Friday, March 30, 2007

Random quote and unrelated photos of the week

Well, I really think he shatters the myth of white supremacy once and for all.

Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY)
in response to a question asking what he thinks about President Bush.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Real Moms

So Mo tagged me with the "Real Moms" meme, and while struggling with what to say, I took a shower and Bingo! Inspiration. But not like you think. In the shower I started to think about the dinner I was going to have, at a nice restaurant, thanks to the wonderful Ellen and Jiro (and their Ada-sitting generosity). The dinner, by the way, was fantastic. Highly recommended, especially when you can get someone else to foot the bill. But about that shower.

I was in the shower because I'd just come from a hair appointment. I love my stylist, but in an attempt to accentuate what curls I have, she'd managed to give me a bit of an evil clown look. Ok, maybe not quite that bad, but there was a definite bump around the ear area.

So, here's what I came up with (once the water had sufficiently calmed my post-hairstyle panic):

Real Moms Ask For Help

This seems like a no-brainer, but it is one of the hardest things for me. Before I had Ada, I had no idea this would be difficult. Of course I'd ask for help! My friends and I had always been there for each other, so why would this be different? But even when you desperately need help, it is harder than you'd think to ask for it.

I still kick myself for not demanding to help Ellen more in the first few months of Monkey Boy's life. Only by seeing how amazingly generous she was with her time and energy did I understand what I should have done for her. (Shut it Ellen, I can wish I had known what to do.) Her help, and the help of numerous other friends and family, it made all the difference to me. I am so lucky that people (like my sister) volunteered to visit regularly, or brought me food, or let me borrow baby items I had not realized I'd need or want. That whole village thing, they weren't kidding about that. You get the idea.

When I had Ada, Ellen's help, and the help of numerous other friends and family, made all the difference to me. I am so lucky that people (like my sister) visited regularly, brought me food, walked the girl while I slept, and let me borrow baby items I had not realized I'd need or want. That whole village thing, they weren't kidding about that.

Now that I know, I try to offer help when I can. It seems so obvious now that moms (new and not so new) need help. This is not because my friends are not capable, but because the task of being a parent is so large and unending. And now that I know, I realize that other people see how necessary the help is. I am working on being better about asking for help when I need it.

And speaking of help, I needed it today.

Ada was driving me up a wall with her toddler ways. The whining was especially grinding, making me ready to flee the house even before Chris left at 8:30 this morning. It was all I could do to tolerate her all morning. Nurturing was pretty much out of the question. Of course on the day I need the time without her, she naps restlessly and wakes early, before my (required, demanded) alone time is "up." My time to write this, and to prepare for work tomorrow and to drink tea and be still. Especially on a day that has already felt so hard, I want time alone. Or at least I want to not spend more time alone with her. And since I used nap time to start this post on how key it is to ask for help, I vowed to reach out.

I called Ellen. But even after all this considering, it was hard to take her help. It was hard because she offered more than I'd planned on getting. I called her figuring I'd ask to come over so that Ada and I would not be alone together. She told me to leave Ada with her. Which is great, except that I know her plan A was a nap. So I feel guilty. But lovely Ellen refused to let me say no. It is embarrassingly hard to say yes, thanks, I will take this free time. It is hard to admit that I need it, and scary to take free time without a plan "worthy" of the space. But plan-free, here I am. Sitting at my dining room table typing, considering whether to prepare for tomorrow or to read my novel. Maybe a little of both. Or nothing. Drinking tea and being still are okay too.

Maybe I am not the poster child for asking for help. But whenever I do I am glad I have asked. And getting more than I've asked for is a lovely bonus. Give it a try, you might be surprised by the result.

** ** **

Oh right, the tagging part. Laurie and dodo, feel free to take this up if you'd like. No pressure.

Monday, March 26, 2007

In the mean time...

I am working on several real posts, including one responding to Mother-Woman's call for me to participate in the "real moms" meme, a post with some navel gazing, and some other stuff. But today I am working, and I really need to prepare for a presnentation. Plus I have to finish putting together a hagaddah for passover at my house next week. And there is some gardening to do. And I found some cool things to stencil. So here's what you get instead of real writing: thanks to a cool tool from dumpr I can seem my photos hung in museums!

It looks like they have some other interesting toys as well. Worth checking out.

Oh, and while I am sharing, I thought I'd tell you that while there is a ton of great stuff on youtube for kids (Ada continuously asks for the Sesame Street segment in which a girl takes her llama to the dentist), the following SS animation made her cry. She did have a fever at the time, but even in a healthy state, it is kind of sad and scary. Chris cried too, when I told him about the video and Ada's response.

Thanks for hanging in there while I procrastinate ruminate.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Random quote and unrelated photo of the week

I had some dreams,
They were clouds in my coffee.

Carly Simon

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Must have been the pollen in my eyes

I walk out of the house, leaving Ada elbow deep in puzzle pieces and half learned nursery rhymes. I get into the car after admiring our newly tilled garden. There is a blast of Neko Case from the cd player, and I leave the disk in even though I am kind of a news junkie.

I back the car out of the driveway and head down the street, listening to Neko and feeling weirdly elated. I drive along 12th, where all the cherry trees are in bloom, and suddenly the size of my heart triples. The image is worn, but apt.

I turn onto Powell, and over the Ross Island Bridge the sun comes out. Again, I am feeling the particular joy of early spring. I've found one of those moments of where the world is so perfect, and here I am in it. And, well, I'm driving, so the moment doesn't stop me in my tracks, but it feels like that.

Heading up the hill, listening to Neko and singing, I start crying, sure that the drivers of the jeep from Minnesota and the biodiesel Volvo wonder about the tears streaming down my cheeks while I belt out a tune they can't hear.

And on to Salem.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Kelly, Mint and Forest

In honor of St. Patrick's day - I am wearing green. Green with envy, that is.

Here's what makes me feel jealous:

  • A grad school friend with a high profile job;
  • You get more hits than me;
  • That friend who is pregnant again, and so easily;
  • Why doesn't my hair ever look as good as hers?
  • Being a little fish blogger, I sometimes won't write about something because I know the big fish are going to write about it and get much more attention for it.
  • The coolest shoes are so much harder to find in size 9;
  • How does she have such willpower?

So now I want to know, what are you jealous about? Don't leave me feeling that I'm the only one.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Random quote and unrelated photo of the week

When leaving a tip at the counter, I often do so with exaggerated gesturess, or take a bit longer than necessary to place the dollar in the dish, just to make sure they know what a nice and generous customer I am.

Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life

Monday, March 12, 2007

The elephant in the room

In December I got talked into taking a class to learn to make felt elephants. I'm glad I went, because it was a fun project and very easy, even for the sewing-challenged such as myself. I liked it so much that I made a second one for a new baby I know.

The photo is purposely fuzzy, in an attempt to hide the poor stitching on the first (orange) elephant. Her newer, blue friend is a bit better crafted, and I learned not to over-stuff the animal. I just learned that the woman who designed the elephant pattern is going to make a pig pattern, and I can't wait. In the mean time, I am working on using my new-found blanket stitch skills to edge a bib made from a scrap of oil cloth. I am a complete oil cloth addict, and own several items from Love Shine. Now that I live on the west coast and it is less convenient to pop over to New York for the weekend, I'm reduced to making my own bags, etc. To wit:

This is a work in progress; I need to finish the stitch around the outside, and add some velcro to the top.

Oil cloth is fantastic. It doesn't unravel, it repels water (and food), it comes in amazing colors and patterns. If it was a little less stiff, I would make a whole oil cloth wardrobe for myself.

And because I think it is so cool, I wanted to show you the felt board that my mother-in-law made for Ada:

Why didn't I think of this? Why didn't you think of this and tell me about it?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Random quote and unrelated photo of the week

Loaded down with a kind of lightness, a cargo of imagery and simile, the bus of books grunts forward and turns west onto Highway 68.

Dan Barry
Taking Books Far and Wide, on the Road Less Traveled By

Monday, March 05, 2007

stop tantalizing my eye

Or, why it is good that I only work in the office one day a week.

I am not built for cubicle life – my hearing is too good and my distractability too great. Yesterday I was dutifully crafting a Question and Answer sheet, when I heard one of my coworkers call out "stop tantalizing my eye!" Anxious as I was to get something done before I left for the day, I used all my personal strength to not get up and ask what the hell she was talking about.

Another reason to avoid the office is the gross candies someone left in our shared food area. Oh, and I have no willpower. A couple weeks ago I ate something called “hot stinky feet.” Thankfully they did not taste like any kind of feet, but they weren’t hot either, so the truth in advertising quota was pretty low. I suspect they were left over from Halloween, circa 1987.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Random quote and unrelated photo of the week

Ms. Zohn said being married bicoastals poses a variety of challenges, not the least of which is explaining the situation. "My parents don't really understand it," she said. "They have one of those traditional 'live in the same state' kind of marriages."

Robin Epstein