Monday, December 31, 2007

Recap for me

Feeling like I need to wrap up 2007 here. Since I tend to go back and read posts from a year ago, I'm reminded that the reason I started writing here anyway was for myself. So for me, I present 2007 in a brief review.

January and February were tough. Tougher than I thought I could withstand. We had lost the baby. Guy was getting laid off from work. I sank.

Those same months, I learned what it meant to have someone support me. I learned what it felt like to be taken care of by someone else other than myself. I couldn't do it on my own anymore, and Guy was there to carry me. He got me help. He celebrated with me when there started to be more good days that bad days.

March and April played a waiting game. Guy and I spent everyday together. Getting laid off has its perks. Bonus snuggle time. He searched for a job. Scratch that. He searched for the right job, and we waited patiently (most of the time) for him to find it. There was a trip to D.C. to see Whymommy and take Lovely on a tour of the nation's capital.

May sent Guy and I to the mountains. Back where we honeymooned and to the place where Bird most likely became a reality. His 43rd birthday was celebrated with an HPT and a fudgy the whale cake.

June and July brought the end of our laid off bliss. Before work kicked in though, we traveled to see The Police. We worked hard to finish the house before he started his new job, but it didn't happen. He had to start with our kitchen still gutted and floors still undone. Frankly, I think that was the most stressful time.

I was validated in my trust of him though. He pulled through and found a job that while paying less than his previous job, provides him with opportunities that he would never have had otherwise. Opportunities for him careerwise, and opportunities for him to really help people. To do things that will change lives.

June also brought Susan's diagnosis.

August and September found me in a very empty and quiet house. With Guy back at work for longer hours than ever, it was just me and the pups for a lot of the time. We did take an amazing trip to Portland to see Tattoo Dave and Crowded House.

October brought Momma out of remission. She and Daddy came for a visit and we got to go and see Bird in 3D. Guy and I joined a church that we both like.

November started off with a surprise shower for Bird. A celebration for him put together by women from all over the country. Amazing women. Momma started her chemotherapy again, and Sil gave birth to another beautiful little girl. I now have 3 nieces and 2 nephews who are all awesome. Momma and I had purchased a sewing machine while she was here, and I started learning how to sew. Thanksgiving came, trees were put up, and things started getting really busy.

December found us taking our baby classes. We tried hard to wrap up the final renovations on the house. Bird's room got a new floor and we finished his furniture and such. I baked everyday and sewed every other day. We added a new pup to our family and he has adjusted quite well, excepting the separation anxiety. Guy gave me a new kickass mixer for Christmas along with some of my favorite smelly things. We found a doula, and we feel ready for the baby to come.

Happy 2008. I'm looking forward to the changes that are coming. Our family is growing. It's going to be a wild ride.

Friday, December 28, 2007

One year ago. One year later.

So here it is. If you've read it before, feel free to move on. I'm going to stay right here for today, and then tomorrow I'll move on again too. Taking my little one with me in my heart when I go.


At 12 weeks yesterday, I gave in and bought baby clothes. Sil and I were at Old Navy and she helped me pick out the most precious "Baby's First Christmas" onesie and a pile of other gender neutral clothes. Mostly gender neutral. I threw in a onesie with a bulldog on it because a) I just knew my baby was a boy and b) It was possible to put pink pants with it and thereby qualified as either or to me.

We left Old Navy, picked up 36 Krystal burgers for the crew, and headed back to Sil's house. We had gotten new pj's and matching shirts for Lovely and my little Clone niece, and a pile of 50% Christmas randomness to show off and gloat about their cheapness. However, as I was standing in the kitchen serving drinks to the kids, I felt blood began to run down my leg.

Eighteen hours later, I am in my parents guestroom, being not pregnant.

Cleatus died at 9 weeks, 2 days according to the ultrasound. That was the day of the concert - the first day I needed maternity clothes. The D&C was last night here in Jackson. He was with me exactly 12 weeks. 12 weeks and you are supposed to be so much safer. Less risk. Everything is supposed to be alright.

They gave me plenty of prescriptions for pain, but none of them can touch where it really hurts.


It was just a precaution. Sil called her OB yesterday to see if they could work me in just to check things out. The spotting had gone on for about 24 hours, but I wasn't concerned. I had spotted after the doctor's visit and a few times after sex. Standing in the kitchen though, I became quickly aware that it was more than just spotting.

Still, I was thinking positively. Guy and I drove to the clinic and talked about how this was just a little nerve rattling scare. I told him, and believed with all my heart, that everything was going to be fine. I was not going to lose our baby.

The tech tried an abdominal ultrasound first. She said that she couldn't see what she needed to see from there. My palms started to sweat and Guy held my hand a little tighter. The vaginal ultrasound was confusing to me at first. Cleatus was bigger, and I thought he was moving, but later realized that it was the tech moving the instrument, not my little guy moving. The tech went to measure him and it came up on the screen as "9 weeks, 2 days."

That is when I turned my head away and started to sob.

She went to get the doctor. I asked him to try again. Please look again. Please try once more to find my baby's heartbeat. We looked again, and there was nothing.

I don't really remember from there. We moved from office to office filling out paperwork for the D&C. I was there and people were talking to me, but I wasn't there.

On the way out of the clinic, we passed by the pregnant woman who had been sitting across from me in the waiting room. She was smiling and saying goodbye. I didn't mean to look at her, and I'm sure she wished she hadn't looked at me. I know that look. It's like seeing the people coming from the back of the vet's office holding just a leash, an empty collar, and a used Kleenex. I pull my own leash in and lean down to whisper in my own pup's ear as they go by.

She looked at me as I walked by clutching Guy's arm and ignoring the tears streaming down my face, and she took a step back. She took a step back into the safety of her own pregnancy and away from the, "Thank God that isn't me."

I would have done the same thing in her shoes. I would have done anything to be in her shoes.


I lay strapped down in the OR like I was on a crucifix. Both arms extended, I was left to soak myself in the tears I couldn't reach to wipe away. My terrible vision left everyone looking exactly alike in their green scrubs and caps. They would flutter in front of me, introducing themselves, telling me what their role was. I just wanted someone to dry my face.


There is another reason for reprinting this. I think all of about 4 people read this blog when this happened. Suddenly though, someone found it, and commented. Shana, Jen, Sarah, you all know who you are. I realized that I wasn't alone. It changed the whole idea of blogging and community for me.

This year, as I have grieved for one life, created another one, and more, I have made new friends along the way. Friends that came together to be the ones that helped me celebrate Bird's pending arrival. Friends that put up with me as a roommate in Chicago. Friends that let me into their lives and who I'm glad I've let into mine. And I get to stay better connected with some IRL friends who are separated by too many miles.

A public blog is a strange thing. You know that there are people here that you would prefer there not be. You know that Google brings some creepiness your way (hello all you ginormous boob searchers). You know that the idea of online stalking is not just an idea (thank you, Sitemeter). But yet, the good far outweighs the bad.

You - my friends - are the good. Your comments and your friendship mean so much to me. So I hope you don't mind indulging me this day of remembering Cleatus the Fetus. The truth is, I'm doing just fine.

Like Guy said, "You will be sad forever at the loss of our baby. You just won't be sad every moment of forever."

And it's true. Today I'm going to allow myself a little sad. Tempered with packing a bag for the hospital.

It's all in the balance of things.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


Christmas has come and gone. Usually I'm able to hold onto the holiday spirit at least until New Year's Day, but this year, it's just left the building. Don't get me wrong, the trees are still up and the music is still playing, but the glee just isn't lingering in the air like it usually does.

Could have floated away when Lovely and Papa left on Christmas afternoon.

It could have been blown out the window when I realized that we have less than a month until Little Bird is due.

Or it could be that I'm not headed to see my Bro this year. It's only the second Christmas that I have ever spent without him. That bums me out completely.

However, I am not only too far along in this pregnancy to travel 12 hours by car, I have also vowed not to return to Jackson until this baby is born. No more visiting Jackson hospitals for me, thank you very much.

You see, tomorrow marks a year ago that we lost Cleatus. I mentioned it to Guy, that tomorrow was the day, and he corrected me.

He said, "Tomorrow is a year from the day. It's not the same day."

That is so true. Tomorrow is a completely different day.

But I remember last year. And my momma remembers. And Bach remembers him as my little star. And that makes me feel better. That it's not just me remembering.

So I'm reposting, starting tomorrow. Just the ones from a year ago. Not because it's the same now, but because this year I need to remember. This year, I need to love both babies tomorrow. Both babies that I can't hold. One that I will never hold, and one that I just can't hold yet.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


I caught a glance of my belly in the mirror while in the shower the other morning. To my horror, I saw the development of massive stretch marks covering my entire belly.

Then, I realized that I simply needed to clean the glass doors in our shower.

Really, the nesting can kick in here at any moment. The house needs a good scrubbing.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas tunes, part duex

We Three Kings
arrangement, vocals, piano, by canape

This is what happens when you leave me unattended with an endless supply of empty vocal tracks.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas tunes for sharing

What Child Is This
arrangement, vocal, piano, by canape

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Letters to the world

Dear woman in the Camry,

I'm sorry that you had a hard time making up your mind whether or not you were going through the light. As you stopped and started and stopped and started again, you will be pleased to know that you made it through the legally yellow light. Unfortunately, the rest of us did not. And I had to sit there for another five minutes. I hope you had to park way far away from where you were going and have corns on your feet.


Dear Postal customers,

Wrap your own damn packages and be ready to send them when you get to the counter. It's December 20, people. It doesn't matter how you send it. It's not getting there in time. Plan ahead next year.


Dear Gibson,

You are a sweet dog and I already love you. When you jump into the passenger seat from the back it frightens me. It is also very annoying to have you riding there because you weigh more than enough to set off the seatbelt sensors. The constant dinging was driving me crazy.

And you drool a lot.

~your momma

Dear Vet that I loved so much,

I'm totally pissed at you for retiring yesterday and not telling anyone. When I called to make an appointment this morning, I never expected to be told that I should have come yesterday since now you are gone.

Just because you didn't want a big hoopla doesn't mean you shouldn't have told your clients that you were leaving. That's just wrong.

~unhappy canape

Dear nice people at Lovely's band concert,

Thank you so much for offering me your seats. It was refreshing to have multiple people want to give up their seat for the pregnant woman.

I hope you didn't find me ungrateful for not taking it. Quite frankly, Bird fits better and is happier when I'm standing up. Sitting down cramps the little dude's style.

You were all so kind though.

~tall preggo on the wall

Dear numbers of random stores,

Mason jars are not a seasonal item. I need them now. I needed them days ago. There are other things that need canning besides jelly and jam. Damn.

~mustard making canape

Dear friends of all the people that used to live here,

I am tired of getting more Christmas cards for the Smith family than we do for our own family. I am now throwing them away instead of writing "return to sender" on them. If you really know them well enough to send a card, you should also know that they moved over 2 years ago. That goes double for you, Aunt Mary. Your nephew has left the building.

~the lady of the house

Dear Guy,

I know I'm crazy all over the place right now. I know the vet thing made me cry. And a bunch of other stuff too.

Tears don't mean I'm not happy though. I still love my life with you. Hopefully I have told you that enough. Just in case I haven't though, it's true.

~shamoopie, your crazy hormonal wife

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

And you will be happy to know

Guy and I met with a doula tonight. Our childbirth instructor recommended her, and we like her very much. She will be working with us in, oh say, about a month. Egad.

Whymommy asked about our plans. I can't remember the specific question and am far too lazy to go back and look it up, so I'll answer what I think the question was. She puts up with me that way.

Plan #1: Have baby.

Everything else is negotiable.

Of course there is a plan though. Things that we would like to have happen. I understand that you don't have complete control of the situation and the main thing is to have a healthy baby. Right on. I'm just answering a question of what the plan is though, so grain of salt please. We know that it may not go like this, and that will be okay too.

We want to labor at home for as long as possible. The hospital isn't that far away and if I can avoid going in too early, then a lot of the other things I would like to avoid will be obsolete by then.

I don't want an IV or a hospital gown. The IV is not hospital procedure, so I've got back up there, even though our doula said that she has never had a mother at our hospital avoid getting one. I will settle for a hep-loc, I think they are called, as long as they don't put it in my hand.

Laboring in a hospital gown doesn't appeal to me at all. I would like one of my standard camis please. That will be plenty. Again, if I stay home long enough, then I probably won't give a hoot about a gown or no gown by the time we get there. But the girls? They need their support.

I want the option of laboring and giving birth in whatever position works for me. And I don't want the nurses coaching me on pushing and cheering me on. I want to push in my own time and my own rhythm.

When Bird finally makes his appearance, I want him to come straight to me. They can clean him up and check him out right on my chest. The first thing though, is to get him skin to skin and then get to the breastfeeding. Our doula also said that the nurses at this hospital usually try to get you to wait until you are in your postpartum room until breastfeeding. Not sure about the logic of that.

Working towards no drugs. That's the plan.

Want to bring home a healthy and happy Bird. That's the goal.

So whatever. We've prepared as best we can for an experience that we would like to have. I feel like that is the best we can do. And I like doing our best. And planning. I'm a planner.

Except for Guy. He was pure luck. Really good luck.

Rewrapping presents today

When you are housebreaking a dog, and he pees on a tree, that should be a good thing, right?

Exception to that rule: Christmas time.

Guy's new dog peed on my blue Christmas tree. I suppose it belongs to him now. Gibson's tree. He claimed it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I do believe I need a little res-SPITE

Last night Guy and I toured the birth center at the hospital where Little Bird will be born. It was very un-momentous, but highly entertaining.

I'm not sure who I thought would be giving the tour, but I didn't think it would be Alvin, the volunteer. Alvin was a nice older man who reminded us of Papa. He said "okay" inbetween every third word, and he mumbled as he walked backwards but was clear and loud when we stopped.

On every floor of the birth center there was a respite nursery. A place where Mom can send the baby if she needs a break or a respite.

Every time we passed one, Alvin would point it out and call it the res-spite room, with the accent over the spite, with a long I sound.

Then, at the end of the tour, he couldn't understand why we didn't have any questions for him. I didn't have the heart to tell him that I couldn't ask questions of a man who mispronounced that word over and over and over again.

Guy and I got tickled over Alvin and his "okay's" and "res-SPITE's," but we couldn't help but get tickled at the father-to-be in the teamster's jacket that asked something about food every time we stopped. Where was the cafeteria? How much was the food? What did they serve? Can he order into the room? What could his wife eat? Was it any good, because, you know, school cafeterias serve crap.

We were so done with him by the second stop.

The evening started with a video. Technically, the evening started with waiting 20 minutes for a video. As we waited, we flipped through a book of "articles" which were really just advertisements. In the section highlighting decor for nurseries and children's rooms, we came across a little boy's room that was painted like stables and decorated with horses. The subtitle across the top of the page talked about making his dreams come true.

Guy snorted and started mumbling about how they could do that now, but when that kid grew up there would nothing but disappointment because he had been given it all, blah, blah, blah. He stopped that mumbling when I pointed to these words in the story, "inoperable brain tumor."


He didn't know.

And then we laughed inappropriately until I had to dig tissue out of my purse to dry my eyes and his. What is it about inappropriate laughter that just causes you to keep laughing harder and harder?

I'm so glad that we waited to take this tour though. In my second trimester, I was pretty uptight and worried about finding the perfect environment to bring Little Bird into this world. Now, I know that the perfect environment is the one where we are.

Right there with his parents.

Monday, December 17, 2007

More puppy to love

This morning, I'm typing this while sharing the couch with a 90 pound chocolate lab named Gibson.

On Saturday, Guy and I went to PetSmart to buy guinea pig food and came home with a chocolate lab. As CGF said in an email, "That was one hungry guinea pig!" She cracks me up.

It's a simple story of boy meets dog, boy falls for dog, dog comes home with boy. I couldn't stand in the way of that.

After all the fostering I have done for English Setter rescue, it never dawned on me how important the work really was. In my mind, I was just providing a home for a dog until he could be adopted. Saving a life.

I never realized that the family getting the dog was getting much more than just the dog. They were getting a dog that had learned to live indoors. Learned to live with other dogs. Been tested with children. Been trained to walk on a leash. Been housebroken.

That's a pretty good deal, people.

Gibson is an older dog. His paperwork says 3-4, but we are thinking more 4-5 at least. He is neutered, been through heartworm treatment, crate trained, good with other dogs, and his foster home had children there that he absolutely adored.

To top it all off, his foster mom called us Saturday night just to see how he was doing. I just can't say enough about how awesome it is to bring your pets home through a rescue program.

What started off as a "meet our new dog" post has obviously turned into a "please adopt your dog before you haul off and buy a puppy" post.

Many county animal shelters are moving towards using foster homes, giving you that head start on training your new pet. There are also rescues if you have your heart set on a specific breed. You really can find the right pet through adoption.

If you want the story of Gibson and Guy, you can go read his words. They are so incredibly cute together. Gibson is Guy's little, make that really big and slobbery, Christmas miracle.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Haiku Friday, I love Santa way more than these kids

I missed the haiku party last week. Shame on me and shame on my emotional roller coaster. I hope to make it up to you this week with one of my favorite sites to visit around the holidays:

Scared of Santa photo gallery. I don't remember how I found it, but it is home to some of the best children with Santa photos that I've seen.

The one on my left is my personal favorite. Guy and I made Christmas CD's for friends one year and this was the insert picture. The CD's had the worst Christmas tunes we could find on it including Johnny Mathis' rendition of the "Hallelujah Chorus," Stevie Nicks murdering "Silent Night," and Chaka Khan singing "The Christmas Song" with her mouth full of marbles. All she wanted was a "turn key and some middle toe." One person actually gave theirs back to us. She had no sense of humor whatsoever.

So in honor of the season, here is my haiku about Santa's lap. If I can find it, I'll add the last picture I had taken on Santa's lap when I was in college. Naughty Santa. He just so happened to be one of my drinking choir buddies. I'm surprised we didn't get him fired.

Santa at the mall
The day after Thanksgiving
Better dry out soon.

Pulling at his beard
The children know the difference
Just a fat old man.

Santa at the mall
Scoping out the hot mommies
He pats his lap, "Sit."

Next year Bird will go
Take pictures with his sister
And the fat old man.

Go visit Jennifer to find more fabulous haiku. You'll find yourself tapping out your words with your fingers the rest of the day. 5, 7, 5. Yep. Haiku that, my friend.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

There's apparently a baby coming

There might be a nursery in the making. Last night, after what I consider mountains of homework, Lovely helped her daddy put together what she has dubbed, "baby prison."

I guess it's time for me to nest.

Instead, I'm going to go upstairs and work on a sewing project. Something that I would like to go to a friend's little one. However, she sews too, and I'm a little afraid that I'll just embarrass myself with my efforts. Is it really just the thought that counts?

How cute is he? So proud of his little boy's crib.

I suppose we should buy a mattress for it. Details, details.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Under the same happy-sad sky

It's interesting to me how we deal with other people's pain. A lot of times, it seems as though society says to ignore so that we don't remind them of it. As though if we don't say, "I'm sorry about what happened," or "I know today is a hard anniversary for you," they won't remember and won't be in pain.

That has to be ridiculous.

Another thing I wonder about is that feeling that if we are too sad for someone, we are somehow trying to take over their sadness. When do you cross the line of comforting someone into making them feel like they need to be comforting you?

Today should have been my friend's due date. She is keeping busy today, so I won't get a chance to talk to her, but I sent a card.

As I was writing the card, I hesitated. And then I got so mad at myself. Because how stupid am I to think that sending a card would just make her feel worse? That's crazy. But I find myself worrying about it.

Maybe she didn't want to think about it today. Maybe she didn't want to be reminded. Maybe I'm just making her more sad.

The fact of the matter is though, that I'm sad too. We were supposed to have our babies together. We were so stinking excited that our children would be just about the same age and get to play together. So I'm sad too. I'm sad for her and her husband, and I'm sad for Little Bird.

More than any of that though, I really felt like it was important that she know her child isn't forgotten. That just because we never got to meet her, and a lot of people didn't even know about her, that doesn't mean that she wasn't here and wasn't already loved.

It's lonely to think that you were the only person that loved your unborn child because you were the only one who really knew him. It's uncomfortable to get the feeling that people think you should be over it by now.

You never get over it. You just learn how to get around it.

As my pregnancies now overlap, I keep letting my mind traipse back to this time last year. I'm amazed at how much sadness is still there, coexisting with the happiness we have now.

This time last year, I was almost 3 months pregnant. Carrying a child that had died 3 days ago. This time last year, I was preparing for a trip to see my family and an old friend. I was planning baby names and baby rooms and baby clothes.

This time last year, I only had 16 days left with my baby and then he would be gone.

My count down on the sidebar says that I have 45 days left with this one. Of course, the big difference is that at the end of this pregnancy, I'll be holding my child no matter what.

There lies happy and sad together, with happy taking the lead again.

What I wish for more than anything today is that my friend has enough happiness mixed into the sad that she continues to find hope. Because there is hope. And she is going to be the most awesome mom in the world. I just know she is.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Damn near 85 degrees outside

You know you live in the South when you take a drive to look at Christmas lights in a convertible, with the top down.

I would really like to have one good snow this year.

Preferably not at the time I'm giving birth.

It could at least be cold though.

Thank you, Izzy for making my blog a pretty pretty place. I love it, and I love you too!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Some blog awardy things

I've been slack on answering memes and such lately. Slack in general. Today though, I discovered two awards that I just can't let slip by without posting them.
First, Mollydoll granted me A Major Award! Knowing how much I love A Christmas Story, this a huge thing. Well, knowing how unstable I've been this past week, I guess it is no surprise that I got a little misty eyed at this beauty:

I'm passing this along to Bubblewench who I just know will love it, and Christine whose new blog is rocking the sphere already.

And then from Bubblewench comes possibly the best award ever created because it has a big ole can of PBR in it. She and CamiKaos make it seem as if they wouldn't drink PBR, but I'm not that kind of girl. No beer snobbery here.

There is no kind of heaven like a giant cold PBR, a hot dog, and seats in the shade for a Durham Bulls game. This is possibly why Guy's dad and I have gotten along from day one. PBR is some serious bonding beer. Kidding.

Without even knowing about my mad PBR drinking skillz, Bubblewench awarded me this.

I'm passing this beauty along to Whymommy who has Mad Cancer Fighting Skillz (plus I just want to see if she'll post an award with a big PBR in it).

Of course Guy is going to get one too because that man has Mad Skillz that I won't be sharing here because my momma reads it.

JJ gets one too, because I would love to have a beer with her sometime and she has Mad Haiku Skillz. Plus, she has a new address and could use the linky love right now, I'm sure.

So enjoy your blog awards, people. Spread the love.

Edited to add: Dang if Bubblewench didn't give Guy the Mad Skillz Award too (for totally different reasons, granted). I missed that at first, but I'm going to leave his as is anyway. Because of the double fisting PBR that you have to do some days.

Born to Ramble

Everything has made me cry this past week. Commercials with babies or dogs. Guy talking to Bird up next to the belly. TV shows. Everything.

Friday was a bad day. It was different than just the tearing up, it was a big black cloud of a day. It was long and hard and very not fun.

Then Saturday, I woke up, rolled over into Guy's arms, and noticed that quite literally the sun was shining again. It was the strangest thing. And I wondered if that was at all what it was like to have depression. Of course, it was just that one day where I had no control over how I felt or reacted to my emotions. One single day where I felt like the darkness would never lift and it wasn't worth trying anyway.

If that is at all what it is like, then I have a new appreciation for people that have to deal with day after day of that despair. I do not know how they do it.

The strangest thing is that my phone rarely rings during the day. I'm not a huge phone talker anyway, but during the day, if I don't talk to T or my momma, I don't talk to anyone. But Friday, T called. She had read my entry and was just calling to check on me. Then Susan, just to chat. Then Andria to cheer me up. And I knew that it would be alright. It would all be okay if I just held on. Just hearing their voices was good.

And it was.

Yesterday was a much better day. We had our breast feeding class. Afterwards, Guy cleaned out the shed and I worked on the boxes that I need to get in the mail on Monday. Lovely spent the morning in the backyard painting a picture for a language arts project. It is really quite fabulous. She went to a camp this summer on painting cityscapes, and it is amazing to see how far she has come even since that camp. Her latest cityscape for this project is awesome.

She is also doing a science project on how a grand piano works. After doing her own research on the internet, I showed her a video on the making of a Mason & Hamlin piano.

Random fact: this video also made me cry. When they get to the part where the lady is carefully weighting each key, carving into it and adding weight or taking away weight where needed one by one and by feel? I cried. So much care went into making that piano.

Anyway, she's working really hard on the project, and I think it will turn out great. We took the music rack and the fall board off the piano this morning and took some pictures of the inside. Then we talked about how the action works, what each of the pedals does, and about the strings, vibrations, and tuning pins. It was a lot of fun, and it was cool to have her connect information that she had already collected to the things I was showing her this morning. I love it when a kiddo does that. It means they are really thinking and not just skimming the top.

After helping Lovely learn how to use Power Point, Guy is upstairs putting the floor down in Bird's room. Later, we will put together the crib and changing table and move everything back in there. I think, I think it will look like a nursery by the end of the day. Maybe. At the very least, Lovely can quit sharing her room with a carseat box and baskets of diapers.

Christmas music has filled the house this weekend, and that also makes me happy. Some of it has been on CD, and some of it has been Lovely and I taking turns at the piano, or playing duets. Pupstar, of course, assumes her position on the dog bed that stays underneath the piano and snores along to the music. She loves it under there.

We have decided against having the holiday open house we had been planning. The food and cleaning wouldn't be a problem. I can do some each day, utilize the freezer, and been ready. Plus, I figured out that with the menu I was planning, I could do the whole event for under $150. Because I'm cheap that way, and we have a Trader Joe's here now.

The thing was, there was so much work for Guy to do to get ready for it. I would rather spend the holiday season with Guy than spend it watching him come home from work and then do home repairs all evening and weekend. He already works 50-60 hours a week. Even though he can only get paid for 40, he says that he has a job to do, not hours to fill. God bless him. We are hoping that they will give him some of those hours back as comp time when the baby comes. However, he is enjoying what he is doing so much, that he probably won't want to take too much time off anyhow.

Rambling today, I see. So no open house yet. It's time for him to take a break on the house, even though it's not completely done. He needs a break.

He mentioned doing it in the summer when Bird gets baptized. That is, if Momma can travel by then alright. That might be a nice time. Or, we still haven't had that "wedding" that we had thought about. There is still an unworn dress hanging upstairs and a tux that would look smashing on my husband. There is a date at the chapel that we have paid for. And we sure wouldn't mind standing up and sharing our love all over again. A reception here would be nice and save money.

I've gone from weepy to cheesy. Much better in reality. Although much more cheese and I'm going to start annoying myself.

And for all the supportive comments on Friday, thank you. You were right. Apologizing for a misunderstanding with a true friend does go a long way. That, and having said friend be a generally awesome and understanding person in the first place.

For anything else that sucked that day, it gets a big fat shrug of the shoulders. I know who loves me and cares about me. Anyone else doesn't matter. A waste of time and energy on an overly hormonal day. It's a bit like gum in the bottom of your tennis shoe. It's annoying, and you are sorry it's there, but it's nothing you can't scrape out with a bit of patience and the right tools. Plus, you probably stepped in it along the way getting somewhere that you are glad to have ended up, and even if you just leave it alone, it eventually gets old and crusty and disintegrates on its own.

I'm totally patient. I have great tools. And I love where I am, not matter what gunk there was along the way.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Nothing to read here

Things you say, things you write, you can't take back. You put them out there, and no matter what your intentions were, it's up to the person listening or reading to interpret it.

So your words are powerful, but you don't hold all the power.

I hurt someone with words today. It's barely midmorning and I'm already on a roll. The thing is, I completely meant to be loving and supportive. Understanding. And I totally screwed it up because I didn't understand exactly how they felt in the first place.

It's been a bad morning.

To start things off, I've had to make hard decisions that make me look weak and small when in reality they are just protecting a little girl who I love very much. But I'm tired of sacrificing. Letting selfishness, immaturity, and instability seem to win out. Of course, it isn't about me, so I will continue to do what is right. It shouldn't be about the adults. It should be about the child. And the child shouldn't have to take care of the adults. It's just sick.

Pathetic is a better word. Tragic would work, except it implies that the situation was unavoidable. Which it isn't.

I digress.

Today, I am wishing that I was better with words. Wishing that I wasn't scared to actually talk versus trying to write everything out.

Wishing that I hadn't misunderstood my friend so much.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Best UPS man in the world

Our UPS man is an angel. The poor guy has delivered half of our home renovations. He has delivered a Sleep Number bed which went back about 2 weeks later. He has delivered countless boxes of wine from Nicholson Ranch. He has delivered dozens of boxes of computer parts. He is Santa Claus for us at this time of year.

He never complains that the dogs bark incessantly at him. He doesn't care if I answer the door with no make up and pajama pants on. He hasn't let me lift a package since he found out I was pregnant.

Today though, he went above and beyond.

Pupstar announced his arrival, and I went to the door to meet him. He was standing in the door of the truck and called out,

"I don't think you are supposed to see this. Is the man of the house home?"

I told him that no, Guy wasn't here, and he said,

"There are pictures all over the box. I'm not bringing this to you. It's supposed to be a surprise, I just know it."

So I told him he could put it in the back of the Jeep and I wouldn't peek. I would be a good girl.

I got the keys to the Jeep, and I clicked the remote locks open for him. He snuck the box in the back of the Jeep and I held true to my word. I didn't peek.

Guy came home, and he and Lovely wrapped it up and had it under the tree before I finished teaching.

A great big box. In which I am fairly certain there are no boots. Wrapped with love, some crooked ribbon, and multicolored paper to go under the family tree in the dining room.

I love a surprise on Christmas morning.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Semantics of cancer

Whymommy linked to this post by Punk Rock Mommy yesterday. It isn't someone I have read before, but as far as reading a first post goes, this one will be sticking with me for quite some time.

Momma and I have talked about her chemo some. It doesn't dominate our conversations. It doesn't dominate her life.

There will be a time that she has to decide though, if the quality of life the chemo leaves her with is worth fighting for. She has assured me that now is not that time. I believe her.

The truth of the matter though is that Momma has cancer. She has cancer that will eventually lead to her death. We know this. What we don't know is how soon that will be. Of course we hope and pray it will be very far off. And maybe it will. We certainly have great hope and faith in that.

And so today, I found so much comfort in these words from Andrea, Punk Rock Mommy:

I am not “dying”. I am living with a terminal illness that eventually I will die from.

Andrea, Susan, my momma, are all people living with cancer. What an important distinction to make.

The last time my momma was going through chemo, I didn't call her much. I felt like I didn't have anything important enough to say. Like her time on earth here was precious and if I couldn't think of something wildly intelligent or relevant, that I probably shouldn't waste her energy.

I am a moron.

As Susan and I chatted on the phone this weekend, we laughed about old boyfriends. We talked about babies and naptime. We giggled like friends. Because we are. Susan is living with cancer and doing a damn fine job of it too. Adapting and adjusting to be the best mother, wife, daughter, and friend she can be. I would say it is amazing, but it's not.

It's just who she is and what she does.

So I add Andrea and her family to my prayers, and I say thank you to her for her words. Words that have reminded me once again that my momma and Susan are doing a superb job of living.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Puppy Chow is even better than puppy love

My apologies for the ranting yesterday. I'm better. I sent a polite email explaining my position and canceled my other gigs at that facility. The email ended complementing their facility and the parties they hosted, and I told them that I hoped they would begin to treat the musicians with the same respect they treat their other vendors. So there.


Whymommy and I were talking about old boyfriends this weekend. Not reminiscing, just remembering. I had a great high school boyfriend really. He was a total cutie, had great taste in music, was laid back, respectful, and just plain fun. He was a terrific guy.

Unfortunately, he went to college a year before me, rushed some fraternity, broke up with me over the phone, and then got involved in RUF. The getting involved in RUF was the worst of it. Dang right winged conservative jerks. He and another guy from our youth group wrote a letter to the Session of our church telling them how wrong it was that we had a woman preach and women serving as elders and deacons. They patted him on the head, he changed churches. Then he married some girl, they spit out a few kids, and I'm sure James Dobson has helped them be dutiful Christian parents.

I digress.

Heh. I digressed so much I forgot my point.

So instead, I'll give you one of the best things I got from that relationship. A recipe. His mom would make this every Christmas, and I think our youth group must have eaten a barrel of it at least.

I just made my first batch of the year tonight. My students always get a bag of it, my nieces and nephews love it, Lovely loves it, and I can't get enough of it. So enjoy.

Puppy Chow

1 stick butter
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
7 cups Rice Chex
2 cups powdered sugar

Melt butter, chocolate chips, and peanut butter. Pour over Rice Chex. Stir to coat evenly. Coat with powdered sugar.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Aren't I lucky to do what I love?

Girl posted this video a few weeks ago. It riled me up, because it is so true. Today, I'm finally adding my two cents.

I used to think that it was musicians who were just taken advantage of as a profession. I know better now. There are so many people out there who want to get it for free. While I've discovered that it isn't an issue unique to musicians, I do think though, that it is a more prominent issue in arts based professions.

I'm here to tell you though, that just because my profession had to start of with some raw talent, doesn't mean that I didn't work my ass off to become good enough to earn my keep this way.

Music is one of those majors that you can't just walk into your freshman year of college. There has had to be years of training prior to making that decision. Training that you didn't get in school. Private training that cost your parents extra money, and that you had to make a conscious effort to continue every year. Training that requires expensive equipment and countless dollars towards books and upkeep of the instrument.

It's not like majoring in English, math, chemistry, or any other of those core classes that everyone takes. Anyone can choose to major in one of those if they have the credentials to get into the college in the first place. Not everyone can follow through, but they can try.

To major in music, you have to not only be able to academically get into the college, but you must also audition to gain permission to major in music. It's a whole different ballgame. And if it sounds like I'm a little snotty about it, I am. I am tired of people assuming that I'm less intellegent because I'm in an arts profession. Want to compare SAT scores? LSAT scores? IQ's? Bring it on. I'm a musician because I chose to be a musician. Not because I wasn't smart enough to do something else.

My training began when I was five and continues to this day.

Why then, am I expected to do what I do for free? Why am I expected to work under any circumstances, play any old crappy instrument that is provided, work without a contract, and be okay when people cancel a gig at the last minute?

Because I'm just a musician.

I'm calling bullshit on that today. I'm so tired of people thinking that because I get to do what I love, that I should just give it away. Literally and figuratively. That's one of the reasons I shy away from getting too involved at church. The day Guy and I joined the church, I was introduced to the music director and given the list of times that the choir met and all the other ways I could "give my gifts" to the church.

Yeah. Well, I might bake you cookies. I will donate to your Joy Gift fund. I will volunteer to do many things, but I will not be your free musician. You pay your preacher, your administrators, your janitor. Pay your freaking musicians. Pay them well. Because they have been studying their craft a lot longer than anyone else on your staff.

Here's the thing. I was supposed to have a gig at a historic home that has been converted into a place for parties. The holiday season is my busiest time of year, and this year, I have had to choose my gigs wisely. I can only sit at the piano for about an hour or my hips really start to hurt. It's also extremely tiring to be "on" for 3 hours at a time. So, I said yes to some one hour gigs, put them on my calendar, began brushing up on my Christmas music, and bought a non-returnable maternity outfit appropriate for gigging.

Less than 24 hours before the first gig, the girl from the house calls and cancels. Says very casually that they won't be needing me after all.

So let me ask this of you, oh unorganized event planner, what would happen if you did that to your caterer? What would happen if you did that to the florist? What would happen if the guests did that to you? There would be money exchanging hands anyway. People would still get paid instead of just brushed off.

Do you not understand that what you have done is completely unacceptable? That you can't just hire someone for an event and then decide the night before that you have changed your mind?

No. You don't. Because I didn't make you work with a contract. And that is my fault. I know better, and I still didn't send one. You were so nice on the phone, and I trusted you. I trusted that you were going to do what you said you would do, that I would show up to the scheduled gig, play, get paid, and go home.

Stupid, stupid me. But I always trust people. Guy has been gently pointing out to me different times when I have just trusted what someone has said, been let down, and then been angry about it. When I never should have trusted them in the first place.

I'm bitter today. Tired of being taken for granted professionally.

So from now on, don't even ask me to give it away. Unless you are my friend. In which case, I give you music because I love you and want you to have it.

Everyone else can just bite me.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

A very good day

Guy and I are blogging on the end of our date tonight. Sweet, but strange. Dueling laptops, sitting side by side on our skyscraper bed. We both hate it when we look over each other's shoulders, and neither one of us can keep from doing it. (Hi, you. Look away now.)

We had another childbirth class today. I am really enjoying them, and Guy is being a trooper. It is helpful though, because even though he has been through this before, it's nowhere near the same. I feel like this is helping to center us, and not just have it be him with experience. Although, I am really glad that he has experience. Especially on the bringing home the baby who will be completely and totally dependent on us for everything in order to survive.

No pressure there.

After the class, we were both starving, so we went to eat at a Greek restaurant. On the way home, I asked if we could go by a high school bazaar. A "shopping spree" weekend. He asked why and what was there, and I said that I didn't know. I had just seen a sign for it on the way to lunch, and I was curious.

This is one of the things I love about him. He just said, "Sure." And we went. Exploring something new. Being spontaneous. It's just about being together, really.

The bazaar was great, as it turns out. We found Christmas presents for some of the harder to shop for people on the list, and even found something for Momma. I had already bought her something, but this is better.

We ran into one of Guy's old friends there, and it was fun meeting him and his daughter. I didn't ever know Guy when he was playing out regularly in country bands. Which was probably good. Because I would have been jail bait.

Even with all the stuff going on today, Guy still managed to put down a new door jam for the front door, finish the room transitions, and cut and nail all of the baseboards for the rest of the downstairs. He amazes me.

While he was being Mr. Handyman, I was practicing for a wallpaper gig for tomorrow night. I love Christmas party gigs. There is nothing better than to be paid to get dressed up and play Christmas music for an hour or two. Unfortunately, while I was practicing, the phone rang, and my gig was canceled without explanation.

I had bought a new dress and everything, so instead of letting me pout, Guy told me to put on my new dress. We were going out.

We headed to an open house that we had received an invitation to, but I had lost before adding it to the calendar. It's no surprise where this is going. We get to the house, it's dark, there are no cars there, and I realize that the open house is next weekend. Oops. Of course it is. This man, this artist, always has his open house the first full weekend of December. Friday was still November, and I should have known better.

After a good laugh at my expense, we head off to dinner. Guy has decided to surprise me. As we drive down Glenwood past several wonderful restaurants, it becomes apparent that we are headed downtown. Turning onto Davie, I figure out that we are going to Nana's Chophouse. We love Nana's. We arrive at Nana's. Nana's is no longer Nana's. The fabulous steakhouse has been turned into some kind of bizarre upscale BBQ restaurant.

Not interested in that, we head back to South. A standby for us. The food is always good, the menu changes often, and the service is usually great. Tonight was no different. We had a wonderful meal, of which I will spare you the details.

As we sat, all dressed up, it occurred to us that this was probably one of the last days we would have like this for a long time. Adding this baby to our family will put the kabosh on the spontaneous. Nix the long dinners out for awhile. Turn the gazing into each other's eyes into glancing.

So we sat just a little bit longer and stared just a little bit deeper. And had dessert.

This morning, as we lay in the bed - getting my morning shamoops - Guy said that he was looking forward to watching me become a mom. He couldn't wait to see me chasing our little boy through the house. He said that he loved me like I am now, but that he was excited to watch me become a mother.

I think that is one of the nicest things he has said to me. Of course, everything sounds sweeter when I'm laying on his chest getting my head rubbed.

What a huge lot of words to say this one thing:

It was a very good day with my husband. My deepest and strongest love. A very good day. I am a lucky woman.