the audiologist to calibrate the hearing aids, Ellis wandered around the hallways, showing off his new walking talent and waving at all the audiologists and passersby. He sure has a way of taking over a place.
After two hearing tests and new earmolds, we were pooped. Waiting for our train, we wandered around University City for awhile and went to Starbucks. He almost fell asleep in his stroller (which he NEVER does...and I mean NEVER)!
As we stood waiting for the train, the date "September 11" blazed on the lighty screen with the minutes of remaining wait for R2 Warminster, R6 Norristown, R5 Doylestown, etc. It seemed odd that we should all be standing there in our absorbed little lives with such an iconic date gleaming over us. I wondered what the platform looked like at the very moment five years ago, at 5:50 in the afternoon. Probably ominously empty as people, who would have otherwise stood on the platform in selfish impatience, clung to each other in their homes, on the street, in front of TV's. "September 11" in red lights over us, blazing its silent memorial.
The weather system named Ernesto has brought us cloudy skies, rain, and chilly temps this weekend. It's been fun to wear jeans and sip hot chai.
Due to crispness in the air, I've been compelled to keep cozy smells coming from my oven and to curl up in chair with a piece of fabric creating sweet little designs for my niece to wear.
On Friday evening, we had a couple of friends over. I made what is my new fall favorite recipe: Butternut Squash and Mushroom Lasagna. It was really simple and absolutely delicious. It felt very fall-ish to be cooking with butternut squash. For dessert, we had homemade, aromatic peach pie which simmered in the oven while we ate.
I've also been crafting up a storm. Not quite to postable results. There's a baby shower for my sister and her baby on Monday at our cousin's house in Lancaster. I'm super excited about what I've been able to do so far. But i'm not counting my chickens yet, until I see the final results, which will be on Monday, since I need to use my mom's sewing machine for the final step.
UPDATE: Sorry. I didn't realize this original post was up four times. I had kept getting an error message when I first tried to post, and so what do you when get an error message? retry! again and again. Well, eventually all the retries went through. It was not a rhetorical device by which I intended to place emphasis by means of repetition. Though the butternut squash lasagna bears emphasizing. Try it!!
Check out these sweet little dresses made from vintage pillow cases.
Today as we sorted through boxes, worked on the computer, and played with the boy, the rain came down steadily sending a steady stream of water along the side of the road into the gully.
A year ago today, a much bigger storm hit our fair city we once called home.
It really happened, and some people are still waiting for help.
For the record, goign to the coffeeshop helped considerably, despite the round of bad Oldies playing on the Starbucks track. When I finished, I felt like I had actually accomplished something. I'm a lot closer to my goal of having a list of manuscript contents by September. The problem I'm running into is that I'm finding more and more errors by the scribe. I'm not sure what to call things. "Scalar passages intended to show mutation." Because they surely aren't really showing mutation, but you can see that he kind of had an idea of what they might look like if they did.
Last night I spent a lot of time putting together a list of Ellis's main doctors (pediatrician, audiologist, etc), dates he had been seen, etc. It was kind of satisfying when I was done, because well, I could do it! I had the date of all his major medical appointments (including wellness checkups), what had been done, and I even have some of the medical records. I'm not a Total Organizational Failure!
I was also just checking through his immunization record. I hadn't been following too closely, because I figure the pediatrician knows what he needs when. But I did just want to check through to see what had been done. I've discovered that he's been given "Hematocrit or hemoglobin" shots. What is that!? I can't figure out what that's an immunization for. It's pretty easy to find out what hematocrit or hemoglobin is, but how does that figure into a child's immunization record? I couldn't find out by way of Google. I'll have to ask her about it.
So we just got the results back on our throat cultures: strep.
Anyway, we already have the antibiotic and now must dutifully pump all 40 pills through our systems in a timely manner.
We are feeling much better. We were well enough to go to church yesterday. And Chris has been full swing again today.
Though I am not feeling full swing. I'm already regretting my decision to go back on the pill after several years of being off. Four days in and it's making me nauseous! Just left a message with the Nurse Prac. We'll see, maybe this is a short-term, temporary thing.
But I'm already feeling like a drug whore. Sold out to pharmocological solutions. Harumph. :-P
As part of the Grandma Intervention Plan due to my wretched state of indisposition, Ellis spent the night away from us for the first time last night. I had always imagined that this would occur when he was much older and when my husband and I would be on a romantic getaway. But I was so sick. And there was no way Ellis would be happy without me if we were under the same roof. So away he went. We were also partially relieved to get him away from this Den of Germs.
It took me awhile to unwind. I snoozed a little in the afternoon yesterday. We watched DVDs and ate and went to bed early. Chris said, "wow, we can sleep in as late as we want tomorrow!" For the record, he got up at 8 am. Ha! Once I finally got to that place of rest, though, I've slept and slept. I slept all night. Wow! I slept until 11 am. More wow! I ate, watched tv, and slept all afternoon. More wow! I'm staying up for a few hours now so that I don't jeapordize my night's sleep. Chris is pretty much feeling better. He cleaned the house while I slept. He's gone now to get my baby from my parent's house.
My mom said he did great. I thought he would be fine. The funny thing is, though, he hasn't nursed in over 24 hrs, and my boobs barely feel full.
I miss Ellis! I can't wait to see him!!
Remember how the school nurse always asked you that question, regardless of your ailment?
Me: My stomach hurts; I've been throwing up all night. (Thinking: just write me the class excuse form and let me outta here!)
Nurse: what color is your snot? Let's take a culture to see if your sick.
Me: (Thinking: what part of vomit didn't you understand?)
anyway. I'm not vomiting, but Chris and I are oh so sick!!! He came down with it first. We took him to the doctor yesterday. He wanted me to come in with him. So here we are crammed into this tiny examination room, and in walks Dustin Hoffman! He is the one wearing the white coat and telling Chris to say "ahh", so I am assumed he was playing the role of the doctor in this particular setting. Haha. Just kidding. The doctor did look an awful lot like Dustin Hoffman, though, down to mannerisms and speech. It was sincerely uncanny. Anyway, he gave Chris antibiotic for tonsillitis and took a throat culture to test for strep. Chris was really miserable by that point, and I was starting to get body aches.
So after a horrible night wherein Chris is still pretty sick, and I'm up with the boy aching, shivering with chills from onsetting fever, I went to the doctor this morning. This is a husband and wife practice that my inlaws go to and like, and since we never have set up a primary care physician yet, this was our first time. So I'm sitting in the examination room, waiting for Barbara Streisand. Just kidding. So anyway. I'm on the antibiotic regime now. Shivering with chills, my flesh crawling, I went to Walgreens and got my prescription.
I'm really into Walgreens lately. It's becoming one of my new favorite stores. But that's for another post.
It's times like this I'm glad we didn't move somewhere else when we left New Orleans. Last night my mother-in-law stopped by with yummy dinner for us and a stockpile of frozen fruit for smoothies (which feel awfully good on an inflamed throat). And today my mom drove up from Lancaster to help with Ellis, bringing fresh corn and watermelon and peaches and tomatoes and bread from the Amish. Mmmmm! Help with Ellis is huge, as it means I'm finally able to get some rest. My fever has broken this afternoon, which is good. Hopefully, it will stay that way.
I have been a wreck this week. Hormonal surges right before my monthly reminder that I'm not pregnant have been kicking my butt. I'm like so out of control. PMS has never been this bad; it's like I'm another person. I'm angry, grumpy, selfish, petty. I feel like Mr. Hyde! It's insane. I feel like I'm watching myself morph into this other person. Sorry if this is Too Much Information. I'm just posting this because I'm wondering if anyone else has gone through this after pregnancies. The thing is, I think it only started being this bad a couple of months ago, that is, about a year after Ellis was born. Hmmm. I don't know, but I sure would like that Angry Monster to go away!
We're all tired. I'm tired from the trip, which was fun but far from relaxing, since we spent four days driving and one day of Freshmania. Ellis is tired, teething, and snotty, but amazingly cheerful! Chris is tired and a bit sick.
My pipedream for this summer that is almost over:
What I would really like is a family vacation at the beach. Just the three of us. I would love it if it could be camping at the beach, a roomy tent nestled between dunes with the front of it facing a small campfire built of drift wood. The dunes backed up into a thicket of scrubby pine trees to offer us a little shade. We would be the only ones out there. We'd eat watermelon and roast hot dogs over the fire. We would build sandcastles and splash in the waves all day long, pausing only for walks where we would find fabulous shells. The water would be crystal clear. Ellis would have a blast. We would have so much playing with him. And since this is the Perfect Vacation, we would never have to worry about him putting sand or shells in his mouth. *sigh*
At this rate, I'm starting to abandon Summer Pipedreams and starting to fashion Fall ones that include canoes, autumn foliage, and cozy cabins.
Coming to Philadelphia from New Orleans has been something of a disappointment on the restaurant scene. Compared to New Orleans, the quality of food isn't as good, and it's way overpriced. Nearly any restaurant you go to in New Orleans is good, because the competition keeps it that way, and, face it, that city knows how to eat. It's been really hard to find affordable, good meals in the Philly area. And what's up with BYOB?! and cash only!?!??!
One thing, though, that Philly has over New Orleans is Italian. Great pizza everywhere. And...gelato!! When Ellis went out on his date with Grammy this evening, Chris and I meandered into Ambler and found a delightful gelateria. I got half a scoop each of hazelnut and vanilla that was so creamy and flavorful and rich and yummy. Mmmmm....gelato....
...loving Google Reader!!! This is awesome!!!!
...craving ICE CREAM!!!
...should be working on thesis and/or studying for (at least thinking about) GRE, because I've been in grad school for so long that my scores have expired!!!!
Ellis has been having some really bad nights. I have no idea why. Surely teething doesn't last every night for three weeks! I've been working hard on getting him to sleep in his own bed without rocking or nursing, getting him to just lie down and go to sleep. I end up sleeping on his floor half the night. He's usually fine as long as I'm there. He'll lie down, maybe roll around a bit, and then eventually go to sleep. I just have to sit in the chair and occasionally pat the matress if he sits up. Maybe I just need a comfier chair. Last night he was waking up every hour or two! How can this be?!
Blog is actually looking more different than it actually is. I was hoping to have newer Movable Type templates. I couldn't figure out the problems, so I reverted back to my old templates (wh. are kind of hodge-podgy) in some cases. But I will give it a fresher look eventually, hence the more defaulty looking stylesheet. Let me know if you experience any problems.
Yea, so I'm trying to give my blog an upgrade. I keep getting error messages, though, and it's driving me crazy, because the ONLY thing I'm doing is copying and pasting default templates. Why don't they work?
Anyway, quick like:
* Ellis is starting to take his first steps!!! I'm not sure how much he realizes he's doing. He still seems pretty unsure. But everyday we get him to walk a little bit more. Just a matter of time!
* I'm working on my thesis again. I'm really enjoying it. It feels good to get back in the saddle, though still frustrated by some of the things I don't know how to do.
* I'm going to be in Chattanooga next week!! My mom and I are delivering my sister unto Freshmandom at Covenant, so Ellis and i will be in Chatty next week on Thursday, Friday, Sat. I'd love to see people!! If you want my cell just email.
And does anyone have Jess and Ty's phone number!!?!?!?! (please email me at diber [at] partialflow [dot] com)
Hopefully this will work.
The last few weeks have been so busy.
* The last three weeks, Chris and I took an intensive ASL class that met three nights a week. Babysitting feat performed by my motherinlaw and a few great friends. It was a great class with just the right amount of what we needed to know at just the right level. Trying to write more on that in another post....
* Last Monday we spent the entire day with a researcher and two dissertators from Gallaudet University (the liberal arts univ for the Deaf in Wash., DC). The focus of their topic was newborn hearing screens. They interviewed us about our experience with discovering Ellis's deafness so early and how we've been proceeding since, interested in some of the choices we've made and motivations for decision making. They also videotaped Ellis doing various communicative play things. The people were very nice. We met at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf (PSD), where we go often anyway, so that was fine. It was a good day of self-reflection.
* On Wednesdays we've been going to PSD for parent-kid play/support/information time. The kids play and have a great time, and they have someone spend some time with parents with lots of helpful issues and topics to discuss...like how to manage reading a book to a deaf kid. It's more complicated then you think. Visions of snuggling together and having the shared experience of reading a book are out the window. (But maybe because I also have the Wiggliest One-Year Old in the World.) I have to figure how to hold the book, sign, indicate to Ellis what I'm signing, get his attention to move from my hands to the book and back, somehow connect what my hands are doing to the printed word. Phew! I'm sure as he gets older, it will get easier. We do little bits right now. Mostly just labelling. Forget the story...that is a cow. What? you want to flip three pages? ok. Look there's a chicken. *sign "cow" sign "chicken"*
* Last Friday we went to IKEA. Again! Hey, we just moved. We needed a couple more hooks, a lamp, and picked up Ellis's birthday gift from C's g'ma, a little table and chairs with paper roll attached. Ellis is beginning his early forays into the world of Crayon.
* Chris started his new job at UPS last week. It's a parttime job from 4-9 AM! Aack. After he's been there the requisite amount of months, though, the benefits are amazing. Really great insurance. He's holding on to this job and trying to find a full time day job. So this past week we've had to restructure a few things. Definitely earlier bed times! (Well, E stays pretty much the same there) But I think we could both use earlier bed times. And now I lose his help at night. Bah. Especially since Ellis has been having really awful nights lately. He slept through the night a week ago Sunday night and again last Saturday night. It would've been great if we already weren't so sleep-deprived. I can't decide if he has a cold or if he's teething. Either way it's keeping us up, and it takes about 2 hours to get him settled back to sleep after that 2 or 3 or 4 am wakeup. Not. Been. Fun!
* Saturday Ellis and I zoomed off to Lancaster. We first went to visit my grandma, newly interned at a very nice retirement/assisted living facility in the southern part of the county in Quarryville. This necessitated finding a new route for my Lancaster trek. Google maps gave me TWO PAGES of directions for a 60 mile trip. Freaked me out a bit, but it ended up being straightforward, and after I got off the Route 30 expressway, it was a beautiful drive through the country, winding along streams, through the sentinel rows of tall corn fields tassels waving proudly, past bright green fields of tabacco. Gorgeous! Will enjoy future visits to Grandma.
After visiting the Aged Grandparent, I drove into Lancaster city (with it's delicious gas prices of 30-40 cents cheaper than Philly prices) to see my brother in his new house that he just bought. It's a great place. Totally the Bachelor Pad.
I took Nick and Mom to Costco, now that I'm on my MIL's family plan. Nick was after a dehumidifier. I got cute pinkness from Carter's for my new baby niece and snacks for my college-bound sister.
It's been so hot! We washed the day's sticky sweatiness off in our cousin's pool with a pre-dinner dip. I dragged Ellis around the pool on a kickboard. He wiggled his legs and grinned proudly.
There's always a cool breeze in my parent's backyard. My dad exchanged the weed whacker for tongs and grilled us up yummy steaks.
* Sunday we spontaneously invited seven people over for lunch. Amazed I had enough food, since I haven't been grocery shopping in two weeks. I love summer. Zucchini, eggplant, chicken, and tomatoes over pasta. It proved to be a very yummy dinner indeed. Our first full-fledged company in our apartment!
* Today.... I found a new produce stand--we passed it on our way to the DMV last week. We got frames at Target to hang a couple of pictures. Ellis screamed at his green balloon from Trader Joe's. I got a voter's registration card that says Democrat. It's hot, but could be worse, and we have window AC units that work.
Don't you think Ellis looks like a Calhoun in that last pic?
We are officially citizens of Pennsylvania now. We braved the DMV, waited in line for an hour (with a VERY patient Ellis, bless him), got to the counter and were blessed with the Nicest DMV Agent ever!! There were a couple of things that were questionable in terms of Having Things Together, but he was kind, decided to have his best go at processing it, and voila! We emerged victorious. Proud owners of PA Drivers' Licenses.
Now we can start filling out Medicaid forms to fund Big Medical Procedures for Ellis's ears.
I'm back!!! I'm back!!! I'm back!!! I'm back!!! I'm back!!! I'm back!!! I'm back!!! !!!!!!!!
Whew! Ten days without internet. That was a tough one. But I've been pretty busy moving into the new place, helping out with VBS at church, and doing Ellis hearing stuff (cochlear implant stuff, sign language stuff).
Lots to write about.
It's all coming soon!!!
I am definitely not a Packer. I can find a ton more interesting things to do. And I can't ever judge how much time it'll take, so what usually happens is that I think I have way more time than I actually do and then end up throwing things pell-mell into a box, completely disorganized. Thankfully, I did marry a Packer. A move happens in our family entirely thanks to my husband. To my credit, I do manage to rise to the occasion on the other end and can be good about organizing things into a New World Order.
We're moving tomorrow. But since we're moving out of my in-law's house, the pressure is not on to get every last little smidge of things plus cleaning. Chris has taken some stuff over, and after surveying things yesterday, he and our friend looked at the walls in the living room and decided to patch the plaster and paint it today. I doubt Chris would've decided to do it on such last notice, but Phil said, "Yea! We can do it!! I'll be here first thing to help you!" So Chris called the guy sort of in charge right now to make that this would be okay, and if it would be alright if we could paint it any color. The guy asked what color we had in mind. We want some hue of orange, but I told the guy terracotta, because that sounds better than orange (and that's actually the kind of orange I'm into anyway). And he was like "umm...yea, better stick to like an offwhite or pale yellow." He called back 10 minutes later, "My wife said terracotta was fine." So we get our orange! Yay!
Okay, this is so turning into a different post I intended, because I wanted to write about a book and a movie. We won't get our internet established until July 11, so I may be scarce around here for awhile. Hopefully, I can survive such a dry spell. Ellis is so like "mom, quit typing" so I'm outie, folks.
I have such lame titles for my entries. I hate titles. Oh well.
Well, anyway, yesterday turned out alright. My mom couldn't come after all. After thinking about it, we decided to drive. It worked out that Chris could drive to the hospital and then take the train to where he needed to go. I was glad we did it that way, because Ellis was so loopy when we were done.
The most difficult part of the MRI is the sedation. Not eating beforehand and all. Ellis actually did pretty well. He had a good morning nap, and then we were ready to go. Being distracted with traveling helped.
When we got there his vitals were taken and then I got him dressed in the hospital purple baby pajamas, and they gave him the sedation stuff orally, wh. was pretty rough because the stuff tasted nasty. Poor guy. And I rocked him until he went to sleep.
I couldn't go in with him, because they have to keep a pretty controlled environment. So I was left with a little time on my hands, and no book!! I never carry a book around anymore, because I'm always busy with Ellis. How I wished I had brought my book! I'm in the middle of Oliver Twist, and it would've been prime reading time. So I got some coffee and chilled in the waiting room, listening to and participating in small talk between parents.
He was done shortly, because they only had to get a scan of the temporal bones (the ears). And then they let him sleep off his sedation. Another hour! (Book, where art thou!?) The nurse asked if I wanted a magazine, but the only ones she could find were some kind of Women's Weekly thing and Ebony. I looked at them both for awhile. Made a few phone calls, and then my loopy boy woke up.
He was all wobbly coming off the sedation. I nursed him right away, dressed him, and then fed him some applesauce. He looked drunk and couldn't hold his head up. So funny. When we brought him home, I had to carry him around for the rest of the evening, because when we set him down, he went plop onto the floor.
We had a baby shower here last night, so I helped to clean up with Ellis on my hip. A bit too tired for the shower, but that was a nice time, too.
So the day turned out alright. The traffic wasn't too bad. I'll probably still take the train for regular visits, but it's nice to know that driving isn't too awful. That'll probably be the most difficult visit until (if) he has the actual cochlear implant surgery. Don't know when that will be yet, since we are still at the beginning stages of getting all the tests done.
..is that as you get older, you get busier and have more responsibilities, yet you have less energy. Blah.
Tomorrow I'm taking Ellis for an MRI of the temporal bones. They have to check the anatomy of the ear before cochlear implants. Chris was going to go with me, but he has an interview at a placement agency. Thankfully, my mom can go with me, because this time I've overwhelmed at the prospect of another trip to the hospital. It'll be the fourth time this month! He'll have to be sedated for the MRI, which means no food for 6 hours in advance. Now, who wants to take the Wiggliest One-Year Old in the World on a 1/2 hr regional rail ride when he's teething and hasn't had any food? Meanwhile, wrestling stroller around the train, and it will likely be pouring rain. And when Ellis comes off his sedaiton, he'll likely be loopy. Loopy One-Year-Old. And I'm fighting some kind of bug. Thanks, thanks, thanks to my wonderful mother dear who will get to share this burden with me.
I've been pretty cool with all the hospital stuff. Ellis is usually a pretty good trooper, and the past couple of times, we've been able to make it a fun outing with picnic afterwards. But I'm a bit more worried about tomorrow. It's a bigger test, a bigger trip. If you think of us, say a prayer.
But now I must go to the Ultimate Act of Love, that is hemming my hubby's pants for his interview tomorrow. (Hemming is like My Least Favorite Thing EVER!)
Yesterday was our Fifth Anniversary. Yay!
We've grown a lot in the past five years, and I'm eager to see what the next years bring. As always, I'm just so thankful that I got the best husband in the world!!! And this past year, it's been fun watching ourselves become parents. Hello! Life has changed!
Last year, when we went out for our anniversary, it ended up being our last date pre-kid, and I spent it finding restrooms. A week later, Ellis was born. Last night we enjoyed a nice evening in center city. Taking up a friend's suggestion, we went to an Indian restaurant with a $10 dinner buffet. Woohoo! That place was hilarious, between the flashing Christmas lights and cheesy Indian music videos, the ambiance was perfect. The food was pretty decent, too. I didn't feel like I got more than I paid for in terms of quality, but I enjoyed it. It is definitely going to be added to the list of Ethnic Restaurants that Make Wonderful, Inexpensive Dates.
The downside is that opposed to two and half hour meals at the Italian restaurants we've been to (which, financially, really can only be once a year events), dinner was a lickety-split affair, and we were out of there while it was still light even! We were going to walk around and maybe get some gelato, but it was cold and raining, so we went to Borders instead and hung out in their cafe for a little bit.
We had such a wonderful evening together. It was so nice just to be able to talk, unencumbered by the distractions of home and a cute kid.
When we got home we were going to snuggle up and watch a movie, but then we got distracted with our Latest Project. Last time our Deaf Mentor came, he brought a few videos, including one of story books being read in ASL. We don't really like how that video was done and were talking about different ways of doing it. Well, since we are currently borrowing a digital video recorder (but we have to give it back today), we thought we'd try it ourselves. So we got all set up and recorded Goodnight, Moon in ASL. It took several tries, including my getting more fluid with the signing/reading. I think our end result was pretty good for one rather late night's work. It was a fun way to end our anniversary.
All hail the conquering graduate!
I'm very proud of my sister who just graduated from high school. She's worked hard, while plagued with minor health issues and frustrating social circumstances. And she's done well, reaping the benefits of her diligence!
She's going to Covenant in the fall and is very excited about it. I'm happy for her, and I hope she has great time as I did.
My youngest sister graduated from high school on Saturday! Woohoo!!! She's the last of us five, and my parents' dream of an empty nest is starting to materialize. Heh, heh. ;-) It was fun that all of us siblings could be there: me, Nick, Mary, Sam, and Luisa. A couple of my aunts and their families were there, too, including my mom's youngest sister, who is six years older than me. That means that I'm closer in age to my Aunt Jenny than my youngest sister who just graduated (well, closer than Sam, too). I also just found out that courtesy of Aunt Jenny, my grandma is having grandbabies and great-grandbabies at the same time. Haha! Yay! Though I personally don't want a lot of kids, it is a lot of fun being part of a big family. (Not to mention the fact, that I conveniently have relatives practically anywhere I want to go.)
Over the weekend I realized that I'm going to have to get used to something else, too: Fickle Summer. It finally got hot around here last week. I ditched my jeans, grabbed my shorts, and never looked back, until *bam!* I was hit in the face with a cold front on Saturday, totally unprepared. So I'll have to remember that the temperature fluctuates a lot in the summer.
This weekend also marked another mile stone. A year ago we rolled into Pennsylvania from New Orleans, with my little Honda hatchback packed to the gills with our worldly belongings and my belly bulging with immanent Ellis. I said then, and I say now, it takes about a year to get over the emotional trauma of a move like that, and that's about right. I feel a little bit more like I'm a part of Here, and less a part of There. We have good friends and family and church, and though we still have plenty of questions about what's next in life, we don't feel quite so lost.
(I just got comment spam advertising a place to go to order essays. Yea, you can order an essay so that you don't have to write one. Hmm. I wonder if I can order a thesis...)
Back in my previous life when I was commuting to grad school 85 miles each way almost every day, I had the little things in life to keep me sane: my little rituals that I did every day. I always filled my car with gas first thing in the morning(where are you, $1.35 a gallon!?!?), I saved my travel mug full of coffee or tea until mile 30 (because then I would have had to go to the bathroom before I got to school) and drank it along with a granola bar (how I wish I had Kashi back then). And I always listened to Morning Edition on NPR, except when news would be so ad nauseum the same thing (like an election or a stupid war in a Middle Eastern country) that I couldn't take it, but that was only occasionally. Listening to Morning Edition was like a cup of coffee, just part of the morning. Okay, so maybe it's a little cliche. Whatever.
It's really hard sometimes to be staying at home with the boy now. Sometimes, I just look at myself and am like dude, I'm a stay at home mom and it's so surreal. One of the hardest parts is having to impose my own schedule, and not having one I can slide into, one like a handy semester.
There's a radio in the kitchen. I've been better about our morning routine since I've been back from mad travels. I'm showered, and Ellis and I are both dressed by the time we go down for b'fast. And I can listen to Morning Edition on the radio while I empty a yogurt container into my hungry boy's mouth and simmer a pot of oatmeal for myself.
So anyway, on Morning Edition this morning they had something about how more parents are using signs with the young children affording them something to communicate with before they can say words, alleviating some frustration. This isn't really news, but it is noteworthy, as it is spreading in popularity.
The report kind of approached it weird, though. They started with a baby sign language class in the background, with quips from the teacher. And that sort of became the definition of normal. That is, parent wants to sign with baby, parent and baby sign up for baby sign language class. The author of the story on Morning Edition did say something about how lower-income families can't afford these expensive sign language classes and how they (whoever "they" are) are trying to make resources more available. This whole scenario struck me as weird. Yea, it's helpful to take a class if you want to learn ASL hardcore as a language. But there are so many simple, straightforward places to learn the few signs to you need for the purpose of baby signing.
Am I missing something about educated middle-class? Taking classes, signing up for this and that? Is that the norm? this gets kind of expensive rather quickly. I was a little disappointed in the radio report, because I felt like it gave a nuance to what is available for someone wanting to sign with their baby, a nuance with a price tag that is not accesible to everyone, and a price tag that simply doesn't have to be the case.
Last year for Memorial Day it was pouring rain. We got up early and went to get a U-Haul. We loaded it up and threw a bunch of trash by the side of the road. Two days later, we started our drive from New Orleans to Pennsylvania. Can it be a year already?
Yesterday, we strapped our cute little boy into the stroller and walked down the street for the Memorial Day parade. He watched attentively as the fire engines, motorcycles, and green-painted veterans progressed by. He then played the dropping game with his little flag, and then was strolled home for a nap.
Friends from church came over. Grilled meat, chips, and alcoholic beverages consumed. Evening headache attended to and bed sought.
Lovely hot weather has set in, and this afternoon I'm going to Walmart to get Ellis a baby pool. I can't tell you how long I've waited for this day. I don't know who is going to have more fun in it.
It's finally starting to get warm around here. In the '50's on Monday, Chris and I thought we were going to shrivel up with cold. But yesterday marked a turning point in the week. We were actually outside without a jacket.
During Ellis's morning nap, my friend called to see if I wanted to go Barnes and Noble with her, so we hopped on over after lunch. She picked a Spanish dictionary and conjugation book for upcoming trip to Mexico, and upon consideration of the warm sunshine, decided to go somewhere for a walk.
We were going to go to an old golf course, but then she began asking me if I knew about this huge cathedral in the middle of Philadelphia suburban countryside, the Bryn Athen cathedral. We went over there and walked around. It's huge and beautiful in a Gothic style. The grounds were wonderfully landscaped, and it sat on top of a hill overlooking a sweeping landscape. We sat in the grass and talked while Ellis tried to eat clover. (Unfortunately my camera needs batteries, so that is one I stole off the internet, otherwise the cutest kid in the world would be in the picture, too.)
Ellis fell asleep on the way home, so I rolled down the windows, left him in his carseat, and swept the driveway (no small undertaking). When he woke up, we continued to clear dead leaves, branches, and lawn debris miscellany, preparing the way for the Anschluss of Annuals. Ellis sat on the driveway demolishing a teething biscuit.
Later that evening, I saw three sparrows standing around a lost chunk of the teething biscuit. Two of them were very young, just enough wings to fly, but still with some of their baby bird down peeking through. The mama sparrow was picking up crumbs of the teething biscuit and popping them in the mouths of the young sparrows who kept clamoring for more. I felt a small twinge of affinity with the mama sparrow as she shared the bounty of what I had given my baby.
To keep spreading the love--katiek posted a link to this site last week: Kiddley. It's a brand new site full of fun crafty things and activities you can do with kids, designed by the ever-creative Loobylu. It's delicious!!! I've been poring over crafty blogs lately, and have been busy in my own neck of the woods, hence continued blog silence. I hope to post some pictures soon.
(Okay, Charity, here are my two-cent reviews.)
We watched Walk the Line last weekend. And I must say that I really liked in. I came in with zero expectations and only vague notions of the general buzz of opinions out there. I wanted to see Reese. The music was fun! It was a predictable Hollywood movie, but well-done and enjoyable.
Last night we watched a German movie with some friends, The Edukators (2004). About three idealistic twenty-somethings, with a flare for the revolution, scheming to educate the bourgeois capitalist dictators (in a non-violent, yet thought-provoking way) about the folly of their wealth. But the movie is also about being twenty-something and figuring out who you are and where you're going. The story was very good, very well-written. Apparently it is based on a novel. The character development and interpersonal relations was well-done, making it a really enjoyable movie.
I don't know what it has been about this last week that has made me just not want to blog. I've been in a borderline funk. Not totally funked out, but close. The kind where you get in the morning at the last minute possible (when the baby is really yelling at out to come get him out of the crib), make coffee first thing, and play dvd's for the baby, while drinking coffee and trying to come to grips with the fact that it's another day and you have to function.
But then I have the coffee and I function, and that makes me feel better, to know that I actually accomplished something. So I've mopped the kitchen floor like three times this week, now that Ellis is playing on it more.
What else have I been doing? Yesterday I totally cleaned the whole downstairs, wood floors and all, picked fresh flowers from the gorgeous azalea bushes, and mowed the lawn. Earlier this week, I also sorted through all the papers that we've gotten over the last months for Ellis's hearing stuff. I now have a binder for Early Intervention, a binder for the hospital, and a binder for medical assistance. And I made appointments that needed to be made for Ellis.
I haven't even thought about my thesis since I've been back from Louisiana, and I need to start working on it again. But I had to return all the books to the library, because my friend checked them out for me, and he graduated. I've been hanging out with friends, watching some tv, and reading whatever. I'm not going to go into the thesis-turbo-mode, because that was miserable, but I do need to figure out some kind of work schedule.
And we're still trying to figure out what's up in life: need a place to live, Chris looking for a new job...
I'm back from Kalamazoo. Ellis is a great traveler. We had a great time.
Tumbling over myself with all I want to blog about, but mountains of laundery and spilling over mess on my desk are beckoning.
To blog/read later:
* tales and pictures of our traveling adventures
* thought-provoking post on parenting philosophy from jo(e)
* I've read this post before: should you go to grad school? from burke. For some reason I read it again this morning. I laughed out loud. I'm totally amused, not in a sardonic/cynical way at all. I'm just chuckling. I know it's not intended to be humorous. But somehow with four years of grad school under my belt it just struck a funny chord with me.
* I love conferences. Every time I go to one, I like them more, maybe because I know more people and know more stuff to understand papers better.
My paper at Kalamazoo went well, and I'm pleased.
* Ellis is the smartest kid in the world! :-)
Catch ya later, I'm going to Ikea this afternoon.
Before I leave at 6.30 am on Thursday, I gotta:
* finish my thesis (ha!)
* finalize travel plans for Kalamazoo in May.
which includes getting my warm weather clothes out of storage status and figuring out Ellis's new warm weather wardrobe size 12 mos. And, of course, laundry.
May have to include shopping/borrowing clothes for E.
Food shopping for Ellis.
* figure out what I'll need to bring to finish my thesis in Louisiana.
see if E's new hearing aid molds are ready to be picked up yet, and hopefully, pick them up (wh. is a big trip, and big time commitment. I just can't pop over there, I gotta get on the train, wait at the hospital, get back on the train, etc.)
possibly go to the library at Local Fab Univ, wh. is also a trip and big time commitment. Aforementioned train. (I really should go, but oof, the time)
celebrate my birthday today.
* somehow manage to sleep,
take a shower, and keep after Into Everything Ellis with the help of hubby and friends.
My birthday is coming up on Monday.
Gift certificates to Starbucks or Amazon would be an adequate substitute.
I've been meaning to blog various sundry things, but I think I'll just blitz by them with a nod for the sake of time.
I don't read the NY Times regularly, so I'm always grateful when particular articles get pointed out...esp this one about L'homme armé masses (?!?!?!?!)...how's that for a bit of pop musicology?
YOU are a Renaissance composer. You have been asked to compose a setting of the Latin Mass, a text that begins "Kyrie eleison" ("Lord, have mercy") and ends "Dona nobis pacem" ("Grant us peace"). You scratch your lice-bitten scalp, tap your quill against the lectern. How to start?
A ditty has been running through your head: DUM-da DUM-da DA DA DA. Catchy. Rich in musical matter: ascending fourths, descending fifths. Tailor made for counterpoint. And maybe, just maybe, if you use it as the basis for your Mass, the Lord will have mercy and drive it out of your head, now and forever, amen.
Halfway through the Sanctus, you're going great guns. You've even used the tune in a canon (to the words "peace on earth"), which should earn you some admiring glances when you walk into the local musician's hangout, the Armed Man.
The Armed Man? That, of course, is the name of the tune: "L'Homme armé." And now, only now, you remember the words:
L'homme, l'homme, l'homme armé,
L'homme armé, l'homme armé doibt on doubter, doibt on doubter.
On a fait partout crier
Que chascun se viegne armer
D'un haubregon de fer.
The armed man,
The armed man must be feared.
Everywhere it is proclaimed
That everyone must arm himself
With a coat of mail.
Hardly the right sort of tune to be using for a Mass, is it? Well, maybe no one will notice.
You dip your nib, scratch harder, just above your left ear — got him!
COULD this really be how it happened?
Aaaah. What we've all been asking...
Later Eisenberg asks:
Who, exactly, is the Armed Man?
That, indeed, is the million dollar question.
It's not a bad article.
Ellis made what could be considered his first sign last weekend: more. He's not really using it to communicate "more." I think it's just an easy sign to make. He knows he's doing something important, and it makes him super excited, which is super exciting for us to watch. He really is getting into his signing time dvd's, too, waving his hands around trying to do what they're doing and looking at us for reinforcement/encouragement. He's so ADORABLE!!!
I wanted to say something about Mardi Gras yesterday, but I didn't. I didn't really know what to say. It was a hard day for me, because it was a focal point of all my emotions about New Orleans. I miss our life there; sure it was time for it to end, but still...I left a part of me there. Plus, grief over the hurricane, and emotion about Mardi Gras actually happening.
And then frustration about how the news handled it. Somebody suggeseted I watch Mardi Gras coverage on TV, thinking it might make me feel better. Even though, I thought that that was a pretty lame idea, I was suckered into watching CNN for a tiny bit. Bad idea. First, they kept making all these racially divided polls--e.g. "should we have Mardi Gras?" "how should we celebrate Mardi Gras?". It just seemed so...cheap. Plus, I don't see how making those kinds of polls is going to help the hurt and frustration surrounding race in that city. If anything it only reinforces it! Argh. Then, CNN's coverage of Mardi Gras was pretty much limited to the tourists on Bourbon Street. Bless them for their monetary contribution to the city, but that is not what Mardi Gras is all about. There's something about how the city rallies together for the celebration--it's better than Christmas. It is a time of happiness and joy. I don't think I can explain it, and CNN totally missed the boat.
Yesterday's being Mardi Gras made me remember what I loved about the city and made me mourn how we lived when we lived there, which is part of the process of moving.
Yea, so I just learned that I can import CD's into iTunes, even if I don't have a CD burner or an mp3 player. I don't know why I thought these were necessary items. I keep kicking myself for all I would've been able to do armed with this knowledge. :-P
No time for real blogging:
* making some real progress on thesis, as in, I actually have an idea about what I'm doing. Spent good time with mss on Sat at rare books lib.
* I love Valentine's Day. Maybe yummy Indian dinner on Tuesday evening, then on Thurs went to fab-o Italian restaurant in center city. Hopefully, more later.
* Sleep. Still working on it.
* Ellis is starting to "sign babble", i.e. move hands around like he wants to sign...like a baby saying ba-ba-ba.
* Spent wonderful Sunday with Phil and Em.
I miss Mardi Gras!!!!
The fun is starting in NOLA. The King Cakes are piled up in all stores. Daily parades are starting to line up. Maybe the scale of the celebrations will be cut back a tad, but the full spirit will be there! Good ol' New Orleans!
When we were living there, I usually didn't make it to many parades, because of school. We went with Jack and Erica last year to Rex on Mardi Gras day. It was so fun! And we talked about going again together this year and grilling or something. Boohoo! Wish we could be there.
I'm a loser. I saved all my beads. Yea, we moved a big box of beads, so sue me. I'll make gumbo for my friends, but it won't be the same. There's nothing like living in the city, full of excitement, energy, and anticipation.
Actually I think it just now stopped. Over snowing for a solid 24 hours, we have about 2 feet of snow dumped on us. It's a lot of snow, and it's cold. Chris is having all the fun outside, because it is perfect snowfort weather. I'm inside with Ellis, who is probably a little young yet to fully appreciate it.
The sad part about having a snow day on a Sunday is that we're missing church. The pastor called around last night around 9 pm cancelling at least morning service, but from the looks of it, I doubt we'll be able to have evening service either. I hate not being able to go to church. It makes the week all funky.
UPDATE: We did have evening service. Yay!! It was so wonderful to come together for worship.
The snow is starting to come down more thickly. After a deliciously mild January, which felt more like a Louisiana winter, the inevitable has happened as the temperatures sink back down collecting the moisture into themselves and blowing down a white mist of quiet snow. I need to find my gloves and get a hat that matches the scarf I got for Christmas.
Earlier in the afternoon, I decided that if I was going to get qualitative thesis work done, I needed to leave the house. So I packed up computer, big bag of library books, and my Italian dictionary and headed out. I can usually find a nice corner in Starbucks to sink into my little world of the manuscript, and I was hoping that the impending snowstorm would keep the neighborhood quiet for a Saturday afternoon, but it was not to be.
After vying for a parking space, I hauled five tons of books down the sidewalk, stepping aside for a jogging mama pushing a sleeping baby in a stroller. I guess we each have our ways of getting a workout. I picked up a yummy sandwich of melty cheese and turkey on a Philly pretzel, grabbed a latte, and looked for a table and an outlet. Honing in on the one and only outlet I could find at Starbucks, it turned out not to be a viable option, too loose to keep a connection.
So I packed up all my stuff again, and hauled it all over to Border's, where I faced a similar dearth of outlets. What's up with that?! This is the laptop generation! Okay, maybe not all of us have fancy batteries to power their laptops, but still... I did find a outlet and after moving around a few tables, I got close enough so that people wouldn't trip over the cord and could still get by. But it was packed. It seemed that everybody in the world was having a Saturday outing before the snowstorm started.
After a few more table juggles, and a little bit of work done, I finally called it quits. There was just too many distractions, and the snow was starting to come down. I left with the haunting image of an author sitting behind a table full of copies of her new book, waiting in vain to sign and discuss with the reading public who sat drinking lattes in the cafe ignoring the new contribution to contemporary fiction.
I hope to get more work done this afternoon, but 4 o'clock eludes me. I need a nice cup of tea and either a little nap or a cookie.
Ellis has been a bit under the weather these past couple of days. Snotty, slightly feverish sometimes. I couldn't put him down at all Thursday night and for most of yesterday. He appeared dead asleep but would cry as soon as I set him down. Usually he goes down pretty easily, so I knew he wasn't himself. I basically slept sitting up holding him all Thursday night. And I watched TV a good bit of yesterday holding him so that he could sleep. (Sometimes it's really nice having a deaf kid.) Because he had a slight fever I gave him a little baby Tylenol. It allowed him to have a good nap yesterday afternoon, and that made all the difference. He woke up so much more himself. And after a slightly better night last night, a good nap this morning, he seems much more himself, though still pretty snotty. He just went down for his nap in his bed, thank goodness!, which is further sign of mend. I swear I feel bumps on his bottom gum. But maybe I have teething radars on too bright. He is drolling lots.
All that to say, I wasn't feeling exactly on top of my game to host a baby shower here last night for a friend at church. I had planned to make a big ol' cheesecake, which is simple and delicious. The drawback being the necessity to make it a day ahead of time in order to have adequate chilling time. Thursday passed and I still hadn't made a cheesecake, so what was I to do with all the cream cheese and needing to have a dessert prepared? Two options: 1. a grocery store cake. I'm not keen on that. 2. make a different dessert, preferably one involving cream cheese.
So I consulted the one and only epicurious.com, my vade mecum for all my culinary needs. I picked a dessert that was simple, involved cream cheese, and very yummy: Cream Cheese Pound Cake. Cream cheese, 6 eggs, no baking soda, and a two-hour bake time transformed a typical bundt cake into a creamy, fluffy, velvety goodness. I was practically lapping up the batter it was so good. Decorated simply with a dusting of powdered sugar, it was perfect for the occasion.
* On Sunday I was talking with my friend whose third baby was born two weeks before Ellis (hence, we go over there a lot to play). My friend said that the other day her 3 yr old daughter was playing that she was "the other Mrs. J0nes" and her baby doll was "baby Ellis". Haha! Thanks, D, I'm flattered.
* Some days getting spewed upon isn't cute anymore. Yesterday was one of those days. I used to think that mom's exagerrated a little when they talked about being covered with spit-up and drool all the time. Not so. Most of the time, I don't mind.
* Our minivan's CD player rocks.
* Ellis gets hearing aids today.
* Despite the fact that I'm woken up all night long, I still can't manage to get to bed before midnight...and sometimes well after....why is that? Sometimes I'm just goofing around.
* Ellis is getting up on hands and knees and rocking and rocking. It won't be long now, and he'll be unstoppable. He already gets a fair amount of distance moving by the inchworm method.
...for making chewy granola bars that don't taste like candy. That I can grab along with a desperate swipe for morning coffee, so that I can open my eyes and smile at my kid jumping cheerily in his exersaucer.
We've been enjoying these warm days. The thing is, though, it feels like January in Louisiana (well, slightly cooler, perhaps), so I just keep waiting for spring to start in a couple of weeks. Watch, it'll snow all February and March.
Yesterday Ellis and I took almost an hour's walk around the neigborhood. It's a nice place to walk. There are some old houses from the 1700's and some 1950's suburban delights, a lot of variety. Nice big, old trees. It almost feels like a park in some places. Ellis seems to enjoy the stroller more than he used to. He just looks and looks at everything.
We enjoyed the warm weather, but even more, we were killing time, because Daddy was home late. The reason he was coming home late was he was out doing some paperwork at the DMV, etc., because....
...somebody gave us a minivan!!
We had pretty much despaired of being able to afford a second car anytime in the near future, so when the call came from a friend who had friend looking to give the van to a good family, we were stunned, thankful (God just plopped this into our undeserving little laps!), and wow...we have a minivan. I must say, I never thought I would go looking for a minivan, being a wagon person myself, but now we have one, free. And it's in great shape! Now that we have one, I can see how useful it'll be for being able to hold the paraphanelia of traveling. (And once I get my cello functional again, it'll be so nice to have a big car for hauling that baby.) After driving around my 2 door, hatchback Civic, this is going to take some serious getting used to. Last night we drove it somewhere for the first time, and I kept saying, "I don't feel like we're in our car. I feel like I'm in my parent's car." I think I need to get some cool shoes or something to...uh...balance out the cool factor or something. But, wow, we have a minivan.
So today was spent in out-and-about goodness.
I took a huge load to the thrift store to donate. It feels SO good to have that stuff Gone. I also picked up a cheap Pack-n-Play to keep at my friend's house, since we're always popping over there, and don't always want to be dragging our main nice Pack-n-play around...sort of defeats the purpose of popping.
Then we went over to hang out with Ellis's peer group. Well, it was just one peer today. One who is a bit further along the crawling, sitting, climbing stage. Ellis is starting to inchworm across the floor, though. I think being around all the kids kind of overwhelmed him a bit, which is part of why I brought him. He hangs around us adults all the time. He needs KIDS. He took a great nap there, so we ended up leaving a bit later than I had intended, but it was so worth the nap.
Then we popped by aforementioned Popping Friend's house to look at her curtains that she came over here to make yesterday with fabulous bright red Ikea fabric. We had tea. Ellis rolled around on the floor.
THEN we went to pick up daddy who had to be at school late. (which is partly the reason for our galavanting--who wants to be home alone all the loooooong day?)
Then we got home, fed the boy, bathed, and it took him forever to settle down for sleep. i think he was overtired after a really stimulating day. We don't get out much.
the thing is, though: why am I so tired!? All I need was go from friend's house to friend's house. Sitting on their couches and chatting.
We need to get out more.
Okay. Tomorrow is major thesis work day.
What I miss about being an in-classes student is somebody handing me a schedule. I want my syllabus. I want somebody to tell me what to do and when.
So now I'm home alone again with the boy. School started for Chris today. Everyone is back at work.
I don't want to make resolutions because they sound too daunting...too much to live up to. But maybe I'll make myself a "syllabus".
A. Be more organized.
1. Create a schedule for the day
2. For me and the boy
3. Something more detailed than the vague "consistent routine"
4. Be showered, coffeed, and dressed by 9 am
5. Go to bed at decent time
B. Be more tidy
1. Make the bed every day
2. Pickup rooms every day
3. Attack the Desk Monster that wants to clutter up my desk every day while singing appropriate crusading song
4. Make sure the kitchen is clean before I go to bed, even if that requires nagging other people to do their part
C. Study more consistently
1. This thesis isn't going to get done on wisps of snagged time
2. Make a study plan for the next day before I go to bed at night
D. Play more
1. Directed play with Ellis
2. Including reading books and concentrated signing time (other than popping in the Signing Time DVD, though that helps)
E. Exercise more. Yea, yea.
Withdrawal from this course is not an option. Failure to maintain adequate progress according to the department standards (see Handbook) will result in frustration, a bad kid, and squalor.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!
now that my blog is reset to the correct timezone...something that didn't occur to me to do after moving from the central to the Eastern time zone this summer.
she said a wee bit tipsy...
As my sister observed this evening, Christmas isn't over until New Year's. Ok. I still have gifts to send, so that seems fair.
So the litany of the week's eventfulness:
Last Friday we went to the Italian market in S. Philly, popping Ellis into the backpack carrier and strolling in the warmish afternoon. I stopped at a fish market and got fare for our Christmas Eve supper. And we celebrated with crumbly cannoli and hot coffee.
Last Saturday, Christmas Eve, I spent hours churning out pasta for our Italian dinner. I made crab ravioli and fettucine with a shrimp sauce, and poached cod. (More on that later). Afterwards, we went to the Flaming Sock Puppet show at our friend's house. So hilarious.
Last Sunday, Christmas Day, was well...Sunday. We went to church and had people over for dinner. We did exchange gifts after evening service, though. It was a nice day.
Tues to Today, thursday we spent in Lancaster with my fam. On Tues evening my parents took us all out to eat (no small feat with 5 of us "kids", two spouses, and friend) and we did the gift thing with them that night, cheering for the dorm gifts to my college-bound youngest siblings. Today I laid on the couch and watched four episodes of Poirot while relatives doted on Ellis. Very pleasant and relaxing.
Perhaps more details and pics to follow.
Congratulations to blogging buddy, Kristen on the birth of their new daughter, Lexi. She blogged about less than 2 hours after giving birth. Now that's what I call dedication, folks. ;-)
Ellis just went down for a nap. Chris is off loading a moving truck for a church family. I'm still in my robe, sipping lukewarm coffee. I should either go take a shower, wrap some more gifts, do more projects that desperately finishing and getting in the mail, start some cookie dough, or go to sleep. Instead I think I'll write in my neglected blog while i finish my coffee.
I started out the month actually being somewhat organized, but that has since unraveled royally and I can't seem to get anything finished. So, I'll just have to face it. Some people just aren't going to get their gifts on time. I'm sorry about that, but at the same time, it's not like school. I'm not going to let the Dec. 25 deadline kill me, you know? For the kids, it matters, and they're the priority. But for adults, they can live if they get their gift on the 27th. I'm all about enjoying the holiday. Actually, it's really convenient, because my family all together is celebrating on the 29th when my sister and her husband come, so I have a little extra time there.
Last week, I spent scrubbing the house, although this week you'd never know. *sigh* But I did do some deep-cleaning, so that we could freely invite people in over the holidays and not have to close off certain portions of the house. It took over three hours, but I scrubbed and waxed the kitchen floor. I went through 3 SOS pads doing it, too.
On Tuesday, I had to take a break and run to the library. I needed to turn a thesis topic before the end of the semester. I'm writing about a 17th c manuscript in Local Fab Univ's rare book lib. It's full of alphabets, calendars, tables, and the last 12 folios are charts of music theory. It's kind of interesting...like someone's personal reference book. Of course, I'm interested in the music part, but also as part of the larger context of the whole manuscript. So it was fun to go spend some time with it. And I'm deeply indebted to Chris's best friend who babysat for me. I had to go in the day, when the rare book lib was open, and C still had school. It was kind of last-minute, and I felt bad askign his friend, who was studyign to take the GRE today, but there was nothing else to do, and he loves Ellis tons and was happy to do it. I was gone for just over 4 hours, and Ellis miraculously slept for almost 3 of those. I'm so thankful! So I don't know what's more exciting...getting to look at the ms or the fact that Ellis slept for so long.
Sleeping? How's it going? I don't know. Well, he goes down to sleep so much better than a month ago. So there is progress. In fact, now I think he goes to sleep better if he's not being held. I put him down in his crib (yes, we've recently graduated from the Pack'n'Play thanks to C's Nana), and even though I have to stand there and hold him down so he doesn't go rolling around, he goes to sleep pretty quickly, sometimes with minor protestations, but often he just closes his eyes and that's it. It's definitely improved our evening life.
Now, STAYING asleep is another matter. He still wakes up about every 2-3 hours at night. But he doesn't really wake up. He's disturbed and crying but he clearly still wants to be asleep; his eyes are still closed. Usually I nurse him and he goes back to sleep no problem. Though occasionally, like last night, he still just can't seem to settle. He wants to be asleep and is frustrated. So I'm standing there by the crib for like an hour, holding him down. The teething tablets have helped soothe, too. Nighttime overall, though, is just nursing every 3 hours. I'm tired. Maybe that's why I feel like everything around me is unraveling. When you have your newborn infant, you think, I can do this for a few months, and then he'll start sleeping through the night. But when it's six months later, and you still can't get a chunk of sleep longer than 3 hours, then certain things start going out the window....like completed to-do lists.
I guess if he's hungry maybe that's why he won't settle? He sure does eat a lot. I nurse about 3 hours during the day, too, and now he eats about 3 meals of solids a day, too! I feed him rice cereal, applesauce, carrots, sweet potatoes, you know the routine (except, I have this funny feeling he doesn't really like bananas...hmm. Maybe I should try them again now that a couple of weeks have passed since their last rejection). I've been doing the ice-cube tray thing, and it's been a lot of fun to shop for fruit and veggies and plan food for him. He eats tons, opening his mouth wide like a little bird. He can easily gobble down 3-4 ozs of food or more in one sitting...three times a day! In addition to nursing. And he's not even crawling yet. I'm glad he's a good eater, though. We love good food, and it's fun to think of sharing that with Ellis.
Okay, this post is turning into all things Ellis.
Chris's Christmas break started yesterday. He has a week and a half...stupid high school, wish it were longer. It's nice to have him home. We've been reorganizing. I sure couldn't do it alone, because I'd lose track of what I was doing. Well, I better go do something productive. Maybe I'll actually make cookies today. I do have peppermint bark on my list this year. It looks SO easy, and I love it, so we'll see if it actually happens.
You could get me an iPod. Or one of Katie's. Or you could one of Katie's pods for someone else. They are way cool. I love them. My goal is to spend about $5-10 a person (except my husband) for Cmas, so maybe I can purchase some for next year. The best I can do for now is promote them. LOOOK AT THE COOL PODS!
It's true. That place ROCKS!!!!
I left the boy at home, and my friend Em and I headed over there and stayed for four hours! I think we walked every inch of that store. Surprisingly, given the time of year it is, it was kind of dead. The salesguy who helped us said that it often happens this time of year as people make their way to malls with more stores available. If I could afford a little bit more than homemade, I seriously could've done all my shopping at Ikea, and I did buy a few gifts. I don't know what those people are about.
And it's true. It IS inexpensive! I couldn't believe it! I got a kitchen rug for THREE BUCKS!
And what's more. Ikea has FABRIC. And even more...that fabric was on sale for $1.99 a yard. Nice, thick stuff in bright colors. I'll bet Em and I spent just an hour at the fabric counter. It helps that our salesguy was really interesting to talk to, too. We kept talking and talking about fabric, sewing, Ikea in Sweden, Sofia Coppola movies, and then would be like oh yea, how many yards did I want?. He was great, he gave us at least 4 inches more than what we asked for and threw in a free hunk of fabric for me because there was a tiny stain on the very edge.
Em got stuff for tablecloths and curtains. I just stuck to tablecloths, since we still don't know where we'll finally end up. It's hard to buy fabric for curtains when you don't have windows or wall color to go with them. Besides Ikea and their wonderful fabric will always be there. And I'm determind to get better at sewing, because it's just cool.
Then, wrestling with an over-laden cart, dying of thirst, and hobbling on aching feet, we made it to the end. I stopped at the food market and got Swedish treats for my Swedish granny.
On Thursday I went to Lancaster for a couple of days to hang out at my parents and work on C'mas projects. Friday was a snow day...Yay! (haven't had one of those in awhile)...so my sister was home, playing with Ellis so I could sew. She was fabulous! She was even able to get him asleep for his naps.
My mom has a great attic full of fabric remnants, a lot of which came from my great-g'ma's attic. So included are some really awesome now vintage fabrics. It was way fun to go through. But I still have loads left to make on my to-do list. My big project over the weekend was aprons. For someone so untalented as me at sewing, it's an easy thing to make, so I made cute aprons for my Curly-Headed friends. I'll post a picture when I'm done, because they're so adorable (if I do say so myself)!!
It felt fun and Christmasy. Thick snow glistening white outside. Jazzy Christmas music inside. I don't really like to sew, though. I always like the idea of sewing, but I get impatient with it when I sit down to do it. I would rather do something complicated with food. Like make ravioli from scratch. But at least I had fun picking out fabric and coming up with cute designs.
I also had to laugh about my Christmas music fare lately. I've been a sucker for jazzy Christmas music. Last year we were given a Christmas CD from teh Verve label, and I just love it. I soak in Winter Wonderland and Rudolph like it was the best thing ever! But then I think hey, isn't this like mall Christmas music? Hmm. Growing up we listened to more of the Robert Shaw/John Rutter variety of C'mas music, branching out into folk varieties as the years passed. But when I was little we weren't allowed to sing Santa songs or "Jingle bells, batman smells..." (C'mon, Mom! *grin*) So now I'm like cool! Winter Wonderland is the best! Because I'm so sick of John Rutter's boys crooning the descant to "O Come, All Ye Faithful." What would make me super, duper happy is to get a recording of Louis Armstrong singing "Christmastime in New Orleans." In previous years, I depended on the radio, but I really need a copy of my own. Just one more thing to make me miss NOLA.
yep, it's C'mas list time. I'm making lists, lists, lists...gifts to get and shopping ideas for us.
I may add to this list as I think of things.
I'm looking for creative, nice homemade gift ideas.
The nice thing about grandmothers spread out geographically is that you can give them framed pictures of your adorable child for C'mas.
In honor of this year's first snow, here is a link to last year's snowflake tutorial. (I'm still messing with stylesheets, so bear with my archives if they look wonky.)
congratulations to the Wiegerses on the safe arrival of baby Alice!!! She's so beautiful.
So we have one more trip to round out this season of travels. Tomorrow Ellis and I are flying to Atlanta to my sister-in-law's for Thanksgiving where the rest of the relatives will (or have already) convene for the festivities. I'm excited to see people and for Ellis to meet some more of the his relatives, but honestly, traveling isn't up there on my wild desires list.
In fact, even though I love making holidays festive, I'm ambivalent about whether or not I spend them with family. I enjoy it if I happen to be spending them with family, but I'm not crushed if I'm not. (I mean extended family. Our little nucleus of Chris, me, and Ellis is must.) About halfway through college, I decided I wasn't going to kill myself with holiday travel and thoroughly enjoyed Tday with friends. And about two years ago, Chris and I decided we weren't going to kill ourselves with holiday travel and began staying home for C'mas. But now we live by our families, and that is nice. But part of me wants to curl away at B&B for the holidays just the three of us. And there's my convoluted psychology of the holidays. I'll tell you what I'm looking forward to: the flaming sock puppet show at Christmas Eve with friends.
I am very tired today. Usually I'm tired, but sometimes I'm very tired, and today is one of those days. Even though in many respects my day yesterday was rejuvenating as Chris did some daddy-duty and let me go to Starbucks on my own, I must not have rested well (or as well as I could have considering the circumstances) last night, because I've been dragging all day.
It was a good Sabbath, nevertheless. My mom and sister and friends from church came for dinner. Everyone helped. Yay! Not having had a nap, though, I was desperately tired by evening service. Chris isn't doing much better. My friend was keeping nursery and said hey, just leave Ellis. he's fine. (We don't usually leave him.) So I did. The sermon was food for the soul. And even though I'm bodily tired, I'm refreshed. So, thanks, friend, for keeping Ellis in the nursery!
Now I'm waiting on laundery. Gotta pack...again. (chills to think what this trip is going to do to my week of sleep-training... *sigh*)
I miss New Orleans.
I miss driving down Nashville to Magazine and turning left and then zipping a right hand turn to the parking lot of the Whole Foods dodging potholes along the way. I miss the plane trees that I passed in front of the house on Nashville somewhere between St. Charles and Magazine. They were the only ones that would get really "fall-y". The leaves would die and waft down to the ground, crackling and rustling as I drove by.
Every time I passed the leafless tree limbs that reminded me that fall was in progress in other parts of the world, the sound that came into my head was Miles Davis's Kind of Blue. To me that is the sound of New Orleans in the fall...not red, not yellow, just kind of blue.
Mere days after it was announced that Rudy Schmidt had leukemia, he has gone to heaven. Yesterday, mrscrumley wrote of happy homecomings. How much happier this one must be!
To me Mr. Schmidt belonged to the category of People who Never Die, so I'm still trying to process it. I really wish I could go to the funeral.
If I could just take a snapshot picture of a memory of 'Uncle' Rudy, it would be sitting in their living room with big windows overlooking the bluff eating popcorn on a Sunday evening. It symbolizes their hospitality, care, and warmth. We would probably be talking about Cono or Covenant, their love for Christian education...and more, for serving Christ.
We came home from Florida on Saturday. Ellis was a bit fussier on the plane back, but still overall, a very good traveler. Thankfully, it's warm here, making the transition back to North from sunny sub-tropical a little easier. I gazed longingly as the palm trees faded into tinyness on the ground below.
On Friday morning, Ellis spent an hour at the beach. It was his first trip to the beach. I had a lot of good times at this beach with my grandma when I was little, playing in the waves, collecting shells, watching the sun set, and eating ice cream cones from McDonald's. He won't remember it, but it was nice for me to take Ellis there on Friday morning.
I remember the excitement of driving to the beach, getting closer and closer, until you could finally catch a glimpse of the water over the sand and between the buildings. And then walking around the corner of the bordwalk to see the sand stretch out in front of you. This is the part where you take of your shoes and run wildly in the sand down to the water's edge.
With Ellis on my front and my bag on my back there was no wild running this time, though I was inside. I walked Ellis down to the water's edge. I didn't know how he'd react to the water and everything. I dangled his feet in the edge of the surf and let him feel the wet sand between his toes. He didn't grin or giggle or anything. He's probably too young yet, but he did look and look. We sat there and watched the waves and the birds. I was disappointed we didn't see any pelicans. But lots of gulls, terns, and sandpipers. I bent down to pick up a flat shell for his baby book and then began finding all sorts of beautiful shells, including a whole sand dollar about two inches in diameter.
We walked along for a bit. I thought he might be interested in looking at the birds, but no, what he really loved to look at was our shadow, etched finely in the sand by the late morning sun. And in the warmth of the Florida sun and the rhythm of our walk, he fell asleep.
This afternoon I got up from my nap and walked into the kitchen where I saw my grandma mopping the floor! I scolded her, I came all this distance, and you're mopping the floor when I could? I took the mop from her and finished up the bathroom floors, too, and she laughed a little sheepishly.
In her early 20's my grandma had a car accident and broke her neck. She's been paralyzed on the left side ever since. While paralyzed she raised my dad single-handedly, taught first grade for a hundred years, lived by herself, did yard work, and kept the attic from gaining old-people clutter. Over the past ten years she's gone from starting to use a cane regularly to a walker and now to a motorized wheelchair. She's done physical therapy to retain as much movement as possible and recently had to have surgery on her spine. She's now packing up her home and selling it and moving into my great-uncle's house in Pensacola where she'll have her own bedroom and bathroom and thermostat. My other great-aunt and uncle have been here since her surgery about a month ago helping her pack up, and I'm doing the best I can to cheer and to help. The baby definitely helps on the cheer factor.
So why is my grandma mopping her kitchen floor? I had to laugh a bit to myself, because I see so much of myself in her. She's independent and a bit stubborn, though not obnoxiously so, at least I don't think so. When I came into the kitchen this afternoon, it's like it hadn't occurred to her that somebody else could do it. She saw the floor and set about it. Sometimes I offer to do something and she'll say, "it's allright, i've got it." and she does and doesn't mind. But sometimes she'll let me help and make job lists. If I say, "it's allright, I've got it." She'll let me alone to "get it." I get grumpy the way she gets grumpy. I laugh hysterically about the same things she laughs hysterically. When I was seven and visited her for three weeks, we had an ongoing joke about going berserk that we would just laugh and laugh over. We even look like each other! It's nice to have one person in the world that you get and that gets you in that unique way. She wants to die and go to heaven, weary of this world's pain. It makes me a little sad.
Phwew! After trying since ... oh, just last night...well, it felt like forever!.... I'm now online at my grandma's house. It's the first time I've ever used a computer in this house, much less get online. Technology never felt so good!
Ellis and I arrived safely late in the afternoon yesterday. He did great on the airplane...his first plane ride! (pictures forthcoming) I'm so thankful Ellis is such an easy-going, easy traveling kid, because I sure don't deserve it! I really like to travel, so I'm glad he does, too.
Actually flying alone was a whole lot easier than conferencing alone. I was a little thrown off, however, by the quick turn-around time between one trip and the next. And feeling slightly anxious about flying with the boy, though, by all appearances, not anxious enough, as I realized halfway to the airport during rush hour traffic that I had left my printout of flight plans on the kitchen table and I couldn't even remember the airline I was flying!! (At least I had looked at the time the night before, so I would know when to leave in the morning.) Well, I remembered that I when I bought my ticket, I was trying to decide between USAirways and American Airlines. I figured I must've chosen American, because everyone complains about USAir. So I had my MIL drop me off at American. Since I had all the baby gear, I was going to go the curbside checkin route. But...wrong...they had no 10.55 flight. But before I decided to trek over to USair in another terminal, I wanted to be sure it was USair, so I pulled out my computer and tried to find the confirmation email, but I couldn't find it, so I sheepishly called my g'ma to whom I had given basic flight info. And then trekked over to USair. When I got there, the curbside guy couldn't find me in the system, so I went in to the self checkin, and voila, no problem. Thankfully! After that it was pretty easy. People were nice and helpful, especially getting through security, and it was a slow time of day.
So now here I am in warm, sunny Florida. I should be missing Philly, at the height of colored leaves season, but truth be told, I'm not. I'm just happy to be wearing my flipflops.
When I checked the weather map this morning, there was this strip of green and yellow over my part of Pennsylvania. That means it's raining, which a glance out of the window confirms. BUT there is a white/pink strip over western PA, and an email from my sister, living outside of Pittsburgh, saying that it snowed 2 1/2 in of thick, wet, heavy snow and they made snowmen. One year ago, I was wearing shorts.
I love Bjork! We borrowed a couple of CDs that we don't own, and I've been listening to the same ones over and over and over. What I love about Bjork is that it's not the first time you listen to the CD that you love it, but about the 4th time. Every CD has its own unique sound. I love the way she experiments with different sounds and different combinations of instruments and voices. I'm listening to Vespertine for about the tenth time in two days.
I'm preparing to go to a conference in DC from Thurs-Sat. I'm not presenting (this one is too major league for me doing that at the moment). But I am organizing some stuff for students. I'm really looking forward to it. I always have fun at this annual conference. I'm bringing Ellis, so that should be interesting. I'm a little nervous about how I'll manage. Chris is going to come help me on Saturday.
Ellis is just not sleeping! He goes down for his late morning nap okay, but other afternoon naps? nope. bedtime? nope. About the only way he'll really go to sleep is by nursing, and sometimes if I try to put him down after that he'll wake up. The past few nights he'll go to bed around 9.30-10.00 and sleep for 45 mins and then be up again until midnight-1am. Sometimes he stirs again at 4.30, but usually I just put the pacifier back in and he settles again. Then he wants to eat around 6 am. I try just putting him down, but he flips himself over, which wakes himself up. I've even sat there and held him down so that he won't flip. Sometimes that works, sometimes not. And he won't sleep in his new position after flipping. This has been going on for like a month. Why won't he go to sleep? he's tired enough. I think I'm goign to try to pick up a copy of No Cry Sleep Solution while I'm out running errands, because, baby, I'm tired.
Chris has been great about spelling me out in the afternoons sometimes. I go to Starbucks for an hour and do a little work, which is so refreshing. He stays at home and bounces the baby.
We actually did something horribly cool and grownup on Saturday. I got a nice haircut on Saturday so was feeling fabulous. In the evening, we left Ellis with Grammy and went and sat at the bar at the Chestnut Hill hotel. He drank Scotch and I had a gin and tonic, and we were grownups talking to eachother.
I could really use a Starbucks latte about now.
There hasn't been much blogging going on in my brain. Often when I'm going through my day, I'll think, oh, i'll blog this or that. It usually doesn't get from the brain to the blog, but at least I'm thinking about what to write. I haven't really thought much about what to write. I've been sort of in a funk lately. But I think I get like that when the season changes, even if I'm enjoying the seasonal change.
Thankfully, last Monday it stopped raining, so it's been a lovely autumnal week, that's progressively getting cooler. It's raining again today, but I don't think we'll have a week's worth of rain as before.
I went to the thrift store on Wednesday and got a couple things for me. But more importantly got an exersaucer thing for Ellis for $6! After nearly sandblasting the crud off of it, it looks almost new. It's in great condition, and he is in love with it! Squealing and cooing its praises. The moment we set him down in it, his face just lit up. I'll have to post a picture later.
On Tuesday i wrote that he wasn't reaching and grabbing yet, but on Tuesday evening, he proved me a liar. He was figuring it out all day, and by evening he was a solid grabber. Now he's working on object grabbed to the mouth thing.
I'm really getting into that show The Apprentice...it's like corporate Survivor. Though I think I prefer the Marth Stewart Apprentice better than the Donald Trump one.
Well, better do something constructive.
I'm doing something I've never really done before. I'm conducting a performance. Sure, I've taken conducting class and can do it in theory, but I've never really done it in practice.
For Christmas, our church is doing a few numbers from Messiah, with whoever wants to participating. At first I was dubious, but I showed up at the first rehearsal last week to sing in the choir, I was impressed at the level of talent our smallish congregation could muster. From the congregation, we have a little orchestra comprised of 3 violins, 2 flutes, and 1 (2?) cellos, along with keyboard accompaniment. And, from what I can tell, about 15 voice choir, pretty evenly spaced throughout the parts. The two soloists are really great. The only thing they lacked was a conductor. So I though, hey, I've had conducting class, I could basically sing Messiah in my sleep, a challenge would be nice, and even if I'm just up there beating the beat, that's better than nothing, so I volunteered.
Yesterday was my first time in rehearsal, and I must say, I thought it went pretty well. I can tell where I definitely need to improve myself, but I felt encouraged by how it went--more than even just conducting, the whole leading a rehearsal thing, too.
So here's to new challenges and experiences!
Yesterday the hot water heater broke and the water had to be turned off. With uncertain predictions of the time frame in which it would be fixed, I decided to escape the madness. (Besides, I didn't get a shower, and that makes me super grumpy. *alas*) Ellis and I bundled up into the car and made our down the turnpike in the rain to Lancaster.
It's cold and soggy, but we found warmth and respite there. We sat in front of my parents' cozy fireplace on comfy couches, people reading books and making light chit-chat, eating warm gingersnaps right out of the oven, letting the rain fall outside in the dark.
It was so cozy that Ellis slept incredibly well. Probably better than ever. He usually falls asleep in the early evening, but then wakes up and fusses for a couple of hours until 11 or midnight before falling asleep for the night. Except for stirring briefly a couple of times, Ellis slept from early evening until about 9.30 in the morning. Go baby!
But we missed daddy and the water is working again, so we trekked back along the water-logged turnpike and came home.
This weekend was all about getting around and the rain and having difficulties with both.
On Friday, Ellis had his first train ride as we took Septa into center city to visit the library at University of Pennsylvania. It's actually the first time I've taken Septa alone, too, so I was a little unsure about things. But I figured out my route and what line to take beforehand and thought it would be pretty straightforward, as I have had no real difficulties managing public transportation systems in other cities and in other countries. Since it threatened rain and I was unfamiliar with it all, I decided to just carry Ellis in the Bjorn and not even bother with the stroller, even though after about 5 hours my back and shoulder were killing me. I am glad I didn't have the stroller to deal with. Getting down to Penn was no problem and except for the fact that I started going down the street out of the station in the wrong direction (which I quickly righted when I realized, hey! I don't want to cross this river!), everything was easy. I visited with someone I know at Penn and she took me around the library, which was very helpful, and I photocopied a song as my contribution to Erica's thesis.
By this point, I thought for sure Ellis would be hungry, and I sure was! So I went into a Starbucks to get me some sustenance and to find a place to nurse (since it was drizzling outside). The Starbucks was packed out!! University students seeking solace on a dreary Friday afternoon. I couldn't blame them, but I was left high and dry. So I figured it wasn't drizzling too much and got situated at a park bench, and no sooner did I get Ellis untangled from the Bjorn, it started to really rain. Aack! Back into the Bjorn! I decided the best thing to do was to scurry off to the train station. He wasn't fussing yet, anyway.
According the train schedule I had printed out, I would have to wait about 45 mins for the next one I wanted to take. So I settled down and Ellis fell asleep before I had a chance to feed him. I drank my coffee and he slept and slept. After awhile he woke up, I fed him just a little, because I didn't know when my trian would be coming (soon, surely!) and I was going to use the half hour train ride to feed him. Other trains kept coming through, but I doggedly waited for the line I had planned to take. When it arrived, an hour and a half later, it was only going into center city, so I had to transfer anyway. I have no idea what happened to the schedule I had, because what was happening didn't match it. I waited for about a half hour in center city during peak hours. The place is packed, train times keep changing, I found two possible lines i could take, and waited for the earliest possible time. Ellis still hadn't eaten and had a poopy diaper. I didn't know where to change him and was afraid to leave me post since times were changing. Finally, we got on the right train and got home safe and sound, three hours after I had expected. Ellis did so great!! I was so proud of him. He went a long time without eating and didn't even complain. He just looked and looked at everything going on gooing and zerberting at the people around him. And now I understand the ways of Septa better, and I'm sure it'll go much more smoothly next time.
On Saturday morning, I was really tired out, but I had planned to pick up a lady from church and we were going to Beadfest, like a huge bead tradeshow. I looked up her address in the directory, google-mapped directions, and set off. But I was so tired I had read "jenkintown rd" instead of "jarrettown rd", which put me at a very different part of town. I called Chris who gave me new directions, but I heard the wrong exit, so there I was lost again! It took me two hours to get to this lady's house when it should've taken 15 mins!! I felt so stupid, because I'm normally really good with directions. And, of course, it's raining the whole time. I only stayed at Beadfest for a little bit. It was cool, but I just didn't have time, money, or energy to spend there. I left Ellis at home with a bottle (I finally went out and bought a pump last week), and he took it fine, so I was relieved on that account, because this could really free up some library time for me in the near future.
In the afternoon we set off to go to Lancaster for my mom's bday. I had made a pumpkin cheesecake. Mmmm. It was still raining. At one of the travel plazas along the turnpike we got our ritual Starbucks and shortly thereafter crawled in traffic due to an accident. Finally we got off the turnpike, and no sooner did we set out on our country road, we were diverted, probably due to the swollen river, we then proceeded to try to avoid. So here we are driving all over up and down this ridge, around and around. Water is just streaming down this mountain and rocks are everywhere. Some guy gave us directions to get back on the right track. I couldn't remember which direction he said to turn for the final turn. I thought it was right, so we turned right, and I called my mom to double check on the map for us, but she thought we were further down and said, no, we should've turned left, so we turned around and drove for awhile, but it wasn't looking right, so we called again, and we were heading in the wrong direction, so we backtracked again, and eventually got back on track. It took us three and half hours to take a trip that is normally just over an hour.
We had a nice evening celebrating my mom's birthday. My aunt and uncle were there and friends from church.
Our trip home was only minorly hampered by a detour probably due to flooding on the road we were taking, a road we were on to avoid possible flooding on a different road. Phwew!! We made it home in one piece!!
But I've had enough adventures for a little while!!
When you move to a new place, there's a period of mourning involved. Nothing is familiar in the new place; every time you turn around, you're faced with the reality of what the place is not.
I miss my old Whole Foods on Magazine St. (if it's still even there any more). I miss Friday evening grocery shopping, the huge row of bulk items, the loud annoying cheese counter manager, and the helpful fish counter guys peering over piles of huge, whole Gulf shrimp. I miss the islands of pre-made food, the wine aisle, and baskets of Louisiana strawberries. I miss the impossible parking lot. I miss the funky Magazine St people and the privileged Uptowners. I miss all those instant soups that never worked out for me.
After dropping Chris and my mother-in-law at their respective places of work, Ellis and I went to the Whole Foods around here. It's not the same, not as fun. But the aisles breathed of familiarity, and I went down every one of them gazing at familiar labels. I picked up a couple things I needed to make pumpkin cheese cake for my mom's birthday and then grabbed a few 365 Whole Foods brand favorites, like raspberry soda and blue corn tortilla chips. I also got some natural vitamins and a whole wheat triple berry muffin for my drive home.
Last Saturday we went to New Jersey to hang out with some friends who were up here in exile. They are supposed to return to their French Quarter apartment in New Orleans today. Hoping all goes well for them. They took us to a lovely park along the Delaware River, a former lookout point protecting the river during the War for Independence. On the other side of the river, we could see I-95 heading towards the airport over to the left, and towards Philadelphia, who skyline we could just see on the right. It was a lovely, cool day. We grilled hamburgers, and Ellis ate his fingers. I noted to myself that Canada geese flew overhead, not pelicans.
Last spring, Chris and I were walking around the park in New Orleans, getting a bit of exercise and fresh air to our brains cobwebbed by books and study. I looked up and moving around behind a fence were several giraffes. We walked over and watched them for awhile. I love watching giraffes. The way they move is like ballet with their long, graceful limbs in carefully controlled movements.
The park we were in was Audubon Park. It is very large, hosting a 2 mile track around a golf course, soccer fields by the river, and the Audubon Zoo, which is the lovliest zoo I've ever been to. One walks through various habitats as if walking into another part of the world, spotting exotic animals nestled in their familiar vegetation.
After the hurricane hit, I wondered what happened to the zoo, but never at convenient times. So, I'm thinking about it now. Apparently, the zoo and its inhabitants are fine. An alligator was missing, a pair of otters died, and, other than traumatized animals, that is about it. However, the aquarium, also a dazzling place, suffered a huge loss of life when power supply failed. Most of their fish died, and some animals are now housed at the zoo, including the white alligator.
I feel like I should defend that the blankets he is on aren't as fluffy as they look in the picture. He's sort of pulled up the edge.
Blah. I have my first cold as a mom. I'm miserable. So far Ellis seems fine. We've had a snuggly day.
My former roomie Grace came to visit me this weekend. Hence the blog hiatus. We had a great time, but it felt faster than her other visits.
Ellis turned 3 months five days ago. I feel like I should say something. Maybe I still will. The big thing, though, is that he is rolling over. It's so cute. Except when he wakes himself up doing it. Well, it still is cute. I stood over his bed at 4.30 am last night. I couldn't bear picking him up even though he was fussing, because he was almost there, and ta-da he did it! The look on his face. Ha! like what just happened? and why can I see you now?
He's been kind of fussy lately...not sleeping well, drooling buckets, and nursing lots. Sound like teething to you? But he's only 3 months!! I haven't seen any sign of teeth, but my motto with this child from the day he decided to be born (4 weeks early) is "expect the unexpected".
*sniffle, sneeze* I'm going back to bed.
This past week and today have been absolutely gorgeous! At first, it felt weirdly cool, but I'm getting used to it. It feels like November in New Orleans, but it's only approaching autumn up here. I can still wear flip-flops at any rate, and that makes me happy.
Chris and I went to a rummage sale at a local Episcopal church this morning. We don't really have anything in the way of winter clothes. So I scored some good sweaters. I'm going to be so cold. There's another sale at another Episcopal church next Saturday, so we'll see what may come of that. I want to get a light fleecy, jacket kind of thing for Ellis for cool mornings and evenings, but so far, no luck, so I may just try Old Navy's clearance rack. I got him the cutest little pair of jeans (size 3-6 mo) there for 97 cents a few weeks ago.
Last night we sat on the side of a hill in the grass in the shadow of the late afternoon sun watching a high school girls soccer match. Some of C's students are on the team. They waved at us.
This afternoon I made cookies for the first time since last Christmas.
I fit into a pair of cool, red pants that I got at a thrift store two months ago and didn't fit into then.
I was monitoring Katrina and her aftermath with quite a lot of vigor, but dropped off, because it was so sad. Now the news is full of dead bodies and pointing fingers.
This came my way (thanks, mom2) and brought a smile to my face:
8:45 A.M. - PARIS (AP): Two centuries after France sold the Louisiana Territory and what we now know as New Orleans to the U.S., many French remember the historic connection as they offer hurricane aid.
In 1803, Napoleon sold the vast territory to an eager United States so he could focus his attention on conquering Europe.
Now, the French government has shipped in food and supplies, and well-wishers have offered lodging, student loans, money and sympathy.
In a spontaneous show of support, the French city of Orleans, about 70 miles south of Paris, is collecting contributions, organizing a jazz concert and planning other financial aid.
France's support takes on extra significance at a time when the two nations have been working to restore ties strained over differences about Iraq.
And last night on the radio I heard that Mexico was sending some relief aid...the first ever in Mexico's history to send relief to the U.S.
In some ways, I think this is a good thing. It's a way for a proud country to be humbled a little bit, and humility never hurt anyone.
Our friends came to visit from Maine. It was so fun to see them again!
They arrived on Saturday night, and on Sunday morning Russell (our former pastor in New Orleans) baptized Ellis and preached. It was very special to have him there. My parents came up from Lancaster with my brother and sister, and my aunt and uncle were passing by on the way up to visit my cousin, so it was nice that they could be there.
After the morning service we stayed for big ol' potluck. And then after evening service we had Ellis Baptism Bash and invited like everyone and their brother. I think around 60 people came. We cooked big vats of red beans and rice and gumbo. Louisiana dishes are exotic and exciting to these northeast folks.
On Monday we chilled and grilled for Labor Day. Alison and I took the Curly-Heads to the park. And we had a fun time visiting all day.
On Tuesday, I took them into center city to see the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. This was like my first huge outing with Ellis. I haven't really used the stroller much, since he likes his front carrier so well, but I busted it out then, and I must say, I love my stroller! So maneuverable and very light...I could carry it myself up and down stairs. I've since been taking nice walks around the neighborhood.
We had such a nice visit with our friends. It meant a lot to have them here. We sure do miss them!
It's getting cold here. It's so chilly in the mornings and evenings. The leaves are looking tired. There's a red tinge on sumacs. I'm nervous about the cold weather. I'm going to be hitting thrift stores and rummage sales soon, because I don't have cold weather clothes.
Ellis is doing great. I have an appointment with an Early Intervention team to come out to the house to evaluate his hearing stuff. He's really getting into his Winnie-the-Pooh mobile that hangs over the changing table. He smiles at it and talks to it. It's hilarious. Even if he's fussy, and I put him down underneath it, he just starts smiling at his buddies.
Chris started teaching this week. It's weird not to be going to class. I'm trying to find my groove again with my work. Yesterday it hit me dude! I'm like a stay-at-home-mom! Wearing jeans and taking walks with the stroller. Guess my day had to come sometime. The idea is, though, working on my diss while staying at home with il bambino.
After days of watching the news in horror and crying and crying, I couldn't take anymore. I haven't turned on the TV or looked at pictures today. I just can't bear it. I've heard from friends. They're safe. My nurse friend and her husband have left now. Please pray for our one friend, David, who is a New Orleans policeman and in the thick of it. Thankfully, his family's home is on the west bank and only had light damage in comparison, no flooding.
Today Ellis and I went with Chris to school to help him set up his classroom. He's teaching American literature and history. I'm making a huge timeline for his bulletin board. Timelines are my favorite. In the evening we went to a teacher picnic.
Ellis is getting baptized on Sunday. Our former pastor from New Orleans who now lives in Maine is coming down with his family to do the honors. I can't wait to see them, especially now after this disaster.
I know that there is a lot I don't know or understand about such things, but my gutteral cry why is help taking so freakin' long to get there!?!?!
People think I'm exagerrating when I say that New Orleans is basically Third World.
Well, the host on CNN made the comment that what we're seeing there now with all the looting is what one would expect from a developing world country. It's not an exagerration. I was not surprised at all.
The people were not homeless (now they are, as everyone else). They're poor. (Not to condone the looting or anything. I'm just not surprised.)
The poverty in the city is staggering. It upsets me so much that the areas with the worst flooding--the 9th Ward and St Bernard Parish--are some of the poorest. Is this a coincidence? Now they have even less.
I haven't followed the news so closely since 9/11. I'm looking at all the water in disbelief.
What's been interest is all the blog coverage. I've been reading the following updates:
Irish Trojan. This guy doesn't seem to have a personal connection to NOLA, but is good at gathering news bits.
Livejournal New Orleans. At this point mostly people asking for info.
WWL (local TV station). They have live streaming on the website (if your internet connection allows), which has been playing a lot of helicopter footage. This has been nice, because locals who actually know the area and can tell you what you're looking at are narrating (as opposed to the quick video clips of generic New Orleans that CNN and the like have been playing). They probably have the most frequently updated blog.
CNN has also sent out a couple of staff bloggers who are reporting from the Gulfport/Biloxi area.
So looks like mainstream media is taking advantage of this whole "blogging thing".
My friend who is a nurse said that they are safe and dry still this morning at Children's Hospital, but they were beginning to fear looters. Hopefully that is under control there. (Where in the world do these guys think they are going to take this stuff?! I'm just appalled.) She said they were predicting about 3 feet of water by this evening. (I'm telling you, New Orleans doesn't flood evenly.)
Oh yea, and we got new Philly-area cell phone numbers...check your email. If you want it, and didn't get it, leave a comment.
The blues song "When the Levee Breaks" keeps playing in my head.
A levee at the lake has been breached. It's right near the home of some of our good friends. They have a two-story place, so I hope at least the second stays dry. They are at one of the hospitals where she is a nurse and were safe when we talked to them last night.
I just feel like crying. I can't believe we just moved away from there!
Looking at all the pictures, though, it is still hard to know how to interpret the flooding. There are parts of the city more prone to flooding than others. Of course, they'll show the worst flooded parts on the news. So let's say the whole city floods, one part could have 18 feet of water, and it's very reasonable for another to only have 8. Where we used to live never flooded. During tropical storms somebody on the news would be standing thigh-deep in water, while we barely had any sidewalk puddles.
With a levee breaking, though, the flooding has got to be incredible. Water pouring in to flood the bowl of a city.
(our cell phone numbers seem to be working again.)
I never thought a hurricane would ever actually hit New Orleans. They always warned us about possible dangers, etc, etc. Everyone knows the story: New Orleans is a bowl between the lake and the river. A hurricane would just fill up the bowl. Yikes! I didn't think it would happen!
For updates visit nola.com. Levees are already being breached. Reports say that the levee is breached in the 9th Ward....where Chris's former students are from. We weren't worried about our friends, knowing that they had all evacuated. Chris was most worried about his former students. The 9th Ward is where the worst New Orleans poverty and many projects are. Many people couldn't leave. So we're hoping that they got to safety.
And...uh...our cell phones don't work, because we still have New Orleans numbers.
Sure am glad I don't live in New Orleans anymore! This is storm worth evacuating for!! (unlike some others) I know our friends there have left.
Now that our stuff is here from New Orleans, we're unpacking a few choice boxes. The rest are finding hibernation in the garage. Of the things we need books figure prominently. We have our shelves set up. Our desks set up. And Chris has been unloading a few of the book boxes, ones that we may need for our respective jobs as high school English teacher and at home dissertator. And, even more excitingly, Ellis's burgeoning library.
I'm reminded in the part of Howard's End where Helen and Margaret find that Mrs. Avery has unpacked their books. They fit so well at Howard's End as if beckoning the sisters to their rightful place. The books needed the women.
It's nice to see my old friends. I think I feel a little less aimless. I need tomes to hold my feet down.
Since coming here to Philly, we've reconnected with old friends and made new friends pretty quickly. In fact, one could even say that we have *shock* a social life! There are several people at our church that are around our age/station in life--some couples, some singles, some babies. We're all roughly the same education, the same interests, the same experiences. The majority are on an academic schedule, whether grad students or teachers. A whole group of people like us!! In the past few weeks, we've hung out, watched movies, eaten dinner, renovated a new home with various people. It's so fun. We've never had this before!! Ellis usually just hangs out with us. Everybody wants to hold the baby anyway. Sunday night, though, I left him for the first real time (other than a quick run to the gas station) with Grammy. It was only a couple of hours. This could be really nice.
Last week we did go to Lancaster for a couple of days. My family was actually gone on vacation.
We enjoyed staying in their empty house, turning it into a mini-vacation. Our primary reason for going down was to visit my friend Erica from LSU whose mother lives in Lancaster, too, incidently. We had a great time, talking about school, life, etc. Even though I was glad to be done with coursework, I do feel wistful about not starting classes with everyone else this week. Cool thing: Erica's mom gave us a canoe! Can't wait to try it out!
Last week our stuff arrived from New Orleans. Yep, we're really moved.
On Sunday evening we went to hang out with our peer group--the post-college crowd, most of whom are seminary students. We had a great time, and I hope we'll get to hang out with them a lot.
The bad part was that Sunday evening was the last time I saw my cell phone. Over the past couple days of looking for it, I deduced that it must've gone flying when I tripped and went sprawling on the downhill walkway at the apartment complex. (Don't worry, I wasn't holding the boy.) I called the apartment office this morning, and sure enough, someone had turned in a phone earlier today. That means that for two very rainy days, it sat on its landing spot on the ground. And, folks, it still works!
I'm having kind of a bum day. We've been having really terrific days, so I suppose I'm due one.
Ellis has been doing really well sleeping. As much as I enjoying having my baby close, when it comes down to it, I do not really like co-sleeping, because I don't sleep great, and I can't wiggle around to find a comfy spot, and the bed we're sleeping in isn't big enough for three. (Our stuff arrives from New Orleans this coming weekend woohoo!!) So I took the tummy-sleeping confessional to heart and put him on his tummy. Quelle surprise! he likes it. So I put him back in the packnplay, and he began sleeping from 12-4 and 4-7/8 am. Go Ellis!!! Life has been fantabulous! I have felt full of vim and vigor. I've cooked nice meals, cleaned scary corners, and read a new Amazon arrival on medieval theology.
But then last night I thought, hey, I can't go around putting my baby to bed at midnight! what kind of habits will he get!? I don't want to all of a sudden find ourselves in a bedtime rut. It's early to bed now while we're still ahead! So yesterday evening, we came home from church, and I fed him and put him to bed by 9. After minimal fussing (remedied by someone running to put the pacifier back in), he went to sleep. He woke up at 1.30 and then again at 5.30. But I still went to bed at midnight, because we had people over. The clincher is this: he wasn't tired anymore at 5.30.
For some reason, I just couldn't snap awake...all day. I've just felt barely alive, and weirdly disconnected from Ellis. I feel like his cries are far off yet right there. This is the first time I've just felt so blah about taking care of the baby. I hate feeling this way. I look at him, and he's so completely dependent on me, my sweet, little boy. He really is the cutest thing in the world. I'm so not going to stay up until midnight tonight. We really have been doing well, so I think it's just my tiredness today.
I'm enjoying our "new" church more. We had visited this other one that was smaller, more urban and were excited about the possibility of contributing to it, but there are a few things about it at this moment in time that we're not quite sure about. For one thing, they're looking for a new pastor. Now, on the one hand, we'd like to be the type of people that wouldn't be swayed finding a church in such a weak time. We'd love to just jump right in and be a help. But, on the other hand, they've had a lot of applications, and well-qualified, gung-ho candidates. And we've heard a few things about the pastoral search that have made us raise a few questions. In the meantime, the pulpit supply they had when we visited was just terrible! I don't why they refused the presbytery's offer of stated supply...it seemed kind of, well, un-presbyterian. So I think we'll check it out again when they do decide on someone.
So we're back at the church where C's parents go and where he went when he lived here. Right across the street from Westminster Sem. It's a really big church by OPC standards. But it's a wonderful, loving congregation, and after visiting this other church, I felt so much better about being at this one. It's sort of "back in the bubble" for me, too, but that's ok. In New Orleans, there were absolutely zero connections to my previous life...PCA, Covenant, Cono, which was a little weird since I had never lived without those connections before. But after awhile, I really liked it. I was much more "on my own." Now, though, I'm back. But that's fine, too. There's Cov people at this church, but there's people I hadn't known before, too, who I really like. Like I said, it's a wonderful congregation, and the preaching is always quite good. The community is more theologically vibrant. There's lots of people our age (Seminary helps with that) having babies, too. Ellis has a peer group, which is fun. There's always transitions, though.
I'm so excited because our pastor from New Orleans (our closest friends there who now live in Maine) is going to come baptize Ellis next month. I can't wait to see them again!
We went to another thrift store yesterday. I'm enjoying the vastly improved thrift store opportunities in Philly. We had gone to one a couple of weeks ago. I'm trying out different stores in the area. The first one was great. Had TONS of stuff and great organization (for instance, they organized shirts by color!) and it was super cheap. I had gotten like 4 pants and 5 shirts for a total of $20. The downside of that store was that there was nowhere to try anything on. It's hard to buy pants without trying them on.
So we went to another today. Not as big selection, or quite as well organized, but nicer overall, with pleasant, clean try-on rooms. But it was pricey for a thrift store. Hmm. The one thing this store had, though, was FURNITURE. Awesome furniture. As soon as I walked into the furniture room I went crazy for these two benches! And Chris said I could get them!! I was just looney about them. Unfortunately, I need to do a little work on their finish. I just love their shabby-chic look as they are. But the paint is peeling a bit, so I was thinking a light sanding and sealing would be good? I don't know. I'm going to have to look into a bit. The benches are happily ensconced in the garage now waiting for the day when we get our own place.*
*Don't know if I've mentioned it or not...we're staying at C's parents for a little while, beefing up savings so that we can actually buy a house, rather than get stuck in the rent pit. Grad school and Christian school teaching haven't exactly done wonders for our wallets.
It's nice being close to family again. My mom can just call up and ask if we'll come for supper on Saturday, and because an hour drive separates us, instead of a twenty-one hour drive, we can say 'yes! we'll come!'. The occasion this past Saturday was one final dinner together before my sister and her husband move to Pittsburgh. We were all together except for my one brother who just moved to Iowa.
We grilled steaks, eating in the cool breeze of the back yard. Peach pie and pictures followed in the waning light. And the cigar smokers were serenaded by the hymn singers as their lusty song streamed through the open windows.
Well, it's been a busy week, but much better than last week...
On the sleeping front:
I was at my end last week, too long with too little sleep. We had been cosleeping for the first two weeks, but I was gradually getting him into the PacknPlay. We went back to cosleeping, and life is so much better. He went from sleeping 2 hours to 4-5 hours with only slight stirring in the middle of that in one night. I haven't really figured out to nurse effectively in bed. Sometimes he gets it, other times not. But sleeping is better, so I'm not complaining. You can't blame him. When his natural tendency is to curl up, lying him on his back isn't the most comfy.
On the social front:
My dad grows plants for a living, as everyone in his family has since my grear-great-grandfather opened a green house in Baltimore. He had a trade show nearby, so we went to ooh and aaah at his display of perennials and to show off Ellis to distant relatives and close friends at their respective booths.
And yesterday. I applied the skills of my trade and served as judge for a little composition contest among the piano students of a woman at church.
I also got a hair cut. I feel more grown-up.
On the work front:
I'm having to reconceive of Me as Student. It's all changed. More later.
My dancing star is getting bigger:
So yesterday's outcome:
We did indeed go thrifting, and I got tons of stuff for a grand total of $20. Gotta love it. I had heard of this one store off of Germantown Ave, so that's where we went. Unfortunately, we couldn't try things on, so I got a variety of sizes wh. is probably good, b/c there's a couple of things to meet me halfway between Now and Old Clothes. I did find a couple of pairs of drawstring linen pants: absolutely perfect for my body/summer weather. So overall I declare the mission a success.
On the way home we stopped at Border's to get HP6. I expected it to be plastered all over the store, but no, you had to ask for a copy from behind the desk. We usually read our HP's outloud. It's fun to share the experience; we don't fight over the book; and I don't read so stinkin' fast that I miss parts. But I've had a sore throat from sleepless nights, so we'll see how long this lasts.
We're also addicted to this BBC scotland show "Monarch of th Glen", wh. we get off of netflix. Had to get in our token episodes.
On Sunday we visited a new church...an OPC mission work that is more 'urban' in focus, i guess. We'll see if it's something we want to commit to. We like the idea of being in a mission work.
...go to the thrift store to find me some "transitional" clothes (i.e. between maternity and size 6)?
...go to Borders/Starbucks to see if there are any copies of HP6 left? and then veg for two days reading it?
...both of the above? one of the above?
...be really good and work on a paper? (not!)
...think about it all day until it's over and we haven't done anything?
I didn't get a chance to blog on Thursday, so Happy Bastille Day!!! Last year I was in Paris with AlisonF, and it was way fun. This year I contented myself with a baby shower.
My cousins in Lancaster threw us a baby shower and many friends from the area came. It was a lot of fun to be seeing people again. People I've mostly gotten to know over series of school breaks at home. These handful of people, though, I always genuinely looked forward to seeing again, and I was touched that they would come out after all these years to celebrate Ellis's birth. And Ellis got quite a haul, too. All stuff we could use/needed, so that was great! One lady even sewed the most adorable overalls with a sailboat on them for him!!! We spent the night in Lancaster, (Ellis's first sleep over!) and came back yesterday.
This morning, my phone rang, and my fabuloso friend Sarah called to say she was on the NJ Turnpike on her way from Connecticut to Chattanooga. She stopped in for an hour. It was so fun to see her!! I'm so glad she'll be a short driving distance away now, since she's moving to CT.
Not much else going on. It's nice to have a bit more energy. Will be nicer to get out of maternity clothes.
This weekend my good college friend Joanna and her husband Tim came to visit from Pittsburgh. It's so great to be near enough to my friends again that weekend visits are a possibility. We decided to go to the Rodin Museum here in Philly. Six years ago, Joanna and I went to the Rodin Museum in Paris, and it was easily one of our favorites there. This was also Ellis's first trip to an art museum. Hopefully many more will follow as we attempt to culturate him.
We saw some things that we had seen in Paris, as well, including The Thinker, The Gates of Hell, and The Burghers of Calais. I love The Gates of Hell because of all the detail. Apparently rodin was really into Dante when he was working on them. I tried to pick out the different parts of Inferno on there, but all I could really make out was a mass of moving, writhing figures. It is so dynamic.
The Burghers of Calais is fascinating, too. It was based on an event from the Hundred Years War. The English king laid siege to Calais. He agreed to free the city if six of its most prominent citizens would give themselves up. These six were all set to be hanged. (Rodin captures such a wide range of emotion on each of their faces.) But the English queen hearing of their noble sacrifice intervened, and they were spared. Other pieces I liked were his many sculptures of hands and I came across this small one of mother and child, which struck me with its particularly intimate pose.
Ellis, what did you think of the museum?
In other Ellis news:
He had his 4 wk (wh. he'll actually be on Wed) appointment today, and he weighed in at 7'14"!! Woohoo! Almost 2 lbs in 2 weeks.
He's also legal now, too, with a birth certificate and social sec. card.
AND as of yesterday, he now has a belly button!!
Way to go Ellis!!
I haven't been around the computer much lately. We spent the weekend with my fam in Lancaster. Their computer was fried by lightening last week, so no internet. It was fine. I didn't feel much like getting on anyway.
It's been warm here. No where near New Orleans heat, but still it's warm. My parents don't have air (another testimony to the fact that this is definitely not Louisiana), but they have a lovely backporch atop a yard that slopes down into the fields, with a pleasant breeze always blowing up it. My dad built a pond and waterfall last summer, so sitting there in the breeze with the gurgling of the water watching the birdies play was really nice. When I wasn't doing that, I was sitting on the couch.
We had Sam Fest 2005 in honor of my brother's high school graduation. Pretty low key open house; lots of his school buddies were around, so there was this herd of teenagers and then everybody else.
On Friday, my mom took us to all the cool out-of-way Amish/Mennonite used furniture stores. Antiquing for real people with real incomes. We were mostly just looking to get an idea of prices. We ditched some of our furniture in NOLA, and we just need others, like a dresser. Elvis is more set than we are in the way of furniture! We did buy a rocking chair. It's so cool. It's old and distinctive. It welcomes you into its seat and is low enough for my short legs. I can't wait until someday when we can start furnishing, because let me tell you, these places we went to were incredible! The prices beat out even Target for solid antique pieces.
We're back in Philly now. I'm not going anywhere until we have this baby. This is the last month and my body is getting ready. I all of a sudden realized that I'm not ready, though. I mean, I am but I'm not. We've been so upheaved these past couple of months that getting ready for labor has sort of been back burner. Then there's the little things: packing bags, washing a few baby clothes, getting diapers, etc., getting a carseat. I'm also all of a sudden realizing that I really do mind changing doctors and hospitals. I've been trying to just roll with the punches. But, I miss my old doctor and hospital!!! It was nice, comfy, and, most importantly, familiar. I don't think I'll be the type of woman who spends her last month furiously nesting. I just want to lie on the couch in front of the tv.
Yesterday was our Fourth Anniversary.
Somehow it felt bigger this year. More momentous. This has been a year of a lot of growing for us. Then there is all these life changes. I'm very thankful that I've got the best husband in the world! :-)
Last night we went into center city Philly to a really fab-o Italian restaurant just off of South St. In some ways, it felt weird to be driving around Philly, not an unfamiliar place, in our car with Louisiana plates. Like it still hasn't sunk in that we're not on vacation. We both really like this city and were happy to find such a great restaurant. We shared an appetizer plate that was like a salad of calamari, mussels, salmon, shrimp and other seafoody things and a spinach salad with a raspberry dressing. Then we shared a plate of gnocchi with red peppers. So good! I had filet mignon with a mushroom sauce and Chris had prosciuto wrapped veal. The entrees came with a side of gnocchi (which had an interesting tomato sauce--at first it seemed fairly straightforward, but the after taste was kind of spicy) and spinach, which was so good! Probably sauteed with garlic. Too full for dessert, but we had coffee; I actually got an espresso, which was a little disappointing. It wasn't "brace yourself I'm for real coffee" kind of espresso. It just tasted like strong coffee. We brought a bottle of wine. I had a couple of sips; very good, wish I coulda drunk more, but I drank like a liter of Pellegrino (and went to the bathroom about a hundred times). We left two and a half hours later very satisfied with our dining experience. I love food, and I love it when I get to go to a place with really good food. And I love finding a good Italian restaurant, which is harder than you might think. It made me think of last summer's wild dining in Italy.
Afterwards we walked around the park in Rittenhouse Sq. Five years ago after we had first met and fallen in love, we had spent a dreamy evening there. It was fun to go back.
It's nice to have my computer back. It's nice to be wirelessly connected to my in-law's cable modem. Wow! So this is what it's like to be fast? Better not get too used to it.
I'm still reeling a bit from everything. As soon as I get really tired at the end of the day, all patience and realistic thinking go out the window. When we arrived on Saturday evening, Chris and I both felt unsettled. It felt a little anticlimactic. We had been working so hard, fueled at the end with the adrenalin of a permanent move and a new life in store. To not pull up to our own place to start that life seemed a little weird. (We're staying with my inlaws for a couple of months: saving money, getting a good chance to thoroughly look for a new place, getting help with baby when he comes.)
We had our first Sunday not in New Orleans. The first Sunday after our church there was no more. It was sad. We celebrated the Lord's Supper, and I felt keenly that my friend (and pastor's wife) and I hadn't been calling each other on Saturday to see who would pick up a bottle of wine and mini baguette for the occasion. It's kind of silly in and of itself, but it represents the smallness and closeness of our little group there. How everybody had to do something or it wasn't done. And how we were all so happy and eager to do it, because it was for the church. I thought about the friends we left behind. How was their Sunday? How will they do in a new church?
Yesterday I went to the doctor here. I saw the second doctor in the practice. We were in and out of there in less than half hour, which was a nice change the endless waiting in New Orleans. But overall their manner and the whole office and everything isn't as nice as NOLA, and we felt kind of sad. It'll be fine. I'm content with it all. But I'm not losing a whole lot of emotion about the new OB situation. Just go in there, deliver the baby, and that'll be that.
We also explored a little bit. Chris has lived in this area, so it's a matter of remembering where roads lead. I need a map. The one I grabbed from my inlaws' was of Montgomery County, MD, not PA. :-P I love maps. So we drove around a bit, accidently got on the turnpike, ended up where we began, and came home for a nap.
I feel like I need to take ownership a little bit in order to feel settled. I unpacked baby stuff right away, and Chris set up the portable crib and bouncy seat minutes after we had arrived. We're tired of putting away all our excitement into a box.
Yesterday we worked in the yard. The yard needs serious attention. It's sort of a "if you give a mouse a cookie" kind of experience. For instance, yesterday, I thought I'd just pull up a couple of weeds in the patio and sweep it up. It lead to our pruning ivy, raking out piles of dead leaves, sweeping the driveway. We dug out lawn chairs from the garage and bought a couple of those bamboo torch things that you put citronella oil in. I feel giddy about the fact that we can actually be outside this summer. It's so nice!! We had fun being outside in the afternoon, but I overdid it a little and felt pretty lousy in the evening.
It stormed in the evening. Everyone was watching an old movie in the basement. I won't say that I don't like old movies, but sometimes, if I'm not in the mood, their effusiveness grates on me. I went upstairs and listened to the Grateful Dead Hour on the U of Penn's radio station (no kidding, a whole hour, weekly. *sheesh*) and folded the baby clothes trying to figure out what I have now.
We arrived in Philly yesterday evening after a very hectic week.
We had planned to leave Tuesday, but it became clear fairly early on Monday that this was not going to happen, so we left last Wednesday, which means that one of our "rest days" was cut out. We had planned to drive a day, rest a day, drive a day, rest a day, drive a day.
Moving always takes way longer than one expects it will. We thought on Monday evening that we'd be done by Tuesday, and then on Tues morning by Wednesday morning. We locked the door for the final time on our apt at about 3 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon. Monday we got our storage unit and most stuff moved into, the next two days were spent running errands to close up our life in New Orleans, cleaning, packing stuff for the summer that would go into my car (we sold Chris's this week, too), and last minute storage runs.
Wednesday we left, mailing a package and dropping off library books on our way out (why is it that chapters of my life tend to close with the final library drop-off?). We drove to Chattanooga, arriving at about 1.30 am. I was so exhausted by then. I'm sorry I never sent out a meeting time to get together with Chatty folks. By that point, the schedule had gotten beyond our control, and I was just so tired I could barely think straight, much less get myself to an appointed time. I did stop into Greyfriar's to buy a couple pounds of coffee on our way of town. My good friend Sarah B. said she'd drop everything and meet me there whenever I showed up, so we had a nice halfhour's chat, and quite happily, Bob was walking by, so he came in to chat. Good to see some folks after all.
The next leg of our trip was to Roanoke, about 6 hrs from Chatty. We thought the leg from NOLA to Chatt. would be the hardest, but we must've still been going on adrenaline, because the leg to Roanoke was really tough. We were exhausted, and a second day in the car was driving my preggo body crazy. I was so thankful that we had Friday to rest in Roanoke. Both Chris's grandmothers live there, so we spent our time between and with them. It was wonderful and relaxing. If you could capture 1955 and preserve it in a little time capsule that would be C's grandmothers. We couldn't help but chuckle the whole time we were there.
Yesterday we drove to Philly. I always get a little thrill crossing the Mason-Dixon line on I81. Finally, back in the North where people talk to you straight. We celebrated by getting Starbucks on the Turnpike.
There's so much to think, to say. I'm really tired, but am thankful to have emerged from Crazy Week relatively unscathed. I see the Philly doctor for the second time tomorrow. I'm ready for this baby.
As a follow-up to this post.
On Sunday our little congregation will meet for the last time.
On Monday we load our stuff into storage.
On Tuesday we say goodbye to our closest friends here. They're leaving, too.
Next week we will drive to Philadelphia...
...and not coming back.
The final question has been answered, and God has grown our faith in the process. Chris has a new job teaching high school English at a certain school started by a certain Cornelius Van Til in Philly. We just found out this afternoon. I have been crying all afternoon--it is such a relief.
Last fall finding out that we were having a baby began a whole spate of upsets in our life: certain things where he's been working, our church, etc. Things just became more and more complicated as the spring wore on, especially with church stuff. Then our pastor announced he was leaving, and after more praying and meetings, it became clear that the church just needed to close. What were we to do without a church? And a new baby coming?
So Chris sent out applications. We found openings all over the country. I thought that with his background teaching at an urban school to at-risk kids schools would be all over him. He got requests for interviews at many places. He was flown up to St. Louis at one point. It seemed that people were at the same time intrigued and wary of his experience these 3 years, like they weren't sure if he could teach white, suburban kids (I'm so going to come back to this point another time). From the beginning, we prayed that God would close all doors but the one He wanted to go through, but it didn't occur to us that He would start closing before opening. After several applications had either been rejected or lost in the shuffle (not literally lost, but on a couple of occasions he was approached for an interview, but then the school would drop the ball and forget to schedule or something else. A little baffling), we were down to one more, this school in Philly or staying with current job in New Orleans.
Last weekend when I was in Philly he had one more interview, following a successful phone interview. He came super late Friday night, and at 8 am we were both over on campus. I wanted to see the campus and meet the headmaster, who upon introduction heartily invited me to join them on the day's schedule. It turned out great, because it seemed that the phone interview was more business-y and this one was more Chris as a person, so my being along was ideal. As Chris put it, it was like they got the "whole picture". We chatted with various people, asked questions, got a tour of the campus. The school was having a fine arts festival, so even though it was Saturday, it teemed with students and parents, many of whom we got to meet as we milled about. After a couple of more official-y chats, they just let us hang out for awhile. We bought a hamburger from the senior class, water ice from the junior class, chatted with people, recognized old friends. It was so comfortable. At the end, Chris and I felt like we totally fit in there, which was at the same time encouraging and discouraging, because what if he didn't get the job? what if God's plan for us was to stay in New Orleans after all? Staying seemed a scary prospect. It's like the frontier down here. So far from family. No church. But if this was what God wanted for us, we trusted that He would supply what we needed for it.
Let me tell you, this has been a very hard week. We've prayed and cried a lot. I had about 6 dreams all about this last night, crying after a couple of them (Pregnancy dreams so vivid that it took me awhile to realized that the bad news wasn't for real, it was a dream). The whole time, though, we knew God was using this time to strengthen our faith. He has been very merciful to us.
So now, when I pack a box, I know where it will be opened. I am so thankful.
Yesterday I had my evaluation as first year part-time faculty at local uni. It went well, no surprises. I faced things that all first-time teachers have faced and have improved adequately. They seem to want to develop a longer-term relationship with me, which is nice and affirming. There's very little competition for adjunct positions in my discipline in this city, so that's good for me.
Packing continues. I'm worn out. But I feel like I've done so little. I guess I'm most helpful when it comes to sorting through things. I threw away TONS of old pictures from highschool and college--doubles, people whose names I don't remember, too many pictures of one event. I think even if I wasn't this pregnant, Chris would still be doing most of it. He sees space and how to fill it way more effeciently than I ever could. He's really a brilliant packer. He's even color-coded the boxes with stickers. Red=really fragile; yellow=kitchen, etc. Truly amazing. We've got our storage unit all lined up for the summer, so that's a relief.
Our evening social calendar has been quite full, as well. I'm pretty much not cooking anymore. Especially since now all the dishes and pots and pans are packed. Tuesday we went over to Family Curly-Head. I had some steak in the freezer that needed eating. And I was intrigued at the grocery store and got some purple potatoes to bake instead of normal old russets. They tasted pretty much the same, but I just loved the deep purple color. (So Katie Mac wins the game, they are indeed potatoes pictured on my plate down below.) I let Curly-Head age almost 6 (above) take some pictures. She has a good eye. I think I might give her the dinosaur camera for her upcoming birthday.
On Wednesday evening the Curly-Heads wanted to take us to their favorite Mexican restaurant, which was yummy and fun. In the evening Chris and their Dad relieved moving stress watching Terminator. Last night we went out with a friend from out of town to our favorite Lebanese restaurant. All my favorite places to say good-bye to.
Okay. This post could get a lot longer, but I think I'm going to keep it short and not go there. Still hoping to see Chatty folks on our way up North next week. It may be a brief passing through visit (as in a couple of hours), though, so stay tuned! I'd do anything for a cuppa of Greyfriar's right now.
Today I saw my doctor in NOLA for the last time. She seemed genuinely disappointed that I was leaving. It's hard to know how much my doctor really knew me. How many patients does she have? Am I just one of many? And I'm so normal, there's nothing to set me apart. Does she remember my name before she looks at my chart? I liked her. I didn't expect much except for assurance that things were fine and intervention if they weren't. Her manner is warm and friendly, and I was completely comfortable with the idea of her buzzing in to catch the baby. But anyway...I'm off to a new doctor in Philly on Thursday, so I'll never know. I got a copy of my medical records. Finally I get to see what all the scrawling is about!
I'm extremely sentimental about everything (and it's not just being pregnant). I felt sad leaving the hospital for the last time. Then I got all sentimental about the road I was driving to the grocery store. And the school kids gathered around city bus stops. And that house that I like. And that tree that I like. And the way you can see Holy Name of Jesus church from Magazine St. towering over Audubon Park. Then I imagined that my drive home from the grocery store was like a sentimental slide show like they show at graduations and wedding rehearsal dinners and the soundtrack was Louis Armstrong singing "La vie en rose" (it has to be ol' Satchmo, you know). Then I wondered if I could make this slideshow with my new digital camera, :) so that I could share with everyone all the little corners of my every-day New Orleans.
I need Abraham's faith right now, because sometimes it feels like what we're doing makes no earthly sense. Because...we don't know what we're doing. We're leaving, but we don't know where we're going. We're packing our stuff, but we don't know where to put it.
I think I'll make a cup of tea and watch a Horatio Hornblower.
Yesterday, I received in the mail another card that I think will go in the "keep" pile. In the card was a nice note and check that went towards the purchase of this:
I just want to say that I am completely overwhelmed and touched by the generosity of all who contributed! THANK YOU!!!!! And thanks Bob and Michelle, who instigated this little mischief. I love how the blog "community" just got more real. You all have really made my day during this somewhat difficult and unsettling time.
And as soon as it arrives in the mail, you'll be seeing plenty of evidence as to how fantastic this is going to be. The only thing I'm worried about is whether or not my baby's cuteness factor will be so intense as to break the camera that tries to capture it. ;-)
Chris is this major packing fiend at the moment. I feel a bit like Abraham, packing but not sure where we're going. Okay, so maybe I'm not a patriarch, whatever. In the past two weekends, Chris has pretty much singlehandedly packed about 70% of our apartment. I've done about two boxes. But I have sorted some and put together a couple of boxes and provide opportune glasses of ice water. So I'm doing my part. It's kind of scary, though, because if I go out or go to sleep, I come back and find significant portions of our stuff missing, in a box somewhere. *wait! I haven't had a chance to pick out what I need yet!* It's somewhat unnerving, but I'm glad he's so dogged and so good at it. The books are the big thing. We have 30+ boxes of books already and counting... But he just fits them all in there without an inch to spare. I'm serious!!
My job today (and probably tomorrow, too) is to sort through my Desk that Wants To Be an Office. Not fun. I'm procrastinating dreadfully. And you don't have to encourage me to take it slow or to drink water, because I am! It's slow-going, because I keep getting distracted with reading stuff or going into the kitchen to get another glass of water. I'm using a plastic Mardi Gras cup to make me feel like I'm camping rather than in my civilized home. And I've got lots of stuff spread out to make it look like I'm making progress. Seriously, I am making progress, though. Things aren't in that bad shape, they just need to live in a filing cabinet and shelves. And right now they are going to live in boxes.
Other fun things:
Hanging out with our friends a lot this weekend, holding their very cute baby. (I feel like an aunt!) We've pretty much decided to leave the same day they do. That way nobody gets left. We've been eating the majority of suppers over there, spending as much time as possible. It works out nicely, that way neither of us has to cook a full meal. But there's one thing I'll always remember about these evenings: sitting in the living room with respective hot drinks after their Curly-Heads have gone to bed, listening to the baby's quiet breathing, and yawning. One person gets going, and we're all yawning the whole evening. ha. But hey, we're hanging out, and that's great.
And since I haven't been a blogging fiend this past couple of days, Beth beat me to it. We finally managed to connect on one of her business trips to NOLA and went out to a really great creperie that looks right out of Amelie or something, the red and green thing going. Sometimes after not having seen Cov folk in awhile, I get nervous about how we'll relate after college years and inevitable changes of the twenty-somethings. But, as usual, it's so easy to pick right back up, and we had such a nice time! Yea, we've changed (but the blogs do help with the continuity thing), but it was still the same people. It was fun to take a break from the craziness last week and enjoy good food and company. (And I hope your luggage gets back soon, Beth!)
In other happy things--Congratulations to Shannon and brand new baby Luke, who looks incredible for a newborn! What a kiddo! And all the people rejoiced.
On the web:
Found this site that the government made. You can plug in what you eat and it maps it out on the food pyramid breaking down the various components. Kind of cool.
Updated to add this quiz found on this blog. I'm still chuckling over it:
| You scored as Postmodernist. Postmodernism is the belief in complete open interpretation. You see the universe as a collection of information with varying ways of putting it together. There is no absolute truth for you; even the most hardened facts are open to interpretation. Meaning relies on context and even the language you use to describe things should be subject to analysis.|
What is Your World View? (corrected...hopefully)
created with QuizFarm.com
ok. back to Desk that is a Mess with a capital M.
Well, I got my plane ticket to go up to Philly for my lousy 32 weeks appt. I'm going to come right back home, though. I found a decent roundtrip price. It's just too much to think of hanging out up there in exile when Chris and I were going to do all this stuff down here. We still got a ton of packing to do and a few last timey things to do...like go see Ellis Marsalis at Snug Harbor! We're going to take a leisurely roadtrip up to Philly when we're all packed up and visit folks along the way. I'm glad I'm doing it this way. I feel a lot better about it all. I really shouldn't complain, because it seems that there is no difference in our insurance coverage between Louisiana and Pennsylvania, since we found an "in-network" doctor, and we are getting pretty good coverage, so that is a big blessing.
I've been doing a ton of grading and now I have to go give a final so that I can do more grading. And I have to write this stinkin' essay!
So the first time we are ditching New Orleans for the summer heat, our air conditioning in all facets of life is finally in order. The landlord finally replaced the ancient window unit in our apt. The apt is small enough and the unit is big enough that it just takes this one to cool the place effectively. It's been so nice! Especially after having the sweat through the past few summers as our very ineffecient dinosaur went through a very long, slow, and painful death. Our landlord wouldn't replace it until it was officially gone. He even had two different people come out to certify its death. How dead does this thing have to be!? It was so bad last summer, that it only felt cool if you were sitting right in front of it. If you sat to the side of it, you melted in a pool of sweat. So anyway. We are very excited to have a new ac unit for our last month in this apt. I said to Chris, "I want to make it frigid in here just because we can."
And the AC is fixed in my car. Not really sure what was wrong. It wasn't cheap, but it didn't break us either. I just didn't want to be carting around a new baby in my very hot car. (We're getting rid of Chris's car. Just too old and busted to keep anymore. Anybody want to give us a new car?) I'm glad it was fixable, though. Because the ac in Chris's car went out a couple of years ago and the whole system needed replacing for a cost more than the car is worth. So now we're all set for the summer...and we're going to Philly. Such is life. ha! I'll wager that Philly will feel a lot cooler to us than it will to those living there, but I imagine that if it gets summery enough, I'll be glad for the AC in my car.
I love living in New Orleans this time of year, because it's like normal summer. Not too hot, but pleasantly warm. I like running around in tanktops and flipflops. Hey! I've already got a pretty decent flipflop tan. :)
This has been a really trying past few months. I feel like a few sentences of summary won't do justice to the gravity of everything we've been going through. Sometimes I wish we were just having a baby. We've been thinking through a lot questions. Many difficult decisions have yet to be made.
But some questions are starting to get answered. More to follow...
First, our church probably won't last the month of May. We've been working hard at an OPC mission work here. We've been blessed greatly with good preaching and good fellowship, but some factors have come into play that have necessitated its door's closing. It makes us very sad. As many of you know, our committment to this church has been the number one reason we've been in NOLA this long. It's why we didn't leave when Chris left grad school. It's why I drive 85 miles each way for my grad school...and go to a school that wouldn't have been my top choice (though it also has many good qualities that commends itself to me). God's Word does not come back void. And it has been preached here. God will bring Himself glory in the way He sees fit. So I don't think the years here have been wasted.
Without a church community--or any community really--it's very difficult to think of having a baby in the middle summer. It's not exactly the situation I would've dreamed of having my first baby, in a communal void. So we've come to the decision to spend the summer in Philly with Chris's parents and mine close by. We have logistics to work out as far as insurance and doctor changing is concerned. I think our family would come to NOLA to help us if we stayed, but it's a much better use of everyone's resources if we go up there. We've been far from family for a long time, and haven't spent much time up there in recent years. It'll be good to reconnect and then to have their help and support and fellowship when we have the baby. Leaving NOLA for the hot months doesn't sound too bad, now, does it? Sounds like the best of both worlds. :-)
There are more questions. Like, where did all my energy go and how am I going to finish the semester without it? and other big ones. But since we don't have answers, we'll keep waiting and trusting. In the meantime, though, it's nice to have a faint glimmer of answer in the air after months of struggles and questions. Somehow "42" just doesn't cut it in the end.
I haven't really been blogging about it, and partly because I haven't been keeping up with it as much as I would've liked. The papal death and election have been really interesting; especially since the conclave was essentially invented during my time period of specialization. It's not everyday one gets to witness a papal election, so it's been really exciting to follow at least a little bit.
There had been some musings about a S. American or African being elected, but the conclave has chosen a German cardinal, who has taken the name Benedict XVI. Good name. I really haven't had a chance to find out anything about him, but this comment (especially taken out of context and used for other purposes) from the cnn report amused me, "It seems that he is too conservative. Hopefully the Holy Spirit can help him change." ha! If there are complaints that he is conservative, that's probably a good thing; he is then probably cautious in theological matters, which is also good. It'll be interesting to see what these next few years will bring.
in an attempt to move onto cheerier thoughts
On Friday my MW late afternoon had a makeup session, so we had a late afternoon seminar on Friday. Blah. I usually have to drag myself to class, but I always enjoy it. Sometimes scrambling is more the word to describe myself getting to class. The weather was beautiful on the way home, so it wasn't so bad. It's a wonderful month to live in the deep south. As soon as I got home I glanced out the window of my car door as I was opening, and right there were the parrots! Their presence is always known, squawking and protesting in the palm tree outside our house, but it's very difficult to get a good view. The moment I try to get close, off they fly. On Friday afternoon they were contentedly feeding on the grass seed on the ground oblivious to the cars passing and my peering eye. Unfortunately, the PentaxK1000 wasn't loaded or I would've gotten my dream picture of the parrots...the one I've been trying to get for years, close-up with evening sun illuminating their bright green feathers. The ol' digital, uh, didn't quite do the trick, but I tried. Not even worth posting my efforts.
After I got myself collected upon my arrival home, Chris and I hopped back in the car to go to the hospital to visit the newest addition to our congregation, a cuddly bundle of pinkness. The little girl was this family's 5th kid and her mama had had to have a Csection so was resigned to a longish hospital stay. When arrived, mama, dad, and baby were chilling in their room, and what we intended to be a short, congratulatory visit ended up being a long, pleasant visit filled with conversation. We enjoyed so much visiting with this other couple, as we hardly ever get a chance to just sit down and talk. The mom appreciated the company to while away her hospital sentence. I held the baby for at least an hour (I think we were there for 2). This was the first time I had even seen a tiny baby since we found out about our impending bundle of joy, and I was so excited! I just felt like I couldn't wait another day until Elvis comes. The reality of the situation struck me even more...the idea of Real Baby that squeaks instead of Abstract Baby (that currently kicks a lot *grin*). Chris even held the baby, and she didn't break.
On Saturday I took the Curly-Heads to the park to roller skate and feed the ducks. It was a gorgeous day. I love all the water birds around here, all different sorts of herons, egrets, cormorants, spoonbills...just chillin' in the park and making quite a racket. Audubon Park has a nice track around 2 miles in perimeter. There's a lake-ish area in half of it, and a golf course in the middle of it all. Live oaks shade the track area with their massive gnarly boughs dripping in Spanish moss. Curly-Heads aged 4 and 5 did a pretty good job on their roller-blades with their ever cheery 2 yr old sister keeping up as best she could by running and running. Their mom reported good night's sleep on all fronts later. At first feeding ducks didn't sound altogether appealing to me. I'm sort of not thrilled by the idea of being swarmed by filthy fowl, especially since once when I was a kid a duck bit me. But I decided in the end that it could be fun. And, to tell you the truth, we had to beg ducks to come over. The turtles were much more interested in our morsels (though far less photogenic). When Curly-Head age 2 was asked later what she did at the park, her response was "potty". Okay, so our final adventure was a mad dash to the potty; I guess feeding ducks wasn't all that climactic experience for her after all.
Thanks, everyone, for all your nice b-day wishes.
As promised, I will recount the happy narrative of the weekend. My bday was officially Sunday, but I had to celebrate Birthday Eve on Saturday. Waking up bright and early to help my friend with her yard sale, I thought I'd brighten 'the way too early for Sat morning' feeling I had and go to my favorite bakery beforehand, my birthday being the excuse I needed for this rare extravagance. Let me tell you, folks, this bakery is a real, live French boulangerie. It is the closest thing I have found to the real thing in this country. It even smells right. It is so divine!!! I got three pain au chocolat and three croissant, a real baguette (they were warm) (as in not some American pseudo-French imitation--as in the crust was crisp and made your jaw work!), and a mini-baguette (more like a large roll) for Sunday's communion. So my friend and I and her Curly-Heads greatly enjoyed our treat sitting in the cool morning breeze at her yard sale. It actually was quite pleasant, sitting in the sunshine all morning with nothing to do but watch a yard sale and cute kids running around, sipping tea and eating croissants.
While we were in our comfy lawn chairs soaking in the spring rays, Chris came by with a familiar looking paper bag. He had gone to the bakery, too!! We never go there--it's been since Christmas, I think--and here we both go on the same day! It was so sweet of him, because, of course, he was thinking of a nice bday treat. He got me beautiful flowers, too. And had picked a chick-flick dvd for my present. It's important to mention that it's a chick-flick, because it shows how little he was thinking of himself. But it's actually one that I didn't really want to see much less own, because it just looks so dumb, so we went by Blockbuster and exchanged it, and I picked out The Hours, which is SUCH a good movie, and the score is by Philip Glass, who I love.
In the evening we went up to Baton Rouge where Erica (my colleague at LSU) and her husband had us over for dinner. She made her famous black bean enchiladas, which I love, with chocolate cupcakes and mint frosting for dessert. And virgin margaritas for dessert...they actually tasted more like Italian ice. Tequila really matters in a margarita, but as I have issues with under-age drinking for Ellis, we forwent the tequila. We had a great time with them, as usual. It's a pity that we live 85 miles apart in two different cities, and it's always worth it when one of us makes the effort to close the gap and visit. Chris and I had good car time, too. I used to wonder why my parents went for drives some evenings. I never realized what a great time for talking being in the car is, and we don't even have any kids born yet! (The card Erica got me is PERFECT, and I'll have to scan it later, because I just love it! But it's in the car, and I don't feel like getting it now. so stay tuned)
On Sunday, we remembered to set our clocks so were on time for church. Go us (me)! For lunch the Hamiltons (aforementioned of the yard sale) had us over and their Curly-Heads had planned a little party very carefully. They picked a little pink rose plant to give me and a pink happy birthday balloon. They picked out this cake with big, red frosting roses on it (which they promptly fought over--"'Nette, can I have the big flower?!"--cake-cutting time).
And, this is the best part, they made these really nice birthday cards. Curly-Head age 2 was especially proud of her picture, because now she's like her big sisters and can make pictures. Curly-Heads age 4 and 5 are learning how to read and write and are pretty good at sounding out words and getting them right. But, I have to admit, sometimes the sounding-out-words thing may get them in trouble sometimes. You see, their parents are from the UK, and their dad has the kind of accent in which if there's an "a" sound at the end of a word it sounds like "er"; hence "soder" and "pizzer" (some of our faves). If you look closely at the card, you'll see that a "harppy birthday" is being wished to me by Curly-Head age 4. When I realized this, Chris and I just died laughing.
So I had a very nice 27th birthday. It's fun to think that next year we'll have the little guy with us.
For now, though, school plows along. And that's pretty much on what I'm trying to focus every waking moment that contains an ounce of energy. So sorry if my blog is a bit lack-lustre for awhile.
Yay! It's my birthday!
I'm 27 years old today. Turning 27 is like a threshold age. For some reason, it always seemed like a border between youthful twenty-something and grownup. I always thought 27 was a good year to have a first kid: still young enough so that I'm physically in the groove, yet old enough to have matured a bit. I'm glad I'm not any younger having a kid.
Anyway, stories, pictures, and scanned hilarious cards later. I'm sleepy. This time change is not going to get me down. I insist. Btw, we REMEMBERED to set our clocks. Very noteworthy. Last year we were late to church, last Oct we were early to church. The year before someone who knows us well enough called us. But this year, we remembered before anyone called us. (We don't really watch TV or listen to the radio or engage in any type of media whatsoever, especially on the weekends, so any hints and reminders the outside world gives are lost on us poor souls. ha!)
I love living in New Orleans, really I do. Especially when the air conditioner is working.
Life seems a little apocalyptic feeling right now what with being pregnant, teaching, finishing coursework, x, y, and z.
I hate spring. This is perhaps the first year I admit it, but it's true. We all love the days when the warm sunshine first greets us from the winter doldrums. But if you think about it, those warm rays are unsettling! (In NOLA, we've gotten past that stage, I think, into our first phase of summer.) Spring is tiring. It makes me moody. I was so grumpy in class yesterday; I just got really peeved at the 14th c composer whose piece we were transcribing into modern notation.
But I won't drag you down into my bad mood. Actually, a good night's sleep and a quiet morning to pray keeps me going, brightens me up.
After grading their last tests, I've come up with a new strategy to communicate with my class: Powerpoint. yea, yea. Last Tues. I tried it for the first time, and I noticed a significant difference in their attention and interest level immediately. What can I say? we're the visual generation. It's more than doubled my prep time, but I think once I get the hang of how to create these things, I'll get quicker. So far, I'm enjoying it. I'm a visual learner, too. I think it'll also help with my lecture organization. I always teach from a careful outline, but I think I'm not very skilled yet at speaking my outline. So this will be good for me and for them.
Round 2 of the Jellybean Challenge has been completed, and this time I am defeated.
After playing on Sunday afternoon, we were pretty jellybean-ed out. As I was putting the bag up, one green bean escaped. I looked at it and was like "i'm not eating another jellybean." Chris wouldn't eat it either. But it's not like we would throw away a jellybean!
Later that night, I found the jellybean sitting jauntily on my pillow. But I was going to stand firm. I'm not eating the jellybean. So I put it on Chris's computer keyboard and proceeded with my evening. I made my egg salad sandwich, stuck it in the fridge, got the rest of my stuff ready to go for Monday morning.
Mid-afternoon yesterday, I went to retrieve my egg-salad sandwich, and to dismay, I discovered that I whole side of it was bright green! Chris had stuck the jellybean in my sandwich and all the green sugary coating had melted off into my sandwich leaving an anemic wad of jelly between two pieces of bread. It didn't totally ruin my sandwich, but there were a few questionable bites. I threw the jellybean (or what was left of it) away after that. Round two is over, and he wins.
(I don't know why I'm so into Jellybean Challenge these past couple of days.)
In a purely giddy moment, we invented a new game in honor of today: The Jellybean Challenge. And I would just like to say that I'm the undisputed victor. It amounts to being able to tell what color of jellybean you're eating with your eyes shut. I was even able to tell the color when TWO jellybeans were in my mouth (though it was a little harder when Chris squished them together before popping them into my mouth). Lest you think this is a purely trivial game, try it (okay it is trivial, but it's harder than it sounds).
I have a great husband. Every once in awhile, he does things that are just so telling of his personality that it cracks me up a bit. I love that I know him well enough to notice these things, and that the more I get to know him, the more things I'll notice.
For instance, we got a couple Bradley books in the mail the other day (Dr. Bradley's book and the other one with pictures). My gift is sorting, his is processing--he gets overwhelmed by the flow of data, I get impatient with thinking too hard on it. We should open a library. I've sorted through all the kinds of childbirth, methods of natural childbirth, options, options, options, checking up with him periodically summarizing my findings. Now that, for the most part, the leg-work of sorting is over, it's time to process, so I stuck the Bradley book in front of him, as he says encouragingly, "I'm on board, honey!"
Then he starts reading the book. I can see the tortured expression creep up on his face as pages and more pages are turned. At first I worried that he was getting overwhelmed with the whole birthing thing, so later in the car, I started to ask some probing questions to figure out what he was thinking. As I sorted through all the little things he was saying about this or that, I realized the reason for his tortured expression and concluded thus to him, "You're the type of person that when somebody says they've found the Way to do it, your response to not get on board." It's so true!! It's actually somewhat true, for me, too, though not exhibited quite as strongly as him sometimes. We're both afraid of looking like we've subscribed to the party line. Ha! How puerile. (To our credit, though, it's always good to be suspicious of people who say their way is the only, right way, because there's only One who can say that. So part of our motivation for this attitude is healthy skepticism and intellectual honesty.)
Anyway. He most assuredly is "on board" and has proved it by giving me a backrub every night since we got the book. Why didn't we get it sooner!? And we're proceeding in our preparations all the while trying to maintain an aura of nonchalance and nonsubscription.
The other great thing that has manifested his personality this week is his devotion to excellence in his technological pursuits. He's taking a couple of education classes towards his masters/certification this sem, and one of the assignments is to make a video of people talking about diversity. Pretty straightforward, huh? How would you do it? I would get a video camera, tape people talking for 45 min, and turn it in. How does he do it? He takes a lot of footage, downloads it into his open source video-editing software (which he installed just for this purpose) edits it, inserts title, credits, and inter-titles, and burns it onto a DVD. It looks pretty good. It's taken him days to do it. I asked him why he was going to all this bother. Well, he has been wanting to learn video-editing for some time now. It is a good opportunity. I hope the prof is completely blown away by how cool this is!
Another nice thing about him is that he shares thing. He shared a cold with me this week, only I can't take all the Sudafed stuff that made him feel better. Thanks a lot! *sniffle, sneeze*
One of my favorite children's authors is Arnold Lobel, author of the famous Frog and Toad books. In Frog and Toad All Year, Frog comes to Toad's house one wintry morning with the exciting prospect of going sledding. Lying in his warm, cozy bed, Toad's unenthusiastic response is, "Blah." When I was a kid I thought that was hilarious. And "Blah", just the way Toad would say it, is often a fall-back gutteral response. I feel "Blah" this morning.
I had a bad dream last night. One of those crazy, larger-than-life pregnancy dreams. Every once in awhile they are so vivid that I have to force myself to wake up so that I can work throught the fact that it was just a dream, so that when I go back to sleep it won't bother me anymore. The last time I had a dream so vivid it was a high action dream. These bad guys had taken this weather balloon (?) from this boarding school and were going to blow up the world with it. Somehow, I had boarded the balloon with them, and was going to stop them; I woke up wondering how we were going to breathe when we got to outer space.
Last night I dreamt that I had lost Ellis. We had had a baby, and so had another couple, who were also at our house. But we ended up sharing one baby, and I was kind of sad, because it was rather awkward sharing a baby, and then they were going to take her with them when they left. I was walking across campus in the rain to return a library book, and all of a sudden it dawned on me, if there are two couples, there should be two babies, so where was Ellis!? I woke up as I was crying in my dream and asking Chris, "Where is Ellis?" It was weird.
I stayed up for an hour in the middle of the night, because I was afraid that I went back to sleep, the dream would start again. I was also getting congested. Go figure, it's my turn to get what's been going around. Chris's congestion was bothering his ear, so we ended both getting up for awhile. We both feel "blah" this morning. I'm so glad that I don't have to go anywhere.
Yesterday, we let ourselves relax a bit, and our bodies have responded by crashing. I need another week of break. We did have a nice time yesterday, though. We ran errands together. Why does that seem fun? It is. We sat on the couch and read together (the birthin' books arrived in the mail!). And we went to our favorite Mexican restaurant on Magazine Street together. It is just nice to be together.
It is starting to get very warm. I want to go swimming. It's lovely.
In the reading category: I haven't read 10-15 books like I hoped. I knew I wasn't being reasonable. But I've read a couple of excellent, interesting books on the origins and meaning of courtly love/courtliness that are extremely helpful when considering literature (and songs!) of the later Middle Ages.
We're really enjoying our break. Even though I may not be fulfilling all my lofty ambitions of production, I am getting good work and reading done, and I'm enjoying it. So that's good enough for me.
The weather forecast has threatened rain all week, but each day leaves the threat unfulfilled in a bath of warm sunshine. On Monday, I thought to myself that it would surely be the only sunny day, so I quick got a bunch of stuff planted on the porch. Yesterday morning dark clouds loomed, so I thought that I should hurry and get my errands done before it rained. But they soon dissipated into nothing.
While I was they were still looming, I wanted to get one stop out of the way definitely before the downpour: the pretty tiny, most of the time not worth it Farmer's Market. I was rewarded for my efforts this time, though. I got a whole tray of strawberries for a fraction of the price they are in the grocery store. Woohoo! So we're totally piggin' out on strawberries at our house. We've had strawberries and waffles for breakfast these two mornings. (Don't get all impressed, now. Frozen waffles were on sale.) And I have designs for a strawberry pie later today. And strawberries on ice cream. And a strawberry 'bout every time I walk into the kitchen. Yum-my!
So in case you're wondering why my belly is getting so big. You can blame the strawberries. Just kidding. There's a baby in there. Here we are at 24 weeks. I haven't taken so many since the last one. Mostly because...well, I'm the photographer in our family. Let's just leave it at that. And I'm not as skilled some people in taking her own belly pics. The last time we tried to take a pic, I ended up so grumpy looking that it kind of didn't seem worth it. Now, though, I'm kind of laughing about it! ha!! Chris wouldn't get off the couch to take the picture, so my 21 week picture is me at funny up angle very grumpy. We're actually sort of shopping for a new camera. We're not sure we really can afford it, but if we can eventually, we have some ideas about what we want to get. Maybe Chris will get more into picture taking then.
This week Chris and I are on Spring Break. Since our breaks are tied to the religious calendar (Easter), I'm off at both universities I'm affiliated with. Blessings!!! We have fairly staggered into our break. It couldn't have come soon enough. Last week, I was home Wednesday and Chris on Thursday, for exhaustion/sickness.
I have a long list of things I want to get done over the break. Hopefully, I manage a fraction of them. They're mostly reading/papers/grading oriented. Drudgery. But I'll be glad to have some of them behind me. I usually skim books. In grad school there's no time to actually read a whole book. I hope to get through about 10-15 books this week in my skim method. But I'm reading one book carefully to get me started off on the right foot for my dissertation. I'm so glad that even though I'm griping and hating all the other stuff I have to do that I get totally excited and into the books that I read for my own work. It's kind of reassuring.
Sometimes I feel like I'm hating everything all the time, and I start to wonder if I should still be pursuing musicology. But I have to think long-term. I'll be glad when I'm 50 that I finished my PhD when was 30. Hey, I'll just be glad when I will have finished it. It's hard to think about life after that right now when there are so many more immediate pressing questions. But I know I'll be glad to write the diss. There's a lot of unfinished skills and information that I want to learn and to get out of my grad school experience, that I know writing the diss will help me acquire. It will be my finishing. I just need to persevere and get through some of the not-so-fun parts of coursework at the moment.
So anyway. That's one thing my brain is mulling around this week. I'm also thinking about the birthing stuff. I had hoped Barnes & Noble would have a shelf of birthing books, so that I could peruse, but nope. If they reduced the books on choosing a kid's name by half and supplemented that with birthin' books, they would have a start to a good collection. They had a couple I flipped through...more inspiring than actually containing helpful information. Got a couple of good ones on their way from Amazon thanks to my Mom2 aka Doula.
Last Saturday I went to a kid's clothing sale with my friend. I got a few more things for Elvis. I now have about 2-3 outfits for every growth stage up to 24 months. And I found the cutest little infant sandals for less than a dollar, so I was pretty excited.
So books and birthing are on my plate. And to make the week pretty, I bought a few annuals at Home Depot. We need some color around here, and by the time we move, it'll be too hot for them to live much longer anyway. They make life so much more pleasant. I'm going to plant them up this afternoon. I also bought a strawberry pot, and one of my friends is going to give me a couple of offshoots from her patch. Yay!
Also on the plate this week is a tune-up for my car. I need new brake pads and the air conditioner needs a little work before it gets too hot. Every once in a while Ol' Faithful needs a little massage.
Chris and I are definitely glad we have a week home together. These past couple of months have been the busiest ever in our life here; just non-stop. So it'll be nice to have a few moments to actually see eachother. Maybe we'll go canoeing one afternoon in the bayou.
Maybe I'll get time to blog a bit more, too. We'll see...
* My morning is off kilter. Tuesday, a note was left on our doorstep saying that because of some work that needed doing, water would be turned off from 8-5 on Wednesday. Good timing, while most everybody is at work. No problem. Well, there is problem it is after 9 am on Thursday morning, and the water still isn't back on. *sigh* Sometimes New Orleans is not a fun place to live. It's this really flexible idea of "services" and "timeliness" that plagues just about everything from the U.S. mail to restaurants to just plain getting things done. My friend is out and about and when she gets home, I'm going over to her house to take a shower. Right now, though, I'm feeling a bit cold and grumpy about it.
* The church ladies are throwing me a little shower in a couple of weeks. So I fixed our Target registry last night. Now I kind of wish I had gone to BabiesRUs, b/c of better selection, but it doesn't really matter probably. At least it gives an idea to the people who want to know. It's not like registering for the wedding. I feel like I had a better idea then of what to do. I just stood there with the scan gun last night thinking, "i don't know." Like equipment: Yea, I'll probably need a stroller, but I don't know what kind of travelers Elvis and I will be together. Will I wish for something bigger? smaller? Same with the diaper bag. Bigger? smaller? what kind of pockets will I want? Things I won't know til I'm hanging out with Elvis. I guess I shouldn't think too hard about it. Like my book bags, I'll probably make a diaper bag suit my purposes, but I'm still a little up in the air with the stroller thing. (I couldn't pick out a diaper bag anyway at Target, because they were all on the top of the shelves! Like I could reach!!)
* Last night I was going over some brief timing things with my advisor, since previous pictures I had built now have to be revised due to impending Elvis. So I think I'll take my comps in January instead of September. The thing that my advisor suggested, though, that *duh* I should've thought of was that perhaps I should start working on my prospectus now, because if I wait until after comps, well that basically wastes a whole year out of the very stingy 4 yr limit the graduate school imposes. So then it occurred to me that perhaps I should try to get it done before I have Elvis. AAaaaugh!!!!! I'm very overwhelmed at this prospect. My work ethic hasn't been exactly high this semester, but at the same time, I am getting some stuff done, and I do have a lot on my plate. The thing that pushes me over the top, though, is teaching, which I didn't even want to do to begin with this sem! This class I'm teaching basically eats up most of Tuesdays and Thursdays, which are my "work" days. MWF are eaten up because I have to travel to Baton Rouge to attend classes and have very little precious time on campus. So I'm trying to snatch some work in here and there to keep up with my classes, and the idea of getting started on diss research is like a joke!
*I would really like to just have a shower and a cup of tea.
Update on water situation: Around noon (that is 19 hours late), my neighbor knocked on the door to say that the water was back on. He had turned it on or taken care of it or whatever (his words were "this whole block better kiss my ass"). The city forgot. They were fixing a main yesterday on a side street and forgot to turn the water on. The sad thing is...I'm not surprised. That's just living in NOLA folks. I spent a very pleasant morning at my friend's house taking a shower and eating my breakfast (sharing it with her 2 yr old who wanted to try everything on my plate "Me try!"--Hey, if a kid wants to try new food, I'm all for it). It's not every friend you could call with a desperate plea to use their shower. Now I have to finish preparing the test for my class I'm teaching. Heh, heh. I love giving tests...so much fun than taking them.
Yesterday, I woke up to a world newly covered by a blanket of snow. It was beautiful; it was cold.
After a day of airports, delayed flights, and my nose in a great book, I landed in New Orleans: 8pm, 72 degrees, balmy. LOVELY!!!
I'm sitting at my laptop with the sun streaming through the window, porch door open letting in the shrieks of the parrots and the gentle spring breeze. I'm wearing a Tshirt and flip-flops, and a low fan in the other room is keeping the air moving.
It feels great. I love spring in February!! And it is so good to be home.
One of the main things I like about living in New Orleans is that spring comes in early February. Yesterday it was a gorgeous, sunny, warm day. I sat outside of the coffeeshop enjoying the glorious weather while working on my medieval notation project.
It's a little bittersweet, too. I should be getting all geared up and excited for this year's garden, armed with the knowledge and experience of last year's attempt. (Like, buy tomatoes plants that will not grow 9 feet tall by August.) But since at some point, we'll have to move because impending Elvis, the garden plot is neglected, lonely, bare. The few things still alive, green peppers and herbs, I'm just letting go until they are no more. I wonder what will happen to the little plot when I'm gone.
There's so much going on in my mind and our life in addition to the coming Elvis (and perhaps inspired by) that I really can't blog about (it is the world wide web, after all!) that sometimes it's hard to know what aspect of the banality of the rest of my life I can blog about.
I didn't get home until 9.30 pm last night. I'm thankful for my Tuesday/Thursday mornings to recover from my Mondays and Wednesdays. I really feel the strain more than I have before. I knew that Monday would be a late night, so we celebrated Val Day on Saturday evening. We had spent Saturday working really hard, so by the evening, we were both pretty exhausted. So our Val Day this year was pretty low key. We went to our fave Lebanese restaurant; Chris got me a nice bouquet of pink tulips and some other blue flowers. The one thing I really got into (since I love holidays so much) was Val Day pancakes for breakfast on Saturday. I put chopped up cranberries and orange zest in the batter, and they were super yummy!!
I have a conference coming up this weekend. Not sure if I want to leave my comfy South where the Japanese magnolias are blooming and go up to cold North with snow flurries predicted.
Seeing a calendar on my sidebar blank with no entries is too unsettling. Happy February!
It's pouring rain. It's been pouring since yesterday. I passed/was held up by a few car accidents yesterday. I spent a lot of my time in the car thanking God for His continued protection on my 170 mile commute. Now that I have a baby growing inside of me, I'm more acutely aware of the perils of life, I guess. Normally I just sort of take driving for granted. I get in the car and go, every day. Passing a smashed car slowly and reverently yesterday made me very sober. That could have been me and Elvis. I could have lost Elvis. I have felt a little shaken, and I drove about 10 mph under the speed limit the rest of the way home last night. It was raining so hard, though, it didn't really matter. I feel exhausted today from the concentration of rain-driving. I don't realize how tense I get until I get home and relax.
It's pouring rain inside of me, too. I feel weepy, though I'm not really crying. My head and heart are filled with a bazillion things each vying for my attention. School is a little overwhelming, but it's teaching that pushes it over the top. I could do fine if it were just school...if I could sit in my bathrobe all day and read The Inferno for class on Friday. But no, today I have put on frustrating clothes, trudge out in the rain, put on a happy face, and try to give my students a pigeon-hole peek into the entire Middle Ages in one day. Once I get there, though, it won't be hard to drum up enthusiasm on my part, since I love the Middle Ages so much. It's getting there that's hard, and the frustration of knowing that I've spent the whole day not working on my tasks as a student.
I'll put a chicken in the crock pot. It's homey smells will welcome me home out of the rain. I'll sit back down and work up another lecture on Haydn's Symphony 104 for tomorrow's class, looking longingly at The Inferno, still unopened! And keeping baby clothes at an even further arm's reach, because our little nest is overflowing with books and I can't dream of a new nest that has a baby-shaped spot yet.
Sometimes I'm Sleepy, sometimes I'm Dopey, hopefully, some day I'll be Doc. Sometimes I'm Hungry (the forgotten dwarf), tonight, I think I'm mostly Grumpy.
After one week of school I'm ready for another break. Too tired. I didn't get home from Baton Rouge until after 8 pm on Wed and after 9 pm on Friday. I've been unpacking all the stuff (not mine) in the room where I have my office space, which is sort of like an extra library for a project of my professor's. In Normal Life, I'm perfectly happy unpacking all the stuff. Actually, I'm quite willing even now, but in Pregnant Life, it has been a little annoying, and I dread going back tomorrow. Boxes of books everywhere. After lifting a few (there wasn't ANYONE around to lift them for me), I resorted to dragging and tugging. I think I have most of them open on the floor now, so I'm just down to organizing the library. I wish I had an elf that I could just boss around..."no, no, put the medieval philosophy section there"... It just completely wore me out.
But before I could go home, I had to go to the library to use scanner and image software to create an assignment for my students, and nothing seemed to work like it used to. The most annoying thing was that I couldn't create a PDF anymore on the LSU machines, so in order to do this last necessary step, I had to sign up for a free trial of the PDF converter on Adobe's website. This sucks. It's moments like this that makes me wish that I was a real professor, so that school would just give me the equipment I need. But no. I'm a student, and have to manage doing professor things with a student's equipment. Next time i'll get Chris to help me.
Happy thing: the way LSU divides our meager stipend checks is the same amount each month during the school year, except for January when we get a bit more. I don't know why this is. But it sure was nice to get a little extra boost. We actually went on a date and got dessert, too!! *shock! amazement!*
And I bought my first maternity clothes ever. My belly just totally popped out this week. I normally wear a size 4-6 (i'm only 5'2"). I dug out some size 10s from my closet (must've been given to me or something) and have been living in those these past few weeks. But by Friday, even they were cutting uncomfortably into my belly. And my shirts are riding up the belly. And I don't have any shirts with tails!! So the rubberband thing has been inopportune. So last night, Chris and I took a turn through the maternity racks at Target. Chris is an invaluable clothes shopper companion. Every woman should be as lucky as me to have landed a husband with such an extraordinary skill. He's so good about working through the racks and finding great things. I swear, we look through the same racks, and he always finds the cutest things and the best bargains. I got a pair of basic black pants for teaching in off the clearance rack for $6, and frustrated with the meager pickings at the Target, decided to go with a basic layerable of tank with shelf-bra. Very comfy. A friend suggested I try JCPenneys, so I'm there next. Unfortunately, there's no one around I can borrow from. I think if I can find a few good staples, I don't mind wearing them to death. But I'm really getting uncomfortable and would really like to be more comfy and less fat feeling. It kind of freaked me out, too, when I was in the dressing room yesterday. I looked at my body, and it was like not mine or something. It looks funny. I thought I would be more excited about finally showing, and I am, but at the same time I feel like a fat mutant. I walk around campus (university settings are cruel...all these people in the prime of their physical life), and I feel like wearing a sign, "I'm not fat, I'm pregnant." It's kind of silly, I know. I guess I didn't think about the fact that you don't just get a pregnant belly overnight, there's a transition period of its gradually getting bigger. Hopefully with real mat. clothes I'll feel better.
Another happy thing: one of my best friends from highschool, called me with the news that she's pregnant. I was in her wedding about a year and a half ago. We were giggling about it all, and she said, "Who would've thought all those years ago when shaving our legs was still a novelty that now we would be having babies at the same time!?" It is pretty exciting.
I guess I'm not really Grumpy this evening. Maybe Sleepy (and Chilly). We had a good Sunday...good sermons. I'm just having a hard time getting from Point A to Point B. Maybe I'll just go to Point Bed.
* We're enjoying our MLKing day off. Since I haven't been fully back yet, I guess it's not off, but it's my Last Day of Christmas Break, so I've been enjoying it, and I've been enjoying having Chris home all day. It's chilly outside so we're feeling cozy inside.
* I had a doctor's appt this morning. Short and simple. I just met with the nurse prac. We heard the heartbeat again. What can they tell about the baby anyway with such brief appts? I never have any questions. Is that okay? I just don't. I read the book so I know "what to expect." And everything seems fine to me. Anyway, at least I'm in and outta there pretty fast. We'll probably get to find out if it's a boy or girl in 6 weeks.
* Saturday night we went up to Baton Rouge to hang out with some of my fellow grad students and their significant others. There were 8 of us, and we met at Erica's house and made fondue. It was so fun! I've never done fondue before, but Sam gave me a fondue pot for Christmas, and Erica got one, too. Her pot is a chocolate one (but worked well for cheese, too), and mine is a meat one. She made a super yummy cheese/peppers/artichoke heart dip, and I brought beef and chicken to sizzle in the hot oil with some yummy sauces. It was a lot of fun, because it took a lot of time, and we were able to relax and eat and chat. Erica cleaned out the cheese pot and made a chocolate one to round things off. So yummy! I'm definitely a fan of fondue.
* We've been having a spate of spam lately. Thanks to the Management for their great help in getting it cleaned up. If you've had trouble commenting, sorry, but that's likely what was standing between you and your aired opinion.
Phwew. Sam and Lu made it. They got to their gate in plenty of time and got here just fine. See? All that worrying paid off.
Today we loaded up for the last round of C'mas shopping. Chris and I kept taking them surreptitiously to help them pick out gifts for eachother and for us. We managed to get everything at Barnes and Noble and Target. Woohoo! No traipsing around malls! In fact, I think I've successively avoided the mall entirely this C'mas season, and I didn't even order anything online.
Afterwards we drove back into our nice New Orleans and wound round through the neighborhoods to the corner of Bellecastle and Annunciation where the best po-boy joint in New Orleans is located. We stuffed our famished tummies with sizzling shrimp po-boys.
A nice nap. Cookies ahead. Thermometer dropping to a respectable Christmas temperature. Bring on the hot cider!
So I'll take a few minutes to blog while I'm waiting for my faculty account to be straightened out so that I can post my grades before noon. It was great teaching a class at local university. I'm tremendously grateful for the experience. But I highly do not recommend adjuncting while still a grad student with a full-time course load. It's a lot of work to put together a class for the first time, especially when it's a class for the first time, never having taught a class before. It was a good experience. I had a small class size, and it was a basic survey of material. I do feel that I still have a lot to learn about teaching and a lot to learn about music history before I can feel comfortable, though. Try as I might, it's difficult to get my head around all the details of a hundred year period of time enough to distill the details in a salient fashion. Sure, I can understand it for myself, but communicating it is another matter. It's easy just to slip into the Music History Parade that I went through/am going through as a student, rather than try to be creative. I'm glad for this experience, but I think I need to study a bit more before I teach again. I can't imagine these people who go on the market as fresh A.B.D.'s. I feel like I have so much more left to learn just to get to an adequate level. As soon as I post these grades, another chapter will be closed....
Last night when I was commenting, I was feeling fit as a fiddle. I had a productive day, and at the end of it, I was feeling the euphoria of cookie dough for 4 different kinds all chilling in my fridge. Today I feel pregnant. I'm totally crashed. I can't go like crazy for days successively. I need to recover today. :)
My brother and sister come this evening. I'm such a worry wart. I kept calling them last night to make sure they didn't forget this or that. They must've been rolling their eyes when they saw my number pop up on the ID again. And my parting words "call me when you get to your gate, just so I know you made it to the airport on time!" Our mom isn't even this bad. But I am worried. They have to get themselves from their school party (it's never easy to tear oneself away from parties) to my aunt's house (an hour away) for my uncle to take them to the airport (another hour away) two hours before their flight leaves. I hope the holiday security lines aren't too bad. Listen to me! Stop!
Grades are posted. Grocery store awaits.
I love living in a city that has a song about Christmas time in that city, sung by none other Louis Armstrong. I also love living in a city where even though Louis is an institution (our airport is even named after him! the Louis Armstrong International Airport) you can still here him on the radio every day. Why, as a matter of fact, he's singing right now as I type.
Anyway. It is Christmas time here in New Orleans. And last Saturday, I came to the shocking reality that I only have a week left. So I started my shopping. Today I must run a few more errands to finish the gift round-up and to obtain the last few supplies for home-made gifts. I also need to start my mad cookie dash. This is the only time of year that I feel obligated to make cookies. I'm going to use some as gifts this year, which is why I feel so driven to bake. I think I might also get my pasta started for Christmas Eve's big Italian seafood dinner. Everywhere I read says that shell fish should be avoided for pregnant women. How seriously do i take this? Is this like the caffeine thing? It's kind of cramping my style for Christmas Eve. Anyway. At any rate, we'll have some kind of fish for the main course--and if I can afford it, it'll be cod (baccala). I'm also make spaghetti with some kind of marinara sauce (with clams?--maybe I'll sautee them to serve on top), and ravioli stuffed with ricotta, mozarella, pine nuts, and shredded zucchini. Last year I did crab ravioli (so good!), but then there's the shell-fish thing again. Even if our seafood options are significantly reduced, it'll still be a yummy dinner.
(HEY! My song just came on the radio!! Right now as I type, Louis is singing "It's Christmas Time in New Orleans." How cool is that!?!?)
Tonight my parents head off to Germany to spend Christmas with my brother, and tomorrow my teenaged brother and sister, Sam and Luisa, are coming to spend Christmas with us. I'm getting really excited. Our family has a lot of fun Christmas traditions (like opening presents C'mas Eve night) and having a quiet, lazy C'mas day. A few years ago, my mom introduced the tradition of allowing us to pick out the most desired Junk Cereal (we couldn't have a favorite, because we were never allowed to have it) for C'mas morning. Last year (our first C'mas at home), Chris and I evaluated our respective family's traditions and came up with the synthesis that was uniquely ours. Italian dinner, movies, games (I'm still working on that one), and great music on the radio (wh. works at least while we still live in NOLA) for C'mas Eve. Presents on Christmas morning. This year, I'm getting junk cereal for Sam and Lu (partly because I don't know what else to serve them for b'fast) for the week, and pain au chocolat from our boulangerie for C'mas morning breakfast. Our church also does not have a C'mas Eve service, rather a C'mas morning service of lessons and carols. And we'll have C'mas dinner with the Hamiltons (our pastor and family), who are from the UK and give us a nice British C'mas dinner complete with flaming pudding. Maybe we'll make this dinner a tradition when we no longer have the Hamiltons to have Christmas with (perish the thought). C'mas is great fun this year, but we can't wait for next year when we have Elvis to share it with. Woohoo!
The loot pile under the tree is growing. (always exciting.) I feel like such a kid. Sneaking peaks and shakes to try to figure out what Chris got me, but still holding back a tad, because I want the surprise! I'm also such a kid in that when I get Chris something obviously shaped (like a book, or CD, or DVD) I wrap it in another box so that he couldn't possibly tell. He really should do that for me, because I'm the one that sneaks shakes, and he doesn't. Or maybe he does and he's so sneaky that I don't know. I just assume that if I'm going to shake everyone will, so I have to protect them from themselves. We WILL have surprises on Christmas morning.
I've decided to email Christmas letter this year. I've been enjoying very much receiving all the letters and pictures from my friends and family. But due to the large cost of doing cards, letter, and pictures all with first-class postage, I think I'll email as many as I can. I really hate to do that. I enjoy the Real Deal, and think it's worth it. I've taken to just sending postcards intsead of emails to friends. There's nothing like seeing your friend's familiar penmanship oozing their personality in a reply note. Maybe with more planning at cost-effectiveness I can return to Real Cards next year.
I have a TON left to do before Sam and Lu get here, and before Christmas. So blogging may be non-existent this week. So until next time....
I just got an email with the news that my first piano teacher died.
I doubt there was any musician in Eastern Iowa (and beyond!) who she did not touch somehow. What an energetic, generous, caring teacher!
Going to her house was extremely memorable. Walking up the sidewalk with big trees in the front yard (crunching leaves in the fall, treading carefully around icy patches in the winter). She had a big porch and in the summer had huge hanging baskets of impatiens (or were they geraniums?). At the end of the porch was the perfect porch swing on which to sit and dream while my friend finished her lesson. Inside was an entry way with a bench facing sliding wooden doors, which opened between lessons to reveal two Steinway grand pianos side by side. The one of the right sitting next to the big picture window was for the students.
She taught me solid musicianship and was sensitive to my burgeoning interests. It's thanks to her that I play the piano in church every Sunday.
My last year of highschool, my class had our Christmas party in Independence. Restless, we decided to walk around and carol at everyone's house we knew. We came to her house and sang "O Jesu sweet" by Bach in perfect 4 part harmony. She was thrilled: "I've never had carolers sing in 4 part harmony before!"
One year she had a piano trio come for an evening. She invited a bunch of us music students from Cono. We sat on the stairs and afterwards had pizza and enjoyed lively conversaton.
My last lesson with her, and probably the last time I ever saw her, we played a piece by Chopin for two pianos. I didn't play it great, but we got the point across and had a lot of fun.
*I always feel like I should get a sticker when I successively parallel park. Today, I not only did the Perfect 3 Point Parallel Park, but I did it on the left hand side! In my car with no power steering!!! I ought to get something for that!
It's taken me a long time to warm up to this parallel parking thing (especially since I don't have power steering). But you can only live in the city for so long before you have to succumb and figure out how to do it.
*Did I mention that our Christmas tree is perfect!
*I'm always amazed at how much great stuff you can find at the craft store! Stuff I would never think of looking for there. Like Hershey kisses with red and green wrappers, which my Walmart did NOT have!
*I'm turning into an awkward shape. I can't wear most of my pants except for ones that make me look like a gangsta. Are there pre-maternity clothes out there? I'm mean...ones that are for between now and when you can really fill them out?
Well, I'm done with the semester. At least done enough to begin to relax a little. I didn't manage to finish without any incompletes, but this is the most complete incomplete I've ever had...as in, I'm over half-way done with the paper instead of wondering what to write about.
I feel very tired and crashed today. It's been a crazy weekend.
Friday morning I went up to Baton Rouge to take part in the Packing Party. The building where our department is located is scheduled for renovation, so we had to pack up to move to another building while this happens. In addition to the profs offices, which we students helped some with, there were two libraries that the theory and musicology people have, which we students helped most with. In exchange, we students got free pizza. Hey! It worked for me. If all I could eat right now was pizza, I would be a happy camper. Whenever I'm hungry, all I want is pizza. But I've been good and have been eating healthy things. It's just very hard to think about pizza. Watching the Simpsons in the evening just about kills me, because there are always pizza commercials.
Friday afternoon and night I spent at Jack and Erica's so that I could study for my final on Saturday. Going to somebody else's house to study was nice, because I had none of my stuff to distract me (including husband, who I like, and therefore want to spend time with instead of studying), and somebody else made a yummy dinner.
Saturday I had one final at noon, and then had to take another one I should've taken Thursday, but couldn't because I had to teach. So I studied for that one after the first one while I sat in a very cozy, Christmasy favorite coffee shop.
Both of these exams were for the same prof, and I must say they were a little disappointing to take. In my opinion, a good test is a learning experience. One learns and connects while studying for it, and the kinds of questions it asks brings it all together in a really marvelous way. These tests were not like that. They were rote. The reason I studied so little for them was that I all I did was to cram some dates in my head. I didn't really need to know a whole lot more than that. I could manage the rest of the tests from there. They were really frustrating. In many respects, my coursework experience has been a disappointment. But I won't go there now....
So after a brain-wracking Saturday, I got home around 6.30 pm, really pooped, but glad to have it over with and glad to be home. Well, Chris had had a busy day and got my all psyched up to go around town to do a few things. First thing's first--getting our Christmas Tree!!! Woohoo!!! We got a really nice tree, too! It barely fits in our living room, but who cares? It's such an awesome tree...between 6 and 7 feet to the very tip-top, and nice and full with soft needles.
After we got the tree, Chris wanted me to go with him to go through some boxes of books at his school where he teaches. Somebody donated a ton of kids books to his school's library, but they were little kids books, and his school starts with 7th grade--really too young to be helpful to the school's library. So they said that Chris could have some for Elvis. We scored a ton of fantastic children's books!!! I was so excited. It was such a blessing for us, because we value books so highly and are so excited to have the beginnings of a really wonderful library for Elvis.
Not only did we get a ton of books, Chris bought a nice wooden bookshelf at his friend's yard sale, so after we sorted through the books picking out the ones we wanted, we went on over to his friend's house to pick up the shelf. When we got there, she was outside, having accidently locked her house keys inside and trying to reach her roommate on her cell to no avail. We tried various non-violent ways of breaking in, but none worked (which I suppose should be a relief). So she said she would bring the bookshelf to us yesterday (wh. she did, and it is just fabulous). But we'll have to keep the shelf and the books in storage until we move, because there's NO ROOM in our apt.
Speaking of moving, we may have a place. One of Chris's coworkers is moving out his place in May--it's half a double (typical for NOLA), 2 bedrooms, and already has a washer and dryer in it (so we wouldn't have to buy one). Chris looked at it on Saturday, since it was right next door to his friend's yard sale (unfortunately, she is moving); he said it was everything we love--things so typical of New Orleans architecture: the hardwood floors, high ceilings, and molding. It's in SUCH a cute neighborhood, and just perfect for us--lots of friendly people walking around. Still in the city...in fact even moreso. It's in a part where renovation is starting to take hold, so rents are still cheap, but there's a lot of vitality. It's on the other side of the downtown area from where we live now, but closer to the Quarter. So we'll see.
Well, Chris and I got home about 10.30 pm, at which we point we had supper and began decorating the tree. It's such a fab-o tree that we ran out of lights after two strands. So between exhaustion, the soporific effect of hot milk with chocolate powder dissolved into it (i.e. hot cocoa), and not enough lights, tree decorating is momentarily paused. I'll try to pick up another strand of lights when I go out to the store today.
Yesterday morning before church, Chris's friend came over to deliver the bookshelf. After church, Jack and Erica came down from Baton Rouge, and we caravaned to the Mississippi/Louisiana border on I-10 to take C'mas pictures in front of the "Welcome to Louisiana" sign, which was a lot of fun. I think we're the only state in this country that has our welcome sign in English and in French. I'll post a pic as soon as Erica emails some. It was her idea for their pic, and we got in on it, too (since somebody had to take the picture), since we always get a kick out of the sign.
So thus is the tale of my last few days. I'm positively crashed today. But I'm hungry and need to go to grocery store, since there's no food at home.
I've got Chris's soldering iron. My next project is making ornaments with wire and beads. We'll see how it works.... if there's success, you'll be sure to know.
I've enjoyed all the kind notes from everybody about our baby news. It's been fun getting comments from people I haven't heard from in ages. Cheers, everyone!
I meant to celebrate the beginning of December with this post. But yesterday got a little away from me. It's very cold here (well, at least it is for here, and we don't really have adequate heating, so it's *brrr* indoors as well). So snowflakes and Christmas music don't feel as out of place as they sometimes feel here in Louisiana. My parents are going to Germany for Christmas to visit my brother, and my other brother and sister are coming here. I'm getting a little more excited for Christmas than I have been. So without further ado.....
The Snowflake Tutorial
The start cutting designs into the sides. Remember, you're cutting the profile of everything. When you open it, you'll have the mirror image of whatever you cut out. (Remember Valentine's hearts?) If you have a good pair of sharp scissors, one can get really detailed. Okay...obsessed! Remeber, don't cut all the the way across!
Have fun, and happy cutting!
On Thanksgiving Day morning, we were lying in bed, and I turned to Chris and said "Good morning! happy Thanksgiving! Now we can listen to Christmas music!" He just rolled his eyes.
I love Christmas music. I used to indulge in it whenever I wanted, listening as early as October. But in recent years and a few Madrigals hence, I have to be careful or I'll be completely burnt out by Christmas day. So I've gone back to the old rule of no Christmas music before Thanksgiving.
In college, I had a nice tradition with my friend Joanna, that started our freshman year (and was so pleasant, we made it a tradition). We were usually back from our respective Thanksgiving jaunts (if I went anywhere) by Sunday evening. At which point, we'd gather in one of eachother's rooms, and by the glow of Christmas lights, we'd put on Christmas music, drink hot cocoa, and cut out elaborate snowflakes.
Thanks to Joanna, cutting out snowflakes is one of my favorite holiday activities. These just aren't any snowflakes. It's all in the folding, and it's quite simple to get really spectacular outcomes.
Writing papers is not a favorite holiday activity, but it is one to which I must now turn my attention.
Last year this time, I was elbow-deep in Thanksgiving preparation: pies, cranberry stuff, pumpkin ravioli, soups, etc. It was grand, and I had a blast. Our house was packed. We ate out on the porch, with light rain in the background (porch is covered, though not on sides) and the warm glow of Christmas lights and candles. It was so fun!!!
We had been making plans for a grand Thanksgiving Fest again this year. But this year has gotten away from us. We are strictly tied to a careful budget (so no throwing multi-course parties for 20 people) and are tired. So we're opting to go to Pensacola for the soothing balm of visiting my great-aunt and uncle there. It is always so relaxing. We don't do much there, but they feed us our favorite food. We do our laundry. Watch the waves lap up from the bay outside their window. And have enjoyable conversation. (Maybe even play dominoes, if I can twist Chris's arm into it.) We always leave their house feeling entirely refreshed.
But it doesn't feel like the holidays. I'm still getting used to the fact that Halloween has come and gone. I feel like I'm in this dark, empty vortex of time. We need holidays to help us mark the time, or at least we've gotten used to this need. I haven't managed to turn on the regularly scheduled holiday compartment in my brain, and time continues to march on leaving me behind and befuddled at the moments of confusion when I resurface in retail world and realize that Christmas is coming. (Oh, but the greenery freshly laid out for one's holiday adornment smells SOOOO good. MOM!!! Can you cut some pine branches and mail them to me?? PLEASE). I've just got to muster enough focus to finish this semester with no incompletes. Is that asking too much?
Today our neighbor handed me four fish...four WHOLE fresh Red fish. I don't know what to do with these things. It's the whole thing! As in: recently has been swimming in water. It was really nice of him. He told me to just to scrape of the scales, cut off the head, and slice along the belly. :-P I put them in the freezer. HELP!
We have to find a new place to live. It's a little daunting. I wish I could just walk down the street and miraculously bump into the right place (in the perfect location) and for the right price. But I don't think it's going to happen. The perfect time to move is over the holiday break, but that means we need to be looking and finding the place now...right...at the end of the semester. :-P
And then, we have this thing about really wanting to stay in Orleans Parish. Neither of us can stomach the idea of moving out to the 'burbs. If one is going to live down here in the Delta, it's not worth it unless one is living in the coolest city in the Delta, New Orleans. (And by "cool" here I don't mean temperature--it's certainly not that--rather higher potential for poetry.) But maybe a big toe's distance from the parish line will be satisfactory; it certainly would mean cheaper insurance.
I never thought I would be living this far south. The extremes down here are startling. Take Louisiana, for instance. You have New Orleans, the developed suburbia past its prime, and the country. The country this far south scares me a little bit...too many unknowns. I've seen more bugs in the city that I've never seen before in my life. Who knows what's out there in the country? *shudder*
But I digress. For the most part I like living in Louisiana. Still feels like terra incognita in many respects...especially when one has to find a new home.
Since I've been back from AMS, I haven't been coughing. My last major coughing fit was in Seattle just as I was leaving. Perhaps being in the drier climate had irritated it all weekend? Seattle, dry? You ask. Well, drier than New Orleans. It's nice and cool back on the home front.
I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. The end of the semester and much that is due looms ominously near, and I am absolutely exhausted. These past two weeks really set me back, and now I have term papers breathing down my neck.
I don't want to complain, because no place is perfect, but the combination of my commute, grad classes that are broken up throughout the week (instead of meeting just once a week in a big chunk, wh. is normal) to accomodate performance schedules, and a lot of tests (what are generals for, after all?!) lead to a semester at my school that gets sucked up quickly by busy work. I feel like I don't have the time necessary to do the kind of term paper writing I would ideally like to do. I throw together a measly 10-12 pager at the end of the semester, when I really need the practice to spend more time and depth with a topic. 'Nough said. Dissertation is around the corner, and I can put this nonsense behind me. Oh for more energy....
I went to school today. I realized that if I'm distracted enough (like taking notes in a class) I don't notice that I'm coughing anymore. It's starting to become a part my normal reality. But I get weird looks from people because the cough just sounds awful...the deep-chested kind.
I'm off to Seattle for the annual national AMS meeting. Woohoo! I've been looking forward to this for awhile. It'll be great to see old friends, etc. Rumor has it, though, that it's cold there. I wonder where my coat is.
What does it take to get a decent haircut in this city????
I looked like a shaggy dog. I got out of the shower this morning, and thought, in a moment of rashness, "i'll just go to Supercuts. It's the cheapest. I'll take a picture. It's a simple, straightforward haircut."
Supercuts is for the dogs. I know I've said it before, but this time, I mean it--I'm never going back there. When I came in, I was the only customer. There was a receptionist and two hair cutters waiting for business. One took me right away. The throw she put on me still had hair from the previous customer. I showed her my picture. Simple, straightforward. Short, but long enough to push back behind my ears. She gave me bangs. I couldn't believe it! Was she blind??? There were no bangs in the picture. How disgruntling.
What is it about a haircut that you have to spend a fortune to get a decent one!?!? Every time I get a haircut I lament about this. Last month I went back to even trying to cut it myself. I should've just done that this morning.
So that was my brief morning expedition. I'm home now coughing my brains out still.
You see, I coughed my brains out this weekend.
It all started last Monday, a week ago today, I came home with a fever, which lasted two days. Then I began to feel a little better until Thursday night when I taught for 2 hours straight, which irritated my throat to such a large extent that I had a sore throat and laryngitis! I croaked my way through Friday, could barely make a sound on Saturday, and croaking turned to deep-chested, uncontrollable, interminable coughing all day yesterday. I am home again today, managing to go as long as twenty minutes without coughing! Woohooo! But my whole chest is so sore. And I really feel like I coughed my brains out. I feel tired and loopy from so much coughing. A steady dose of vitamin C and sleeping seems to be doing the trick.
One sounds like the other.
Okay. I'm deleting the post formerly known as "The Morning After." I realize that I was cranky and grumpy and reacting from my gut.
[Consider all this, my family and friends who are shocked and try to convince me otherwise. What if the rhetoric of my previous ONE political post had been against Kerry? (As much has been writting in cov/chattablogdom.) I wouldn't have received such a "warm" response that was left on the blog today, evidenced by the commentage on said context. It just so happens that 99% of my readership are Republicans who really believe what they believe.]
For my ONE political post, I'll offer a more benign version:
I am not a fan of Bush. I am really disappointed with his administration and how he's used his faith in his office. I am intrigued with Kerry partly because he isn't Bush and partly because I just plain agreed with some of the stuff he said--stuff I heard in other places besides NPR. I don't necessarily think he would've delivered on all he said or solved all Bush's problems. No candidate can. It's unrealistic to expect them to. I was willing to go for a fresh start, though.
You see, even though I've grown up just like all the Republican cov/chattabloggers, family and friends, I'm ready for something different. Not out of puerile "I just want something different"-ness. I've just revised my political priorities.
The government has taken on a new role in my perspective. I see government as the preserver of the greatest common denominator of social good--even if it means being slightly different from my personal beliefs. Basically, I don't see it as the preserver of the "American family" or "American values" anymore. The day we elect officials to perform these roles is a sad day.
I really don't care about the government around me. I want the officials to build a stable and economically viable society. But when it comes down to values, I turn to what I believe is the proper context as holder, protector, and sustainer of these values...the church. Not a government, not a school. I don't believe America is on a slippery slope downwards, etc. Sin doesn't get worse. It always is as bad as it's going to get. And the government isn't going to mitigate that situation. If I want to persevere in preserving the family, God has already provided the covenantal community of the church. Government is there for the practical day-to-day sustaining of people: health care, homes, safety, etc., because the rules of ancient Israel don't apply anymore.
Perhaps you disagree with my reasoning. I will admit that I'm in the early stages of my development in thinking about government. I would ask that if you strenuously disagree with me and feel indignant by my words that you would not comment. If you have something constructive to say, I wouldn't mind engaging in conversation. But for the most part, I'd rather this be my ONE political post, and move on to more banal and esoteric daily subjects as is my wont.
Last night, I'm sure like the rest of this country, Chris and I grabbed our supper (chicken soup full of yummy vegetables and a warm baguette) and sat in front of the TV. We opted for CBS because that's the channel we get most clearly. Since nothing happens for quite some time on election night, and the news networks were being very conservative about projecting their views on the results, we find that one sits in front of the TV for quite some some with nothing happening. It can get boring after a while, which is part of the reason that I fell asleep before California even closed their polls.
We started chatting about some of our favorite election night memories. It is after all, an event more attended to by Americans than even football. I don't remember watching the election as a kid. I'm sure I must have, but I don't remember it at all. I have more vivid memories of the Olympics. In fact, about the only election I can actually remember watching is the last one (sad, but true). I didn't get to vote in the last election. I had forgotten to renew my reg. card, and I was pessimistic about voting, figuring that my vote didn't count anyway. (Well, Florida proved me wrong last time.) I went down to the precinct anyway after orchestra rehearsal to see if there was a chance that I could vote (this year, if I had been in the same position, I probably could've cast a provisional ballot). But I didn't get to vote. I remember that I had a paper due the next day, so I basically buzzed into my apt for a quick bite of supper and went to sit in the library computer lab, my second home. I worked on my paper, punctuated by refreshing the CNN website every 10 min. When the library closed, and I had to go home everybody was watching TV. One of roommates let me use her computer in the livingroom. So I set up there and continued to distractedly work on my paper. Gradually everyone went to bed, and I continued working on my paper and watching the election on mute. I was done about 3 am, and had watched enough to see Bush win, but then turned it off before the whole contest erupted. I woke my roommate, upon her request, to tell her that Bush won. Needless to say, I was confused the next morning. And then we had the whole Election Drama of 2000.
Chris's favorite memory of election night was in 1984 the Reagan/Mondale election. He and his sister were sitting on the living room floor with their own US map and a red crayon and a blue crayon. Each time a state was determined, they colored in the appropriate state with the appropriate color. Except, according to Chris's memory, Reagan won them all, so every state was red. He also remembers at one point, a state was declared for Mondale, so he colored it blue, but then was declared a misdeclare, so Chris had to color over it in red, but then in made purple, and that bugged him. What also annoyed this little 7 year old was that in the end, he could've saved a lot of time by just coloring the whole map in red rather than doing it gradually state by state. I don't remember anything from the Reagan/Mondale election except this random picture in my head of a picture on Mondale on a telephone pole near our post office. (Speaking of maps, we just got a free world map from National Geographic in the mail. woohoo!)
UPDATE: Oh, I remember another thing from elections as a kid. I thought that George Bush, Sr. just HAD to win the election his first time (was that '88), because he would be the 41st president, and that way the first president and the fourty-first president would be named George. Aaaah. The political reasonings of a 10yrold.
ANOTHER UPDATE (11/4): While watching the election other night, Dan Rather on Louisiana: "It's just complicated there."
So back to the interactive blogging medium:
What's your favorite election night memory?
On Wednesday afternoon some of us theory/musicology folks were sitting around before class, and it came up that no one else had seen What's Up, Doc? (1972, Barbara Streisand and Ryan O'Neal)!!! This is the only movie I can think of that features a musicologist trying to get a research grant, which cracks me up in and of itself. Also funny is that I can think of real life musicologist counterparts to the ones on the movie. It's a must-see for all musicologists.
When I realized that no one else had seen it, I rashly announced a "What's Up, Doc?" party at my house. Friday evening, Erica and Jack came down presumably to follow up on my invitation. I made yummy pumpkin stuffed pasta with a salad, steamed vegetables, and bread with fabulous Spanish sheep's cheese. I had called all over New Orleans to find this movie; it is only carried by one place across town. After we all enjoyed a nice dinner and pleasurable company, we voted that we were too tired to watch a movie. So "What's Up, Doc?" party has yet to be held.
Saturday, Chris got up early to go to school to help a kid and to work on their computers. I ran some errands, and then took my friend Abby to the bead shop for her 4 yr old birthday outing. She made a necklace strung with pink beads and pink plastic animals. She's a very sweet girl and good with details, summoning the patience to string some of the small ones on herself, which is a lot for the small hands to manage. Later at her house, we ate cake with pink frosting on pink plates washed down with pink juice. (Do we see a pattern?) She's pictured right with her new necklace and her Dora the Explorer (or as I say, Explorah) bday cake.
In the evening I played church lady and got all my stuff together for the fellowship lunch on Sunday.
And yet again, we forgot the time change, which isn't so bad in the fall. The fact that even though we were running late and got a good parking place (as in, no other cars) clued me in. It was kind of nice, because we were grumpy that we were running late, and it turned out that we were actually super early. So we came back home, got our minds in better order, and came back in good time.
On our way home from evening service, we took a roundabout route through neighborhoods to spy out cute trickortreaters. We saw a few, but what we saw more of were older kids trickortreating without having dressed up! Doesn't that sort of defeat the purpose!!? Was it somehow uncool this year to wear a costume?? Chris and I made fun of them to ourselves, e.g. "I went as a loser." Really. All one needs is a paper bag to have the beginnings of a costume! $5 at a thrift store is a pretty good start, too.
Thirteen more years until the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
Rumor has it that Fall is supposed to start this week.
I think part of the reason I haven't been blogging much lately is that if I sit down to write something, I will probably complain about something. Having a complaining disposition is not only ungrateful and unmindful of God's graces but it is also oppressive to the people around me.
With that said, though, I am tired. I truly do feel weary--both Chris and I do. I think Interminable Summer that is hanging over Louisiana is a contributing factor. The umpteenth day with a heat index of around 90 degrees, 70-90% humidity, and a glaring sun dawns this morning as we come to the close of about the fifth month in a row of this weather. The umpteenth day of constantly feeling damp with sweat, of fighting for the lives of our air conditioners--home and car, of dreading turning on the stove to prepare food, and of trying to think clearly. Well, I guess it's just living in Louisiana folks. Right now the two greatest luxuries in the world I can think of are a washer and dryer and central air. *sigh*
Yesterday, though, was the wonderful blessing of a little respite. Chris took a personal day off, and as I have no outside obligations, I put the books up for a day and took a personal day myself. We got some much needed errands done: opening up two savings accounts at the bank (an "absolutely no touching" one and a "rainy day" one); getting an alignment on Chris's car; going to Target (it's been months!--After admitting to Chris that I had been driving with my knee while talking on the phone so that I could use my other hand to help me talk [gesturing, etc.], he bought me a headset for my cell phone.); sitting at the laundromat doing a major washing (including bedspread); and making and bringing birthday scones to a friend. We also cleaned a bit and watched "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!". We desperately needed some time together, and though we probably could've used a whole week, we are so thankful the day we had.
I just really haven't been posting that much...no reason in particular except blog malaise, perhaps.
Life is has been busy, and I'm trying to focus more qualitative energy on the little time I have at home and with husband, especially as he endures the hard and difficult task of quitting smoking. I found some herbal teas that seem to help a bit in that arena.
This weekend has felt like 4 rolled up into one. The past two Fridays I've gotten home around 7 p.m., and Chris and I are so tired that we end up watching TV until someone musters up the energy to get up and actually stick a DVD into the player. Popcorn for supper isn't so bad. Because we have an atennae we can now watch TGIF, an event I haven't considered in years and years. Isn't that what jr high schoolers watch because none of them are old enough to drive yet? Anyway, as can be expected, like the rest of TV it's pretty dumb, except for this one show that we just find absolutely hilarious: Complete Savages. I think it's produced by Mel Gibson. A single (widowed?) dad and five pre-teen to teen boys. Many parts of it are the "exaltation of all this is great and wonderful of guy", but more often than not we find ourselves laughing to death despite all that is "sitcom" about it.
This past Saturday instead of sleeping in, I had to get up early to go Hammond (about an hour away) for the Med/Ren conference. The website for Southeastern was so bad that I could NOT find a street address to do a mapquest search to. The best I could was to print out a campus map. So I set out on the road going in the right direction, figuring that I would just stop at a gas station when I thought I should be getting close. I actually ended up calling the cell phone of someone else who was attending and getting some basic directions that I ended up amending towards the end and was very grateful for the campus map which did help in my final stages.
The conference was so-so. It was kind of badly organized, and for about the 60 or so people in attendance, they actually had concurrent sessions! Which means that hardly anyone could be at a given session, since we were too spread out. I was tired and sad and didn't feel like being there. I would've left after my paper, but I had already paid for lunch. So I sat through lunch and a LONG panel discussion, and then left. It's been so hot lately, so I was roasting in my car all the way home.
When I got home mid-afternoon, I desperately needed to study for a midterm on Monday (today) (which I hadn't been studying for due to revising my paper), but I was exhausted and collapsed on the bed.
But then it was time to go a wedding at church to which we were invited on Friday. The wedding was beautiful, and it was fun hanging out with the Hamiltons at the reception. Well, due to an open bar at the reception, I was in no position to study in the evening (besides it was pretty late).
Sunday, we played church bus to various university and OPCers in-town for conventions in addition to our Sunday duties at church. And we had lunch with the family of the Tulane student we pick up for church regularly...they were in town for "parent's weekend". A lovely family.
I, of course, had my nap, and after evening service we finished our church "bus" duties, and I finally began studying for the midterm. I knew if I could do nothing else, just memorize as many dates as I could. Always puts me in good stead for this profs tests. So I flipped through my flashcards a few times this morning on my drive in. And the test, I think, went okay. *sigh*
I'm really looking forward to tomorrow! A day with no obligations (yet).
I'm tired now and dread the drive home...such a drag. So I think I'll go fuel up at the coffee shop.
I am a monster; I really am.
Deep down inside of me a little monster growls when he doesn't get caffeine pronto, or the degrees outside feels over 90 (in the middle of October!), for instance. Or somebody forgot to take out the garbage (it's never my fault).
My monster needs a lot of attending to, and if he doesn't get the proper maintenance at the proper time, he drags himself to his feet and roars his rebellion.
(All monsters take masculine pronouns, you know.)
He's a silly monster really. He needs to be tamed, and it takes more than weak little me to tame him.
UPDATE: The monster also doesn't like it when certain computer apparati don't work. Whoop! Better go! The monster wants a drink of water.
Things have been pretty busy lately. This past Thursday and Friday were my Fall Break. My friend Grace W. visited, and we chatted, drank tea, and played with beads, making lots of cool stuff. And we watched tons of Horatio Hornblower. I love Horatio!! Chris and I are very much on a Horation kick. We're waiting for the last one to come from Netflix, and we've begun to borrow the books from the Hamiltons to read aloud.
I'm also busy teaching and grading and TRYING to get my paper ready for the conference in less than two weeks. Aaack!
Something they never tell you before you start teaching: giving tests is more painful than taking them. I gave my first test just over a week ago, and the whole time I was just a wreck, hoping they would do well and hoping I explained things well. I gave them a wide curve; but still, most of them didn't do as well I had hoped. And I even gave a study guide! The thing that disappointed me most was that these are graduate students, thus they should know how to study better, especially when told explicitly how and what to study. The one person who studied well aced the test. But for a first test the grade range wasn't too bad. I learned a lot in writing a test, too, about how to organize my lectures better. Two things they should teach T.A.'s: how to write syllabi and how to write tests.
Two years ago from today I started blogging.
You can't read the first few months of my blogging, because I didn't import from Blogger when I switched to Covblogs. (Well you can, but I was preparing to import and then decided not to, so it's hard to read, and it's pretty dumb, which is why I decided not to import it).
Blogging isn't like just normal journaling. At least it isn't for me. Part of the reason I didn't import my early blogging days is because in a sense I hadn't found my "voice" yet. I didn't really have anything interesting to write for myself or for other people. The case has sometimes been made that our blogs are for ourselves. But I think if one is going to publish something on the world wide web, even if only a small audience stops by, there should some awareness that you are writing for readers outside yourself.
In fact, maybe that's what has been missing from journals growing up, why sometimes I roll my eyes at their breathless quality (because I know my life is more interesting than what I recorded on those pages). Quite simply, I've been missing readers, and the blogging medium has given them to me. Oh, thank you, my dear ones!
Maybe the impulse to share is with all journalers. This need is illustrated in such cliches as "Dear Diary". We all know the book can't hear the author or respond, nevertheless the book is addressed by a term of affection. The book is anthropomorphized into a reader. Many journalers will speak of their books in the fondest of terms. (See L. M. Montgomery's Emily books for a really dramatized version of this.)
And even better, the book becomes the reader you want it to be. The diary can be regarded so affectionately, because it is the creation of the author. The author can fall in love with the Book/Reader because he/she has made it in their image. (I've said more regarding the "Pygmalion" syndrome.)
Blogging is different, though. There are real, live people reading, and if I want to have a relationship with my computer screen, that's okay, but I have to understand that everyone else will know, too. However, "Dear Lighted Display Unit" doesn't really have quite the same ring as "Dear Blank Pages Waiting to be Filled." I can't SEE the memory on a blog account, but I can see the beckoning of blank pages, which is probably why I still am so passionate about buying blank books, regardless of their fill potential.
Because of this public nature of blogging I think I've been forced to become a better writer. (At least, I hope so!) And I hope I continue to develop, which is part of the reason I blog.
In other news, check out what the unique medium of a blog can be used for: A blog conference on 11D about work/family issues (and work often meaning "academic work").
UPDATE: Continue the conversation on Hackenstar's blog.
My computer has been out of commission for nearly a month, due to a broken power chord and the rather high price of its replacement. After exhausting all options, Chris finally ordered me a new one. It arrived yesterday. So this morning, I'm back at my very own computer for the first time in months, and it is so nice! My computer is my space, and I've set it up a certain way. I've felt upheaved for quite some time with nowhere to set up my space. As a result, I've lost track of things, forgotten things, postponed others. Now I'm back.
I'm studying all day today for another test tomorrow with same professor. Yikes.
This afternoon Chris and I went over to another couple's house for lunch. It was fun, relaxed, easy. We had spaghetti. It's what I would've made. We had a great time. Later one of us admitted to not feeling that great..not sick..just sort indigestion-y. The other said "me too!" Then it dawned on me. It was the prepackaged spaghetti sauce. It corroborated with other times we've felt like this after not eating at home.
I never buy prepackaged foods. Not because I'm some sort of major activist or something. I just like to cook and know that half the prepackaged food out there is easy as a pie to make from scratch (like spaghetti sauce). I don't even buy cold cereal (making my own granola). I'm not a huge fan of chemicals and faux flavors that go into most prepackaged foods, but I never thought about more specifically than just some sort of an "i don't like lots of chemicals" abstraction. Today it just struck me! Wow, so buying organic stuff really does make a difference. The abstraction turned into a reality.*
*Remind me to tell you about the chicken sometime.
...watered the garden.
Well, after all the hype I expected to see the remains of a storm in New Orleans, but it was like nothing happened! No debris, not even a drop of rain. It was so surreal. The sky has been clear and blue all week. It's like the media had played a big joke on all of us. I don't mean to make light of those who really did get hit. It just was weird coming home to nothing. Oh well. I guess there was no way we could've predicted it. And I'm very thankful that everything here was fine. And the city can go on rockin' for another 200 years. See, I wasn't worried. Usually my gut feeling is right. We did the right thing by leaving with the knowledge we had, but I wasn't worried. And we enjoyed the company in Baton Rouge.
The evacuation traffic has been awful. I'm glad I saw alternate routes on the internet this morning. So we took US 61 home instead of I-10. They opened the lights and had police directing the traffic around intersections. It was still crowded, but we were moving, and I think we made it home faster.
And I'm getting some extra school work done, though not as much as I would've liked due to all the upheaval. I did get a conference submission in by yesterday's deadline, so I'm thankful for that. And I'm going to stay home tomorrow even though there's classes again, because I'm just not to going to deal with all the hideous traffic.
So there's our hurricane saga for the week. I found the picture on nola.com. It cracked me up...it's SO New Orleans.
The coolest thing about this Hurricane is finding out that there is such a place that exists in this world that bears the name Apalachicola. It's in Florida and it's on the eastern edge of places that will most likely be affected by Hurricane Ivan.
Well, we joined the rest of New Orleans and left. There are particular people in our church who we sort of gauge our reactions by since they are natives and understand the ways of things down here. A hurricane is still somewhat of an abstract concept and cause for a party to this Yankee (see the "hurricanes" of 2002...Lilly and Isidore within two weeks of eachother both downgrading to tropical storms by the time they hit). So when these people said to evacuate, we decided that it would be okay to do what the mayor suggested. Several people in Baton Rouge offered us to stay with them, so we picked the place with the private bath. :-) Hey, if you can choose, why not? The real concern for New Orleans is a storm surge coming up the Mississippi River, which, if you've never been to NOLA, lies above the city. (It just takes a Category 3 to itself come up the river for the entire French Quarter to be submerged up past the third stories of buildings.) How New Orleans has managed to survive these over 200 years, I'll never know.
I'm still not worried. We're further from potential flooding here, and our stuff is in our second story apartment in a high part of town. I just feel upheaved and my mind isn't settling around paper writing, like I would like it to be.
Ugh. And it took us five hours to get to BR, which normally takes 1 1/2. Bad parts being: my stiff clutch (imagine crawling in traffic for 3 hours with a stiff clutch) and no air conditioning (yea, it's died in my car, too, though it's fixable as opposed to Chris's car). My left arm is sunburned. I'm kind of funny looking.
Aah. well. We'll enjoy our exile and a little extra rain and pray that the hurricane will keep downgrading.
As our little friends who can't say their "r's" would say. (Not the curly-headed friends...other ones). I'm not at all surprised the Ivan is headed towards us. I expected as much when I checked up on it a week ago. I kind of hope it comes towards us, but downgrades to a tropical storm, so that we'll still get days off of school but it won't be any big deal. I need some time off to finish this paper so that I can get on with my life. In either case, I'm not really worried about it. I need some coffee.
Well, she gave me a fair chance, but Shannon did beat me to it. (It's because I have to go to computer labs while my computer is out of commission, waiting for a new power cord.)
After realizing about a year ago that Shannon lived in Baton Rouge and after reading eachother's blogs since the beginning days of Chattablogs/Covblogs, we decided to put a face with a name and got together for a cuppa.
Thankfully, she has been having fun the webcam lately, so I new the perky blond with two cutey-pies had to be her. Besides, I knew anyone with two little kids at that coffeeshop had to be her, because it's mostly a university joint (conveniently located within a short walking distance from the School of Music) with very few small children passing through.
The funny thing about meeting someone whose blog you've been reading for awhile is that you already know a lot about them. A kind of history has already been created to draw upon. At the same time, I am reminded how a blog can never substitute for the "real thing".
A blog is what we are willing to show of ourselves, our thoughts, and our lives. Whether consciously or not, it's a chance for us to recreate ourselves in the way we want other people to see us. And, to a large extent, many are quite successful at it, especially the one's who write well.
When you meet someone in person, you have the whole context of the person, the unpredictability of a particular situation, and the permanence of the meeting all in play that is more out of our control than a blog is...with our ability to rewrite, delete, and reinvent.
At the same time, though, a good blog (as APOG most certainly is) will show the reader something real about the writer. So when I met Shannon today, though seeing the Person filled in some of the blanks, I felt like I already knew her, because I did! And it was so fun!!
After zipping home early on Friday, all we did was ate soup and went to bed at 9, we were so tired!!
On Saturday, I didn't intend to do a deep clean, just a straighten-up of the house, but some areas demanded a deep clean, so I did, including tackling my desk once more. It's serviceable, and Chris set up a printer for me. So for the first time I have printing capabilities attached to my computer! Yay!! Chris tackled the kitchen floor. I think we are both happier living in our apartment after Saturday's efforts. In the evening my friend Erica and her husband came down, and we went to a yummy Mexican place for supper.
Chris and I decided that we are a waiter's worst nightmare, because we're always trying to reinvent the menu, splitting this or that thing or ordering something not with this but with that--trying to maximize our dollar and our dining experience. On Saturday we tried to split an order of soup, I think they just gave us a free bowl. :) It was really yummy soup--a chicken soup with lime and avocado and crunchy strips of tortilla. So good! We think the lime really made the soup.
Then Erica and Jack came over and we played several rounds of Mahjong (or however you spell it), which is not to be confused with the computer game where you match tiles off of a pyramid. It's sort like a cross between a card game and dominoes, sort of. Anyway, it was a lot of fun. Just the right amount of strategy. The real victory was Chris admitted to me later that he had fun playing a game! (He hates games.) We think it was a combination of the game and playing with Jack and Erica, just the right amount of competition, but still laid-back and nice.
Yesterday Chris and i had a good talk about goals, priorities, future, etc. It's good to be on the same page.
Chris set up this router for our computers, so now we can be on the internet at the same time (as well as many other things), and I don't have a finicky internet connection anymore which is nice. We're working on school stuff, and probably will go to the bookstore later on. I'll probably buy a few nice postcards of New Orleans. Postcards are my new favorite thing. A nice way to keep in touch: a step up from an email, but not the overwhelming investment of writing a real-live letter. So look for postcards from me. It's nice that I'm from a city that's so picturesque.
Oh! And I got a roll back of Europe pics that I took on my Pentax. Sadly, due to film loading troubles, only one roll of the two and a half taken turned out. But I got some nice ones of Trier and Paris.
I spent all afternoon and evening on Wednesday and all day yesterday getting all my little things ready for my class's starting yesterday evening. It went great. I have 5 students. There are some things I wish I had present better, but overall, I think it'll be a good class.
I may way home, I popped in to say goodnight to my little curly-headed friends, and was greeted with the happy news that Curly Head 4 should arrive in about 9 months! Yay!!
On account of my being in Baton ROuge until about 8.30 Wednesday, I went through the Wendy's drive-through on my way home. I felt sick all the next day. My body revulses so much grease. I woke up several times in pain last night because of the indigestion. I still don't feel great, and tired from waking up so much last night. So I think I'll make some chicken-soup and paddle once, paddle twice, paddle chicken soup with rice.
I'm very thankful for Labor Day weekend. It will allow me to relax a little, have some fun with some friends, and get my focus back for a paper I'm working on. I'm also considering dropping a class. We'll see...
So I feel pretty tired, a little lack-lustre, but overall contented.
Well, I've redone the look of the blog. (Obviously). I've been meaning to do this for months, but just haven't. I figured this being the Last Day of Summer Vacation (weekends don't count) I better get on it.
Frank is the lizard that sometimes lives on our porch. But like all smart creatures, he keeps out of the heat, so we haven't seen him recently. He was up here earlier, but then I'm took him down, because I was in a bad mood. I've been meaning to bring him back for a long time, and finally he returns.
He was a lot of fun to take pictures of last year. I have many portraits of Frank, but this one was his most philosophical pose. So cute!
Well, the heat is back in force. *Groan* My mood goes inversely with the temperature, so I'm kind of grumpy and full of malaise. All I want to do is curl up and watch movies, sitting in front of our window unit. Not beside it, mind you, because then I wouldn't feel a thing. We've ordered a new unit from Home Depot, and we'll put this one that belongs to the apt in the closet. It's not dead enough for our landlord to replace yet. (How dead does it have to be?!) Well, it occasionally spit out some cool air if it's not spazzing out, so it's not dead enough.
Last night I finally watch the extended verson of The Two Towers. Of course, it was great, though I don't really dig battle scenes. Thus I prefer extended versions, because they include more monologue/dialogue scenes.
I've been really good about going to the library every day this week to work, so maybe I'll sit and read for my Last Day of Summer Vacation. Or I wonder if my little friends are getting out their little purple pool....
KatieK's comment yesterday inspired. I fixed my hair myself. I got out my scissors and Chris's beard trimmer, and now I like my hair. I cut my own hair!
The heat and humidity are coming back; we've ordered a new window unit.
I've been keeping fairly busy. As you may imagine, I've been spending time away from my computer due to a few circumstances:
1) my desk is a mess--the kind of mess that needs organizational paraphenalia. I've been through it as many times as I can. The truth is plain. I need an office. We live in a 300 sq. ft. apt. Not a chance. When school starts I'll move some stuff to the space I have there, which will help...some.
2) My computer sits on the edge of my desk with a phone line that barely reaches, so spending any length of time on the internet requires me to be at a funny angle which most likely will result in cramped wrists, neck, and back.
3) Spending any length of time on the internet on my computer is not likely. We have the cheapest dial-up service out there, and I can't for the life of me manage to keep a connection. I get kicked off about every 3 min. Very frustrating. Chris's computer keeps a connection, so that I where I presently sit.
4) The weather has been grand. We thoroughly enjoyed a delightfully cool weekend. Near record lows for August. The weather is still nice, though not cool. The humidity has been down, wh. makes it feel like normal summer up North or something. Evenings have been cool on the porch. It's so unusual for August in Louisiana that I'm just sort of enjoying it yet waiting for the other shoe to drop.
5) I've been sitting in the library working on my syllabus for the class I'm teaching this fall at a local university. It's my first class all to myself (i.e. that I'm not a grad assistant for), so this means my first syllabus...more complicated than you might think. I'm sure once I've written a few syllabi I'll have established my policies and procedures for myself, but at this point, I'm thinking it all through from scratch. Not to mention outlining the course, and sketching out lectures for myself, so that I can have some direction for the course.
6) uuuuh...I have these...uuh...papers that I need to write from a while ago. My #1 advice for grad students: don't get into paper debt. I picked a very manageable, quick topic for one though....I'm giving myself 2 more weeks to have a respectable draft.
7) With the help of my trusty side-kick husband: cleaning house, organizing budget, stocking larder. (more like I'm the side-kick...but who's counting?)
8) Yesterday I went to get my haircut. Wretched experience. I decided not to go back to Supercuts, because even though it's cheap and it's a cut, it is not super. I went to another place nearby that takes walk-ins and gives a student discount. I told the guy what I wanted (basically what I had but with the 2 months growth trimmed). I came home. It was all wrong. So I went back and asked him to reconsider a few points, which he did very graciously. It's tolerable now, but still not great. Parts shorter than others where they should be even. But it's as good as the guy can get it. It's so frustrating! What do I have to do to get a good haircut?? I tried the "just don't get a haircut and grow your hair out" remedy in the spring, resulting in the permanent ponytail look. *sigh*
Okay, so that's what I've been up to.
We had quite a bit of company last week. I want to get some recipes posted, becuase we sure had some yummy vittles.
I just want to say: it's the middle of August. It's south Louisiana. It's 71 degrees and FEELS like it!!!
We didn't use the air conditioner AT ALL last night. We slept peacefully with just a fan drawing the cool breeze from the porch.
I am positively giddy. I feel like I have spring fever. I sat on the porch this morning and just babbled silly things.
All the windows are open. It is just gorgeous.
This is all just really amazing. People who have lived in Louisiana for years say they don't remember ever its being this cool in August.
I know we have Charley to thank for this, and I know hurricanes aren't fun for those going through them, but we're sure enjoying the effects of it right now.
A cold spell has hit Louisiana in August! It actually feels the degrees it is (instead of 20 degrees hotter). We can breathe!!! We're off to the park to go rollerblading. Woohoo!
Yesterday I went up to Baton Rouge. I had a few books due back at the library, and they had reached the limit of number of times I could renew them. :) I also had to return our books on tape to Cracker Barrel, and since we don't have a CB in NOLA, I went to the one on the way to Baton Rouge. I had a nice trip...time for a cuppa with friends and found some interesting articles in the library.
Chris took me out to our favorite Lebanese restaurant last night (one of fave places for a cheap date). We always get an assortment of "appetizers"...humus, labna, baba ganush, falafel, stuffed grape leaves, taboulleh...with warm pita. They have really fantastic coffee there, too. This is plenty for a nice supper outside on a cool evening, sitting at the sidewalk tables by the busy street, watching the cars and street cars go by. I love living in the city.
I just haven't been in the mood to blog lately. Summer malaise, I suppose, is the victim. It's been wretchedly hot lately. I feel like we're just in survival mode...just get us to October and then breathing will be bearable again.
I'm pretty much recovered from jet lag and cold. Chris and I have been keeping a pretty low activity level. Yesterday we did go to Baton Rouge so I could sort out my reimbursement for the trip. Today I worked on preparing for the class I'm teaching in the fall and reading for a paper I need to write before the semester. Tomorrow we go to Atlanta for Chris's friend's wedding.
Watched the Clintons last night on the Democratic Convention. That Bill, he really knows how to work a crowd...What a speaker! I don't think I've enjoyed hearing him as much as I did last night. Contrast does wonders.
Well, I arrived Wednesday, got my haircut, had a really great evening with my in-laws. Em (Clutcher) Sirinides came over with her new husband, and we had a blast catching up. What I love about Em is that we don't keep in touch very well (at all), but we can always pick up where we left off, have great conversations, and totally enjoy each other's company.
On Thursday morning, I had a fab northeast bagel for breakfast. My mother-in-law drove me half-way to meet my mom (they live about an hour and a half apart). When I got to my parents things were pretty low-key. My sister (Luisa, not the one getting married) and Laura (my cousin) were cutting up tons of vegetables. I set about getting the poster made of cute pictures of Mary and Scott when they were kids. In the afternoon and evening mom and I went all over the county shopping--food, gifts. We stopped at the home of our old friends and former neighbors from when I was around 4 or 5 yrs old. Their two kids are approximately the same age as my brother right after me (Nick) and I, and we had great fun with them as kids. The dad plays the cello, so we were borrowing it for the weekend, so that I didn't have to haul mine on the airplane. Later that evening the Minichs came (my mom's oldest sister--Linnea's mom) from Nebraska with only one of their kids. And even later Scott and Mary came back from their day at the airport with two of Mary's friends from Covenant/Italy semester. The party had begun.
Friday morning my one aunt who lives in Pennsylvania had a shower for Mary, two other aunts and some of their kids were staying with her, so when we arrived, there were four of my aunts and eight of my cousins there. We had a wonderful lunch, fun presents, and I laughed so hard I thougth I was going to throw up. Of course, it ended up with all of us singing. Then Dad called and asked if I could help him out a bit with the flowers.
So I went back over to the church where he had just finished all the corsages and buttoneres (I can't think of how to spell it, so I'm just going to call them my fun name for them). My Uncle Dennis was really great and carted me to the craft store to get ribbon and offered to go back if I needed more. Dad did all the flowers; I did all the ribbon.
In the afternoon we all practiced our song. My mom, her friend, and her sisters all sang this really beautiful piece that had organ and cello accompaniment. We rehearsed on Friday, once on Sat before the wedding, and it turned out really well for the wedding. It was kind of fun to play the cello again, but I'm really rusty, so I felt like my performance could've been sharper. Overall, though, I think it went well.
I won't even go into how crazy that afternoon was. But there was one point where I distinctly had the feeling that everyone was running around like recently beheaded chickens. My family cooked the rehearsal dinner, too, but Scott's family hosted it at their church. It was very low-key. In fact, so low-key, that my mom was obliged to run home to get some pretty tablecloths, candles, and flowers to spruce things up a bit. There were no toasts or stories or anything. I was little disappointed. At least his family paid for the food and made a yummy German chocolate cake for dessert. When the respective groups of bridal parties went off for their parties, we all went back to my parents house and hung out. My Aunt Rachael and I made a dip for the wedding (actually, she did most of the work; I was so tired I felt a little dazed). Then we watched part of Moonstruck so we could learn the song "When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's Amore!" We sang this song ALL weekend long. I'm so sick of it!
Saturday morning I got up as early as I could drag myself out of bed to go to the church to decorate the sanctuary, the reception hall and finish wrapping ribbon around the bouquets and corsages and buttoneres. Another craft store run. Ribbon runs out fast. Another craft store run. Forgot the flower girl basket. Thankfully there were a few people who showed up with teh golden question "What do you need me to do?" So I set one wonderful woman to wrap bows made out of tulle and ivy on the pews. I edged the head table and the serving table with tulle and ivy. Dad made small vases with flowers for all the tables, and I set out candles. I threw together the flower girl basket. I got ready for the wedding in about 10 min flat, and was so thankful to finally sit down for the ceremony. But it all went by so fast, and my mind kept racing to the next thing that it was hard to take in the ceremony itself. Plus jumping up to go play the cello.
As soon as it was over I ran back to the reception hall to light all the candles/tea lights, wh. took me about 15 min. The reception was a lot of fun. Instead of clinging glass (wh. were plastic and wouldn't have been all that effectual anyway), there was a microphone set up. If you wanted them to kiss you had to sing a song with the word "love" in it. With my family that is no problem. A lot of people got up and sang...even just a couple of lines... It was so fun! Better than karaoke. My mom and her sisters and I sang "The King of Love" (more for "special msuic" than for "kissing music", though). I had a great time catching up with old friends. The reception kind of dispersed gradually. We weren't allowed to throw anything at them (church policy); and we hadn't gotten organized enough to do the bubble thing. Most people were gone anyway by the they left, so those of us who were there (mostly relatives) made a tunnel with our arms they had to run through, and we all decided that that was a lot of fun and a satisfactory substitute. Their "decorated" car was undrivable. So it took us another half hour or so to get it cleaned up enough (I ran and got a bucket) so that they could drive it to a car wash. I was a little pissed off at my brother and company. They really went too far. I felt sorry for my sister. She's pretty laid back, but still, after you've been through the emotional..umm, roller-coaster is quite the word for her...anyway, the emotions of the ceremony, the exhaustion of being "on" for a reception and having to kiss every stinkin' time the next unabashed relative gets up to sing (and she's not that demonstrative of a person), and getting all the way out to the car, I would just want to leave and not have to wait to get the car cleaned up.
After cleaning up all the left over food (and there was tons), the party moved to my parents' house where we continued to eat reception food (most of us didn't really get a chance to eat at teh reception anyway) and stromboli and fried turkey that one of my aunts had fixed. Old family friends stopped by. The guys smoked cigars. I had 5 aunts and 10 cousins there (and a couple uncles--most of the aunts had left husbands and some of their kids at home).
We sat out in teh backyard with the lightning bugs and pond and waterfall my dad had just built. It was very cold all weekend. i couldn't sit out in the evenings without a lap blanket. It felt good, though, since I knew that I was only having it a short time before going back to Louisiana. We all stayed up as late as we could stand, looking at old pictures and telling old stories and laughing and laughing. the last time I was with the Aunty Crowd was my wedding, and I missed all this, so I had a great time. Their youngest sister is only 6 years older than I (I'm the oldest cousin), so there's this sort of continuum where the line between generations is blurred, and it's just all one big crowd.
Sunday morning, dad and I got up at 3 am to take Mary's two friends to the airport in Philly (2 hours away). He drove on the way up, and I knew he was beat when he actually let me drive on the way back. We were both half asleep. We stopped at Dunkin' Donuts and had to wait for it to open. We got home just barely awake, crashed back into bed. Wehn I got home an hour later, it was just us and we could have just Sunday. Everyone was gone. Going to church bleary-eyed though, we all told Luisa (who is 16) that her wedding was goign to be on a Friday.
We had a quiet Sunday, during which I mostly slept. On Monday we went back to my aunt's house, my uncle took Nick to the airport in Philly, and my parents took me to the airport in Baltimore. glad to be home. Not sure if I can get through another wedding this weekend.
UPDATE: Sorry. I was trying to link pics from the Ofoto albums my cousin and I created. Doesn't look like it worked. I'll see if I can't keep tweaking it.
Cookies. Chris and I deduced that identity theft in this case happened because of a cookie plant on my computer. I didn't even know what a cookie is (still a little foggy there). I gather that it's basically a way for someone else to plant a connection from them to you, and when this is done, they can see into your computer. I, of course, now have the cookie option protected on my computer.
Passports. When you change your name (as I did when I got married) and your passport is still valid, you don't need a new passport. They just put a little sticker in your old passport saying that your name has changed. You don't need to renew your passport until it expires. All this angst--passport photos; expedited replacements to lost marriage certificates; appointments--could have been avoided had I been in possession of this bit of knowledge. The fee for getting this sticker by mail is minimal (esp. compared to the passport renewal fee). I would've done this ages ago if I had known.
I'm slowly getting myself together to start the Mad Summer Travels tomorrow. I leave very early to take good ol' Southwest Airlines to Balto, where I will be picked up by my dear mama-in-law and whisked to get my hair chopped. My hair hasn't been this long since high-school. I wear it in a ponytail constantly. One day I realized that by wearing it in a ponytail constantly I was basically pretending I had short hair, so why not get a classy short haircut of infamous college length? Thurs I descend upon my family's house and Mad Wedding #1. My mom called me this morning to see if I had a good punch recipe. After my suggesting the mixture of cranberry juice and gingerale, she found a recipe with those two bevs along with a couple other kinds of juices to make it more "punch-y". Watching three episodes of Simpsons a day is sounding very good about now. I need an escape mechanism. :-)
I can't believe this!!! My identity has been stolen AGAIN!!! I've always been careful...even more so after it happened on a conference trip in February. I have NO IDEA how this could have happened. But this time nearly $800 has been swept from our bank account in one day (yesterday), not that we HAD that much, so the bank acct shows negative however much. So today I went down to the bank. The lady who talked to me was really nice and sympathetic. When she saw the list of transactions she was as in utter disbelief as I was. I filed an official, notarized transaction dispute, they'll credit our bank account what was lost, make an investigation to make sure the dispute is valid (I don't know how they do that, neither did the lady), and I'm sure it'll be fine. But it certainly is disarming and alarming to have that much stolen from you without your even knowing it! And we've been SO CAREFUL about budgeting and cash flow, that it sort of messes things up a bit. *sigh* Please pray that this gets resolved quickly and easily, especially since I'm starting my mad summer travels on Wednesday.
Two new people have entered blogosphere. I'm very excited, because not only do I know them, but they are of the category "friend". Most people on blogosphere that I read I don't know, or if I do, they remain of the category "acquaintance".
I haven't kept in touch with Lynn since Covenant days, but I've always enjoyed her company and played the cello for her wedding. We survived Ed Psych together. She has cute pictures of her kid.
And Michelle has joined Bob on the blog thing. They've renamed the blog, too. It'll be fun to read what's up at their house as they get ready for the debut of Junior.
In other news, I'm a huge fan of watching the sky. No, I'm not anticipating aliens. The summer sky is so gorgeous. The clouds! the way the sun plays with, the way they change color with imminent rain, the grays vying with the blues. The sky is really magnificent at the moment. Fantastic. "The heavens declare..."
My life is just kind of piddling along right now. ("Is that word?" "It is two words."--10 points to the person who can tell me what movie that's from.)
Anyway, we had a nice anniversary. We decided to go out after all to our favorite Mexican place where we can get a yummy meal for under $20. We went there for Val Day. In fact, I think that that was the last time we had been out to dinner in "date" mode. But after dinner I had to go babysit for someone. I was happy to get a babysitting job Mon and Tues evenings. Every little bit helps. Tues evening was quite late...from 10 until 1.30 phwew. And the 2 yr old screamed for quite a bit. I mean, screamed. Consoled only by her mom. Her mom said that might happen and if so I should call her, because she was only a few blocks away. It did, I called. She got the kid back to sleep and went back out. Five min later, the kid starts to scream again. I felt bad for the mom, because she was spending time with friends before they move. So I attempted magic, and got a cookie down. By that point her sister woke up. That I got the 2 yr old to stop screaming, eat a cookie, and listen to a story was a minor miracle. I read stories until their mom came home. I thought to myself, "It's 1 o'clock in the morning and i'm reading stories to a screaming 2 yrd old. How surreal does life get." They really were sweet kids, though.
It is so hot here. Heat index in the high 80s even in the middle of hte night! But that's just typical NOLA. I really hope our air conditioner doesn't die this summer. It periodically makes horrible rattling noises, to which only turning it off for several hours will provide the remedy. If it does die, I hope the landlord replaces it, but I'd rather place more on its not dying.
Our pastor came over last night for a visit. Always so refreshing. We're glad that of all people he is our pastor, because we're just that quirky.
I have to send of my application for a new passport today, one with my married name on it...it's been that long since I've traveled internationally. I'll have to pay the expedited fee now, because we kept waiting for "a better time" to get it and waited too long. Having a passport, though...it's like your card to freedom. You can go ANYWHERE with one (well, you might need a visa, too, but that sort of destroys the whole poetry of it all). I also have to pull my gumption together and call a couple hotels to make a reservation, hoping they speak English, and being prepared with meager italian if they don't. Yikes!
My big project of the week is studying Italian grammar and black mensural notation (the musical notation du jour of the 14th c) and do some readings in preparation of the seminar.
Today is our 3rd anniversary!!
3 sounds like such a little number. It feels like it should be longer than that, only because it's just hard to imagine life before Chris. I must say, I'm quite happy. He's my best friend. I have this favorite past time of reading old journals of mine, especially from college. If you have kept a journal for a long time, it's really entertaining (and embarrassing!) to see what you used to think. I recently read about a couple of old crushes of mine, hooting with laughter along the way. And then I read about Chris entering my life, first through letters, then in person, and the contrast between what I wrote about old crushes and what I wrote about Chris is stark indeed. Here is something real!
Well, that's as mushy as I'm going to get. Chris and I have this habit that makes us perfectly suited for eachother. If one of us says something sweet and mushy, and the other feels "awww", we just can't leave it at that. After the cheese has been sliced, a witty comment gets thrown in at the end that sends the romantic moment out the window and us doubling up with laughter. Call it sharp cheddar, if you will. :) (sorry, that was bad, haha!)
Anyway, what with traveling to weddings and car repairs, we're counting pennies this year, so I think we'll just stick to our favorite meal and have special Anniversay Taco Salad! And he'll come home for lunch, and I'll make BLT's, so I better get to the grocery store to get some L.
In other news, the garden is doing well. I picked a green pepper and three more tomatoes. I planted a few flowers on the porch, so now we have a nice little veranda to relax on. Last year the only plants that didn't just wither under the heat were vinca and coleus. So that's all I got. Then I realized, along with the bougainvillea, there's an awful lot of pink. Oh well. Pink is in fashion this year. :) I planted zinnia seeds a couple of weeks ago, and they're doing fantastically. So maybe we'll get some more color shortly from them.
I also cleaned my desk yesterday, which really deserves mentioning. When I came home from the semester, that is moved all my books and papers from my office at school to home, I just sort of flopped it all over the living room, too tired and overwhelmed to care. Well, several weeks later, I'm recovered enough now to care. And the clincher on it all was Chris's walking in yesterday and saying "hmm, there's no where to sit." Since I had been planning on cleaning up anyway, that was the final motivator I needed. It took me two hours, and I'm heartily in need of another book shelf and a filing cabinet. But it will be my spot for great thinking this summer.
I'm beginning the exciting process of getting everything in order for the seminar in Italy, receving emails and forms from the folks there and all. What has cracked me up about the whole process is how different the Italians run things from the Americans. For instance, this is a direct quote from an email: "In any case we give you right now the phone number that you can call if you're in troubles:XXX-XXXXXX [the number will be activated the 15th of june]."
I sure hope I'm not in troubles before June 15! :)
Big plans forming for the premiere of Harry Potter 3 this Friday night! Woohoo!!
And it is SO hot. My weather.com sticker said this morning 87 degrees/feels like 97 degrees. Yep, I say to myself. That's about right. We're clinging to our poor little window unit, wh. mitigates the situation only just barely.
Today is the first day both Chris and I have off of school. It's really nice. It'll last for about a week, since he's teaching summer school. We've been figuring out our summer budget. I got more funding for Italy approved by LSU today, so I'm excited about that. I need a job, but we're not destitute without it.
I'm still really tired, and my left arm feels numb and sore from tendonitis flaring after a massive typing project. I just can't wait until I feel like I can function when I wake up in the morning. Right now, I groan wishing morning away. I feel headachy and sleepy all day, loathe to move or to read or anything. Recovering from awful semesters is serious business.
Sidewalk Chalk Recipe
This recipe is for one (1) piece of chalk. You will need to multiply the amount and use different colors of tempra paint if you would like different colors.
3/4 cup Warm Water
1 Toilet Tissue Cardboard Tube
1-1/2 cups Plaster of Paris
2-3 Tablespoons Powdered Tempra Water Based Paints
A roll of wax paper
A plastic container for mixing the ingredients together.
1. Close up one end of the toilet tissue tube with duct tape. Place inside the tube a loosely rolled piece of wax paper to create a liner. The liner will keep the chalk plaster from sticking to the cardboard tube. 2. Pour water into the mixing container. Slowly sprinkle the plaster of paris a little at a time into the water until the plaster no longer dissolves. Stir the mixture. Now mix in 2 or 3 tablespoons of the tempra paint. When it is is throughly mixed you can now pour it into the cardboard tube. 3. Stand the tube up with the sealed end on a flat surface. Slowly pour the colored plaster. With your fingers tap the sides of the tube in different areas to release any air bubbles. Now let it dry for 1 or 2 days (depending on the humidity in your environment). When it is dry slowly tear and pull off the cardboard mold. Have fun drawing!
Okay. Instead of going through moments of panic. I'm just going to lay it all out in an organized fashion and proceed in an organized fashion.
I've been calling Banana Republic every day. I'm apparently very low on their priority list. What would be really nice if the class I'll be teaching in the fall was actually this summer. Then the finances would iron out a little more neatly...
Okay. one, two...let's go.
Wooohoooo! I just bought my ticket!!!! WOW!!! This is so incredibly exciting!!!!!!
About a year and a half ago, our best friends here in NOLA had their third kid. She is the cutest chunker in the world. Holding that cute, tiny baby, I thought, "i could get used to this." Three years ago when we got married, I felt unsure about the direction of my life and thought it could be solved by having a kid (but at the same time, I thought that that wasn't a good reason to have one, besides we couldn't afford it.) We still can't afford it.
So I've spent a good amount of energy brandishing away the little sentimental yanks to have a kid. Well, for about the last 10 months, all those yanks dissolved and having a kid was the last thing in the world I wanted to do. Actually that's still true. I had a very vivid dream recently that I was pregnant (i think it was indigestion), and in my dream all I could do was sob because I was so upset. I went to a baby shower today for a woman my age who is having her first. Baby stuff is really cute...those soft little elephants sewn onto the diaper bag. I just can't even think about having a baby.
I actually enjoy just enjoying cute plush elephants, because most of the time I can only think about the hard realities of having wee ones. The diapers, the whining, the expense, the my-life-will-never-be-mine-again, the exhaustion, the mess, the constant attention, the inability to turn them off, the inability to sleep until 10 am, the hauling of strollers. I was the oldest of 5. I may not be a mom myself, but I know when there is a baby, life completely changes for it. I just can't bear to think of the juggling and the change I would have to do if I were to have a kid. Not to mention the fact that we just plain can't afford it.
But we do talk about when a good time would be in the future. I've talked to a few women faculty members at LSU who have little kids and/or are pregnant. The word on the street about having kids and being an academic is: 1) there's never a good time, 2) having them sure helps you use your time better, and 3) at least wait until your generals are past. So far I plan to wait until the end days of my dissertation. I wouldn't mind waiting past that until more of the student debt is paid off and the possibility of buying a house, well, becomes a possibility. At any rate, I would at least like to live in the same building as a washer and dryer before I have a kid.
Today Erica came down from Baton Rouge to spend the day with me. We had a lovely time.
One thing I've discovered: the Lebanese restaurant serves fantastic coffee at a low price, with free refills, and the wonderful sidewalk cafe atmosphere that makes this city feel European. Forget Starbuck's. I'm taking my book to the Lebanese restaurant for a cuppa from now on.
The people at Banana Republic seemed happy to see me, so I hope I'll start getting some hours with them soon.
When Erica and I were walking around the Quarter, I saw the distinct picture of masts looming over the trees. New Orleans is a port town. A three-masted frigate from Mexico was parked along the dock. It was beautiful, wood gleaming. The crew was sharp in their white sailors' uniforms and jolly music lent a festival atmosphere. Many curious onlookers were gathered around the ship. And they were letting people saunter on for a look around. So we walked around on the boat. It was fantastic. I would've liked to have lingered, but it started to rain. So we said good-bye to the flapping flags of the regal lady.
Well, it appears that I may be teaching a class at a local university (not my own) in the fall as an adjunct. The funny thing is that I will still be in my coursework...not even ABD. It's a pretty basic class, so I'm not worried on that account. Just kind of weird to be thinking of writing my own syllabus. That always seemed to be an activitiy of the distant, foggy future, but here we go. I'm really looking forward to getting some more experience. So that I don't go completely crazy next sem, though, I'll really have to plan out my summer work carefully....
sorry my blog has been boring lately. To be honest, I can't take much more than boring right now. Anyway, I really hope this Italy thing works out, because it is so difficult to make sure I can get the paperwork in order to go. Because LSU is a state institution, and they are ultimately funding this trip, it makes things difficult; because it's Louisiana makes it even more difficult. (See, Erica, I tried using a semicolon. Whadya think?) So this morning I freaked out a little. It's hard to figure out if I have everything in order. It takes time to process forms. Blah, blah. I decided that the best thing to do was to actually go to Baton Rouge and make sure everything was fine. So in the middle of this hot day, I popped into Chris's un-air-conditioned car for a trip up to BR. He has a sunroof. I got a tan.
I've done everything I can for the moment. I need to sort through my office and decide what to take home for the summer, too, including two large stringed instruments.
And it was a great opportunity to stop by and see Erica's new kitten, who is ADORABLE!
Apparently George W. is the commencement speaker on Friday. Ho-hum. I've also recently discovered where LSU's tiger is...yes, a real live tiger. His cage is by the stadium. It's kind of sad really. It doesn't look like a very nice home.
I got an A in Latin!!!! After scoring 85.3% on all the tests, I had all my stakes placed on the term paper and final exam. The paper turned out fab, and I felt good about the final. And it pulled through for me. Woooohoooo!!!!!!!
However, I got a B in Schenker, my first B in grad school. Yuck. I'm pretty upset about that class, because it was like one big fog. I don't think I could've gotten an A in the class and it was too foggy to realize that in time. It wasn't structured for those of who like to connect things to a larger picture in order to understand things to really be able to succeed in that class.
Why am I so obsessed with grades? I didn't get good ones at Cov. Sure I managed to get by decently. But I didn't graduate with honors. And I don't think I ever got an A in a history class, until SIP seminar. Now that I've figured out how to write papers and take manageable loads, I've been working hard to have a good GPA. And yes, I will admit that a lot of it is vanity. But after being a B/C student in college, it sure is nice to not cringe when I check my report card. (Until stupid Schenker class...if I'd known what I know now about that class, I wouldn't have taken it...I feel duped...because the professor led me to believe it was going to be different and now my GPA is tainted because of it.)
I'm still crashing. It keeps going down and down and down. I'm stressed out about a bazillion different things and I'm exhausted.
I'm crashing. I am so tired.
Yesterday I enjoyed my first day of being done by going to the library to sleuth some sources on students' terms papers for the class I TAed for. And sat there and read newspapers when I was done.
Then I cleaned out the car. It was awful.
We drove to Baton Rouge in the monsoon for a party at my prof's house. This was the first time Chris got to meet some of my teachers, so I was really excited. We ended up hanging out until about 9 then came home via Erica's to drop her off.
We watched a little bit of Letterman before goign to bed. He was passing out Egg McMuffins to the audience. It made me want one. So now I just pulled biscuits out of the oven, and I'm getting ready to do the egg thing.
I'm goign to go to the public library (btw, if I ever use the word Library the default is to assume it's a uni library, if it's other than a uni library, I distinguish it as the public library)...so anyway, I'm going to go to the public library to order some novels from different branches, and read all the books Erica has lent me while I'm waiting for them. Then when I read about 5 or 6 novels, I'm going to back to my research.
I figured out a travel plan to Italy that fits in with the amount of money LSU has promised me so far. Now I just have to figure out how I can buy the tickets without going broke before they can reimburse me, because apparently I can't get a travel advance.
And my Latin prof loved my paper. WHOOOOOOHOOOOO!!!!!!
I left this morning a New Orleans that was slightly overcast, with a little sun. As I progressed to Baton Rouge the sky grew darker and darker, closer it began to rain harder and harder. So hard I could barely see. I made it to campus. My usual routes, though, to the student parking lot were thwarted. You see, the campus is on relatively high ground. When it rains as hard as it did, it effectively creates a moat. The student parking lots are in the moat. As I do not particularly want to risk flooding the car, I crawled around campus for about an hour, finally parking my car in a nearby neighborhood that didn't look too flood. I proceeded to roll up my pants and begin to hike it. Someone stopped and offered me a lift. I tried to talk him out of driving through the moat, but he insisted. So I hopped in seeing that he was going about his folly anyway. He got flooded, some guys were wading around and pushed him through. I'm sorry his car got flooded, but after seeing how deep it was, I don't think I could've walked through without water up to my belly. Sure am glad I didn't drive through it. Now the sun is out. Maybe later enough of hte water will have drained for me to hike it out to my car.
I'm home. *Sigh* at last.
Reflections from it all:
...don't take finding coffee for granted, esp. espresso.
...don't take decent restaurants for granted, either.
...expect to walk a lot.
...don't be surprised to find grown medievalists feeding their smuggled dinner rolls to ducks and goldfish in the pond.
...expect it to be 20 degrees colder in the morning than in the late afternoon.
...expect everyone to be extremely nice and friendly.
...don't be surprised when the entire Kalamazoo airport only has medievalists in it.
...likewise, expect that every single person on your plane from Kalamazoo is a medievalist.
I finally made it home. Chris picked me up from the airport and we buzzed on over just barely making it time for the first hymn at church. In fact, I walked in the door and fairly flew to the piano to play. I was really glad to make it home for the service. Next year, I think I'll leave Saturday night.
I finals this week. I'm EXTREMELY glad, though, that I don't have any today. Despite my good intentions, I did not study at all over the weekend. So I'm really glad I have today to reorient myself.
In other news: I got accepted to the seminar in Dozza. Woohoo!!! Now I just need the rest of my funding... I'm really excited. I never even dreamed I'd get a chance to meet some of these scholars, much less study with them. So I'm really happy.
This is a really fun conference. I'm not having a blast, so to speak, as I do with my friends at AMS, but I am enjoying it and, for the most paper, the papers I've gone to have been really good.
I could go home now, though. I'm really tired. And it is so cold here. I forgot what cold wind was like, hugging the buildings and all. And then stepping into the buildings which are heated, feeling all dry (in the yucky, staticy sense) and warm instead of having nice consistency between inside and outside. I have a light cardigan with me, but not really the adequate clothing in order to feel comfortable in this climate.
This is a very laid-back conference. A place where I, as a grad student, could feel comfortable presenting, so something to keep in mind.
I think I'm going to take a nap.
I've a good first day of my first Kalamazoo medieval conference.
I still feel a bit overwhelmed, but everyone is so nice that it's hard to feel sorry for one's self. I've never been to an international conference before, and it's really kind of thrilling...to hear dozens of languages all around and pass people drinking wine on the staircase outside the dorms. Still feels as much like camp as ever, except for alcohol and pretzels instead of s'mores. It's all very laid back, which is nice. Next year I'll have to remember to bring hiking shoes. :)
I heard a couple of really interesting papers, too. One, esp., was a reevaluation of how to sing chant. There's a sort of traditional way: the one with which everyone is most familiar...quiet notes of equal value. This way was quite dynamic, employing a system of longs and shorts and techniques more akin to eastern European folk singing. The guy actually had a chant choir of 5, whom he had worked with for the past seven months in order to learn of few chants in this method. It was very compelling.
Well, we'll see what tomorrow holds...
reporting from Kalamazoo
Well, I've arrived in Kalamazoo sometime yesterday evening. I've always said conferences are way fun, sort of like camp for scholars, i.e. hanging out with friends, going to "activities" (papers more like it), and just having a great time. My little metaphor has taken a new spin. After the ordeal of the plane flight, the conference had a bus to pick us all up at the airport, taking us to registration, where we got our packets and assigned dorm rooms. It all feels quite campy. I'm feeling a little overwhelmed at the moment. Everbody who comes to this huge medieval conference loves it, but right now, I know no one and would just like a cup of coffee. The papers start in half hour. I think it'll be more fun once I sort out where I am, where the papers are, and begin meeting people. Actually, so far all the strangers I've bumped into are very nice and friendly. Almost nicer than at musicology conference. Hooray for medievalists!
Last night on Fresh Air, Terry Gross interviewed Bob Edwards, former (*stifled sob*) host of Morning Edition. He's just written a book: Edward R. Murrow and the Birth of Broadcast Journalism. I hadn't heard of this guy (Murrow) before (note my few years of age), but apparently he was quite influential in the world of radio, then tv broadcasting. He stood on top of the roof while London was being bombed to catch the sounds of hte war during WWII. He gave a moving report of newly liberated Buchenwald. And a daring documentary on CBS against McCarthyism. Cool guy.
And, of course, Terry had to ask Bob about how he's doing now as a senior correspondent at NPR. What struck is how different his voice sounded. He didn't have "anchor voice" on anymore. He just talked like a normal person, and I'm not sure if I would've recognized him if I hadn't known he was going to be on. He became strangely human.
You have to understand the impact of radio for me, including the voices of the broadcasters. We haven't had TV in years. We've had a TV set in order to watch movies, but we haven't had, until very recently, an antenna with which to get channels. So throughout 9/11, Iraq, and various political and cultural happenings, I've relied solely on radio. It wasn't until recently that I knew what John Kerry looked like or seen any images of the "war" in Iraq. For me the pictures were created by the stories and sounds of the radio correspondents and Bob Edwards. They provided me the medium to the rest of the world.
We have a few TV channels now. And I'll admit occasionally to watching the 10 o'clock news to catch what's going on in the city. But, to be honest, the level of reporting and interviewing of our local TV news pales considerably to the depth of the radio broadcasting from NPR. And even though it flies in the face of the digital, visual era, I still consider myself reliant on the radio waves. But now I have to adjust the frame through which I was listening.
I'm very particular about the state of my environment when studying. Not so much the desk or chair. More the state of my notebooks and pens and paper. I have to have at least 5 different colors of pens (for timelines) and appropriate pieces of paper taped together (idem). I also have to have appropriate paper for making lists. And 3 x 5 cards for summarizing required reading. All my notebooks have to be in order, and I have to have little stickies to tab them so I don't spend needless time flipping through them.
However, today I came up against a wall. My notebook defied order. It was too full. Carrying it without something falling out was not an option. I have three sections: one for notes, one for handouts, and one for articles assigned. It was the latter category that was messing things up.
So today, I was struck with a moment of brilliance. I went to Kinko's and got all those articles bound in a spiral with plastic coverings. I now have 2 volumes of important articles of medieval music. I'm feeling quite clever and my notebook is very manageable now.
(...but only after a respectable amount of time recovering from the reality that Bob Edwards is no longer going to welcome my mornings.)
My Latin paper is done and turned in!!! That is a significant source for my glee. I'm so relieved. I learned a lot of library skills dealing with a whole area of stuff out there that I wouldn't have normally encountered. And now the idea of writing a paper on text that is untranslated is a little less daunting.
Another thing I really appreciated about my research into Hildegard is that once you get past all the weird visions and mysticism, there is evidence of a true spirituality that was surprisingly articulate. And a sense of being sensitive to Scriptures. I really enjoyed her. Her Latinity is very clear, not full of the highly structured syntax like Abelard. Her being anti-scholastic would probably reinforce this, but it also makes her more pleasurable for me, the Latin student, to read.
In other news, the Packed Lunch Club, an institution that was quite successfully established this semester, had an equally successful outing this afternoon. We all went out for lunch. It was very fun. Erica and I are pleased at how the Club has taken off. It's also exciting to be the perpetuators of such a unifying, community effort among the theory and musicology grad students and faculty.
In a conversation with a friend of mine who is a musicology grad student at Princeton, I related that I still had this week of class and then finals. "Finals?" she asks, "what's that?" I respond, "Final exams. you know." She astutely ponders, "How can you have a final exam in a graduate class?" My sentiments exactly. There's something wrong with the kind of graduate class that demands a final. *sigh* Well, study I must before going to Kalamazoo...
I can't believe it!!!! This morning I turned on my radio like always and instead of the cheery, welcoming, thoughtful voice of Bob Edwards, I get Renee Montagne (sp?) and Steven Inskeep. "Oh," I think to myself, "Bob must be on vacation." But NO!!! He's GONE!!!! BOB EDWARDS ISN'T DOING MORNING EDITION ANYMORE!!!!!
I can't belive it!!!!! I almost cried right then and there. I can't I MISSED his sign-off on Friday. I was listening at the wrong times. No voice is like Bob Edwards's. His perspective on things was always insightful and calm. No hopping up and down polemic on life. It was a great way to start a day. Bob Edwards inviting you to consider the world with him. I CAN'T BELIEVE HE'S GONE!!!
Oh sure, he'll still be reporting occasionally, like this morning on the new WWII memorial in DC. But his voice is too firm and authoritative. It will be just too weird. He's the hub, no the reporter. WHY OH WHY DID NPR DO THIS TO HIM!?
*sigh* I'm not the only one that feels this way.
With my Latin paper pretty much done, life suddenly looks brighter. I don't think there is a humanly possible way to research and write my paper for my medieval music survey, so I'll ask the prof on Monday if I can take an incomplete. I think it'll be okay. I'm a little worried about the three *gasp* finals I have to take. They will all be challenging. I'm especially worried about Latin. I beginning to doubt the possibility of making an A in the class, having made an 85.3 on all my tests (he is the most...detailed grader I've every had) wh. will be an unwelcome taint to my otherwise perfect GPA. *sigh*
So anyway. Today I'm feeling relaxed. The lull before the storm perhaps? Except that it has been storming all day. In light of the general drippiness, I felt rather like a cat and less like a grad student. Erica has basically finished for her sem...at least the majorly stressful parts. Lucky her. It is her bday tomorrow, and it was raining this afternoon. Two very good reasons to ditch paper revisions and go to the coffeeshop, where we spent an extremely pleasant overanhour, splitting a piece of cheesecake and sipping hot beverages while the world dripped on the other side of the windows. I'm so glad I have a girl pal.
Because I have a very nice friend and colleague who welcomes me to crash at her house, I've been camping out up in BR during this week to try and finish this semester in a sane manner. And being the thrifty person that keeps our bank account in a sane manner, I packed all my meals for the week. I made 5 sandwiches, packed 5 apples, and a box of crackers for my lunches. I brought 2 jars of soup and 2 containers of spaghetti for my suppers (i'll be home Friday evening). I put the 5 sandwiches into their own plastic bag. I put all the bags and containers into a paper grocery bag. I put the paper grocery bag into the refrigerator in the student lounge in the School of Music. My system should work out nicely.
However, when I went to retrieve my 3rd sandwich today, I discovered to my dismay that my sandwiches had been stolen! Only the bag with the sandwiches in it was gone. They didn't take any more of my food. I was rather shocked, because they were packed tightly into this paper bag, wh. was a little awkward to get in and out of the fridge, so it wasn't like they were flopping around in a flimsy plastic bag.
So I ate spaghetti for lunch. Erica and I mused that perhaps this person was hungrier than me anyway. I wouldn't begrudge him/her food on that account. Maybe a homeless person knows that there's food kept in the fridge in a fairly easily accessible student lounge. At least they didn't take my containers. And I'm not so destitute that I can't buy a bagel for supper to replace my pilfered sandwich.
But it is a little disconcerting to find one's sandwiches stolen!
It's times like these when we really need to hoard moments to sleep. But instead we do stupid things...like staying up an hour later than necessary in order to see Jim Carrey on Letterman.
Jim Carrey is a genius. Most comics like him get on my nerves, but he is genuinely creative. And if Eternal Sunshine... doesn't confirm that, I don't know what does.
As I'm sitting here unable to summon the mental forces for writing blog entries, but wishing to do something to prolong the pain and suffering that is this semester, I thought of one super, happy thing....
....this morning as I was leaving the house, I glanced over my little garden, as is my wont, and I ascertained that one of the cheery yellow flowers on one of the tomato plants has turned into a tiny, marble-sized green tomato. Yipppeeeeee!!!!
...I've had a headache.
...I've had a Latin test.
...I've been working on papers.
...I've been driving back and forth to Baton Rouge in Chris's car (very nice).
...I've been begging for money to go to Italy.
...I've been listening to 'learn to speak Italian' tapes in the car.
...I've been wishing to be asleep.
stay tuned for your next edition of Jeannette's predictable life.
A friend of mine is an orchestral conducting student. She needed to put together a little orchestra to play Grieg's Holberg Suite in recital hour. People were flaking out on her all over the place, so knowing I play cello, she asked me. As I miss playing in an orchestra, something I haven't done for 3 yrs since Cov, and I love the Holberg Suite, I gladly obliged. The same orchestra was also goign to play for another piece in the same recital for another student. I didn't really know much more than that, but I figured it would be pretty low-key. So I thought we'd rehearse for a couple of hours, and everything would be fine. Last night we met and went through the Holberg Suite just fine. All the musicians were really excellent, and I felt a little out of my league. Then I realized that these other three pieces were actually premieres of pieces by three different doctoral composition students...read: very hard and very complicated. So three hours later, I'm sitting there extremely overwhelmed and just barely able to keep up. My back and shoulders ached miserably, since I hadn't played the cello for that long since I can remember. I can't really back out now. But it was all very overwhelming. It also reinforced something very important for me: I don't want to be a cellist. I really like playing the cello, but I don't want that life. I don't want long rehearsals. I don't want the challenge of new pieces. It's not what I enjoy doing. I realized that I spent three hours basically counting to four or five or seven (they were all very complicated rhythmically). I had been a bit nostalgic for it for some time recently. But yesterday evening confirmed solidly that I am doing the right thing. I'll tell you what I like: playing the viola da gamba. Much more subtle and introspective. In fact, my instincts are moving more towards the gamba. last night, I kept looking for open strings that are the gamba's but not the cello's. Kind of funny.
Anyway. I didn't get home to NOLA until after 11 pm last nigth. My whole body aches. And I'm so tired that I can barely write this paper.
Do we ever get too old to take tests? Studying for tests wears me out more than it used to. My whole head just hurts. I used to get adrenalin rushes from the groove of organizing and putting all that information into my head. Now just get tired and my eyes hurt.
Well, a couple more hours left and a few more texts to review, and I can rest. ...maybe it's just Latin... :S
...and dive into the end of the semester.
My brain and mental state have been a bit wonky this semester, so I'm not feeling like I'm in a super-powered position to be sitting down to writing papers. But that is what I must do. I'm over my library angst, I'm learning how to use a whole new set of resources previously unexplored in my experience, and I'm managing to keep plowing along.
I'll be in working exile in Baton Rouge until the end of the week. *sigh* Just a few more weeks, and then I'll be home for the summer.
In good news, it actually looks like Dozza might work out, if I continue to get positive feedback about funding from various departments I'm applying to. The airfare to Europe in the middle of summer, though, is disheartening. So we'll see. The only left to do is finishing sending support letters to various depts of the uni and to update my passport with my married name. *fingers crossed*
In other good news, I'll be coming by a basic, used, quirky digital camera eventually. When that happens I'll bombard with the beautiful sunrises over Lake Ponchatrain. I can scarce keep them to myself. What a way to start a day! (Even if already rudely awakened by certain alarm clock after ignoring said contraption for over a week :P )
You know it's starting to feel like summer around here, when a "cold snap" is welcome relief. *hello! it's only april!* It was starting to get really warm, though, and we really don't want to turn on the air yet.
On Tuesday I went to the uptown farmer's market and got 12 pints of strawberries (a flat) for $12. Woohoo!!! It's prime strawberry time. And we've been eating them like crazy, including a fantastico strawberry pie. Mmmm.
Yesterday I worked in the garden more. Out there in a tank top and shorts, catching in the rays. Staking tomatoes, adding more soil and fertilizer, another bell pepper, some cucumber plants, and a few more dots of yellow marigold. Not to mention a new snazzy border made up of foundation debris from this decrepit house. Bits of slate, old clay pipe, and brick make a very sleak border for this urban garden. Also got some dust, to be on the offensive from the little munchers. All the plants have lots of buds, and will hopefully have lots of fruit by the time school lets out.
Chris has been off these past couple of days, and we've been having a great time. Blasting our brains out with movies and hanging out with people. I made yummy salsa last night to go with our staple of taco salad. Fresh salsa, tacos, cold margaritas...it really feels like summer around here!
Sometimes living in Louisiana just plain sucks. Would you believe that Patrologia Latina or access to the online database is not available in ANY significant university library in New Orleans or Baton Rouge!?!? The fundamental resource for basically anything in Latin that at least I am looking for. The sheer dearth of materials for basic medieval research is staggering. I am just astounded. The searches pull up practically nothing. And then I find one good source, and it's checked out!!! (well, of course, it's the one good source!) This is SOOOO frustrating!!! How in the world am I supposed to write a dissertation down here, if I can't even manage a term paper!!!!??!
After starting out kind of weird, I had a happy bday.
I made a new bead necklace. I made a fabulous three-tier white cake with coconut frosting...the most complicated cake I've made yet. The Hamiltons came over with their three little girls who love birthdays. Chara Grace, the oldest who is four, inquired of my age, and when I told her said "uh-oh...you're way ahead of me." What has she been thinking all this time? :-) And Chris got me Colin Firth's Pride and Prejudice on DVD. Woohooo!!!!!! I'm going to go watch it now.
Today is my birthday. I'm 26. Closer to 30 than to 20...why do I still feel like a kid? ;)
For the past few weeks I've been wondering if I'm going crazy. Not metaphorically crazy, but literally imbalanced somewhere in the synapses of my brain. Perhaps if one is self-consciously wondering this, one can't be crazy. It's hard to explain. It has to do with the world inside my head becoming more real than the world outside my head. For anyone who does serious thinking, reading, and writing as a profession, this is not unusual. In fact, getting to that point is almost necessary to get some good work done. What's scary is when the "inside world" begins to develop panic and irrational emotions about normal every day things. Left to fester, this "inside world" can make you blow things out of proportion and taunt you with your inabilities. I begin to burst into tears about seeming small things, as if I'm watching myself--saying with my outside self, 'why is the inside self so upset? it's so little.' And the inside self says to my outside self, 'help me. i can't control it.' And both my inside self and my outside self say "do we have to get out of bed?" when the alarm clock is beating its incessant pulses into my brain.
I'm probably not going crazy. Because I can quell the inside world with a couple of good conversations to help me contextualize my activities. A few good days of studying during which I'm reminded how much I love what I'm doing. I'm probably just tired. So it is with warm welcome that I embrace this upcoming week of spring break.
Today we had a major test in my medieval music survey. During my studying for it I went through my regular ritual for sorting out history...making a timeline. I wish I had a digital camera, because I would take a picture of my new creation. It's beautiful. I'm very proud of it. My timeline-making has really developed since undergrad days when I was sprawled out on the floor on Fourth South or on the dining table of the Big House. But carefully chosen multi-colored pens and clear rulers remain an integral part of my timeline-toolbox. I don't why I get such a thrill out of making timelines. I just get giddy with excitement when I see a sprawl of history out before me, to take it in all at once...surface level and deep structure simultaneous in a complex array of colors and lines. So this is what history has become for me. I can't think of anything I'd rather do in life than be a historian. It's so fantastic.
I'm back from a great weekend at Covenant/Chattaville. The conference was fantastic...better than I expected. And it was really great seeing old friends. In fact, it was so great I literally sobbed my way down the mountain for the last time yesterday morning. It's not that I miss college days at all. It's more that I miss the general community and particular people with the particular way of interacting with them. Like my friends Sarah Barker or Joanna Hastings. Communication with them is so easy, sometimes we don't even have to use words. A look will say enough to send us rippling with laughter because we both know what was so funny. It's a good thing that Chris stayed behind. I like him more than any of my pals, so it was enough motivation to make me come home.
So now I'm back in Louisiana, staring at the live oak outside my office window, trying not to panic about tests and papers coming up, and feeling loathe to be back.
One of the many things I do to keep busy is ressurect the early music performing group, the Collegium. I guess resurrecting it means directing it, too, though I prefer to think of myself merely as the one who photocopies and passes out music and gives the cue to begin. I really haven't a clue as to how to direct a group with a specific sound result in mind. So anyway, as resurrection attempts usually go it was off to a rather shaky start, but I think this is the first week where we're really starting to pull together something that sounds half decent. It might even be possible to have a little informal concert at the end of the semester. We've got a core group, too, and that's good. That's essential. So three recorders, me on gambas and a lute makes a really nice group. I especially like the sound the lute adds. And my pal Erica is doing a great job actually learning the recorder to play with us. Go E! Tuning went better tonight than it ever has, too. Phwew. This is looking like it might not be a failure after all!
I also washed my car on the outside for the first time in almost 2 yrs. So it's sort of like a first. This morning when we got into it to go to church, though, a thick layer of pollen had already collected all over it. Oh well. I tried.
Yesterday brought on a significant step in several arenas in our household.
The first I say with a little sheepishness, we got a TV antenna, so now we can get 2 or 3 channels instead of none. I have taken pride for the past two years in not really having any convenient access to television. But we've succumbed. Just for the few moments when we really want to be engaged with nothing but don't want to put on a movie. We'll see. We might not be able to get anything worthwhile, in which case, we'll probably put the antenna in the closet. 'Course, i've always enjoyed Letterman, and we usually get that channel. We are no where near getting cable.
The second I say with a great amount of pride. I planted our first in the ground garden. I've managed quite well with an elaborate system of various sized and shaped pots for our porch these past few years. But last fall they dug up the shrubs in front of the house where our apartment is (the house has been carved up into 8 apts). So there's a decent plot-ish kind of place where a shrub once stood. Yesterday we went to Home Depot and I got a shovel and a hoe to turn up the ground and four 40 lb bags of top soil for 93cents each to enhance the rather clay-y clumpy ground. I think I could go for more top soil. But the 160 lbs isn't bad. I planted six small green bell peppers, hopefully a majority will survive, and one jalapeno pepper, and 3 Creole tomato plants and one Brandywine yellow tomato plant. I have plans for cucumbers in the future. I already have a thriving herb garden in deep window boxes outside my screenless kitchen windows. I'm really excited about this real live garden, and I hope we get a better harvest this year than the potted method allowed.
"C'est trop beau"
I'm sitting on my comfy bed with my nice little computer. Doing what Latin homework I can having grabbed the wrong book (they're both red). Having demolished a bowl of popcorn, I sure could use a glass of juice or something. Watching French Kiss, thinking of friends and fun times at home and abroad. I laugh every time Kate flips over the dessert cart at the hotel in Cannes. "ooh. Beautiful! Wish you were here!" I home alone overnight for the first time in our almost three years of marriage. I'm always the one gone. Chris is on a retreat.
Sometimes I wonder if I would enjoy this movie as much if it weren't for the pleasant associations I have with it...
This morning I found out that my great-grandmother has died. My Swedish grandma, Jenny Johnson, who lived alone in her house in the woods of Minnesota without plumbing all her life (except for the last couple when my great-aunt joined her). I never knew her well. I don't have the childhood memories my mother has of happy summers spent in Minnesota. But the times I did go to visit were enchanting. Seeing the deer and other wildlife. Trips down the lane to Bear Creek. Wandering around the meadows and woods. Going out to the outhouse in order to use the bathroom. Fascinated by the water pump. Taking a cup of water to the meadow to brush my teeth. (The lack of plumbing obviously being a significant source of my wonder.) The creaking beds upstairs. The welcome of the wood stove as we all squeezed into the kitchen munching on big cookies and drinking coffee, the nectar of the Swedes. Hearing the stories of my little Grandma (she was hunched and shorter than me) fearlessly chasing the bears from her lawn. And laughing and laughing.
Gramma Jen is the last of my great-grandmothers to die. I have been blessed to have known all but one. 10 years ago they were all alive. Now all (but the one I haven't met) are in heaven. Even though I haven't seen her since I graduated from high school (she came to my high school graduation, and we spent a couple of weeks following up there in MN), I'm really sad. I know it's a happy occasion. But I'm still really sad. Sadder than I thought I would be had I thought of this day before.
Hours later, after my medieval music class and finding some study buddies for my medieval Latin test, life is better. I love being a musicologist. I will survive Latin.
*warning--excessive whining to follow--read at your own risk*
I just want to curl up in a hole and disappear from daily existence. I'm tired of grad school. I'm especially tired of Latin and this stupid music analysis that I'm taking but have no idea what's going on. Ugh! Why did I choose this stupid discipline??? I wish I had become a historian instead. (I know why I chose musicology...because the conferences are more fun...now, what kind of flaky reasoning is that!??!!??!). Or better yet, why can't I just become a medievalist and not have to choose a discipline!!!!??? Then I wouldn't have to deal with stupid 19th c., German music analysis. "the will of the tone"??? COME ON!!! What happened to good ol' mathematical Boethius!!!
I hate tests. You'd think by the time you got to grad school they wouldn't give us stupid tests. Why can't we write? We never write. That's more important.
Ugh. ugh. ugh.
I think grad school is killing brain cells. I think that if you learn lots, the learning brain cells kill the other brain cells that allow you to function as a normal human being. I'm finding that I am less able to perform normal everyday activities like sitting down or going through the drive-through at Wendy's without some calamity happening.
These events all took place in one day...yesterday. I began the day somewhat flustered, because in addition to my normal responsibilities of a Monday, I had to teach two sections of the undergrad music history survey I'm an assistant for. I managed to get to lunch unscathed, but I felt a bit out of sorts, so I went to the coffee shop to get a cuppa and pull myself together. I called Chris for to say hello, because I knew I wasn't going to get home until late. While we were talking I was outside sitting on this slight ledge. The ledge was really too small to sit on, so I kept sliding a little and resituating myself. When I got off the phone, I realized that the whole time I had been sitting in gum! Gum was smeared all over the back of my pants. I was mortified, because I can't go home to change when I'm in Baton Rouge. The gum damage was really extensive, because when I had been sliding off the ledge, the gum was smearing all over my pants. I couldn't just tie a sweater around my waist and get through the rest of the day. There was a clothing shop right around the corner from the coffee shop. I walked in there and said "I just sat in gum. I need a new pair of pants that matches the rest of what I'm wearing and that's on sale." Miraculously they found one pair left on sale that was my size and my length (I always need to buy pants in "short")!!! So that was a blessing!!!
I got my cuppa and had a good, productive rest of the day. I stayed at campus until after 8.30 pm, because I direct an early music ensemble on Monday nights. I had forgotten to pack a sandwich for my supper and my tummy was growling at me to feed it, so I decided to go through the drive-through at Wendy's. As I was sitting at the window waiting for the girl to come and open it, I had my bank card out all ready to give her, and all of a sudden, I dropped it INSIDE the car door!!! I dropped it where the window rolls down into the door. I couldn't believe it!!! My bank card is completely lost inside the car door!!!! Right as soon I dropped it, the girl came to the window and got full view of my reaction when I realized what I had done. E.g. *shrieking* "OHMYWORD!!! I JUST DROPPED MY BANK CARD INSIDE MY CAR DOOR!!!! WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?!?!?!" (Thankfully, I realized that I had some cash after all.) The girl looked at me like I should be institutionalized. I pulled off into the parking lot to see if I could retrieve it somehow. I must've looked the sight. When i got home, Chris tried to see if he could take apart the car door, but to no avail. Well, he probably could if he kept trying, but I think it'll be easier just to order a new one. *sigh*
It's in the 80's, and it's sunny. All the windows and doors are open. The forecast is that it will continue to be this way for the next 10 days. In fact, it most likely will be this way until it's in the 90's and sunny. I do feel like sitting on a blanket in the park or at the beach and sleeping. Instead I'm doing my Latin homework and preparing for the lecture I'm supposed to teach on Monday morning. I only have opportunity to teach a few times a semester. The most difficult part being trying to fit seemlessly into the flow of the class the professor has set. It's nice sitting here, though, listening to Romantic piano pieces I'm supposed to teach--Mendelssohn, Chopin, Liszt--on this warm
spring summer day.
I really do have other interesting things in my life to talk about besides the weather. But I don't have enough energy to.
On Sunday evening I stepped out onto the porch and said to myself: "it feels like 80% humidity out here." I love 80% humidity. I think it's my favorite %. It's damp enough to give you a healthy, not-dry-skinned feeling without feeling damp. I was right, too. I guessed the percentage of humidity right. It's been hot this week. 80 degrees and sunny every day, which is nice, except that it doesn't get below 75 at night. We've had the doors open and the fan going all night, and wake up with that damp feeling, because it's so humid. It's 90% humidity now, too humid. Just damp and humid. I'm not ready for this yet.
We're back from wonderful Mardi Gras break. Sometimes living in Louisiana has its perks. We get a few days for Mardi Gras, a few days for Easter, AND a full week for Spring Break. Sure the semester drags on a bit towards the end, but those breathers are welcome.
Since my semester was off to a bit of a rocky start (I don't think the way will ever be paved smooth), I took some time for R & R...that's reading and 'riting. I bought a new blank book at B & N. They're my weakness. I counted up: I currently have 5 journals in progress, counting my blog. They're all for different things, like my cooking journal (I dream of being a chef), my academic journal (for notes and ideas for papers), my sermon notebook (so I don't fall asleep in church), my blog, and now my new blank book (for when I'm sitting in a cafe and get inspired to write whatever). Every topic HAS to have its book.
We went to Pensacola on Saturday to stay with my great-aunt and uncle. Came home Wednesday. Had a fabulous time with them!
Feeling annoyed that I don't have the school bug at the moment. Gotta kick my ass into gear.
Something about living in New Orleans. There is no other time of year quite like this time of year. It's Mardi Gras time! (this coming Tues, though parades have been going for over a week now). The energy this season evokes from our lazy city is incredible. Not even Christmas summons the vibe, vim, and vigor this holiday projects. The songs on the radio are about Mardi Gras and drinking. The DJ's are giddy with excitement (unlike their sardonic Christmas counter-selves). Houses are decorated in purple, green, and gold (the colors of Mardi Gras) lights and decorations. I have the urge to spontaneously decorate baked goods in those colors, much like the red-green urge of Christmas. Streets are closed. Stores are closed. Libraries are closed. More closes down in New Olreans for Mardi Gras than for Christmas. It's impossible to find a doctor either the Monday or Tuesday of Mardi Gras week (I was sick last Mardi Gras...thus, ER). It is now four days before MG, and this campus is pratically cleared out. Sure we get Monday-Wednesday off, but for some MG p