Friday, September 28, 2007

All For the Love of a Button

Well, I couldn't figure out how to add Tricia's button to my sidebar on Blogger, so I sucked it up and moved.

In October I'll be posting 31 times in honor of my sister and National Down Syndrome Awareness Month, and I'll doing it at my new home, here:

http://princessnebraska.wordpress.com/

I hope you'll all follow me over there.

Thank you!
Elizabeth

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Probably Not of General Interest...

...but lately while doing my treadmill running I've been watching Season One of Battlestar Galactica on DVD and now I have THE BIGGEST girl crush EVER on Starbuck.

Seriously, I love girls that kick ass. Starbuck makes me want to quit washing the damn dishes all the time and worrying about when I'm going to fucking vacuum or whatever and she makes me want to ditch my kid and husband at home and go learn to fly a viper and smoke cigars and wear boots a lot, and I'll be honest, I don't really even know what a viper is, exactly.

In other related news, how come there are so few kick ass girls out there in TV land right now? And please don't tell me that Mariska Hargitay files a mean motion or whatever the hell her character does. Furthermore, I don't share the nation's interest in forensic science, no matter what random city it takes place in, so whatever ass kicking the sassy...uh forensic sciencey ladies of TV may be doing these days is of no interest to me. Anyway, I'm talking about actual physically violent bad girl power ass kicking and I can't think of anyone doing it these days. Anyone? If the situation doesn't improve I'm just going to have to watch Buffy Seasons 1-5 and BSG on an endless loop. And then I might have to start attending comic cons and writing fanfic and reading graphic novels and next thing you know I'll be buying Star Trek uniforms on Ebay and making Mr. E *renew our vows in Klingon.

And we can't have that.

*PS We aren't renewing our vows any time soon, we've only been married for four years. But if we ever do, it totally won't be in Klingon. Duh. It will be how everyone should renew their vows: in Vegas, before God and Elvis. Or Elvis, anyway.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Thank You

I have much to say. Am doing much better. Thank you very much to all who emailed support. It has helped immeasurably. If you wonder why I'm not blogging or returning email, it's because I just googled "help baby teething".

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Things I Might Delete Tomorrow

Lately I feel like too many people I know in real life read my blog and I can't admit the things on here that I wish I could. Like can I say that right now I'm trolling the internet for cute baby boy clothes because right now it's either shopping or eating and for christ's sake I've eaten enough today.?

Ugh. I'm tired of depressing revelations about my mental instability. I'm tired of my fat ass and my tight jeans and my total lack of willpower. I'm tired of becoming a cliched binge eater but I can't stop eating mother fucking sour patch kids. I'm tired of soul searching.

Admitting things late at night feels cathartic so maybe I should just keep going. If you know me in real life just pretend you never read this since I'm about to admit it all, right here for everyone to see.

That we don't know anyone here and we have no friends with which to do anything and I think my husband and I are starting to get on each other's nerves and sometimes I wonder how I ended up in such a one sided argument of a marriage where everything I say is agreed with. That I finally the other day realized for once and for all that I did not, do not - have a mother I like, really at all, and that I will spend the rest of my life fighting the emptiness that is left because of that. That I say terrible things about everyone I know and I can't stop. That often we are barely getting by and we are living paycheck to paycheck. That I almost never feel like putting out and that my husband has given up trying to persuade me otherwise and even that depresses me. That I never feel good enough. That I once tried therapy and it was useless because I completely and totally lied my ass off to my therapist. That I shop and accumulate as protection against the insecurity that mounts on the upward curve towards a visit with family. That I can't drive. That I convince myself that this is not an emotional problem and that I love spending every day at home with nowhere to go. That I love my son so much I often wish I could wake him up just to smell his neck and yet sometimes I look at him and think "you're STILL here?! Yikes." That it angers me intensely when I feel judged - and I'll passively agressively post on my blog later to get you back for it. That I hate talking on the phone and I hate leaving the house by myself because dealing with other people freaks me out so much. That I wanted a girl. That I wish I believed in God.


Bet you didn't know that, did you?

Park




Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I Know It's Kind of Wrong...

But I am the only one who laughs out loud when they hear the NPR announcer say "massive unit withdrawal"?

Hee.

These Have Always Brought Me Luck

I haven't been posting because I'm really not in the mood to do ANOTHER I'm in a really crabby mood blog post. I'm waiting it out. And yet here I am, still in a really crabby mood.

It's that feeling like when you're itchy all over but you can't find the spot to scratch? That feeling like having a cold on the hottest day of the year? The weird puckery sore lip thing you get when you eat too much salty popcorn. The way it feels to walk into the ocean with cuts. Being stung by a jellyfish. Making a fancy dinner only to discover that the meats gone bad. Swollen achy joints in my fingers. (I've had this since I gave birth - what the heck is it? Anyone? Post partum arthritis?)

Anyway. I did run my nine miles on Sunday, just to let you know. In case you were waiting to hear how that went. It wasn't easy, but it was possible, and that's what counts in the end. Parts of it I only kept going because I wanted to be able to come back here and tell you all that I had made it, so this is me, telling you I made it. But still crabby.

Sometimes when I'm in a really bad mood I start to remember all the things that Mr. E has done in the past that have really annoyed the shit out of me. For example two Christmases ago at Starbucks, they had these kick ass reusable advent calendars for sale...nice red boxes with numbers on them, stacked in the shape of a tree. A place for a chocolate in every box. I adored them and the idea that every year I'd get to pull the advent calendar out of the christmas box and fill it with my own chocolate. It had such a very nice square pleasing symmetry to it that just suited me to a t. It was like the Kate Spade of advent calendars. Boxy and crisp. And every time I saw it would say to Mr. E "that's really the only thing I want for Christmas this year" and it got to be this running joke, and I just assumed that he had purchased it early on because I mentioned it every damn morning and I am the sort of person who, if you tell me there is one thing you want for Christmas and that one thing costs a mere $14.95 well, heck, I'm gonna buy it for you. Early on and all, just to be sure.

December 1st rolled around and that's the day the more traditional among us start opening our advent calendars, and so when Mr. E and I walked into Starbucks that morning and he tried to it buy it that day!!! and it turned out that it was sold out everywhere and there was no chance of getting one, I couldn't help it. I'm not sure what came over me, even.

I started to cry.

I was just so shocked. It had never even occured to me that Mr. E wouldn't just...buy the thing he knew I wanted well ahead of time. When he didn't I took it very personally. Which I know shocked the hell out of him and maybe taught him a lesson when he had to pay $34.95 plus shipping to buy me one of those advent calendars on Ebay later that day.

But that is not the point of this story. The point of this story is that even though it is very easy for me, on these saltwater sore angry days, to think of failure, it helps immeasurable to rise above, to try harder, to reach for better memories. Like how sometimes Mr. E will say "These have always brought me luck" when he hands me the car keys. I just love that. It cracks me up every time.

So. Working on the crabby mood, hope to snap out of it soon. Wish me luck.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

So. I weighed myself this morning and I gained four pounds. IN A WEEK. Bah.

I'm probably projecting here. But people. I am so so so so so over the Detroit Half. So over it. I could not be more over it unless I actually just went ahead and broke up with it. "Hi, Detroit Half Marathon? You can take your nation's only underwater mile and your thirteen motown bands and your TWO trips into Canada and your ending on Ford Field and your Ambassador Bridge and cram them up your ass."

I know. I know. Sigh.

This is my third half marathon but it is my first as a mom, and holy crap, the massive time suckage involved cannot be overstated. And holy crap, is it hard to train when it's 80 degrees at 7 am. And due to a scheduling fudge up on my part I've run three eight mile long runs in a row and all three of them sucked hard. At no point during any of them did I did I think "wow, those nine miles I have to run next week should be totally super fun!" (Or possible, even).

And then afterwards between the breastfeeding and the long run I am so freaking hungry all day that nothing, but nothing, keeps me full for longer than an hour. I scarf down food all day. I'm hungry immediately after eating. I swear I get hungry for the next meal while I'm eating the first one. I can't deal with counting points. And come Friday I've gained four pounds.

Worst of all is that I am scared. Scared that I can't do this and that I will fail, and that's the ultimate terror because Mr. E's entire family lives in Detroit and those are the people who stress me out and intimidate me more than anyone else in the world and the idea that I could fail in front of them makes me want to enter the half marathon witness protection program.

Writing this all out here has kind of helped though. Admitting I am scared that I can't do this has helped. Admitting that I don't know if I can lose weight while running this much and that I might just have to suck it up and buy a pair of size ten jeans this weekend has helped. And maybe made me realize I can try a little bit harder. Even if I do feel like I could devour the world after I run, that world could be tuna and oranges and egg whites and tofu, it doesn't have to be forty three trader joes meringues.

However what helps the most is reminding myself that I only have five more weeks of this to go and only six more long runs including the half left and then I 'm totally breaking up with the Detroit Half Marathon for good. Although I am so keeping its t shirt.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

First Picture From the New Camera of Wonder and Delight

Re Run

Rather frighteningly, last night Mr. E's mom told me that when he was a baby the apricot baby food was her favorite and she usually ate about half of it while she was feeding Mr. E. Which I thought was funny because I think Mr. E eats more of the apricot baby food (the baby food that we sweated over for like, hours and made from scratch with our tender loving hands) than Eli does. Eli only really likes the most vile baby food - the kind no human in their right mind would actually want to eat - the jarred chicken lentil barley spinach pea puree of evil comes to mind. He loves that.

Also, let's just say that I know that some people who shall remain nameless were permanently life traumatized by the time that the CBS evening news report came on and announced that a dead body had been found in Kurt Cobain's Seattle home and then his or her father may have said "Well, Erik, sucks to be you!" but really, it is not necessary to keep me on permanent red alert update status regarding Greg Oden and his delicate playoff chance ruining knees. I am totally totally aware of the fact that once again, this season, my favorite sports team will break my heart, I don't need constant reminding. But thanks anyway.

Last night I was watching that Tim Gunn's Guide to Style because it comes on right after Top Chef and I was not done running my three miles yet and besides the fact that it's an egregious rip off of What Not To Wear, I found it rather heartily depressing that all the clothes that they making fun of and that horrified Mr. Gunn and his model helper the most were clothes that I actually own. Like, the actual American Eagle sweater that I wore this winter got placed in the discard pile. Also, the thing that annoys me most about those shows? Really, they're just telling you to dress up. And I have to say, I have those clothes. I have the dark skinny jeans and the blazer and the pointy toed heels and the aline skirt and I'm here to tell I don't care what you think, I'm not wearing that shit to the grocery store. I mean, of course you look better in dress up clothes, that's the point of dress up clothes! No one says "Damn, I look hot in this oversized hooded University of Michigan sweatshirt!" Of course not. But sometimes you want to wear the jeans and the hooded sweatshirt and I don't see anything wrong with that. I personally tried to do the whole little jacket and jeans thing a while back and I find that whole situation very restricting and I am not a fan. I'll just be over here rocking my striped unflattering what not to wear anti tim gunn American Eagle hoodie, thank you very much.

Off to order a shockingly overpriced must keep the babiessssssss safe carseat.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Plan of Attack

Well. I decided I was going to quit feeling bad about myself and bitching about how my shorts are tight again and feeling depressed about buying new jeans again and I was going to give this stupid Weight Watchers thing the real hard core try and in order to do that and to stop eating chocolate ice cream like it's going out of style my new plan is to set out everything I'm going to eat the next day on my kitchen counter at night. I just starting thinking about what worked for me in the past and what isn't working for me now and I think it was just easier to lose weight when I was at work all day and could control what I ate during the day by what I brought with me...I couldn't just wander into my kitchen the way I can now and eat chocolate and chips when I was at work. So I decided I would recreate that same situation as best I could by setting out my food for the next day the night before and so I have been making a new grocery list with high protein low fat snacks because crap, I hate being hungry.

Depressingly, all the high protein low fat snacks are the same this time around as they were last time.

Cottage cheese, anyone?

Waiting

According to the bastards fine folks at UPS my new camera will be arriving tomorrow!
I'm so excited I think I might pee ma pants when it gets here.
I wish it was arriving today though :(
Today is going to suck. (Mr. E works late).
I need something to look forward to.
Hmmm. I am allowing myself ten almonds as a snack later@!
And who says life isn't exciting?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Undecided

I can remember the exact moment I decided I wanted to have a lot of kids.

Mr E. and I were in Ann Arbor because his little sister had just graduated from U of M and so his whole giant family was there as well and since it was graduation weekend in Ann Arbor there weren't any extra hotel rooms to be found and everyone was crammed into a tiny little hotel room. You couldn't hear yourself think. Mr. E has twenty six first cousins on one side. He is one of five kids. His mom is one of six kids. And EVERYONE turns out for these family events, you just wouldn't graduate in his family without your seven aunts and uncles coming to see it happen. And so there were cousins screaming and there were coolers full of leftover meatballs and thousands of bags of opened chips and people laughing and someone was doing someone else's eye makeup in the corner and my brother in law phoned in prank noise complaints from the hallway on his cell phone and I think someone (that may have been me) was dying her hair red in the bathroom and the tv was blaring and everyone was happy and laughing and it was just so much fun to be spending time with all these interesting, smart, beautiful people who loved me and loved Mr. E just because we were their family. I loved it. I loved this huge crazy family and the noise and the chaos and the free for all and I loved that they go to basketball games and graduations and all the things that no one ever really cared about in my life, and I realized in that moment that all this happened because Erik's grandmother had six kids and those kids had their own bajillions of kids and that I wanted the same thing. I wanted the chaos and the laughter and the love. I was done with the cold empty quiet afternoons of my childhood and I genuinely wish I had grown up with a sister close enough to me that I could share a best friend with her and whisper my secrets in her ear as we fell asleep. So Mr. E and I have always thought that if we had kids, we wanted a lot.

And then we had Eli and I started to wonder. I don't care, at all, what YOU do, but I am not a fan of only children, so I knew we'd have two, no matter what. But you have one and five starts to seem like, man, that's all you'd do. All you would do is be a mom. Is that what I want? And doesn't that mean that I'd have to have number two like, tomorrow? I don't know if I'm ready for that. I mean, I think I'm not ready for that, because when I think about being pregnant again, I feel like like throwing up. And this might sounds stupid and maybe this is my own best argument for having more kids but when I think about Eli not being the only one I feel sad for him. I feel like he's so amazing he deserves all of me, that he shouldn't have to share. Is that stupid? I think it's sort of sad that he'll never remember this time alone with me. He will only ever remember having had a brother or a sister. Mr. E doesn't remember life without his brother Greg. Funny.

And then there is the weight thing. Because I always like to bring things back to the most superficial issues I can think of as I enjoy clinging to those like a life raft in order to not have to deal with the big questions I would rather not think about. I wonder if having four or five children would be a fundamental life mistake in which I try to change the very nature of who I am (someone who should only have two children) and force myself to become someone I am not (fun, loud, crazy, sexy, cool, etc) but instead of really thinking about that nauseatingly difficult question I choose to tell you that when I think about working my ass off and really killing myself to lose the 25 pounds I lost before I got pregnant and that I gained when I got pregnant only to go and have to do it over and over and over again after being pregnant two or three mores times? Well, it seriously makes me angry. Angry! What a useless pointless way to feel! I'd rather feel sick or frustrated or annoyed or distressed or a creeping sense of unfairness and while I do feel all those things, and more, mostly I feel pissed off. I'm going to spend the rest of my life dieting off this fucking baby weight! So shouldn't it be easier? Sigh.

I could really go for a chocolate chip cookie right now. Or two. Or maybe four or five?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Lupine Lady

“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life?
The world would split open.”
-Muriel Rukeyser
I've have been in such a terrible mood lately. I have blamed it on PMS and exhaustion and my messy husband and baby jail and not being able to afford pedicures and a lack of Coffee Heath Bar ice cream availability in my life and I've blamed my thighs and my mother and my father and my in laws. And now I've run out of cliches to blame my irritation on.
Although I do really really wish my child would stop screaming his fool head off and go to freaking sleep already and I think it's safe to say that the screaming and lack of sleeping on his part and mine isn't exactly improving my mood. Not right at this minute anyway.
I feel like I am sinking under a sea of lies.
Because of all the emotional abuse heaped on me as a child I became a survivor at an early age. I will get along with you no matter what. I will lie my ass off and pretend to like you and laugh at your jokes and smile and nod my head and agree with you no matter what, all the while thinking the most terrible things about you. As long as you know me, I will always be one step ahead of you, gauging whether or not you like me, if I have offended you, if you don't like something I said, always calculating, checking, smoothing over, watching for an explosion, working to make sure one doesn't happen.
And so I never tell the truth about anything. I think the people who really know me can tell when I'm lying and they probably see through me better than I realize, but I never ever tell people what I really think of them if it's something negative.
Is that normal? Is that just being nice? Does everyone just go along with things they think are total bullshit, just for the sake of getting along?
Mr. E and I said that September should be the month of truth but I honestly don't think my life could handle it. I don't think my blog could handle it. I don't know if I could handle it.
Because the truth is ugly. (I had it all spelled out here and then I couldn't do it.)
I would much rather focus on the positive.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Saved

So ya'll may have heard of this Dooce lady? Some of you? Maybe? (I kid).

Anyway, ages and ages ago I found her site and since the minute she described picking out her camera (the Nikon D70) because she wanted a camera that would take the picture when she pressed the button, I have craved that camera. For years now, before I had a kid, before I had a dog. I put it on my Amazon wish list in 2003 or something. (Shockingly no one bought it for me.)

Anyhoo. Heather has since moved on to bigger and better cameras and they don't make the D70 anymore but I continued to dream about a Nikon digital SLR and so for many many months I have been saving every dime that came my way. I did not buy clothes, I did not buy nail polish or fancy soap, I did not get my hair cut, I did not get pedicures, I did not buy books, I did not buy sports bras or music or underwear or the new martha stewart cupcake liners at Michaels (although I really really wanted those). I saved and I saved and I saved and yesterday I ordered my new camera and I cannot freaking wait till it gets here.

The other day I took down my dusty regular SLR that used to be my grandfathers and I showed Mr. E how to take a picture with it and I told him about how my father taught me to use it when I was ten or so and how much I loved taking pictures and my father loved taking pictures and my grandfather loved taking pictures and how everywhere we went, there we were, the three of us, always with our giant cameras hanging around our necks. I've been too long in the land of the teeny camera and the random snapshot and I am so excited to become someone who is excited about photography again.

Can't wait!

Monday, September 03, 2007

She's An Extraordinary Girl

We ate pasta and shrimp on Saturday night.
We collected water and Gu and shoes and went to bed early.
We woke up at 5:15 on Sunday.
We loaded the jogging stroller in the car and bundled the baby up against the (very temporary) early morning chill. I tucked $5 into my shoe for an after run reward.

I did not run fast. I didn't break any records, mine included. I didn't even beat Mr. E and he was pushing a baby.

But I did it. I ran eight miles. Of course because I am a natural and constant self deprecater I was focused on how incredibly slow I was running and how some things were jiggling more than they used to and how I am 20 pounds heavier than the last time I trained for a run and then happened to look up and I noticed my shadow next to me, just bounding along. And all of a sudden I was beaming and I felt proud.

I am very very proud of myself. So never mind the rest of it. I ran eight miles!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Jesus Drive By

The other day Mr. E was sitting on a bench with Eli waiting for me to finish running and a woman and her kids sat down next to them…started making conversation. She asked Eli’s name and Mr. E told her and she said “Oh, straight out of the Bible. Does Eli love Jesus?”

OH MY GOD HOW IS THAT AN APPROPRIATE QUESTION?

Mr. E just changed the subject, he is an excellent diffuser. I told him next time (and you know there will be a next time) someone asks if Eli loves Jesus we should just say, very sadly, “Oh, no, he’s lactose intolerant” and walk away.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Talking About Love

Let me think of how to put this delicately.

Practically seconds after I started thinking "ok, maybe, let's try this, I might be ready for this baby thing. Maybe. I guess?" I was pregnant. In the time between when it happened and when I found out I decided that if it didn't happen that month then maybe we'd put the whole business on hold for a bit because I started to chicken out. I never got the chance to change my mind and so here we are today.

I realized the other day that if you've been reading this blog lately and you don't have access to Eli's baby book in which I write down how much we freaking adore him and you don't hang out with us in real life (or even if you do), well, it's just, there's been a lot of complaining here lately. Last night I lay awake remembering - thinking of telling my best friend in the Safeway parking lot that I couldn't eat sushi because we were trying but that it probably wouldn't work right away but maybe we wouldn't try anymore for awhile because I wasn't so sure about things and I am so very glad I never got the chance to overthink myself out of becoming a mom.

Some days I am so tired. Some days I am so frustrated. Some days I count every minute.

Some days I see Eli lying next to me and I think "oh my god. He's here. There's a baby here and holy crap he's mine how did this happen so fast?" and I still don't feel like a mom.

But some days we laugh. Some days we have pajama parties on the living room floor and we play with each other's noses and we fall asleep together. Some days we share six month birthday cupcakes. Some days we read books and I get baby chortles for my rendition of the The Little Lamb. He tries to eat my toes. I nibble his.

And I am never regretful.

I don't have this blog to write letters to my son. I have nothing against it, but for me, my writing is this organic part of me - something that I just have to get out so I don't go crazy, it's like my therapy, and that's more of what I do here. So yeah, it's a lot about me. And I am a complainer. And this blog isn't necessarily the place where I will note that Eli is 26 inches long or that we went to the park (although he is and we did).

Maybe that's just an excuse I make because I don't know how to say how I love this child as well as it should be said. Writing about love is a near impossibility. Dancing about architecture and all that, you know.

But. Complaints and all. On the hardest days. I only know that he is it for me. The instant he existed he became part of who I am. He has twined endless invisible leafy tendrils across my heart and now I cannot say where I begin and he ends. He is the air I breathe. He is the blood in my veins. He is my cherry chip cupcake, my favorite song, my reason. He is inextricably mine. I've never regretted anything less.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Using Your Powers For Good

I just got my period for the first time in 15 months (along with the debilitating cramps caused by my endometriosis), tonight is one of the two nights per week that Mr. E works late at his second job, and Eli would only take a half an hour nap this morning.

Pray for me. Seriously. Or better yet...

Concentrate as hard as you can, focus on Northern California, stare at your computer monitor, use your bat force or whatever your powers may be, and think "THREE HOUR AFTERNOON NAP" with every fiber of your being.

Thanks!

Edited to Add: At least we know now why I've been such a raging beotch so crabby lately. Ah, PMS, how I did not miss you.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Not Working

Here's a dirty little secret.

Although it is not something I would admit even to myself, ahead of time, prior to Eli, one of the reasons I wanted to be a stay at home mom is because I didn't really like working. Although I knew as you do all the politically correct $148,000 a year propaganda about how staying at home is working and I also heard all the sturm und drang about how hard it would be, it still seemed less...soul sucking, somehow. Like it might even be fun to stay home with my kids. I thought we could do projects and I'd get some fingerpaints or something and we could make crafts out of potatoes.

It's not so much that being a stay at home mom sounded easy, exactly, and it's not even because any of the jobs I've had have been so hard, but there's only so many mornings you can drag yourself out of bed at some ungodly hour to go adminstratively assist people who act like you suck because you LET them break the copy machine before you think that maybe NOT adminstratively assisting for a while would be nice.

But my god is THIS job hard. Hard hard hard.

I feel like I'm barely hanging on. I really do. I am so so crabby but when Mr. E asks me why I don't know.

One million years ago exactly when I was a freshman in college and seriously the most naive and innocent freshman in college of all time I signed up to take surfing classes. (Hee. Surfing classes. How awesome is the UC system?) One of the first things we learned besides the fact that the Pacific Ocean in October at 6 AM is really fucking cold is how to turn turtle - how to duck under the wave with your surfboard over you so you don't get all thrashed up by every wave. But sometimes you get caught anyway and inevitably it scares the shit out of you, the indescribably cold and unfriendly and enormous violent ocean tossing you in every direction and rolling you without stopping and causing you to lose all your bearings and sometimes you would only get the tiniest of breaths in and just open your eyes before wam there'd be another wave pounding down right on top of you, roiling you all over again.

That's the only way I can think of to describe this. Or maybe it's like I'm in a room where the oxygen is slowly leaking out. And it's leaking out so slowly that sometimes I think I'm perfectly fine, I don't even need that much oxygen, really, to live. And other times I know I'm dying.

I wish this wasn't so abstract. I hate that kind of writing. But unfortunately it's not as if there is just one thing I can point to and say "this is it, this is the problem, this is what is making this all so hard, let's fix THIS."

It's not just that my husband really wants me to stop being crabby and I simply don't know how to. It's not just that he won't take out the recycling, ever, and not just that my soul dies a tiny bit every time I open the broom closet to find thoughtless random scraps of cardboard that I will have to gather up and bag and cart out to the curb myself. It's not just that the second I finally get my house clean I can actually see the dog hair settling back over everything and I can feel the decay begin again, immediate. It's not just that I can't keep up with my running or my writing or my email or my friends or my family or my flickr account or my bills or my budget or my library books or my weight watchers points. It's not just that I can't imagine how anyone could do this with two or three or four. It's not just that I think I'm not doing a very good job. It's not just that I thought things must just gradually get better and so that's what I've been counting on and now my six month old is 100% straight up crawling and it turns out that's not easier than when he couldn't move at all and just stayed in one place and cried all the time.

So what I want to know is this:

When do I get a raise?

When do I get my two weeks vacation?

And doesn't someone owe me six months worth of two fifteen minute breaks?

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Story of the Elizabeths

I hid my scale right before my parents got here.

Part of the reason is because I think I stole it from their bathroom the last time I was at their house. (Hi, I am 12). But mostly I wanted to see how it would feel if I separated myself from the numbers I just keep seeing over and over again.

143.5. 144. 148. 146. 144.5 146.5

I'm not sure what I think yet about this separation from the scale. It's like there are about fourteen Elizabeths in my head and on different days they each seem to make sense.

I would love to not think about food all the time, so sometimes I think I should just eat whatever I want and not worry about it and learn to be happy with me. That's carefree "fat is good for you it keeps you full! Elizabeth". She has a full fat caramel macchiato in her hand, and she wonders if you think "she shouldn't be drinking that" when you hear her order it.

I would love to eat just picked farm fresh tomatoes and fresh mozzarella and not care about the calories in the olive oil drizzled on top or in the cheese or the bread. That's hippie "Whole Foods Elizabeth" and she eats a lot of olive oil, but only the local stuff. She worries that she doesn't try hard enough because she doesn't come anywhere close to eating only local or only organic or only free range or only hormone free and she's not reducing her carbon footprint and she secretly craves sugar free jello with cool whip.

But I would also love to be able to wear something besides the one pair of shorts that fit me and I don't want to buy new jeans this fall. And that's "Strict Dieting Don't You Want to Buy New Reward Jeans Elizabeth" and she eats Light yogurt and carrots and she really wants to weigh herself RIGHT NOW because she's been "good" all afternoon.

Then there's "If I ever have a daughter I can't fuck her up the way I am fucked up I need to get a handle on this soon Elizabeth" and she's eating chocolate (but only the dark Really Good Stuff!!!) while she reads self help books.

Then there's "you can't let people think you have let being a mom make you soft" Elizabeth and she's so scared of looking like a failure or a loser that she doesn't eat anything. She knows I have to lose fifteen pounds and that I sometimes look like I'm still pregnant even though my child is six months old.

Then there's sensible Elizabeth and she eats plain popcorn and diet coke and and she tells me to get off my ass and count my points and quit my complaining. She thinks about food all the time.

Don't forget runner Elizabeth. She thinks I'm amazing for running eight miles but she's scared I can't run nine and so she eats pasta with wild abandon and says "Screw portion sizes, I need the carbs."

Mostly there is scared Elizabeth. She makes sure she always has nuts and beef jerky and yogurt and apples and Clif Bars around and she wonders how to lose weight without fear, without hunger. She is afraid she will never ever like herself, no matter what she does. She is afraid she will never be skinny enough. She is afraid that if she doesn't eat enough she will be revealed for the selfish crazy body obsessed incompetent lunatic that she is when her milk dries up and she can't feed her son because she cared more about the size of her thighs than her own child.

I am all these Elizabeths. I can't help but notice that none of them are very happy.

And I have no idea what to do about that.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Wish Me Luck

My mom is visiting...she has no idea about my blog so I won't be posting till the weekend, maybe. Although after cleaning the house for three days straight and then spending four days with my mom I am not lying when I say I can already tell I'm really going to just want to spend all next weekend lying around with a gin IV dripping straight into my veins.

My mom walked in the door and said "hmmm. Very clean in here." and then LAUGHED. What does that even mean?

A. She thinks my house is not actually that clean.
B. She thinks I'm a psychotic freak/bad mother for cleaning my house obsessively instead of teaching Eli french and how to diagram sentences and to play croquet at the age of six months.
C. She thinks I'm a loser who does nothing but clean my house all day and that instead I should get a job and a cleaning lady so I can be "successful" like her!
D. She thinks we have nothing in common and has nothing to say to me so she just comments on the first thing that pops into her head and then laughs nervously?
E. She thinks I am raising her precious grandbaby in a horrible neighborhood and so it shocks her how cute and clean my house is on the inside
F. She thinks having a dog is such a terrible and freaky idea that she can't believe its possible to have one and also have a clean house that's not filled with poop and half chewed god knows what.
OR
G. My house is just that freakishly clean it's all you can notice or think about.

I seriously have problems. I can't believe I can infer all that from ONE "mom sentence." God knows how an entire evening will go.

Again. Wish me luck. And send booze.

Monday, August 20, 2007

ROY G BIV

My mom and stepfather arrive in less than 24 hours and my house is a hardcore disaster area and I completely exhausted myself running eight miles on Sunday and I have the crabbiest baby ever in the history of all time and so naturally I decided that now was a good time to put my books in rainbow order.

God I love procrastination.

Off to clean the bathroom!

(Yeah right).

Friday, August 17, 2007

The R Word

Ever since I read Tricia's post the other day I can't stop thinking about it.

The word retard has always been the dirtiest word in my life. Hearing it is like being punched in the stomach, every time. It never gets any better. It never goes away.

I still remember going to see Clueless in the theater and hearing someone in that movie say retard and how it wrecked everything in an instant. I was at that movie with my sister and my whole family and I knew in that moment that an otherwise great afternoon had been a tiny bit ruined for all of us.

I remember seeing Scream and There's Something about Mary and wanting to run out of the theater at the horrible ridiculous caricatures of mentally retarded people. I was angry that I had to sit through those movies. I probably shouldn't have. And I'm sure everyone who was there with us felt the awkward because hey...this stuff is only funny if you don't know someone who's mentally retarded and everyone who knows me knows that my sister has Downs Syndrome and so of course I wouldn't find this stuff funny, and I swear I can still remember what the awkward sick twisted smile I had plastered on my face to just get through the moment felt like. Not good.

I broke up with someone I once really loved, could have loved, maybe loved for a moment, maybe, because he flat out wouldn't stop using the word retard after I asked him too. Before and since then I've asked hundreds of people who probably never thought twice about it before to do me a favor and to not say retard in front of me. Most of the time they listen. I don't know how many people have only stopped saying it in front of me. I do know that when I was growing up it was very much slang and I hope it's not anymore but I don't hang out on playgrounds too much anymore.

Eli won't be saying retard, I can tell you that much.

Sometimes I tell myself that the word "retard" is a built in asshole detector. Like I'm lucky if you use it because I know you're a jackass and I don't have to worry about being your friend. Sometimes I think that's too harsh and hell, maybe I'd be throwing it around if I didn't have this gift - this gift of growing up loving someone different and special.

The thing is this. I'm here, on this earth, for a lot of reasons, but one of those reasons is to keep my sister safe, to have her back, to protect her. And while the word retard hurts me and ruins movies for me and, yes, makes me like you less? I can take it. However. My sister is 25 years old and she watches those movies sometimes and when she hears the word retard and she sees mentally disabled people being made fun of, it damages her irrevocably. Because every time it happens it's a lesson to her - that not only is she different, but that the world thinks that's a bad thing. Think about what it must be like to learn that. To grow up thinking you are just amazing and wonderful and loved and special and perfect and smart and funny and amazing, and then to learn that the world does not agree. THINK ABOUT THAT AND HOW IT WOULD HURT YOU.

That's my nightmare. That's what I hear when I hear Cher say "Well, I am such a retard." That's why the grimace.

So do me a favor. Bring something positive to this world. Don't make fun of people who have it harder than you do, through no fault of their own. Quit assuming that different is worse. Quit saying retard, for now and for ever, amen.

Thanks.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Safe

I marched around my house yesterday gathering up all the baby crap stamped "Made In China" so I could throw it all out because all of the "surprise! There's lead in your child's bib" hoo ha is really really pissing me off and I can only imagine what might be next. Surprise! I've had enough. Even though as Mr. E pointed out we don't own anything that has been recalled, so far, I can't help thinking that safety and honesty isn't seeming like it's really at the top of these manufacturers lists of priorities and I'm not sure how we know any of the shit we have is safe when obviously the people who are supposed to be doing their job to keep this shit safe aren't doing those jobs.

It turns out that aside from one hippy dippy overpriced German wood Haba rattle purchased by Eli's yuppie wantonly idealistic Disney hating over protective plastic eschewing mother (that would be me) and one french fleece Dinosaur named Lloyd, all of everything else we own is made in China.

Do I throw it all out and start over with wood toys made in Vermont? A huge amount of this stuff we own now was gifts. Do I get rid of gifts that people gave us? Do I refuse gifts if they were made in China? That seems...rude. Do I donate this crap to someone else because even though it's not good enough for my kid it's good enough for your kid if you shop at Goodwill? That seems...elitist? (I did this with the plastic bottles and still feel weird about that one). Do I just need to get over myself and not care that Eli's walker and his baby spoons and his baby bibs and the teether he shoves in his mouth a thousand times a day were all made in China?

Can't use plastic bottles, bisphenol A. Can't use scented diapers or body wash, estrogenators. Can't buy baby food in plastic containers, bad chemicals, forget which. Can't microwave breastmilk, also bad, also can't remember why. Can't buy gerber oatmeal, choking hazard. Can't buy plastic toys from China, lead.

Where do we draw the line? How do we know our kids are safe? Who can we trust besides ourselves? I have no idea what to do on this one.

I'm torn between rampant over protectiveness and common sense. I don't want to get rid of all Eli's toys but I'm worried maybe I should anyway? Anyone?

This is Lloyd.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Greener Grass

I'm not asking for advice. I'm just thinking out loud.

Mr. E and I first lived together in a tiny apartment in Ann Arbor Michigan.
The first year was rough.
Michigan made me miserable.

The sun never shone. I hated my job. (In retrospect, it was a terrible terrible job.) I was fatter than I've ever been and I hated being fat. I hated living in the Midwest. The pill made me crazy. And when I sent mail my return address made me depressed.

I did not, in the slightest, appreciate my wood floors or that I could walk to Starbucks. I did not realize that not everyone can just saunter down to a farmer's market or a junk shop full of remarkable used furniture or a world famous deli or a food co op whenever they feel like sauntering. I stewed in my misery over the place we lived and I was convinced we needed to be elsewhere. Not just elsewhere. Somewhere better.

Then Mr. E got a job in Lincoln and despite a rocky start because the idea of living in NEBRASKA so horrified me, that was the two years I proved I could, if I had to, live anywhere. Even though it was in Nebraska, I loved my job. And thirty miles of paths meandered past our house and I learned to run on those flat smooth green covered paths. I wasn't fat anymore. I could still walk to coffee or the grocery store and I lived right next to a crazy store filled with my favorite kind of junk.

I still felt horrified whenever I sent anyone mail. I cried whenever we returned home to NEBRASKA from a trip. We visited New York and I had to force myself to tell people where we were living. I yearned for California.

Now we're here and I'm not sure how this can be but I'm still not happy. I adore my child. I adore my husband. I like sending mail. I feel proud that we live in one of the universally acknowledged best places on earth. (At least in my mind).

And yet. I can't walk anywhere except to another subdivision. I don't know anyone. Our house falls down around me and I feel like I could sum up my life in a history of the crappy closets I have known in rental houses that are always in the end not my own. I'm growing tired of the scrappy lawn filled with dog poop that I don't want to sit in. My sketchy neighbor has been idling his motorcycle for hours. I might be a little bit depressed. Taking a shower every day isn't turning out to be as important as I thought it was. I can't remember when I last changed the sheets and I also can't really remember why that matters.

I do love California. I do want to learn to be happy in the moment. I don't always want to be wanting. I do know that this all takes time. That I am very very lucky. That this is how the suburbs are. That I said anywhere in California would be better than Nebraska. That I claim I can only live in old houses and so this is my doing. That people would kill to have my problems. That I take my blessings for granted. That if I want a fancy house I should go back to work. And there are many other cliches I am also aware of. But I can't help it. I sit in the sun I yearned for for so very long and I dream of this:

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Apartment Therapy - Nursery

I was pretty excited to see Eli's nursery featured on Apartment Therapy today.
It's even more exciting now that he's actually sleeping in it!
You can check it out here if you want.

Monday, August 13, 2007

One of the Top Ten Signs You're A Huge Loser

1. You just googled "Hills Season Premiere"

Separated

Friday night. We lowered the shades and turned on the nightlight and kissed the boy frantically, too many times, and said "I love you" as though we were saying "I'm sorry", and we turned on the noise machine and the baby monitor and tiptoed backwards out of his room.

He cried for thirteen minutes.

It wasn't too bad. I had Mr. E here with me and we'd make faces at each other and we both found other things to do during the crying and then when the boy fell asleep we silently high fived as we held our breath, waiting for more crying.

The boy slept till 6 am on Saturday morning and when we woke up and realized we'd gotten seven hours of sleep without any interruptions, angels sang. A glorious chorus of angels. I felt like a new woman. I could have climbed a mountain or parted seas or something. It was magnificent.

And I felt so proud that a theory of mine (he's waking up all the time because he's sleeping right next to us) was actually correct! My hair brained theories are never correct. Holy crap. To finally be right about something made me feel super.

My mom said, on the phone, "it's good for him to sleep by himself. He's his own person, separate from you."

Is that why it took me so long to put him in the other room? Is that why I kept co sleeping even when it stopped working? So I could keep him snuggled up next to me, part of me, for as long as I could?

This morning Mr. E is not here and Eli is crying in his crib and he is separate from me, his own person, and I am not super. I have no one to make faces at. I am not in this together with anyone. It is me and my screaming unhappy son and I am the one who always fixes the crying and I hate this. I can't even write coherently about it. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it.

All I know is that I am the one who keeps him safe. I am the one who takes him, screaming, crying and afraid when someone has sneezed or he gets scared or he's cold, who says "I forgot to tell you, he doesn't like sneezing," who holds him to me and who wipes the tears and who feels the shudders leave his body as he curls into me and gulps and eats for comfort and now I am supposed to leave him to cry, to hear him scream and do nothing.

Twenty minutes are up. Going to get my boy. He needs his mom.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Notes from the Trenches

We're right in the middle of "crying it out."
It's going ok, although I think I might have to start "drinking it out".

EVLO

I really have no opinion on Rachael Ray one way or the other, but that EVOO thing is getting on my last freaking nerve. Is it really so hard to say Olive Oil? (Not to mention it turns out what we're buying at the store is probably lamp oil anyway.)

It's Not Just Television for Women Anymore

Mr. E, out loud, while reading The New Yorker:

"Oooh, Kim Delaney...

Fuck! She's in Army Wives?

I'm going to have to start watching that now."

Friday, August 10, 2007

Happy Friday

Did you know that today was International Barf on Mom Day?
I didn't either, but Eli did!


Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Big Sleep

The sleep thing has been rough going from the very beginning. And the annoying thing is that it’s all people can talk about before you have a baby – the sleep deprivation, and I totally expected it to suck, but somehow, I don’t know, I can’t explain it, I didn’t expect it to suck in this way, at all. I can’t explain it, it makes no sense, but I feel like a total cliché and that makes me even more annoyed. Like we’re having the same boring sleep problems that everyone else is having, how typical, how lame. But here we are, nevertheless, sleepless.

So. The night after he was born, Eli cried all night long, and nothing we did made any difference. I breastfed him over and over and over again and he’d fall asleep in my arms and then every time I put him back in his basinet he’d wake right up again and start to cry. The nurses told us we had to feed him every single time he cried because if he lost weight we might have to leave the hospital without him and they also made me sign something saying that I wouldn’t let him sleep in the hospital bed with me and that was just ridiculous, when you think about it, and I should have either ignored it or had the balls to tell them where to put that piece of paper and that idea in general, but we were terrified about our very tiny new baby and we did what we were told. What’s even more annoying is that the one useful piece of information, that babies will cluster feed over and over and over again sometimes randomly and you just have to go with it and it’s normal, was the one piece of information they didn’t tell us, and so when we emerged from that first night of hell, bleary eyed and desperate for sleep, the nurse laughed and casually said “oh, yeah, we should have a sign up about the cluster feeding! Ha ha!” Ha ha indeed. Fuckers.

And then we came home and further not sleeping commenced. Progress came very very slowly, earned in tiny victories as we experimented and tested and read books and googled and walked the floor and called up our moms and slowly figured out the enormous mystery that was our tiny screaming baby. It turned out that we had the particular sort of baby who would cry unless he slept on me, curled up with his tiny head jammed right up into my neck. And so that’s what we did, and I was so tired at first that the thought that I’d never get a normal six hours of uninterrupted sleep again made me just want to cry, only I was too tired to cry. I wanted to throw up every night when it was time for bed, because I knew I would be getting up again in 2.5 hours to feed my child for the umpteenth million time.

But slowly we figured it out. We learned how to swaddle and we dragged our exhausted asses to Target and bought a co sleeper and some blessed soul gave us a white noise machine and then one day Eli could sort of maybe go to sleep in the middle of our bed instead of on me. And a light bulb went off at around month three and we figured out that he was supposed to take naps. Who knew. Not that he would take naps, per se, but at least we finally knew he was supposed to be taking them. I had just assumed he would fall asleep when he was tired, I guess. I really didn’t realize I had to physically take the child and put him down for naps. That’s when I started to think I needed to write a parenting book called “Guess What, They All Lie, Breastfeeding Does Hurt, and By the Way, Good Luck Getting This Child to Fall Asleep Four Times Every Day, it Doesn’t Just Happen on its Own, Sucker.” I see that book becoming a run away best seller, don’t you?

So we learned all these little things and time passed and getting Eli to fall asleep slowly got easier. He still wouldn’t take naps, and he wouldn’t go to sleep at night unless we also went to sleep with him, next to him, but he would actually fall asleep at night. So that was progress, of a sort. Then we had another breakthrough and one day Mr. E put him on the dryer in his little bouncer thingee and he fell asleep right there, and then he would take short naps, but only on the dryer. I’d have to run in and reset the dryer every 70 minutes because if it turned off he’d wake up instantly.

I actually started to feel sad about the 17 year old my son would be someday soon before I knew it and how that 17 year old would have dirty feet and fart and burp a lot and probably would be too tall to sleep curled up on his mom with his head wedged up into her neck and a couple of times I let Eli sleep on me a little longer than he maybe needed to and I just smelled his dirty milky neck and whispered in his soft little ears and felt his little baby breathing and so through out all this, as bad as I might make it sound, you must know that despite all this exhaustion and confusion and everything, please don’t doubt that it was all worth it, every single horrible minute of it, and know that I’d do it all over again in a second for my boy and his soft little milky neck folds. I just really thought it would be nice if he might decide to also take a nap once in a while.

Recently we took a trip to Boston and we really needed him to nap before we headed out to my cousin’s wedding and there he was in the big hotel room bed and not a dryer in sight and he would not sleep, just flat out plain would not sleep, and something just clicked in my head and I pulled those big thick plastic dark hotel room shades shut and instantly! He fell asleep. Instantly.

So then the title of my book became “Guess What, They All Lie, Breastfeeding Does Hurt, and By the Way, Good Luck Getting This Child to Fall Asleep Four Times Every Day, It Doesn’t Just Happen on its Own, Sucker, and By the Way It Needs to Be Dark For Him to Fall Asleep, Duh, and What a Terrible Parent You Are!” I just can’t believe it never occurred to me before that he needed it to be dark. I mean, for christ’s sake, I can’t sleep unless it’s pitch black, why the hell would he be able to? God. I can’t believe I never thought of that or read that or asked someone about that. Best. Parent. Ever., I am.

We bought magic room darkening shades at Walmart and even though they gave me this weird throat tickle and I suspect I have a vinyl allergy and Mr. E cursed the designer of the room darkening shades to hell many many times, they totally made the room really really dark and they worked! They worked! Eli was taking naps for hours and hours and hours. And it was magical. I had time on my hands. I plucked my eyebrows. I read a book. I ironed, people. I actually considered waking him up because I got bored a couple of times. Seriously. It was wondrous. And he would go to sleep at night at 8 pm when we put him down and he would stay asleep for 12 hours, more or less. It was nothing short of The Miracle of the Vinyl Shades.

And now it has gone totally completely and 100% totally to hell. Eli will not nap, will not sleep for love or money or room darkening vinyl shades. Is he teething? I don’t know. I don’t really feel teeth, but then again, I am the person who never realized it needed to be dark in order for my child to sleep. Maybe there’s a tooth there? I can’t tell. Last night he woke up at 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 2, 4, and was awake from 4-6. Because he has to nurse to fall asleep and because I’m the one with boobs, I was also awake at 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 2, and from 4-6. Because Eli was screaming at the top of his lungs and vibrating his entire little body and possibly the whole state of California with his screaming, Mr. E was also awake at 8,9,10,11,12,2 and from 4-6. Fun times were had by all.

At one point last night Eli projectile vomited all over me from a prone position. I didn’t even know that was possible. At some horrible hour of the morning I held him out from me with straight arms and just blustered “YOU MUST FALL ASLEEP” at him and then Mr. E took him away and into the other room to change him and I literally saw, crumbling before my eyes, my image of myself as the nurturing mother who would take my child and sit with him in a soft glowy light in the rocker in the other room and soothe him and shush him and just love him through whatever he needed loving through and I don’t know. I don’t know. I’m just so tired.

We have decided that this weekend will be Sleepgate 2007 and since we have no other ideas we’re going to try to get Eli to sleep in his crib in his own room. He has completely outgrown the pack and play basinet that he sleeps in next to our bed and I think we are waking him up when we come into our room at night and I just don’t think I can co sleep anymore. I have the darkening shades for his room and a noise machine all set up and I was thinking I would put a mattress on the floor in there and nurse him to sleep and then lift him into his crib, so we’ll see if that works. If it doesn’t, I have no idea what we’ll do. Everyone says “Well, no one goes off to college and co sleeps” but they never tell you how they got that 18 year old to sleep in his own damn crib 17 years ago, do they?

The Life of a SAHM

I just had a lengthy (and scintillating) conversation with a six month old about whether or not Mommy should have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch.

(The answer was yes).

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Gym Class

The tiniest of moments can change your life.

So there I was. Many years ago. The smallest of fifth graders. I tell you that not because it's of great importance, but because I like to set the stage. And also it's so truly rare that I think of myself with such great fondness as I do when I think of Fifth Grade Elizabeth and so I like to mention it. I had the cutest little bob with bangs and my skin was still all dewy and non broken out and I was so tiny that my uniform skirt had to be held on with suspenders because fourth graders wore jumpers so the skirts for the fifth graders didn't go as small as I was. I found it very humiliating but I also kind of liked it and secretly thought it made me special.

And so a few months into that year I forgot my gym clothes and I had to sit in the wooden bleachers of our old crazy catholic school gym and I truly believe someone reached down and did something in my universe that day almost 21 years ago and on that day some other girl in our class forgot her gym clothes too and here we are folks, 21 years later, best friends to this day.

And man have we seen each other through a lot. We have been left by our mothers together and let down by our fathers together. We have been selfish together and mean together and together we have pushed each other to rise above. SP has permed my hair, dyed my hair, ironed my hair, and cut my hair (although not all at once). She's been there through bad boyfriends and worse boyfriends and terrible girl friends. We've cried in each other's arms and we've cried long distance. We've gained weight together and lost weight together and we stood at each others sides as we both said I do to other loves in our lives and on the day I gave birth SP was right there holding my hand on one side as Mr. E stood on the other side and together all three of us welcomed our boy into this world and I wouldn't have it any other way.

I am sure our kids will hate each other with a fiery passion but I do have visions of waspy sleep away camps in their future and I hope we'll be standing there together in unintentionally matching outfits from J Crew as the bus to camp pulls away with our babies on it. I'd say I know we'd dry each other's tears but chances are we'll too busy gossiping about Lindsay Lohan to bother with crying.

Is it uncool now to say you have a best friend? I get that vibe from the world, but I'm not worried. The uncoolness factor is made up for by the fact itself. It's amazing and wonderful to have such a friend in your life and coolness just doesn't compare with that.

I think I mentioned that my dad has been emailing me and have I mentioned that one the things that I like least about him is his thinly veiled and bigoted strict moral code? Doesn't like profanity, doesn't like sex, really doesn't like gay people. And now unfortunately that's really going to have to just be his problem because I spent 22 years of my life censoring myself so that he wouldn't get all worked up and I'm done with that now and you know what? I laugh at the word rod, and I giggle whenever someone talks about beavers, and that's just who I am, and I can't not be that for anyone else. I'm not going to send my father a collage of the F word but I won't hide who I am when I am not ashamed of that person. I prefer laughing to yelling, regardless what it's about.

Anyway. Emailing my father. It's all been very nice and friendly so far and we haven't brought up any turds or punchbowls but he did ask me the other day about SP and if we were still friends and if she was married and I squared my jaw and wrote him back and told him that yeah she was married although since it was to a woman it wasn't technically legal but I know she considers it to be the same thing and I haven't heard back from him since then.

And as far as I'm concerned, that's really fine. I had hoped he had changed. I had hoped I wouldn't have to make a choice like this. I wish the world was a better place. But I insist on living in a world where love is always right, no matter what. And furthermore I think if there is anything I have learned in the past thirty years both from my father who abandoned me and from my best friend who did not it is that family is defined by much more and much less than blood relations and if I have to choose between my father and the person who's loved me and been there for me for the past twenty one years, I... Well. It is not a choice for me.

B.F.F.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Monday, July 30, 2007

Eli As A Simpson


Help!

Does anyone out there know anything about jogging strollers? I need one now that I've got to train for the Detroit Half Marathon, and I can't tell what kind to get. I'm worried that the BOB Revolution (with a lockable swivel front wheel) is too "all purpose" and won't be the right thing for running ten plus miles with, but I'm worried that the Baby Jogger with the fixed wheel will be incredibly annoying for anything but running.
Any advice?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Oceans and Other Salty Things

The other day I was nursing Eli and I thought something felt funny and I looked down and saw that he was nursing and sucking his thumb AT THE SAME TIME. Is clearly genius.

We're going on another trip this weekend for my cousin's wedding and I got some of those crazy Spanx underwear thingees to wear under my dress and holy wah. Worth every penny. I wouldn't wear them every day, but if you just need to feel more confident and less bulgy at some kind of formal event or in a fancy dress they get the job done.

This will be the first time Eli sees the Atlantic Ocean, but I've now lost count of how many times he's seen the Pacific. That fact makes me think I'm doing something right. Babies should be dipped in the ocean a lot, I think.

I'm going to run the Detroit Half Marathon and I'm inordinately excited about it. You get to run around downtown Detroit and cross bridges and run into Canada and run underwater! (in a tunnel). Now if someone would just sell me a nice cheap running stroller so I can get outside a little more easily with the boy...

Before E was born, I was slightly obsessed with finding non babyish non typical non baby blue clothes for him to wear. I bought a lot of red and stripes and polka dots. It's now completely obvious that blue is his best color. That and if he wears red you can't tell that he's a boy. That's ok though, on those days we just call him Barbara.

I've been rewatching the first seasons of Veronica Mars on DVD and it's awesome.

Just finished HP, I surprised myself, but I loved it. Because I used to work in a bookstore my feelings towards Harry are always very mixed. I've never been a rabid fan - I of course found the whole hoo ha great because it meant kids were reading but annoying because it meant I had to work at midnight and try to figure out where your name was on a list of 7 million people and if you had your correct wristband blah blah blah. So Harry will always be inextricably linked to that whole "jesus, people, calm down" feeling for me. However I do have some signed stuff and while I have no idea of its real value I have a secret dream that Harry Potter is going to buy me a house in San Diego someday. Regardless I really enjoyed the last book, and it was kind of fun to feel like the whole country was READING together. If only we could to that with more than just one book per year.

I made grilled peaches for the first time while camping. Truly delicious, and I am not one for hot fruit.

We climbed a cinder cone volcano thingee on our camping trip. When we saw it for the first time and someone said "we're climbing up that" I thought they were joking. Apparently I was picturing a smallish cinder cone volcano thingee. You know... a tourist photo op type of thing you lean up against and have your picture taken? This was...not that. This was a giant 75 degree angle beast of loose black lava. It was totally worth climbing it though because I received an excellent geology lesson at the top. Also I can't complain too much because Mr. E carried Eli in the Moby Wrap which means he toted up an extra fifteen pounds or so in addition to his giant brain stuffed with important geology knowledge. With that Moby Wrap on he strongly resembled Brad Pitt, although I really doubt Brad Pitt could give such a stunning and well rounded geology lesson at the top of a cinder cone volcano thingee. I knew I picked the right man.

Do you think it's rude to ask people in public if their baby is a boy or a girl? I could care less if people ask me, but I feel weird asking other people. Usually I just say "what a cute baby" and leave it at that.

On that note, what a cute baby!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The First Four Years

Aren't we all just looking for something?

You know the feeling. I've had it a few times in my life. I used to get it from food, sometimes. A long time ago I got it from sucking my thumb. I got it when I was just a girl and my mom would rub my back and sing lullabies to me and I would fall asleep that way, before my parents got divorced and it all fell apart. I can (only sometimes) find it with wine although I'm afraid I always do get it from the vicoprofin I used to take for my cramps. On rare occasions, it used to happen more often, Mr. E would rub my back and I would fall asleep and the feeling would be right there, just around the corner, although I would fall asleep too soon to really grab onto it.

Every once in a while I get it from just the right manicure or pedicure (when I'm not worried about how much it's going to cost) and I've gotten it from lying under a sun so hot I can feel sweat splash off my eyelashes and there have been sun dappled afternoons in the car with maybe elvis playing on the stereo as the trees flashed by and I just felt like putting my whole head out the window of the car and lapping at the breeze like a dog. Music, drugs, backrubs, booze.

I suppose it's called relaxation.

I never feel that way anymore. Maybe after a long really good run.

You feel scrubbed out. Tired, but free. Weightless. Calm. The things you say are funny. The world loves you. You can breathe.

And I look at Eli with BOTH fists shoved in his mouth and I think damn. That feeling's something he's going to spend his whole life chasing too. I feel sad about that. And I wonder how to make it so that he doesn't have to look for it with drugs or booze or food. So he's not thirty years old and still chasing it like I am.

I thought about this for three or four days and worried over it because that's just how I am and also I thought I had pretty much figured out the secret of life. That we're all just trying to get even maybe back to the womb or since we can't do that, we;'re just trying to find some comfort, some peace, some relaxation, even five month babies are just gnawing away on their own fists trying to get high and feel happy. And so yesterday over pizza and beer I looked at Mr. E sideways and said "Do you ever think we're all just looking for something in life that we can't ever find, do you ever think in this life we're all just searching for a peace we can never quite grasp, and we're just trying to get back to our childhoods because that was the closest we ever got?" and as I said the words I realized the full import of what I was telling him and how I had finally figured it all out and how now he would finally realize just how fucked up I was and the world was and how his son would be someday be too and he looked back at me and just said. "Duh."

And so amazingly sometimes I do find that peace I am looking for, right there across the table from me, in this person who doesn;t take me and all my seventh grade angsty shit too seriously. And who really does know how fucked up I am and who doesn't care. Who even likes it. And loves it, and loves me. Not just anyway. But also because.

Happy Anniversary, Mr. E.
Thank you for being in this together with me.



Summer in the Central Valley


This whole batch was $5.00!

I don't much care for canned peaches, and we don't eat a lot of jam. Not a big fan of cobbler/crisp/crumble.

Any other ideas?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Five Months Later

I finally put up a set of pictures of Eli's nursery on Flickr. You can check it out here, if you want.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/e_and_e/sets/72157600783059731/


(Note to self: Never refinish another piece of furniture for as long as I live.)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Freedom

Breastfeeding has gotten so much better. To the point that Eli will be six months old in about 45 days and I don't think I could give it up that soon, I think I'd be sad if I had to stop at six months. So we're aiming for the one year mark and I am looking forward immensely to my one year of breastfeeding are you insane reward I picked out.

And I'm pretty much over my whole judgement thing. I don't think much about whether or not other people are breastfeeding their kids, I really don't care. I'm glad I chose to breastfeed, but I'm not so concerned with other people and their choices right now.

I'm not sure why this is. Partially I think it's just that now that I am better at it and Eli is much better at it and I am much more used to it, it's not so incredibly soul sucking anymore. I love that I have an immediate and never failing way of comforting my child when he is upset. And I appreciate that breastfeeding forced me to slow down, to chill out, to sit down and shut up and bond with my child already. And to be honest it hurt A LOT until about three months into it and when it finally stopped hurting that made a big difference. So breastfeeding is not something I hate to do anymore, and although I still don't love doing it in public once you've had to breastfeed in the Detroit airport sitting on the ground by a trash can, you learn to get over yourself and you just do it.

Awhile back after I posted about breastfeeding and weight loss and judgement Mr. E and I were talking about how I was worried that my post had been misunderstood. Because I certainly understand that there are many many reasons why people don't breastfeed but understanding those reasons was not helping me feel less bitter about how much it sucked for me and that bitterness was spilling over towards people who don't even TRY.

However in the course of our discussion once again I was reminded of something I seem to have to learn over and over - since I was raised in a cloud of constant judgement I struggle with this a lot. Because the fact is that breastfeeding is not a moral issue. Losing weight is not a moral issue. You are not a good person because you breastfed or didn't, anymore than you are a good person because you are fat or thin. You are not a good or bad person because of these things. You just are.

Don't get me wrong. I'm still chained to the sucking succubus known as my son and there are some days I feel as trapped as ever by the breastfeeding. But I have let go of the moral judgement thing and truly, that's also when I started to feel free.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Monday, July 02, 2007

Which Is Better For You?

At first I hated yogurt.

Then I started WW and discovered that Yoplait Light fruit flavored stuff and I loved it. It was the perfect midmorning snack at work and it was only two points (or around a hundred calories). And it actually tasted good to me, so it was kind of like having a treat, but not one that was a bajillion points and that was going to make me fat. It also contains a bunch of fake sugar and high fructose corn syrup and I'm sure the milk it's made with comes from cows that are fed every hormone under the sun. But again, six ounces, a hundred calories, no fat.

Then this weekend we bought some Organic Plain Whole Milk yogurt because Eli has started eating solid food and the operating instructions that came with him suggested yogurt as a good first food, and he's supposed to have a lot of fat in his diet and also, if I worked this hard to breast feed this kid for all this time you had damn well better be sure that yogurt is going to be organic.

Eli is not overly fond of the organic whole milk yogurt, but I freaking love it. I would never have ordinarily bought it, but now that I have, it's making me rethink things. I mean, this yogurt came with a layer of CREAM on the top about a half inch thick. It's got 180 calories and 9 grams of fat in a cup. So while it has a lot of fat in it, it also has no hormones, no pesticides, no fake sugar, no high fructose corn syrup, no sugar at all, in fact.

Last night I had about half a cup of the full fat yogurt with some raspberries and this morning I had some with some peaches. It was delicious, it kept me full for ages afterwards, it didn't upset my stomach like ice cream, it got me eating real fruit, and best of all, it didn't give me that itchy "what else sugary can I eat now or should I just eat some more of this" bingey feeling afterwards. I just felt satisfied.

So now I ask you...can this full fat organic plain yogurt really be worse for me than than the non fat fake sugar yogurt?

Wouldn't I rather be eating something healthier than so obsessed with a number on a scale that I am willing to eat anything as long as I think won't make me fat?

Wouldn't I rather be a slightly larger size than hating myself no matter what size I am?

Also, who knew anyone could write this many words about yogurt?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Ordinary World

I have long held a deep seated fear of becoming ordinary.

Back in the day before we got married sometimes Mr. E and I would talk about why the idea of marriage and living out our days in Michigan and living an ordinary life just like his brothers and sisters and every else in his family freaked me out so much and all I could say was "don't you sometimes see us just lining up to be exactly like your aunts and uncles a generation later? Do you really want to be just like they were, only a generation removed? And doesn't that give you the creeps?"

And one of the reasons I didn't want to have a baby for a long time was that it seemed like something that such ordinary boring people would do. It seemed like something that EVERYONE did. It seemed to lack imagination and I really didn't want to be like everyone else, popping out kids and blogging about their poops and taking them to see "The Little Mermaid 4: The Awakening".

And for some reason I was also hesitant to mention here that that last week I emailed my father and a very tentative and slight olive branch has been extended. And I think it was because it just felt like a cop out to me. Like, everyone hates their parents but most poeple try to get along with them anyway and I was the one who had drawn the line in the sand and NEVER talked to my father, unlike EVERYONE else.

But somehow along the way ordinary snuck up on me - maybe it's just a part of getting older or maybe I just don't have time to care anymore. Now I find myself WISHING and HOPING that we turn out JUST LIKE Mr. E's big group of aunts and uncles, who seriously exemplify raising a village together and who love each other like crazy and who have been through it all together and have become this amazing tight knit group of people where for example the divorced aunts are still just as much as part of the family as anyone else, if not more so.

And the thing with my father has actually turned out kind of nice, I have to admit. He has been, I don't know, friendly. It feels sort of...good not to be all consumed with hating his guts and drawing lines in the sand and not speaking and announcing how long it's been since such and such where my father was concerned.

And as for having a baby. I am sure it is such an ordinary experience, it is one that everyone who has children goes through, I know. But to me it feels unique, like the most singular experience of my life. The other day we fed Eli "solid food" for the first time and he gummed around some oatmeal flakes and breastmilk and rubbed it all over everything and Mr. E took pictures like the loser first time lamer parents that we totally are, and people, it was amazing. And it felt as though we had discovered the moon or climbed the Eiffel Tower or performed some other outrageously wondrous and amazing feat.

Feeding the baby. Who knew it would be so special.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Big Plans

I'm feeling much better after my emotional breakdown slash bloggy rant.

This weekend I plan on doing nothing more than drinking, eating my favorite ice cream, and lying around in the sun reading. I might take in a movie or two. (Even though I hate animation, I hear good things, and you never know. )

I want to try to make the french toast that Anne Lamott eats in Operating Instructions. I've been thinking about it ever since I read that book.

I also may try to do a long run on Sunday. Running has become my feel better drug of choice these days. What could be better than really leaving it all out there? You can come out of a five mile run feeling like everything really is going to be ok. But I need to be careful of my ankle so I might not run that far.

If things get really crazy, I may put some more goofy hats on my child and take pictures. Just for kicks.

I Don't Know What to Say

Thank you for your words of support.
It will get infinitely better once Mr. E is finished with his big work project and stops going out of town for work.
I guess I was just wondering whether there is a way to change a leopards' spots, so to speak. Is there a way to nicely say "look how clean this house is. You can't know how much it cost me. You have no idea how hard I worked. You can't imagine what it took. So please please please please don't leave your dishes in the sink!." Because I try and it feels like nice doesn't really work and I am starting to feel dish smashingly pissed off about it, I won't lie.
There is always the possibility that I should just chill the fuck out, loosen up, relax, etc. But I have been asked to do that all my life by many many many people, and it hasn't happened yet.
Mostly I just don't want to be crabby, but I don't really know how to uncrab. I don't know people here I can ask to stay with Eli. I don't have friends here. We have lived here for a year and we really don't know anyone, the people we meet...are not like us. Let's just put it that way.
That is one of the reasons we are really hoping to get out of here, but it all takes time. In the meantime I know I should not take it so personally that Mr. E does not notice things like muddy floors, although those are things that send me up the wall.And so I do take it personally. So really my question is...
Can make someone stop being so damned messy and scatterbrained? That is what I need. I can deal with a crying baby who never naps and a dog who never calms down and taking care of both 24-7 while my husband works, but I just need to do it in a clean house and I need my husband to understand that and to work harder than he has ever worked before at not leaving his flip flops lying around every damn day because otherwise dude, I think I will lose my shit.
Lately I have been thinking about how when my mother left me at my father's and moved across the country, about how terrible that was, and how I just...took it. How I never said "I hate this. I don't want you to leave me here. I don't want to get back on that plane and go back to dad's." I never said any of those things. I cried at night and made sure no one heard me. I hid everything. One time my mother said to me "I should have kept you here. I shouldn't have sent you back" and I still wonder. Was it my fault too? Should I have said something? Should I have refused to go back?
So for the rest of my life I think I'll struggle with that. I...go along. I conform. Still, I might be crying in the dark where no one can hear me, but I am, as always, a survivor. I manage and struggle through and in the end things do get better.
But when do you say "enough"? "I can't do this. This is too hard. I'm not getting back on that plane?" That's really hard for me to do. And this whole situation is reminding me of that and I don't know how to say: I need more help. I need more sympathy. I need more understanding. I need you to work so much harder at helping me keep the house clean and I need you to keep the dog away from me and I need you to bring me flowers and I need you listen to me when I am crazy and I need a break and I need to relax and I need to let go and I don't know how."
ANd meanwhile. I must say.
I totally also don't appreciate Mr. E at all, because I am so overwhelmed I can't really get my head above water to appreciate him, if that makes sense. I can't see past the flip flops on the floor. I am forgetting how he rocked the baby to sleep for hours the other night when he WOULD NOT SLEEP, and how he wakes up early and takes him for walks, and how he feeds the dog and pets the cat and loves us all. And also how he is not here because he is working his ass off for his family.
It sucks for him too.
But this is just really hard.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Solo

I find myself in a seriously bad mood of late, and I can't shake it.

I've got a four month old WILL NOT take naps, no matter what I do.

I've a two and half year old dog who still acts like a eight month old puppy and who is always, endlessly, on the verge of losing her shit and who the neighbors actually bring people by to see because every time someone walks by she jumps up and down, up and down, endless times in a row, each time with her head clearing a six foot fence.

I've got a husband who is gone for days and nights at a time at work and this dynamic is really the worst possible scenario for dealing with the two aforementioned beasts. Just when I get used to him being gone he returns. Just when I finally get the floors clean, there's a pair of muddy boots thrown on my living room floor and just when I get all the dishes done there's pizza left out overnight and then he turns around and takes off again and by the way doesn't sweep the floor and doesn't throw out the pizza and also steals the fucking contact solution! What the hell.

I need a break. And when Mr. E gets home I think "Thank god, finally someone to help me." But he's exhausted from working and when he finally does get home he thinks "Thank god, I finally get a break." Then when neither one of us does get a break it just pisses us each of us off, I think.

And I know he tries. I know he does. I know when he said my house was clean before I got home from Michigan that he thought it was clean, but that does not change the fact that no, it wasn't clean, not in my opinion, and so I spent this whole week and weekend trying to catch up and clean and just get half an hour to sweep the floor and feeling like I can't even get time for that in the middle of being thrown up on and feeding the dog and changing the sheets and taking out the trash and sending baby presents and answering email and picking up all the shit that Mr. E just drifts through the house scattering like a fairy, dusting the world with petals and/or his crap.

And now I just can't shake this feeling...it's like I'm always about to cry in the back of my head or right behind my eyes, but I'm so mad and crabby that I can't even cry because that would actually release something in me and there's a part of me that can't stand to let go even that much. You know that feeling?

I am feeling again like i can't catch my breath, like I am never caught up, like I never get a break.

And now I just discovered that Mr. E took the contact solution with him and hi, what the fuck? Get your own goddamned contact solution.

Thank god it's 5:12.

Happy hour indeed.