Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Hint, hint...shrimp from The Cooking Guy - Sam Zien or 150 Grand Cafe, 'cause I am just so darn easy to please.

Bill and Alison were in town for Christmas. Taqueria Baja was left to fend for itself, so we could enjoy the company of these two fine people. They managed to squeeze in a lot of activities and visiting in to their short stay. Our time together was spent at Pipes, San Dieguito Park, our place for Christmas Eve, Original Pancake House, then trying archery and even a little Karaoke Revolution.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

I just tried Googling "Ginormous Tin" just out of curiosity. There were more than 600 sites that included the phrase "Ginormous Tin," including this one: Feet Firmly Planted: 12/01/2004 - 12/31/2004 It's a Blog. I'll have to check it out. We may be kindred spirits.
There were very many presents to discover, but some presents stand out more than others, and not always for obvious reasons. At this time in my life when sleep is a dream, and cooking is an Olympic event, this gift from aunt Carol has been the most appreciated and celebrated: Behold the ginormous tin of popcorn:

This is no ordinary tin o'corn. It is from State Street in Madison, Wisconsin. It is fresh, flavorful, filling and fulfilling. It brings gladness and hours of merry munching. It is also empty. Must I return to the kitchen and try my hand at homecooking? NO. There is a phone number on the inside of the lid. By the grace of God and all that is merciful, they must ship.

We love our new toys and games, the books, REI gift cards, S'more supplies, tea bags, lotions, Maps on CDs, and the citrus juicer, but we will have the strength, energy and stamina to appreciate all these blessings better, when a new shipment of popcorn comes overnight delivery.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Winding-Up Another Year...

It is easy for me to look forward to Christmas. I love the holidays, the chill in the air and the warmth of family gatherings, friends sharing traditions, and the lights and music. I love the hope and promise of good will. For a while it may feel like Christmas is a long way off; hundreds of days away. And when we begin to count only a handful of days, when Advent calendars come out and paper chains are constructed, I get a wonderful feeling of anticipation and pleasure.

The days after Christmas come without fanfare or anticipation, and they come as a bit of a shock to me. What? It's the 27th? Already? Normally I would be looking at our Christmas tree and dreading the dismantling of our once glorious symbol of cheer. Poor tree... this year it was hurled over the balcony on the 23rd, because it looked like self-igniting kindling. So, now it is time to think about the new year, and New Year's Eve. Dick Clark's invitation must have been delayed in the mail, so we will dream up our own special celebration, maybe something with sparkling cider and ham. But it seems to have come too soon, and I feel caught off guard. So much energy and effort went into Christmas and accomplishing all the magic entailed in the Santa event, that I feel as though we deserve a week of nonevents and a halt to the passage of time. We ought to be able to gather our thoughts, and have ample hours for finding room in our home for the new books, toys and gadgets.

Wow. It's the 27th. There are only 4 days left in the year 2004. Will I make a new year's resolution? Will we stay awake until midnight, or pass out at 9 p.m., and then wake-up again with Maria at 3 a.m.? And what's to come in the new year? I hope for peace, and out of town guests, maybe some resolve about where we will live, and a clean garage.

363 days 'til Christmas.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas.

Upstairs Maria is waking from another nap. She has been awake more hours today than any other day in her life. She has been mostly content or at least consolable. She had a bath, and her hair curled in to shiney black, damp ringlets. We gave her two books and a dress for Christmas. She'll want to eat soon. She likes to eat, and sleep, and to be held close.

Max is playing with the Lego Knight's Castle that came from Santa. Santa came with many gifts. The families sent many gifts. There are gifts everywhere. Alex has been assembling lots of things for us, and Geoff has been trouble shooting new software and PC games. But Max is just playing. He can turn flags on the castle when it is seiged and taken over by the bad guys, and then just as simply the good guys can over turn everything and the castle reverts to goodness, and the flags are flipped back to show the dignified lion crest...

I thought I could say more, but Maria is ready for her dinner now. Things are normal, and quiet, and we are blessed and warm and safe, and there cannot be a better Christmas than when all is calm and bright like it is tonight.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

3 cousins.

Nicholas will be 5 years old in just a few days. He and Max helped take care of Maria, while everyone enjoyed a wonderful gathering in Deanne and James' home. The cousins were togther again last night for a few runs down the "snow" at The Wild Animal Park. (Free Advice: Go to WAP before winter break. The lines were ginormous last night.) I hope we can find some real snow this winter. Thinking of a cabin weekend, with genuine piney fragrance and hot cocoa. Making more cousin memories.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Making Compromises

I can tell she is almost 3 weeks old. I recognize the way sleep deprivation is catching me in its unmerciful grip. I feel a bit on edge, a bit out of sorts, easily rattled, and really, really sleepy. The best solution: Hang in there for a year or two, and lower my expectations, a lot. Humor helps too.

It's nearly Christmas. I think I will let Pick Up Sticks prepare our Christmas Eve dinner, and that is a huge compromise for me. Geoff thinks it's a great idea. Is that a "guy" thing? I don't usually like to make sexist generalizations, but he seems completely at ease with not sending Christmas greeting cards, or his mom's gift being late to get to the post office, and he's happy having take-out Chinese food for our big family dinner, but I feel like a Martha dropout, a failure, Christmas AWOL.

We have had some horribly un-PC discussions about our ever-gray tree. It is so parched and brittle we fear it may spontaneously ignite. So, we made a short list of options which includes: Buy a second tree. Very shameful idea to kill two trees in one year, also costly and time consuming. Other idea is to find out whether flocking a tree provides fire retardant benefits. Our gray tree might be protected and festively snow white. Tacky? Perhaps.

We need gift wrap, and I still aspire to mail Christmas cards, but Papaya is falling asleep, and I think I should join her.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Okay. I am resisting the urge to post yet another sleeping Papaya picture, or mom and Papaya sleeping, or brother holding Papaya... What can I say? The girl likes her sleep time, and the pictures of her awake (at 3 a.m.) are not being taken. Actually she is spending more daylight hours awake, and following the faces and sounds around her. She is easy to console. She still likes to scrunch up in to a small warm bundle and be held closely, which is delightful. She makes surprisingly loud grunts, grumbles, squeaks and growls, and she can still turn a deep cranberry red when she stretches or cries.

Our Christmas tree is ever-gray; we brought it home after Thanksgiving and upstairs by the east facing window it has had plenty of opportunity to get dry, droopy and drab. Poor tree. Perhaps all the presents that are accumulating beneath its haggard boughs will make it look more festive than faded.

And the gingerbread house is looking a bit picked over. My fault. I discovered a loose gum-ball, found it was really tasty, and have since loosened a few more gum-balls. The purple ones were best, then the green ones. The red are my least favorite. Don't tell the children.

Max has learned the alphabet, which he considers quite dull compared with counting, adding, multiplying and dividing. He prefers counting the letters to reciting them. Alex is reading Stuart Little. I think he misses his friend Tamsyn. She is in New Zealand. Next week Alex and William will be at computer camp. The first week will be devoted to using Flash, and the second week will be for game programming using Stage Cast.

We need to sit for a family picture to send out in Christmas cards. It's important. It's one of those things that has been impossible to coordinate, thus stressful and frustrating, but I can't let it go. We also need to finish some shopping, and we absolutely need to ship a package to Hawaii. And last week it seemed like a perfectly delightful idea to host Christmas Eve here with my brothers and their wives and Holly and Rich and Nicholas... and I am not wussing out, but I can see that I won't be setting the table with China, hand-printing place cards, or serving figgy pudding.

Remember when I thought, wishfully, that I could write pages and pages about the joys of pregnancy and the magic of carrying life in my holy womb? I am challenged during pregnancy. It was difficult and trying. I barf. I become exhausted and get worn out... Now is my time to shine. Really. I love labor and delivery, and postpartum is no problem. Sure, I am a little sleep deprived and I was achy enough to take Advil for two days, but otherwise I feel good. I can rest, given the time. And I no longer feel nauseous, or beat up. Best of all? Our baby is healthy, and wants to be held and sung to. She makes faces and funny sounds and her tiny feet meet when we change her diaper. William, Alex and Max love their sister. They hold her and watch her, and laugh from amusement and wonder when she opens her eyes and takes us all in. I could write pages and pages about the joys of being a mother to these four children. I could write a few pages about the messes and challenges too, but mostly I feel gratitude, and a deep sense of contentment, bliss and something else that I don't know the word for. What do you call it when you are very sleepy, your nipples are sore, your breasts are heavy, you don't fit in your favorite jeans, the house is messy and then the baby smiles in her sleep and you suddenly feel profoundly happy?

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Max is the Math Man!

Somehow we are getting dishes washed and clean towels folded. The boys are doing school work, and working out too. I am even improving my single, left handed key boarding, while nursing. This may simply be the honeymoon period, when we believe we have things under control. Enjoy the moment... I think that should be my philosophy. Papaya is even now working on something that may finish off our remaining butt wipes... too much information? It's all good.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Sweet Bundle

Here is our little Cranbooty, all snug and content. Chicken Blog went away for awhile, but we're still here. Everyone is settling in and enjoying the "cold" weather; it is cold for So California. It's ideal for our main activity, which is snuggling and singing Christmas carols to the baby.

Even Chango wants to snuggle.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Some occasions simply cannot be skipped. Mom's Night Out is a must, and MNO at Josie's is an absolute must.
It felt very good introducing Papaya to all her Moms.

Of course every girl that parties late must sleep-in late.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Toe-tally irresistible!

Maria Olivia "Papaya" was born November 29th.
She weighed 7 lbs 5 oz, and was 18.5 inces long.
We are in love, and drowsy, and in awe, and this may be as much as I can find time to write for quite some time, but I don't mind, because life is good.

Monday, November 29, 2004

To Do


Check email. done
Erase junk mail. done
Shower. done
Brush teeth. done
Wrap presents from Papaya to her brothers. done
Charge camera battery. done
Pack camera. ditto
Experience moments of panic, doubt and exhilaration. done, done, done
Go have a baby...

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Thanks to Sara at Going Jesus for finding and sharing the real news and worthwhile content on the web. I'll have to rate it PG 13 (for language and questionable links to other subjects): The KFS Sweater Project.

Not too much going on around here. We have been blissfully mellow. We did have a traditional Thanksgiving feast. It took many hours to prepare; not because of degree of difficulty or quantity of food, but because I move very slowly. Fortunately, most of it was prepared last week, and frozen. Max got his Ramen Noodles, and Geoff made clover leaf rolls. Holly, Rich and Nicholas came over after a restaurant buffet feast with Rich's family. And we played the traditional Pilgrim games, like "inflate and release the balloon."

Yesterday was equally low key. Max made a plead for buying a Christmas tree in 3 or 4 days, and much to his surprise his daddy suggested we get the tree that night... kid delight! No crowds, no rain, no problems, no pain. We found our ideal tree: Very tall, but not too wide. Geoff (6' 2") says it's average, and I (5' 5") say it's hugemongous. With guidance from their dad, Max and Alex did the decorating while I watched from the couch. I was very happy. Alex and Max were happy. Geoff was happy. William, watching Harry Potter 3, was happy too.

How would you define "early labor?" See, according to all the books I've read, I am in early labor. She really should be here by now. As a matter of fact even the doctor wants our next appointment to be at the hospital, because "she is so close." Naturally we have been in suspense since Monday. And Papaya? Well, she's just kicking back, enjoying the family mellowness. Everything is in readiness. We have a stroller, and a tree, a baby pack and diapers, the bags for me, her, and the guys are packed and in the Odyssey, and I am even very close to finishing the last quilt... so, any day now...

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

A little hot glue and a whole lotta sweet stuff!

Remember "Find Waldo"? This is "Find the Gingerbread House."

Anne, Dave, Adam and Jacob, Carol, Gene and Tamsyn, and Holly, Rich, Nicholas and friend Jack, came to the Tree House for a traditional night of gingerbread house assembly and decorating. We also ate pizza and lasagna, and watched Elf. It was the gathering we had been anticipating for months; fun, relaxed, creative and good.

I guess we are old pros by now. Every year I have pretended we were novices, but I think this is our 6th annual event, so we are definitely experienced. It was by the second year that we realized royal frosting is a slow and inefficient glue, and so we brought forth the hot glue. Special recognition to Adam: He stuck the giant gingerbread man on the house front with aforementioned royal frosting. We do not eat the creation. We have dye issues, and also creative hands are not always clean hands. Yes, some gumballs and a number of Kisses did find their ways to mouths, but mostly this is an aesthetic experience. It was Tamsyn's first ever gingerbread house, and alas, most recent accounts are that her dogs, Pippin and Jasper, ate one side of their ginger house. Tragic. When they do survive curious hands and pets, they fill the house with a spicy fragrance that is warm and homey.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

The worstest part of insomnia is my brain: Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. It simply won't shut up. Whether it's anxious nonsense, brilliant insights, or once again a search for the most original, culturally relevant, lovely, meaningful baby name ever, I just wish I could turn off the noise in my head.

20 days from the due date.
We saw Sponge Bob The Movie with Anne and Adam.
Geoff made Russian Tea.
Russian Tea ought to be served with a bowl of homemade Chex Mix.
Baby Jordan weighed nine and a half pounds!
Chango is no longer afraid of Brahm's Lullaby played from a spinning cow mobile.
We found the leak in the upstairs bathroom; it's not as bad as it smells.
I made Thanksgiving dinner; it's in the freezer.
I am the only one that likes cranberry relish.
The pride in having a clean house lasts only as long as the house remains clean.
I still look for Diego.
Max is more than half way through his second math book.
William's hair is long.
I doubt I'll finish the second quilt.
Though Max begged us to stop, we sang Christmas carols last night.
I still need to mail thank you cards. In Spanish.
Alex rubs my back. Delightful.
Somewhere in the garage I know there is a box with a few baby things that I saved from the boys.
I want that box. Now.
Yesterday I scrubbed scruff marks off the walls.
I'm still awake.
Still sitting here, and wondering what to name the baby, and whether I should take a shower now or wait 'til (later in the) morning.
P.S.A.: If you have ever left anything here, it is either gone forever or it can be found in The Box of Things Left Here, by the front door.
I was supposed to call the bank, and pick up the kit for cord blood registry.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

"New Life." That's the subject that appeared in my email this morning.

Welcome to the world baby Jordan. The pictures show a proud dad, Gabe, and his handsome son, Griffin, and a content and delicious baby girl with a thick stack of dark blonde hair piled atop her round head. Hopefully mom was in a big comfy bed and enjoying a restful nap. Congratulations Betsy and Gabe and Griffin, and the grandmas, and aunts, and great uncles, and cousins; all of us are blessed to have a new life in the world.

I haven't seen pictures of baby Lucas, born to Marcia and Gil. Their baby came last week, and I know he's got lots of family falling in love with him as well. His big brother, Nicholas, will no doubt be very proud. Welcome to the family baby boy.

Meanwhile, our baby is biding her time, keeping us in suspense, and keeping me up with her aerobic dancing. Not much chance of her coming early, since we believe we are fully prepared, or will she? One never knows... At least the crib isn't going to waste. It took 2 days for Chango to discover the secure warmth and comfort of the baby's bed, but he is making the most of it while he can. Yes, I know we'll have to break this habit. Fortunately, he is freaked out by the mobile when it turns and plays Brahm's Lullaby.

Our evenings are quiet. Max is pushing through his latest math book, with Geek pride and enthusiasm. I marvel at his dedication. Even as he was getting sleepy, he insisted on finishing one last page for a gold star sticker. William is reading Never Cry Wolf, and enjoying it. We are looking forward to watching the movie together. And Alex is reading too. He is finishing the third novel in the LEGO BIONICLE series. Geoff is reading Abarat, Clive Barker's contribution to teen literature; he and William have been totally absorbed in both Abarat books. I am thumbing through Christmas catalogs, helping Max, supressing labor anxiety, and wondering what possessed me to buy a fresh turkey already.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

We went to Babies R Us. We came home with a crib. It was not an easy process. This is a place with acres and acres, and miles of aisles, and we had to make choices, and I didn't relish the idea of ever returning there, so I forged ahead. I like the crib we chose, but between all the styles, colors, prices, features and finding suitable ones that were then out of stock, I was totally not loving the process. Geoff is a good shopper. He notes the rail mechanisms and color finish. He considers the redeeming qualities and downsides. I just wanted to be at Ikea, where my choices were "cheap," "not as cheap" or "good enough."

The boys were good. We did lose Alex's enthusiasm after a bit though. Max thought we were choosing the bedding that came in the crib, and he would ask biting questions, like: "Are we really Pooh people?" And eventually we did have to choose bedding, and a mattress. Again, the choices were too much for me. I threw a cream bumper in to the cart, which Geoff pointed out to me was uninspired and did little to compliment the honey colored crib we had finally settled on. We were unanimous on some points: no circuses, clowns or jungle themes. Alex and William both agreed with me that crocodiles in the crib is creepy, and we were also appalled by the bumper with kangaroos and elephants on the same savannah.

Max was inquisitive and a quick study of dust ruffles, color, and quality features. Alex was thirsty and ready to have the whole event finished. William was very cooperative, supportive and fair minded. Geoff showed terrific stamina, good taste and thoughtfulness. I was really glad not to be doing this alone.

Oh, and we chose the farm bedding theme. I couldn't resist the chickens.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Life needs Kleenex

Saturday was errand day. My forays in to the world have been less frequent and even less effective. I can only go so far before I need to pee or nap, and I can lift and haul fewer things anyway, so I have not brought home things like the 96 load jug of Tide and 50 pound sack of rabbit food. Geoff and I, with William, Alex and Max in tow, hit The Pancake House, Target, Costco and... seems like there was more... Anyway that was enough. Later I also made it, on my own, to Yardage Town for cotton batting, because I have the delusional notion of completing just one more quilt. Now we have lots of diapers, paper plates, grape juice, a bouncy chair, bigger socks for Max, jeans for William, turtlenecks for Alex, cat food, plenty of laundry detergent and even new night lights that change colors. What about a crib? Yea, we gotta work on that one.

By six o'clock last night I would have believed anyone who said it was really 11 o'clock. My energy doesn't decline or wane, it simply shuts off. And then I am wide awake at hours like this. This is not an ideal house for padding about the house in the wee hours. For one thing, downstairs is cold and remote, and upstairs every room is occupied by sleeping people, so it would be unkind to turn on a light or bump about too much.

Many of the shortcomings and little idiosyncrasies of the Tree House are becoming less charming, quaint and tolerable. The original plan was to live here for a year. Time enough to recover from rushing out of El Rancho, with a fire on our tails, and to figure out our next move. The next move is not revealing itself in a specific enough way. Have I ever shared the fact that we have three children with beds in the dining room, which is open to the kitchen and a sort of living room, which is too small for a sofa, but large enough for a computer and chairs? And all of this upstairs, along with our "master" bedroom, which has a pretty significant plumbing leak. A plumber is coming this week, but there's not much we can do about the rest. We aren't suffering, just sort of squirming uncomfortably.

I miss Diego very much. It's amazing how much one personality can be such a significant part of the day, and night. He slept by my side or at my feet, sometimes nestled against me like the best personal heater ever. He had a pathetic meow; it was more of a canary chirp than feline speak. We all miss the meow, and his lead footed stumbles down the stairs. Anyone could pick him up and carry him about, without upsetting him in the least. He rode in the car, happily. When he and Chango walked to the kitchen for their breakfast, Diego would leap over Chango, like a circus dog doing sideshow tricks. Chango misses Diego too. This is what I surmise anyway, because Chango rarely leaves the house anymore, and he seeks us out for more scratches under the chin and he demands attention that he used to forgo. But dear Chango is much less domesticated than Diego, so Max can't pick him up and carry him down his bed slide, or snuggle him under the covers. So, like Chango, we can often be found absentmindedly staring out the window, waiting to see our little friend with the raccoon's tail, hoping he will come home.

Max has shifted his name campaign; he thinks instead of naming Papaya "Max," we should name her "Diego." He also wants to fill the stocking that Alex made for Diego, with toys that his kitty can still enjoy in Heaven.

Pregnancy hormones, insomnia, and grief... this is such a Kleenex moment.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Making Thanks

Good morning. Up since 2:40 am. I lay in bed for a time, then moved to the chair, then came downstairs and opened emails. Now I am trying to think of something interesting to say.

Nope, it ain't happening.

I am still having waves of the Thanksgiving mood, mostly related to cooking.

Last year I went to great last minute lengths to achieve Max's ideal of Thanksgiving. We had, the day before, been in Sonora, Mexico, and after the 16+ hour drive home I thought it was reasonable to pass on the turkey holiday. Max woke up the morning of and was completely set on setting the holiday in to motion.

"Happy Thanksgiving!" He gleefully announced. Clearly he was not one of the drivers the day before. "We need to decorate and cook. It's Thanksgiving today."

His words and enthusiasm went straight to my Maternal-Love Deep Storage of Impossible Energy. I found an open store. I found an unfrozen turkey, and pie crust, and cranberry sauce, yams and organic apple juice. I baked pumpkin pies and chopped veggies, prepared dressing, set out candles and mashed potatoes with cream. It was a sweat/love effort of awesome proportions. Max came to the table, as the late afternoon sun cast rays of dappled sunlight across the leaf strewn yard, and he surveyed the feast set before him. My heart burst with gratitude and pride, and I thought how perfectly this moment had come together; the children would cherish this memory, this pinnacle of Thanksgiving wealth.

"None of this looks very good to eat. What's good for Max to eat?"
Max was not impressed, and as forthright and pragmatic as ever.

This year I asked him What makes Thanksgiving good? Yes, we know about being thankful, appreciating our toys and the hot water that runs from the tap in the house. I want to know what the heck the boy will eat, and be really stoked to see on the dining table.

Max dreams of a Thanksgiving feast of "Ramen Noodles." Alex thinks we should include barbecued ribs.

This Thanksgiving I will be thankful that we have so many choices and options. That we have the resources to satisfy our appetites and the time to enjoy all of our blessings. In the meantime, I am going back to bed, in hopes of falling asleep, and accumulating some more of that Impossible Energy.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Max is counting. He has discovered and embraced numbers, particularly those related to money. He counts his money daily, and it is a sizeable sum. He is ever ready to add to his stash by doing chores, behaving angelically or being in the right place at the right time. Yesterday, he announced that he was ready to count to 100, "Without even a single mistake." And he did it, twice. And then he continued to two hundred and he concluded that he could even count to 900, except it would mean moving his mouth a lot. He fell asleep under his rainbow, counting to two hundred. He multiplies as well, and contemplates fractions. He also made a book in which he stores his archery scores, "and other important numbers." He memorized our cell phone numbers, and now Geoff and I get calls from him. He calls from under his bed and says "Hello there. How are you?"

How are we? We are delighted. Our Max is growing, and doing it quite well.

William is pursuing his computer interests to even greater heights and depths. How can I elaborate? I can no longer follow the programming and software usage he has adapted. He likes Photoshop, and 3D Studio MAX. He and Geoff converse in the language of the Geeks, and with acronyms and codes. They toss phrases about and understand one another. Along with Alex's skill and creativity for game design, I can see these guys in the early stages of being a successful game company. Max will manage the books, and I will organize the annual Christmas party and company picnics.

Alex continues to pursue a life of balance. He enjoys his time outdoors, constructing huts from the long branches that drop from the eucalyptus trees, and mastering archery. He keeps his camping backpack well organized and prepared for any adventure. Inside, he does his school work diligently. He also cooks, reads, plays on the computer, designs robots and very kindly inquires about my condition. He is always available to help me up from a seat, bring me a pillow, unload groceries, help Max with his school, and more.

When the boys are together, watching a movie, running in the yard or making their robot designs and Lego creations, I am glad. I love to hear their laughter. I love to see their progress and development. And yes, they argue, and they know precisely how to be really irritating to one another. But there are far more hours in the day and days in the week when they are a joy to be with. I am feeling in a Thanksgiving mood, and I can't think of anything to be more thankful for than my family.

Friday, November 05, 2004

A Molly we know.

Geoff can't see naming Papaya "Marina," because he plays tennis with a Marina. I won't accept his preference for "Victoria," because I already have a cousin Victoria. There are 2 Ruths and four Rebeccas, a Hope, Julie, Jessica, Alison, Anna, Alice and Alaciel. We know 2 Sophias, a Rosa and a Rosie, and a dog named Rosie too. Cristina, Helen, Carol, Grace, Holly, Noel and Marie: Taken. We always thought to name a daughter "Olivia," but now this once unique name is in the top 5. Also taken: Laura, Betsy, Elizabeth, Aurora, Gretchen, Zoe, Lydia, Madeline, Emily, Kayla, Lily, Karen, Anne, Linda, Belinda, Yanina, Jola, Maria, Janice, Josie, Vera, Deanne.

This subject rolls around my head like a marble in an empty box. Back and forth, over and over. And I wish I could make it stop. It is boring me. And the only excuse I have for boring you, is that as boring as this is, it's way more fun than figuring out what to fix for dinner.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

A New Year

I just found one of those really great Blogs that leaves me feeling inept and speechless. I would share it with you now, but I don't want to. I feel too inferior. At least I don't have to live in Salt Lake City.

At the last minute we threw together some
costumes and went out in to the world,
for some Halloween amusement.

Happy New Year! We have been in the Treehouse for roughly a year, and it's been a sort of rough year. "Rough" as defined in the Suburban Handbook of Middle Class Whiners. I have decide that rather than declare 2004, the calendar year, as bad, I would count from the onset of Nena's death and the Firestorms of 2003, and finish with Diego's last day. So this is our new year and I am open to it being a brighter time for us.

Here is our Indoor Diego. He is the reason that I managed to hold off having another baby for so long. He was my furry baby. He kept all of us laughing and happy and warm. He was there when we were lost and snowed in on our drive through South Dakota. He was there to help Max navigate his way through social anxiety and Aspergers. He didn't just absorb our family's affection, he returned it.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

An Anonymous Monkey Girl left a comment: "Molly" is nice too, from a fellow monkey girl.

Who are you Monkey Girl? Where do you come from? What are your core values and how do you relate to your family? What does it mean to be a Monkey Girl?

Physically, I could not be any closer to another human being, and yet our Papaya is like the ultimate mystery guest. We devour books and articles about womb life and the developing fetus. We stare with fascination at the tiny ultrasound monitor and nod knowingly when the doctor indicates a femur, heart, bladder. We look at William, Alex and Max and wonder whether she will share their dark hair, large feet, Lego obsession. Will she be a frequent barfer, or cry incessantly? Will she be "petite and dainty", as the doctor promises, or will she come out ready for jumbo Huggies and a brat with mustard?

I don't know whether Chinese astrology can answer our questions. I don't know if I really want any answers. But I do enjoy speculating, and I find myself amused by all the possibilities. Our own Monkey Girl is coming soon, and we will finally see for ourselves what she looks like, and which way she likes to be held, whether she's a Velveeta or Hope, Psyche, Madeline, Olivia, Alohalani, Lola, Molly or Isabel. The rest will be revealed slowly. We will monitor her with fascination and nod knowingly, smiling.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Almost There...

Slow, slow, slow, slow, slow, and that's when I'm awake. There was the sick and haggard phase, with profuse vomiting and nausea. And then there was the long, dragging return to semi-normalcy, but still with some nausea phase. This was followed by the persistent cough, achy and tired phase. And now I have reached the notably pathetic, gasping for breath, ready to pop, Sloth Woman phase. Please, I'm not looking for your sympathy (yea, I am.) I am merely giving a straight forward and accurate account of the miracle of life etc, etc...

There are moments when I suddenly recall that I am pregnant, and then I experience brief panic and mild confusion (actually, huge confusion.) Other thoughts include: I really gotta shave; the hair on my legs may impede swift delivery of the baby. If I go downstairs for my purse and the mail, how will I get back up the stairs?

I think the boys are alright. They seem to be getting smart, and finding food. No. That's too indifferent. I should dedicate several paragraphs describing how much help they have been to me. Throughout the day they demonstrate their love and concern, and show me a great deal of tenderness. I don't think we'd ever consider inviting a Papaya into our lives, if we didn't have such wonderful children already. They give us faith and hope and joy.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

What do you name a Super Baby?
And how do you thank your best friends for nine years, and more, of support, encouragement, enthusiasm, laughter, butt wipes and purple baby wash? Karen hosted a perfect evening for Mom's Night Out, with an added bonus Welcome theme for our girl baby. And I do mean Our Girl, because I can see that she will be everyones' new baby to cuddle and hold, and to lavish with heaps of love. I never doubt that I have an awesome network of family and friends, but the shower was a huge reflection, once again, of their generosity and thoughtfulness. For the occasion, my mom, Holly and Deanne joined us too; a great treat.

Time to produce some thank you cards, return the love. I am already editing a DVD, "Waiting for Papaya." I want Papaya to see how much anticipation and joy surrounded her arrival. Janice's children, Maddie, Nate and Lydia covered a gift in dozens and dozens of girl names, rainbows, flowers and hearts, and a Super Baby. It is the most awesome gift wrapping ever. And Yanina gave us a work of art too. She painted dazzling butterflies with luminous wings. I have always loved the colors, light and reflective joy she projects in her paintings and I feel profoundly honored to have something she made for our baby in our home. I came home with all we might need to keep a baby content, looking good and feeling fresh, from a snot sucker and wipe warmer, to booties and purple athletic wear. I also brought home renewed confidence, hope, and wonderful memories.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Monkeys and names. I have been awake since very early. Even earlier than it is now. Papaya has escalated her activity level to an eye popping level.
Really. My stomach is tender. I can feel the soles of her "dainty" feet pushing up and across my belly. It feels like there is a being swimming in my abdomen, with dive gear, and a surf board. So, I gave up on sleeping, and I certainly wasn't able to "just relax." I came downstairs and found an email from aunt Carol, and has she got some news: It's year of the Monkey. We're talking Chinese horoscopes here, and I have to say Papaya is making a monkey believer of me. She is a vine swinging, squirrely, squirmy, leaping Monkey Girl. Our cousins in Wisconsin, Betsy and Gabe, are expecting a girl in November, and Betsy is having the same experience; their daughter is far more active than their son Griffy was.

Aunt Carol's insight is quite timely, and very funny, and I am taking it in to serious consideration. She has always had a gift for understanding and describing our children's personalities and traits. So, what does one name a monkey? We have grown rather attached to the nickname Papaya, but we are still considering other names. And believe me, we have received many suggestions:

Noelle, Noel
Max (can you guess who made this suggestion?)
Velveeta (honest)
Elena... and others...

I don't want to confuse my monkeys and primates. Tarzan's sidekick, Cheeta, was a chimp, not a monkey, right? So that rules out the name Cheeta. And Koko is a gorilla. Maybe monkey inspiration is the wrong path to travel when trying to decide on a daughter's name. We aren't likely to decide until we see her, and even then it will probably will be a difficult choice. There are a lot of girls with beautiful names in our family, and many of our friends have nicely named daughters as well. We tend to think that Papaya should have her very own name, and besides it would be tough choosing who to name her after, since we know and admire so many women. Wish I could just sleep on it.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Dirty Words

uh oh... Mom just pointed out that a site I posted a link to contains profanity. She thought it was inappropriate, given that my Blog is mostly family safe.
I guess I have become somewhat desensitized to the occasional *&^%, and the random Bull-@#$%. There are plenty of sites on the World Wide Web that throw in colorful language, and then there is far, far worse. I strictly refrain from visiting the far, far worse, and make exceptions for an occasional *&^%. Going Jesus is one particular site that I enjoy, but I can't endorse it as a safe haven from profanity, so reader beware: Sara cuts loose.

Context means a lot to me. I would not bother to read even interesting articles if the author insisted on cursing out individuals without cause, or could not routinely make use of a wider variety of sentence enhancers. And there are some words I have discovered that mean entirely different things to different generations. Something that "sucks" is a bad thing, disappointing, unfair; it's not a lovely expression, but I never thought of it as Bad. Other adults have told me that they hear a whole other meaning in the expression that "sucks," and when it was explained to me I was somewhat taken aback, and also enlightened to their perspective. Now I can hear why they find the expression offensive, but isn't it necessary to bear in mind the intention of the speaker, even their culture and language experience? On a family trip to Canada I happily referred to my young son as a "little bugger." In my head: Cute as a bug. In their heads: Offensive homosexual descriptive. I made an entire dinner table full of Canadians pause awkwardly, and but I was blithely unaware of my "expletive."

Ever enjoy the primal delight and comfort of a big roaring fire, outdoors, on a starry night? We hosted a party with the highlight of the evening being a bonfire. I had given some thought to the word bonfire and thought it perhaps was something French, and meaning big or good. Nope. A party guest was very eager to inform us that a "bonfire" was the top of a slippery slope to hell, because it originates from the burning of bones. She was right about the bone burning. It was done, and it must have been bad, or maybe only a means of clearing out the fridge, so to speak, but I don't think language can always dictate our intentions or reflect our ultimate points of view and values. I never meant to reenact or pay homage to dark practices.* Language is dynamic and ours to manipulate. Word origins are fascinating, and understanding our word choices is necessary and valuable, but I never intend to be fearful of a word because of past usage or the implications applied by someone else's experience.

*It occurs to me that if you're going to have a bonfire you are almost certainly going to roast marshmallows, right? Marshmallows are sugar and gelatin, and gelatin is a palatable way of saying highly processed cow bones and connective tissue. So, maybe we really are burning bones. Gross. That totally sucks.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Over at "Workings of the Mind" a new mom asks, "Is it just me?" She wonders whether every new mother has a hard time getting anything done. Should I tell her?

There are approximately seven weeks left before I am like a new mom again, home with an infant, unbathed and still in pajamas at 4 in the afternoon. My three older children will be fed up with pizza delivery, my husband will ask whether I made it to the bank, have I seen his shoes, do I want to see The Lord of the Rings Trilogy tonight etc... I will be feeble, smelly, dazzled by my new child and yet not quite sure how she got here.

I have heard of some women with 6 months of healthy and delicious dinners frozen and labeled in their clean kitchens. They bathe their infants daily, and drive the other children to soccer and oboe lessons. They shower, go to church, and keep scrapbooks detailing every Special Moment. Myth? Urban Legend? Sick fantasy perpetuated by Gerbers and Pampers Supreme?

When you are home alone with only one baby, no teenagers or toddlers, my suggestion is that you revel in the exhausting bliss of accomplishing "nothing" but caring for your infant. Use paper plates, be proud of clean clothes (forget hanging, folding, ironing). This time is counted in weeks and it will slip by too soon, believe it or not. Don't worry. Don't panic. It's pointless to think of what is left undone, especially if you are taking care of your infant.

Nice advice, I think, but of course I still have my own delusions: I believe I will be sending Christmas cards with birth announcements and a family portrait. I think I will wrap, pack and ship Christmas presents. I plan to prepare a delicious Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings, like homemade cranberry relish and pumpkin pies. The house will not only get clean, but remain fairly respectable, somehow. The baby will weigh 7.5 lbs, but somehow I will lose 25 pounds at the time of delivery. I will continue to post my deep thoughts, while also inspiring the children to change the litter boxes, read classic novels and write thank notes for all their presents. And after several sleepless weeks with a cough and 32 weeks worth of baby onboard, I have the particularly ridiculous sentiment that: I cannot wait for the baby to come, so I can get some rest.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Proof that there can never be too many *bright* ideas: Query Letters I Love

February 18, 2007

Just updating archives. This link isn't quite what I remembered.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

It may be the chair. I have been too uncomfortable to sit at the computer and update Chicken Blog. In order to accommodate Mini Me I have to lean back and give her more room. When I lean back the key board is out of reach and the screen gets a bit blurry. Wait! Hold on. I just remembered I can pull the screen in lower and closer... there, that's better. So, now what's my excuse?

We have been busy around here. I am imparting my vast stores of knowledge and the boys are learning. Geoff and I revisit our "Where should we live" conversation on a daily basis, and that is always time consuming. I am nearly finished with a quilt I have been working on. I did the last of the actual hand quilting and now I need to complete it by sewing the edges with quilt binding. We managed to shift enough things in our room to make a nearly crib size space in the corner. I think for spaces that are nearly big enough I will have to go to Ikea, where furniture is often times scaled down a bit. Yes, we have definitely been busy.

I did end up going to the baby shower. Geoff and I know Danny from tennis and working out, and Danny has been keeping us updated on Amber. She's 4 weeks more pregnant than us, so Geoff and Danny pass some time comparing notes while lifting weights. The shower was nice. I mean good. I mean, I knew no one. Nobody, and that's not an easy situation to be in. Everyone was friendly, and it was nice to be out of the house for something other than grocery shopping. The hostesses used a Hawaiian theme, because it matches the baby's nursery. I have to say the theme was fun.

I won't mention the barely audible sigh of envy I am releasing, because I sort of slightly, really wish I could decorate a nursery. Perhaps I should pretend to have a nursery and draw out my plans, choose paint colors and coordinated lampshades. I think this much effort would exhaust me, and life being what it is, I wouldn't have to actually follow through on executing the project.

Theme: Rustic farm/country with a Mexico flavor: Cowgirls and chickens, flores y rebozos.
Colors: Deep cranberry red, smatterings of pink, and splashes of lavender and green.
It looks good.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Hmmm... I thought I could publish a movie link, but it ain't working.

It might as well still be 3 in the morning; my brain is behaving in delayed mode.


That's about it for me.

Oh. Supposedly I am going to a baby shower... for the girlfriend of a nice guy that plays tennis with Geoff.

?!! How do we get in these situations?

Saturday, October 09, 2004

I am reminded of the gift my mom brought this summer: A tiny T shirt with a festive invitation that says "Party, My Crib, 3a.m.!" Papaya isn't in her crib yet, but she is having a party. Of course it's not quite 3 in the morning, so she must be preparing for the party... you know setting out napkins, chilling the whine. This girl can move. I get something knobby in the right hip bone, at the same time something jabs me in in the left rib. And the butt roles across my belly are quite a sight. Even her hiccups are a visible phenomenon.

Brain stall. I've sat here for five minutes and tried to proofread my paragraph. Thoughts in my head: "Is it a paragraph, or have I changed subjects midway? Is there a point to my statements or do I need to make a concluding sentence? Why isn't there a single comfortable chair in this entire house? Who left the cup on the sofa? What was I doing?" I may be out of bed, and unable to sleep, I may have come downstairs and cleared junk mail from my account, but clearly none of this is evidence of my being awake. My iMac should have one more editing tool: In psychedelic colors, typed phrases could be highlighted signifying "Babbling Fool: Do Not Publish."

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Going to Nate's

We're going to Nates!

Our annual trip to Bates Nut Farm is in the works. We are going with Holly and Nicholas. The boys are very excited about the prospect of choosing the perfect pumpkins, feeding the goats, seeing the country sights, and the whole Autumn scene.

The mornings have been very foggy, the nights cool, the days breezy. It's comfortable weather and has us in good spirits for the new season. We hope that our colds are the worst we have to endure, so that we can enjoy all future plans without tissues and quarantines. I am especially aware that these shorter days are more than just less hours of sunlight; I need to get some things in order before Papaya arrives. We have ideas, like a pumpkin carving party, and traditions, like making gingerbread houses, and hopes, like having guests for Christmas, and needs, like making space and a place for the baby... lots to accomplish, but days are rolling by. It can take me twenty short of breath minutes just to make my bed, and I once fell asleep between spreading the sheets and laying the quilt (literally.)

Yes, so anyway. Since there are so many responsibilities and important issues to tend to, I am really looking forward to going to Nates!

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

The Cowgirl By The Sea

These were on Bullards Beach, in Oregon.
I love texture and color.

I am draggin' my wagon. Is that a good metaphor? I sometimes fancy myself a cowgirl by the sea. Either I am being particularly expressive, or I need to read the possible side effects of the meds I was prescribed.

I'm sick. Moan. Sigh. Sniffle. Cough. Pity me. I still have all my regular complaints to keep me up at night. Still nauseous, still growing unwieldy and unable to find comfortable positions for sleep, or anything. And now I have this cold/flu nasty funk.

Ah... but the ants are disappearing! We made up the recipe that I posted last week, and it is working. There were about three tense days, because as it stated in the article the problem would get worse before it got better, and did it ever get worse. We had huge black swaths of hungry ants feasting at our buffet of sugar and boric acid. They were greedy, with insatiable appetites. This morning there was one ant crossing the kitchen floor. Just one. I squashed him, without ceremony.

Time to drag my wagon upstairs and supervise the children. I fed them. Now I need to teach them something, make them do meaningless tasks, and then nurture their spirits.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Don Diego.

Here is our special kitty. He's napping on my lap, while I finish a quilt.

Friday, October 01, 2004

The toilet just overflowed on such a tidal scale that I am relieved to know we are all strong swimmers. Eeww. Am I crude or simply honest? Does honesty excuse discussing taboo topics, and potty repartee? Actually, I had no clever or witty remarks in reply to our toilet's outburst. Rather I was tearfully, urgently pleading, "No! Please. No. No. NO!!" To no avail.

It's been that kind of week. Nature in her infinite wisdom has seen fit to remind me that water rises, and so does vomit. Children with colds spill more drinks, and will sneeze directly in your face. They need a tremendous amount of 4 star service, but they are lousy tippers. And I can see what's coming: More. More diapers and vomit, and sneezes and fluids and nights so long you... can't finish simple sentences.

Let's not conclude that I am running scared. I am way too tired and off balance to run. It's time to put on my philosophical hat (some rubber gloves and galoshes too), and remind myself that last January I emphatically stated: " I would rather live with the chaos of having one more in our family, than live with the regret of not having one more baby." Isn't that deep?

I am off to face the chaos! Mop in hand, old towels too, and cheerful birds whistling on the window sill. When the spill is cleared and the children have been fed and ministered to, I will smile with maternal pride and grace, because I have been blessed with everything I asked for. Sort of.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Waiting For Rain

I am still trying to get comfortable with the new system for posting images. There are more steps to go through, and I am obliged to learn codes!

Check out this cloud looming in the east county, August 17. We get these great formations, but still no rain. At least now the weather is cooling. Yesterday a crisp, brown leaf rolled across the pavement, and I was overcome with great emotion for Fall.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Greetings from General Hospital, where the cooties are wrecking havoc, and I, nurse Diesel, am administering soup, affection and tissue. The boys are coughing and looking bleary eyed. They drag themselves to their math books... wait, that is typical, not symptomatic... Max is the worst off. He has a fever and has thrown up several times. He even sleeps during the day, which is a definite and dramatic symptom. Alex is probably next in the triage line up; he is moody and coughs a lot. William is moody too, but again, this may not be a symptom of the virus, but his age. It seemed time to call on an expert, so I took Max to the pediatrician. For my efforts and a $30 co-pay, I was informed that Max is sick, he should rest and get plenty of fluids. Brilliant deduction Doctor, thank you. It's worth it, I suppose, because to skip the doctor visit is to invite horrible infection and 6 hours at Children's Hospital ER, where on-call doctors and tired nurses will give you the "bad mother glare."

I just met Rick, the UPS delivery guy. He brought the special order, dye free cough suppressant Geoff ordered for Max.

Sigh. Thank goodness for Mom's Night Out. Our monthly gathering always comes just in time, so that I can enjoy the company of my very best friends, eat fabulous food and laugh a lot. They boost me. It was a wonderful evening. I for sure will go to great lengths to not miss a get together, which is why I am in suspense about December's get together at Josie's. Papaya is due either the 9th or 10th, depending on which chart you read, and Josie is hosting MNO on the 3rd of December. Suddenly, my interest in the delivery date is overshadowed by the thought that I could easily miss the Christmas party! Well, if Papaya hasn't already arrived, I will cross my legs for good luck and hope to spend another reenergizing and uplifting night out with the Moms.

Next month's MNO is being hosted by Karen, and the theme is "Baby Shower." I don't want anyone to see my reservations as a lack of interest; the real issue is feeling shy about being the focus of so much attention, and feeling spectacularly blessed, which makes me feel even more shy. Of course, if this were for anyone else I would be thrilled to be participating, and I would be very excited about the prospect of shopping for a pink baby, and if the mother were reluctant or shy, I would say, "It's not about you. We want a party!" Parties are fun, and surprises, presents and thoughtful gestures are delightful. I feel like I should send out thank you cards now, just because they are even thinking of showering us.

I remember Geoff's family had a surprise shower for us when we were expecting our first baby. We had just moved to the midwest, and we were about 6 months along, and probably feeling overwhelmed. We were enjoying the support and the thoughtful gifts. Typically, I think showers are enjoyed by the mothers more than the fathers, but we received one gift that really perked Geoff up. In a diaper pail came a gift certificate for 1 month of diaper service. I gave sincere thanks, but Geoff was beaming and ecstatic. He expressed deep, profound and undying thankfulness. He said things like, "Wow. I just can't believe this! I had no idea they could do this." And after a bit, I began to wonder if he knew what "diaper service" is. It was really hard breaking the news to him: Diaper service is not a person coming to the house to change the baby's diaper for you. Bummer.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

My Blackberry

Hey. Check me out: I'm blogging from my Blackberry (patch)!

In my mom and Ron's backyard are juicy blackberries.

Geoff gave me a "posting images refresher course." And Holly gave me a whole new look to go with the new format. It's still my hen Luna, but she's looking sassy and modern. Thanks Holly.

I did it! I did it! I did it!
Here is Max climbing dunes at Bullards State Beach.
He's happy!

Here are William, Alex and Max. Also happy!

Monday, September 27, 2004

The Usefulness of Blogs

It's just so shiny and new! If it weren't for Geoff's experience and determination this technological advancement would not be possible for me. I would be more likely cross stitching my musings on dish towels, than deciphering codes and networks.

Give me a few days, or a succesful morning, and I will figure out the new set up for posting pictures. Geoff showed me and he wrote some notes too, so I may be able to share more than Coos Bay Farmer's Market radishes. He also arranged it so I can post video links. Look for a "clip" button in the near future, then witness small, grainy video footage of us.

I am excited about the prospect of hearing from people through the comments feature. I already heard from someone that had fallen below my radar. Julie of the Northwest: I hope to hear more from you.

Aunt Carol answered my questions. I literally had a basket of very small pink, purple and delicate girly clothes waiting for their first ride through the spin cycle, but I needed counseling about soap. I know better than to wash precious little things with area rugs and four boys' shorts. I guess I will look into the cleansing powers of Ivory Flakes or Dreft. It was reassuring to hear that early baby preparedness is not uncommon, and that the real power is with Hilary Clinton. I really miss Aunt Carol.

In Vanity News: I found a better looking pair of jeans. They are definitely slimming and more stylish. I fit in my old favorite pair of jeans. They accomodate loosely, like a comfortable slumber bag, butt they do not make the "most" of shapely me (they apparently make "more" of shapely me.) The new jeans are form fitting and look good, and are really, really uncomfortable after about 27 minutes (something you can't realize in the Baby Gap fitting room.) The wide band across my abdomen feels yucky, plus they have to be hoisted up from slipping down... Yesterday, on NPR there was a report about the significance of Blogging in journalism. They obviously have not found Chicken Blog or they would not have questioned the informative and insightful usefullness of Blogs.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Behold: The All New and Improved: Chicken Blog!

Your patience is appreciated while we figure out all the goodies and features. With some reservations we have added comments, which at this point I cannot edit, so hopefully no strangers will be crude or rude.

Also, we have new hope: Ant Killer

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Some questions:

Do I really need to buy a special detergent to wash new baby clothes in (Dreft, or whatever)?

Do my favorite jeans really make my butt look big, or does my big butt make my butt look big?

Would you sign a one year lease on a house you are grateful for, but not inspired to live in for more than another 3 months?

? Quien es mas macho, George W., or John Kerry or Yusuf Islam?

How long could you live in a Yurt? And remain happily married?

Couldn't I just wash the baby clothes in the regular family detergent?

Is it too soon to wash the baby's clothes?

Are you surprised I'm even thinking of baby clothes already?

Do you think really, really high frequency sound waves would kill the ants and their queen?

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Autumn. Love the new seasons, and the suggestion of possible change (remember, this is written in So. Cal, so we don't get real head thumping seasonal transitions.) As much as I want to immerse myself in apple crisp and pumpkin carving, Fall foliage and harvesting good feelings, I find myself feeling the weight and sorrow of the Big World. There is a great deal of bad sh*t going on. I don't have to be particularly well read to know about the Chechen school children, genocide in Sudan, or beheadings in Iraq. I am not trying to ignore the big issues, the campaign, the war, pollution, high fructose corn syrup, the bad smell coming from the mystery leak on the carpeting. But I am trying to cope. It's not always clear what the answers are. And the truth is that most of the time I do want to tune out the big bad world. I want to know the good guys from the bad guys, and impose reason on the confused ones...

I am in a writing stall. In spite of my intention to write an informed and academic condemnation of evil and pacifists that behave militantly, and show off my brilliant ability to sort through all the players and their games, and propose working solutions that resolve conflicts 1,000's of years old, I am instead watching my swelling abdomen roll and rise, and feeling with some amusement and discomfort my daughter's uterine dance. How will I ever explain this world to her?

Okay. I know that there is serious stuff going on, and that it is of great consequence. Still stalling. What can I say that makes a feeling, concerned and activist transition statement between the Big World, and my self-incapsulated, selfish little world? I could spend the whole day watching Papaya, thinking of names for her, dreaming of the ideal crib bumper and matching quilt. I can't wait to go find pumpkins with the boys and host a potluck and pumpkin carving party. We are anticipating the release of Elf on DVD, so we can laugh all over again and make gingerbread houses while sharing the movie with friends. I wish we were living in our own house, a big one, with nice features and conveniences. I would settle for knowing where we might live.

I still don't have a solution for the world's problems, but thinking of my blessings, dreaming of beautiful possibilities, and enjoying the changing leaves on the big tree in yard makes it easier to keep trying, and hoping.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Geoff and I went out, together, and we saw a movie: What the Bleep Do We Know!? Still processing the experience, but I left with a keen desire to LOVE my water, and be nice to my thighs.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

My email messages go out with an orange butterfly in the upper right hand corner. Hmmm. I never requested this feature or specially arranged to be represented by a butterfly. I like butterflies. They're pretty. But the butterfly is not me; not my symbol, my logo, my calling card. I am not the butterfly, and yet whenever friends or family hear from me they are seeing the butterfly, and maybe they're thinking: "She's really into that butterfly."

I searched around my toolbar for the butterfly "on/off" switch. Couldn't find it. I thought I might find a list of other character options and wondered whether any of them would better suit me. There don't seem to be any; not that I can find. A chicken is a likely option, and some time ago I might have felt like using a sea turtle. My cynical side wonders why ants aren't showing up on my outgoing email. Ants are everywhere else in my life. Frickin' ants.

It might be amusing, in a junior high kind of way, to have symbols that change with holidays, seasons or moods. Google has creative fun decorating their banner. At the moment I feel like I could be best symbolized by a cute sloth, sweating and lethargic, staring blankly, waiting for a special delivery and cooler weather.

Max is writing his Christmas list... Alex is drawing... William is fixing a bagel... Geoff is playing tennis...

Wednesday, September 15, 2004


Before laundry and grocery shopping, before unpacking and opening mail... I must download digital images and organize photo files. We took many pictures on our Oregon adventure. We were yurt camping and beach combing. We picked wild blackberries, and went to the parade at Bandon's 58th annual Cranberry Festival. I met mom's friends, Ava and Luanne, and had an awesome breakfast at Stan's place. Stan makes croissants that are muy French and flakey. We met Curly; a slug that could be mistaken for a beached whale. Our photos should reflect the 14 days of adventure and fun, without emphasizing the tedium of 60 hours on trains, or dealing with really bad colds.

Mom and Ron's place is great. They have settled in, and it's nice to see the details and familiar objects that reflect their lives and interests. Grandma has her place there too. She has her own room, and throughout the house are the things she enjoys, like her teacup collection, and books. We got to see the beautiful flowers and plants they have been cultivating in barrels. Like our trip before, two years ago, the weather was very nice, sunny and warm, so we missed out on the storms and rain that the area is better known for. This is not surprising, since I packed for cold weather.

We were there in time for William and Alex to attend the last performance of the season of the Sawdust Theater's melodrama "Ding dong Dell, Who Threw Grandma Down The Well?" My homebodies were reluctant to go, but returned very enthused and impressed by the whole evening. They also enjoyed the two mornings we walked over the dunes to fossil hunt on the beach and play with the giant drift wood pieces. Alex drew the rocky formations toward the Jetty and Coquille River. Max climbed the dunes. William had thoughtful reveries and tranquil moments to contemplate the universe.

My thoughts and reflections will take longer to develop than the several hundred photographs that I downloaded while writing this brief Blog update. I am moving and thinking like a pregnant woman in her third trimester: Slow and quiet, distracted by thoughts of tiny toes and new life.

September 2, 2010 :: Updated With Photos!
This was such a wonderful, memorable trip. I was quite pregnant with Maria, or Papaya. The boys and I took the train from southern California, all the way to Oregon. It was a fun (sometimes too long) thirty hour ride each way. In Delia and Ron's home we enjoyed family company, with Grandma, and Henry and Eva too. There were blackberries, a salmon festival, and many happy hours exploring.

Max still begs me to make our next trip a trip by train to Oregon.
A bit more from that trip... September 28, 2004 :: "Blackberries"