Monday, February 27, 2006

A night on his own

A first. A very good first. Last night the beautiful boy spent the night, alone, in his own room. He fell asleep very early, around 6 p.m., because we got off schedule during the weekend. So he awoke around 10 and played for a while. We took him to bed around 11 and both of us lay down with him, hoping for him to settle. With no bottle. He squirmed, he squirmed, he tossed, and turned, he whined and fussed, he... This is starting to sound like Dr. Seuss. Anyway, it went on. And on. We finally caved and gave him half a bottle. He inhaled it and was none too happy when it was all gone, but I did the deft binky switch maneuver, and he went for it. It helps to be too tired to fight. I tiptoed out of the room, but he heard me, lifted his head, and started to cry. Oh, the most heart wrenching how could you leave me cry. So I lay back down and got snuggly buggly again. Which I like very much. It only took an extra 5 or 10 minutes, and I tiptoed back to my room. His door is open and gated, my door is open and down the hall. The monitor is on. I can hear him if he needs me. He slept until morning. Ahhh, bliss. I'm crossing my fingers that it wasn't a fluke and that he'll make it through the night tonight.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Marveling in the moment

When I awoke to whimpering at 4 a.m. the other day, and found my child lodged beneath my dresser, I decided it's time for him to learn to sleep in his own room. We had his room ready when he came home from the hospital with him, over a year ago, but never actually used it. It began to collect things, until it was filled with bags and boxes and ribbons. It had become, and stayed, the gift wrapping room. We moved all the non-baby things out, and I put a cube shelf unit in his closet for his clothes (which were conveniently in the laundry room until now). We gathered most of the toys from around the house and arranged them on shelves for him. We left a few of his favorites downstairs. I put a queen mattress directly on the floor and finally found a use for the crib bumper that I'd worked so hard to make him, over a year ago. It is now a queen mattress bumper. It's just a bit longer than the two sides of the mattress that meet the wall, and they provide a little amount of cushion when he's scooting himself across the mattress in the middle of the night, half asleep. He does that. Like a little mole. His face is down and he scoots on his stomach with his butt up in the air, scoot scoot scoot, here, there, back again. He moves quite a lot in his sleep. We're working on a night-night routine, and I've been sleeping with him until he is familiar with the room. I'm also weaning him from night time bottles. This is alot to throw at him at once, but I'm tired of washing sheets every single day, if I don't wake up at 2 a.m. to change him (and risk waking him as well).

He likes to have me right where he is, so it's hard to get anything done. I've been trying to clean out my spare room and turn it into my craft room, thus giving myself precedence over my non-existent guests. I finally got him to take a nap, and he had a nice long rest. He just woke up and I'm marveling in the moment. I can hear him happily playing and singing and cooing and having a good time. I don't want him to see me and decide he has to cry until I come be with him, so here I am, blogging, but more importantly, hiding from him. Hiding from my own son!

It's been about twenty minutes. He's been alone long enough now, and is starting to lose interest with the things in his room. I must go snuggle my Boo!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The hazards of blogging

Okay. I'm back. And I'm feeling much better. A thank you to all the people who post such warm and nice things.

I find that one of the hazards of blogging is that it's so in the moment. That's all fine and good when the moment is good. But when the moment is dark. Well. Not so good.

I will first say that I like myself. Whew! I tried to ponder it more fully last night, and the night before, but I fell asleep. I wanted to ask myself to try and put together a mental list of why I liked myself, in that moment, so I could make those thoughts more concrete and perhaps file them away for times of darkness when the goodness escapes me. But I fell asleep.

I know that I mentioned earlier that it's probably hormones, and in the moment when I was writing that, I was in a dark place and commented that it's such a copout to say that. I have to say, now that I'm in a more positive place, that there is some truth to that. Hormones are these crazy little brain chemicals that wreak utter chaos if something disturbs their fragile balance. I know this. I know this. I lost a brother to the imbalance. And I've spent a lifetime drifting in and out of darkness, and when I get stuck there, it feels like deja vu and I get disgusted with myself for getting stuck there again and not being able to find my way out and only recognizing enough to know that I've been there before, thus giving myself more reason to despise myself. Magnifying silly superficial things beyond all reason. It's that broken record sensation I spoke of earlier. If we were talking classical control systems theory, it would be called positive feedback, which leads to instability and ultimate destruction. Now I have a visual of Galloping Gerty, which fell victim to harmonic frequency. (Umm, nerd alert. So I majored in Control Systems. Woop. Dee. Doo. I even actually used a teensy weensy bit of it in my professional life. But anyway, I digress. I was just attempting to express an analogy.)

So anyway. Hormones. A cacophony of hormones. That, and a yawn of excuses.

I could just delete the posts of darkness, but it wouldn't be altogether honest, so I think I'll leave them be. It sort of fits the SPT All of Me theme.

But right now? The sound of exploding glass has just interrupted all other trains of thought. That, and somebody wants his mommy.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Self Portrait Tuesday

I know the personal history theme is over, but I found this picture while digging through some old boxes of things. I've been on a sort of a downer lately, feeling anxious about things in general. Too much work. Not enough family time. Not enough baby time. Not enough me time. Thinking about self image and wondering why it is so easy to magnify the flaws and disregard the features. I've been feeling frustrated with myself for not being physically what I would like to be. Today, I would leap for joy to have the look that I had 25 years ago, in this picture. Yet in this picture, I remember the person I was then. And I had the same self image. I wasn't satisfied. Oh if only. Such a tiresome and most shallow expression. Where is the thankfulness for all that is good in life? So easily taken for granted.

I was nominated for Homecoming Queen that year, the fall of my Senior year. I don't know why. I wasn't crowned, and that didn't bother me. I remember feeling so uneasy being the center of attention. I don't like that feeling at all. I try to stand to make myself look as small as possible, so self-conscious of the midsection and the legs. My calves were so big I had to take my boots apart and re-sew the zippers in to give me a little more room, as much as I could possibly get. I was always in danger of them exploding from my legs. Now that would have been a sight! I'm the one next to the king. A bit heavy, and very much aware of it. Today, there is much more of me. A hundred pounds more. What an awful thing to put in writing. What a shameful thing. Four pounds a year for twenty five years. It can creep up on a person, and it wasn't a bit hard. I actually wear it rather well, which isn't necessarily a good thing. It makes the denial just that much easier. I wonder why the person in that picture couldn't be happier with herself. How shallow was she? There were probably people who would have loved to have her face, her skin, her eyes, maybe her hair. But she didn't pay much attention to those features. They came with the package. She didn't ask for them. They were just part of the genetic roulette. As were the legs. How foolish is it to let such a thing contribute so much to the total sum of self worth?

Very foolish. Very shallow. There are some things in life that the girl in the picture can control. Self worth is a choice. What a shame that she keeps forgetting this. She flashes a toothy smile, tosses her head, and is on her way, pushing those thoughts behind her for another day.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Another restless night

I dreamt that I had sleep apnea and I was a doctor, looking at myself (you can do this in dreams, be more than one character), and I put the stethoscope to my chest and realized that I was missing 3 beats for every 4 beats, so I wasn’t getting enough oxygen to my brain, which explained why I so often wake up with excruciating headaches. I guess that also means I’m ¾ dead. I do get an inordinate number of headaches. I probably do have sleep apnea, actually, because I’m told I snore like a sailor, and sometimes I find that I wake myself up, choking and coughing. I should go get it checked out.

I had another dream that I belonged to this huge powerful company and everyone was in a big auditorium. There were food tables here and there and people were lining up to grab something before sitting down for whatever was to come. I wanted to get in line but somebody needed me, and when I could finally get to the table the meeting was about to start and I had to sit down, but it was too late anyway, because all the food packets were gone. One of my coworkers found me and told me about a design that another coworker was pushing, and he was very upset, saying it would be creating some troubles down the line because of inconsistencies between models. We need to keep options consistent across the board, for simplicity, for configuration control, and also to keep costs down. I told him not to worry, I completely understood, and I’d find my other coworker and let him know we had to work out the design requirements a bit more, to make it consistent. It meant a lot more work on our parts, up front, but it made things smoother in the end. Later, in the dream, it was like being on trial. I didn’t want to stand out or have any attention brought on me. People were being called accountable for things and they were made to be seen as they were. I cowered, hoping I’d not be called, but I was. And I was told I was a… …I stuttered and mumbled and tried to deny it, something about not being a Squished Piggy (really, it was just like that in the dream, literally those words), but the verdict came out as I felt my form change to that of a pig, and I was horrified to feel my nose change to a snout and the rest of me follow suit. So there it was, plain as a day. I’m a pig. I didn’t like that dream very well.

Another one. This one morphed from the pig dream. My company was on the verge of announcing a brand new product. The biggest personal transport ever. It might have even been meant for space travel, or something, but it was a gigantic ocean liner that had the hugest seating capacity; a great many abreast on the top deck. It was all hush hush. I might have had a premonition about it, that it was a doomed venture. It was perhaps a dream within a dream, but I saw several of these ocean liners on the high seas, being tossed to and fro by the gigantic waves, and they were straining and out of control, subject to the fury and whim of the sea. I awoke just as they were about to be clashed together on a huge wave. I was strapped into my seat and remember seeing part of the hull of another ship, painted a nice shiny blue. Part of it was silver, towards the top. There was work that needed to be done – some metal had to be spliced in, where there was corrosion, as though an old ocean liner had been used for the frame and parts were rusted out. It looked so out of place, to see rusted through patches on this sleek new ocean liner.

Note to self. Consider not having caffeine and/or chocolate after 6 p.m., because face it, it sometimes affects me.

Like a broken record

There are times when I get wrapped up in the same old things, like a broken record, over and over again. There are times when I think I’ve grown beyond whatever the hang-up is (and it’s usually the same old thing or set of things), then something will happen and once again I’ll find myself back there, at square one. It amazes me that I can so swiftly find myself right back at the beginning, blind sided, if it were. I’ll struggle with the thoughts and feelings for a time, and then I’ll be over it. Until the next time. I find it quite tedious. And then, it occurs to me, that I might be hormonal. Yes, that’s it. It’s usually it. It’s such a copout, to blame the endocrine system, but there it is.

Why do I blog? It’s a scary thing, to put ones thoughts out there in the public realm. People can read, have thoughts, pass judgments. It’s terrifying! I don’t want to be judged. I mean, I do, in one sense, want approval. Who doesn’t? It’s one of my tedious themes. Then I get over myself for a while. Until the next time. But I’m not seeking the world’s approval. Really, I’m seeking my own. I would have liked to have had my parents’ approval, but history is what it is and they are who they are, I am who I am, and I did as much as I possibly could for as long as I could to gain their approval. Now I’m just wrestling with myself. I don’t think I’m alone in this. I think that being centered takes a lot of self discipline. I think that accepting oneself does as well. Maybe it’s easier for some than others. Especially if they don’t have whacked out hormones! Again, that’s a copout. But there is some truth to that, be that as it may.

All that said, I don’t write for an audience. I write to work my thoughts out. And it’s mostly crap, because that’s often what’s in my head. Note to self: practice more self-discipline.

I would like to see myself as my son sees me. To him, I am the most beautiful woman in the world. He sees me and sees the mama he loves and the one he depends upon. He doesn’t have any notions about my size, shape, or color. He sees who I am. He sees a fun person, a loving person, a kind person, a patient person, a caring person, and sometimes a stern person. I could stand to learn much from him. It’s called unconditional love. How I want to shake the conditioning of a lifetime. It’s such ugly baggage to be saddled with. And for what? No good comes of it.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Which isn't to say I'm not Super Sensational

Because I am. I have a ribbon to prove it. Self-loathing is not all encompassing. I have some fine qualities that I appreciate in myself. However, I'm not wont to write about them. Journaling, and now, blogging, is usually where the troubles come out. Or the thrills. Moments of extremes. The daily grind is just that. Mundane. Who wants to write about it? Who wants to read about it? Although having the calm and mundane readily available to remind oneself of what is fine and good in life is somewhat valuable in the sense of bringing one's perspective back to safer ground, rather than teetering on the extreme precipice, in danger of plummeting into depression from whence the recovery is an arduous task.

My extremes. The highs? My Boo. Fun diversions and friendships discovered in the community of Blog. Triumphs in bargain hunting. Discoveries in general. The lows? All the other drivel that takes place here. Alot of struggle coming to terms with the loss of my brother. Struggle over growing pains. Not just mine, but those of the people I love.

Waiting to live

I have this poisoned mentality where I've somehow convinced myself that I have to wait to enjoy the things in life that people who don't have weight problems get to enjoy. The beach. A tropical vacation. A cruise. Pampering. A night on the town. Dancing. Swimming. Shorts. Skirts. Heels. Shopping for clothes, period. It's a sad and self-inflicted punishment. A poor body image is a prison. And it is poison. POISON! It's an ugly self-loathing that is mostly undeserved. It doesn't seem to be completely related to my actual weight. I've carried this diseased attitude around my entire life. I didn't always look like a beached whale. But I must have thought I did. Looking back at old pictures, I wonder how I could possibly have been unhappy with how I looked. I looked good! By no means perfect. By no means Barbie or the girls in the media. Never frail. Always strong and sturdy. But always heavier than the average girl. And today? Today I probably don't truly look like a beached whale either, although much more so than the me of adolescence, some twenty five years ago.
Being accepted. It has alot to do with being accepted. Maybe I would have a healthy self image if I had been raised to feel wanted and accepted. I never cease to amaze myself that I can still be carrying thoughts like these around, when I'm an adult now. An adult! A D U L T. Over forty. FORTY! I would think I would have gotten over childhood by now.

I know better, but I don't do better. I don't know how to breach the void between knowing and doing. I can analyze it, intellectualize it, explain it. It boils down to caring what others think or might think. To elevating that over what I think. It's a sick thing, to allow myself to let the imagined judgement of a total stranger, even, a nonexistent public, rob me of my living moments. It's crazy. It's stupid. But I still do it.

Friday, February 17, 2006

I want to live

Today I found these words exploding from my being. Every time I hear a certain song I remember my brother and I cry, thinking of a young life that is over without experiencing Venice, Rome, Paris, Argentina. I sat at my desk all week long, completely wrapped up in the project I'm working on. I worked all day, every day, barely breaking for anything, through lunch, after quitting time, until the very last moment when I had to leave to get to daycare to collect my Boo. I get consumed in what I am doing, and while it means I'm super productive at work, it's TOO MUCH. A life out of balance. It's a character flaw. I need to learn how to put other things in focus, like allowing myself to take breaks, get some fresh air, take a walk, anything. STEP AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER. Something has to give, and what gives is my vessel, my body, my self. A desk job is not good for one's physical condition. Cerebral fitness isn't all that attractive, and I'm not so sure how healthy it is either. On the way home I see the sky is blue. The air is crisp. I feel it on my face before I get in my car. It feels so GOOD. I need to find some way to make a living that is more active. Because I want to LIVE! I want to BREATHE! I just don't quite know what to do, though. Else I'd be doing it. So I simply say it.
I want to LIVE!
The words will have to do for now. When I picked up my beautiful boy this afternoon, I spun him around in circles a few times, this way and that, before putting him in the car. It was so crisp and cold, the cold air in his face took his breath away and he was delighted. We giggled for joy, breathing the air and spinning around. His wide open laugh with drool dribbling out is a beautiful sight to behold. Joy. It's the picture of joy, and I love it, and savor it; am absolutely grateful to experience this moment of life. This is the kind of life I want to be living. Breathing! Dancing! Holding my boy!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Every day goes by

A day is a day to live
Or a day is a day to die
Make time for hopes and dreams
Before another day goes by

It’s easy not to give it thought
To simply plod along
Since daily life must still be lived
And another day goes by

Waking, washing, working
Feeding, serving, resting
These are all the mundane things
Thus another day goes by

Soon the years have disappeared
Never to return
Oh to live with no regret
As every day goes by

A day is a day to live
And a day is a day to die
Now is the time for hopes and dreams
Now, before this day goes by

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Recent dreams

There aren't very many women where I work. I've been the only woman in my group for many years. Recently, we hired another woman. I had a dream where she was one of the main characters. We stopped by her place for some reason, and she had one of those super cool industrial turned living quarters places. It had all these big pipes and valves running overhead and here and there, and was very spacious. It was relatively new to her, and I'm not sure she knew all the workings of the valves and plumbing. When I walked in, I also noticed she had the exact same furniture set that I inherited from my mom. Only hers was pristine, as though it were fresh off the showroom floor. Mine is in the garage, filled with cobwebs, chipped and scarred and battered and very well worn. I was very impressed with the condition of her furniture. Someone who was with us (it could have been me) fiddled with one of the valves, out of curiousity. What does this do? It's just a water valve. Or something. Suddenly, the room was filling with water. There were these manhole looking plugs in the floor and water was coming up quickly. She ended up with several inches of water on the entire floor before we were able to figure out the proper combination of valves to use to make everything drain and go back the way it was. These are some of the hazards with using an industrial space for a home, when the machinery hasn't been disabled.

I don't know what that dream is all about. I don't even know her. She's in my group, but not my subgroup, so I never see her and never speak with her, unless it's group meeting day. Even so, we don't interact unless work dictates a reason. Not that I wouldn't be friendly. That's just how things are at my office. We're sort of autonomous.

I had another dream that featured my brother as a teenager. He had that sparkle in his eye. It was a good-natured sparkle, as though he were happy and amused by something. We were outside the house, maybe behind it, hanging out on the hill. In real life we seldom hung out together, because I was in college when he was in high school. Maybe I was actually my younger sister in the dream. Anyway, he was making jokes or teasing or just being pleasant. This dream was a happy dream, and it makes me happy and sad to think about it. I wish he could have stayed the kind of person he was in that dream. Happy. Maybe if he could have lived longer, he would have found that sparkle again. I miss him.

A part of me wants to think that the dream was his way of reaching out to me to tell me that he is okay now, and not to worry. All is well. If I could remember that dream more clearly, I might know. But the details of that dream escape me, and I'm left with wistfulness and sadness for the beautiful boy he was, and the troubled man he became. I wonder if the sadness will ever go away. I think of him every day. Every single day. More now than before, when he was alive, when I took for granted that he would always be here, at least as long as I would be here. I figured he'd get through the rough waters and things would settle down and all would be well again.

I had a recurring murderous dream that deeply disturbed me. I already wrote about it. I read somewhere that murderous dreams aren't really about murder, but about changes in life and/or attitudes. I certainly hope so. Even so, those kinds of dreams shake me up. To the core.

It's my blog and I'll write the way I want to

It's late. I should be sleeping. But I have so little me time. Not that I have anything in particular to write about. I'm a good waster of time. I just wasted a good half hour reading through previous posts. Of my own. I ponder a bit over why I would be entertained by day-to-day things that I posted previously. There have been times when I've gone through old journals and read them as well. Consuming quite alot of time in the process. I guess it's not so odd. At least not for me.

Here's something. I love sentence fragments! Okay, I don't really. But I talk this way. Sometimes. And it's kind of fun, even liberating, to write this way. I feel like I'm a kid getting away with something. Something devious. You see, my dad is a linguist. A genius, really, as far as language goes. At one time he could speak, read, and write in 14 languages. Later, he added a couple more, speaking only. I asked him to teach me French when I was a teenager. It didn't last long. He wasn't very patient with me. Later, I took a semester of French in college and did quite well. I was the second best in the class. Excellent pronunciation, I was told. I would have liked to have given it more time and become fluent.

Anyway. About language. My dad would constantly correct us. No split infinitives! No dangling participles! Blast! Bloody Barbarian! I don't actually know what a split infinitive is, or a dangling participle. I know I've looked them up before, but I can never keep those definitions in my mind. I can't keep any grammatical definitions in my mind, come to think of it. Except conjunctions. Know why? Conjunction junction, what's your function? First person, second person, third person? I guess I could figure out first person would be "I this, I that", and maybe second person would be "she this, she that"? Or "you this, you that"? Is third person "Sueeeus this, Sueeeus that"? I don't know these things. I have a worn copy of Strunk and White that I consult if the need arises. But anyway, I don't care! It's my blog, and I'll write the way I want to!

So. I was thinking about dreams and recurring dreams and dream analyses. With a little forboding I mustered up the courage to google dream analysis. According to the experts (insert grain of salt) dreams of murder are about radical change, or the death of an attitude or belief within yourself. I've been thinking of making radical changes in my diet. I've been daydreaming of making radical changes in my lifestyle. I haven't actually done either.

I was thinking about those people who get bariatric surgery. It's scary. One in a hundred DIE from it. The lap band is supposedly the safest and least invasive. Before I read about what a post-op lap band patient eats, I thought it would be the easy thing to do. Physically render oneself unable to overeat. So why not avoid the risk of death by surgery and try the diet alone? I read up on the diet they have to follow post op. It's basically liquid - protein shakes - for the first six weeks, then low carb after that. Needless to say, tiny portions all along. So it seems to me to be very much like what I would call a crash diet followed by an Atkins/South Beach/low carb/diabetic diet. All the experts say not to crash diet. It's the worst thing. So how can the lap band be a good thing? Crash dieting screws up your metabolism. Of course I know it's true. I've done that before, more than once, and did hose my metabolism, more than once. The lap banders do lose the weight. Do they keep it off? Do they hose their metabolisms?

TV advertises wonder pills like Relacor, Cortislim and Zotrin. A little pill to make you happy and make you lose weight. They call it (Relacor) the happy pill. Can it be that easy? I wish. But I don't think so. I don't trust it. People died from diet pill crazes. Ephedra? I think it makes holes in your heart. I think one of my brother's (still living) compromised his heart with that stuff. Scary!

The simple answer, although not so simple in execution (for me, anyway), is to eat right, in moderation, and exercise. When I went to Europe the first time, I backpacked for two months. I walked somewhere every day, went outside every day, and ate when I was hungry. I lost 20 lbs and toned up and looked the best I've looked in 20 years, all without even trying. That was twelve years ago. The office job is not so good on my waistline. Or my well-being. But it does allow for the roof over my head. With the job comes much stress. Without it would come more stress, but in a different flavor. I'm now daydreaming of a lifestyle and adventure something on the order of Under a Tuscan Sun.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Show and Tell - favorite lamp

Show and Tell, a fun diversion brought to Blogworld compliments of Blackbird.
I'm partial to Tiffany lamps. I love them! My sister gave me this one. Such an extravagant gift. I love it love it love it! My great grandfather made the little oak table upon which it rests.
This is a much less expensive dragonfly lamp. It's a torchiere. There used to be a pair, but there was a little mishap not too long ago.

I even have more Tiffany lamps! Well, just a couple, hanging from the living room ceiling. A purposefully unmatched pair. This particular one did much to help my baby through his colic. For some reason, he loved to stare at it and it calmed him down. The other (no pic) is also a pendant, and much less busy, but in the same color scheme.

There is much color at Chez Piggy.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

That kind of a morning

It's been that kind of a morning...

Where the head is pounding so hard that it wakes you up at 3 am and you lie as still as you can hoping you can relax enough to go back to sleep and pray that the headache will be gone when you wake up, but you finally give up and stumble downstairs to take 4 ibuprofen, yes, 800 milligrams, then lie as still as possible waiting for them to take effect, knowing it will be at least 20 minutes, all the while wondering if you should perhaps go try and throw up because possibly if might make you feel better, and you actually nearly talk yourself into trying it when you hear the baby crying and need to get him a bottle and hopefully get him to go back to sleep so that you yourself can go back to sleep and hopefully, oh hopefully, wake up without the headache.

Where, two hours later, you get up because the baby is up again, and you are blissfully happy that the headache has receded, even though you can feel it lingering and you keep on hoping that it won't return as you try to calculate through the fog that is in your brain how many hours you will have to wait before you can subject your body to any more ibuprofen.

Where you call in sick to the office, but you have to keep the baby home all day too, because, after all, he started all of this, with the pink eye and germs he brought home from daycare, and he can't go back for 24 hours.

Where he feels fine and wants to play and you're miserable with aches and pains and congestion and phlegm, all on the way to a full blown sinus infection, so you barricade him into the living room with the sofa making most of the barricade and you lie down so that your body spans the rest so that he is fully enclosed and can play with a pile of toys while you try to sleep a little bit more, just a little bit more.

Where he plays with the lid to his drum and decides to bang it on your head. Oops, says his expression, but not really.

Where he thinks it is not much fun at all to be confined to a play space with his mama when there is a whole house to explore beyond her.

Where you finally think you are ready to handle some coffee and toast, because your tummy is grumbling and your head is starting to pound again, but you're not sure whether it will help or hurt, but you don't dare anyway, because you don't want to make any noise since the baby finally fell asleep for his morning nap, so instead you go whine about it all on your blog...

It's been that kind of a morning.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Self Portrait Tuesday

February Theme: All of Me.

Up close and personal. A forty year old complexion. One might be able to see the wrinkles if it weren’t for the water retention.

Up close, it looks kind of scary to me. All these bumps and lumps and things. And fuzz in places. I don't like to look up close.

I don’t wear foundation. The thought of colored goo all over my face kind of grosses me out. I don’t use fancy schmancy cleansers and products. I just never got into all that personal care stuff. Probably because at the core, I'm lazy. I wash my face every morning with soap and water. Once in a while I might use lotion, if it’s winter time, the skin is dry and scaly, and if I remember. Usually, I don’t remember.

I don’t use makeup remover. Well, I do. It’s called a pillowcase. What little makeup remains by the end of the day accompanies me to bed. I don’t wear very much makeup. Eyeliner, brow pencil, a little shadow, mascara, and lip color. I use that all day lip stuff, so it goes on once, and if it lasts, it lasts. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I’m not the glamour girl of my youth, and I can’t be bothered with using much of my precious time on appearance. I give it the bare minimum effort.
I think I’m aging rather gracefully, even so. I'm not complaining. But then again, I don't look too closely.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Snippets from sleep deprivation

  • I have post nasal drip. Again. I hate post nasal drip.
  • Sometimes my dreams are so realistic that they freak me out. Sometimes I wake up my husband and tell him about my dreams and make him assure me that they’re not real.
  • Sometimes these dreams are so realistic that I don’t believe him when he reassures me that it wasn’t Colonel Mustard, in the library, with the pipe wrench.
  • Sometimes I think I have a recurring dream, but I realize it might be that I’m dreaming that I’m dreaming. And this freaks me out as well.
  • Sometimes I get deja-vu. Like right now. And this sort of freaks me out too.
  • When I have a night like last night, I wake up wondering if I’m losing my mind. Or if I should call the police. Or at least say a few Hail Marys.
  • How does one pluralize Hail Mary, non-possessive? Hail Maries?
  • I believe there’s more to seeking pardon than chanting.
  • Is a person responsible for what they dream?
  • Maybe I’m a reluctant psychic. (More freaking out.)
  • Perhaps I watch too much TV, especially CSI.
  • The latter is the most plausible explanation.
  • Perhaps I am becoming mentally ill.
  • Also plausible.
  • Could be more freaking out if I don’t stop thinking.
  • The baby woke up crying at 3 a.m. Heart wrenching crying. Was he dreaming bad dreams? Is he mentally connected to me? Did I dream the bad dreams before or after he woke up? I don’t remember.
  • He’s got five teeth pushing through at once. It must not be very comfortable. Poor little guy.
  • If I really did have a recurring dream, should I look into it further? Dream analysis?
  • I wonder if dream analysis is a bunch of hooey.
  • Or not.
  • Again, too much TV. Maybe I should write for CSI. I have material.
  • I need to load up on some romantic comedies or slapstick or anything light-hearted.
  • Inspector Clousseau, I need you.
  • I don’t always have bad dreams. Sometimes they’re quite nice. Most times they’re decidedly odd, but not without explanation.
  • I think I need to change shampoo for a while. My hair is all limp and doesn’t feel fresh, even though I just showered.
  • I am so tired.
  • When the mascara brush barely grazes the surface of the eye and the eye tissue instantly gets all gooey, it probably means it’s time to get new mascara.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

You win some, you lose some

I wonder if that ref was BLIND. No way was that a touchdown. How lame!
Things were going so well, but I have to say, there were quite a few questionable calls. In Pittsburgh's favor. What's up with that?
But what the heck. Who cares. It's just a game. We had fun.

Ready for the big game

It's Superbowl Sunday and the boys are ready. Go Hawks!
Check back in a few hours to see if they're still smiling.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

A year of milk

Nine Thousand Two Hundred Eighty point Two ounces. One Thousand One Hundred Ten point Five hours. Seventy Two point Five gallons. Forty Six point Three days. These are the numbers of my commitment to nourish my baby with mother's milk. Mother's milk drawn drip by feeble drip from a disappointingly under-productive set of double-dees. Oh, sweet nectar of life. How hard you made me work for you. Two rounds of galactagogues. Four pumps - the first pump didn't cut the mustard, and we had to bring in the big guns. The second was a hospital rental while I scrambled to find my own on eBay, the third. Then one night, a few months later, during the midnight shift, the belt slipped from the shaft and the workhorse would work no more. Enter the fourth, another rental to see me through while my workhorse companion traveled to the land of Medela for service, because it is nigh unto impossible to acquire a simple little part to fix it oneself. No, one must have factory authorized service, shipping and insurance, for over a hundred dollars. (To their credit, the pump returned fully refurbished, with all new parts, shining as though it were brand new.)

It's been a long journey. I was heartbroken that my beautiful boy wouldn't nurse. Heartbroken. It's not that big of a deal, people would say to me. An entire generation was raised on formula, when breastfeeding was no longer de la mode, my doctor told me. But it was a big deal to me. It mattered to me. I wanted that full natural mother experience. I wanted the labor. I wanted the natural delivery. I wanted to breastfeed. Those first post-partum days were difficult for me. I struggled with such a load of self-inflicted disappointment. Disappointment that I didn't labor. The baby didn't even drop, let alone get ready for any journey out. He was quite happy where he was, or perhaps he was too big to drop. He was 10 lbs 7 oz, after all, at 39 weeks. No contractions. No labor. No natural delivery. Scheduled C-section at 39 weeks. And then, where was the milk? The lactation consultants assured me that the baby was getting what he needed from the measly drops of colostrom that my defective mammaries produced. They were wrong. How disappointed I was with the supply issues I faced, on top of everything else. I didn't even produce enough for a normal sized baby, yet here I was trying to feed my supersized child. I couldn't do it. Even with the help of galactagogues, and pumping for hours upon hours, I still had to supplement with formula. It was exhausting, to have to pump so frequently and for such a long time. Sleep when baby sleeps, everyone told me. But I had to pump. Because I wanted to hold him, and try to breastfeed him, when he was awake. I was so stubborn! I wanted him to have the benefits of breast milk, and by golly, he was going to get it. Again, in retrospect, I shouldn't have been so neurotic. I should have gotten some more sleep.

He did nurse a few times. I have a wonderful and warm memory of those few precious moments where we bonded, skin to skin, baby to mother, the way it was supposed to be. For that experience, I am forever grateful.

In the early days when life was little more than a blur, I told myself I could do it, I could make it to two months. Poor little big guy was a colicky boy, to top things off. Because I needed to experience a screaming child wailing for hours upon hours, who would only settle down if continually bounced. And I had plenty of time and energy for that, between feeding attempts and pumping. Obviously. Of course.

We got through the colic, and I set my sights on six months. It seemed like forever, but they say that six months is the magic line where health benefits are evident. Six months. I could make it, I told myself. And I did. I found a routine, finally, where I could get some sleep, not nearly as much as I'd like, but enough to keep my sanity. I managed to supply 75-80% of his milk needs, in the first six months.

Having a routine helped, so I made a new goal. One year. Twelve months. You can do it, I told myself. There were many times that I nearly gave up. But I persevered, and I made it. After he started solids, at six months, and after the second round of galacatogues, I was eventually able to supply nearly 100% of his milk needs.

Looking back, I'm not sure why I was so resolute. Perhaps it was because I had been barren for so many years. Perhaps it was because I knew that this might be the only child I could ever have, and this was a one time opportunity. I do have a strapping healthy boy, and I am grateful.

If there is a next time, I don't know that I'd make this kind of a milk commitment again. If there is a next time, I will maintain the hope that my baby will nurse, I'll pump to avoid engorgement, and I'll start the fenugreek early. If there is a next time, I may not keep as copious notes.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Show and Tell - Favorite Bag(s)

What an exciting topic for me! I love leather! I love bags! Excuse me while I hyperventilate. Okay, I've caught my breath. Bags! Leather! Oh, dear, here we go again.

I must preface the dissertation with the information that, although I LOVE bags and leather, especially good leather, I'm very frugal and deny myself the truly exquisite. I admire the truly fine and exhorbitantly expensive from a distance.

I used this bag all summer. It's a fun style and a fun color, and has a surprising amount of usable space. But I am fickle, and I am through with it. I am thinking of sending it to a certain somebody who has a raspberry hat that it might match quite well. It doesn't seem quite her style... Yet, one word, and it's in the mail!

I have returned to this bag, which I grew weary of and stashed away for a time, knowing I would one day return. This is a souvenir I bought in Paris. How cool is it to say, in an uppity nasal voice, when someone admires it and exclaims, ooh, Paris, when they see the word embossed in a chic and understated type on the front, Oh this? I got it the last time I was in Paris. Implying that I often go to Paris. Of course, I work with men, and when I go out in public, wait, I almost never go out in public... Suffice it to say, nobody's ever noticed. But I love it.

It's probably on a par with the brands one might find at Target here, for all I know, but all the same, it's leather, it has a nice finish, and I like it. It's not perfect, but it's got some good features. It can be worn over the shoulder, or backpack style if absolutely necessary (although the latter method is not very elegant, especially on someone of my size).

Look! It has a matching wallet with a well thought interior configuration. Yes, it was extra, but I was on vacation, and when will I ever go to Paris again? I was just daydreaming this morning that my sisters and I could take a trip to Paris and see the sights, admire the paintings in the Louvre, nibble on delights at the corner cafes and stroll along the Seine. That would be a fine thing to do, indeed.

I've had these for quite a while. I'm thinking of putting them on eBay, because I never use them and there's little point to holding on to them. I couldn't quite muster the resolve to give them to Goodwill with the others I let go recently, so they are hanging in the office, waiting to learn their fate. The satchel/briefcase is big. The leather is extra thick and strong. It's not a name brand bag, but it was still very expensive (to me), when I got it. The other is a Coach bag. It was my ultimate dream bag for years, and then I found it at a thrift store (still very expensive, by thrift store standards). I had a copy that I had been using, then switched to the real thing. I actually liked the copy better.

Go see Blackbird for more Show and Tell!