Thursday, January 31, 2008

strolling in the hood

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

the sandwich dream and other people's milestones

I went in to E's room early this morning and woke her up by mistake. She sat up in bed and started searching for something in the covers. "Sandwich?" she said, "Sandwich??" I laughed and said, "No, there's no sandwich. Go back to sleep." And she did!

She went to bed late last night, for a good reason. We babysat a 20 month old who had never had a sitter before other than his grandmother. I felt so honored and grown-up and wise as I reassured the mom before she left and congratulated her after she came home. The little boy did just fine, never cried for her. All he cried about was me trying to change his diaper. That's a really strong little boy. We ended up saving that smell for mommy as a coming home present.

I couldn't make it a perfect experience, but I felt like I helped them both have a relatively good first-babysitter experience. E was surprisingly tolerant of the "baby". Once I asked her to go see what he was doing and report back to me. She went off on her mission to the next room and said something like, "Baby, what you doing?" Then she got distracted and I never got my report. Later, several times, she would come up to me and whisper, "Checking baby..." and she'd go look at him and get distracted again. We were at his house, which has an excellent toddler set-up.

It was also an excellent distraction for me! If you ever need to take your mind off your problems, borrow two toddlers for a couple of hours.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

girly girl cheered me up

This morning I decided to go to church. I got dressed in my usual beloved casual clothes, which are fine at my church. Then when I dressed E, she looked up at this blue velvet dress hanging up and I asked if she wanted to wear it. She said "yes!" I said, "It's cold out. You'll have to wear tights with it." That's usually been the stumbling block for her wearing dresses - she refuses tights. But this time she just smiled and said, "Tights!" So we dressed her up in the blue velvet, white tights and white turtleneck. She hated the turtleneck and fought it but I convinced her to put it on just long enough to look in the mirror. Then if she didn't like the look, I said, we could change it. I stood her up on the bathroom counter to see her whole self, and her little face just lit up! She loved her look. It was priceless to see her reaction.

Of course, I had to change my clothes to be seen with her! While I was putting on my tights and skirt, she waited for me in the living room. This is what she was doing when I came out and saw her. She squinted up when I said "smile".
The blue velvet dress used to be mine, nearly 40 years ago!

She also decided to wear all the barrettes we could see. It was at least eight.
And to carry a purse.

It was a nice morning. She was the only child in the nursery, and I enjoyed the message which was about different concepts of "heaven". We went to lunch afterward with Victor and his family. Victor kept saying, "Hi, Sarah" and patting me on the butt as we waited in the cafeteria line. After that I took E for a stroller nap, and my friend Kelly and I walked in a pretty neighborhood for about an hour. And now, David has come home! For just one night, but I'm happy to see him.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

act now!

Well, I didn't worry about trying to keep busy today, I focused on relaxing, and it almost worked. E and I had a full-on lazy day at home. When it came time to put E to bed, though, I didn't want to. So we lay in my bed and watched tv. Regular tv. We get one channel with our rabbit ears. She kept asking for Clifford but all we had was an infomercial. It was awful: 151 Country Songs of Love, or something like that. Some Time-Life offer, "not available in stores". They had assembled a diverse crowd of extras to sit in a cafe with Glen Campbell and some young effervescent brunette, and these classic country music fans would sit and talk to each other about what a great deal this cd package was. But I hung in there, mesmerized, mainly for all the clips of 70's country stars singing their hits. Now I know what all those names look like - Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn, George Jones, etc. I just considered it a history lesson. But I admit that was an indicator of my low mood that I couldn't think of anything better to do! And actually, part of what froze me in place was the cuddly pajama-clad toddler snuggled next to me, announcing periodically, "man!" "playing, guitar!" and asking "what's that?" ("It's a cowboy boot with flowers in it, sweetie, and a bunch of cd's.") When she got bored she'd pull the covers over both our heads.

Is airing an infomercial at 7:30 pm on a Saturday an outcome of the writers' strike? CBS must really be hurting! Or is this how tv is these days? I'm so out of touch with it, I wouldn't know. The next show was something about the greatest ever superbowl commercials. I thought, what an odd show to make up, and I assumed it was a product of the writers' strike as well -- until I remembered that the superbowl is next weekend. Oh, okay, then. I enjoyed seeing some of the actual commercials - not the phony "party" filler. I finally gave it up when E showed signs of getting a second wind. Couldn't let that happen.

I've never had much energy after 8 pm, but with a toddler I definitely don't. Consequently, I never clean up from dinner until the next morning (or sometimes, the next morning or the next!). It's depressing to wake up to the mess, but it seems even more torturous to force myself to clean it before bed. I realized tonight that I am, not surprisingly, really not myself. I'm extra spacey and lethargic. The post-surgery high dissipated into the waiting-for-lab-results funk. I've got to get out and do something tomorrow. The highlight of today was talking on the phone for an hour and a half with an old friend who'd been out of touch. Next best was the mother-daughter nap. Oh, and the dancing we did to some old school R&B on the radio provided a good few minutes. It was a good day, mostly, just capped off by that horrible tv stupor. That's probably not unusual for many modern Americans. Now I need to give the cats their meds and go to bed. The morning will be brighter!

another boo boo

I gave in and got E vaccinated against the chicken pox. I do not trust that vaccine, but all daycares and schools require it, and in the end, my desire for her to join a group daycare for her social development outweighed my suspicions about this new vaccine. I could have fought the system more (other people do), or claimed religious exemption, but the former was too exhausting a thought and the latter would have been a lie. I just don't trust it because it hasn't been around long enough for us to know the lifetime effects of it. All vaccines have their issues, but this one is the worst, to me, because I got chicken pox and survived and so did most people my age and generations before us. It's hard for me to see the big deal. I guess we all base these things on our own experiences. If E does grow up and have problems, at least she will be in a huge cohort of other Americans with the same problems! Maybe she'll be able to benefit from a class action lawsuit. I hope she won't sue me! :)

Anyway, the below photo from this morning shows her showing off her new boo boo. She put her shoes and socks on herself. The funny shot I missed was her dressed this way, carrying a purse, trying to open the front door. She had said bye bye and given me a kiss as I lay on the couch. Guess she was going to work.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

no news is good news?

Regarding the pathology report, no news yet because they sent it out for a second opinion! That's got to be a good thing, right? I'm glad they're thorough.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Of course the first instance of this was much better, but she did humor me with a repeat performance once I got the camera. We had been dancing this evening and I said I had to stop and cook dinner. She whined furiously so I said, "I'll keep dancing while I'm cooking." When I turned around again I saw her dancing while holding her frying pan close to her chest. In this go round you can't really tell she's dancing, but it was a slow song!

Still waiting for my pathology report - hopefully tomorrow. I feel even more happy and relieved about my situation after reading the "whymommy" blog that Marie's Blog linked to. Another young mom with toddlers, somewhere in the world, today had a double mastectomy because she has the most aggressive form of breast cancer there is. Puts things in perspective!

busy girl

This video was from a couple of Sundays ago, approaching naptime. There's no punchline or anything, it's just a little slice of life with a 2 year old.

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

my boo boo

My husband always finds a way to make greeting cards more relevant.
E is into finding and announcing boo boo's. (I keep telling her, no, my nose is just red like that. It's not a boo boo.) She says it kind of like "bew bew" with a sympathetic tone. I had a lumpectomy on Friday, for very early breast cancer. The surgery went well and I'll keep you all posted on the follow up.

Friday, January 18, 2008

all's well

Everything went just like it should have, and I'm home and happy.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Mommy, some, too?

E enjoyed some oatmeal for breakfast last weekend. Here she is offering me some - or actually offering it to the camera, which she thought was funny.

I need to confess to you all that I'm nervous about some outpatient surgery I'm having tomorrow. It's a really simple and straightforward thing, but I have a great imagination! All the good wishes I've had mean a lot to me. E went home with Grandma and Grandma tonight (she can't seem to say Grandpa), and she seemed to be just fine about it. She's looking forward to her cousin's birthday party, i.e., "cake", on Saturday. She'll stay with my folks for the weekend while I take painkillers and sleep.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

sculpture garden

These pictures are from New Year's Day, in a new sculpture garden in our neighborhood.

Friday, January 11, 2008

This year's peace on earth picture

E is wearing Victor's added-value footie pajamas, resting her head on her purple blankie, and holding the rag doll my mom made for me when I was 5 -- who has actually managed to keep her Grandma-made pajamas on for once. Taken last night.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Tutu cutie

Look at our little ballerina cowgirl.

Reading the business journal...

Tonight this well-rounded youngster was enthralled by tearing open a box of garbage bags. She pulled almost all of them out (though they stayed folded), threw them around, lay on them, draped them over her lap, bunched them up. I was watching, don't worry. I was on the phone and she came up to me yelling excitedly, "Ice cream, two ice cream!!" She was holding a bunched up white plastic garbage bag in each hand and she thought they looked like ice cream cones. Yes, she can count up to two! After that she knows what the numbers are but not how to apply them.
Every night when we come home she laments that the neighbor's Christmas lights are gone. I have told her that we put away our tree because Christmas is over. "Christmas house, over," she'll sigh.
David is working out of town for the week. I've started giving the cats their drugs in the morning instead of at night when I'm so exhausted. They get anti-depressants and something to reduce crystals in their urine, all of which help them use the litterbox like they're supposed to. I hope I sleep better tonight. Last night my clock radio alarm (which I never use) mysteriously went off at midnight. I thought it was the smoke alarm. It's extremely loud. I had to turn the light on and look for the switch and try to read the small print on there, to figure out how to turn it off. I don't think E can reach the clock radio, so it's a bit puzzling.
Thanks Victor and Marie for the tutu! The sitter said she danced in it all morning today.

Monday, January 07, 2008

weekend accomplishments

  • trimmed E's nails
  • got a nap
  • wrote in my journal first time in a month
  • date with my husband, saw a movie (Juno - highly recommended!)
  • went to church
  • got in a short walk for myself
  • got E some exercise (dancing, playing in park)
  • had dinner with a friend
  • sent out a few New Year's cards
  • paid a couple bills I'd forgotten about
  • best moment: watching E dance in her new tutu with her daddy
Much more satisfying to write a "done list" than a "to-do list". Happy Monday to you all.

Friday, January 04, 2008

More Christmas pics

Daddy gave E the little engine that could - book and train set.

Santa left an orange in her stocking and she had to eat it as soon as possible. She likes eating oranges whole, like apples.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

some thoughts in progress

The video at the above link is 13 minutes long and makes a strong point. The lighting is not good, but it's just a man talking so all you really need to do is listen. He is a famous psychologist speaking at a famous conference on "Why aren't we all Good Samaritans?" I found this at work and had to interrupt my busy (ha ha) day to tell all of you about it. Recently I watched Mr. Moore's documentary about the U.S. healthcare crisis and at the end, through tears, I was thinking (not for the first time) "Why don't we care more about each other in this country?" We don't necessarily have to have "socialized medicine" (horror of horrors): if we simply, as a society, CARED more about what happens to each other, things would have to be at least a little bit better. We don't have to be such a CYOA (cover your own a**) society; but as life has gotten busier and more complicated we have conditioned each other to accept and expect selfish, "not-my-problem" behavior. This speaker relays an example of how our sheep-like tendency to follow the cues of the crowd can cause suffering; but if someone in the crowd takes the initiative and tries to relieve suffering instead, then others are more likely to do so as well.

The main point he makes, which I want to underscore, is that empathy is a natural reaction for humans but we learn to suppress it. He describes research that showed that we are more likely to suppress our impulse to help (or not even notice the need to help) when we are in a hurry or preoccupied with some imminent personal concern. And how often does each of us feel pressed for time?? Though guilty myself, I am convinced that there is social harm in the "busyness" epidemic. Busyness is our way of justifying -- and thereby preserving -- the status quo. It's our socially acceptable excuse for not living the way we know is right.

And I'm not sure how to get out of the trap myself, because most of the things that keep me busy seem to be activities that could potentially make things better in the world. And there is so much suffering in the world that we can get overwhelmed easily, of course, if we don't put some boundaries around our empathy. How can we learn to show more care for others without ending up feeling deprived ourselves? I wonder if we as a society worked harder on all the "deprivation" problems (e.g. hunger, loneliness...), if that would free up more of people's emotional energy and allow us to feel more for others?


first photos of 2008

On New Year's Day, E and I braved a chilly windy day and muddy ground to enjoy a 10:30 am picnic of crackers in the park down the road.

(Here you can barely see a scratch above E's left eye - a recent lesson about repeated poking of cats)

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

happy new year!

I've been planning to post something insightful and entertaining all day today, reflecting on the day's mostly ordinary activities and the coming year, but now it's bedtime and my mind has turned to something resembling 4 lbs of soggy dryer lint. I go back to work tomorrow, after 2 and a half weeks of not thinking about it in the slightest. *sigh*

I hope all of you who had time off work enjoyed it and were able to relax. May you find ample joy, good luck, love, and peace of mind in 2008.

I'm going to have some cookies and milk now.