Friday, December 26, 2008

Not the Christmas post

There is so much to say about Christmas this year. There is so much to be grateful for, and so many stories to share.

However.

I am exhausted and have miles to go before I sleep.

Really though, I had to remember this. Little Bird got a new toothbrush. I had been cleaning his teeth, all 6 of them, with a wet cloth, but I thought I needed to start getting him used to the toothbrush.

We've been using it while in the bathtub, and to say that he doesn't like the bristles in his mouth would be an understatement. I try a couple of times and then set it on the side of the tub.

Little Bird grabbed the brush and decided to use it for something else.

Let's just say that Little Bird's little friend is extra clean tonight.

Boys.

Friday, December 19, 2008

We time

Little Bird has a cold. Low grade fever, snotty nose, little cough, and general patheticness. At 4:00 AM, he was awake without wanting to be. I changed him, wiped his nose, gave him some more saline drops, and nursed him back to sleep. As soon as his head landed on the crib mattress, he sat up, raised his arms, and let out a whimpering, "Maaaaamaaaaa."

How could I do anything but pick him up again?

We haven't co-slept since he was probably 3 or 4 months old. It got to where he wasn't sleeping well unless he had a booby in his mouth all night long, and I just couldn't handle that. He also liked to sleep perpendicular to me and Kevin - punching one of us in the back and kicking the other. Bird moved to the crib. We have all slept better ever since.

I miss the snuggles though, and I miss waking up right after he does to see his little face peering into mine, or better yet, have him sticking his finger in my mouth and poking at my teeth.

This morning, I lifted him back out of his crib, and we crept into the bedroom where Kevin was still asleep. I piled pillows into the bed around my side so that I could prop my arms up and hold Little Bird against my chest.

He burrowed into my shoulder, threw an arm over my chest, let out a sigh, and fell asleep.

I slept off and on, but mainly just rested. Listening to my son breathe, stroking his head, wiping his nose, and being overwhelmed with how much I love him.

I don't know when it happened, but there has been this shift in motherhood. Whereas I have always loved Little Bird and wanted to take care of him and sustain him, the first half of the year felt very much like it was something I had to do. It was my new job and my sole responsibility.

The shift though, is in my desire. Little Bird has become his own little person, and there is no one I would rather spend time with. My roots are taking over the top of my head, and I don't care. I don't want to spend the three hours away from Bird to get my hair done. Dinner out with friends? Not right now. Lunch is great, but it needs to be somewhere with a highchair because my favorite person is coming with me.

I assume there will be another shift, one in which I desire some "me" time. Right now though, I'm perfectly fine with the "we" time.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Little stitches

Kevin is very understanding of my "online friends." He doesn't give me any crap about going to BlogHer. He doesn't bat an eye when I run off to the Post Office to send a package to a NMD friend. When I quote Girl eighteen times in one day, he doesn't let out a single sigh. He knows they have supported me and carried me through some of my darkest times.

Last Saturday, the doorbell rang. We were in the bedroom getting dressed. I am pretty sure I was crying. I did a lot of that last weekend.

Kevin came back upstairs with a box from ProFlowers. I have to be honest; I assumed it was from my parents, but it wasn't.

The card read, "I'm sorry for your loss," and it was from my friend Amy. My online friend, Amy. A woman who I haven't even been so lucky to sit down with in person managed to wrap her arms around me from miles and miles away and put the first stitch in my broken heart. Amazing.

This is what they look like today. Everyday this week, this is what I see when I leave the house. I put them by the front door on purpose. It used to be that the last thing I would see when I left the house was Chelsea. She would follow me to the front door and look up at me as I said, every time, "I'll be back soon. Be a sweet girl." Every time. Until the past couple of months, when she stopped getting up to follow me to the door.

Nonetheless, the last thing I saw leaving the house were these flowers. Reminding me that I'm a lucky woman to have friends like Amy.

Little stitches in a broken heart. I bet she has no idea how much she helped, but Kevin and I do. Now you do too.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Complete lack of human compassion

Chelsea and I were at peace with each other when she left this past Friday. Although I miss her more than you possibly want to hear about, I know that it was time for her to go, and it was my responsibility to help her leave this life. I promised to be her guardian and caretaker, and I was for 14 years. All the way up to the very end.

There was a part of the story I didn't tell on Friday. I didn't want to mar saying goodbye to my pup anymore than had been done for me that day. The experience we had at the vet was unbelievable, and I wavered on whether to share it at all. However, if anyone is searching for this vet online, I think it is important that they hear how we were treated.

Quail Corners Animal Hospital, where I had trusted the care of my dogs for close to eight years now, will no longer be our vet. There was a girl who was supposed to be scheduling it to be done at home for us. Two days went by without her calling me back, only to find out that the vet who was supposed to do it had gone into labor. While I certainly understood that labor and birth took priority, I didn't understand why I hadn't been extended the courtesy of a phone call to give me this information. Instead I had to keep calling back, trying to find out what time I would say goodbye to my pup. I needed to find someone to watch Bird and really wanted Kevin to be off work to be with us. I needed to prepare myself mentally and emotionally.

After two days of not letting me know anything except how little she knew, I finally told her that I would just bring Chelsea in to have it done. She told me the vets who were available, and after I chose one, she asked me if I wanted morning or afternoon. I told her afternoon. She offered me 1:30, and I said that would be fine. I repeated back the time to her, and she said yes 1:30 was the time.

I called Kevin and let him know. Then I called Boo who had offered to be with me, and I asked her to watch Little Bird. I set the whole thing up for 1:30. I did not get the time wrong of the death of my dog.

When we arrived at the vet, we were told by the front desk that our appointment wasn't until 4:30. The woman at the front told us there was nothing she could do to change it.

Seriously?

I'm sitting there in the waiting room, bawling already. Chelsea is just standing there because she can't lay down without just falling over anymore. Kevin is standing with his mouth agape. It was all I could do to get there once. There was no way I could go home and bring her back again.

Seriously? Nothing she could do?

I told her through my tears that she didn't need to change anything; that our appointment was at 1:30, and we were there at the right time. I wasn't going to even entertain this discussion.

She just repeated herself.

I start sobbing. I can't help it. I tell her that I had been working with Rachel for three days to get this taken care of, and that I had been extremely patient with her. I told her that our appointment was at 1:30.

She went to get Rachel.

We have to believe that something else was going on in the office because Rachel approached us swinging. She came out and immediately told me we were wrong. I was wrong. Our appointment was at 4:30 and that she had confirmed it on the phone with me for 4:00. Um, okay. I'm not sure how that made any sense, but whatever.

I have to admit. I lost it. I actually yelled. In public. At that girl. I yelled at her and told her she was incompetent. I yelled at her and told her that she was completely unable to engage another adult in an intelligent conversation that resulted in effective communication. I yelled at her and told her to quit talking to me and just get me all of my dogs' records so I could get out of there and never have to see her again.

The whole time, she was yelling back at me, telling me that I was wrong. Telling me that the circumstances were out of her control. I'm not sure what circumstances kept her from inputting the correct time of my appointment into the computer, but whatever.

Kevin stepped in between us and told us both to stop. He looked at Rachel and asked her what she was going to do to fix this. She said that she couldn't do anything right then, that we could be worked in at 2:30.

I told her to get our records and she yelled over Kevin's shoulder that she would be glad to do that and then stormed out of the little office cubby.

After she was gone, another office worker came out into the waiting room and leaned over to me. She said that there was a vet who could help us then. Kevin took my arm and nodded at me to get up and go back. He knew that this was the one chance we had at my strength. It was sapped, and if we took Chelsea back home again, I would never let her go.

There were mumbled apologies at the "mix-up." I ignored them. There was no "mix-up." It was a major mistake on their part.

The thing is, even if I had gotten the time wrong, which I didn't, they should have ignored it. Obviously, I wasn't in some sort of hurry that I deceptively came in with my dog and tried to get them to put her to sleep 3 hours before my scheduled time. That's freaking absurd.

Any ounce of compassion would have caused the very first woman in the office to ignore the discrepancy between the time we arrived and the time that Rachel the genius entered in the computer. She would have quietly slipped into the back and found the vet who helped us in the end, and made everything work out without subjecting us to the drama that their incompetency created.

This isn't a rant, it is simply what happened that day. In the event that someone Googles this vet, it is the chance for them to see how they might be treated if they choose to go there.

It was hard enough to make the decision. It was hard enough to get in the car with my pup. It was hard enough to get out of the car and take her inside for the very last time. To say goodbye.

I will never understand how they could possibly treat someone in so much obvious pain as badly as they treated me.

Long goodbye

It's done. Chelsea left us today around 2:00 PM. She died with her head in my hands, and me telling her how much I loved her.

I have spent the day swinging wildly between knowing I was doing the right thing and doubting that I could ever have the wisdom to end her life.

One bite of yogurt spooned into Little Bird's mouth, and I'm smiling at Kevin, telling him that I'm relieved that my sweet pup isn't in pain anymore. By the time I'm catching what Bird spit out on the spoon, I'm sobbing that she didn't want to leave me and I miss her so much.

I'm basically a wreck.

The thing is, logically I know it was right. They gave her a little Valium before the big drugs, and she was finally able to bend her back legs and lie down again. Finally, she lay with her head in my lap again; something she hadn't done for over a year.

Only after the Valium, I wanted to scoop her up and take her home. I wanted to say, "Thanks! That was just what she needed!" and run away with her.

But it was time.

The front office at vet handled it horribly, but I need to think about how to write about it before I put it out there. I knew that it was going to be hard to do, but the incompetence of the office workers made it so much harder, I don't even know what to think tonight.

For tonight, I'm just going to stay in the place where I miss her, I love her, and I pray that I did the best thing for her. It's tenuous enough to stay in the confidence that I did right by her.

Fourteen years, my best girl. My most consistent companion through all of the biggest changes in my life.

I love you, Chels.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Giveaway at Triangle Mamas

Remember this song?

This week at Triangle Mamas, you can enter to win your own copy of the CD, Blue Ridge Reunion, and the book of watercolors of the North Carolina mountains that accompanies it.

I hope you will click over and enter to win!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Craftacular

Over the past year or so, I have developed a love of handmade things. Esty is a website that should be banned from my computer. I've spent entirely too much time and money there.

Those who know me in real life know that I am not creative outside of music or cooking. It's just not in me.

Or so we thought.

I now present to you, the family Christmas stockings, made by moi, because I was too damn cheap to purchase personalized stockings. Well, that, and the ones I found that I liked wouldn't allow the 11 letters in my son's name.

I do believe I am officially crafty.







Thursday, December 04, 2008

Not quite yet

It's almost time.

Chelsea, otherwise known as "Pupstar" here, is 14. She has kidney failure. Her back legs frequently give out on her, as does her bladder - whenever and where ever. She has sores that won't heal, and is on antibiotics for a tooth abscess.

In fact, she is on five medications at every meal and eats prescription dog food. The money spent on my dog would be embarrassing compared to what some families can spend on a child each month.

But she has been my constant companion for 14 years.

Ashley found her for me. A girl we were in school with found this tiny white puppy wandering along the side of the road. Ashley went to see it before they took it to the pound, and called me when she got there.
"Bird, you have got to come see this pup."

"I can't do that. If I come over and see the pup, you know it's coming home with us."

"Bird, you have got to come see this pup."

Chelsea came back to the apartment with us and proceeded to terrorize Ashley's cats, Tess and Todd; pee on her notes, biology; and basically win the hearts of everyone who met her. Except possibly Farrar, whose eggnog she simply wouldn't give up drinking.

Fourteen years later, Chelsea is still with me. We've moved five times. We've lived with six different people. We've had five different dogs join our family, and countless fosters come and go. We've been married and divorced and married again. She's tolerated Little Bird taking her place as the baby, but not without climbing into the Moses basket for a nap more than once.

But she is worse now. Even with the Pepcid, she is vomiting again. She isn't as excited about dinner time as she once was. I often have to lift her up the two steps in from the backyard. She lays at my feet, but doesn't stir when I get up.

It's almost time.

But it's not time.

I told her this morning, whispered in her ear, that she could go now. That I loved her and that she was a good dog. I looked into her eyes and kissed her little snoot. Of course, she's deaf, and a dog, so I don't know what good that did, but it made me feel a little better.

I'm hoping she goes in her sleep. I don't want to make that call to the vet. I will if I have too, but I just don't want to.

She is the best dog ever.















Chelsea with her Christmas elf moments before gutting it.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Advent blogs

It certainly didn't take long for me to fall out of the habit of posting.

Of course, this past weekend we put up a couple of Christmas trees. Only one live one this year, due to the baby on the loose. I bought a beautifully tacky silver pre-lit tree for the family room. It's only four feet tall and is safely posed upon a table, out of the reach of Mr. Kickypants.

I am distracted easily by shiny Christmas things and the laughter of my child. Writing is still important, but so is playing with the Little People Nativity set that Nana sent.

There is someone who is posting everyday though, two people, actually.

The first is Momma. She is posting an Advent devotional everyday this month. I really hope that if you are looking for something to enrich your Christmas season, that you will go over and visit her. She wrote the series for the church she is attending now, but is posting it daily on her blog.

The second is Heather. She is posting a musical Advent calendar on her blog. It was something I truly enjoyed last year and was so happy to see her doing it again. I hope you will bookmark her and start each day this season with music carefully selected for you by CGF.

Now, I've got some Christmas stockings to finish for my family. I promise pictures for my inspirational crafting goddess friend, Girl.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Smash and Bird

On my self imposed shutdown, I stayed busy. Little Bird alone is enough to fill my entire day. Somewhere between books, music, naps, walks, meals, and baths, I had projects.

I made a purse for my friend, Constance; a quilt for my niece, Elisa; pirate costumes for Bird and Kevin; and a pirate wench dress for myself. The sewing machine was humming.

Something else I did was join Facebook. Took the time sucking plunge. I found some friends from high school and junior high school. I found my dear friend Lisa and found solace in similar stories. I found lots of my blogger friends I had been missing. I found girls from our psuedo- sorority at my very strange college.

And I found my Ashley again.

There is once in a lifetime, I think, a friend who slips through the cracks and you can't remember how it happened. Moves. Marriages. What have you. Whatever. We lost touch.

Then on the Facebook page of a high school friend, I saw my old roommate.

And we haven't missed a step.

Kevin is a little baffled over it, I think. I mean, I have friends - wonderful friends - but there is only one Ashley. I drop her name in conversations like she was never missing. Like we never unconnected and reconnected.

Tonight we were texting back and forth when dinner was ready. My phone kept going off between bites. It makes this horrible little shrill sound, and Kevin began wincing every time it went off. Because I am the sweet Shamoopie, I silenced it.

I was in the kitchen getting Kevin another Diet Mountain Dew when my phone began vibrating across the table. It was hardly a less annoying sound. I braced myself for the impatience headed my way, but instead he just laughed.

"Ashley?" he said.

"Yep," I said grinning over my shoulder at him.

All was forgiven. After all, it was Ashley.

One more thing. I had forgotten that she had a nickname for me.

Bird

Monday, November 24, 2008

Another Day

I still come here and sit quietly. I walk through the pages feeling the chill of a home that has been locked up tight with sheets over the furniture, curtains drawn, and the heat turned down low.

There are emails that sit unanswered. Questions of how I am, what I'm doing, how is the baby. I don't respond.

There are friends I haven't visited. Comments left untyped. My silence has extended from this space into your spaces as well.

I miss you.

I miss this space.

It has been over two months since I left here. I don't think it was a wrong decision. Contrary to my husband's and Cliff's opinions, I don't think it was a defeated decision. It was simply what I felt was right. To say that I was "defeated" means that I was in battle with someone, which is absolutely not the case.

Closing down gave me the distance needed to figure out why I do this in the first place and consider if it is important enough to me to allow access to everyone.

Even people who need restraining orders taken out against them to learn some boundaries.

The answer, obviously, is yes. Yes, it is that important to me. I miss you, and I miss this space. When I visit your blogs now, I feel like the guest that shows up at your house and never a cake or a bottle of wine.

You've missed so much. I've missed recording so much. There is dancing and cruising across furniture. There are five teeth and first words. There is so much joy.

I'm sorry to have vanished like I did.

For all of those who said goodbye, and I am so grateful for all of the comments - I had no idea there were so many of you out there reading - for all of the goodbyes, I hope that you don't mind saying hello again.

I guess that made my previous post an interrupted cadence. A V-vi if you will.

Of course, this is what you've really missed - some pictures of the big guy.



Sunday, September 14, 2008

The coda and cadence

This blog is where I became who I am.

My marriage began during this blog.

My first baby lives only in these pages now.

I became a mother here in these words. First a stepmother. Then the mother of a baby that would never be held. Then Little Bird's mother.

It's where I have made too many friends to link to, but you know who you all are.

My words will stay here. They won't be taken down. But they won't be added to either.



This will be my last post.



I have been of the belief that it was perfectly fine to write about personal things here. To talk openly about my son and my husband. To give whoever wanted it a glimpse into our lives. Internet privacy wasn't a huge concern for me. I knew that whatever I posted was fair game and that if I didn't want something known, that I shouldn't put it on the internet.

However.

I had only considered the consequences of nasty crazy strangers who don't know my last name, where I live, or how to find me.

I never considered the consequences of people that know who we are and where we live.

By posting about going to the Liam Finn concert, I opened the door to let someone show up to that event and harass us. I also gave them a completely open window of time when they knew that my son would be home without me. Thank God they chose to come to the club and not our home.

That was the most irresponsible thing I have ever done in my entire life.

I will not repeat that mistake.

And to make sure, I will not be using this space any longer.

Maybe there will be another space someday. Something private with passwords. Something that the people I have grown to love here can still share with me.

For now though, I need to put the keyboard down. Stop feeding them. Stop giving them access into our lives. Stop pretending that they are inconsequential in our lives. We don't know that, and because of that unknown, the safest thing for me to do it to stop.

I feel like I have just ripped my fingers off and thrown them on the ground. My heart feels like I punched myself in the chest a dozen times. My gut is turning and begging me not to be bullied. Not to give in.

But it's not about that.

It's not a situation of "being beaten" or "giving in."

It's a situation of I love my son and my husband more than the air that I breathe and the life that I have.

And I should have been protecting them all along from someone who wishes them nothing but harm and ill will.

I am so very sorry, Darling.

You all know how to find me. Email will remain the same. At least for awhile. I hope you will stay in touch, and let me know if you would like to be informed of a new safe space in the future.

V7 and I.

We're done.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Yummy men in my life

We bit the bullet and went to see Liam Finn on Sunday night. What can I say? The entire evening was simply jaw dropping. It was totally worth all the hassle to see him.

He is an amazing performer. I love his studio album too, but probably not for reasons that he would appreciate it. I love it because it has so many shades of his father, Neil Finn in it. They are both completely yummy.

None more yummy than my husband though. Being out with him for the first time since becoming parents together? Was long overdue. Even in a semi crowded club, he has the uncanny ability of making me feel like the only person in the room. The only one he even sees. Yes, Momma, there were public displays of affection. Some silly smooching like teenagers. I can't help it. He's just so yummy.

Someone else who is yummy in a totally different way? Little baby, thigh squeezing, cheek nibbling yummy? Christopher. The yummiest baby on the planet.


Monday, September 08, 2008

Pups 3

Yesterday, we took our dogs to the off leash dog park by our house.

Chelsea, otherwise known as Pupstar, is my old lady. She tottered around behind us, looking for shade, taking a drink from every bucket, and hoping that someone forgot to clean up a pile of delicious poo.

Gibson, our chocolate lab, ran his fool head off for about five minutes. He was chasing a ball that Kevin threw when another dog ran after him and nipped at his heels. Without a struggle, Gibson turned and ran back to us sans ball. It just wasn't worth the struggle. There will be more balls, and he knows it. Within 10 minutes, he too was close to us, seeking shade and laying in the cool mulch.

Aja, the Setter Princess, was in rare form. She roamed the park, going from person to person like she was interviewing applicants for a new family. She would approach a possible sucker, let them pet her head and then sit down like a statue right next to their chair. If they didn't continue petting her or proclaiming her beauty, she would move on quickly to the next person. Much to her shagrin, she had to return home with her current family who has stopped appreciating the fine art that is the Setter. At least she still has her leather sofa.

What a trio.

We're thinking about letting the Setter convey with the house if she doesn't get her act together.

Friday, September 05, 2008

I could have just asked, but then I wouldn't have this funny story

Christopher and I spent the day with Papa today. We went to the Farmer's Market, he helped me get the house ready for a showing, and then we crashed at his place with the dogs until it was time to get Lovely from school. It was a nice day.

Papa fascinates Christopher. The two of them talked to each other back and forth today for several minutes. I'm not sure who was imitating who, but it ended with Christopher busting out in a big belly laugh at his grandfather.

Papa is funny. Even when he doesn't mean to be.

I dropped some not too subtle hints about how much I needed a nap. As in, "I sure could use a nap." Of course I was hoping for an offer to watch Mr. Kicky while I caught a few zzzzzzzzz's.

Instead, Papa agreed with me that it was a good afternoon for a nap, and kicked back in his chair for a snooze while Christopher and I hung out on the floor, playing with pieces of carpet fuzz.

Makes me laugh, he does.

He's a good man, that one. Kevin says I was lucky to meet him after he mellowed. I think I am just lucky period.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Yet another thing I will worry stupidly over and then later wonder why I did

Liam Finn. I have proclaimed my love for Liam Finn more than once.

The last time Kevin and I saw Liam Finn live, we were in Portland, Oregon. It was a year ago this past weekend, and we had flown across the country to see Crowded House, and our friend Tattoo Dave.

It was a crazy thing to do, and one of the best weekends ever.

Liam Finn, who is hands down the most riveting performer I have ever seen, is playing in Chapel Hill this weekend. Sunday night. At the Local 506. For only $10.

Far less expensive than the last time we saw him.

But now there is a Little Bird, and he goes to bed at 8:00. There is the matter of a babysitter.

Our former nanny has turned us down. Too late at night, on a Sunday, I imagine. There is one other girl who I would trust to be here, and I'm waiting to hear back from her.

Lovely was a huge sweetheart and said that she would babysit him. I would totally let her too. She is wonderful with him, and I would rather leave him with his sister than anyone else. However, we would be a good 30 minute drive away, and aren't leaving the two children with no driver available should anything happen. Plus, it's a school night, and she needs to go to bed shortly after Mr. Kicky does. This just isn't the situation for sister to babysit.

It's just a short evening, late at night. I could just get another sitter. There are other sitters.

The children are going to be sleeping. It's not a big deal.

Right?

The prospect of leaving them here with someone else, even someone with vast experience? I'm having a hard time with it.

I'm thinking I need to loosen up.

So when did you leave your little ones with a sitter for the first time to do something fun? Any tips on how to get over myself?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Yummy little song



The Dude, otherwise and in real life known as Bill Leslie, can proudly say that his new CD is finally available. He has worked for over a year on this project, and it shows. The opening track has the most beautiful guitar work he has even done. It gave me chill bumps. And I'm a tough sell.

I've given you "Water of Life" to sample here. It's one of the three cuts with vocals that he brought me in to lay backings for.

If you like it, you can purchase the CD through Amazon. Later this year, a companion book with his father's watercolors of the North Carolina mountains will be released.

And if you live around here, you can see us live in Holly Springs on October 26.

Add this to another thing in my life for which I'm grateful. He is tremendous to work with, and I'm lucky to have the opportunity.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Living within the lines

There are fine lines between optimism, realism, and pessimism. I wrestle with which lines I will live within all the time.

I am aiming for optimism with a few toes over the line in realism.

It works most of the time. Sometimes it lets me down. Like when Kevin and I were first looking at houses. I was insistent that we needed a guest bed and bath on the first floor for when my parents came to visit us. I didn't want them climbing stairs all the time during their visits.

They aren't coming to visit anymore. They cannot.

My dancing around in optimism land had made me not realize that. It didn't dawn on me that their visit in June was their last visit here.

Now that Momma has started chemo again, I find myself trying so desperately hard to remain optimistic. One thing that has helped that is that I know that the better I am at handling it, the easier it is on her. I didn't understand that until I was a mother. But I understand now that one of the hardest parts of her illness is knowing how much her children hurt for her, and for ourselves.

So I keep my foot, at least one at all times, across the line of optimism. It is all I can do some days to plant it there, but I want to be hopeful.

Hopeful for one more birthday.

One more Christmas.

One more New Year.

Little Bird's first birthday.

And as we pass each milestone, I'll dig my heels in a little more to hope for another.

Because like Andrea, the late Punk Rock Mommy said, "I am not “dying”. I am living with a terminal illness that eventually I will die from." Momma knows this statement well.

Momma is still living. I know it is hard, or rather I can only imagine how hard, to take the chemo again and again. But I'm so grateful for every extra day it gives us with you.

And I am hopeful that we are talking about many many many extra days.

I am so grateful for our trip to BlogHer this year, and for pictures like this.
Little Bird and his Nana.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Things are hopping

I hope you've stopped by the new blog, Triangle Mamas. Girl did a beautiful job of whipping up a logo and a template for us. She's an honorary Triangle Mama now. In Pennsylvania, but so what?

Abby has introduced herself. And so has Susie. Since most everyone here is a transplant, we're all sharing how we got here. I'm going to work on my transplant story next.

I really like it over there. It's cozy and the company is terrific. Hope you can stop and sit a spell.

And if you are a Triangle Mama and are interested in writing with us, please let me know.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

On the market

Our house is officially on the market. When I saw the listing online last night I cried. I love our house. We have put so much time and work into it, planning to stay here for awhile.

That plan was derailed.

A new job for Kevin in a different city. It's just too far to drive, and as much as I love where we are, it certainly isn't fair for me to push to stay here when I'm not the one commuting. I know that moving out of Raleigh will also enable us to have something newer, larger, and nicer. I know these things.

But seeing our house out there, on the market, made me sad.

I followed the photographer around today, wondering what she saw through her lens. Did she see a house that was updated and ready to sell? Did she see the home we have created?

Did she see how we removed our disco ball and put it in storage for the time being so that people wouldn't get their chuckles from the pictures on our listing?

Some people won't like our artwork. It's modern. It's local. It's funky.

Some people won't like our paint colors. The family room actually has the word peach in the name. Yes, I know. The eighties live on in our family room and we like it.

Some people won't like our backyard. Because it is seriously neglected.

Some people won't like Lovely's bathroom. Unless Pepto Bismol is their favorite color. I should never be allowed to pick paint colors. Ever.

What I hope they see when they look at our house is a kitchen that is large and inviting. I hope they stand in it and can imagine how well a family fits there. How there is room for 2 or 3 people to be helping at the same time. How it is designed to cook and bake and to serve a family.

I hope they see a master bath that has been brought into this century. When they look at it, I wish they could see through the walls and the floor to know how much work Papa and Kevin put into transforming it.

I hope they can stand in the nursery and know how much love went into every board we laid. If they knew that, then they should also know that I was seven months pregnant while laying that floor. I wish they knew that it was a nursery that carried me through the loss of one baby and into the gift of another. That I sat in that Lemon Chiffon room and prayed and prayed for it to be needed for our child one day.

Beyond all of the things that other people will think are weird in our home, I hope that they see a family who has been happy here. Rooms for children. Rooms to make music. Rooms to cook together and eat together.

I hope they can tell there is a lot of love here.

And I hope, seriously hope, that it doesn't smell like dogs. Ha. Hahahahaha. Ha.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Click and give for Miss Cheetah Pants

There is a new button on my sidebar. My friend Kris of Ladybug and Lizards has a daughter named Hayleigh. I call her Little Miss Cheetah Pants. Hayleigh has juvenile diabetes.

If you have it in your heart and in your wallet, please click on Hayleigh's button in the sidebar and donate to the JDRF walk-a-thon.

Hayleigh deserves a cure. Any amount will help.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The house hunting continues










Holy crap. Kevin showed me this house tonight. I didn't want to look at the pictures, but we did. It turned out not to disappoint, earning it's own blog post in the series of incredibly bad houses for sale.









Here's the kitchen. The cabinets are probably older than me, but thank goodness they put in granite countertops and cheap appliances with some stainless on them. Now? It's a gourmet kitchen. Right.









Here is the room where you pile up all of your crap. Why? Why would you take a picture of this room and think that it would help you sell your house?









Ah, an extra bedroom. If you are a bird.









But best of all? That is a DISCO BALL in the cubby next to the fireplace. Most people would put firewood in that cubby. But not this house. This house comes with a disco ball in the cubby.

Someone had better snatch this one up quickly. It's a catch.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I could die from the cuteness

Christopher is six months old. Here he is in the outfit that my friend Anne and I made for him. The tub pictures were the studio's idea. I thought I wouldn't like them due to the cheese factor, but it turns out that a high cheese factor in baby pictures? Works.





Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Can I lure you over for a visit?

A new space.

I'm looking for some company. And some writers.

Care to pop on over and say hello?

Restoration

Being my own therapist for now, I'm focusing on the positive today. The people who have put a little bandaid on a wound, held a hand, passed over a tissue, or have just given me a little time.

I started thinking about this while I was marathon rocking Christopher yesterday. There are so many more people who have made me feel good about myself this past week than who haven't. I wonder why I'm focusing on the the negative?

Because I let myself.

Lunch at Bach's house. Christopher and I had a wonderful lunch with Bach who has "graduated" from piano lessons. We get to just be friends now, and I'm looking forward to Christopher getting to know his Aunt Bach.

Meeting Susie at the Museum of Life and Science. A real life blogger! Right here near me! I was so excited to get to spend the morning with her and Logan. It was so comfortable. I finally got to see the butterfly house, and Christopher was fascinated with them as they flew by. We braved the heat and humidity to go see the bears and the wolves. The boys took a break to nurse by the wolves, and then we headed inside for some good ole air conditioning. It was like spending the morning with an old friend, only we had just met. I'm hoping to see them again soon.

Another lunch date with Boo. I missed her birthday, like I do every year, but a belated lunch is better than no lunch at all I suppose. Christopher sat in his highchair like a big boy and behaved in a swanky little bistro that I was surprised had a high chair in the first place.

A phone call with Girl. There are some people who can just heal your soul just by having a normal everyday conversation. Girl is one of those people. It doesn't matter if we are deep in my thick emotional baggage or just talking about Joann's, it's another patch in the quilt of friendship that I can curl up with when I'm feeling badly.

Papa stopping by. He has been a frequent visitor the past couple of weeks, and I really like it. I don't usually know he's coming, and in the past, that would have unnerved me a little. But now? I like the company, and I love how much Christopher loves to see him. Grandparents are so important. I'm lucky that he has a Papa so close by.

A new CD. The Dude has a new CD coming out, and he brought by a burned copy of the finished product. He does most all of his own recording using some really nice computer equipment, but I get to do backing vocals. I love doing backing vocals. It's my favorite place to be onstage - singing behind someone, making harmony. I love it. Anyway, the new CD is really good, and it makes me feel really good that he uses my voice when he could easily just record his own backing vocals.

A visit to Winston-Salem. An old friend is living there for a few years while her husband does some post doc work. We have gotten to see each other a few times, always with her doing most of the driving. So Monday, Christopher and I packed up and drove over to Winston to have lunch at her house. There is nothing like being at home with an old friend. The Gail Pittman pottery, the familiar blue and yellow, the beautiful antiques, and the lunch that she was inspired to make because of the baby shower her mother had thrown that weekend back home. There is nothing like poppyseed chicken to make you feel like you are back in Jackson. It was so good to see her, meet her dogs, and just spend some time together.

So there are things. And people. And events. There are reasons for me to feel good.

I just need to remember and acknowledge them.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Please sir can I have another?

No posts. When there are no posts, there is usually too much to say and not enough freedom to say it.

My throat physically closes when I am overwhelmed. It aches. I'm choking back so many of the things I want to, need to, say that my throat aches and feels as if I couldn't get a poppyseed down it.

I used to be able to turn to writing at that point. I suppose I still could, but this has become a shared place. A place where I respect those who come to read, and a place not to air all my distress. I think I am alright with that, because I do love the company.

But I'm quiet these days. My feelings have been hurt over and over again. So much so that I took to beating myself up last week. Kevin pointed it out. I had never noticed it before.

He asked me why I get so down on myself. Why do I claim to be such a failure, and believe it to be true?

Although I had never considered it before, the answer was easy.

I put myself down because if I'm low enough already, then people can't knock me down any further.

Pain management. Sadistic pain management.

It's true though, that I thought I mattered more to several people in my life. I thought that I meant more than I did. Coming to realize I was wrong has been a kick in the gut.

We talked about going back to therapy. Then we talked about what our therapist would tell us.

Focus on the positive.

Live in the now.

Don't give away your power.

Write a letter to every single person who has hurt you lately.

Well, I don't have time for that. Nor do I have the energy. And there goes my throat again. Closing up. Trying to silence me.

It's more comfortable being quiet. It's not that I like to brood, but sometimes I just don't want to talk about it. I don't want to tell someone they have hurt me because it would end up hurting them.

Maybe there's a pill for that.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Whatever it takes

There are things I didn't understand until I became a mother.

How I could function on so little sleep.

How going shopping would turn into passing by the women's section to check out the sales on baby clothes first.

How being done with work and home at night to bathe and put my baby to bed would be the highest priority of my schedule. Every single night.

That regardless of how career minded I might have been in the past, the fact that so many of my students have graduated or quit this year? Just means that I have more time with Bird now. And I'm happy about it.

I didn't understand that my life would change to accommodate his. I honestly thought that I would fit the baby into my life as it already existed.

You can stop laughing now.

My friend T has been my only friend with children. I have watched her children grow and listened intently to the things she has said about parenthood. Most of the time, I would nod and agree, but often, I wouldn't really understand.

For instance, there is a fear of choking. She watches her little ones eat carefully, making sure that the bites are the right size. Making sure that they chew and swallow. Making sure that they aren't left with something in their mouth that might choke them.

I didn't understand why, even if I did believe her and feel that she was justified in her motherly worry.

Then, a few nights ago, I gave my little Bird a Cheerio.

He put it in his mouth, squinched up his nose, and was quiet. He didn't make chewing motions or swallowing motions. He didn't make any sound either.

My heart leaped into my throat as I reached to pick him up and save him from choking.

My heart was faster than my legs, and by the time I had stood, he was gurgling and cooing at the Cheerio he had spit back out of his mouth.

It was a split second, but that was all it took for me to connect with that fear and understand all of the things that T worries about with her kids. They turned from things I knew to things I understood.

What I don't understand yet is how I can lose my patience with Bird when he is just a baby. I don't get why it upsets me so when I try to put him down after having rocked him to sleep and as soon as I let go of his sleeping body, his eyes pop open, he flails over onto his back, and begins to wail.

I don't mean a little wah-wahing. I don't mean some "I don't want to sleep here, please pick me up" tears. I mean full out, panic mode, red in the face, gasping for breath, unable to focus wailing.

He can't seem to stop. Leaving him there for five minutes? Only heightens it and makes it worse. Simply letting him lay in his crib and stand there with him? Only heightens it and makes him mad on top of it all.

So we do this. Rocking to sleep and then into the crib. Over and over again. My shoulders and back ache from the holding and the rocking. My one good nipple is sore from the hours he has been latched on in the past day and night and day. My patience is gone.

I lose my temper. I tell him "no," as if he is doing it to be a naughty baby. I leave him to go try and calm down, closing the door behind me not gently at all and going into another room to let out my own wailing.

Reason pounds through my head in bullet points.

  • He is just a baby.
  • This isn't manipulative.
  • There is something behind his clinging.
  • Maybe he has gas from the cheese I ate.
  • Maybe he is teething.
  • Maybe the painter man who he whimpered at earlier scared him and he doesn't want to be alone.
  • I will figure out why later and hate myself for losing patience.
  • There is always a why and no such thing as a bad baby.
  • I am an adult and should act like one.
  • I wanted this more than anything.
  • Is it so wrong that he just needs me to hold him right now regardless of the million mile list of things I have to get done?
No. There is nothing more important on my list.

I walk back into the room and pick up my child. I'm still shaking from how much the wailing has worked me into a frenzy. I look at him sternly and call his name. He looks at me and fat, wet tears roll down his face. Pushing past my frustration, I kiss him, hold him, rub his head, nurse him, sing to him.

I sit long past the time he passes out in my arms, snoring softly. And I wonder about myself. I wonder why I have to go around that horrific circle of impatience, anger, frustration, and selfishness just to get back to where I started? Back to understanding that he needs me and loves me just as I need and love him?

Rocking him. Holding him. Nursing him. Is it really such a bad way to spend an afternoon? Or from 4:00-6:00am if that be the case?

I don't travel around the circle often. Honestly, I think it is hormonal. It hasn't happened in a few months - ever since I felt like the postpartum hormones were leveling off. Then yesterday I welcomed my period back into my life. Joy. And today? I'm feeling edgy. Frantic. Impatient.

Instead of a Midol, I'm having a beer.

Maybe I'm a terrible mother after all, but Bird is now sleeping peacefully, and I'm feeling up to attacking that list now.

Whatever it takes, some days. Whatever it takes.

Friday, August 01, 2008

World Breastfeeding Week

Christopher is six months old now. I've already been asked how long I plan to breastfeed him, and someone yesterday commended me on having nursed him for so long.

While I will accept the praise because it wasn't easy, I'm not ready to start hearing that six months is a long time to nurse. I feel like we just got the hang of it, and I'm not about to stop now.

It's funny. So many people were supportive of my attempts and encouraged me to keep trying. Don't give up. All of them had their different time frames too. The first one I heard was two weeks. Then it was six weeks. Then four months. All of those deadlines passed without me feeling like we were getting it.

Truth be told, I don't know when it was. But I know that he was at least five months old.

It took us at least five months to "get" breastfeeding.

In those five months, he hurt. He had gas. He couldn't tolerate the dairy I was eating. He didn't like having to work at pulling out my flat nipple. He didn't give up.

In those five months, I hurt. I had continual milk blisters. My nipples were cracked and bleeding. The flat nipple ached from the tissue being broken as Christopher worked to make it work. It wasn't at all fun. I didn't give up either.

It was worth all the effort.

This week is world breastfeeding week. I'm so glad that I am still a nursing mom and that my child is still breastfed. I'm glad, and I'm proud.

If you want to find out more about La Leche League and World Breastfeeding Week, you can click here.

And if you want to join in spreading the word with me, then just grab that button and write a post. Then come on back and join us here with Mr. Linky.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Before I was a mother

Christopher had his six month well baby check yesterday. He weighs 18 pounds, 13 ounces and is 28 inches long. He is a healthy happy baby.

I wrote about our visit on Deep South Moms.


"How do I read this again?"

The nurse at our pediatrician's office had turned away from the scale where my naked son lay to ask someone at the desk behind her how to figure out his weight. It wasn't a fancy scale. Just a normal move the weights into balance scale.

I flinched a little at her ignorance.

You can read the rest of the story here.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Was there a time you weren't here?

Six months. I feel as though we can finally do a little celebrating.

Nothing has been easy since Little Bird came to town. The first two months of his life were agonizing for me. I thought I had made a terrible mistake in becoming a mother. I couldn't feed him like I should. I couldn't get him to sleep like I should. I was bound to the house as though an ankle bracelet was hidden just under my sock.

Last week, he and I traveled across the country together. Just the two of us through airports and on planes.

That's saying a lot for someone who let a friend come over one day just to let the dogs out into the backyard. Because I could not leave my room. The walls would have crumbled in on me and the floors collapsed had I left my room with the baby.

But now we are mobile. Slings and Mei Tai and a Moby. We travel. We shop. We play. We walk. We sing. We dance.

We.

I am no longer just I.

There is me, and I am still her, but there is us.

A family.

I've always wanted a family.

Little Bird. Christopher. Mr. Kickypants.

Thank you for coming into my life. Thank you for being my son.

I'm sorry that I fed you apples and filmed it for the world to see. That will happen though, you providing entertainment. You were so cute in your disgust; I just had to share.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The best day

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A little kindness goes a long way

Last year, I sat in the airport scanning the faces of women with laptops. Surely there was a way to tell if one of them was heading to BlogHer. I didn't get up the nerve to ask any of them like some people, but I was curious nonetheless.

This year, I did see a blogger on the plane from Atlanta to San Fransisco. One row up and on the opposite side of the plane sat Lawyer Mama. I made my way over to her aisle and leaned over the large man sitting beside her to tell her hello. At the time I felt a little rude, but after her post on flying etiquette, my guilt is assuaged.

She told me she was sharing a taxi into the city with her cousin (who I wish I could link to, but I can't find her). I had not traveled with a car seat, so I was going to take the BART. Stephanie offered and insisted to take my suitcase in the cab with them. I thought that I could handle it, but she was so kind to even think of asking; I let her. And man, was I glad I did. The hotel was several blocks UPhill from the BART station. I would have had a horrible time getting that suitcase up the hill while wearing Mr. Kickypants and also carrying the diaper bag and laptop bag.

I know she didn't think it to be a big deal, but I did. It was one of the kindest things anyone did for me all weekend.

That's the way I think of BlogHer. The kindness of strangers, who aren't really strangers because you either know them online or share enough in common that there is always a conversation to be had.

Someone else was above and beyond kind to me as well. Lara, who writes Notions of Identity, stepped into the pack of hyenas hungry to get their Zivio and got the rep to hurry one along for me. All because Christopher was getting really fussy in his sling, and I was having a hard time just holding a place in "line". It was a harsh crowd, and I was really getting swamped. Enough so that I had to turn around and tell some woman not to touch my child again and to stop pushing us. Ridiculous.

But in the midst of all of that was Lara. She probably didn't think it was a big deal either, but it was. She didn't know me, but she chose to help me. There isn't a lot of that mentality in the world. Those who have it still are true gems.

I didn't get many cards this year, probably because I didn't go but to two of the parties and didn't stay long. Knowing my mom and my son were back at the hotel made me want to get back there as soon as possible. A little linky love to those people I did get to meet and talk with even for just a minute. I enjoyed those minutes very much!

Andi at Poot and Cubby
Kat at LA Blogger Gal
Nina at Nina Moon
Leticia at Tech Savvy Mama
Lia at Freitas Family Follies
Kelcey at The Mama Bird Diaries
Becky at Miss Priss
Maggie at Magpie Musing

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Why TNT isn't going to save the puppies

I came across some interesting comments yesterday while catching up on my blog reading. There were plenty of people talking about how they were avoiding Twitter or skipping posts that were about BlogHer because they weren't there and didn't want to hear about it. Some seemed to be saying it in a joking way, others not. You know how it's hard to tell sometimes what the intent is behind the written word.

What I found interesting was the sentiment that BlogHer was a giant waste of money, and if people had not gone, then poverty would have been eradicated. That all the money spent on parties and swag could have done so much good in the world were it not wasted on bloggers who wasted the money to go in the first place.

Of course the logic of this transfer of funds is quite faulty. To think that TNT would have sent several thousands of dollars to feed the children if we had all said NO to attending the party they sponsored is just cotton candy social justice. It wouldn't have happened.

They sponsored that party because they want people like me to tell you how much I like the show Saving Grace. And because they were so lovely and gave me some nail polish and a yummy sandwich, I'll oblige them. It's a good show, and I buy it off iTunes to watch because we don't have cable. End pitch.

It was tempting to leave a comment justifying my decision to attend the conference. Justifying the choice that I made with the money it took to attend. I didn't. And I won't attempt to justify it here either because it doesn't need justification.

Everyone has decisions to make with what they are given be it money, time, or talent. It's called stewardship.

We will never live in a world where people have the same amount of stuff. It doesn't work that way. We will not ever be equally beautiful. We will not ever be equally healthy. We will not ever be equally artistic. We will not ever be equally popular.

If people don't learn to be alright with that, then they are going to spend a lot of their lifetime being very bitter. If you ask me, that's a sad decision to make. But I'll respect it because I would like to have the same respect for mine.

My decision, by the way, is to continue supporting valuable organizations and people in need and attend conferences like BlogHer that enrich my life. Thankfully, good stewardship allows me to do both. For that, I am grateful.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Just to see you in the flesh

I don't quite fit in.

My mother agrees. Neither of us have ever quite fit into a group. We have friends, but not a group of friends. In fact, our friends tend to have their own groups, and then us. There must be some explanation for it.

It's not that I don't like my friends' friends. I do. They have lovely friends. It seems though, that I'm just not thought of in a group situation like that.

I'm not a joiner I guess. I don't get asked to join, and I don't seek out joining. I'm happy with my friends from all different groups. I wonder some times why I am that way, but I don't worry. Wonder, not worry.

This quirk of mine makes attending something like BlogHer a little tricky.

Last year, I let it stress me out. It bothered me that I didn't know where to sit for lunch because the 10 people I wanted to talk to were all at 10 different tables talking to several other women that I didn't really know. I didn't know how to handle it.

This year, I chose to not let it stress me out. I ran into people I knew and chatted with them when I could. I sat with people I didn't know and worked on getting to know them.

I chilled out.

It was so much better.

I think I had expectations last year that were unreasonable. I thought that these online relationships that I cherish so would blossom into real life relationships with honest to goodness friends who chat on the phone and what not.

Really, though, I don't think that is what BlogHer was all about. It didn't create stronger bonds with these women who I read and adore. It didn't turn my online friends into real life girlfriends like Susan.

What it did was give me an opportunity to simply bask in the realness of these women who are already an important part of my life.

I got to see Kristen's beautiful baby bump for myself.

I got to watch Slouching Mom hold my son and make him coo and giggle.

I got to skip a session with Kristie again.

I got to snark snark with my favorite angel, Mamma.

I got to share a smile in person with Jennifer who always makes me smile online.

I got to hug Jenny's neck and tell her I was so glad the seal lived.

I got to hang with a gaggle of DC Moms who I have fallen hard for because of their writing, but also because of their friendship with my friend.

I got to just mention to Amy that I saw her post about her flight and was sorry she had such a hard time. I didn't even need to introduce myself; it was just nice to say in person that I was glad she had made it.

I enjoyed just flitting around with Christopher, seeing whomever I happened to see.

I skipped a lot of the parties, wandered around alone a lot, and actually? Had a marvelous time, and am feeling quite recharged about blogging. I believe, that is the point of attending a conference in the long run, isn't it? The recharging?

Edited to add:
Once again, I hear in my head what I'm saying without having actually said it. My point should have been that getting to see the bloggers who I read and care about is a bonus. But blogging is an actual form of communication. I didn't start emailing personal notes to a bunch of people I met, nor did my phone bills go through the roof. I just kept blogging. Reading and writing.

So what I meant was that the friendships I've created have tended to stay online with the exception of getting to see people at BlogHer. Real life was just in contrast to online.

This of course does not apply to anyone whose house I have attended a BBQ at or whose daughter I have shared ice cream with.

I hope I got that right this time. I so loved seeing everyone. That is really the main point.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

I have no idea what time it really is

Still here. San Fransisco is lovely of course. The weather is California perfect.

It's 7am and Christopher is in the middle of his morning nap. Because he woke up at 3:30am. Tomorrow, when our flight leaves at 6am, I will be glad that I stayed on Eastern time. Four hours ago, however, I was not enjoying it.

I have met some fabulous people and like last year, have a slew of new blogs to read and share here. And there are new ideas that are brewing in my mind. Things are exciting again, and that is the beauty of this conference.

For now though, I give you Mr. Kickypants in our new sling that was part of the amazing swag bag from the SVMoms Group. My stars, can those ladies get good stuff!

*Photo by Carla Duharte-Razura

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bye bye now

The bag is packed.

The baby is sleeping.

The phone is charging.

The alarm is set.

I'm headed to BlogHer in the morning, and I'm a little tired just thinking about the travel.

Maybe Mr. Kickypants, my momma, and I will see you there. If not, you will be missed.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Shoo Shoo dee Boo

When I'm not busy being a slacker, I still manage to get a review up over at Props and Pans. You should go by and see what Christopher and I thought about his new pair of Shoo Shoos.

While you're there, you could enter to win a pair for your child.

Go ahead, I'll still be here when you get back.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Due over

A trip to the Farmer's Market.

Planting some mint for iced tea.

Practicing rolling on the deck.

An afternoon swim.

Eating peas for the first time.

These are the things I did with my son today. Things that I wouldn't have done if I hadn't lost the baby due on this day last year.

Amy said it very well yesterday.

For Carter and Christopher, we are very grateful.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Skipping the chit chat

I have a much different attitude about BlogHer this year. Last year, I considered myself a mere peon in the blogosphere. While I am still a mere peon, there are things I've realized over the past year that change my attitude about that peon status and how I will interact with people.

The fact is, most of us consider ourselves peons, and in numbers terminology, we are. I think that it's safe to say that most of the blogs I read get less than 500 hits a day. I know mine does. It gets around 100 per day. Of all the people reading blogs, that is a tiny tiny number. Of course, they are the 100 most intelligent, good looking people out there, but that's beside the point.

The next thing I've learned is that even bloggers who have hundreds or thousands of readers aren't any more confident in a real life situation than I am. Bloggers who I considered celebrities of sorts would have much preferred to be talked to like a friend last year.

The thing that has drawn me in about blogging is that you get to know people in depth. I've never been good at small talk. I would much prefer to sit down and have a real conversation with some one than to have to make chit chat. It doesn't matter if I've just met you, I want to talk with you. I want to feel like I know more about you at the end of a conversation. And that's what happens with blogging.

That very thing that I love about blogging makes meeting bloggers in real life a little daunting. Because chit chat is appropriate for a certain amount of time in real life. However, when you are meeting someone in person who's blog you've read, you know things about them that go far beyond chit chat. And if they haven't read your blog, then there's a disparity there.

I think though, that skipping a large part of the chit chat is just what I'll do this year. Last year, at one of the cocktail parties, I had a great conversation with Tanis. It was a situation where I read her blog and had laughed with her and cried with her - sobbed over my computer actually - reading about the death of her youngest son. When you have shared that with someone, it's hard to just stand there and talk about the weather. So we didn't. And it was comfortable.

It didn't happen that I made lots of new best friends that I talk to everyday and email all of the time. I still mainly keep up with people on their blogs and just see them in real life when I get the chance.

I think that is the part that I didn't quite understand before - real life is different than everyday life. Long distance relationships are hard to maintain. Blogging makes that easier though.

I'm excited about BlogHer. Both in SF and in Greensboro. Maybe even in DC. Because I know now that it's about meeting people, sharing ideas, and getting to share some of your own. And if you meet me there and want to skip the small talk and get to the skeletons, scars, and scrapes in my life?

Feel free. I'm looking forward to getting to know you.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Feeding baby Bird



































Still loving the eating thing.

What I can't seem to find out is do I keep feeding him rice cereal after I start introducing vegetables? Do you keep adding to the diet or switch things off?

Just think of this as a reverse advice column. Instead of writing in for me to give you advice, I simply post my ignorance for all to see and solicit information from the masses.

Oh, and I finally remembered to put a bib on the little dude. Here he is sporting one from his Aunt Lorraine. He loves to eat his bibs almost as much as his cereal.

Shut up and file

Seriously. Just because I cannot for the life of me understand what you are trying to say to me in English doesn't mean that I don't know that you are ridiculing me to your fellow nail techs in Vietnamese.

And yet I tipped you anyway.

It wasn't even a fabulous pedicure. And the chair? Had a cue ball sized massage thing going on in my butt crack.

Next time? You had better offer me wine like the woman sitting next to me had. I don't care if it comes in a plastic cup or not.

I can certainly understand you when you say "white" or "red."

Calling all the locals

Did you know that BlogHer is coming to Greensboro in October?

Surely there are more than the two bloggers I know of in NC in order for BlogHer to deem Greensboro a logical stop.

Are you out there? Anyone?

Wanna go to Greensboro in October?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

How not to sell your house

I am not a Realtor. I might like to be someday, but right now, I'm not. I'm just a girl looking for a new house because my husband wants to move.

Here are some of the highlights of my search and some of the things I've learned. All of these photos are lifted right off the realty website. Some people might say I'm a thief. Cheater, cheater, sneaker.

Anyhooooooo.

I don't want to see pictures of your stuff. Like these. Here are some pictures of people's beds. Not their bedrooms, just the beds. I'm not buying your stuff. I want to see the house.











If a listing says "contemporary," it's wrong. Contemporary means about 30 years old. It means 1980's construction with lots and lots of wood, very little windows, and apparently, painting everything down to the basketball goal a monochromatic brown.













Just how many fake animals do you see in this room?












See this tiled countertop? The owners did this themselves. And it's covering up something much worse underneath. Cheap fix. Bad fix.















Then there are the pictures that make you think, "If this is what was worth showing, I hate to see what wasn't worth showing." For example:



















And the are pictures that you just don't even know what they are:












But my favorite is this house. The one that comes with the old people. And their dog.










Who took that picture and thought it was a good idea?

There could be a whole other blog just for totally bad real estate listings. I see a new project in the making.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

It's a full moon where I live today

All I have to say is that it's a good thing I was wearing my Snoopy panties today. The ones with "Snoopy" in bubble letters across my behind. The ones I could have tossed out after I turned 30.

It's a good thing. Because otherwise I might have been desperately embarrassed upon finding out I was walking through Kroger (I really have to stay out of that store) with my little gray skirt tucked into the back of them.

But I did have on my Snoopy panties. So that made it all good.

I was wondering why that old man seemed to have the exact same produce list as I did. And why he was so damn happy about it.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

You must have the wrong number

Usually when our phone rings, I check the caller ID before answering it. If it is Wife #1, I don't answer. Not because she has demanded this of me, but because I don't have anything to say to her, and I know she's not calling to talk to me. Plus, getting screamed at isn't high on my list of things to do.

Today though, she and Kevin were going around about something or another when she started saying ugly things about me to him. When that happens, he simply hangs up the phone. Then she calls back. And calls back. And calls back.

To those of you who have tried talking to me on our home phone: That is the purpose of our incredibly crappy voip service. Because we used to have to track how many times she would call after being asked to stop. Well, that, and for recording her voice messages. They are real treats, let me tell you.

Usually I don't care what's going on with the phone and those two. Kevin will take as much as he wants and then cut it off. He's a big boy and can handle himself.

What I do care about is the phone ringing time and time again while our baby is trying to take a nap.

So I answered it. I told her politely that the baby was sleeping and that she needed to quit calling at this time.

I doubt that she heard it though. I doubt that she heard anything for the yelling she was doing, telling me that she would like to speak to her husband.

The last time I answered the phone and she screamed at me that she would like to speak to her husband, I was snarky and told her she had the wrong number. Because the only man in at this house was my husband.

Today, I simply hung up after telling her that the baby was asleep.

Snarky used to be amusing. People who are so easily riled are easy targets. I learned that growing up with a big brother who loved to tease and was really good at it. The less reaction I gave, the less fun he had. Wish I had learned that before he convinced me of the toilet monster's existence.

Now, it's just sad. Not in a pity sort of way, because I wouldn't waste good pity on such a subject.

Or perhaps she did hear me. Because she hasn't called back.

I'm thinking that it has little to do with my request though, and far more to do with the simple fact that I answered the phone. In my own home. Heaven forbid that I ever do that again.

For right now, I'm just enjoying the silence and the fact that Bird is still snoozing away undisturbed.