Friday, May 22, 2009

Napkins and Tiger's Blood

I've been teaching English at a K-12 charter school for two years now (minus the four months I was away after having Amy). I have fabulous co-workers, and their fabulousness has led to a monthly group lunch. A few months ago, at one of those lunches, I had a slightly mortifying experience that I imagine no one but me even cares about. However, it had interesting ramifications in my life, so here we go.

It was spring, I was in the biology lab, and my favorite of all favorite foods (and I am glutton, so there are a lot of "favorites" to compete with) was sitting in front of me: a Chipotle burrito.

It was delicious, of course, and perhaps my life lesson was all the more poignant because it was indirectly caused by something I love so much. Anyway, we had all finished eating and talking, and the grand clean-up was underway. Tin foil, bags, and soda cups were quickly swept into the trash. When we were "finished," however, a neat stack of five or six authentic Chipotle napkins remained in the middle of one of the lab tables. I, being the neat freak that I am, was irritated. Why was no one getting rid of those? At first I thought that maybe someone wanted them. I waited a few seconds and looked around at my colleagues, but no one made a move for them, so I snatched them up and headed for the trash.

Suddenly the voice of one of my co-workers filled my ears: "ARE YOU CRAZY?!?!?" I have since realized that the volume of the question was amplified by my smarting conscience, but at that moment I felt very, very small. Immediately I knew that it was my napkin-wasting that had triggered the outburst. I hurriedly threw them back on the table and shamefully retreated to my can of root beer and began guzzling it down, hoping no one was looking at me. As I drank/chugged, a discussion of the amazingness of Chipotle napkins broke out among my colleagues--obviously no one in his/her right mind would throw them away. I felt better and better, obviously.

This incident, unfortunately, is representative of my wasteful attitude in general. I would recycle, if someone gave me a recycle bin and picked it up for me. I would plant trees, if someone asked me to come down to the nearest park and help them with it. I would, I would, I would. But I usually don't. I have a very bad habit of not caring enough to actually initiate world change, though I often profess that world change is precisely what my life is all about. However, I am pleased to announce that the napkin fiasco did make a small improvement in my character.

Since that day, whenever I have extra napkins after eating a fast food meal, instead of tossing them (regardless of quality), I store them in my purse and wait for them to be useful. I've never had to wait long. I'm so clumsy that messes are a dime a dozen. I'll share my favorite example.

About a month after I had begun packratting napkins, Brett and I (and Amy, of course) went to the Sonoran Snowball stand for end-of-the-day snow cones. I was incredibly excited because I love snow cones (another "favorite"), especially the tiger's blood ones. Well, I stayed in the backseat of the car with Amy while Brett made the purchase. He returned with the masterpiece:

(Note: As will become obvious, this is not the snow cone from the story, but it is a tiger's blood snow cone from Sonoran Snowballs that agreed to serve as a model.)

No sooner had Brett handed me my snow cone and returned to driver's seat when SLOP! Down went my snow cone. It fell all over my lap, and, most unfortunately, all over my baby. There is nothing like a shrieking baby to send one into crisis mode, and as I frantically attempted to clean up the frozen pseudo-liquid, I started to lose it. But then, when my frustration was at its peak, I suddenly remembered my secret stash. The napkins! Triumphantly I asked Brett for my purse, and I soon managed to exchange chaos for a pile of tiger's blood-soaked napkins.

I realize that this experience doesn't exactly count as saving the world, since I could have used a blanket or something washable instead of disposable napkins (which I did indeed dispose of), but for me it's a start. I'm proud to announce that I'm even getting better at predicting the number of napkins I'll need (three at Guero Canelo, two at Sonic, two at Chipotle, etc.). At present, unfortunately, I'm still too messy to get by with just one at any restaurant but Subway, but maybe my sloppiness/clumsiness will be the next flaw I tackle. I'm sure the world would greatly benefit from that!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Toe-Stubbing Maniac

Hello blog friends, 

This is one of my feet:
It looks harmless, though somewhat ugly (no pedicure, no nail polish, no nonsense [read: no effort]).  In fact, this foot and its semi-twin are harmless--to you.  Unfortunately, my feet cause me no end of trouble, though I suppose in all fairness it isn't their fault.  You see, along with a desire to control the world and an all-consuming silliness after 11:00 pm, one of my faults is an irrational need to move way too fast.  This flaw leads to a supreme clumsiness that in turn leads to a never-ending series of stubbed toes.  I can stub my toe on just about anything--the usual things like stairs and table legs and then some less usual things like the side of the couch (I guess I lifted my foot too high?) and the bare floor.  At the point, my toes are pretty much made of lead.  However, a few days ago I had a toe-stubbing experience that was unusual and actually hurt: I stubbed the toe of one foot on the bottom of the other foot.  Here is a reenactment:

It was quite painful, but after the initial yelp I couldn't help but laugh.  So ridiculous.  What my toe-stubbing propensity means for you, the invisible reader, I'm not sure.  Perhaps if you need someone to carry your wedding china you should ask me only as a last resort. 

Friday, April 24, 2009

Too Many Books!

Hi invisible readers,

Ordinarily I am the kind of person who likes to multi-task. I like to clean the entire house at the same time by walking from room to room and back again, instead of tackling it one room at a time. If I start in the living room and see books that should be in the bedroom, I'll transport the offending articles and find something that needs to be done in the bedroom while I'm there--making the bed for example. Then when I pick up the comforter and find clothes that should be in the hamper in Amy's room, I'll make the bed and then take the clothes to Amy's room and look for a new challenge there, all the while reminding myself that if I can find a way to usefully get back into the living room (putting away the mug from last night's snack, for example), the entertainment center needs to be dusted. It is a weird game I play that makes cleaning the house more exciting.

Anyway, there is one area in which I do not like to multi-task: reading books. I like to be in the middle of only one book at a time. Lately, however, I have started several books, and it is very strange to be reading them all simultaneously. It makes it difficult to get completely lost in the imaginary world of a book when one is constantly reminded (by reading other books) that there are tons of other imaginary worlds out there and none of them are real. The culprits that have caused my current disbelief in all fiction are: the second book in the Fablehaven series (which is difficult to believe in anyway due to various inconsistencies in that fantasy world), The Face of a Stranger (a detective novel I have not yet been able to finish, perhaps because of the very, very long chapters), The Call of the Wild (a children's novel that has thinking dogs and such like the Disney movie Balto--I generally like books about people), and finally, Terry Brooks' The Sword of Shannara (started with a bang and now the group--Flick, Menion, and Shea--are traveling and things have slowed WAY down, reminiscent of the second book of Tolkien's famous trilogy).

As both an experiment in the art of adding pictures to my blog and as proof that I have not done my multi-tasking-style cleaning in quite some time, here are pictures of each of those books where they can be found at this very moment.


The Face of a Stranger:

The Call of the Wild:

The Sword of Shannara:

Being in the middle of all of these very different books is causing my imagination to reject them all. In the future I will return to my "one book at a time" policy, but at the moment I feel as if I need some kind of debt consolidation program for readaholics (spend all of your reading hours on the shortest book, then move to the next shortest, and so on until all books have been completed). :) Anyway, I suppose my life could be worse. At least I actually have time to read these days!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

While I Was 23...

Hello my friends and stalkers,

So on Monday I had a birthday. It was pretty exciting because I was in Phoenix and my family had a cookout for me that included two birthday cakes decorated by my sister Ashley. My sister Cortney also contributed to the memorableness of the day by breaking down in Mesa and postponing the festivities with a rescue mission (not her fault, of course). My brother Jason came to see me the day before and my sister Kelci called me the day of, and Mom, Dad, Justin, Jordan, Lindsay, Grandma, Gary, Brett, and Amy were all there singing to me around my bonfire of candles. Thank you, family, for being so amazing!

So "24" might as well be "22" or "23." Until you're 25, no one takes you seriously, and until you're 30, you're not Anyway, I thought I'd do a brief rundown of the highlights of my most recent year of life. Should be fun.

While I was 23...
I found out I was pregnant!
I went to my first graduation as a teacher of the graduates and simultaneously survived my first year of teaching.
Brett and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary.
I went to the ever-popular and highly-famous Giles Family Reunion (the big one).
I went to San Francisco and enjoyed the beautiful museums, trolly cars, and ocean views.
I went to Alcatraz and refused to enter the solitary confinement cell.
I began my second year of teaching and added a middle school class (the joy!).
I started taking piano lessons again.
I made it an entire year on my sugar-free diet (don't worry--I'm happily off it now!).
I (surprise!) had my baby.
I quit work a week earlier than expected (sorry, Ms. Johnson).
I celebrated my first Christmas as a mother.
I learned to like being a mother (if that sounds terrible, you are a better first-time parent than I was).
I started getting in shape (this is not an invitation to look at me more closely and say to yourself, "Huh. She doesn't look like she's losing weight").
I happily made it back to dear old 4/20.

So some big things happened when I was 23, and I'm excited to enjoy life as a not-quite-mature 24-year-old.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Three Years Old

Hi Blog Friends,

So I've recently learned that three-year-olds make the best friends. My new friend's name is Casey, and she is a brilliant little girl! I am so glad her mom and I became exercise buddies (I like you too, Christi). Casey is 100% fun. I can't help but smile when she calls out "Heidi's here!" because I know more cute memories are ahead. Here are some of the great moments I've shared with Casey thus far:

1. A mini-lecture on the excellence of sidewalks
A few days a week, Christi and I go walking. The kids, as you might expect, ride in strollers. Well, Casey is old enough to realize that the sidewalk provides a much more comfortable experience than the bumpy road. I love listening to Christi explain that if we went on the sidewalk, "We couldn't walk by Heidi." From Casey's puzzled look, I'm not sure she thinks that's a good enough reason, but she is polite enough to let the subject drop after her daily request.

2. Princess book instructions
Until I met Casey, I did not know there was a specific order to reading The Princess Book. There is. Skip Sleeping Beauty, read Belle, then Snow White, and save Ariel-who's-not-wearing-clothes for last.

3. Warnings about what bites and what does not
When we read books with pictures, Casey is kind enough to explain that spiders bite and snakes bite, but butterflies do not bite. "And don't worry, Heidi. If a snake bites, you can go to the hospital. It [the hospital] is for little girls and mommies and daddies."

4. More warnings about what is very nice and what is very mean
Again in the picture books, Casey knows what is very nice and very mean. There is no in between, which is so cute. So far I haven't encountered anything that is "kind of nice" or "kind of mean." Everything is "very" one way or the other.

5. Patient determination to teach me that babies can be quieted with binkies
I often take Amy with me when I go to Casey's house, and when Amy is fussy, Casey is quick to grab Amy's binkie and help Amy chew on it. I think Casey thinks that I'm a bit slow and that I ought to know how to keep Amy quiet by now.

6. That's crazy!
One of the cutest things Casey says is, "That's crazy!" She says it just like an adult would say it, though her idea of crazy is much more adorable than mine. "Crazy" is a popped beach ball stuck in the top of a tree or a picture of a seal on a blank background instead of in the ocean.

7. Being asked to repeat myself
Another thing I love about Casey is that she isn't content to just ignore what she doesn't understand. She actually cares what I say and asks me to repeat things over until she gets it. Obviously that means I have to watch what I'm saying.

8. Listening to Casey ask her mom "Why?"
Some of my favorites from this category are: Why are there iron wheels in front of that building? Why do we have to keep walking? Why don't we talk about the people who push shopping carts?

9. Following Casey's agenda
Every time I see Casey, she knows exactly what we are going to do. She knows which books she wants me to read, which toys she wants to show me, etc. I'm a big fan of agendas. I think Casey and I are soulmates.

10. Getting scolded for trying to skip flaps in Casey's alphabet book
Casey has this amazingly wonderful ABC book that has about 10 pages, but every page is loaded with flaps, making it take half and hour or more to read the entire thing. Sometimes I'll skip a flap or two just to see what happens, and as I reach to turn the page Casey will say, "Wait! We didn't do this one!" and we will read how "'I' is for igloo" and whatever else I skipped. She is a little genius and already knows most of her letters.

So, if you haven't noticed, Casey is an awesome kid, and I learn something new every time I visit her. I'm not sure how long she'll think I'm cool, but it's definitely an honor that she thinks so now.

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Better Picnic Than Last Time

Hi invisible ones,

So a certain person in my life who loves me very much suggested that my last post was a little on the dry side. Since Brett is usually right about these things (and I myself also thought it was a bit boring), I have decided to revisit the picnic scene, as I have since remembered a few excellent details that will make the story more readable.

April 5, 2009, was a normal day, except for the fact that the Giles were having a picnic--something that hadn't happened in a very, very long time (through no fault of their own, they were not good at transporting blankets and portable food to areas of open space designated as public places for recreation). Friends arrived, bearing their small children in their fancy strollers... Ugh! I think this is worse than last time! Pretentious, wordy, and--guess what--still boring. Never fear. I won't give up. Something amazing must have happened... Oh yes. Now I remember.

And then the clouds suddenly darkened and drew together into a swirling mass of fluffy evil and a tall, dark blue amoeboid appeared and said (in English with a British accent) "Give me your sandwiches!" A cowering Heidi moved quickly to the table and began hastily preparing a sandwich. "SWISS! Not provolone, you imbecile!!!!" the blue form thundered. Heidi's shaking fingers dropped the next few pieces of swiss cheese onto the grass, but she eventually managed to secure a couple of triangles in the bolillo. She reached timidly for the olives, glancing fearfully over her shoulder lest his powerful blueness should object to the addition of the succulent black fruit(?) to his sandwich. A large blob that might have been the shape's head undulated meaningfully. Interpreting the graceful jiggle as a nod, Heidi threw a handful of olives onto the sandwich and then squished it shut. She turned to deliver the sandwich to the quivery blob when (finally) her hero appeared. "Brett," it turns out, was only one of Bruce Banner's many aliases. Heidi dropped the sandwich and almost fainted (which would have been only the second and a half time in her life) as she watched her kind and quiet husband begin to turn green and explode into the form of the Incredible Hulk. "Hulk, SMAAAAAAAAAAASH," he said, making fists and banging them on the ground. Terrified parents reached for their screaming children and practically threw them into their strollers as they ran for their lives. The blue jelly monster shook with greater and greater intensity as the Hulk repeatedly slammed the defenseless earth with his fists. Gradually, semi-solid became semi-liquid, and within a minute or two, a goupy blue soup was all that remained of Heidi's very picky sandwich tyrant. Obviously she thanked the Hulk, and then she told him that if he ever said that stupid "Hulk smash" stuff in her presence again, he would cease to be her favorite super hero.

I thought it was a pretty good picnic.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Very Friendy Weekend

Hi blog friends,
One of my very favorite things to do is to hang out with friends and/or make new friends (much to the chagrin of my husband who thinks I already have more friends than I know what to do with). The last few days I have been fortunate to spend time with several good friends, and it's been really fun!
Movie Friday
On Friday, Brett, Amy, and I were in a little video my friend Shannon is making for his film class. The video traces the life of a girl named Emma who starts out as a baby (Amy), then is shown as a little girl at the park with her parents (Cosette Dover with me and Brett), and then grows up to be an adult (Shannon's wife, Sarah). It was overwhelming to see how much time movies must take--they are thousands of times more complicated than I ever took the time to think about. A little three-minute movie takes hours and hours--and it didn't even have dialogue!! The movie has to be written, music has to be selected, the camera angles have to be chosen, various locations have to be scouted out for filming, actors/actresses have to be recruited and trained, costumes and props have to be arranged, and then the whole show has to be put on and captured somehow (even in extremely windy conditions). I actually felt like Hollywood might deserve all that money they make. Being a writer, director, actor, or any kind of crew member must be a very stressful job--I'd defintely want to be someone almost insignificant at first (the person who helps put on fake eyelashes or the one who puts stamps on the scripts being sent to actors) before I worked my way up to the big leagues. Anyway, it was a really neat experience, and hopefully the finished movie will be great!
Picnic Saturday
This weekend has also been General Conference, which is when the prophet and other leaders of the church I go to (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) give what we call "talks" (sermons) about Christ, ways to improve our lives, and other facets of our beliefs. This type of conference is held and broadcast in the mornings and afternoons of a Saturday and Sunday only twice a year--so this was a pretty big deal. Anyway, there is a two-hour break in between, which is the time we (Brett and I) used for our picnic. Brett is not a big party person, but this weekend, he indulged me (I love to throw parties and can't wait till we have a bigger apartment/house). We have an adorable little picnic area at our apartment complex, so we got stuff together for sandwiches and invited four other couples from our neighborhood and their kids (the same people I am fortunate enough to go walking with during the week) to join us for lunch. It was fun! The little kids (eight of them) ran around and seemed to be having a good time--hopefully our neighbors didn't hear the little ones banging on their windows. :) It was nice to hang out with other young families and let Amy watch the kids playing, something she loves to do--it's got to be so boring for her to just hang out with Mommy all day. Brett and I had a great time, and perhaps the picnic will become a Conference tradition.
Lucky Me
Tucson has been a great place for making good friends. From college roommates who are practically my big sisters, to coworkers I still love to hang out with even though I quit my job, to neighborhood friends who save me from going crazy day in and day out, I have the best friends ever. I am one lucky girl.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Sleeping Baby, Wistful Mommy

Hi friends,

I know sometimes I'm sarcastic and silly, but at the moment I'm feeling incredibly sentimental (very unusual), so be warned. Today Amy is sleeping in her crib for the first time. Man, I'm going to cry just thinking about it! Since she was born, she has been sleeping in a bassinet in our bedroom, but, in addition to outgrowing the little bed, she is getting to be a rather noisy sleeper. Unfortunately, I am a light sleeper, so for the last few days I have been waking up every few hours to false alarms like flailing arms and loud thumb-sucking. I have enough trouble sleeping through Brett's snoring.

I know it's time for sleeping mommy and sleeping baby to be separated by a wall, but it is just so sad! I can't even explain what's sad about it. Mommy feelings are so overwhelming. I think I'm upset because (I can't believe I'm saying this) she doesn't need me as much anymore. While she used to need me every two hours, now she can go a whole seven or eight without thinking about me at all. My little baby is growing up. It is a very strange feeling, and I'm not sure how to handle it. It's not like she's going off to college or anything--she's just moving into her crib for crying outloud! But somehow, this is a tough milestone for me. I love that little girl, and I'll miss having her only a few feet away at night. I guess I'm glad that life moves us forward when we might push the pause button forever.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

E-mail "Spies"

Dear invisible friends,

Today I bring to you a complaint, a nagging sense of uneasiness, an overwhelming terror that an unseeable something is going to capture us all. Wait! Don't sell the farm and head to your bomb shelter just yet. The force I'm talking about is one you may not be able to escape: personalized e-mail advertising. Nothing is safe anymore!!! When I open my g-mail account, somehow the adds in the margins mimic the subject of the e-mails I am reading. When my mom writes to me about Amy's ENT appointment, suddenly an add for an ENT appears. When I receive an e-mail congratulating me on Amy's first full night's sleep, the adds are about a newborn sleeping system. The words "baby" and "newborn" weren't even in the e-mail! Creepy.

However, I must admit that the e-mail scanning program--at least I hope it's a program--is not incredibly intelligent, since the ENT advertised practices in Boise, Idaho, and Amy had just reached the point where a newborn sleep system was useless. Still, how do they do that??? It's unnerving. Oh well. I suppose there's nothing we can do about it--unless we want to actually pay for e-mail service. Ha!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I Am Rockwellesque

Hi bloggy,

So today I took baby Amy out for a walk with my friend and her two kids (ages one and three). As we were walking along the lovely streets of my run-down neighborhood (I must assure that "lovely" and "run-down" can indeed coexist. I am in love with run-down places. There are so many unique things to look at!), a man with sunglasses and longish curly hair stopped us. At first I was a little nervous because he took off his sunglasses to get a better look at us and said "Heeeeeeeeeeeeey..." Don't worry. As it turned out, he wasn't hitting on us.

I'm sure our confusion prompted him to explain. "I love to see this!" Obviously that didn't exactly restore my comfort zone, and I had almost labeled him what my sisters and I call a "creeper" when he explained that seeing a mommy with one kid and a mommy with two kids out for a walk was a great thing to see. "That guy Rockwell would love it!" What an interesting compliment!

It's nice to know that someone still thinks moms are cool. I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who do, but as a mom, you don't see them very often because--amazingly enough--you're with your kid 24/7. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I am a work of art.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Chad and Frog Girl


Hello little blog friends. You have been sorely neglected, I know. I started watching TV on DVD in my "spare" time, so writing has been on the back burner. In fact, you are enjoying my presence tonight because of an unlikely coincidence--I just finished season two of the show I've been watching and don't want to start the next one until Monday, and, though I planned to have all of my laundry done by 11:00 tonight, one of the four dryers I was using didn't work and I had to put the soggy load in for another spin. So here I am with 30 minutes to kill.

My daughter Amy is getting to be quite grown up. She has started to look at the pictures in books if the pages are turned fairly rapidly (and constantly), and she loves to watch the faces of people who are talking to her. She enjoys the latter activity so much that she often cries if there is no face to observe. By way of illustration, I would like to share with you our Return from Nogales Adventure (yes, it was that big). We left Grandma and Grandpa Giles' house around 7:45, and five minutes later Baby Amy was screaming so loudly that Brett and I could only communicate when she paused to breathe. We finally managed to decide to pull over in a grocery store parking lot so I could feed Amy like I should have done at the Giles' house (if hearing about emergency feeding is not your cup of tea, please know that it is not mine either).

After little Amy was satisfied, we were back on the road, but by the time we made it from the grocery store to the freeway, the volume of her cries was, if possible, even louder than before we had stopped. I tried to talk to her, sing to her, and give her her pacifier (can't they make a safe front-facing infant seat?), but to no avail. After ten minutes (primarily because my arm was going numb), I decided I would just out-wait her. Ten minutes later I had a headache and begged Brett to pull over again-- it must have been meant to be because a rest area instantly appeared. I got out of the passenger's seat, marched to the rear door, and plopped myself down next to my sobbing bundle of joy. I switched the rear light to "on" and shut the door. Almost as soon as I started talking to Amy and explaining why we had stopped and what I would require to continue moving toward home (a cessation of her vocal assault), she fell silent, her bright eyes focused on my face.

We had a pretty nice trip after that--though I stayed in the back and the rear light was on the whole way (does anyone know if that's really illegal or dangerous?). I started with a story about a kid named Chad and his adventures in the park when he wandered away from his mom (there was a treasure "chess," a bully with French fries feeding some pigeons, a dog he found and named "Dirt," and "Frog Girl"--the alleged owner of said Dirt), and then I told her one of my versions of the three little pigs (the one where I give the weight and personalities of each of the pigs and comment on the unbelievability of the wolf's escape from the chimney). The storytelling was followed by singing every song I could remember from my time working day care and then by singing "I'm tired of singing baby songs" to the tune of the songs I had just sung--incidentally I just realized that that line would fit perfectly into "Camptown Races," a song I failed to sing tonight. Finally we pulled into our parking lot, and I carried my happy baby home.

So do they have car night lights? Human face projectors? I guess I should just be grateful that I have a captive audience. I do love telling stories--especially when I can say whatever I want (within reason) because Amy can't understand me yet. I also love Amy. So I guess what I'm trying to say is that I had a really great time tonight (even though I was incredibly car sick), and I can't wait to see what happens next in the adventures of Chad and Frog Girl.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

War Dream

Dear invisible friends,

If you don't really know me, you probably don't know anything about my dreams. They are vivid and often scare me. As a child I would wake up with a shriek or a gasp. As an adult I wake up disoriented and try to lie still as my brain works out who and where I am and what did and did not happen. Last night's dream was particularly bizarre, and it was also strangely thought-provoking.

It was night time (it usually is in my nightmares). The light I could see was coming from torches. I was part of an army getting ready for a battle. Someone was giving us instructions about the upcoming event, and suddenly I was filled with panic. As I held my axe (for some reason I was dreaming of a war with more primitive weapons), I started imagining scenes of death. Blood was everywhere, people I loved were getting hurt, and I was just standing there. I, my dream-self, tried to imagine myself fighting back, but I couldn't--the terror was too great. I let my weapon fall to my side. They could kill me. They could hurt me. I didn't want to go to war. I was just too scared.

This is the second of this type of dream I've had. In the other one, I was in a more modern war, and I stayed at the base camp while everyone else went out to fight. People kept dragging my wounded family members back to me, but I never left the place where I crouched in the dirt. I was paralyzed by fear.

My dream self hates pain. My real self hates pain too, as I learned when I gave birth, without an epideral, to my daughter Amy. I wish I could say these dreams represent how strongly I am repulsed by the idea of war, but I think they really show how afraid I am that if something bad ever happens to me, I will be too scared to do the right thing--too scared to save my family, my neighbors, my country, etc. These dreams make me wake up ashamed of myself. I don't think I ever want to find out what I'm really made of, but if I'm ever in such a crisis, I sincerely hope I prove to be more courageous than I am in my dreams.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

My Regular Day

Dear invisible friends,

I suppose you can't be called a "blogger" if your blog has one measly entry, so here I am again.

Things have calmed down quite a bit--I fortunately only have a truly terrible day every once in a while. In fact, things have been so nice that this post is doomed to boredom. No one likes reading happy things. For example, a couple weeks ago I was telling a story to my baby at bedtime, and my 13-year-old sister Lindsay was listening in. After five minutes or so of a happy story about a happy princess and her (also happy) six pet rats, Lindsay voiced a complaint: "Where's the problem? A story has to have conflict." Amused, I invented some "conflict"--dragon drag racing, an evil princess, even more evil parents of the neighboring prince, etc. Then Lindsay was satisfied--baby Amy was indifferent to both styles of narration. Anyway, as there has been little conflict (at least share-with-the-whole-world-on-your-blog conflict), you, like Lindsay, will most likely find yourselves wishing you were reading something with a little more spice.

The major happening in my life at present is adjusting to having an "awake" baby. I was finally mastering the challenge of sleeping in miniscule chunks at night--two to three hours at a time-- and getting things done while the baby slept during the day. Well what do you do when the baby doesn't sleep during the day?!? Now she only takes two naps and only for an hour or two at a time (I imagine the naps will only get shorter from this point on). It has been interesting, but somehow we'll manage. Today I figured out how to fold laundry with Amy in tow by wrapping her in the crook of one arm and pinning her to my side with my wrist so as to leave both hands "free." To do the dishes I tie Amy (and her pacifier) to my stomach and work new muscles as I scrub plates even further from myself than I did when I was pregnant. Needless to say, not much is getting done around here. I folded half the clothes and washed half the dishes today, and honestly, I don't know where the rest of the day went. I taught a piano lesson and made a salad for dinner, which together took about an hour, and ate breakfast (15 minutes) and lunch (30 minutes). Oh, and I took a shower and got out of my pajamas (a blessed 30 minutes)! I also took a wonderful one-hour nap. How much time does that leave between 8:30 and 5:00? About five hours! If one and a half of those were spent on the laundry and dishes I mentioned, that means three and a half hours were spent....??? Having a good time, you ask? Well, in a manner of speaking. I suppose those hours were spent taking care of the baby. :) She does eat a lot. And she is really cute and fun to play with. She's been babbling some these days, which is great. I think it's the best part of being a mom so far. I love hearing her "talk." I guess no time is "wasted," though it is really an eye-opener to look at the way I spend my day. We didn't even go on a walk today--you can imagine how "unproductive" those days are.

So welcome to my regular day. Don't worry too much. Now that I've laid it out for you once, I'll refrain from doing it again--until something changes. :) Happy Tuesday.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Of Course I Would Start on a Monday

My invisible friends,
I have never "blogged" before, so I am unaware of any standards of etiquette or other expectations one's readers (should they exist) may have. This state of ignorance is actually quite convenient because I feel quite nervous when in the vicinity of "etiquette" and truly hate disappointing "expectations."
I believe I have been moved to begin this pseudo-narrative because it is Monday. It was a lousy and excellent day, but the combination of events that has compelled me to release my thoughts in this new medium could only happen on a Monday.
Because it is Monday, yesterday was Sunday, and Sundays make me tired. Now that my 10-week-old daughter Amy has awaken from her "infant coma" and become a real baby, she is a handful to prepare for and maintain through church. As a result, even if we have family nap time on Sunday afternoon, there is a grogginess that pervades Mondays and leaves me in one of my more exaperated (and exasperating) moods.
Today began fairly cheerily with an early (for me) wake-up call in the form of a request from my husband to add him to the Cox account so he could do something or other with our bill. In a half-coherent state, I practically begged some Julie or Katie or Mary to let my husband finish whatever it is he wanted to do so I could go back to sleep. She graciously acquiesced, but I got out of bed anyway, deciding to take advantage of waking up before the baby. Naturally, as soon as I had taken two bites of my oatmeal and settled into my mystery novel, the tiny screaming began.
After my interrupted breakfast, I took Amy to both the post office and the bank. Otto, the man who said "Next" when it was my turn at the post office, was one of those very helpful people, and he not only got my letter ready for transport to India, but also convinced me to buy a few extra airmail stamps so I wouldn't have to stand in line next time (I choose to believe that he was not trying to reduce the number of fussy infants irritating the patrons of the US mail service). My trip to the bank was also successful, and the genuinely happy lady behind the intimidating counter-to-ceiling, presumably bullet-proof plastic/glass only said "I'm trying to hurry" and looked at me with a pitying smile once even though Amy spit out her pacifier and began to wail three times.
Errands complete, it was time for macaroni and cheese with a baby on my knee (the placement of the prepositional phrase is intentional; the baby often feels like part of the meal). An exciting hour of dishes (why I let them pile up is a question I may never be able to answer) followed my few minutes of mastication (I have always wanted to use that word in a sentence, and now that I have, you need not fear that I will ever do so again). The baby tied to my stomach with some stange carrier I still do not know the name of makes dishes slightly painful to my out-of-shape shoulders and back, but at least possible.
After such a joyous morning, I was very excited to join my neighborhood friends for our thrice-weekly walk, but unfortunately Amy was not. Though I fed her half an hour before we were to leave and gave her (I thought) plenty of time to prepare herself, she managed to complain at a volume much louder than necessary for a period of time much too long to make our walk a reality (I suppose I could have marched down the street with my screaming infant and counted on our observers to draw conclusions charitably, but I must confess experiencing a wave of terror at the very thought.)
So, walkless, I passed Amy to her father to enjoy my evening piano lesson. I believe I did previously use "excellent" to describe my day. I also believe that I was in fact referring solely to my piano lesson. Today I felt like I finally made progress--Chopin's "Nocturne" came alive for me as it never has before. The piano lesson was, as a whole, exceptional. Indeed, I lost only five of the rather expensive thirty minutes to soothing another of Amy's erruptions of unhappiness.
The evening and night have been filled with Amy's favorite game: eat, fall asleep while eating, breath heavily enough that Mommy gains the courage to attempt to move towards the crib, and (her favorite part, I imagine) immediately wake up and demand to eat again.
And now, my friends (if you are still reading this absurd disease referred to as whining), my baby has finally fallen asleep and I am completely overwhelmed by how much I love her regardless of her behavior.
I really cannot appologize for the copious amounts of sarcasm and repressed frustration emanating from this, my first, blog entry. It has been highly therapeutic. Perhaps future entries will be more cheery. Of course I would start on a Monday.