Sunday, December 31, 2006

A Wonderful End to the Old Year

It is supposed to start raining any minute. Which is wonderful news because it means my pyromaniac neighbors will have to stop shooting fireworks soon. Right?

Happy New Year. Wishing you all the best.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Year in Review

I'm imitating Suz at WithintheWoods and recapping the year by reposting the first line of the first post of each month. Never mind that I took a break in June. . .

Peace, prosperity and happiness to you.

I know you read this.

Life goes on.

Today we had the big ultrasound.

I haven’t been writing too much lately, and we have my students to thank for it.

A quick recap of the last several weeks:

Ouch. I know you probably feel cramped in there, but I think you may have cracked one of my ribs tonight.

My less-than-one-percent-chance-of-conception baby has arrived.

I promised a birth story, so here goes.

Ah. The publisher will be here Friday.

Every once in a while, a news story will grip me and I will become preoccupied with it.

That was rather enjoyable! I suppose it is time to make some resolutions.

Sunday, December 24, 2006


That's my age in a few hours. Yesterday, my twenty something beer-truck-driving brother told me he can't believe I am almost over-the-hill. I told him that I can't believe he is still draftable and that given the way this Iraq thing is going . . . Then he gave me a countdown calendar for the days Bush remains in office and all was forgiven.

I usually recap the year in anticipation of my birthday. I like to take stock, you know? I checked out my post from last year and was pleasantly surprised to see that most of my wishes for this year came true. It has been a most excellent year.

Let's review shall we?

That this pregnancy is healthy. YES!
That Baby E thrives despite the problems we have had with childcare. YES!
That Baby E gets a spot at a good center by May. IT HAPPENED IN JUNE!
That I summon the strength and discipline to finish the text. NO. SEE MY LIST FOR THIS YEAR.
That I succeed in getting family leave and sabbatical next year. YES! THE PROVOST JUST REALIZED WHAT I GOT AWAY WITH!
That I be a good mother to my daughter and a good wife to my husband. I HOPE SO
That there are fewer natural disasters to fret over. YES
That I remember others have it much worse. I TRIED
That I keep writing in this space for therapy. YES
That fewer hairs show up on my chin. SIGH
That Karl Rove is indicted and Cheney is forced to resign. NOT QUITE, BUT CHENEY'S SHOOTING A HUNTER WAS PRETTY GREAT!
That Dems take over in midterm elections. YES! OMG! YES!
That there is peace. SIGH

I'm typing with one-hand and holding/nursing the baby with the other so I'll keep this year's wishes modest.

That I find the will to finish the text.
That the publisher is nicer.
That my daughters are healthy.
That daycare is more traumatic for me than for Baby M.
That E figures out the potty training thing.
That J and I have time to reconnect.
That I can breastfeed M until she is one or until I feel good about stopping.
That I lose the baby weight.
Peace on Earth.
That I become better organized.
That I keep writing in this space for therapy.
That fewer hairs show up on my chin.
That I give more to worthwhile causes and charities.

Merry Christmas. Wishing you a joyous holiday.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Not Feeling the Christmas Magic

I have a head cold, my baby has an ear infection, and the two-year-old doesn't give a damn that Santa is gravely concerned that she is resisting bedtime. This will have to be short.

Still, in anticipation of spending the 23rd with my family, I feel the need to share a short Christmas story. One that pretty well captures the Christmases of my youth and may explain why I dread our holiday visit. My family, you see, is BSC.*

The year was 1988. I was returning home for the holidays after my exams. After a long drive north from Tallahassee, I stumbled into the front door of the family home at dusk. I smelled cookies baking. The tree in the big bay window looked and smelled lovely, and there was a fire in the fireplace. It seemed so normal. Could it be? Had aliens replaced my family with normal people? It was so . . . Norman Rockwell.

It wasn't to be. The calm lasted less than 30 seconds. My dog, a poodle**, heard me enter and ran in my direction. Did you know that poodles are prone to cataracts that make objects-- even large ones like nine-foot brightly lit Christmas trees--invisible? The poodle missed me by a wide margin but found the tree. She went into the tree, up the tree, through the tree. The poodle, all eight pounds of her, toppled the tree. It made an enormous crash. Then the house went silent.

Now, remember, I had been gone for four months. I was expecting my parents to make a fuss over me. Welcome me home. Ask me what special dish I would like for dinner. Instead I got this:

"What the f&*^! Get back here, dog! Get back here! My tree! My motherf@$# tree! I'll kill you! I'll kill you!"

My mother appeared in the door, butcher knife in hand, screaming. She was drenched in sweat, either from cooking or the side effects of menopause or possibly a combination of these. She did not acknowledge me, the child she had last seen in August. Instead, she lunged at the dog who, sensing danger, shot between us and ran to the back of the house, skittering along the wood floors all the way. My mother gave chase and around they went. Through the living room, the dining room, the kitchen, the family room and back again. She pursued the dog even as my eight-year-old brother begged her to spare the dog's life.

"But she can't see," he sobbed, "Please don't kill her. Please don't kill her. I love her. Waaah." That my brother even thought it was plausible that our mother might kill the dog should convince you that I am not exaggerating when I say that my family is BSC.

Nothing stands out from the rest of that visit. The dog's life was spared. The tree was mended. I was a debutante.***

Going home is hard for me. While I enjoy seeing my brothers, I never know what I'll walk into when I go through that door. I do know this. I hide the butcher knife when I go home. Just in case.

*bat shit crazy
**my parents are small, yappy dog people
***a story for another day

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Then and Now

Then . . .

and Now. . .

Saturday, December 09, 2006

One year ago today

I can't believe a year has passed since that second, faint pink shadow of a line showed up on the pregnancy stick.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Heavy Heart

Every once in a while, a news story will grip me and I will become preoccupied with it. It will play over and over in my mind, and I will surf the Internet looking for updates or clues. It will keep me up and night and it will be one of the first things I think of when I wake.

That happened this week.

The Kim family of San Francisco went missing after a Thanksgiving holiday visit to friends in Portland. James and Kati and their two daughters, ages 4 and 7 months, became lost and then trapped in the unforgiving Oregon back country. The lost persons story aired late last week and I followed anxiously as authorities tried to locate them.

On Monday, nine days after becoming stranded, Kati and the daughters were discovered in good condition. I was elated that they were alive and more elated still when I learned that Kati had nourished both children by nursing them (hey! I could do that!). What a hero!

My joy over their rescue was tempered by the fact that James was still missing. He had left two days earlier on foot to seek help. Search teams immediately started tracking him, but today, two days later, his body was discovered. I don't know the cause of death, but it seems clear that exposure played a role.

I've already seen criticisms of James' actions posted around the web, (Why drive back roads? Why leave a roadway when lost? Why go out without provisions?) but I am here to praise him.

For sticking it out as long as he did. For keeping the children safe. For being resourceful. For having the courage to try to increase the odds of being found. For sacrificing all for his family.

I'm an optimist deep down and I was hopeful for a miracle right up until the press conference when his death was confirmed. I am terribly sad for the Kim family tonight and hope that they find peace and strength and courage to go on.