Thursday, September 28, 2006

Sixteen Months Old

This sixteen months we have seen an explosion of language take place in Pearl's mind. She mimics words she hears all the time and it is so neat! She is especially interested in "sh" words - crash, hush, shoes, dish (which is her word for duck, long story, ok, it's not really a long story, one of her books has a picture of a duck and the line on that page ends in 'dish'), fish. More words and phrases: It's cold, kites, toes, baby, pillow, socks, bye (she has mastered waving bye too!).

I love hearing her talk. She's a very friendly little thing and loves greeting things: "Hi, socks!" "Hi, shoes!" "Hi, milkies!" "Hi, toes!"

She still reads her books like crazy and she has begun saying the appropriate words and noises on the right pages. Her new favorite is The Monster at the End of this Book.

Reading a Magazine

She is so funny - whenever she sits down, she makes a very satisfied sigh, "Ahhh!" She makes a similar noise after she has a drink.


Pearl is becoming so dexterous! She manipulates her stacking/nesting cups in all sorts of new ways, loves playing patty cake and itsy bitsy spider, and can ride around, steering very well, on her "quike":

On Her Quike.

Watching her pick up and try out our behaviors for herself is so fascinating. She tries to slide Daddy's sunglasses onto her head, sling my purse over her shoulder, step into my shoes. Anytime she is in the bathroom she grabs her little potty and sets in on the closed lid of the big potty (emptying it!) then moves to flush it.

She's lessened her intake of solid food this month but is still nursing like crazy. I am liking this stage in our nursing relationship a lot. She can latch on completely by herself, heck, she can dig through all my clothes and find my breast all by herself too. The fun part is when she talks as she nurses or when she unlatches to say something serious, or to giggle. She still is the most acrobatic nursling I have ever met, and loves to nurse in contorted positions.

Her eighth tooth came in and from how she's been sleeping and napping (or rather, how she's NOT been sleeping and napping!) I'd say number nine will be appearing soon.

We are so very busy that I am startled every time the 28th rolls around. I would never have believed, before I became a mother, how quickly a helpless, squirmy, squeaky little bundle of cuteness could turn into a walking, talking, dancing, running, stomping, singing, happy, fun little person. I could never have imagined how wonderful it would feel to walk through the world with her little hand in mine.

An Evening at the Park, Version 2

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

September in My Town - a Morning Poem

Leaves change beneath dappled skies
from which shafts of sunlight are as like to fall as rain
and lightning dances across the hills.
This city seems like an enchanted place, caught just ouside of real life
Houses hidden between the trees appear only as they're neared
and the streets are filled with a hundred thousand motorcycles,
and people who do not live here.
The call of Canada geese and monarchs southward bound
float through the air, but not leaves,
not yet.

Thanks to Christina, whose words are always beautiful, for the encouragement.


Saturday, September 23, 2006

Early Autumn Celestial Drama

Early Autumn Celestial Drama

A big line of storms came through the area last night... had some nice clouds in the evening.


Friday, September 22, 2006

A New Look

Something more autumnal, just in time for tomorrow's Equinox. Still a few things to tweak, but overall I'm pleased with it.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

A Tangled Web

Sometimes it seems that events and people collide and coincide in such a way that one can almost glimpse some pattern, make some sense of how and why things are connected and effect each other as they do. Maybe it's just this time of year that makes me feel this way... so many things ending and beginning.

For the past week I have been talking a lot with an old friend, who is falling in love with someone. She is married to someone else. Talking her through the stress of it and trying to help her find what path she needs to take. I do not lecture and I do not judge, as I fell in love with my husband while I was newly married to another man at this time four years ago. I remember very clearly the sea of emotion I was in, trying to find my way between being true to my heart and keeping the promises I'd made. My friend says things I said; feels things I felt. I am trying to listen and counsel without wrongly influencing her, as although her situation is similar to what mine was, there are big differences. She has been married for two years, not just a few weeks. And her husband is a good person. She claims they are happy.

I have also been talking to my ex-husband. Some of you may remember that over a year ago I took on a secret identity all over the internet and moved my blog because I was afraid of him finding it. I've since come to believe I was over-reacting at least a little (postpartum hormones, anyone?), not that it's at all a bad idea to try and protect one's anonymity and privacy, crazy former spouses in existence or not.

I had a few dreams about him during the past few months. In one I dreamed that he had died in the war, and I when I learned of his death I was so sad, I wept and wept. In the other he came to me with his wife because he wanted to show me his newborn baby, who was very ugly, but I thought he was a beautiful baby and I cried because I was so happy for them. While I was thinking about those dreams I realized something: I didn't hate or fear my ex anymore. I was no longer angry with him and I didn't feel that I wanted to blame him for the things that had gone wrong in my life. Somewhere along the line, I had forgiven him, and I had forgiven myself as well.

That was kind of astonishing, because I had spent so much of my mental energy in the past four years feeling negatively about him and about everything we'd gone through. To wake up one day and realize that I was in a place where I could look back on the time we spent together and be glad about the good parts was almost exhilirating. He was my first love and my best friend throughout high school; we practically grew up together, and for the past four years I had loathed him and tried to ignore the place he'd had in my life.

I wanted to tell him that I didn't feel right about how badly our relationship had ended, and that I didn't bear him any ill-will. However I didn't want to contact him, because I had no idea how receptive he would be towards hearing what I had to say. I did not know how much, if any he had changed and grown since I spoke to him last.

So I was glad when he sent me a message and I sent a carefully worded one back in response. When I felt that he wasn't going to be hateful and throw the past back in my face, I told him that I forgave him, and I offered a fresh apology for the pain I had caused him. He replied with words much the same: that he no longer was angry at me, and that he wanted to make peace between us too. That he didn't mean most of what he'd said when we were splitting up - that was something I knew, but it lightened my heart to hear it all the same. We both felt that we did not want to try to have a friendship or anything - there is too much behind us, and he is not someone I would chose as a friend these days anyway.

Our conversation went as well as I could've hoped, but when it was over I was surprised at how I felt. I felt relieved that he hadn't used this as an opportunity to hurt me, happy that we had managed to create a better ending for our relationship, but I also felt so unexpectedly sad. I cried. I guess I feel just a little heartbroken again, because - especially now that I have healed - our story just seems so damn tragic. My ex actually summed it up very well: "Funny how two kids caused so many problems for themselves..."

My wonderful husband, the love of my life, is planning on starting school again next semester, on the same campus where he works, the same campus where we met and fell in love as I started college and the leaves changed colors and winter crept closer four years ago. He held my hand through those first dark days and through all the days that followed, and I wish him the best as he undertakes this endeavor to enrich himself and better our lives.

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Friday, September 15, 2006

Beauty is...

Beauty is a home baked chocolate cake so melt-in-your-mouth tender that it collapses upon being removed from its pan...


I love to cook. It is the one creative effort I am sure to have time for because it doubles as a chore. Scrubbing the toilet and putting laundry away just do not bring the same satisfaction. Cooking is more than dull drudgery. It's alchemy, sculpture, therapy. And the result is often delicious.

The planning phase of a project is often the part I enjoy most. I sift through recipe sites for new dishes almost daily. When inspiration strikes, I hunt for advice as to how to make my ideas work. I devour cookbooks and hungrily await updates from the food blogs I read.

I made this cake using this recipe. Having only half of the flour required, I substituted cocoa for the rest and the result is heavenly. It is very moist but not gooey, and the oats and whole wheat flour I used provide some textural interest.

~* For Mama Says Om *~

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Self Portrait Tuesday - With My Daughter

This month's theme at Self Portrait Tuesday is "With Someone" and I thought it appropriate for my first portrait for this theme to include the person with whom I spend ALL my time, my daughter Pearl.

Asleep in My Lap

For the past two years - she was conceived at about this time of the year - I have been spending the vast majority of my time with her. It was amazing to grow her in my womb, thrilling to nourish her with my milk and hold her close, bittersweet to watch her take her first steps away from me. Hard to have so much emotion wrapped around one person, stressful to have so many worries about her, exhausting to spend so much time with another person and their needs. Overall: wonderful.

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Monday, September 11, 2006

A Sad Way to Start the Day

This morning I woke up (at six-thirty, which is much too early if you ask me), got out of bed, pottied Pearl as usual. Then I went into the bathroom and emptied her potty into the toilet and pottied myself. Pearl tagged along as she generally does - like the cats, she is offended by a closed door. I stood at the sink and washed my hands and I saw her go out of the bathroom in the mirror, but I didn't see her go back in. I turned out the light and closed the door behind me and headed towards the kitchen for some of the pumpkin chocolate chip muffins I baked last night and I heard crying from down the hall. I went back and looked into the computer room, thinking she'd gone in there and gotten scared because it was dark, but then I heard banging on a door and thought she must be in the bedroom, when (duh) I remembered the bathroom and I let her out. She was okay once I turned the light on, but I hugged her and told her I was very sorry. I felt really bad, perhaps disproportionately so.

I didn't feel any better when an hour later I killed a brown recluse in that bathroom, right by the door.

I guess I haven't written about our brown recluse problem. I want to go back and time and laugh at the self who freaked out the first time she saw one in her home, because this residence is plagued with thousands of them. Well, perhaps not thousands. I stopped counting how many I'd killed after nine. I've seen them in six of the eight rooms in this house, and the heater closet. Once I was pouring rice into a pot to cook for supper and I saw one running frantically around the bottom as I poured and for a moment I thought the spiders were IN OUR JARS OF FOOD before I realized it must've been in the pot.

I'm hesitant to call pest control because I don't really want to spend a lot of money to fill our home with nasty chemicals. Similarly, I don't use bug spray like Raid. I do squirt them with a Seventh Generation orange cleaner but as it's non-toxic it doesn't kill them and I have to finish them off with a shoe. I've seen recommendations to keep them in check using sticky traps, but I don't want to do that because I'm worried that a cat (or worse, Pearl) would somehow end up with a card full of starving, pissed off venomous spiders attached to them.

But I also don't want one of our family being bitten one so I feel the desire to do SOMETHING about them. We have gotten rid of most of our cardboard boxes of junk and replaced them with plastic bins, and I'm trying to keep things from cluttering up as those are two things that brown recluses like. I console myself by remembering that 90% of homes in the area I lived are also home to brown recluses, and that they are so named because they are reclusive and don't bite unless they're feeling threatened. But those facts aren't going to make me feel any better if Pearl gets bitten by one, so I don't really know what to do.

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Friday, September 08, 2006

A Photo for Friday


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I Can See! (Sort of)

I finally went and got my eyes examined. I have poor vision... not too horrible, I can function without glasses but I do need them, as the world is pretty blurry when I don't wear corrective lenses of one sort or another. I got contacts this time around. I used to wear contacts but I didn't take them out every night like I was supposed to because if I just left them in around the clock, my eyes would feel fine, but if I took them out and put them back in the next day then my eyes itched like crazy. So I just left them in until my eyes got red and my husband put his foot down and made me get glasses.

Since then they've come out with several kinds of contacts that you can leave in overnight, for as long as thirty days. Heck yeah! They sound perfect for me. Hopefully they'll work out. I have them in right now and they feel okay. I can't see close up well at the momenth because my eyes are still dilated, but that's cool with me because I bear a striking resemblance to evil Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer this way.


Friday, September 01, 2006

End of Summer Stream of Consciousness

Last week a series of rainstorms ushered in Autumn. After a hot, dry summer during which the clouds tended to just sail on by, staying aloof and seldom deigning to send down any moisture, I had almost forgotten it could rain so many days in a row. But rain it did, and Pearl would toddle to the window when it started and make the sign for rain, excitement on her face. Evening on the last day it rained was beautiful: the tail end of the front moving darkly east ahead of a double rainbow; the sky to the west endlessly blue.

Now the sky seems a little farther away, and though the sun is still hot the air itself is cool. It almost looks like springtime because the lawns and foliage are all lush and verdant from the rain, except for a tree here and there whose leaves have turned yellow and begun to drop.

The college students are back in town; hordes of them swelling the streets and filling the stores. Lots of them are my age and slightly older, more still are younger. They are so reckless it scares me - don't they know their SUVs do not make them omnipotent, that just because they don't look before stepping out into the street doesn't mean no one is there?

In some ways I like living in a college town and in some ways I don't. I think it keeps the atmosphere younger and more progressive, but it's also kind of strange to see new students coming in each year and moving on semester by semester and as I live my life not doing that it seems that I'm standing still.

For me, Spring is ecstacy and excitement, and Autumn is a bittersweet sense of forboding; perhaps some deep-buried instinct to migrate for the winter is kicking in. Right now I just feel happy that summer is drawing to an end, and I'm looking forward to brilliant colors, crisp days spent outside throwing leaves into the air with Pearl, and harvest-time meals that take hours to cook, making the kitchen warm and filling the house with the scent of plenty.

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