Saturday, December 29, 2007

Update from the Nursery

Things are going well. Aiden was more peaceful and less fussy last night so I got a little more sleep than I had the other nights. Hurray. It's amazing how fast your perspective of sleep can change. Last week, two hours of sleep in a row was nothing - now it's a life-saving, world-altering luxury. Brad has been a fantastic hero in that department.

It makes my heart sing and cry for joy at the same time to see what a wonderful father Brad is. Not that I'm really surprised - but you never know quite what to expect- he hasn't had a whole lot of experience with infants up to this point in his life. It is a delight to see how in love he is with our little boy. He loves to hold Aiden, take pictures of him, doesn't complain when he cries at night and has already changed more diapers than some fathers change in their whole lives. He went out yesterday and got some pictures printed and got a little mini-album so he could take them into work ( today was his first day back) and show off our son. He claims that he heard Aiden say his first word today: isthmus. Ah, yes. That's our boy, displaying his top-notch vocab skills already.

So- yes. Things are going well. I feel very loved and cared for - so many people have been helping out and supporting us. It is so nice to have members of both our families close by. We are blessed.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

My day in a nutshell

Joy. Exhaustion. Love. Diapers. Awe. Pain. More love. More diapers. Crying. Snurfling and snorting noises ( Aiden, not me). Joy again. And again...and again...

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

And here we are...



Well, folks, we made it. To Day One. I thought it would never happen, although many assured me it would. People always talk about "the miracle of birth" - I'm here to tell you, miraculous seems like a weak word when used in this context.

Giving birth has always been a big thing to me, probably since I was old enough to know what was involved. Frankly, it freaked me out. It just DIDN'T seem natural. It seemed impossibly supernatural and frighteningly grotesque. And being one of the wimpiest people on the planet, the thought of that much pain just boggled me. I just didn't want to think of what it must feel like to be in so much pain that you groaned and screamed like you were dying. I looked upon the day I gave birth as equivalent to the day of my death, in spite of the fact that I knew if I ever did give birth, I'd be drugged to the nth degree.

Thankfully, in recent days, God gave me the grace to deal with my fears so that I wasn't totally incapacitated with dread, but old doubts hung in the back of my mind, waiting for me to pay attention to them...and sometimes I couldn't ignore them. Like yesterday, as we waited through tedious hours as the drug to induce me began to take effect...and I could hear a woman in a room nearby making noises that would frighten the bravest of us. I didn't know whether to turn up the TV and ignore her, or turn the TV down to listen to her and embrace my panic.

Yes, I had drugs - a number of them, to be precise. But guess what- it still hurt, and in the end, I made those same animal noises that frightened me when I heard them in movies or real life or whatever. And you know what - I was given a power beyond myself to push this baby into the world. I know it was beyond me because I know myself. I know my limits. I know my capacity for panic and my capacity for strength... and this was just something else entirely, something that did not fit into my own character. There came a point when things were a bit dicey, ( gory details, as Brad would say, to follow in some later chapter) and God caused me to behave in a way that was just not ME. And wonder of wonders, a human being came out of me. And we are both alive. And well! And it's over! It's like I've died and gone to heaven; I've faced one of my biggest fears in life and I'm on the other side. And the reward is so indescribably precious...I can't even hardly begin to express the astonishing depth of love for this person who I had never seen twenty four hours ago.

Many thanks to all those who prayed for us as we went through our little drama. I think those prayers played a big part in what got me through when the going got really tough... and I am grateful - to you and to God.

Unto Us a Son is Given

Aiden Charles Murray Pass
7lbs. 12oz.

"...a sleep full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing."

He popped out at 11:59 - I guess he was determined not to be a Christmas baby! My eyes kept darting to the clock, hoping he would be born on Christmas day. Claire didn't, though, and she won.

We are very happy. I'll let Claire share the gory details at a later date, but it is enough to say that we saw God's hand make the difference.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Waiting at the Hospital

Claire's blood pressure was a little high this morning, so her doctor sent us up to the hospital to have the baby induced. It will probably be a at least 12 hours before much happens, so we are just sitting here relaxing - at least I am. The hospital has wi-fi, so I may post updates. I was going to use Facebook, but the hospital server has it blocked.

Futher bulletins as events warrant.

Still waiting...

...This is getting OLD.

Heading to the doctor's in a few minutes for an ultrasound and hopefully my last appointment...

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

Baby's....

...still on the inside. Brad and I were discussing the fact that we are both very early people. If we know we have to be somewhere at a certain time, we get there ten minutes early, if humanly possible. Sometimes earlier. We HATE being late. Hate, hate, hate. So I suppose it's natural to hope that our son will inherit this trait. But so far, he is not showing any sign of it. He only has a few more hours to be early. Tomorrow he will be on time - still acceptable. After that, he'll be late. And that's just rude. Oh dear. Let the fretting commence afresh.

We did get our "new" car though! That's the latest exciting news... Nate arrived home yesterday evening, driving our new vehicle - a red 2000 (?) Volkswagen Passat station wagon. We both love it. It's scrumptious and cute. Yes- indeed! Who knew a station wagon could be scrumptious and cute? I dare you to think otherwise when you see it. It cries out to be eaten - like a big, red lollipop. Perhaps pictures will follow at some point in the near future and corroborate my opinion.

The last time I drove a station wagon, I was in highschool, and it was the old family blue Chevy station wagon that I learned how to drive in. Now I shall be driving a family car as a parent, not a child. I'm super-weirded out by that thought.

Now we are REALLY READY for this baby to come.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Today's Trivia

Today....

- I did not have the baby. Yet. ( There are still a few hours left of today.)

- I went to the chiropractor with Penny - and then to Panera on the way home! Yesssss!

- I was asked by a neighborhood little boy if I was "Charlie's Mom." ( Charlie = Grandpa.)

- I wore slippers to Wednesday night meeting at church. They were more comfortable than the alternative. No one seemed to mind.

- On our way home, we stopped at Target to get more jelly bellies for Charli-dolls. I felt like a hoodlum in my slippers. The woman at the cash register stood there for a solid minute after the transaction went through, checking out the flavors of jelly beans on the back of the bag. " Ooo- Dr. Pepper! That's a good one! Ooooh- Toasted Marshmallow..." I felt bad for the people behind us.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

For all those who keep checking in wondering if I've gone into labor yet...

...nope, I'm still here. Our offspring seems quite content to stay put for now. Argh.

I called Penny to ask her some things this morning and had to start RIGHT OUT with, "I'm not in labor" because I knew when she saw my name on her cell phone, she might start wondering...

The instructor in my birthing class video says that you will go into labor when you least expect it, like when you are in the tuna-fish aisle...So I avoided the tuna-fish aisle for a while...but now I'm considering taking up residence there. And it's hard to NOT expect it. I think I'm even expectant in my sleep... or what passes for sleep these days. It's more like Nocturnal Pilgrimages to The Bathroom Punctuated By Dozing.

I was in the grocery store again yesterday and encountered one of the first people who I had told I was pregnant. Yes, before I even told some members of my family my good news last spring, I told the produce man at Kroger. This was because he asked how I was doing and I was experiencing a rare bout of nausea ( I only had morning sickness once or twice) and I just decided to be completely honest and give him way more information than he bargained for... I told him he might have a clean-up in aisle 4 on his hands in a few minutes... Whenever I ran into him after that - only a handful of times- he'd ask how I was and I'd update him. It had been a while since I'd seen him but there he was as I waddled into the store yesterday, and he asked how I was doing again - brave man- and I told him it could be ANY MINUTE! Then another nice employee helped me load my groceries from the cart onto the conveyor belt at the checkout...and the cashier was full of baby talk...It's amazing what a pregnant belly will do to people. But it's funny, the things people will come out with. " My uncle was born on Christmas Eve!" Oh... how nice. Gold star for you!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Not Yet

I have arrived at the stage where I'm done working, I'm running out of things to do, people have started looking at me like I'm some sort of freak of nature ( which is kind of nice in the grocery store because they get out of my way like I'm carrying the plague or something), and other people have started calling me to check in on me, which I think is very sweet but I'm sorry to disappoint them with the news that nothing has happened yet. I was a little disappointed myself that he wasn't born yesterday because the 14th was Grandpa M's birthday and I thought that would be nice for him to share that august relatives' natal number. I am trying to stay peaceful and surrendered to the fact that God's timing is perfect and I can't hurry Mother Nature...and that if he is born on Christmas Eve, it won't be the end of the world. I know I shouldn't be so impatient. After all, I still have another week til my due date. I've just been sending "EARLY! EARLY!" vibes for so long that a big part of me is expecting him ANY MINUTE NOW.

Have you ever known that something really big was about to happen - like you had prior knowledge of a fire drill, or you knew someone was going to jump out from behind your door and yell BOO, or you found out about a surprise party for yourself and you were about to step into a room and people were going to yell "SURPRISE!", or you were watching "Signs" and you knew the alien's hand was going to shoot out from underneath the door and Mel Gibson was going to cut off his fingers and the alien was going to make an unearthly shrieking sound ... and you KNEW these things were coming, and you steeled yourself for them anyway... because when they actually DID happen, you still got this spine-tingling jolt like being struck by lightning. That's what I feel like right now.

I'm bracing myself for the shock.

I'm sitting at the red light trying to guess when it's going to change because when it turns green, the pedal is going to automatically go to the metal and I'm going to burn rubber. I'm floating along in my hot air balloon, waiting to be shot out of the sky. I'm sitting at the bottom of that ride at Six Flags where they shoot you straight up in the air like 200 feet in 2 seconds, waiting for someone, somewhere to flip the switch that will send my stomach and me in different directions. Can you imagine the awful suspense of being strapped into that ride, and waiting for DAYS ON END...knowing that at any second, you could go barreling off into the stratosphere? This is how I feel.

I know that pretty soon, I'm going to start feeling contractions, or my water's going to break...but I don't know if it's a matter of minutes, hours, days, or weeks... and it's driving me cah-razy. This is an event that I have looked forward to - in joy and in dread- for the better part of my life, and I have no control over it. I wish I COULD control it - it would be quite handy in so many situations. I sat in a waiting room for about an hour and a half yesterday, waiting for my car's oil to be changed, and the tires to be rotated. It would have been nice to be able to jump up and say, " Okay, boys, you gotta wrap this up- my water just broke!" Or if you are standing in a long line at the bank and there are ten people ahead of you, I bet they would let you go to the front if your water magically broke. Or somebody corners you in the grocery store and starts up a storm of inane chatter... "Whoa!" "Well, I'll see ya! Gotta run!" The ultimate excuse to flee any scene.

Sigh. Never fear. I will keep you posted.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Claire Chews Gum


This video was taken on the way to the chiropractor yesterday with Nate and Penny. Claire never chews gum, and rarely permits me to chew it in her presence. That fact makes this video no small triumph.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

You know you're getting close when...

...you buy milk with the same expiration date as your due date.

...a passing employee at Rite Aid tells you to hurry up your shopping before you go into labor because she doesn't "do" emergencies very well...and then proceeds to tell you all about her childbirth experiences.

...your sister-in-law sets up your Christmas tree for you because you can't do it yourself! Thanks, Pen! So far, Stan hasn't toppled it.

...the junk mail inserts that fell out of the National Geographic are still on the floor because you can't reach them. Liane, I think I need Grandpa's handy li'l old-people grabbing device thingy.
( I mean, the device that old people use. Not a device that grabs old people. That sounds like something out of Far Side...)

...it's too much work to get the vegetables out of the crisper drawer at the bottom of the fridge.( Another place where "The Grabber" would come in handy.)

...it's too much work to get out of bed.

...it's too much work to do ANYTHING.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Trivia from my Current Life

Today I sat out on my back porch and ate a popsicle. ( Well- a frozen fruit bar, to be precise. Strawberry, to be even more precise.) It was THAT warm out. I think it was in the 70's. I even went for a little waddling walk. Hallelujah for the southern climate....or global warming- whichever it is. :) I think my blood has thinned to the point where I could not move back to the north without a severe shock to my system.

In other news, I have two more days of work left ( and maybe a workshop day on Wednesday)
( baby permitting) until I go on maternity leave for a couple months. I'm really going to miss Philip. The tentative plan right now is to start back at three afternoons a week in February... Who knows how all the details will work together but I would really like to stay involved with him; I have invested a lot in him and he's a wonderful person. I think we work well as a team. If it's at all possible, I want to make it work. I am so incredibly thankful for this job; it has been such an ideal situation for me during the past nine months. The people, the hours, the pay, the commute, the work itself - I could not ask for anything better.

In still other news, Penny and I are considering becoming vandals: we want to go around popping the big inflatable holiday snow globes that people have up in their yards. As an affront to good taste, they make us seethe with righteous anger. And speaking of vandals, why is it that the Vandals got picked to be notorious? Why not the Visigoths? Nobody says, "That was an act of visigothism!"

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Bugged by Kindness

I've been getting these messages on my answering machine for weeks - maybe even months, I can't remember- from our health insurance provider, asking me to contact them about a program that I am eligible for having to do with pregnancy. I looked upon it as an annoyance, a bureaucratic bother. I figured: I don't need this, I don't want this, just leave me aLONE. I'm in my third trimester of pregnancy - what good is their silly program going to do? The more they called, the more I resisted calling them back. Every time, it was a different person on my answering machine, stupidly, cheerfully optimistic that I would return their call as soon as I could. I wondered if I was getting a reputation at the call center: " You take this one. She's a tough nut to crack. I'll give you ten bucks if she answers the phone or calls you back." Maybe they even had a pool going. ( I know- my mind is weird. And self-centered. Who is self-flattering enough to imagine that they are notorious at their health insurance company's call center?)

It became like a game of chicken. Who is going to break this cycle of madness first?! And then they started MAILING me stuff. AND leaving messages. I was amazed - and dismayed- at their persistence. Spurned lovers are less insistent to hear from you than these people. ( Not that I have had much - or ANY- experience with spurning lovers.) It seemed like every other day, some Paula, Betty, or Suzie would be leaving me a message. I wanted to wring their well-intentioned necks. Honestly, I don't know why it irked me this much, but it was like iron had entered into my soul: I did not want to give them the satisfaction of hearing from me. If I want your program, I'll get back to you. Silence is also an answer, people! Take a hint!

Last night, something in me snapped and I picked up the phone and called them. I managed to remain cordial throughout the call, and sure enough, just as I suspected, it was a program that I didn't really need ... but I wanted to scream with laughter when the woman put me on hold, and then picked up a minute later and said, " Oh, I'm sorry, you're just at the cut-off point in your pregnancy and you're not eligible for this now." She told me to call back when I got pregnant again. Um, yeah, sure. It only took me until my ninth month to call you this time... ( And PREGNANT AGAIN!!? Give me a chance to have this one first, lady!)

I don't know why I'm such an odd little tyrant about some things.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving and More Thoughts on Motherhood

I am recuperating from a BIG Thanksgiving weekend.

Wednesday night I went to the airport with Penny to pick up her ( and Brad's) cousin, Rosanna-from-Montana, and Rosanna's husband Michael and almost 3 month old baby Matthew... ( For some reason, I had a hard time getting their names straight. I would call the husband Matthew and the baby Michael. Why?! Blame it on the pregnancy. That's my excuse for everything these days. ) As the clock ticked towards midnight and Penny and I craned our necks to try and catch a glimpse of these folks that I had never met before and only one of whom she had met before ( the last time she saw Rosanna was something like twenty years ago) we contemplated doing a New Year's type countdown as 12:00 approached and then yelling,
" Happy Thanksgiviiiiiing!" when the moment struck...and throwing confetti, yelling, and wearing party hats.

Why DON'T we do that?

But anyway. We met them, ( Michael is 6' 9" so he was hard to miss...) and we all drove home. I got to bed around 2:30. A tired lil puppy I was. ( Did you know that the Wendy's drive-thru closes PROMPTLY at 1:00 a.m. sharp and even if you are inches away from the little ordering microphone when the hour rolls over, they will have no mercy on you...?! Come on! We were in LINE! MAN. We were cast into the outer darkness where there was much tummy-grumbling and gnashing of teeth. Not by me- but by the Hungry Montanans. No - not really- they were quite cheerful for being hungry.)

Thanksgiving was fun and delectable - and a bit cozy: 12 of us around a table made for 8 at Mom and Dad Pass's.

The nursery was finally completed - sort of, mostly, except for a minor wall decoration or two - in time for Matthew's arrival and I was so glad because it was put to good use. Over the weekend, I walked around with him and fed him and changed diapers ( and was... ahem ... unceremoniously "anointed" at one point - that'll teach me) so it was great experience. I called him my practice baby. It was a small but nevertheless enlightening foretaste of the intensity and all-consuming constancy of the early stages of motherhood. Oh my. I am already praying for grace. And Matthew was a GOOD baby. He's a heavy little chunk at 14 pounds, but he's a good baby.

One of the little neighbor girls was outside on the deck talking to Brad at one point this weekend and was a bit startled to look through the window and see me carrying a baby around. She said, " I thought he was supposed to come NEXT month!"

( A little parenthetical jaunt here: I am starting to be overwhelmed again at the necessary level of selflessness and risk involved in raising a child. You do EVERYTHING for this other person for literally YEARS and they grow up a little more and don't remember a bit of all you've done for them and no matter how good a parent you are, they develop into snotty, selfish, willful little rug-rat fleshpots who think they are The Boss and have no concept that they owe their existence to you, that you loved them sight unseen, before they had any concept of love, and you then try with all your might to shepherd them to the feet of God and nudge them down the path of sanctification. Hopefully the inevitable selfish child is just a stage that they will grow out of and become responsive, responsible, loving, wise, and mature but there are NO guarantees. Okay- yes, I know there are many joys along the way- I'm not TRYING to be an Eeyore/Ichabod/Doubting Thomas - but you run the risk that this person, who you have poured so much into, could grow into an adult who turns around and adopts ideas and behaviors that could disappoint you, break your heart... and then they could grow distant from you and misunderstand you and choose to reject you. Huh. So... * big revelation of the year*: I guess you kind of HAVE to trust God. This is what HE goes through with His children all the time. It makes me want to run and give my parents BIG HUGS. Well, you're probably reading this, Daddy and Mama, so consider yourself virtually HUGGED. And next time I see you, I'll give you a real one. Thankyou for taking the risk of bringing me into the world and raising me.)


One of the highlights of the weekend for me was on Friday when we had a small crowd gather at our house in the evening. After dinner, Brad started a bonfire in our fire pit and people filtered down to our backyard...and more people came along ... like Jeff and Fritter, Frank, Roy, Nate and Pen, Joe and Helen...and Cousin KJ was already here...Anyway- a jolly time was had by all...( I think) ( maybe everyone was just pretending) and after a while people filtered back into the house and played games and fellowsheeped until the wee hours.

It was nice to get to know Rosanna; she is Brad's only cousin on his father's side. It's not often I meet family members that close for the first time who aren't babies. We had several really good talks.

So there's my Thanksgiving weekend in a nutshell. Brad and I were talking about how Thanksgiving was the last big thing standing between us and the arrival of the baby. Now, Thanksgiving's gone...Next stop: Baby. I wonder when it's going to finally become real to me. Probably about the time I start screaming for the epidural.

I feel like I'm walking blindfolded across a field and I know there's a big cliff coming up, but I'm not sure where it is exactly. But I know I am going to step over the edge...and I really have very little idea of what I will find and what life will be like after the plunge. It will be the culmination of that first startling realization that I was going to have a baby: the moment I saw the test, I felt like the world exploded. I can not imagine what seeing him in the flesh is going to be like.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

BEFORE YOU MAKE THE PUNKIN CHEESECAKE BARS!!!!....

Warning: Use more Sugar if you make the Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars. I forgot that since I was using a Light and Tasty recipe it would be a healthier version sugar-wise, not just cream-cheese wise. It calls for 3/4 cup sugar and it needs about another cup, if you are going the whole hog, unhealthy version. I learned this the hard way; I made them for Brad yesterday, but I was underwhelmed with the results. OH well.

Happy Thanksgiving to all...

My top three "thankful fors" are: my son, my job, and my Brad...not necessarily in that order. :)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Various and Sundry Things That Have Made me Happy Recently...

- one of my best yardsale bargains ever: a new-ish dryer! I WIN! It is SO unbelievable and wonderful to have a load of clothes dry in an hour! I feel like doing laundry just for FUN now! Kudos to Brad for picking it up and installing it all before I even got home from my Friday morning foray...( Brad can do ANYthing - install dryers, fix toilets, fix cars, fix computers, set up a crib, research the best deals on anything, run faster than a speeding bullet...I even have faith that he will learn how to change a diaper. Oh - speaking of which, you should have seen his face the other day when I told him that usually kids don't get potty-trained until they're 3, or maybe even in some cases 4. It was hiLARious. He was practically pop-eyed that we were going to be changing this kid's diapers until at least 2011. And then, if we have another one...)

- a baby gift all the way from N.H. from Lindsay - a Boston Red Sox 101 book ( "the required primer for every Red Sox fan.") SO CUTE! Thanks, Lindsay! I was utterly charmed...

- while visiting Penny tonight, the baby started moving crazily and we watched my belly spasmodically heaving to and fro...Penny said, " It looks like it's from that movie Aliens!" ( I'm sort of paraphrasing I think) And I laughed so hard that my right contact fell out of my eye.

- talking to Steve J. after church today about all the famous people he's met that have come through the ATL airport. ( He works in security there.) Keifer Sutherland, and Samuel L. Jackson, just to name two that I remember him mentioning...

- I thiiiiink we're getting a new car...but more on that later. If it happens. :)

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bar Recipe

Several peeps have expressed an interest in the pumpkin cheesecake recipe that I mentioned I saw in my Light & Tasty mag. Now, this is NOT the Olive Garden's recipe - I couldn't really find a satisfactory result when I googled it - and I have not tried this recipe but how could you go seriously wrong here? Just note- they're baaaaaaaars - not actual caaaaaake... But whatever. I'm sure you could make it round and slice it into traditional pie shaped pieces if'n you wanted. And feel free to go whole hog and buy the full fat version of this stuff...It's Thanksgiving! The Pilgrims didn't have "fat-free" or "reduced fat" ANYTHING. To be authentic, let the hardening of the arteries begin!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Crust:

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup reduced-fat butter, melted ( This IS from Light & Tasty, remember?)

Filling:

2 packages ( 8 oz each) reduced fat cream cheese ( or fully fat cr. cheese, if you want to walk on the wild side)

1 package ( 8 oz) fat free cream cheese ( see above)

3/4 cup sugar

1 can ( 15 oz) solid pack pumpkin

2 Tablespoons all purpose flour

3/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

3/4 tsp. vanilla extract

2 eggs, slightly beaten

20 walnut halves ( or pecan halves, since walnuts are like eating wadded up paper)

In a small bowl, combine cracker crumbs and sugar; stir in butter. Press onto the bottom of a 9x13x2 in. baking dish coated with non-stick cooking spray. Cover and refrigerate for @ least 15 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheeses and sugar until smoooooth. Beat in the punkin, flour, pie spice and vanilla. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Pour over crust.

Bake @ 325 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hrs or overnight. Cut cheesecake into 20 bars and top each with a walnut ( or pecan) half.

If you want the Nutrition Facts, I've got those too, including the Diabetic exchanges!

If somebody makes these, let me know how they turn out. I am not planning on making them myself - at least not for T-giving, but Brad might...He is working on Thanksgiving afternoon
( insert pouting here) and his coworkers at the jail are bringing in various foods to feast upon and he thinks he might try his hand at something like this...but who knows if I will get a taste of it or not...before he whisks it away to be consumed by his brethren and sistren of law enforcement.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

News typed by my still puffy fingers

(...and I've noticed too that my ankles are starting to surge out into larger dimensions ... reminiscent of an elderly person. Ack. I am starting to lose recognition of my own body. That person in the mirror isn't ME!!)

The nursery is taking shape! The changing table is now assembled; bring on the dirty diapers! Brad has touched up some of the paint on the walls! Further bulletins as events warrant!

And Thursday afternoon, Brad and I took a tour of the hospital where the baby will be born and learned some helpful information. I'm glad that at least now he knows where the hospital is. Could be useful knowledge at some point soon.

And then on the way home, we decided to go to Olive Garden, to continue the date night. Well, we almost didn't get there. Um...this was in an area that we don't usually go to eat out and it had been a while since I was up there. I was convinced that this particular O.G. was in a certain location...and Brad was convinced that it was in the opposite direction. Since I was driving, I went MY way. I was so looking forward to pulling into the parking lot and giving myself over to gloating over the fact that I was right and he was wrong.

Except I was wrong. HE was right. It was a very disconcerting feeling. But he was quite gracious.

And we had a simply fa-haa- haaaabulous meal. Oh. My. Word. It was SO good. And helped by the fact that we were both ravenous. Hunger is the best sauce, as they say.

And then, for dessert: we shared a piece of pumpkin cheesecake. With whipped cream, drizzled caramel, and crumbled ginger snaps on top. Oh, THIS was a dessert to shame all other desserts. This was a dessert for the ages. This was total spoilage for everyday life. This was like my tongue dying and going to heaven and looking back on all that I had eaten in the past, during my earth-life, and rightly judging it all to be chaff. My tastebuds rejoiced in utter ecstasy, saying, "THIS was what I was CREATED to eat!" It was like I was on a higher plane of existence. Sigh. Who knew pumpkin cheesecake could be so powerful?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

My finger's finally free!

Just so you can all rest easy, I got my wedding band cut off this morning at a jewelry store. It was weird. My hand breathed a little sigh of relief... although there is still a distinct mark indented in my skin where my symbol of eternal devotion used to rest. What's really strange is that my right hand hurts more than my left hand, and I have no rings on my right at all...

Friday, November 02, 2007

Victory! ( Sort of...At least, halfway.)

After two days of agony, ( okay- not continuous agony...but repeated stretches) I finally got one ring off my swollen hand by using what I like to call The Pentecostal Vegetarian method...You know- hand in the air, clutching a bag of frozen vegetables - elevation and cold to reduce the swelling. That plus various slippery substances eventually got Grandma's engagement ring right up underneath my knuckle after an hour or so of gwunting and stwuggling ... and then I used dishsoap in a sink full of warm water...and even PAST my knuckle it STILL wouldn't come free - my stupid fat piggy was THAT bloated. MAN! I was so mad at my own flesh. I was making enough noise that it probably sounded like I was a pioneer woman in labor. My finger looked very scary - purple, white and mutilated...But fiiiiinally it came off. Oh my woooooord. I may never wear that lovely ring again.

I think Stan is a little freaked out at me tonight... He can't figure out why I've been walking around the house with my arm ( and sometimes both arms) in the air, carrying a frozen bag half filled with Bird's Eye Stirfry Vegetables, producing unearthly groans.

Now I just have my wedding band to go. But let's save that for another day. Sufficient unto today is the suffering thereof.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A good All Hallow's Eve to you...

Today was a good day. And I'll tell you why.

I woke up in a good mood - which is rare for me. ( I think it had something to do with actually getting to bed EARLY last night. I am NEVER in bed before 10:30 and last night I maaaaade it! ) Brad had the day off and succumbed to my pleas to join me, Penny, and Nate on our sojourn to the very-out-of-town chiropractor. I think he was mainly in it for the fun of riding along and going to Panera afterwards...but he ended up getting his back and neck crunched/adjusted and felt quite good afterwards! I was SO GLAD. He has had chronic neck pain for a long time and sort of learned to live with it...Hopefully this will help to make a difference.

And then, on to Panera. Oh, SO good. So delectable. So scrumptiously munchable. Why do people eat anywhere else? Why do they bother building Burger Kings when there is such food to be had at Panera?

We had so much fun with Nate and Penny... discussing strange things, like did Adam have canine teeth or a belly button...

....and it was a beautiful day.

One dark event of the day: My hands have been swelling and quite painfully stiff and sore in the mornings. I imagine it must be what arthritis feels like. I found that I could not take off my wedding and engagement rings this morning. I tried a couple different things...to no avail, and with much great pain. I'm hoping that the swelling has gone down over the day and I'm going to go soak it in icewater and then put olive oil or vix vaporub or something on my finger in hopes of doing the trick...I do NOT want to have to cut these rings off my hands. It will be extremely odd not to wear them...

And Halloween was swell. Grandpa and I sat out on the front step and scattered candy to the great unwashed. It's been a warm evening and it was fun to be a part of the neighborhood festivities. ( Grandpa was afraid it would rain and ruin the kids' fun...No, Grandpa, we're in a severe drought. No rain in sight...) I'm always afraid we won't have enough candy so I hide it from Brad and we are stingy handing it out at first... and then we blossom into a spirit of largesse as the evening wears on.... and I feel bad about the kids who got scrimped on earlier. Oh well. Such are the economics of Halloween - the early bird does NOT always get the most candy. My pumpkin candles and the Jack O' Lantern are still out there burning away...and we still have candy... so come on by!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Thoughts on motherhood

Last night I laid awake after midnight thinking about this child in my womb. I'm just intensely curious to know who this is. I know there are no guarantees in life and that often, things don't go as planned, but, barring tragedy or a glorious, awful End of the World sometime in the next fifty or sixty years, there is a good chance that this child will survive me. I will watch his birth, he will watch my death. If God wills it, modern medicine continues to advance, no plagues befall us, and my ancestors' long lives are any clue, I may well live to my late eighties and the family I have now will likely be replaced...by the family that we are creating. The past and the future are hinging on the now. It's a bittersweet realization.

But back to this child...What is he going to be like? Will he be musical? Or tone deaf? Bookish? Athletic? Eccentric? Gregarious or shy? A bully or a target? Academically brilliant or struggling with learning disabilities? A businessman? A garbage man? An artist? What if I have nothing in common with him? What if he likes hockey? What unconscious expectations do I have of him which may be challenged? I suddenly had this frightening, random vision of my son - obsessed with quilting. Nothing against men who quilt but it's kind of ... unusual. I mean, what if he develops some sort of hobby that is socially unacceptable or in some way atypical- like quilting - and this is his passion, his dream...Will I encourage him to follow his strange dreams? Or what if he's really into something that he's BAD at? What if he wants to sing and even with singing lessons, he STINKS? Am I going to be the enabling, head-in-the-sand mother who sweetly and blindly encourages her little deluded teenage or adult child, saying, " You can do anything you set your mind to do...!" Or will I be a dream-crusher? Well, my guess is- I'll be a dream crusher, because I TOTALLY do NOT believe that you can do ANYthing you set your mind to do. I think that's a great big modern, warm-fuzzy lie. I'm sorry, but it's the cold, hard truth: usually there's some sort of luck and talent involved - not just sweaty determination. That's why there are concession speeches. That's why there are rejection letters. That's why there are tepid rounds of applause. Or boos. Yes- you can always try again, but sometimes some things are just NOT meant to be and that's okay; no amount of 'setting your mind' on something will conquer a contrary reality. Sadly, certain clueless individuals are BORN to inhabit a dual world; they have delusions of grandeur and dwell in mediocrity. I say, sometimes mediocrity is okay. Ditch the delusions of grandeur and accept who you are!

That all being said, what if this child becomes President of the United States? What if he wins the Nobel Prize? What if he writes multiple best-sellers? Becomes a billionaire? Discovers the cure for cancer? Invents the next revolutionary technology? Not that I'd love him more if he's successful by society's standards. I'm sure I'd be just as happy with a Sanitation Engineer for a son as I would a popular politician. Maybe I'd be HAPPIER with a garbageman for a son! I just like thinking about What IF?!

But the whole eccentric-quilter line of thinking led me to remember a song I heard on NPR several years ago on Mother's Day. I loved it so much that Brad looked it up for me and bought it/downloaded it...Let me share the lyrics with you...It's called, " I'm Forty Years Old, And I'm Living In My Mom's Garage" by the Austin Lounge Lizards. Never having listened to another thing they've done, I can't really vouch for them, but I found this song absolutely hilarious. To those of you who know what I mean, this song, to me, is what "Junkfood Junkie" and "The Yodeling Song" are to my father - a jewel that I must share.

40 Years Old and I'm Living In My Mom's Garage

She used to be the one who held me closest to her heart
We were like one person, but we've drifted far apart
Now when I need her most, she will not support me
And if I won't go quietly, she'll have to report me
She wants me to act like some middle-aged man
I used to think she knew me, but she can't understand
That it's hard to make a living doing watercolor and collage
That's why I'm forty years old and I'm living in my Mom's garage

My girlfriend's all but finished with her graduate degree
She always knows the questions when we're watching "Jeopardy"
There's a coffeehouse near campus where her work is on display
The critics from the weekly paper go there everyday
She's a true creative, which they cannot abide
So they compensate by being condescending and snide
They say her work's a mangled mess of macrame and mucilage
But they're all forty years old and they're living in their Mom's garage

Forty years old and I'm livin' in my Mom's ga
Forty years old and I'm livin' in my Mom's ga
Forty years old and I'm livin' in my Mom's garage

My hobbies are Godzilla movies, mountain biking, and triage
I've got to relax 'cause I get so stressed from this incessant negative barrage

Mom wakes me up, she needs the car, for what I can't say
She dresses up and goes out early almost every day
I try to explain that an artist needs his rest
At least 12 hours, so I can be my best
Now I'm outside sleeping under the hedge
But someday they'll recognize me as the genius with an edge
I'll meet with the New York elite, I'll be the Duke of Decoupage
With a carhole full of limos for my sycophantic entourage
Hey, at least I'm chasing something, even if it's only a mirage

But now I'm forty years old and I'm livin' in my Mom's ga
(fifty!)
Forty years old and I'm livin' in my Mom's ga (sixty!)
Forty years old and I'm livin' in my Mom's garage

Now I'm forty years old and I'm livin' in my Mom's ga (seventy!)
Forty years old and I'm livin' in my Mom's ga (dead!)
Forty years old and I'm livin' in my Mom's garage


Now wasn't that utterly enjoyable? I admire any song writer who can successfully incorporate the words 'sycophantic entourage' into a song. That is just plain impressive.


But back to my child...the unknowns still tantalize and dazzle me.

Sorry- this post is too long. It was the lyrics' fault.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

This week's news bulletin

This week has been rather a busy one, with most mornings taken up with an appointment or meeting or somesuch thing which caused me to arise to greet the morning early. I say "greet" in a decidedly sarcastic tone, as this earlier rising brought with it the usual feelings of general resentment of the universe and grumpiness and the dawning realization that the horrible feeling of less sleep is one I should get used to. And then I thought about how I always tease Joshua when he is acting grouchy and say, "Are you Mr. Grumpypants?" which sometimes brings a reluctant smile to his face. So I started praying one line upon getting out of bed, "God, help me not to be Mr. Grumpypants today" and for some reason, saying that to God makes me smile inwardly just a LITTLE bit - but enough to put a small crack in the pall of gloom. Either that or I think about chocolate - and that helps too. But I'm afraid those little tricks will probably fall impotently by the wayside in the first weeks of taking care of an infant - I will have to be on the lookout for new strategies.

SO yes- back to this week being all busy and such. I went to a chiropractor on Wednesday morning with Nate and Penny. This lady was recommended first by the Adams' family, and then my father went to her, and then Nate and Penny...and now I have joined the bandwagon. Supposedly she is going to help prepare my back for labor and delivery. Anything that helps, sign me up! She's located at a bit of a distance, but the good part is that there's a Panera Bread right near her place...and I was SO excited to eat lunch there. But back to the chiropractor.

She's a very positive person and in fact, the first thing she said upon clapping eyes upon me was, "You're so BEAUTIFUL!" Yes- she is one of THOSE types. I was a little embarrassed but immediately I decided I liked this lady. But at the same time that I appreciated her positive outlook and was comforted by the things she was saying about how she knew I was going to have a good labor and delivery, my natural negativity and skepticism leapt to the fore. I was thinking," REALLY? Can I really believe this lady? How can she tell I'm going to have an "easy" time from looking at me and touching my back? What IS an easy delivery? An 8 on the pain scale, as opposed to a 10? How can she promise this to me so blithely? Well, perhaps it will be easy because I'm planning on drugging myself to the hilt...but will my hip bones being properly aligned really contribute to an easy birth?" Call me Doubting Claire. Sigh. But it was nice to be so swathed with reassurance, even if I doubted some of it. And I forgot how weird it feels to have your bones crunched into place; it's been a while since I've been to a chiropractor. My startled reaction was to laugh nervously at the crunching. And then afterwards, you feel like you want to wrap yourself in bubble wrap to make sure you don't undo the adjustment.

And then...on to Panera. MMMMM. A turkey artichoke panini awaited me and it was like meeting an old friend. Sigh. *sinks into blissful remembrance*

I also got my hair cut and restyled (!) this week. ( Thanks for the J.C. Penney coupon, Mom!) It was fun and I was happy with the results but it's always intimidating to me to go into a salon because they automatically make me feel like a cavewoman. ( I wait too long between visits and my hair grows into this gargantuan, wild mess.) " Me want hair looky nicer!" No, I've never colored my hair. Yes, I know I'm a martian. No, in fact, I've NEVER had success in making my hair look normal. ( Okay- I did not actually say that and that was not a question they asked me but that's how they make me feel.) I ended up spending WAY too much on hair product...Argh. So I swore off yardsaling for this week and cut back in spending on other areas of the budget. I didn't even get all the stuff she recommended! It amuses me because they always straighten my hair within an inch of its life and I end up not even looking like myself. And Brad doesn't like me with straight hair. Okay- he likes me - he just prefers the curly haired version of me. When I came home, he looked at me doubtfully and I assured him that I was really his wife. When I asked Philip what he thought of my new look, he went to his animals page and said, "Monkey." I died laughing - again. That boy is cracking me up more and more these days. I don't look that different - I just got a more layered look.

Oh yes, I've also been watching a great deal of the Red Sox recently. I figured this is probably a good way to inaugurate our son to the vicissitudes of his future favorite team - start from the womb. ( He has no choice in the matter. He WILL be a Red Sox fan. It is already in the blood coursing through his miniscule veins. It is part of his heritage. And his nursery is going to have a Red Sox theme - and he already has two Red Sox outfits.) I introduced his Uncle Andrew's famous saying to him on Tuesday night, " Good old Red Sox- stinkin' their hardest." But Thursday night made up for Tuesday night's downer. Hope springs eternal...or infernal, depending on how you look at it. Tonight we shall psyche ourselves up to be hopeful yet again.

That and I have an itchy pregnant belly. Weird. I didn't even know such a thing could happen.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Going to Jail and Not Collecting $200

Yesterday afternoon I went to a bridal shower with Penny. It was for Penny's boss, Teresa, who is getting married to Brad's former boss at Wolf - Nick. I can't remember the last time I went to a bridal shower- I think the last one might have been my own...Anyway- this was definitely a new experience for me because usually when I go to these kinds of shindigs, I know almost everyone there...This time I knew only two people- Penny and Teresa. It was a fun time, complete with bridal bingo - which I did not win- and another game where three of us ( Penny, myself and another girl) were chosen to be the guinea pigs/models/mannequins/brides and everyone on our teams had to bedeck us/dress us/swathe us in toilet paper with which to make us bridal outfits. Ah. Nothing like having three complete strangers getting up close and personal with you as they drape you with t.p. It was quite surreal and hilarious. But that wasn't the end of the bizarreness for the evening...

I think it was I who came up with the idea that since we were in the same town where Brad works, that we should swing by the jail and say hello. Fortunately, the bride-to-be knew where the jail was in relation to where we were ( Penny and I not being too familiar with this particular town) and led us straight to it on our way home. Brad came out to the lobby for a few minutes and we had a little visit...and then we left. As we got on the highway, my cell phone rang and it was Brad saying that his supervisor said that if we wanted, we could come in and get a tour because they weren't busy just then. Penny thought it was a great idea, ( and I did too) so we turned around and went back...probably the only people in the world who were excited to be going to jail.

It was a strange mixture of enjoyableness and weirded-out-ness to see his work world and meet some of the co-workers he talks about. Boy, I'm glad I am not in jail. It looked pretty depressing - but I guess that's the point. Why would they make an attractive jail? I think if I ever do go to jail, I'd fake insanity so I could get solitary...I don't think I could handle being in such close proximity to other people all the time.

So, all in all, it was a pretty interesting day.

Happy Us-Day, Stanley!

One year ago today, we got Stan at a yardsale. He's still often rambunctious, curious, and bitey but has mellowed enough to occasionally curl up on my lap, as he is doing now. How precious. Never having had a pet of my own before, I didn't quite know what to expect going into this experience. In spite of his many transgressions ( including the Great Waffle Debacle, The Repeated Scaling of The Christmas Tree, The Scratches on the Cabinets, the Holes in the Curtains, and The Many Scars I Bear in My Flesh As A Result of His Claws), I really, genuinely LOVE this cat and can't imagine life without him. Since we don't really know exactly when his birthday is, this is as good an occasion as any to celebrate him - so instead of a birthday, I call it an "us-day" because it's the day he came to us.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Philip Makes a Funny

This day has been one mad rush from one end to the other. But fortunately, I am now on this end of it all and can collapse into my "Sabbath noodle mode" as Brad terms it. This is where I pretty much melt into an inert mass and do nothing for long periods of time. Okay, so I do have SOME plans for tomorrow, but they do not involve mad rushing.

As I pulled into Philip's neighborhood this afternoon, on my way to pick up his van and then pick him up from school, I spied a yardsale. It was literally one minute from his house. I could not resist. I HAD to stop. So I did. And I'm glad I did- I got a couple delightful and useful items. But it caused me to be about three minutes late in picking him up from school. This NEVER happens - I am always, always, ALWAYS early. The earth teetered on its axis a little bit and then righted itself. So on the way home, I confessed to Philip what I had done - that I had stopped at the yardsale in his neighborhood and that's why I was late. ( He well knows my obsession with yardsales.) He then proceeded to go to a certain page in his Dynavox and hit his switch for a certain pre-programmed response, so his Dynavox said to me," You should be ashamed of yourself." Oh my goodness - I DIED laughing. He was grinning from ear to ear. Philip made a funny! I didn't even know that sentence was in there! And somehow, hearing the computer voice say it just made it ten times funnier.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

In Today's News...

Brad set up the crib! Brad set up the crib! Brad set up the crib!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

My confession

I seem to have hit a dry patch, writing-wise. Life sort of lopes along in a somewhat comfortable routine and I am lulled into a happy little stupor. A stupor punctuated by moments of alternating terror and unbelievable, joyous impatience as I contemplate the life-changing earthquake which looms upon the December horizon. A stupor punctuated by my extreme struggles to try to eat healthily - something which lately, I have been failing at miserably. Each evening is like New Year's Eve - I make a resolution and the next day, I start out successfully until, on a good day, about 8:00 in the evening, and on a bad day, early afternoon.

Today, my downfall was candy corn. I love candy corn. It's one of the great joys of autumn, one of the great redemptors of the Halloween season. ( How else could I put up with the ghoulish and tacky decorations in my neighborhood? Please! Bushes adorned with huge cotton spiderwebs which could only have been spun by Shelob herself? There should be a LAW!) On my way to work, I went into an unfamiliar Kroger in search of a branch of my bank, which did not appear ( but to be fair, several other Krogers I have visited have this bank in it so it wasn't a totally random venture), and I ended up walking out with a supply of candy corn in my hand. WHAT?! Yes- this equation makes complete sense in my world: I find no bank in the grocery store = I must buy candy corn. Can you not see the logic? I must have some reward for walking into the store. How the used-to-be-skinny have fallen.

Now please don't email me and tell me that I have to be careful because of the baby. I KNOW THIS. I am guilt ridden every time I eat ANYTHING besides my home-made granola and yogurt and fruit and wheat germ. And brussel sprouts and broccoli and salad. ( But I don't blend all those things together.) The guilt is almost enough to destroy my sweet pleasure and keep me on the straight and narrow. And I've been pretty careful about a lot of things - like sugary soda and caffeinated stuff etc. - even though occasionally I CRAVE a carbonated beverage. ( One time I was really in a stupor and started drinking Dr. Pepper and Brad looked at me like I'd lost it because I denied that there was any caffeine in it. Um. Yeah. ) And most times, my strong frugality forbids me from spending money on frivolous, junk-food items. But I have noticed a particular weakness in the past few days. So I am writing this, in part, to keep myself accountable. Maybe I should force myself to post what I eat every day and that way I won't be so prone to buy things like Edy's icecream and Cheetos ( and hide them away so Brad won't reprimand me or partake of them. Ohhhh...the truth comes out. Humiliaaaaaaaation.)...I don't know. That sounds pretty drastic. ( NO I don't eat them TOGETHER! EW! Icecream and Cheetos??!!) Yes, Brad- look closely in the freezer and you will find the Edy's. It's where the oatmeal used to be. In the door. Not that you were probably ever aware of the oatmeal in the freezer...( He already found out about the sin of the Cheetos the other day.)

Sigh. I used to think that when I got pregnant, I would go organic and be a total health nut. But, horrifyingly, it's been the exact opposite recently. I feel bad. To make up for it, I'm going to feed this child a good healthy diet of spinach and brussel sprouts until he turns eighteen. Organic? Well, so far, the only organic thing I've bought has been eggs. And they're wicked expensive!

Ooooooh- that reminds me: egg-nog season is almost upon us. Woe is me.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

October 3rd

So here we are again, at another October 3rd. Well, as I write, it's October 2nd but I was lying in bed thinking about the day ahead and knew I couldn't fall asleep until I got up and wrote. And I'm sure by the time I finish, it will be October 3rd.

For the first time, I am not in New Hampshire on the anniversary of my brother's death. It's strange not to be there. I wonder if the sun will shine on Fairwood and if Uncle Tim has stabbed his sword into the earth at the traditional spot.

It's inevitable that an anniversary should make you remember. But as three years have gone by, it's not simply a day of recalling the past; it makes me reflect on life in general - what is important. Andrew's death has taught me to take nothing and no one for granted. It helps me to keep short accounts with people and to see the preciousness of each human life. I still struggle daily with the negative side - fear - that comes with that good principle. I had never experienced that level of loss before and did not know the depth of sadness that life could hold. I don't like being sad; I never want to be that sad again. But I know it will happen. I can't stand the thought. It makes life hard to live this way but there is no joy or love in life without risk. I'm glad I knew Andrew and I would gladly live the part of my life that included him over again, even knowing that I could lose him again. So I must continue to live and love those around me now. Even though I know there is no safety net and no guarantees.

Now I'm going to say something that might sound like I'm making a blasphemous analogy but I don't mean it that way so don't be offended - you'll see where I'm going. I was thinking recently about Jesus' disciples and how they must have felt as they watched him die. They must have thought that this was the end of the world. I'm sure they were confused and heartbroken and had little if no concept of the larger picture and greater meaning - the 'deeper magic' as C.S. Lewis would say- that was unfolding before them. They were blinded and paralyzed by grief and shock. This is the Son of God! This is not supposed to happen! How could The Father LET this happen? Being executed like a criminal?! Jesus never hurt a fly! What is going to happen to us now? The future is unthinkable - a blank. Our lives are meaningless. Surely SOMETHING is going to happen - some miracle...angels...a voice from heaven...some heavenly rescue mission...maybe...please?! But nothing happened. And Jesus died.

WHAT?! He DIED?! That's it. End of story. Game over. That's what they thought.

And why did Jesus lie in the tomb for three days? ( Other than to fulfill prophecy and all that kind of thing...) Why wasn't He resurrected the very next morning? Or six hours later? Blood and water came from his side - proof of death. Okay. He could have accomplished everything He did during those three days in a shorter time, couldn't He? Why did the disciples have to endure that period of darkness and bewilderment? I have no idea. That's just the way it happened. I don't feel like going down the road of "character building." Maybe it's true - but it sounds too sappy. Whatever.

But one part of the story - besides the wonderful, amazing part about the resurrection- helps me. It's that blindness to the bigger picture. We're still in those three days between the death and the resurrection - when little or nothing makes sense. Somehow, it encourages me to KNOW that I'm blind. It's okay that I can't see. It's okay that we've been blindsided by grief. That's normal. But grief, as terrible as it is to encounter and endure and as much as I naturally dread it, grief never has the last word. My faith tells me that there is something beyond my blindness; I am suffering in the presence of great hope. It's a strange, dual reality - suffering and faith. There are so many clues around that point to the fact, I believe, that there's something much larger going on. It's called 'eternity' and I've already started to live it, even if I don't understand all that's involved - because the eternal life that Jesus offers starts before death. Eternal life is now.

Did I say this already? Somewhere else? The thing about being blind to the bigger picture? In some past post? This is sounding like de-ja-vu to me... Maybe I'm reminding myself of John Eldridge in "Epic." I'm trying to remember...Things are not what they seem. There is a great battle going on. And you have a role to play. It's a good book- if you haven't read it already, go out and buy you a copy - it's not big and it's not expensive.

Another thing that encouraged me recently: I was listening to someone talk about the story of Lazarus' death and how Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if you were here, my brother would not have died." As I listened to that, I could relate to Martha. I could have said those very words three years ago. Almost accusing Him of not caring. But I can't do that now. There has been, and continues to be, healing in the last three years. I still feel the pain of what Martha said, but as I do, I remember at the same time what came next: Jesus said, "Your brother will rise again..." Stop. That's enough for me- just that. Never mind that Jesus didn't raise my brother from his coffin in a New Hampshire hillside on October 9th or 10th or 11th...My brother will rise again.

Now I think I should go to bed.

Friday, September 28, 2007

May all your dreams NOT come true

Last night I had a dream about the baby. The good news is - he was cute. The bad news is - he was cute in a rather oversized way: he was twenty pounds. Now- I'm not sure how long after birth the dream was supposed to have taken place, but I'm thinking that it must have been shortly afterwards because my mother was helping me with him and I had sort of a confused/overwhelmed feeling.

Also, my father tried to pick him up with one hand, by the scruff of the neck, as if he was a kitten. He did not succeed. No wonder- with a twenty pound kitten.

And when he spit up ( the baby, not my father), it was like leftover, congealed pea-soup- same color and texture. Greeeaaaaat.

I think this dream may have been influenced by the news story I heard the other day about the recent delivery of a 17 pound baby in Bosnia or Estonia or one of those '-ia' countries. The news story also mentioned the fact that the world's record for a baby's birth weight was 20 pounds. Huh. Thanks, but that's one record I don't think I'd care to make - or break. And as far as the pea soup/spit-up - I haven't a clue where THAT came from.

If this dream comes true, I have a feeling that a C-section will be in my future.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Something else - ANYthing else...

Okay- enough about my burgeoning belly.

I think burgeoning is one of Brad's favorite words.

Just wanted to remind you about/direct you over to Philip's blog as I have posted a new entry there and didn't feel like doing it again here. It's a happy li'l story that made my day.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Proverbs by Brad

Commenting on a slightly unfortunate incident this evening, I remarked, " Oh well. Live and learn." Brad's reply was, " Die - and really learn." I thought that was chucklesome.

Another comforting observation he made recently, when I was expressing some of my fears of childbirth, was, " Just think of the pioneer women." And my reply was, "Yes! They died!"

And while I'm reporting on Brad's recent sayings, I might as well tuck in the one about when I was bemoaning the toll that bearing children will take on my body, he said," Well, you've been beautiful for so long that it's okay if you're ugly for the rest of our marriage." Oh. Okay. So now I guess I'm free to be an unmitigated hag for the next fifty years - what liberation.

I like Brad.

Friday, September 07, 2007

I'm all over the map in this post - forgive me.

I was on my way to do an errand this morning and espied a yardsale, which is a SURE thing to lure me off whatever track I may be on. Sometimes I think if the devil wants to tempt me into hell, he might put a yardsale sign at the gate. ( I was running late picking up Philip from school today and I passed a couple of yardsales and it almost killed me that I didn't have time to stop and go treasure hunting.)

As I waited my turn to pay for my few odd purchases, an older gentleman approached me and said something about me having a bun in the oven. ( That's the second time a man has asked me that, using those words. I think it's funny but my friend Pari was scandalized when I told her about it.) I smiled and said that yes, indeed, I had a bun in the oven. He said, "Is it your first one?" And I said, "Yes, how could you tell?" He said seriously, " From the way you carry yourself. Very carefully." I thought that was quite precious and funny. I am not very conscious of carrying myself any differently, although I am finding it harder to pick things up off the floor or get up and down from chairs and such...The other day I was looking under the couch to see if Stan was hiding there, and it turned into quite an ordeal to heave and hoist myself around- I felt ridiculously pathetic.

I bought a few items at the yardsale, and my favorite was a beautiful, tall, plain glass pitcher. I felt I almost had no choice in the matter - it was just sitting there all clean and gorgeous and looking like the perfect thing to put lemonade in and only $2 - how could I refuse? Never mind that I have almost zero cupboard space in which to house it. I shall find room - even if it has to live in an odd place - like with the candles or the crockpot. Hmmm. I'm not materialistic or anything. I NEEDED a glorious pitcher - and my other pitchers are smaller! But do you ever have those moments when you see something perfectly BEAUTIFUL - be it a painting or a stained glass window or a baby or a tree or a sunset and you just want to CONSUME it and OWN it because of its beauty...? It was kind of like that with the pitcher. Is this bad?

And not to ramble or anything but, speaking of trees... recently there's been some construction nearby. A great swath of forest was cut down and it made me so sad. I don't even want to drive by there anymore; it depresses me too much. ( It could be difficult to avoid though- it's on our regular route to church. Maybe I should just shut my eyes... although that could have its own hazards, if I'm driving. I guess we'll just have to go to church another way.) It happened so suddenly - I was driving along one day and there was this horrible ugly gap where there used to be a stretch of old trees and even as I drove by, a huge, magnificent tree was falling. It horrified me. It was just like the scene from the "Two Towers" where Saruman cuts down all the trees at Isengard. I felt strangely wounded.

And this is no new phenomenon; as a child, I cried when men came to cut a tree down in our yard. I felt like they were killing a friend. Another time, when Hurricane Gloria came through, Liane and I literally PRAYED that somehow God would rescue the tree (with our swing in it) next to our house from the bad men who were going to cut it down. ( They were afraid that the storm would cause it to fall on the house.) ( And okay- they weren't bad men. They were just Markhams.) And the miraculous occurred: God heard our faint li'l cries... and the chainsaw jammed! We were stunned at the power of our prayers and looked with awe at the scars on the trunk of the tree where the chainsaw had attempted its doomed carnage. ( After we moved out of the house, they finally did cut that tree down. Hmmm. Even from a distance, we kind of resented it.)

Call me weird, but I can sort of see why people chain themselves to trees to keep loggers from cutting them down. Not that I'm an environmental wacko - I just really like and admire trees. And it seems rather disrespectful and crass to destroy something that has been there for generations just to put up another ugly strip mall. Yay. Another bland pharmacy... devoid of even a redemptive trace of architectural beauty. Yay. Another "Nails and Tan" place. We REALLY need another one of those. Yay. Another mediocre Chinese food place to saturate the population with lard. Three cheers for civilization and progress. Sometimes I feel embarrassed at the world I'm bringing this child into. I feel like apologizing to him.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Wanted: My Replacement

Since our beloved piano player has recently departed our midst, and because the CD system isn't quite up to speed yet, I have been filling in on Sunday mornings by playing my guitar for the hymns at church. This is interesting. While I'm not a complete stranger to leading music, it's not something that I do enough to feel totally comfortable with...You see, sometimes I get lost in singing the chorus and forget what verse we're on and so when the next verse starts, people get all higgledy-piggledy because they're following me and I have no idea what I'm doing. Very disconcerting to have to stop and say, "Um- what verse are we on?" Sooooo unprofessional.
( Okay- that only happened once. So far.) But then, I'm NOT a professional - not by any stretch. But I guess, without me, we'd be chanting a cappella. ( No matter HOW I spell it, this spell check is NEVER satisfied with the spelling of that last word...Argh.) And so far, no one's complained - to my face.

But there are a couple of advantages to leading the music. Firstly, I get to pick the songs we sing! Hah! Because I don't read music, I am limited in what I can play and so whoever is leading the worship time gives me a pretty good amount of freedom to choose what I want to play. Hurray! It's great to be able to choose stuff you like and shun that other stuff...Not that there are really BAD hymns, but to be honest, there are some that do bug me - whether it's a repetitive tune or the fact that they are terribly over-used and need to be given a rest for approximately twenty years.

But then there's the REAL bonus: I get to PITCH the songs! It seems that most hymns have been pitched for sopranos and old ladies who like to warble. I am neither. It's hard to worship when you're screeching up in the attic. The lower the better, I say. So I have taken great delight in pitching the songs LOOOOOWER. But then there's the challenge- I know not everyone likes my comfortable/tenor/basement philosophy of singing. What sounds normal to me suddenly seems a little growly when the rest of the congregation joins in with me...Ooops. Sorry, folks. So, I try to strike a good balance.

Anyway- all this said - this experience is giving me a greatly increased appreciation for musicians who contribute every Sunday. It's easy to take them for granted...until you become one of them! So...are there any piano players out there who would like to join us and take over for me? My belly is expanding and soon there may not be a lot of room left for a guitar on my lap...and from what I hear, ones' lung capacity is somewhat compromised in the later stages of pregnancy, which could make for some gaspy singing.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Sunglasses

I just have to tell a little tale of something that happened with Philip that made my day! I was driving him to an appointment and mentioned that I had forgotten my sunglasses and I was annoyed at myself. ( What good are a bazillion sunglasses floating around your house if you forget to bring a pair with you?!) A moment later, Philip used his Dynavox to say, "Glasses" twice. I was so surprised and said something silly like, "Yes! My sunglasses!" Then he went to a phrase based part of the device and said the phrases, "Do you have..." and "We have..." and I said, " Are you saying that you have sunglasses at your house that I could borrow?" I looked in the rearview mirror and saw him indicate "Yes." I was SO excited that I jumped up and down ( as safely as one can do while driving a mini-van) and screamed and almost cried! He thought that was hilarious. It meant a lot to me, not because he was offering to loan me sunglasses - although that was nice, but because he doesn't often make comments voluntarily. I'm so proud of him!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Where are the police when you want them?

Coming home today, I went the route where I took the illegal left-hand turn a couple weeks ago and got pulled over by a sharp-eyed cop. Except today I knew I was going to turn right and be law-abiding. Lo and behold, I found myself behind someone who... you guessed it...was taking a left hand turn at that very infamous intersection. But of COURSE, there were were no cops in sight! Maybe I should have made a citizens' arrest. But that would have been a little bit like that parable of the forgiven slave...and I'd rather not be cast into prison until I pay my whole debt to society, because I have no idea what that debt may cost. And Brad is working in his own li'l prison tonight so I'd have to wait awhile to be bailed out and that would be inconvenient. Bleh.

Current Cellar Cinema Cacophony

Today's lunchtime auditory offering from the basement? The dulcet tones of men's voices singing the Russian ( or Soviet?) national anthem courtesy of that classic film: The Hunt For Red October.

Further movie updates as events warrant.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Doom N' Gloom from the Basement

As I sat in the kitchen eating my lunch today, minding my own business, I was suddenly startled by a loud proclamation issuing forth from the basement: "Death comes unexpectedly!" I knew instantly what was happening - Grandpa was watching "Pollyanna" and it was at the scene of the Sunday sermon by the fire n' brimstone Reverend. But it was so out of the blue, it made me crack up and I almost choked on my comestibles.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The hot place

We drove by a church today whose little announcement board/sign thing out front said, "You think it's hot here..."

Well!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Musings During my Post-Dinner Siesta

I sit here in my living room, procrastinating doing the dishes because it's just TOO HOT in that kitchen. For some strange reason, I decided to do a crockpotty dinner ( ew- that sounds bad. But it also sounds funny so I'll leave it) tonight, thinking that I was a clever woman, doing dinner early in the day to cut down on the whole rush-around-and- get- dinner -on -when -I- get - home -from -work thing. WELL. I forgot how freakishly hot the kitchen gets when you use the crockpot. I walked in to the kitchen this evening and it was like there had NEVER been air conditioning in this house. And then I realized that a fuse must have blown and sure enough, the A/C was indeed off. Crockpot + no A/C = Sauna/Rainforest type climate in my kitchen. Fortunately, Brad had told me what to do in this event, and I rebooted the appropriate switch in the li'l fusebox to fire up the A/C - to coin an oxymoron- and got on with the business of making "The Rest of the Dinner." Unfortunately, the kitchen did not turn into Cool City upon the flip of the switch. By the time I sat down to dinner, I could deeply sympathize with the Wicked Witch of the West - I was melting! I felt like an old-timey southerner, mopping my brow, face, neck etc. with my napkin. Ga-ROSS. It was like the shroud of Turin- except it was the Napkin Of Claire. EW. I am SO thankful for A/C. I think I must have lost a couple pounds with all this sweating.

Which brings me to this question: HOW DID THEY LIVE SEVENTY FIVE YEARS AGO WITHOUT A/C??!! My guess is, everyone was a lot thinner and stinkier.

And it brings me to this question: When I'm feeling like I'm melting, does the baby feel hot? Or is the bubble he's living in climate controlled? It must be. I'm horribly ignorant when it comes to these things. Sometimes when I read up on fetal development, I find stuff that REALLY weirds me out and/or scares me - so I tend to shun reading those kinds of things altogether and thus I'm not as educated as I probably should be. I heartily agree with the scripture that mentions us being "fearfully and wonderfully made." Yes- I know- fearfully isn't meant that way, but it means that to me! Either way, it's time to go quaff some cool water.

And ALSO- speaking of the person living in my womb - how much can he hear? I know that he CAN hear me at this point but what else can he hear? Is he also developing a recognition of Rush Limbaugh's voice? And how well can he hear whatever he hears? Is it like listening to someone talk to you while you're underwater? Or on the other side of a door? I have become much more self-conscious recently, thinking about how he is listening - it's almost eerie! Not quite a "Big Brother" type of thing - but just a sense of what a tremendous impact everything I do is having on another life. Loud noises make me cringe more than ever. I have cut down considerably on cussing and swearing - ha! - and sharply rebuking the cat.

Okay- time to go see if human life can tolerate the temperature in the kitchen.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Out with the old...in with the new.

Last night, Grandpa and I were talking about something and he inadvertently coined a new word. He gave voice to the brand new word "uninhimbered." I'll break it down for you: Un- In- Himbered. And he used it several times, so it wasn't just something I THOUGHT I heard him say once. I think from the context, it is meant to be a combination of the words unencumbered and unhindered. Huh. Novel. I like it.

I was considering three words recently that I think are WAY overused these days. I think most of the offenders are of my generation. The words are: basically, amazing, and seriously. As in, "How was your trip?" " Basically, it was seriously amazing." Okay- most of the time they aren't all used in such close proximity. But, just think about it. Take "amazing." "Amazing" is a much more popular word these days, right? Such and such was an AMAZING experience. So and so is an AMAZING person. I think it's tiring to be so amazed all the time. If you're constantly being amazed, it's not really true amazement anymore. You're just naive. ( How do you put those little dots over the a in naive?) I seriously think that we should put a ban on the word "amazing" for about a year and try and come up with some other adjectives instead. Basically it's just a sign of being lazy and unimaginative. Let's try to be uninhimbered by the verbal ruts of the past.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Too many ways to communicate!

Do you ever feel like you have too many choices? Like when you go to the grocery store, for example. Do you ever stop to consider how many options you have just for cereal? There's a whole aisle for cereal! It's an indecisive person's nightmare. But with today's technology, the whole "too many options" dilemma extends to many more issues than just food.

This morning, I wanted to tell Penny something. But the list of ways of how to contact her is almost overwhelming. I could - A. email her ( which is what I ended up doing), B. text her on my cell phone, C. call her on my cell phone, ( C. Sub-Section 1: Call her on my landline), D. leave a message on her Facebook wall, or E. talk to her in person. TOO MANY CHOICES! I guess I also could have included THIS ( blog about the thing and then wait til she sees it and comments on it) on my list of options. That would be Option F. So, just for giggles, let's double-dip and go with two options...Ahem- Pen, there's a yardsale for tomorrow listed in the paper in our favorite subdivision in the world. ( Not OUR subdivision - but rather, our dream subdivision, the one whose initials are B.A.) Are you working tomorrow morning? If not, we could go and drool over the houses as we bargain hunt...

As I was reading this to Brad, he said, " Or you could write her a letter! Or you could harness the carrier pigeons! Or send it by smoke signal!" Ah yes. How could I have forgotten our little fleet of pigeons? So handy.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

It's a....

....BOY! Rough-housing here we come! ( Very much later - not now, of course.)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Pink or Blue? The Suspense is killing me!

Tomorrow morning I go in for an ultrasound and, if the baby allows, we will find out whether we are having a boy or a girl! I can NOT TELL YOU how excited I am. I feel almost sort of nervous!

We both started out hoping that it would be a boy...My reason was that I suspect in the long run, there is less over-all drama with a boy. I'm just thinking about those awkward, uncomfortable years between the ages of 10 and 20 when life is a huge, confusing, heartbreaking mess...and I know what that is like as a girl...and I cringe to think of watching my own flesh and blood go through that. I know from my own experience, that it had its wonderful moments and it also had its deep valleys. It seems like boys don't have such drastic, crushing emotional valleys. However, the idea of a girl has been growing on me. After reading Brandon's post about how boys just want to rough-house and girls are more sedate and contemplative, I think maybe I'd like to start out with a girl. Ease myself into the whole thing. And the other day I said to Brad that I wanted to have a girl so that I could watch Anne of Green Gables with her...I suppose I could watch it with a boy too...but I don't think it would quite be the same.

I was thinking last night how I am the third girl in a row in my family and I'm SURE my parents were hoping I was going to be a boy. But I'm glad I wasn't a boy. I like my life and I am happy to be who I am, in spite of all those gawky, ugly, insecure, drama years. So who am I to be prejudiced towards boys?

So I guess what I'm saying is - I've been thinking about how this baby is not just a boy or a girl - this is a person. A person we love already - sight unseen. ( Well- okay, I've had one ultrasound already so technically I've "seen" him/her...but you know what I mean. And Brad wasn't with me last time...and I can't wait to watch him as he sees our baby on the screen tomorrow.) At this point, Brad and I are both at the stage where we will be happy either way - we just want to know SOMETHING about this person. ANYthing! And finding out the gender is where we get to start.

Further bulletins as events warrant.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Arthur and Lexie

My sister Karena, niece Lexie and nephew Arthur have been here this last week! Unfortunately, the kids came down with multiple illnesses, much to everyone's disappointment, and so I have not had as much time visiting with them as I planned. ( Call me paranoid, but being pregnant for the first time, I get a little nervous around fevers and such.) Plus, it's been so oppressively hot here this last week that even when they have felt okay, it's been too hot to play outside. The perfect storm, you might say - sickness and a heat wave. Poor things. But we have had SOME time together and one evening we had them over for dinner and Brad took a bunch of pictures. Here are a few of the best...( You can also see them on our Flickr account AND Brad and I are now both on Facebook so you can see them there too...)



Friday, August 10, 2007

I have escaped the Wrath of the Law!

No, this is not a post about spiritual things or the book of Romans or the Law of the Old Testament. But I'm almost as happy that I escaped the puny wrath of this law as I am about escaping eternal damnation. ( Okay- a BIT of an exaggeration there, and hopefully not sacrilegious. ) Because any wrath- puny or not- tends to shrivel me and make me have a bad day. Unless it's deserved - and then I'm all fine with it. ( Yeah.)

It's been an interesting week with lots of extra things happening. Philip went back to school, Karena and her kids arrived, and Grandpa returned from his sojourn in the lands of the West. It's been a good week -just a bit unusual and hectic. And this evening was no exception. I had to do a couple errands after work and so I drove a direction that I don't usually drive in. I took a left turn onto a busy road, mentally congratulating myself that I had succeeded in getting across the road b/c it's not always easy to do at that intersection. That's when I saw the police car pull up behind me and turn on his lights. Ah. The crowning touch to my busy day. My mind sprang into action: It must have been because I didn't come to a full stop at that stop sign! I was in such a hurry to get across the road while it was still clear that I must have rolled through the sign...I kicked myself ( again- mentally) because I had SEEN that cop sitting there, even before I pulled out onto the street. I told myself it couldn't be that big a deal but thoughts of the New Boston police and how much they charged a certain family member of mine for the same offense quickly flooded my mind.

It turns out that it is illegal to make a left turn at that intersection between certain high-traffic hours... but I was ignorant of this since I don't usually go that way at that time of day and I explained this to the officer. FORTUNATELY, he had pity on me and let me go with a warning. PHEW. Then I started feeling guilty about it. I think at one point I DID know about this rule b/c it started sounding familiar ( I think perhaps at one time it was posted) but since I rarely go home that way, I wasn't really thinking about it...AURGH! My soul-scraping honesty is going to get me in real trouble one of these days. CONFESSION! CONFESSION! Maybe I should just go to the local police station and leave a big pot of money for them and have done with it. Oh well. I suppose I should just be grateful I received mercy. No doubt they'll get me again sometime for something else. And I'm grateful that he didn't ask me why I thought he had pulled me over. Because I think I really did roll through that stop sign and that would have been what I said if he asked me...and I SHOULD have gotten a fine for that.

I think this is a good case - among many others- to show why it's a good thing I'm not a Supreme Court Justice - or any kind of judge for that matter.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Happy Birthday...

...to Wendell Berry, one of my favorite authors, introduced to me by my good friend Sarah (Used-To-Be-)Lower but she got married and now has a different last name...but she will always be Sarah Lower to me.

ANYWAY- back to W.B. I didn't know it was his birthday today until I heard "The Writer's Almanac" with Garrison Keillor on NPR this evening. There is something about Garrison Keillor's voice that is so comforting and calming; I thought to myself that if the broadcasters of America had to choose someone to announce that a cataclysmic ending of the world was imminent, they should choose Garrison to make that proclamation. It would sound so much better coming from him than from Katie Couric or Brian Williams or Tom Brokaw... or heaven forbid, Daniel Shore. But from Garrison's mouth, this news would seem almost ordinary. Perhaps a little intriguing, in fact. Certainly no mass hysteria. But Garrison has a face made for radio, so perhaps he wouldn't be able to pull it off with the same success for television.

Okay-I THOUGHT I was going back to talk about Wendell Berry, but I find myself easily sidetracked today. So...yes, Wendell. He was born in 1934 and I assume is still living, because the little page on the internet didn't give a death date. Long live Wendell Berry! I can't say I wholeheartedly love everything about the man - I think he is perhaps somewhat of a liberal - I'm not sure- I haven't read everything he wrote. But he's not all bad. He's written some beautiful stuff.

Here is a quote:

"I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief...For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free."

I like this quote. It makes me think of a time when I sat by the stream which runs through the golf course next to Fairwood on a gorgeous late summer afternoon. I sat and watched the stream and the little ecosystem surrounding it and thought how perfect and peaceful everything seemed and how refreshing it was to get away from the noise of humans. And I envied the happy, oblivious bugs who got to live in this beauty. Bugs don't care who is running for president; they don't even know that Washington, D.C. or New York City exist. They live and die in rural corner of New Hampshire. They remain aloof from all the human scandals and squabbles. They don't worry about dirty bombs, or the rise of Islamo-fascists, or the state of education in this country. Sigh. Oh to be a bug.

I like finding quotes that I can relate to an experience or idea that I've had already.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Hurray for freebies!

I hit a few yardsales this morning and came away with some nice finds...plus some freeeebies! I picked up a bouncy seat ( for the baby - for those of you in Rio Linda) in practically mint condition and when I was talking to the lady about why I was buying it ( I was wearing a larger than usual shirt so she probably didn't notice my big ol' belly), she threw in a "What to Expect in the First Year" book for free. Practically blessed my socks off. She tried to give me this ancient highchair too, but I politely declined. It was ancient in a tacky/seventies kind of way, not in a antique/classy way. ( And lo, my mother called soon after - she was at another yardsale - to tell me she had found a good highchair... It pays to hold out for something normal.)

Then I strode on to the yardsale next door, at which I also got into a baby conversation with the proprietoress...and out of the blue, she whipped out a brand new turkey baster ( still in the packaging) and said she wanted to give it to me..."Do you know what you use this for?" she asked. I knew it was a trick question...DUH. She explained that she gave one of these to all her friends who had babies because she thought it was a great way to wash the baby's hair. Well, I'll be hornswaggled( Actually- I don't know because I just looked up the word hornswaggled - also spelled with an 'o' sometimes instead of an 'a' - and its definition is bamboozled, or deceived. And how can you be bamboozled - another great word- with a freebie?). Anyway, I immediately thought of how Alton Brown ( of the cooking show "Good Eats") would approve - he is a big one for multitasking utensils. I thought it was quite neat. I like creative thinking like that. Hurray for free stuff!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Happy Birthday, Brad!

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Brad turns 30 today! He is now officially old. ( Whereas I remain a spring chicken at 29.)

We just celebrated our fourth anniversary a couple days ago and now we have crossed the milestone of being married longer than we courted. So, naturally, along with this season of our anniversary and Brad's birthday comes a time of reflection. The more I get to know Brad, the more I like him. Not just love him, but like him. I know everyone says that having children changes everything, and I'm sure that's true, and that our relationship will evolve and go through transitions ... it's inevitable- children or no children. But I know that the changes aren't ALL bad ( thankyou to those of you who have reminded me of this) ... and I am looking forward to getting to know Brad as the father of our children. He is one in a million - a man I respect and enjoy. He's a good listener, very patient, understanding, unselfish, funny, a hard worker, devoted to his family, and intelligent in a wide range of areas ... just to name a few good things about him. And he's my friend.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Prince Philip

Just wanted to make you aware that if you go to my profile page, you will see a link at the bottom to another blog called "Philip's writing." ...which for now, I will just link to from here...and perhaps at some point I will get around to putting up a link on the side...or rather, I will pester Brad to get around to putting up a link on the side...Whatever. ANYWAY- this is a blog that I created for my student and recently we have started posting to it. Feel free to check it out. In the last couple days, he has written some picture-inspired posts and it is a BIG DEAL to him, his parents, and me to see the results of his efforts up on the blog. It's very exciting to see him succeed; he is doing some great work. (If you choose to leave a comment, please mention that you are a friend of mine. Unless your name is Miss Penny, in which case, he already knows you.)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Not the last laugh.

Last fall, Mama gave Brad a couple of rolls of film to develop. One roll was about five or six years old, the other roll about two years old. She said that Andrew had bugged her over and over to get the pictures developed because apparently, there were pictures of him dressed up in his tux, going to his senior banquet. She wasn't sure what she would find.

So Brad brought them home one day, and I got a chance to see them. Sure enough, on the five year old roll there were a lot of pictures of Andrew- mostly around the time of his graduation from highschool - no cap and gown pictures, but a lot of the graduation party, and several of Andrew posing in his tux. We all felt a little sad because he had wanted to see these pictures and never did. It was odd because it wasn't the most recent Andrew we knew- he was a little younger in these pictures as they were taken in 2001. But it was interesting because there aren't a lot of new pictures of him anymore.

So I was flipping through the pictures and suddenly came upon a very bizarre photograph. It showed the following individuals sitting on or next to the living room couch: Daddy, me, Liane, Keith, Andrew, and Mama. But the weird thing was, we were all wearing ugly, old-people glasses, with strange, goofy looks on our faces. I had no memory of this event. But I was in the picture! What was going on? Why were we posing like that? It was the strangest feeling - seeing myself in the picture and not remembering it being taken. And then, as I talked to Brad about it, I remembered. My parents had recently cleaned out Grandpa and Grandma S's house, full of a lifetime of accumulated belongings. They found a box full of my grandparent's glasses, which they had stockpiled over the years. So we decided to each put on a pair of their glasses and be silly and take a picture. Looking at these pictures hit my funny bone in just the right way and I laughed and laughed over this forgotten moment.

There were two pictures of the same event- one in which most of us are sort of making idiotic, toothy faces and another one in which we have these dumb grins on. But Andrew had the same spaced out, moron face on in both pictures. Classic Andrew.



It was a strangely bittersweet, and yet oddly comforting feeling as I thought, "I'm having another laugh with Andrew." It had been such a long time since Andrew made me laugh; it was almost like he was sitting there with me. It felt indescribably precious to rediscover an old feeling that I thought I would never experience again. I mean- sure I've smiled over old memories of him. But to actually laugh aloud over something new- I thought that was beyond my reach. I thought my life held nothing more in that department. And it reminded me that there are more laughs to come - someday. And it won't be through an old picture, but in person.

Happy Birthday, Andrew. Miss you more than I know how to say...