Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Sound of Silence

A few years ago, a friend of mine (who had kids, I still had none at the time) told me he loved to drive in the car with no music or radio station on, and at the time, I thought him nutty. I get it now. Our CD player in the car isn't working, so it's either a radio station or nothing. Today I drove through an area where nothing really comes in, and I turned the radio off without thinking, and for probably the first time in history, enjoyed the silence. Toddler Boy was sleeping, and it was just me for adult company, and I just couldn't believe it. Woah. An hour of no sound except the road under my tires. What a relief it was, really. Maybe it's because the brain waves are starting to really slow down these days. I don't think I even thought during my quiet hour. It was almost like a nap. Almost. But not quite.

Friday, January 27, 2006

So many emotions and none to pin down

Not to keep my vast readership hanging, but a huge life change is drawing closer and closer. I'm excited by the possibilities, sad for what will be left behind, filled with trepidation at the thought of how responsible we are for choosing paths that affect our children.

It also feels right. Piece after piece has fallen into just the right place. I've never known what people meant when they said that it felt as though a door had opened, but this time, it does for us.

It's not a done deal yet, but when it is, I'll say more.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

A respectable book... I think?

I was talking to my dear sister yesterday about a certain book that is still burning a hole in my brain. I tend to go through stages of reading any and everything by one author and then moving on to the next passing fancy.
Philipa Gregory has to be the best kind of author to do this with. Although she has written lots of very good (translation: entertaining) historical novels (I'm not a critic, so nobody needs to go all English-Department on me!), she's written different stuff too. Like *The Little House* which I LOVED because I so vehemently despised every single character because not one of them was loveable, but somehow they were all believeable. She also wrote *A Respectable Trade*. I have a love-hate relationship with this book and it's still affecting me. It's about the slave trade in England (a historical lesson for me, for sure) and is disturbing disturbing disturbing. But as much as I was disturbed, I couldn't put it down. I wanted to stop reading it, it bothered me, but I couldn't stop and was honestly relieved when it was over. Maybe I throw myself into a book too deeply. Has anyone else read that one? What was your reaction? (As a side note, this is why I don't watch scary movies, and my standard for scary is probably that of a 5 year old.)

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Maternity wear for giants, apparently

We live in a country where you can truly obtain just about anything you want. Between Walmart and the internet, just about anything is available to you. With one exception. Maternity clothes that actually cover your entire protruding belly.
I don't consider myself the largest lady in the land, but apparently to manufacturers of maternity garb I am the exception to the rule. (I think the rule is either (1) be 5'1" tall or (2) enjoy feeling the wind on your unborn child.) When I first learned I was pregnant, I was happy to get the maternity clothes of a friend of mine who was quite well dressed whilst carrying her children. That worked great until I was about 6 months along at which point it became evident that she is significantly shorter than me. All of a sudden NO shirt is long enough to cover either my belly (while wearing low rise item on the bottom half) or the darling panel of blue cloth (while wearing high-rise, itchy item on the bottom half).
I went to the Motherhood store to ask if they had any particularly long shirts, maybe even a minidress I could pair with something, that would cover me and my growing self. The clerk was about 5'3". She explained that she'd never had that problem when she was pregnant. No kidding.
My OB is about 5'10", so I asked her what she did for the last few months, besides hibernate with a pint of Ben & Jerry's. She admitted it was hard to find longer shirts, but recommended the Japanese Weekend brand. I guess if I was an OB I could afford the $48 T-Shirt. On ebay. Used, no less.
On ebay, someone listed a top that got under Japanese Weekend. I looked into it, but found it was a Swedish brand of clothes. Great! I thought, That's a whole nation of tall women, maybe this brand can be found here. It can. In boutiques. Oh, and on the internet. When I googled the brand name, which happens to be BOOB, I came up with a very interesting set of websites. Found lots of thigh-high vinyl boots (which coincidentally wouldn't cover my growing belly), but it took some looking to come up with the maternity wear I was after. But after I saw the prices I realized the brand name translated from the original Swedish means "costly garments you can wear for about five minutes".
Alas. I guess the situation has a few solutions. I could (1) learn how to sew, (2) become an OB so that I can afford a $48 TShirt, (3) move to Stockholm to work as an OB, thus saving on shipping, (4) revert to the Donald-Duck style of maternity clothing our mothers got to wear or (5) spend the next 7 weeks holding my shirt down and walking bent in half so that I'm properly covered. My budget tells me I won't be doing numbers 2 & 3 (can't afford med school). My pride tells me I won't be doing #4. Reality tells me it won't be #1 either. So I guess it's back pain or an up-draft for me for a while.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Malaprop Song Lyrics

I think there's another name for these, but I don't have time right now to google around and find it. Jay Are's funny post about bad, bad songs reminded me of another fun family past time (you can decide our level of hipness): making fun of each other (and ourselves) over misheard lyrics.

Some family favorites:
My mom got in trouble in high school for singing what her dad thought was "Let's Peek Down Her Collar." It was "Lipstick on her Collar."

My sister-in-law was rockin' out to "Our Love is Kinky" once. Her older brother corrected her to "Alive and Kicking." And I'm sure it was a gentle correction.

I don't even remember the song (a country one, maybe? I have no idea right now.), but I've belted out these classic lines in the past: "Elvis, I loooove the velvet" (instead of "Elvis has left the building") and this goodie, from a Ray Stevens song: "And we'll have beets for Bert!"= "We'll have peach preserves."

There's even an archive of these goodies at www.kissthisguy.com, and yes, there are more official names for them--mondegreens. I just call them funny--it's hilarious that we mishear into lyrics that have _less_ sense than the original words!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Loser Mom part 348

After searching all over the living room--behind the couch, in between the books on the bookshelf, through all the toy bins--and basement and kitchen, the planner has been found.

In my briefcase.

The end. Next time I'll save my idiocy for myself before blaming my 3-year-old publicly on my blog.

Yup, I've been gone

The kids, however, missed me not at all. I'm always happy/sad by this: shouldn't they be moping and wailing and missing their mom? On the other hand, of course, I'm glad to have such well-grounded, confident kids that don't need me every second. And it's great for the dad in this house, who had three solid "on" days.

But a few tears would have been nice.

Welcome home, mom...

Imagine you're a three-year-old.

Now imagine that your mom leaves for three days. While she's gone, you decide to get out her dayplanner/book/thing that has the times for approximately 8,000 committee meetings, conferences with students, and other miscellaneous important events.

Where might you put it?

Friday, January 20, 2006

hello hello hello

Oh where oh where has my sister gone,
oh where oh where can she be?

Actually I happen to know she has many important things to do this time of year, but I sure do miss her astute presence on this blog.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Good morning world.

It's 6.15 am PST, and anyone who knows me knows this is not right. I should not be awake, much less semi-coherent at 6.15 am PST. But, alas, I've been awake for an hour now, and it seems that this is my fate for the day. Lame thing is my sweet 2 yr old will be awake in about an hour himself so it's not like I can just sleep in if I do get tired in an hour or so. Why does our body do this? How is it possible that there are just days when our brain is somehow not regulated? There are so many things that work magically in our bodies, like pregnancy and birth, the fact that children aren't born knowing how to walk or talk, how our bodies process things like food and water... But then there are a few mysteries that I would love to have answered by the Creator of all this. Why do I wake up unprovoked at 5.00 am sometimes? Why, when I do wake up like that, do I fret about things like the need to transfer money from one bank account to another even though I can't do anything about it until the bank is open? Why does my brain get consumed by things that are so unimportant as to have no affect on me, and at the same time is so unconsumed by things that ARE important and DO have an affect on me? Bizarre.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

the sweetness of two

I just had the most enjoyable morning with my 2-year old. Usually if I try to get too much done in one morning (or afternoon, since our days are broken in half by his legendary naps), it can be a real disaster. So today, I took a deep breath before heading out to the post office, Target, to get his haircut and then let him play in the mall's play place for a few minutes. He was bliss. It was one of those mornings that reminds me of all the wonderful things he is. A little like last night, he was "helping" his dad with a minor project which included going in and out of the apartment to the porch about 15 times. He followed his dad around with his tools (a pencil and a leveller) and it was just sweet. Sometimes there's no other word for it, just sweet sweet moments, that I know are going to go too fast.

Monday, January 16, 2006

My answer

Here goes (and no, it's not terribly creative or interesting, in fact I wouldn't read it at all if I weren't having to write it first!(:
2 names I go by: I often go by a Target and Big Bob's Carpet Store
2 parts of my heritage: brown hair and a tendency to cry at oft-repeated family stories of hardship.
2 things that scare me: staying home alone at night (thank you, Firefighter Husband, for helping me overcome this one!) and my precious child(soon to be -ren) being kidnapped/hurt/etc
2 everyday essentials: food and water
2 things I'm wearing now: glasses and my wedding ring
2 things I want in (any kind of) relationship: respect and appreciation (both mutual)
2 truths: the truth will set you free; we all need anchors but we have to hold on...
2 favorite hobbies: stamp collecting and astronomy (yeah, right)
2 things I want badly: a healthy new baby and a happy family (I have the happy family, I just badly want it to stay that way!)
2 places I want to go on vacation: Morocco again and South America
2 things I want to do before I die: keep breathing and remember the 2 truths
2 things that make me a stereotypical chick: I LOVE shopping (although unlike my sister, I don't just window shop, which sometimes affects the happy family issue...sigh) and I'll admit it, I'm needy (reassurance that I'm OK, please!!)
2 things I'm thinking right now: Maybe I should rewrite this completely but then there's the laundry to do, and maybe I should get up and turn off the bathroom fan which is awfully noisy.
2 stores I shop at: (only 2?!!) Gymboree and Ross (big fan)...
2 reasons why I won't pass this on: I always wonder if I should make things up or be honest... does anyone really want to know this about me... hmm....

Pass it on...

Derring-do sent this one our way. LCS's answers will be much more creative and interesting, but I'll try it anyway. Reminds me of filling out those slam books in high school about who you are...I went through stages of being obsessed with them.

2 names you go by: mommy, prof
2 parts of your heritage: Swedish, mainly. 2nd parts: lots of bits of other things
2 things that scare you: someone hurting my kids, flying
2 everyday essentials: cup of coffee from home, my backpack (yup. Couldn't adjust to those much more grown up briefcase type bags)
2 things you are wearing right now: barrette, slippers
2 things you want in a relationship: lots of laughter, lots of talk
2 truths: Jay Are took my first one (really) which is: Kindness is always the right response. Two new ones: Love means saying you're sorry, a lot, and forgiving, a lot; laundry grows exponentially with each additional family member
2 favorite hobbies: reading mysteries, being with family/friends (These aren't hobbies--more like pasttimes. I have no real identifiable hobbies. Is that pathetic?)
2 things you want really badly: to be able to play volleyball really well again, to be able to play the guitar (helps to actually be practicing these things. Details.)
2 places you want to go on vacation: 2 warm places--lets say Spain, and some islands somewhere
2 things you want to do before you die: see who my children grow to be, design and build a simple, unique, interesting home (hey, you can always dream, right?)
2 ways you're stereotypically a chick: I like window shopping; I cry easily
2 things you're thinking about right now: Why is my baby not awake yet? Why is my girl dipping felt pieces into her cup of water and muttering 'Get down NOW' under her breath?
2 stores you shop at: Trader Joe's, Target

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Legitimate excuses,

like those in LCS's last post, count. All good reasons for not writing as much.

Mine, however, are boringly mundane. Like the new semester starting.

Some post, someday, is going to detail the *reality* of academic life. I used to think that my profs only taught 12 hours a week too.

But I don't have time for that one right now because I've got to get to school early for an important meeting and then make some copies and then teach and then meet with students for 2 hours and then go to two more meetings and then respond to student work from the day. Soon, though.

I will say this: I've read one Booker prize book (_The Sea_--filled with angst and heavy vocabulary and seaside scenes. The end.) so far this year. So the resolutions are not forgotten...yet!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

no wine with this whine

Oh, pregnancy. I can't sleep. My back is killing me. And I have no energy. Did I mention I have a 40 lb. 2 year old who likes to be held... a lot? And we bought a house, which is a fixer-upper in the truest sense of the word. We should be moving in, oh, about 5 minutes before this baby is born. And my husband works his first 48 hr shift starting tomorrow a.m., which means my 48 hr solo endeavor also begins tomorrow. Whine whine whine. It's a good thing I was born into a comfortable country with a comfortable lifestyle and I don't have to fight for my life or anything, because I think I'm way too wimpy for that! eeps. There you have it.

Friday, January 06, 2006


It seems like our most-high President has been throwing the word around for the last few years and it's gotten me thinking (yet another dangerous by-product of the war on Iraq).
One of my favorite lines from a song (by Kris Kristofferson)... "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose"... Someone I know spoke about that line in deeper terms once. I think it has to be one of the all-time most profound statements made by someone without Deep Thinking credentials. Maybe it's because it reminds me of a certain family member of ours who seems to think that doing "his thing" at the expense of everyone else's feelings and life is the way to be happy. Interestingly enough, he has to be one of the most unhappy people I know. I wonder how long it'll take before he comes to the realization that living his life "freely" is only a result of having nothing to live for.
While I know people have been self-serving to a certain extent from the beginning of time, I think there was a time when freedom meant being able to live within the laws while following one's own moral codes and ethos. Respect for others was part of that freedom, not separate from it. My generation seems to take "freedom" to a whole new level. Being free now means being able to do what we want when we want it, regardless of the personal or financial costs to ourselves or others. Like not showing up to our parents' as planned and not calling to explain until a day later. Or like when a credit card's marketing scheme includes words like "live freely". Huh? On credit? How does that happen? I wonder what survivors of Auschwitz or internment camps or various other forms of imprisonment think of that. After their experiences do they need a Mastercard to experience real freedom? Or have their experiences led them to believe that it's just another word for nothing left to lose?

Monday, January 02, 2006

Things to Do List

I know, I know, resolutions are tedious this time of year. Some years I've laughed them off cynically -- "ah, look at how full the gym is this month--where will these folks be in June, huh? Huh?" -- but this year for some reason I'm finding the *idea of* having resolutions intriguing. I like Jay Are's idea of two different kinds of resolutions. But what to do when you have so many things to work on? A few things, in no particular order:

--Stay in front of my reading habit so that I read good stuff instead of *only* mysteries (don't get me wrong--I have nothing against mysteries and I actually think they're one of the best genres out there right now. But we have a fanstastic library down the road from us; I can even order books online and have them waiting for me at the checkout desk. So there's no reason not to read more new fiction, more Booker prize winnters, etc. I have no aspirations to literary snobdom--just a desire to spend my precious reading hours in this life with things that stretch me, at least sometimes.)

--Buy and read a book of poetry. Yes, I'm a former English major, but I've never really read poetry for pleasure. But I think I'd like to--I admire people whose lives are enriched by poetry. And I want that too. Any ideas? I like Billy Collins (I know). A student of mine is really into Pablo Neruda. All suggestions are welcome.

--Write things that matter, even a little bit, both personally and professionally.

--Try to figure out how to care less about a messy house.

--Try to worry more about the things I can control (like my attitude towards those I love and towards others) and less about things I can't, but that seem to be seething barely below the surface of this country (like easy dismissals of others' plights).

Enough already.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

My new year's resolutions, unplugged

Like my sister, I've gone through stages of making and ignoring the resolution season. This year, however, I have too much to do. THat is, I have too much to do to NOT make resolutions. I would have said my 1st priority is to not procrastinate, but since it's jan 2nd and that's already been broken by starting this post yesterday and not finishing today, I think that may be a moot point.
1. Be more patient with my 2-yr old. He's only going to be two once and he's cute as a bug... I just have to remember that he's two, not twenty-two...
2. Be more patient with the world in general... it really doesn't matter if a waiter takes too long, if the drive-thru coffee house is too slow or if the bank teller has no idea what "transfer from savings to checking" means...
3. Write more often (anyone reading this might want to avoid the blog...)
4. Remember that some committments I have made in my life need to be reinforced and worked on so that they don't become commitments I no longer see as important.
5. Give my husband-with-another-new-career a lot of space... It's funny how different we are and yet how the same... When I'm stressed I want no contact with other human beings, and he's much the same, but I have this yucky habit of wanting to fix it that never seems to help...
And that is going to be it. I'm limiting myself to 5 resolutions because if I really sat back and considered all the things I should do, I'd be so irritated at my list of things to do that I'd wait to start until next year...