Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Belgian Waffle Meme

A glutton for punishment, I did this one voluntarily . . . hoping Jaywalker will send an autographed picture of the Waffle Capybara in return. If you don't like the other meme, do this one instead.

1. Are you a male or female: Surely the ginormous chest gives me away.

2. Describe yourself: I recently had a giggle fit when I had an “Aha!” moment while obsessively brushing “man-sand” out of my bed. Also known as body gravel, it rides in on my husband and fills the bed. I must sweep it out before I can lie down, I usually harrumph some while sweeping. I giggled when I had a thought of what it must be like to peaceably get in bed and then have me show up. Horrors! This should give no one the impression I am a clean freak, I just can’t sleep in sand unless I am on a beach. Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen, but I am pretty fortunate and fairly well able to notice and appreciate my good fortune. Except lately, when I feel I am careening about in a storn and unable to get my bearings, but I will improve pretty soon. My glass is half full even when it has floaters.

3. How do you feel about yourself: Irritated, frustrated, hyper critical. Like a mentally abusive spouse. Hmm, I didn’t change this answer from Jaywalker’s. No one has ever been as hard on me as me. I deserve better. One of us is a stupid cow.

4. Describe your parents: Nutty like fruitcakes.

5. Describe your ex boyfriend/girlfriends: the Highlights: the anarchist with big soft eyes (age 14-18); the rabid vegetarian with a surprisingly controlling attitude about garlic and onions being “base” and therefore not included in one’s diet (a mere 8 months or so at age 20, but I loooooooooved him); the Glaswegian boy who could have read me the phone book and I would have gone to bed with him but we were both high demand, high performing egos and the fighting and pressure to stay together in order to be together (and his dominating and Catholic mother) drove us apart after three years of a usually long distance relationship with all its attendant farewells in airports (SLC, Glasgow, London, Stuttgart, Berlin) (age 21-24). I am glossing over the lesser knowns – the guitarist, the Peruvian man whose heart I crushed when he asked to lie down in my direty bathwater and I said "no,", and the legion of bad “dates” that couldn’t take a girl anywhere but straight to hell. Hey, I just remembered how glad I am to be married and off the market. Hooray!

6. Describe your current boy/girl situation: Lord Honey, so named since I so often say “Lord, Honey . . .” right before I criticize his very existence. A good, gentle, kind man, skilled in some of the husbandy arts, very handsome, underemployed, overly addicted to mindless video games and TV, tolerant of my quirks.

7. Describe your current location: A small but cozy just remodeled by the husband family room, with a mindless aging standard poodle at my feet, Lord Honey by my side killing aliens and North Koreans because that makes sense in a video game. Babies sleeping peacefully upstairs, as they are wont to do in the middle of the night.

8. Describe where you want to be: Happily by myself on a beach. Hawaii or Mexico, or anywhere with waves and sand and a bit of shade.

9. Your best friend(s) is/are: Funny. Shitty at singing which is too bad, because we would be singer songwriters for certain if we didn't suck at music.

10. Your favourite colour is: PINK. If you make a typo spelling PINK it will most likely be OINK. Does this mean anything? Fifty percent of my clothes are black, because black makes me make you look better, so you feel charitable and say something nice. I used to think black made me look smaller, but let’s face it, being smaller makes you look smaller.

11. You know that: Very few situations can’t be at least somewhat improved by cheese.

12. If your life was a television show what would it be called: You'll never see it coming.

13. What is life to you: Remember the song, Roller Coaster of Love? My love doesn’t really go up and down, I mostly get a lot, but the living part seems to zoom around quite a lot these days, what with the laughing and the crying, the crying and the laughing.

14. What is the best advice you have to give? They don't catch the smart ones, so run faster.

Me, me, me! Meme!

1. What are your current obsessions? 1) Blogs - the reading, the writing, the jump-jump-jumping from pillar to post around the world; 2) babies - the great and the not great features, and the accoutrements I can't stop tripping over in my house. 3) Definitely not my day job.

2. Which item from your wardrobe do you wear the most often? My hands-free pumping bra with nipple cut-outs. Wish you knew more? The cut-outs sound racy? Do I suddenly seem more exciting when you know I wear a bustier with nipple cut outs? I bet you think I have tearaway pants, too. In pink pleather. OK, the bustier goes over the ginormous Medela nursing bra (hand colored with natural food dyes so as to appear to be food stained. Don't be fooled. The slubs in the fabric a natural condition of the material and should not be viewed as flaws) Disregard the sour milk odor.

3. What's for dinner? Preferred: Dim sum, sushi, and creme brulee with chocolate dipped strawberries. Reality: grilled meat, steamed vegetable, buttered couscous or buttered bread and the baby food that would otherwise drip down my hand if I don't hastily lick it up. Bleah.

4. Last thing you bought? A bunch of dollhouse furniture for my daughter turning three - made in unpainted wood (probably by hippies in foot shaped shoes and wearing homespun woolen handknits while drinking nettle tea, Emma) to furnish a kitchen, kids' bedroom, nursery, living room and dining room (parents sleep on sofa for now). I said it was for Claire but I am, ahem, looking forward to trying it all out. The only purchases I make for myself these days are yarns and patterns I won't get around to knitting.

5. What are you listening to? Lord Honey killing aliens.

6. If you were a god / goddess what would you be? I am doomed to be the Poo Fairy. the Poo Fairy is a mythical creature who picks up your bags of dog poo while you walk up a hill, so you don't have to grab it on the way back down, or risk being exposed as an unmannerly dog escort who leaves her poo bags lying about. With two kids in diapers, my fate is sealed. In my personal pantheon, the Poo Fairy is a lesser god. Were I to upgrade, I would prefer to be the someone with a larger set of special powers - maybe the Goddess of Thing-get-done-ed-ness.

7. Favourite holiday spots? The shady palapa on a quiet beach in Mexico (or Hawaii) when everyone I'm with has dashed off somewhere, and I am alone with my frosty beverage and a fat novel that I will ignore while I nap.

8. What are you reading right now? The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery. French. The jacket speak says French therapists give it to people instead of antidepressants. Is that a good sign? I can't decide if I like it or would prefer to toss it across the room.

9. Four words to describe you? Late. Ate the cheese.

10. Guilty pleasure? Buying shoes and books. Hmmm, same answer as the meme-server who sent me this. And sugar based foods. And buttered noodles. And baby-knee snuzzles when I am already late for work.

11. Who or what makes you laugh? On TV, Stephen Colbert. Me, every stinking time I fall down but never when I smash up the car. In my house, everyone who lives here. My quiet, gentle husband, watching me find only a solitary toothpick in my cupboard with which to test my banana bread raising his Spockian eyebrow and saying "use it wisely."

12. Favourite spring thing to do? Sitting in the sun on the grass til I get itchy and take some Benadryl. I, too, really wish I had garden gnomes. I bet they'd get up to some hi jinks!

13. The answer is 42. What is the question?

14. Best thing you ate or drank lately? Fresh corn with on the cob with butter and sea salt. Anyone notice the butter theme yet?

15. Last time you were tipsy? At the St. Patrick's Day Parade, when I guzzled Bellini's and donned a beer costume and ran down a street shouting "Yes we CAN" with my sister in her Martini dress.

16. What films have you walked out of? Proof you shouldn't see a film just to look at a body part - I walked out of The Hours after looking at Nicole Kidman's nose, and I walked out of Solaris because even George Clooney's ass could not save that film.

17. Biggest life lesson you've learned from your kids? It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

18. Song you can't get out of your head? I like to sing crap pop songs to my baby. Try this with Peter Frampton "Ooh baby I love your way, every day, wanna be with you night and day . . ." Or from the deep, dark past, Exile, with "I wanna kiss you all over, . . . and over again."

19. What book do you know you "should" read but refuse to? Anything by Faulkner, Joyce, or Ayn Rand.

Rules of the meme: Respond and rework. Answer questions on your own blog. Replace one question. Add one question. Tag 8 people.

I tag you: Kindly bloggers Stephanie at, Emily at, Alexa at, Becky at, and Mrs. Jones at , so I pick on you even though Emma did already. It's different! It's new! If you answer it with song titles or lyrics I will too. Or bail on this one and do the next one I got from Belgian Waffle.

Please comment away, and give feedback on the blog if you care to. Be gentle with me. It's my first time.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Grace in Small Things: the first of many, featuring the letter B

The first five things I focused on today that give my spirit a boost up like a triple shot of espresso all just happen to be related. Babies bring it all home, in the most delightful way.

1. Binky, we love you. In my house, we like the binky so much they have a special name: the (insert color) Disc of Peace. Add a disc of peace to any social event and increase your happiness factor by ten. A small handful of joy.

2. Bling. A girl's gotta have some, and it is especially fine when worn with pink piggy jammies. Not everyone can carry clear plastic pumps with pink jewelled heart studs, but Claire can, with her unerring fashion sense.

3. Bandaids when necessary. More often than not in this house, and, like Mama like daughter. Some heads just weigh more than others, so bandaids are more necessary.

4. Boudicca - Hannah's utero name was Boudicca, warrior princess. I've been thinking a little too much of Hannah's challenges, but Hannah has been Boudicca the strong since the beginning. Why fight the inevitable? Boudicca babe, let's get going.

5. Birthdays. You've come a long way, baby Claire!

You were tiny but mighty in the beginning.

I worried about you incessantly, but I didn't need to.

You will rock whatever you do.

Claire, you are magnificent. Your birthday this week was joyous in every way for me, and I hope it was for you too. I love that you are clever, and articulate, and beautiful. I love that you don't just say thank you when I give you the item you ask for, you say thank you when I give you a compliment. I love how you get up laughing and pleased with the world. Happy birthday, baby girl!

Schmutzie created Grace in Small Things as a daily reminder to take notice of the positive things we tend to overlook. Grace in Small Things exists because we are choosing not to allow the noisiness of life to rob us of the time and energy to be mindful of ourselves and those we love and to recognize the grace that exists in small things.

See for yourself at

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Universe, I hate your ass face

All right, all right, already. I get it. You wanted to hand out an ass-kickin and you found me. I get it. OK, not enough that you gave Hannah a wacky metabolic disorder, then gave her cerebral palsy, mild or not, but now fluid in her ears to prevent a successful hearing test. Maybe getting her tubes in her ears under general anesthesia for a child who is not allowed to fast. You are bastard people and I hate your ass faces. You can suck it, Universe. I will rally. I will do things previously found only in sports metaphors and I will beat you. Just as soon as I stop crying and eating chocolate. Bastard people. Big stupid universe handing out burdens to carry anyway.

Friday, April 24, 2009

more bad poetry

This is still Shultzie's fault.

Did I mention that I secretly hope to write for children?

Coal tar, 'roid rage, chicken on a spit
UV light
still not right
whatta buncha shit

I do like this one better:

I erased your saved programs on the DVR
Forgive me, I hate all shows on that bad channel
No one needs to know that much about aliens

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

coal tar, 'roid rage, chicken on a spit

There are a lot of reasons not to trust medical professionals these days - not just when it comes to getting the wrong foot cut off or medication mistakes. At twelve, when I had my first outbreak of psoriasis I would have to smear coal tar goo all over my body then wrap up in a couple hospital gowns and percolate for two hours in a room full of other folks doing the same thing. I have been covered in steroid creams and lotions of various strengths, and spent countless hours cutting little circles of steroid impregnated tape in the shape of little lesions so I could stick it to lesions too stubborn for cream. Occasionally I just drink a fluffy cocktail and sit in the sun until I burn the spots away. When I had my last big outbreak of psoriasis, a few years ago, I sought medical treatment at the local expert doctor, he of the best reputation for psoriasis treatment in the Intermountain West. He encouraged me to take a medication that makes one more photosensitve and to get UV light treatment in the fancy stand up box, but the special medication would require that I eat fatty food in order to not be nauseated in the fancy light box. Now, mind you, this is not a tanning bed, it is a stand up booth with medical quality lights. You don't lie down, you stand naked with arms above your head, and turn like a chicken on a spit, slowly. Because I never had psoriasis on my face and scalp, I was given a brown paper bag, cut off to such a length that it would only reach my shoulders, to protect my face from undue UV damage. Note, that was undue damage, the other damage would be, in fact, due. So I wouldn't use a new bag every day, we wrote my name on it so I could keep using it each time. Now, picture the overweight woman given a medication to make her photo sensitive taking the meds with fatty food before turning naked in a light box, head covered with a paper bag with her name written on it, trying not to vomit up her fatty food. Is there any chance at all that this image never made it on You Tube? I don't have the heart to find out, so I am headed to the gym, to "tan" in a nice "normal" bed with my sports bra artfully arranged over my face so I can breathe through the armhole.

Monday, April 20, 2009

happy about yesterday

I have to try my hand at making links now (watch me while I gain tech skills at your expense) and learn how to make my pictures appear in the middle of the post.

Rebecca, wonderful blogger at Girls Gone Child also had a happy day yesterday with her pretty baby, and inspired me to show you this:


Her sister was also a beacon of hope and light and embodiment of everything that is right with the world, and can be seen here taking her bath, right before she pooped in the tub just to see what it would be like.

Isn't she pretty?

Rebecca doesn't talk about poo, today.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Schmutzie made me do it

Jaywalker at Belgian Waffle made me go to Schmutzie's site and this is what happened next:

This is just to say, baby (variations on a theme by William Carlos Williams)

I cursed when you shat on my lap tonight during dinner

Forgive me, but the caramel goo was so warm

I don’t want you to learn to repeat that word much.

Your head smells like me but your neck smells like sour milk

What is that stuff between your wee little fingers?

I’m sorry, but you were once so fresh and so clean.

Lord Honey, you video game playing husband

Get up off your ass and pick up this steamy diaper

Or I’ll have more sins to confess to on the internet.

Go give her one of your own, if you thing you have the power to stop once you've begun . . .

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Are French cows normally the size of ducks?

a question for the ages

At dinner last night, a friend mentioned that she tried to follow the example of French women, as told in French Women Don't Get Fat, and ate nothing but leeks for an entire weekend. By the end of the weekend she was filled with a murderous rage, and a hatred of leeks, but was perhaps a tiny bit more slender. My theory was initially that this is where the weight loss comes in - if a person can't stand the food they have available, they'd damn sure eat a lot less. I'm fairly certain if I ate any variant of the onion family for three days I'd be so angry that the gas I'd pass would make me ineligible for human company that I might be willing to just fast altogether. Then I remembered that I'd read years ago in a womens' magazine that French women having perkier breasts than American ladies was because they shower in colder water so the tissue doesn't break down and sag over time. We wondered if perhaps they got rid of the evidence of the leek diet by passing gas in the cold shower but no one in the family would know because they were unable to hear the sound over the woman shrieking in pain from the icy water freezing her breasts into a permanently pert position. The older women in our dinner group denied any plausibility of this theory, and swore that only gravity might be blamed for the breasts that take the southern road. A better explanation - women in France contend with less gravity. This might also explain how the French soldiers "fetcher la vache" in Monty Python's Holy Grail film in order to catapult it onto King Arthur's party. Getting the cow onto the catapult would surely prove difficult for the French guards, unless either French cows are smaller or gravity holds things down just a little less in that part of the world. Research may be required.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

to read, to blog, perchance to forgive oneself

I was telling a friend about my grief at the passing of a child I have never known, and the strange phenomenon I have seen in the world of mommybloggers and readers all moved to tears, posts, and March of Dimes donations by the death of a little girl most of us would never have met in life outside the internet. Somehow we all felt connected, even before this child went into the hospital, by our collective need to know that once here, babies stay here, and once carried by a mother, that baby should be well enough to make out in the big world, no matter how much effort we all have to put into the process. I was so touched by Maddie's mother's words on her blog over the last few months, wherein she discussed how moms of babies who lived precariously in the NICU or who didn't live at all, might want to have a victory baby, or a baby who might help that Mom feel she beat back the demons that roughed her up during her other less favorable experience. She also wrote of the survivor's guilt of having had the child who lived, when other NICU or PICU parents were not so fortunate. These words resonated so much with me, having sought the victory baby even though my own preemie was never really in peril the way so many are. And yet, Maddie was probably thought by many to be sort of out of the woods, having had her bout with RSV already this year, and having made it into toddlerhood. None of us can know what it is in store for our little ones, especially when premature birth compromises little bodies. I didn't really have my second child to have a victory baby but I thought if I read the March of Dimes info, and was monitored very closely, and was a model of motherly virtue that I would have a big strong breastfeeder who landed with her feet on terra firma, who left angel wings entirely elsewhere and planned to stay. Then I got a set of circumstances much more dangerous than those that follow a baby with Claire's nearly robust three pounds and one ounce. Victory baby has a lifelong genetic disorder that will cause organ failure or death in the event of any fasting, and so far appears to have at least some lingering neuromuscular injury from her metabolic crisis two days after her birth, meaning we start physical therapy this week. I didn't get victory, instead I need the March of Dimes even more than ever, and so do all of you who don't live in states with full spectrum newborn screening. I don't feel quite so guilty that my preemie was always able to breathe on her own, now that Victory baby can't miss a meal or use her right hand equally with her left. None of this is easy or simple, and truly, no one ever told us parenting would be, but damn! Some of this stuff hurts so much. I am getting a glimpse of what I will face in getting Hannah her necessary therapy, and luckily, I am detail oriented, assertive and I have private insurance. I periodically have to sob when I say out loud "Hannah needs some physical therapy to get her hand going . . ." and I wonder what will be the outcome in six months, a year, or two. When I am with my girls I want to express confidence in their abilities, not fear of their failings, or their lack of physical perfection. Somewhere, I want to tell someone about the hurty part, the scary part, the guilty self doubting part where I wonder if it was the extra cups of coffee, or that I failed to sing Hannah the right song when she was in the hospital so now she has weak muscles, or whatever weird crap I deal myself. Even though my big brain knows not to beat myself up, I will find a way, and sharing the thoughts with others helps me not be quite so effective with self doubt. I find it so moving to read the words other moms, like Maddie's, choose to express their feelings on these rocky roads of mothering, especially when they feel such joy at the high points. My friend told me I shouldn't be a mommy blogger because every time someone criticises me I will lapse into self doubt and self criticism about every choice I've ever made, and inevitably I'll get negative responses from someone who will tell me I got it all wrong. Right now, I'll take that chance, because as some of you say, blogging is cheaper than therapy, and I get to read your stories too. I do find a lot of laughter on the blogs, and the tales of woe that put everything else in one's own life back in perspective, and the bit that happens in between the edges is really the most interesting of all. Thank you!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Angel flying too close to the ground

Little Maddie Spohr died today.

Willie Nelson sings it best:

If you had not have fallen
Then I would not have found you
Angel flying too close to the ground
And I patched up your broken wing
And hung around a while
Tried to keep your spirits up
And your fever down
I knew someday that you would fly away
For love's the greatest healer to be found
So leave me if you need to
I will still remember
Angel flying too close to the ground
Fly on, fly on past the speed of sound
I'd rather see you up
Than see you down
Leave me if you need to
I will still remember
Angel flying too close to the ground

There are so many thoughts we parents never speak aloud, about our fears, our hopes for our little ones. It turns out I can't even write them down, I can only weep and sing this song for the little angel Maddie who lit up lives across the world.

Read her story, lovingly told by her mother at and go hold your loved ones a little closer.

You can donate to the March of Dimes, March for Babies on Maddie's team page.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Her wants hers mommy back

This is how my daughter describes every picture with a sad / mad / just not happy face, whether it be on a person, animal or imaginary creature.

I am almost ashamed how much I love that my child defines happy creatures as those that have their mommies back, and unhappy are those that are wanting mommy. Ha! Woe to the daddies! The grandmas! The aunties! Mommies are supreme! I said I was almost ashamed but I am pretty pleased that I am this significant to anybody, especially my little people.

I love that my girls feel enormous joy, and it is right there on the surface even when it is part of the ever changing mood of a child, the joy keeps coming. And then, better still, when they see you and shout MAMA, MAMA, MAMA, or the infant grins and kicks her feet when you enter the room because she has no words to express the depth of her delight in your existence.

I love that wherever we go my daughters are the most interesting people in the room to me, and that "I" am so much less absorbing. I used to get so tired of myself.

I love that surge of feeling when I hold my kids. I love that my heart will nearly burst just putting them to bed and singing, and that I cry all the freaking time because I get all overwhelmed with love. A whelm would be adequate but I get the overwhelm, every time. It's just like dancing but without anyone seeing your fat butt! The power of the mommy love blows through you like a hurricane, right up until they say "I don't love you mama, because you said 'no' to me." And then they forget to be mad, and all is right with the world.

What I don't love, more than I don't love poo, snot, vomit, and breast milk all over my world, is the fear that I might not be enough, do enough, see enough, provide enough to smooth just the right numbers of rough spots in their paths. And I could use more sleep.

Her Bad Mother has started a blog around the world virtual playground discussion for bloggers to discuss what we love or don't love about being a mama, and to "tag" a mom in another country to do the same. Enjoy ruminating, mamas of the world.