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.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Haiku what was I saying again?

Writing a birth plan
Guy's easily distracted
We need to finish.

Little Bird likes to
Kick along with the typing
Giving his input.

We are bad students
Not doing our birth homework
Until the last night.

Got the names of two
Guy's easily distracted
Doulas to check on.

When the day gets here
I know that he will be so
Very focused then.

Because that's just the way he is. Saving his energy for the real deal.


Less whiny haiku can be found here. And yes, I notice that it is 11:55 PM. No, I cannot possibly do this any later next week.

It's been a long time since my last confession

I have a been a bad blogger. I have not been reading and commenting like I normally would. My apologies are probably empty, but I'm offering them anyway. I try to keep up. It's just so busy. I'm sure you all understand, and you are shaking your heads because here you are reading my little words . . . I'll catch up, I swear.

Speaking of behind, there are lots of links to go up on the Team Whymommy page. I have been slack. Susan has done such a good job of keeping them linked up on her blog, and once again, I am the slack friend. Let's just say that I have chosen to offer her some consistency in her life. I'm still here, and I'm still flaky.

And as if I haven't laid enough of my current flaws out on the table, here's something else stupid I did.

I was getting into our incredibly tall bed last night (with the humph and splat method I learned from Paige), and I actually injured myself on a pillow. Yes. I cut my elbow wide open on my pillow. Blood, bandaids, and everything.

Apparently, the pillow has a lethal zipper on it. I unwittingly put my elbow on the zipper, hoisted my 190 pound self (grow baby grow) onto the bed, and tore open my elbow. I am a talented, talented woman.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Baby Bongo

There's a new review of the BabyPlus prenatal education system over at Props and Pans. I've been wearing this little baby bongo for a few weeks now, and I'm planning on continuing through the rest of the pregnancy.

Yes, I feel a little silly with it on. Considering the president of the company admitted to me that she felt a little silly too when she first started wearing it, I guess that's alright.

So if you call me and hear something that sounds like a Linn drum from the early 80's going on in the background, just know that Little Bird is having a little prenatal schooling.

A contest will be added a little later in the day to win your own BabyPlus (a $150 value). Just head over to Props and Pans and check it out.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Trees please

Getting the trees is one of my favorite holiday tradition. After a run to Starbucks for hot chocolate, we headed to our favorite spot to buy a Christmas tree.

We aren't looking for big trees. We aren't looking for perfect trees. We were looking for our trees.

Here is Lovely, pointing out a spot where this tree needs some love. Both of our trees needed some serious love and had a definite side that is now hidden by the wall. We like them that way. Little Charlie Brown trees.

The Commander is good for more than hauling keyboards and music gear. I was delighted to discover that you could haul not one, but two Christmas trees home on top of it.

Guy frees one of the trees from the roof rack.

And here is the tree in the living room. The blue and silver tree. The side in the corner is facing that way for a reason. It's missing several branches back there. But you would never know. It's a beautiful tree, and I love it.

We'll have to take a picture of the tree in the dining room as well. It's also a little Charlie Brown tree that just needed some love.

You know, most days, I feel like a little Charlie Brown tree that Guy picked out and gave some love.

I'm such a dork.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Traditions adjusted

Thanksgiving weekend was wonderful. We had two dinners; one with Papa, Boo, and Pilot, and one with Lovely. Duplicated right down to the sparkling punch, appetizers, and the table setting. It's important to us that she knows she is missed when she isn't here. It's also important to us that she never feel guilty for having a good time spending holidays with her mother's family too. Having a replay of Thanksgiving day is just a small way of letting her know.

One reason I love Thanksgiving so much is because after Thanksgiving, I can officially start celebrating Christmas. We decorated our trees today. One in the living room and one in the dining room. The living room one is the silver and blue tree. The tree I get anal about and move around decorations to be just right. The tree where even the presents have to match.

The dining room tree has multi-colored lights and all of the random ornaments. There are ornaments from my childhood, and ones from Guy's childhood. Some of his mother's ornaments are tucked safely in a Victoria's Secret box, which he and I both get a good laugh about. Our pasts, brought together on one tree.

He said his mother would have loved that tree. I'm so glad.

My grandmother would also love that tree. It has just the right amount of holes and missing branches to be a tree that needed to be loved. And it has her old tree topper, proudly crowning the tip top of the tree.

Guy teases me about my love of tradition during the holidays, but today he confessed that he loves it. He said it reminded him of his mother, and that he was glad Little Bird would have a mom who was a little nutty for the holidays. I'm pretty sure he was being sweet.

Juggling Christmas Day traditions will be a challenge when Little Bird is old enough to start understanding what is happening. Every other year, Lovely will be with us on Christmas morning, and every other year, not until Christmas evening. We will have to have two traditions. You can't replay Christmas like you can Thanksgiving, so we will just have to have two traditions.

But it's like she and I decided on Friday this year while celebrating Thursday's holiday. It's just a date on the calendar. The holiday is the time whenever you celebrate it. She is a smart one, that kiddo.

So I'm learning to be flexible in my expectations. This year, we didn't actually get the trees until Saturday morning because Guy needed to lay tile in the foyer on Friday. We didn't actually switch out the everyday dishes with the holiday dishes until Saturday because technically, it was still Thanksgiving at our house.

And that's okay. Shoot. Thanksgiving being my favorite day of the year, I guess you could say that I'm pretty lucky to have it last twice as long. And I'm definitely lucky to have this wonderful family to share my holidays with.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Little Bird is kicking and I'm counting

I seriously think that bruises are going to appear around my ribs soon. Little Bird has decided that it is way fun to kick his momma as hard as he can right up under her ribs. It's beginning to smart.

Deep down, I like the kicking though. I like knowing that he is still comfortably nestled in my growing womb. I like having his movements remind me that he is doing alright.

I've been doing my kick counts. Thanks to Props and Pans and a little technology, I've been doing them with a kickTrak. It's a really cool little device that times how long it takes to reach 10 fetal movements and then stores up to 10 sessions so that you can look back and compare. It's nifty.

You can win one for yourself if you like. You have to pop on over to Props and Pans and leave a comment after the kickTrak post.

Meanwhile, I'm going to try some cats and cows to see if I can get this kid to reposition to the left ribs for awhile. Ow.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Haiku Friday, by 35 minutes to go

Gratuitous shot
Of turkey stock on the stove
Will freeze twenty cups.

My boys in new chairs
Ready to eat all they can
And sleep through football.

More haiku, and a sloppy fun Thanksgiving here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The pie

I hope this is worth the wait. I forgot that the pie wouldn't actually be finished until Thanksgiving day, so I couldn't finish this post on Wednesday. Photos are included after the recipe. Enjoy!

Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie

1 9 inch pie crust
3 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
Dash of salt
1 1/3 cups 1% low-fat milk, divided
1 ounce semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon stick margarine or butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 ounces block-style fat-free cream cheese, softened
2 cups sliced ripe banana (about 2 large bananas)
1 1/2 cups frozen fat-free whipped topping, thawed
Chocolate curls (optional, and I prefer it without for taste, but they are very pretty)

Prepare and bake Pastry Crust in a 9-inch pie plate unless you are my mother, in which case, you have made your pie crust from scratch. Either way, it should be baked and then cool completely on a wire rack.

Combine 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 2 tablespoons sugar, cocoa, and dash of salt in a small, heavy saucepan; gradually add 1/3 cup milk, stirring with a whisk. Cook 2 minutes over medium-low heat. Stir in chocolate; bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Spread chocolate mixture into bottom of prepared crust.

Combine 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, eggs, 1 cup milk, and margarine in a heavy saucepan over
Prep medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and cook 30 seconds or until thick. Remove from heat. Add vanilla. Beat cream cheese until light (about 30 seconds). Add 1/4 cup hot custard to cream cheese, and beat just until blended. Stir in remaining custard.

Arrange banana slices on top of chocolate layer; spoon custard over bananas. Press plastic wrap onto surface of custard; chill 4 hours. Remove plastic wrap. Spread whipped topping evenly over custard. Garnish with chocolate curls, if desired. Chill until ready to serve.

Melting the chocolate for the black bottom of the pie.

Spreading the chocolate in the baked and cooled pie crust, which I bought from the store.

Sorry, Momma.

Making the custard and trying not to burn my big belly on the stove. This pie involves LOTS of whisking.

Sorry, Bubblewench.

Arrange the banana slices over the chocolate layer.

Spread the custard over the layer of bananas.

Cover the pie in Cool Whip. I didn't use any chocolate shavings on top because I don't like them.

A slice of the pie in all its glory.

Guy eating the LAST slice of pie during Grey's Anatomy last night. There were only five people at our house yesterday with 2 cheesecakes, 3 pies, and some pumpkin bread. This pie gets finished off the same day every year.

I'm just glad this year it wasn't the dog who finished it off.

Have one for me, will ya?

Today is another prep day. There is more cooking and cleaning to be done, and recipes to share.

The first recipe I want to share is for Cajun Bloody Marys. Of course, I won't be making these this year, but usually, we make a big pitcher and sip on them throughout the week. Yum. Warms my heart thinking about it. They will also warm your throat. This recipe comes from the kitchen of Emeril. I took the liberty of augmenting it though because a 2 1/2 cup yield is just sad.

Cajun Bloody Mary

  • 6 cups tomato juice
  • 3 cups vodka
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 4 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 6 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 8 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 4 teaspoons Emeril's Original Essence
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoon cayenne
  • Pickled green beans or okra, for garnish
  • Cocktail onions, for garnish

Combine all ingredients (except garnish) in a small pitcher and stir to combine. Refrigerate until well chilled. Serve over ice with pickled green beans or okra and cocktail onions for garnish.

Yield: 10 cups

Be sure that you make these now. Right this second. The longer they sit in the fridge, the better they get.

Off to prep for the pie. You know the one. The dog's favorite pie.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

THANKSgivin' prep day

The cornbread is made. It is sitting out with the white bread, getting good and stale to go into the dressing.

The onions and celery are chopped.

The biscuits are made and cooked just until risen. Thursday, they will be ready to just pop in the over for a few more minutes.

A preview pumpkin pie is in the fridge for Guy. It's his favorite, so why not start a little early? Besides, Boo is bringing her pumpkin pie on Thursday, and trust me, you don't want to serve your pumpkin pie after Boo has served hers. It's killer.

I'm picking up the turkeys from The Fresh Market this afternoon. Yes, I said turkeys. I got two smaller ones this year so that one could sit on the table during the start of the meal and look pretty. The other one will be carved in the kitchen and served. I'm busy stocking the freezer for when Bird arrives, so I figured I could use any extra in casseroles anyway.

There is at least one more trip to the store to make for milk, eggs, and even more butter, but other than that, I think I'm done for today.

I so love this week. I love cooking a meal that takes 3 days. I love having the house smell like fall and having good friends and family come over for the sole purpose of eating.

Tomorrow, I give you the preparation of the famous Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie. And I swear on all that is holy in the universe, the damn dog isn't going to eat one bite of the pie this year. Not even a lick.


Last week, one of my high school students asked me with a smug grin on his face if I said, "THANKSgiving" or "ThanksGIVING." One is apparently more cultured than the other. It's hard to know how you say a word once you start thinking about it.

I told him it was most likely that I said it the uncouth way, and he laughed. Even though he has lived in the South most of his life, his family is Swedish, and there is not a trace of a Southern accent in his English. He enjoys picking on my inner redneck.

As he left his lesson, I called out after him, "Happy THANKSgivin'." With no "g" on the end. With the emphasis strongly on "thanks." With him, practically rolling in the front yard with laughter.

Glad to know that my lovely drawl gives people such pleasure.

This is why certain of you to whom I would love to talk may never, in real life, hear my voice. The difference in listening to me talk and reading what I write is about 50 IQ points.

Sigh. (Spoken in three separate syllables).

More Wisdom of Double D

Double D, my youngest nephew, has an idea. He has lots of ideas, but maybe this one is marketable.

Upon listening in on a conversation between his parents about the high cost of milk, he offered this suggestion,

"You could always try donkey's milk. That would be cheaper."

Why? Because he has noticed there are more donkeys than cows.

Where he noticed this is beyond me. They don't live in the country. They don't go to farms.

But for some reason, Double D has decided that donkeys' milk would definitely help the economic situation in this case.

Monday, November 19, 2007

So incredibly boring to everyone but me

I lamented passing on my little house to a new owner. My house. My first house that I loved so very much even though it looked much like a booger someone else would just wipe on their jeans.

Once it was sold, it was a relief to not have 2 mortgages, to say the least. Knowing that we sold it to a developer that would soon want to tear it down and build a McMansion wasn't a relief, but it was reality. Bringing us back to the booger reference.

Today, the reassessed property taxes were announced. Guy and I just looked up the new taxes for our house and what used to be my house. Once again, I was so proud of my little booger house. And so glad that I don't have to pay the new taxes.

The land alone is now valued at just less than what I paid for the house. The taxes will be doubling. We will not be paying them. Yay. We sold at just the right time too, because city council is poised to put the kabash on McMansions going up after teardowns. Leaving the new owner of my little booger in a precarious situation if he doesn't build soon.

Our house? Went up a mere $6,000. Hee hee. We find ourselves on the right side of a climbing neighborhood whose value has not yet caught up in the grand scheme of things. I'm pleased as punch.

Bonus. This house doesn't look like a booger. Anymore.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Grown ups moved in

Our bedroom now has furniture. We looked for over a year for something that we both liked that didn't cost 80 million dollars, and of course we ended up back at one of the first places we looked.

It isn't fancy, but it is handmade. It wasn't expensive, but it does look nice. Very simple and plain. Very functional. We love it. I won't be sad to see my Rubbermaid dressers go.

And, it is one more thing in my house that looks like what my mother has. It's getting a little creepy really. Every time I have a hand in picking out something, it ends up looking a lot like my mother's things. Thank goodness she has good taste.

The only thing I don't like about it is that the bed is incredibly tall. As I type this, perched like some sort of princess perched up high, Pupstar is whining by the side of the bed. She cannot in any way, shape, or form, begin to jump on this bed.

I'm thinking we might have to invest in some doggie steps. As seen on TV.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Haiku Friday, counting it down

30 weeks today
Lights a fire under our butts
Getting floors done now.

Bamboo all downstairs
Except for tile in foyer
I want baseboards back.

Family from before
Had peeing Border Collie
Nasty carpet pads.

Crib still in the box
Guitars in every corner
Bird will need a room.

10 more weeks to go
Waiting 'til the last minute
Maybe not so smart.

More haiku, less stress here.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Welcome to the World

Amy and Chris are welcoming their little Turkey into the world this morning. I'm so happy for them I could just pop.

Me, my Sil, and Amy all lost babies around the same time last year. Then Sil gave birth to El on November 2, and now Amy has had Carter Dale this morning. Now, I guess we just wait for Bird. He might be a little behind, but that's okay.

So congratulations, Amy. I'm happy to have had the honor of following you through your journey to becoming a mom.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


We don't typically keep candy in the house. Or store bought cookies. Or little powdered donuts. If it is in the house, then it gets eaten. If not by one of us, then by the setter-goat, who helped Lovely polish off some of her Halloween candy. A gummy crabby patty to be exact. Weirdo.

None of us need the snacking though. It's not healthy and promotes bad habits. Weight gain, eating for comfort, eating for boredom, you name it. Prepackaged snacks are a big no-no around here.

However, when I was tooling around in Target today, I spied a lone bag of orange and black MnM's. Everything else Halloween was gone. Cleared out. But someone had missed this one bag.
I knew it had to be cheap.

38 cents, people. That bag of MnM's was 38 cents.

And it was so lonely with all of the Christmas stuff. It just had to come home with me.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Wisdom of Double D

If you need a reason to get a flu shot, my youngest nephew, Double D, has one for you.

"Shots make you have muscles."

Amen, brother. He was helping talk his older brother and sister into getting their flu shots without being scared. He wasn't scared, because he's tough, he said.

Double D has a lot of wisdom to share. Enough for my Sil to start her own blog. Just for stories about him.

For now though, just remember that shots will give you muscles. Later, we might can talk about his love of Walker Texas Ranger.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Stitch in time

My friends here where I live are an odd hodgepodge of various types of people and ages too. One of my favorite people is a woman in her 70's who lives in a little town just north of here. Her home is in the historic district just a block off of a traditional small town downtown. Her little Sheltie guards the front yard with her fierce yips.

This past Friday, we spent the day together at her home. She was teaching me how to sew. It was incredible loads of fun spending time with her, learning from her, and eating her cream cheese and olive sandwiches.

When Momma was here, she went with me to buy a sewing machine and then helped me learn to thread it. She made a list of essentials and braved Joann's with me to stock my sewing box. We ran out of time though, before we got to have a full blown sewing lesson.

My grandmother Honey was a seamstress. An artist really. The clothes she made were perfect. My mother's wardrobe was the envy of her college friends, and all of it was made by Honey. My Barbies were the best dressed dolls ever. I still have most of the clothes she made for them including the wedding dress with layers of ruffles, the slip, the petticoat, the veil, and the flowers that had a little elastic band to help Barbie hold onto them while walking down the aisle.

Momma and Honey would talk me through their sewing, but I never did any hands on work with them. I have to do something hands on to really get it.

However, it did give me a lot of the vocabulary to start off my lesson with Mrs. S. Friday morning, I loaded up my machine, material, pattern, and all the notions and headed up to her house.

I knew that I wanted to be able to produce the end results of sewing, but I didn't know that I would enjoy the process so much. Part of that, of course, was the good company. But yesterday, while Guy and Papa were putting in the living room flooring and Lovely was drowning in projects for school, I sewed.

And I liked it.

Little Bird will have rompers and jon jon's. Princess will have a new winter coat. Guy and I will have cheesy matching pj pants. I even bought a pattern and material to make Bird's baptism outfit.

I have never been a crafty person. I don't visualize things well, and I'm terrible at knowing where to start on a project. But sewing connects me to the women in my family that came before me. It gives me a great reason to spend the day with Mrs. S.

It gives me a skill that will create things for my family and friends. I like that.

And the cream cheese and olive sandwiches. Those are pretty good too.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Haiku Friday and I hate cancer, but who doesn't?

Not in the mood for
Writing good haiku tonight
Chemo next Friday.

Find more and better haiku here.


We are not foolish enough to think that Momma wouldn't have to go back on chemo at some point. Her cancer is a chronic condition. We know that.

So when she called today, and I could hear the news in the tone of her voice before her words were spoken, I didn't crumble. It didn't feel like a crisis. I didn't immediately run through all of the things I needed to cancel in order to catch a plane.

Now that they have moved, thank God, they are near my brother. Bro and Sil are great with them, and the grandchildren bring joy into their lives. There will be help. There will not be Daddy taking Momma a piece of bread folded in half and calling it a sandwich. Bless his heart. This is so huge. I'm so grateful that they are near family now.

I think she will be okay. I think they will zap it back again this time. I think that she will live long enough to know Little Bird and for Little Bird to fall completely madly for her.

But she won't be here in January. Not for the birth. After all the wrestling with whether or not it was a good idea for them to be here, the coming to terms with how I wanted her here even it was more work because of Daddy, after all that?

It isn't even an option.

And of course, that makes me want her more than ever. And I just feel really sad.

But I also want you for a long time, so we will compromise. Stay there and fight now. Come here after you've kicked some more cancer in the tush. Little Bird will want you to stick around for a long time.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

How to torture me

Take away my Diet Coke and internet service. Welcome to today.

The Diet Coke is a personal matter I suppose. Who am I kidding? Bird has decided there isn't enough room for him and any amount of gas in my abdomen. Major ow. So I'm cutting out the carbonation and adjusting a few things in my diet so that maybe I won't be doubled over in pain today.

The internet though? Is a mystery. Just stopped working. Guy hasn't had a chance to work on it yet, so I just have to wait it out. Thank goodness for free internet at Panera Bread.

What's been going on then? Most importantly, Andria had her baby. A little boy. Makes me want to jump on a plane right this very second. I am thinking a trip to her neck of the woods is definitely in order for next summer. It's somewhere Guy and I have talked about going for awhile now, and I just found out another friend of mine has moved there. Tempting. Very very tempting.

I spent a lovely day with my friend T yesterday. Her little boy is really turning into a little boy and is no longer a baby. It makes me a little sad, because I so wanted for our kids to be the same age and best buds, but it's alright. Her oldest is a gem, and stinking hilarious. She told T the other day that I was going to have a baby, and already had a stepdaughter and a stephusband. So funny.

Guy's ankle is getting better. It never did get to where he couldn't walk on it, and it wasn't very black and blue, so he decided it was just sprained and he would tough it out. I dropped him off at work the past couple of days because it is such a long walk from his parking space to his office, but today he is hoofing it all on his own.

As you can tell, I'm ignoring NoMoPloBoMoFo or whatever it's called. I did have a goal this month, and it was to comment on every single one of Zoot's posts because she is trying to reach 100 instead of just posting everyday. Also Liz's. And Whymommy's. And, well, just keep up with reading and commenting in general. Obviously, the lack of internet service has hampered my ability to reach this goal tremendously.

Tomorrow, Momma gets the results from her scans. Baited breath.

This weekend, Guy and I start our childbirth classes. We have an independent childbirth instructor that is coming to the house and giving us all the lowdown. I'm quite excited. There will also be a dad's class, a breastfeeding class, and she might help us find a doula. Guy is still convinced that we don't need one; that he will be everything I need. And I tend to believe that. He is everything I need. I'm not quite convinced that he might need one. He really hates seeing me in pain.

And in this random post of catching up, I leave you with the funniest thing that has happened to me in forever.

I'm sitting in Panera Bread. Bagel crumbs litter the front of my shirt. Pregnant belly busting out in all it's glory. Just minding my own business when dude in some camo and a hunting vest comes over and tries to put the moves on me. I didn't want to be mean, but it was all I could do not to just bust out laughing at him. How very very bizarre.