Monday, December 15, 2008

Remember when...

...something as simple as a Dora The Explorer Backpack would rock your world?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Some Christmas Spirit

Three articles down, two to go. Almost all gifts purchased. One tree up and decorated. One little girl who's learning about Santa...and Jesus (and has her own little Nativity set with which to play). One Peruvian hat someone is so in love with that she wears it even in the house. Some good, old-fashioned Christmas carols played. (Thank you for the good advice, Mike Z!) Snow falling steadily and covering everything in a thick blanket. And some cooking to occur this weekend. A little of the Christmas spirit, which managed to be found:

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Holiday Meltdown

Well, it's been almost a month--and part of me is wondering whether keeping such a neglected blog is even worthwhile. But much like my current addiction to candy corn, I keep coming back for more. And having a place to silently scream is quite handy at the moment.

I'm in the midst of, for lack of a better term, a freak out. One month crammed with holiday festivities, gift buying, home decorating, and FIVE ARTICLES. Did I mention I'd agreed to host a mini-reunion of sorts for my high-school class two days after Christmas? (And everyone keeps asking when we're going to give Becca a sibling. AWESOME TIMING.) Unfortunately, The Banker is getting pulled away to every possible work event, family celebration, and such, so there's not a lot of support around here. The Banker's mom hurt her back and can no longer watch Boo. My mom is fighting the flu. Add to that mix some particularly saddening family drama, and I'm having a hard time getting into the holiday spirit.

And I so, so want to be. For Boo. This is the first Christmas she has a bit of a handle on what's going on. She recognizes Santa, his "deer" and the concept that toys get delivered for well-behaved children. This, as they say, is the good stuff, and I don't want to miss out on it.

But with The Banker's bank freezing salaries and abandoning bonuses, I can't turn down any freelance. What little money I can scrounge is so needed by this household. But how I'm supposed to balance such a heavy workload with the demands of the holiday and the needs of a 20-month-old, I have no idea. So if you hear a loud BOOM!, it's probably my head exploding. Fa-la-la-la-la indeed.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Feeling Slightly Sheepish

Okay, it's been ages. I know, I know, I'm sorry. I've flitted in and out, but life's been crazy. But that doesn't mean I didn't appreciate the birthday wishes, because I most sincerely did. There's just been so much happening around here!

For starters, in early October, The Banker and I went to Santa Fe to check out my parents' new home with some dear friends of ours, while Boo stayed here exhausting her very kind grandparents. It was so much fun. Incredible food, beautiful art, great company. And The Banker was relieved that I didn't find a single piece of art that I couldn't live without. Talk about dodging an expensive bullet! But I did find something that made me go all goo-goo eyed:

Isn't he adorable?! We took a leisurely hike into the mountains with a fantastic guide and we had llamas that carried our packs. Such great, gentle creatures! I want one. (More accurately several, as they're social pack animals.) Perhaps when I get that land I've always wanted?

And as soon as we returned home refreshed and renewed life took us out at the knees--as it always seems to do when you return from vacation. There was strep throat, double ear infections, allergies, and other miserable fun to be had by all. My old company suddenly needed a lot of help and my freelance assignments were doubled (not that I'm complaining, mind you. In a sucky economy, I'll take all the work I can get). There were family parties (let's not go there, shall we? Let's just say The Banker's blowhard brother brought up politics. WHO DOES THAT AT DINNER?!), Halloween festivities, out-of-town visitors, and an election to survive. So these are just a few of the reasons I haven't sat down and weighed in as of late.

But I'm still here, albeit trying to get a handle on things before the insanity of the holidays descends. Which should happen in about three days by the way the retail establishments are looking. So before I'm bombarded with holiday cards, carols, and other obligations, I'll just leave you with this, a reminder why October, despite it's insanity, was really a great month:

Thursday, October 02, 2008

My Updated List

So on the eve of my 30th birthday (enjoying my last day in my 20s, as my sister so snarkily reminded me), here's my updated list:

Sky Diving
Dog Sledding
Hot Air Ballooning
Scuba Diving
White-Water Rafting
Snow Mobiling
Water Skiing
Took a Road Trip
Drag Raced
Climbed Ayers Rock
Hiked the Inka Trail to Machu Picchu
Danced on Stage at a Bar
Seen an Opera, a Musical, a Play, and Alternative Dance Performances
Ridden a: Camel, Elephant, Dolphin, Horse, Mechanical Bull
Traveled to: Sweden, Italy, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, The Bahamas, Mexico, England, Ireland, Scotland, Peru, and Assorted States in the U.S.
Tried: Escargot, Tongue, Lime-Sorbet-Flavored Ants, Foie Gras, Ostrich, Crocodile, Kangaroo, Frog Legs, Caviar, and Truffles
Practiced Falconry
Fell in Love; Had my Heart Broken
Tried It on my Own
Graduated from College
Received Master’s Degree—Helped Publish a Start-up Magazine
Got Married
Bought a House (Times Two)
Got a Dog; Rescued a Cat
Moved to: Columbia, Missouri; Chicago, Illinois
Became a Contributing Writer for National Parenting Magazines
Became a Mother

To Do:
Travel the Rest of Europe
African Safari
Visit Egypt
Own a Horse
Ride on a Zipline
Write a Book (and get it Published)
Buy Land
Acquire Art
Do right by my Family
Live with NO Regrets
Stay True

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Retrospective

When I turned 25, I made a list of things I'd accomplished and things I wanted to do. Something about starting the latter part of my 20s filled me with a degree of angst, so writing the list helped put things in perspective and provide focus for the future. I've attached the list below for the sake of amusement (with only details that provide too much insight into my identity removed). So read on, laugh, and think of what would be on your list. In the meantime, I'm fine-tuning a revised list (also known as a Bucket List) for my pending 30th birthday. Anything anyone thinks I should add to my list? I'm open to suggestions.

Sky Diving
Dog Sledding
Hot Air Ballooning
Scuba Diving
White-Water Rafting
Snow Mobiling
Water Skiing
Took a Road Trip
Drag Raced
Climbed Ayers Rock
Danced on Stage at a Bar
Ridden a: Camel, Elephant, Dolphin, Horse
Traveled to: Sweden, Italy, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, The Bahamas, Mexico, and Assorted States in the U.S.
Tried: Escargot, Tongue, Lime-Sorbet-Flavored Ants, Foie Gras, Ostrich, Crocodile, Kangaroo, Frog Legs, Caviar, and Truffles
Fell in Love; Had my Heart Broken
Tried It on my Own
Graduated from College
Received Master’s Degree—Helped Publish a Start-up Magazine
Got Married
Bought a House
Got a Dog; Rescued a Cat
Moved States, Countries
Became a Contributing Writer for National Parenting Magazines

To Do:
Travel the Rest of Europe
African Safari
Own a Horse
Write a Book
Buy Land
Have a Family
Live with NO Regrets
Stay True

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Nada much...and yet everything much

I guiltily admit that I've been away for a bit. Every time I've pulled up the screen and thought, "Geez, I should really post something..." the effort seemed too much, so I'd click elsewhere. Maybe because everything that's been going down here seems a bit mundane? Maybe because I think so many others have much, much, MUCH more interesting things about which to write? And maybe because I suck. Yep, I think it's safe to say that all three apply. Abundantly.

But I do owe a little someone this post. Because while I've always been awful at keeping a diary, this is the closest thing Peanut has to a collection of my thoughts and feelings prior to and since her birth. So this is for you, Boo.

Today, I took you in for your 18-month old appointment. I had lots of questions to pepper the doctor with, such as: Why does she yank on her hair? Why in the hell does she make herself puke every now and again? Why does she hit and throw tantrums? Why is it that she does all these things in a manor that makes me think she's doing it JUST TO PISS ME OFF?

It seems, much like your height, weight, head size, and vocabulary, you're a little more...advanced. And it seems that this also applies to your personality. Wait, that doesn't quite do it justice. P E R S O N A L I T Y. Yes, that comes closer.

"Some kids are put on this earth to sit there and look pretty," the doctor told me. "Others are here to change the world. Becca? She's most definitely here to change the world."

Okay, I get that this is probably a line regurgitated over and over again to anxious parents. But I have to admit, it made your mom feel better, kiddo. It made me hope that your strong will and excruciating ability to get my goat and challenge me in ways I never thought possible are because inside of you is an independent, brave, and unbelievably powerful person just waiting to come out.

So let's keep at it, Little One. Let's keep helping each other grow. And then let's always remember to use our power for good and not evil.

Monday, August 25, 2008

FYI, Mr. Highway Patrolman

If you should happen to see a woman in a Jeep going just a teeny bit over the speed limit on a deserted highway in the middle of BFE, and she has a screaming child in her backseat, milk spattered across the interior of the car, and she's on the verge of tears, have a frickin' heart and just give her a warning.

Or be a prick and don't and then leave said woman wondering how much she could sell her eggs for.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Where the "blahs" turn into more

It's been a bit rough around here lately. Not due to external forces, mostly, but due to internal ones.

I spent last weekend cramped into a too-small lake house with The Banker's family. We left the house only for dinner, really, and so the entire time I felt like the walls were closinginonme. There were three children and eight adults and while there was booze, even that didn't take the edge off. It was just too tight, too much, too long. And I found myself wanting to crawl out of my skin.

I fully expected this intense discomfort to pass upon our return home. But it didn't. Oddly enough, the anxiety seemed to build rather than dissipate. I'd a physical scheduled for Wednesday and in passing mentioned these symptoms to my doctor. Okay, not so much in passing. More like, "Geez, doc, what the hell is going on? Tightness of chest, insomnia, diminished appetite. WTF?!"

As it turns out, my encroaching 30th birthday has a lot to do with this. Because my hormones? They're taking a serious dive. I'd always heard that a woman's fertility drops in half at 30. Well, what they don't tell you is that this drop is caused by a serious diminishment of hormones, which leads to all the symptoms I was experiencing. The doctor assured me that my body would soon re-align itself to deal with the lower levels, however.

But come on! Like saying farewell to my 20s wasn't going to suck enough, it turns out that 30 welcomes me with an emotional roller coaster from hell. What a bitch.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A hardcore case of the blahs

I think I'm suffering from a hardcore case of the blahs. Too hot outside, and I'm always consumed by mosquitoes. Currently itching at some dozen-plus sites (and that was WITH jeans on!). Anxious kid and no Mother's Day Out until September. The terrible twos have also seemed to arrive early, which means we have our fair share of tantrums and time-outs to contend with. And I have freelance to write and no interest in either article. And my editors seemed to have dropped off the face of the planet, so I feel like I'm sending out queries into the nether. Ugh.

And The Banker and I are trying to get ourselves on a strict budget, now that the new-house spending hemorrhage has started to dwindle to droplets. In makes sense trying to reign in costs, given the whole sucky economy and all. But there's nothing quite as anxiety-ridden or mood-bumming as writing down the costs for everything. Zanax for anxious, fighting dogs: $14. Groceries, even with coupons: $124. Gas: $78. Yuck.

Both my sisters, who were in town this past weekend for The Race for the Cure, have returned to their respective homes. And I can feel their absence most heavily.

Thrown into this mix is the fact that this weekend I'm supposed to go to The Lake with The Banker's family. This family doesn't travel. Ever. So what prompted this get-together, I've no idea. But the boys will get to go golfing, leaving the wives with the screaming kids. Supposedly, there will be a trade-off and pedicures or something for the ladies. But what I REALLY want is time to myself. To work out. Read. And maybe buy my first pair of jeans in over two years. But that, I think, is not in the budget.

Fall better hurry up and get here.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

It's official

This morning, as Becca grabbed a book from her bookshelf and sat down to flip through the pages, I attempted to read along to her. She leaned over, stretched out her arm, palm flat, and pressed it firmly against my face, pushing me away. Three days away from her 17 month, and she's decided that, Mom? Mom's pretty much not needed.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

And the kitchen sink, too

After a whirlwind weekend to visit my dad's parents, some five days later my grandmother was promptly put into the hospital for almost a week. She'd looked so great during our visit, so strong and happy, but a variety of factors finally led her to desperately needing a break (from keeping up a house that's too large for them and for caring for my grandfather). The toll it took on my dad was crushing to see. I'm really shitty at seeing the people I love in pain. Coupled with my own fears and pain was the knowledge that I needed to step up and help. Make phone calls. Arrange for information from assisted living facilities to be sent out. Send out encouraging cards. Keep everyone in the loop. Keep the smiles and positive thoughts rolling.

Added to this was the responsibility of watching my parents' elderly dog, run errands for them while they were away, write four freelance articles, plan a small dinner party, keep atop a child who--despite a tumble down the stairs--STILL wants to go everywhere she shouldn't. I was feeling really, really overwhelmed. The oldest child, the only one in town, the mom, the daughter, the writer, the part-time worker, the house cleaner, the dog sitter, the chef, the wife. Wearing so many damn hats while trying to shoulder the emotional burden of this past week left me exhausted. And, I have to admit, a little angry. Because the selfish, crappy part of me, whimpered, "Isn't anyone going to help? Who's going to take care of ME?"

Thankfully, we're coming out the other side. My grandmother is out of the hospital and into rehab to get her strength back. My dad returns tomorrow. Two articles are, at least, roughly written. Dinner party a success. But the exhaustion and haggardness lingers. And in some ways, the battle has only begun. There will be arguments over facilities. Over cleaning out a house so cluttered from almost 30 years of life that closets are overflowing. There will be nastiness as siblings bicker.

Boy, I could use a vacation.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

We interrupt this broadcast...

So I've been a bit quiet as of late, despite the abundance of topics about which to write. The trip with Becca to see my grandparents? The unpleasant weight of old age? An unexpected downturn? The somber increase in responsibility that comes with being the oldest child? How about being an unfortunate disseminator of information?

I could weigh in on all of these topics right about now, but I simply don't have the heart. Right now I'm charging into unknown territory. And right now I'm not ready to reflect about any of it in words.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A creative labor

One of the most aggravating parts of making a "living" as a writer/editor, is the relative ease friends and family treat what you do. I don't know how many times someone has cheerfully chided me to "just write that children's book already," as if to do so I would need merely to concentrate really hard and POP! out a manuscript, much like a chicken lays an egg. Viola! There it is. Such a marvel and produced so effortlessly. (Now I think if I'd shown an interest in writing a novel, than that would be a different story. That invokes images of angst-ridden time alone in some dimly lit room, writer's block hanging like an albatross about the neck, causing the gnashing of teeth and ripping of hair.) But no, writing a children's book must be so EASY. After all, every Hollywood star has managed to do it. How hard can that be?

I have trouble explaining to people that there's this small thing called inspiration, which I've been sadly lacking lately. And then there's the whole other issue of quiet, private time in which to write. I can't even go to the bathroom unassailed anymore let alone write much for myself. Between the parenting articles I spit out every month, the inane work I'm doing at my old Really Big Company (part-time brainless data entry that the other editors never get to because they're doing CREATIVE things), and the move, there's been precious little extra time.

But really, I'm making excuses. Because I have one story written and another two so well outlined that it would take little blood, sweat, or tears to bring a rough, rough draft into existence. It's the next step that has rendered me powerless.

I know enough to know that getting a book published is damn difficult. I know that self-publishing entails monetary freedom I don't have. I know that, for the most part, you have to have an agent to get published from a reputable publishing house--but to have an agent you need to be published. Catch-22, anyone? And I don't live in a publishing mecca. There are some small local publishing companies, but not many. And what few contacts I had while living in Chicago have grown so stale as to be useless. So I'm at a standstill. I've always, always wanted to publish something of my own, (and have all the writer's guides and background research to know a thing or two about the process), but knowing where to go from here has left me feeling creatively stalled.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Umm, hello again?

I know it's been awhile--almost a full month by my count. And to be honest, I've been avoiding this simply because I don't know how to encapsulate everything that's happened during this time. Do you have four hours and a drink?

Living at my parents' house for the two-and-a-half weeks before the new house was ready was stressful. Angst-ridden. Difficult. My parents have a gorgeously decorated house that doesn't exactly scream "Children and ill-behaved dogs! Come in! Play! Make yourself at home!" Because of this and because I knew we were inconveniencing my parents, I walked around on eggshells for two weeks. And can I tell you it took all of two days before one of the dogs peed on my parents' super-expensive white rug? Yeah. And it's hard when other people pipe in--as well meaning as they might be--on your marriage, parenting skills, and general lifestyle.

And then an unexpected angst came from living in my old neighborhood again. I never set out to be just like my mom, and here I am, 29 years later, a stay-at-home mom living in the EXACT. SAME. NEIGHBORHOOD. What would the 12-year-old me think of this? I think she might be disappointed.

And as I watched the neighborhood kids walk home from swim practice, something I did for 9 or 10 years myself, I was struck by the irony that even at that young of an age I didn't like my body. Oh, sweetheart, I wish I could tell myself. It really only goes downhill from there. Enjoy your taught belly for all it's worth before it turns stretch-marked and stretched out.

So those few weeks of internal and external onslaughts were tough. But we survived.

And then the movers came.

I could go on for hours about the incompetence of our movers. We used a well-known, professional moving company. They sent three men to load up our things, store them, and return our items to the new house. Sadly, these men were poorly motivated and educated. Our invoice is littered with terrible misspellings. (Did you know we have four blue tots in our house? We do! Except that's supposed to be blue totes...) While this made me incredibly sad, a number of other things made me fume with anger. Such as the process taking triple the time promised. Or the fact that EVERY SINGLE PIECE of wooden furniture was somehow scratched, dented, or otherwise marked up.

So as we struggle with the moving company, the cable guy who accidentally drilled a hole through our wall, the survey that shows our flower bed and sprinklers on our neighbor's yard, and the fence that is two weeks behind, I've kinda avoided posting. Because it looks like one major bitchfest.

But we're in the house. We're getting settled. We're establishing a new routine. Things are coming together. Artwork is being hung. And while there's still work to be done (painting! new ovens! new stovetop! selling a kidney to pay for all of this!), this place is beginning to resemble a home. Thank God.

Friday, June 13, 2008

A hard, hard farewell

As I sit and type this in my parents' kitchen, it's hard for me to encapsulate what the last two days have entailed. Yesterday, chaos consumed us as we moved, cleaned, moved, and watched warily as "professional" movers threw about our furniture. I made six trips over to my parents' house to drop things off (which cost $75 in gas--ugh).

The rain that pounded the night before gave way to a stifling humidity that left The Banker and me drenched in sweat (not to mention the movers, too, whom I could begin to differentiate by smell). We couldn't get everything out of the house by the buyers' walk-through yesterday evening. Still, the house was orderly and clean enough to pass snuff, and we returned this morning for three more trips hauling our junk.

For starters, I didn't realize we'd accumulated SO. MUCH. STUFF. Loads and loads and loads of boxes. And secondly, we weren't nearly as prepped as I thought we were. When we move into the new house, over a dozen boxes will lack labels and will hold a mish-mash of random things. And how I hate hodgepodge while I'm trying to neatly lay out a new home! But what caught me most by surprise was the heart wrenching sadness that took hold as I prepared my home for someone else. I sat on the empty floor of Becca's nursery and just balled--my sobs echoing off the hardwood floors and the naked walls.

These new people? I'm sure they're nice enough, but they're not good enough for this home. This place that we lovingly updated. This place that we filled with craziness and junk and love. I know every inch of that home, every squeak in the floorboards, every knot in the floor. And it's not mine anymore. My first home, the place I brought my daughter home from the hospital's all gone now. And it still hurts enough to bring tears to my eyes. I know we couldn't stay where we were forever, but leaving hurt so damn bad. And I doubt I'll ever come to love another home as much again.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Bowled Over

There's simply too much to be accomplished and I'm running out of the necessary time and energy. Where are the promised vacation pics? Still in my camera...along with the better part of Becca's memory book. AND SHE'S ALMOST A YEAR-AND-A-HALF OLD. She'll never forgive me if I don't get going on that.

But she may also not forgive me for taking her to Mother's Day Out, where she got so thoroughly upset today that she vomited all over herself. I was putting in a few hours at the company I used to work for (what? and you're moving on THURSDAY? well, see if I didn't go in and work I would have been kicked off of Creative-On-Call, so I kinda had to, despite all the other chaos...). So I'm wracked with guilt, stress over freelance and Creative-On-Call hours, exhaustion from a family wedding this weekend, and a house that needs to be packed and cleaned. And did I mention The Banker turns 30 this weekend?

So what the hell am I doing on here?

I'll try to be back when this overwhelming chaos subsides. And if I promise pictures and fresh cookies, will you come back?

Monday, June 02, 2008

A Hasty Retreat

Was it just last week I departed for Grand Cayman? Where did the time go? And how can I adequately encompass all that that retreat entailed and meant? And do I really have time, given that I need to complete three freelance articles, pack up an entire home, get Becca to her first day of Mother's Day Out, and somehow make time to help out my old company?

Okay, so we'll give it a quick go: Private villa at the Ritz. Needless to say, a girl could get accustomed to that lifestyle. If she were made of money and $20 drinks didn't make her throat seize up. The beach was gorgeous, the digs incredibly posh, the sunsets amazing. I saw two sea turtles while scuba diving and touched sting rays and an eel while snorkeling. Loved, loved, loved it.

The company: I knew only one of the gals on this trip (an amazing friend who kindly asked me to join her. Um, THANK YOU). The other three were strangers to me--two single, one married. I think I could get along great with all of the gals, sans one, who'll we'll get to shortly.

The neighbors: Six married men in their 40s. All fathers. They spotted us on our patio (by the private plunge pool, natch), and invited us over for a drink. I hesitated, but the consensus was it was harmless fun, right? Well, it quickly became apparent that these millionaires (most of who graciously let us know their financial status), put higher stock in their investment funds than in their marriages. And that one aforementioned gal? The tall, beautiful party girl from L.A. who bedded a Coast Guard member during our stay? Well, apparently she took it upon herself to sleep with TWO of these men...unbeknownst to my friend and me, as we'd retired early in preparation for the next day's flight.

I'm disgusted by both the single party girl and the two married men. Not that these things overshadowed my incredible trip--far from it--but they did make me so very, very thankful for the family I have. Who were waiting excitedly at the airport for my return. Pictures later, but now, I have china and crystal to pack.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Grand Cayman, Here I Come

Monday morning at an obscenely early hour, while The Banker and Becca sleep, I'll sneak away to catch a flight to the Grand Cayman Island. For a week. With a gaggle of gals.

I've never taken a girl's vacation before, and, admittedly, the timing is less than ideal. But when someone dangles a FREE stay at a private residence at the Ritz Carlton, well, you'd be kinda insane to pass it up. And so I find myself in the usual Mommy Conundrum--How to go and enjoy myself without letting the guilt take over?

This trip, for all intensive purposes, is free (minus food, drink, and SHOPPING. Did I mention the SHOPPING?!?). But The Banker and I have some serious costs looming: moving expenses, new carpet for the house, fencing the yard, and all sorts of necessities to fill this larger house. But that guilt pales in comparison to abandoning my babe and very tolerant husband for five days. In the midst of packing hell.

I'm rationalizing that this will be the break I've been in desperate need of for, say, the last six months or so. And I'm hoping it will be renewing and reinvigorating enough so that I can return to pack, move, move again, and unpack all without losing my cool...too much. I'll do some scuba diving, some reading (yes, I know. So selfish. But all I want to do is READ. Uninterrupted. For more than 10 minutes at a time.), some beaching and pooling, and hopefully some delicious eating and drinking. And maybe some shopping. Maybe.

So I'll see you all again in on the 31st. Pray that The Banker, Becca, and I find this to be a good couple of days.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Grand Central Station

Three plumbers and three electricians (two trailing dried mud and spewing plaster) paraded through my house today. But it's finished--the electrical problems and the various other demands that the buyers had put forth. And so now the count is on till our closing, some 28 days. I cannot tell you how great it feels to have strange, messy men out of my house.

So while I'm still buried under one lingering bit of freelance, I can sort of see the light at the end of the tunnel. Sure, there's the packing, the moving, the shacking with the in-laws for a week, then two weeks with my parents, and then cleaning and moving into the new home...but before that is a promise of a get-away. Something I've never experienced before, something that will carry with it no small amount of guilt, but will also hold the renewing properties of warm sand, soft, lapping waves, and unexplored horizons. And I'll need all that peace to carry me through the next month.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


The inspection lasted some three hours yesterday with the buyers and the real estate agent in tow. I had to entertain Becca, stay out of the way, but be on call to answer questions. That morning, my body finally screaming for mercy from all this stress, succumbed to a head cold and terrible sore throat.

The inspector (who was not a registered electrician), tried to trip a GFI outlet in our main-floor bathroom. In doing so, he shorted out some five lights (and the outlet). He left--without fixing the problem--and told me that by replacing the outlet the problem would be solved. The Banker returned from a golf tournament last night to one pissed-off wife. In short order, he too was angry. He replaced the outlet...and nothing.

An electrician has been here since 8:45 this morning (I barely had time to throw on a hat and jeans), and after over two hours, he can't solve the problem. He keeps asking if there's another GFI outlet somewhere in the house, but to our knowledge, there isn't one. Every light fixture and outlet in my house has been disconnected and is dangling, all the ugly wires exposed. The floor is filthy with plaster, dust, and whatever the electrician has tracked in.

My sore throat is now accompanied by the chills and sheer exhaustion. And tonight The Banker was going to take me to dinner and to see The Police for my Mother's Day gift. Neither of us feel like celebrating. This nightmare can kill our sale.

I'm trying to keep things in perspective. We're incredibly lucky and right now there's so much heartache in the world. But my own heart hurts, along with various other body parts. It's all too much. Please, Lord, help us!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Pins and needles

We accepted an offer on the house--for our full asking price!!--but we're not in the clear yet. We have to pass the appraisal and inspection hurdles, which leaves us on pins and needles. Even more nerve-wracking is the knowledge that this couple backed out on another house just a few weeks ago based on the inspection findings.

Hear that glub, glub? That's my stomach flip-flopping and my left over Cinco de Mayo meal slushing about. Come on clean inspection and appraisal equal to our selling price!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Ugh, ugh, and more ugh

I can not adequately express my distaste for selling a home. We've had three open houses, several showings, and the sum result has been sheer exhaustion on my part. It's the constant cleaning. The constant hiding/putting away. The wrangling of the dogs, cat, and kid, while we open our home to a bunch of trudging strangers. The emotional toll as we hear, "Adorable home!" "So cute!" "Wish it had another bathroom/bedroom."

We live in a cute, little city, built after WWII for returning soldiers. These are not super large houses, though they can be expanded. We have three bedrooms, though admittedly one does serve better as an office. We have one-and-a-half baths. These are our limitations. But we have updated EVERYTHING, (granite! new appliances! refinished hardwoods! new carpet! new paint!), have the sweetest screened-in porch, great flow, and a large kitchen (for this neighborhood).

I'm not made for this. It's very hard for me to wrench open my door, invite strangers in to gawk, judge, and haggle. We fell in love with this house almost six years ago and made an offer within 20 minutes of seeing it. That was such a drastically different market! Now, the market is filled with, as one real estate agent put it, "a lot of bottom feeders keen on getting something for next to nothing."

Is it so much to ask that someone fall in love with this home? That someone would want to make it their starter home, to begin a new life in, to start a family in? It's been such a great home for us, and being who I am, I can't take the emotion out of this process (as I've been urged to do).

The summer months are already filling up with demands and responsibilities, and hanging like an albatross around my neck is this home that I adore. I'm beginning to feel frayed around the edges.

Friday, April 25, 2008

A $20-Grand Ouch

We got an offer on the house this week--some $20 grand below our asking price. Ugh. The Banker has looked at comps for houses in the neighborhood and our price was aggressive from the get-go. Several realtors who toured implied that they thought our price was too low. Still the interested party won't pony up even $10 grand more, which is needed to make our numbers work.

I hate to walk away from an offer. It leaves this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. But it's really too low. Still the market sucks, and I'm worried that we're looking a gift horse in the mouth. Selling a home really, really stinks. Ugh...I can feel the weight of my breakfast at the back of my throat...

Friday, April 18, 2008

In over my head

I know I've been lax about updates here, mostly because there's so much happening that I'm not quite sure what to write about. My life right now feels like one very major to-do list, from which I'm desperately trying to check things off.

Santa Fe was fun, though low-key. I spent the better part of the time running to stores and waiting for deliveries and cleaning. My parents' home is incredible, and I"m so proud of them. This is something they've clearly earned, and it's beautiful. The Banker came up for a long weekend and we ate at some great restaurants and saw some amazing (read: expensive) art. And Becca was pretty well behaved for the entire ordeal.

We actually succumbed a bit to the Santa Fe mentality...and we bought the tiniest oil painting. It was cheap by art standards but not by ours. Still, it's so lovely--a single cotton blossom in full bloom. The painter is Simon Winegar, and our piece is called Spring Manifest. I also fell head-over-heels for a Dan Ostermiller, but since we don't have an odd $5 grand lying around I will have to content myself with the hope that maybe someday...if I sell a kidney.

Still reeling from our Santa Fe expenditures, we're now in total house-selling mode. We had two showings this week and will have an open house this Sunday. Many kind comments about how darling the house is, but at only one-and-a-half baths, I know it's not for everyone. Still the sooner we sell this house, the better off we'll be, even if that means moving into my parents' house until we can move into the new home come July 1st. So please cross your fingers and say a few prayers, because we could use the perfect home buyer!

And then there's the aforementioned to-do list: a handful of freelance articles, Becca's Mother's Day Out group, four weddings (come on people!! Can't you postpone your love until after we sell our house?!?!), three birthdays, a graduation, a new baby in the family, and countless things to do around the house. Eeeek.

Saturday, April 05, 2008


Let's see, in the past two days, this is what happened:
Made a bid on house
Counter offer
Counter-counter offer
Cat escapes
Cat returns
Counter-counter offer accepted. Holy shit--just bought a house. Will now own TWO houses.
Must sell current home. ASAP!
Cat falls off roof
Cat catches self on gutter, scrambles back inside
Cat cut off from any open crevice
Prepping home for open house
Clean, clean, put away, hide
Pack for Santa Fe

So, the last few days have been a WHIRLWIND. I think I'm allowed to use all caps given the circumstances. I'd like to go on and on about how stressful this has been, how The Banker can't sleep due to it all, how I'm in denial mode, how we need to sell this house SOON or we'll be responsible for two mortgages and I'll have to sell my dispensable internal organs on the black market, and how all the smug neighborhood kids I grew up with are probably having a pretty god laugh at my expense about all this. But there's simply no time. I have to get the house ready for an open house tomorrow and Becca and I packed to fly to Santa Fe at 8 a.m. The laid-back atmosphere of Santa Fe sounds pretty good right more later. But until then, this is (apparently) where I'll call home, come July 1st:

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


So The Banker has fallen in love with an in-between house (since our dream of a home with land is at this point too expensive), and by all accounts it's move-in ready. The yard is non-existent, so this would be a house we settle for until we can afford more. Oh, and there's one more problem: It's catty-corner to my parents' house. Anyone want to weigh in on the insanity of this idea?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Night I Turned into THAT Lady

Tonight I became that uncool, bitchy woman I'd always shaken my head at before. And you know what? It felt kinda good.

The Banker and I were driving home after picking Becca up from my parents (Thursday nights we volunteer at a therapeutic riding ranch), when we'd just entered our little neck of the "city." It was about 8:30, the streets still busy. I was in the backseat of the Jeep, turned to entice Becca into taking the last of her final bottle. Suddenly, The Banker shouted, his hand on the horn as he swerved and simultaneously slammed on the brakes. My body, twisted to the side, jerked forward awkwardly against the seatbelt. Becca uttered a cry of absolute panic. In front of us, four boys in a tan Honda had crossed four lanes of traffic and almost side-swiped us. Obviously embarrassed, the driver quickly turned the car off the street, only to reappear minutes later and cut us off to make a quick right-hand turn.

So you know what I did? I memorized the license plate, noted the street I last saw the Honda turn on, and called the police when we got home some five minutes later. The dispatcher, a very kind-sounding woman, looked up the plates and based on where I saw the car turning, surmised the kids were returning home and said she'd call the residence.

Becca, while shaken, is now sound asleep. Me? My neck and lower back ache something fierce. And my pride is both bruised and gloating. Part of me shakes my head that I've become that lady, the straight-laced kind who doesn't get it when kids are just trying to have some "fun." But in the end, I'm a mom, and if dare endanger my child I will take you down. Those kids are damn lucky I wasn't driving, because I probably would have followed them home and given them a good screaming. (Something my own mom has done.) And if I see their car again...well, let's just leave it at that.

Needless to say, I get it--the Mama Bear or Lioness comparisons. And so if I've become that lady, I guess that's okay. Because while I remember my carefree teenage days, there's no excuse for endangering my cub.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Teenage Angst in a One-Year-Old

Time and time again, people react with surprise when my daughter throws them a look like this:

Or, if she's been scolded, this:

I know this means I'm in for a lot of trouble. Of all the one-year-olds we're familiar with, only Becca pulls this sort of thing. I catch her watching expressions, trying to catch the eye of anyone close by. She's clearly tuned in, craving interaction--so much more so than other children I know. This is a point of pride and concern. This kid is stubborn. Tough. And so much more of a handful than I ever expected.

But by the same token, with the pouts and scowls, she's also perfected the art of hugging. She will toddle up to one of the animals--or me--and squeeze sooo tight. It's enough to make my heart feel as if it could burst. It's these moments I'm holding onto when Becca fights me over every meal. Or repeatedly throws her food on the ground despite constant reprimands. Or flips over mid-diaper-change and tries to crawl off. Or tosses me one of her new, perfected, looks.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

ISO: Help in Hiding Veggies, Meat

Becca is absolutely refusing vegetables. And meat. She's sort of taking after her mom: all carbs, fruit, and cheese. And even though I've written parenting articles on similar subjects, I only have one or two recipes for hiding vegetables and absolutely zero for hiding meats. And umm, I don't want to spend all day in the kitchen. (Okay, full disclosure, I also really, really don't want to have to buy Jerry Seinfeld's wife's cookbook. Ugh.)

So if you, or anyone you know, have any ideas for outsmarting a really, really finicky one-year-old, I welcome the input. Because carrot cake can't be her sole source of vegetables.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Happy Birthday, Peanut!

This Saturday marked Becca's first birthday, and I think I'm still trying to wrap my mind around this fact. There are days when it feels as if she's been here for ages, that I can't imagine a life before Becca. But most days it seems so fast, an absolute flash. On my to-do list is a year-in-review letter of sorts to the Little Miss that she can look at when she's older. But first I have to get some freelance and other matters under control. So in the meantime, here's a quick peek at Saturday's gathering and the anniversary of Peanut's arrival:

Thursday, March 06, 2008

I Don't Know Why I Bother

We got Becca this adorable little chair from Pottery Barn Kids for Christmas, and I had romantic notions it would be her reading chair--that she would sit lovingly next to me and we would read together. Thus far, this is the sum total of it's use:

Where, you might ask, is the Little Miss sitting? Well, right here, of course:

Yup, that's the one of the dog's beds. I blame The Banker's lineage for this. After all, his family was known as the Clampetts at their country club, and one of his siblings has been known to wear a tank-top and flip-flops to a funeral. I'm not even kidding.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Mother's Day Out

Finally! I can breathe through my nose and my body doesn't ache like it's been hit by a truck...repeatedly. And I only occasionally cough up my lungs. There's nothing like feeling well again after feeling so, so terrible to make you appreciate your health. Thank you, God. Now please, please help us all stay healthy through Becca's birthday this coming weekend.

Some interesting things happened while I was fighting influenza. For starters, I had to get up at the crack of dawn to stand in the frigid cold and fight off other desperate parents to enroll Becca in Mother's Day Out for this fall. (Becca, in the meantime, was spending the night at my parents. Where she slept soundly through the night. OF COURSE SHE DID.)

So there I was, cold creeping into my boots, trying to make small talk with other parents without coughing crap up all over them. I was about the tenth or so person to arrive. We were all freezing, desperate to get our kids enrolled, and trading tales of parenthood. (We were nice to one another because one brilliant father had brought a pad of paper and a pen so we could sign up as we arrived. Then we were able to chat kindly, knowing we weren't going to have to elbow each other in the face for a spot in line. Did I mention this brilliant father's wife made him get there at 5 a.m.? This man deserved a medal!)

One mom and I ended up chatting even after we were let into the church building and led down a long haul to wait some more at round tables. She was older than I with a two-year-old son and a nine-month-old daughter. She asked if I was a stay-at-home mom, and when I said I was, she let slip words that cut to my very core: "You know, it was so much harder staying at home than I'd anticipated. I went through this identity crisis. I'd always worked, I always had that, and suddenly I didn't anymore. I felt like when I talked to people, I had nothing to contribute. And I found it very isolating, being stuck in the house at the mercy to constant feeding and nap schedules."

I wanted to hug this complete stranger. I wanted to scream, "AMEN, SISTER!" But I didn't. Instead, I fervently nodded. I get it all. The isolation. The crisis of identity. The feeling of worthlessness. The knowledge that the only thing I have to add to a conversation are the antics of a wee person, and most people don't care to hear me go on and on about poop, feedings, naps, and crazy kid antics. It was so affirming to hear that I'm not the only one--that this staying at home thing? It's not all cuddles and roses. It's the hardest damn thing I've ever done. And probably the most important, too.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sick, again.

As if this past week hasn't been nasty enough, as if this weekend wasn't hard enough given my grandmother's funeral, I'm now sick with the flu. The kind of flu where you shouldn't get out of bed for three or four days. Unless, of course, you have a child. Then you're forced to be up during the day--and if you're super lucky--from 1:30 a.m. on, too.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Another blown-out diaper and projectile vomiting. I'm seriously wondering if I have what it takes to be a stay-at-home mom. Because right now, I'd prefer to be almost anyplace but here.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A sincere thank you

There are days, much like today, when a kind comment can mean the world. Whether it's an encouraging note on a blog, an e-mail just to say hello, or a kind smile for a stranger at the grocery store--these social interactions matter. So thank you. You know who you are. Your supportive comments have such uplifting capabilities. I carry them with me like little nuggets that I can nurture myself when things get hard. Like yesterday, for instance. Or today.

My mom's mom started a steep decline yesterday. My parents, still in Santa Fe, had an evening flight home. I sat by my grandmother's bedside pleading she hold on so my mom could say goodbye. Thank God my parents caught on earlier flight enabling my mom to arrive by midday. I don't think I could have sat bedside, on death watch, by myself. So I put in several hours yesterday and then gratefully, selfishly, handed over the reigns to my mom and one of her sisters.

Then I had to hold it together for The Banker's grandmother's 85th birthday brunch. On our way home, Becca got quite ill. The kind of ill where her diaper was blown, her clothes, jacket, and car seat soaked. Despite the freezing cold, we alternated cracking the windows on the drive back home. It took an immense amount of control not to vomit. Then more heart-wrenching time at the nursing home. Then on to a gala dinner and dance--a bank function The Banker had to attend.

This morning, as I was on my way to bring my mom and her sister coffee, my grandmother finally passed, marking the end to an over-5 year battle with Alzheimer's.

But there's no rest for the weary. Or those with children. Those with a weak stomach, stop reading now. I'm very serious about this. Now.

Becca's virus continued into the night and this morning, just hours after I returned from my final visit to the nursing home, it hit an all-time first. I've seen projectile vomiting, but this was so, so much worse. The Banker was changing her diaper, already leaking from another round, and he called for my help. As he was switching out a clean diaper, Becca projectile diarrhead across the room, into the hallway, and across my body. She shot some 7 feet. It was like a water cannon went off. A water cannon full of liquid poop. The Banker and I looked at each other, our jaws on the floor. (In poop.) Then, because there was nothing else to do, we laughed. Hysterically. As we cleaned the bedspread, the floor, my clothes, and Becca, we laughed. Because the tears had already been spent and all that was left was the maniacal laughter of a mad person.

Now I'm off to rekindle a much-hated talent from my journalistic past: writing an obituary for a woman who was beautiful and adventurous. Who raised a family in Venezuela. Who loved to dance and party. Who lacked maternal instincts. And who always spoke her mind.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

All quiet on the blogging front

I'e been meaning to jot down a note or two here, but I've been caught up on this whirlwind that is life and I can't seem to find the time. Or energy. Or motivation. First I was sick with the bug that's been going around, which left me feeling like I'd been jumped in a dark alley or hit by a bus...or both. But as my mom not-so-sympathetically declared, "There are no sick days for moms." And boy was she right. I slept when Becca slept, went to bed as soon as I felt things were under control in the evenings, but other than that, I just had to rough it out.

Then The Banker fell ill over the weekend (if you want to see what THAT was like, see "Man Cold" on YouTube. SO ACCURATE.), so I had less than the usual amount of help around the house. (While he didn't take any "sick days" from work, The Banker did get loads of naps during the weekend. Apparently, sometimes dads do get to take sick days...sort of.)

This week has already started to get away from me--freelance dangerously piling up, book club book to be read, and yes, still hoping to get Becca's memory book started before her first birthday, which is just around the corner. And why did the dogs decide NOW was the best time to start molting and leaving clumps of fur all over my formerly clean home? Let's not even mention my gym membership that expires in a week. I'm not sure I even remember the route to take to that mystical place called "the gym."

And last night Becca screamed from 3 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. This morning, she's got the worst runny nose and keeps sneezing. So it's off to the pediatrician's, but not before I stop by the Alzheimer's unit to try and feed my grandmother some lunch because my parents are out of town. And then tonight? The Banker has a work event I must attend looking properly groomed and smiling...on three hour's sleep.

Okay...back to eating bon-bons and sitting on the couch.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Rule of Nature #74

When you finally, after two rainchecks, take your kid into that really big company where you once worked--you know the one that people from all over the country spend years and countless portfolios and tests to get into?--to have lunch with your former managing editor, your usually sweet cherub will act like that kid, the kind who force people to give you glances urging you to remember to use birth control going forward.

Putting the FAT in Fat Tuesday

I love Fat Tuesday. I mean, on no other day does the world say, "Go ahead, eat and drink and be merry like it's the last day you'll get to let least for the next 40 days." (Except if you count Thanksgiving, which has less debauchery involved. Or Easter, which is mostly chocolate and egg based.)

Tonight I've opted for extra crispy fried chicken and red bean and rice from a fast-food joint. I don't ever eat fast food and never eat fried chicken, so this will be quite the treat. A big, greasy, gut-busting treat. And after that? Well tomorrow Lent begins and with it a hardcore push to lose the final lingering pounds of baby weight. To boot, The Banker and I are cutting out alcohol Mondays through Thursdays. This will be quite the feat, because in this house wine is kinda like toilet paper--if we run out, people get panicky.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Not-so-friendly skies

This is a portion of the letter I wrote to Frontier Airlines after our total crap flights to CanCun. I never, ever bother writing companies, but the people who work for Frontier so totally screwed us that I got angry enough to write:

My husband and I arrived early for a 7:15 a.m. flight to CanCun on Saturday, January 19th. It was our first flight with our 10-month-old and we wanted ample time to get settled. But we were forced to stand at the ticket counter for almost 50 minutes because no one knew how to charge us $12 for an infant tax. Three different employees over 45 minutes couldn’t figure out how to take pocket change from us and check our baggage. By the time they phoned someone with the training required to complete this task, there were only minutes to spare before our flight. We rushed through security and were among the last to board the flight—no ability to pre-board and settle for our first flight with a baby. It was a terrible and stressful way to start our vacation.

But Frontier didn’t disappoint on the return flight, either. Departing at 3:25 on Saturday, January 26th, we arrived with plenty of time to compensate for any ticketing problems. We were first in line for pre-boarding, but right as we were to step onto the plane we were told we would have to stand and wait—the flight attendants had yet to arrive. The entirety of the plane’s passengers stood for 15 minutes, waiting outside the plane’s door. It was insinuated to my husband by one of the ground crew that the flight attendants might have been caught up “shopping” in the duty-free stores. After the flight attendants’ eventual arrival, the plane sat on the tarmac for 40 minutes waiting to take off—providing no shortage of discomfort for the passengers. (One person in our party was almost forced to urinate herself due to the extended time without bathroom access.) After all this, the plane was an hour late arriving home.

The person in our party almost forced to pee herself? Yup, that would be ME. I'd gone to the bathroom right before boarding, but since we didn't depart for an hour after we were supposed to and because I'd drank a large bottle of water in attempts to rehydrate myself, wasn't pretty. While we were waiting on the runway, the pilot announced it'd be another 16 minutes until we departed. I almost burst into tears--at this point I had a 20-pound baby on my lap (on my bladder) who would scream if anyone else held her. The Banker told me I'd better make a quick jump all of three rows to the restroom. The minute I stood up, though, two flight attendants (obviously grumpy because of the crap choices in the duty-free store) screamed like banshees at me. Total humiliation. If I'd had more guts, I would have peed myself to make a point.

And I didn't even mention how the return flight ran out of booze.

Proof the romance hasn't died

Last night as The Banker and I are brushing our teeth and getting ready for bed...

Me: What did we eat for dinner that was red?
The Banker: Nothing
Me: You mean this was stuck in my teeth since lunch?! Geez, I should brush more...
The Banker: Tell me about it!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A different sort of vacation

CanCun was, by all accounts, a great vacation. But here's the thing: it was a different sort of vacation. In the past, vacations meant freedom--from work schedules, the demands of the daily grind, and all the other responsibilities that keep one tethered and tired. Vacationing with a baby, or children, I would guess, is different in that you're still tied to the schedule. The feedings, the naps, the bedtime. Sure, there's some flexibility, but not much because altering the timeline too drastically means an ugly meltdown.

So when the rest of the family was sunning and drinking on the beach, we were headed up to the room to get the Little One out of the sun and down for a nap. This nap thing? It happens twice a day. And that bedtime thing? Well, Becca goes to bed between 7:30 and 8:00, which means long leisurely dinners are not an option. Hell, long and leisurely anything is not an option because attention spans and patience are short in wee ones.

I don't mean to bitch and boohoo I-had-to-take-my-kid-to-Mexico-feel-bad-for-me. That's not it. Seeing Becca on the beach was such a joy. And the trip was relaxing, in it's own way. It was simply different. It's odd that you think you've settled into this new role of parent and you think you know how it goes when suddenly something comes up and you're like, "Hmm, how to handle this now that there are three?"

(And since Becca learned to crawl--I mean chuck it across the room like a rocket--and pull herself up on anything and everything while we were on vacation, parenting as I've known it is ALL OVER. Constant line of sight and baby-proofing in full effect. God help me!)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Beach Baby

Here's a quick peek at how Miss Becca did while on vacation:

Needing to rail against Frontier Airlines and their stupidity and muse about how a vacation with a kid is not, by typical standards, a vacation, I'll be blogging...for at least a wee bit longer. Apparently something needs to seriously get my goat to compel me to write. But more on that later, for at the moment I desperately need to run to Target and give them a kidney in exchange for diapers, formula, and various other necessities.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A few notes

It seems time has been doing its thing--namely getting away from me. We're leaving for Mexico on Saturday (with my entire family, hopefully, hopefully), and there's packing and cleaning and so much else to do. But first I thought I'd take note of a few developments around here.

For starters, Becca has decided that despite how disdainful crawling seems, she'll do it...a little. When the motivation is right, she'll crawl at quite the clip across the room. However, it's not her preferred mode of transportation, which is to walk with assistance. She wants to be standing or walking ALL THE TIME. And fittingly, her new word is "up," which she utters constantly. I think it's become her catchphrase for "I want something." It's a bit hard to decipher if an "up" means "more bottle" or it actually means "up, you, and walk me about the house until your back gives out." But now that we're mobile I'm both relieved (Hooray! No explaining to the doc why my daughter refuses to crawl!) and suddenly more exhausted. Parenting just took on a whole new challenge.

She continues to be incredibly stubborn, which is at times funny and at others so exasperating that I want to run from the house to the nearest bottle of wine. Every other day she's on some sort of strike: formula strike, baby-food strike, nap strike. Staying one step ahead of this kid is harder than one would think. But at the same time she's a joy. Becca is funny and sweet and exhausting and all-encompassing. There are days when I think I made a mistake in staying home with her and other days when I know I did the right thing. Depending on what day you catch me, you get a whole different take on parenting. But I think that's part of the gig. The ups and downs, the steps forward and the steep slide backward.

And with this need for flexibility in mind, I'm mentally gearing up for Becca's first plane ride, first vacation, first dip in the ocean. I fervently pray everything will go smoothly. As to whether I'll continue this blog when I get back, I'm undecided. I wonder if it's serving its original purpose, and at times shouting into the abyss seems a bit fruitless. But until I'm back and have had time to decide the fate of my incoherent ramblings, cheers!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Cue the music

In all my various theological teachings from Catholic high school and CCD, limbo was always described in rather neutral terms. It's this place between heaven and hell, a place where you wait and see. What they don't tell you is that limbo, emotional limbo, is its own private form of hell where your emotions get jerked back and forth between hope and despair, often in only a matter of hours. It's exhausting. And just when you think you've gone numb, another wave of news sends you crashing. It's a place where all plans are tentative, all joys are slightly guilt-inducing, and all phone calls make you vaguely shudder.

But even in limbo, life goes on. Becca is oblivious to all the chaos around her and I don't think she fully understands what the tears are for. That or she's decided court jester will be her first call of duty. She smiles serenely or makes raspberry noises at inopportune moments. Like those last rites? Perfect time for making farting noises. (She obviously got her knack for timing from her father.) But more than anything she's a reminder that life goes on in this bizarre, funny, heartbreaking, amazing circle.

She is now 10 months old, sporting five teeth, a lust for walking and standing (assisted), and a general disdain for crawling. Becca loves the cat to no end. She also loves to repeatedly do the things that I've said "no" to. Don't throw my sippy cup off the tray? Are you sure? Because I really think one more toss is in the cards. Don't spit my food at you? But carrots make such a lovely spatter design on your shirt...

Discipline is now among the things we're trying to reinforce in the household. That and every time the phone rings, like Pavlov's dog, you must take a sip of wine.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

A crap day

In what kind of world do you rush to the vet's after your mom calls to say that your childhood dog may be put down, only for a blessed reprieve...and in the same hour discover your grandmother, in the local Alzheimer's unit, is going downhill so rapidly that the priest has been called in to provide an anointing of the sick?

Mine, apparently.