Wednesday, December 26, 2007

merry christmas?

What can go wrong, will.
That seemed to be the general theme of this Christmas for us.
I exaggerate, of course--I wouldn't be writing this post if serious things had gone wrong. We had time with family, our travel was safe, and we are joyful, remembering that Christ didn't have it so easy that first Christmas, either.
However: I have been feeling like a character in one of those Christmastime movies involving havoc that seems so funny--as long as you're not the ones dealing with the havoc.
Here's a short rundown of our festivities:
Monday: Take Lucy to the pediatrician. She gets some shots. The Dr. mentions, offhand,that one of them often coincides, five days later, with a mild case of the disease we innoculated against. At the time, I don't do the calendar math.
Tuesday: The mild cold I have been fighting turns into what I think is bronchitis.
Wednesday: Bronchitis, day two.
Thursday: Bronchitis a bit better. Dyami leaves a day early for Ojai to work on a project with his brother. I wish him well, and watch some TV.
Friday: I wake up to a leak in the second bedroom. It rained the night before, and we've had problems with leaks in rainstorms. I plop down some towels and a bucket. I notice later that the leak has spread very minorly to the kitchen--there's a tiny drip down our wall by our kitchen cabinets. I ignore it, sure that the leak will clear up once I'm gone.
Still Friday: I try to figure out how to get ready to follow Dyami to Ojai with Lucy. This involves keeping the cat indoors without letting her get her claws into Lucy (or Lucy get at her). This is tricky. I manage it (just) with a judiciously placed safety door blocker thingie. Luckily, our cat isn't very catlike, and can't jump over the two foot barricade.
Still Friday: I notice Lucy is starting to get a cough. One that sounds remarkably like my bronchitis.
Still Friday: I drive to Ojai. Three hours. Thank God: Lucy slept the whole way.
Still Friday: Lucy wakes up when we arrive in Ojai at 10 pm. She stays awake until nearly midnight. It requires a lot of coaxing to get her back asleep.
Friday-Saturday morning. Many wakeups. many, many wakeups.
Saturday: Lucy is officially sick! Fever! Crankiness! Cough!
Saturday night: Many, many more wakeups. L refuses to stay asleep on her bed unless one of us is there alongside her. Then she coughs really hard and pukes on Dyami's chest! Then I take her into bed with me and don't sleep the rest of the night!
Sunday morning: Very tired.
Sunday: Uneventful. Thank goodness. Better sleep: I sleep on the couch; Dyami sleeps in bed with Lucy. Everyone is happy (and rested).
Monday: My parents call. The "rain" leak I noticed is actually a "burst pipe" leak. Ie, they cleaned up a half an inch of water in our kitchen, and placed a powerful fan in the second bedroom to help dry the carpet. Have I mentioened that our house was built in the PVC pipe era of the eighties? And that several houses in our neighborhood have had retrofits? And that my parents had to turn off the water to stop the leaks? And that means that my parents generously offered to have us come stay with them until said leak can get fixed? Which is very nice of them, but after our whirlwind trip, I desperately want to be back in our own bed? We tell them, of course, that we'll take them up on their offer.
Monday night: Christmas eve! All Lucy's cousins come over! There is a festive Italian ravioli dinner! There is halvah! There is unwrapping of gifts!
There is a puking cousin! There is a still-puking cousin! There is a Christmas Eve trip to the emergency room! There is much worry over the poor cousin, who is only 8 months older than Lucy! Then there is the realization that the cousin has the stomach flu! Which we have all been exposed to! While our immune systems are not exactly in tip-top shape!
Tuesday: We drive home early. Again, a (thankfully) uneventful ride. Decent sleep last night. Basically, we've moved into my parents house. And I think we'll be here for a few days. Luckily, they didn't kick us out when they heard about the stomach flu. Which was (again) very kind of them.
It sounds like the pipe can be fixed quickly. The retrofit with copper pipes, unfortunately, is not covered by insurance. And that willhave to happen at some point, probably.
So merry Christmas, everyone! After last year (newborn sleep hell!), I was really looking forward to a peaceful, stress-free Christmas. But instead, I got extra time with family. And a chest cold. And a crankety, beautiful baby girl.
We're calling it even.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

sorry, waiter guy

Yesterday we finished up some Christmas shopping. And then we felt inspired to go out to lunch. We were down by N. County Fair, and there's a Macaroni Grill there. I've only been once, nearly 10 years ago, and liked it a lot. D has never been.
"We should treat ourselves!" I said. We don't get to Escondido that often, so it was our chance to sample authentic chain food!
Anyway, for those of you that don't know, Lucy has had major problems processing dairy in the past. I eat a cube of cheese and she doesn't sleep for one night. So I avoid milk/cream/cheese like the plague.
I'm not sure why Ithought Big Chain Italian would be good for someone avoiding a staple ingredient. But I thought--surely I can just get the cheese on the side--with pasta, or something. Italian bread is usually dairy-free, from my experience at Trader Joes.
After our nice waiter guy set a steaming loaf of rosemary bread on our table, I told him I had a dairy allergy, then asked, with naivete, which of two (seemingly dairy-free) entrees I could get.
(And no, I don't have a dairy allergy; not even, really, dairy intolerance. My daughter does. But it's hard to explain the mechanics of breastfeeding/food intolerances on the fly in a restaurant to a 20-year-old guy.)
He went to check with the kitchen, and came back with bad news. "My manager says there's really nothing I can recommend except for this salmon dish and this chicken dish.
They were the two options marked "sensible choices" that I'd been ridiculing a moment before. Who wants sensible choices (ie: dry, flavorless pap) at Big Chain Italian?
"What about this bread?" D asked.
"No, not the bread, either," he said. "Butter, you know."
I ordered some soup and salad, which they left the dairy off of.
And then the bread was calling to me.
Dyami told me it couldn't possibliy be enough to get to Lucy.
And then Lucy grabbed a chunk of the bread and ate it.
So I tore off a hunk and enjoyed myself.
Of course, the waiter guy chose that moment to come back and ask me whether I wanted my soup and salad served together.
I had to answer him with a big chunk of bread in my mouth. Bread I'd told him I couldn't have.
This is when I appreciate the "Smile a-nd nod" customer service. But I'm sure he was back at the drinks station saying, "See, these food allergy people, they're so full of crap!"
Sorry, waiter guy.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

confluence of signs

From the title you'd think this post would be all Zen, wouldn't you? But really, I just want to know one thing. Why, after Lucy learned several signs (all done, nurse, more, bye bye) and the appropriate times to use them--with the addition of yes and no to really make our life simple and clear--did she suddenly get them confused, stop using "All done" and use them nearly interchangably?
Sample exchanges:

Me: Lucy, are you all done with your spaghetti?
Lucy: More nursing. No.

Lucy, holding book: Yes. More. Nurse.
Me: You mean you want me to read to you?
Lucy: Yes. More.

Lucy: unlatching from breast after 20 minutes nursing: Nurse. Yes. More.
Me: Are you all done?
Lucy: Rolls over, gets off my lap.

I was all ecstatic about communication becoming clear. Now we have all kinds of signs, just none that have particular meaning.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

lagging

Reasons why I'm not posting:
  1. My laptop died.
  2. Dyami's working a lot on our other computer.
  3. Sick. Chest cold awfulness.
  4. Holiday time. I'm too busy making paper snowflakes. (Thanks Hack Mommy! Who knew cutting paper could be addictive?)
  5. Did I mention I'm sick?
  6. Crazily clingy baby means mom gets less time to herself each night.
  7. (Cough, cough).

Saturday, December 15, 2007

high heels

Since Lucy was born (and well, while I was pregnant, and really, for a while before that) I haven't worn high heels. Last night, we went to D's Christmas party for work, and I decided to look cute! So I put on some brown wedges.
I had to sit down for about the latter half of the night.
I used to strap on heels and go swing dancing, for pete's sake. How the heck did I do it? Last night, while completely stationary, my back ached, my calves were strained, and I just felt lousy for the whole night. They're pretty comfy heels, as heels go.
I don't know why we do this to ourselves.

Friday, December 14, 2007

brain, mommy

I got published! In a really cool magazine! I notified family and friends and the neighbor's cat via email, and forgot to send the link! And so everyone rejoices with me, but no one is reading my essay!
Go here. And then go and say nice things about me (pretty please?) in their forum. Some people already wrote some not-so-nice things. Sniff.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

the bandwagon

I'm reading an interesting book right now about the genesis and trajectory of institutional fads. You know, the stuff like TQM, Six Sigma, standards testing, and other organizational re-orgs that seasonally take hold of education, medicine or business. The author talks about why fads take place in our culture (our belief in progress is one reason) and talks about why people decide to join fads.
I am thinking about this in the context of what I think our culture's current 'rage' is: environmentalism and "sustainable" and organic and everything. It's the buzz! Everyone is talking about it! My grandmother, who lives in a very small Michigan town and does not have access to the internet, took pains to assure me that her garden is "organic" the other day. I don't mean to belittle my grandma: she has been "organic" before the term had cache. She grew up in the Depression, when people didn't think about recycling and reusing--if you didn't do that, you did without. It's our culture that's weird--when organic is a pose or an unorthodox (or now, orthodox) choice.
My fear is that my own nascent environmentalism will cool, along with the hype. Or that our culture's concern will be 'greenwashed' out of us. Part of me feels cynical, now that all our marketing gurus are figuring out how to use this fad to generate even more consumption. It's just terribly ironic, no?
I don't think it's inevitable that everyone's enthusiasm for this greening trend will fade--I think there are elements of this paradigm shift that must take hold, because our planet literally can't sustain us and China and India living like we've been living. We all have to slow down. And yet, I worry that the fact that this feels like a fad will make it easier for us all to opt out, slow down, and lose interest. Is it possible for our generation and culture to pay attention for longer than one news cycle? Is it possible for us to really change the way we live?
I don't know. And I hate the fact that I, too, join the bandwagon when it suits me, when it's cool, and there's a great movie about it. Would that change would come...well, more organically.

Friday, November 30, 2007

feverish

The child, she was feverish yesterday. Since she has been gnawing on my shoulder when I pick her up, and showed no other sick signs, I figured it was teeth related. So I happily went to my mom's writing group and let Lucy cavort with several children.
Now this morning I wake up with a slight sore throat.
Sigh.
Sorry, other moms. I'm not feeling bad enough to be sure that it was sickness yet--in fact, it might just be residual ash in the air from that BBQ San Diego had last month.
But the poor child--she was so hot in the middle of the night. Poor thing. She's acting fine though.
I still want to believe it's just teeth. Maybe some big, crispy molars.
Teeth. Teeth.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

perseverence

I shouldn't pay attention to my moods. You know, the moods where you don't possibly have the energy to edit a piece of writing after the child goes to bed--you just need a glass of red wine and the TV on. That mood, it lies. It is a lying liar.
But the good news is I ignored it, and the piece is better!
And I'm done posting for the day.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

dreaming

Last night I dreamed that I had a very serious discussion (kind of an intervention) with my mother -in-law and Dyami. Except it wasn't my actual mother-in-law, Donna, it was some other woman with blonde hair. In the dream, I knew she wasn't Dyami's mom or my mom, but some other woman somehow related to us. She was very kind, but she told me that Dyami had been worrying/complaining for a while about my laziness. I mean, my laziness was just appalling.
In the dream, I took this very seriously, and felt really bad. How could i not have realized how lazy I was? I wondered.
Then I told this woman that we really needed to get together more often, maybe over lunch, because I didn't really feel I knew her that well.
Of course, when I woke up, I realized how odd--how really odd--the dream was. First of all, who the heck was this woman? And how exactly is she an in-law without being related to Dyami? Second of all, what is my psyche thinking? Lazy? Where did that come from? I know for a fact that is not one of Dyami's pet peeves about me. Right, Honey? Honey?
Perhaps it's residual guilt or something over the fact that I watched Pirates of the Caribbean last night and the night before. Instead of cleaning the bathtub, or whatever non-lazy people do.
I wish we could order our dreams, so I could get rid of these kinds. And the dreams where I've registered for a (history/math/Spanish) class, forgotten to drop it, and forget to attend the whole semester. That one's always fun.
Really, though, I kind of want to meet this in-law woman, despite her intervention. She was really nice.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

thinking

I'm a little sleep deprived. I was reading a story for my Fiction Writing class yesterday from the POV of a new father, and he had all these really complicated, florid thoughts at 3:30 in the AM, and my main critique was the lack of verisimilitude.
Of course, I just used the word "verisimilitude" while cranky and tired, so there you go.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

posting

I have about thirty seconds to post.
Dyami and I just had a great conversation, about Issues and Marriage and Keeping Happy and Being On the Same Page. It was good, and there was much rejoicing.
D said something sweet.
"You're a great wife, Heather."
"Thanks, honey. I try."
"I know. That's one of my favorite things about you."
"Thank you honey."
I am not always the person I want to be (I am trying to grow into that person, day to day), but it helps to have a husband that builds me up.

Friday, November 23, 2007

reunion

I went to a party tonight of mostly people I knew from high school. Some socially adept people I know actually stay in touch with multiple people from back then, and they brought us all back together. It was really fun.
I'm amazed, at these shindigs, at how socially inept I often was in high school, how scared of my peers I was. How did that happen? (Perhaps Jr. High had something to do with it?) And it's so lovely to see people that sort of intimidated me (for some reason) back then, and realize there's nothing scary about them, that in fact, they're fun to talk to.
Also, it's lovely to see people who didn't intimidate me, and catch up with how they're doing.
Time can be a very lovely thing. You change into a whole different person without even realizing it's happening.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

the book of common prayer

So a while ago I started pretending I was Episcopalian.
It's sort of de rigeur these days, evangelical Christians going old-school-liturgical on everyone. I was inspired by a few memoirs that mentioned the BCP, so I first started using one online, and then bought one. It's little and kind of cute: it has a little ribbon attached so you can mark passages! I love that in books.
There are little prayer services built into it--ones specifically written for morning, evening, afternoon, and late evening. There are really short ones, and longer, full-service ones. In the morning, when I nurse Lucy, I open up the book. If I'm lazy/half asleep I do the two minute version. If I'm chipper, I do the longer version. Then, the last few nights, I've been kind of stressed out, so I pulled it out and did the Compline (late evening) prayers. They were really beautiful and reminded me of God's presence, and helped me find some peace in my head before bedtime.
Here's what I like about using the BCP:
  • It's a no-brainer. As someone that tends towards perfectionism, I just open it up, and I can pray without having to think about it. When I think about prayer too much, the prayer usually ends up not happening. Remembering all the things there are to pray for! Forgetting what I'm trying to pray for! Getting lost in my thoughts! With the book, I have a visual guide, that prompts me to pray for other things.
  • It's a lot of scripture. I've been reading the psalms too. And the prayers are often based on some beautiful passages from the Prophets, or Psalms, or Gospels. What's not scriptural is just written really well. It's lovely to read. And thoughtful.
  • I used to struggle to be all heady and intellectual and studious with God each day. And I hated it. It felt like a chore, and I don't think it did much for my faith. But reading beautiful prayers, and remembering God's promises in a structured way--helps me reconnect to my faith and recharge each day.
  • I feel like I'm in a church service, there, all by myself.
  • The book is just a cool, jam-packed resource. It's sort of like the Little Book of Things Believers Might Need or Might Just Want to Know. Episcopalian confession? Check. Prayer for the Sunday after Epiphany? Check. Burial service? Check. Catechism? Check. Psalms? Check. Creeds? Check. List of Holidays in the church? Check. Reading through the Bible schedule? Check. I mean, I could be a really Episcopalian Episcopalian, if I were so inclined.
  • Classic British mysteries often involve Anglican trivia. Anglican is almost Episcopalian. So that helps me, right there.
  • Black tea. Also that.
In all seriousness, though, it's one of the coolest Christian books I've bought in a long time. And just those moments of peace I have found through it really help. Sure, I can look up stuff in the Bible, but it, too, is a huge book, that is kind of like an ocean. The BCP is kind of like a little, cozy yacht that makes the ocean scenic and pleasant, rather than overpowering.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

running to stand still

So a few years ago, I was on a "Get in Shape Girl"* kick. My goal: run a mile. Every other morning or so, I'd put on my tennis shoes, a sports bra (and other clothes too, don't worry) and run. I figured it would take me a few weeks to work up to a mile, but by the end of the summer, I thought I'd for sure be jogging happily around our neighborhood.
That didn't so much happen.
What happened was I spent the whole summer trying to work up to that mile. I'd jog at my (nearly walking) pace, and after about three minutes, I'd have to slow to a walk. I'd try to push myself, and I'd feel like I was trying to run through water. Then I'd go home and sleep the rest of the day. What astounded me was that it didn't get much better the longer I trained.
I could run most of a mile, but it was disheartening that I didn't achieve my (seemingly small) goal.
What made me decide to give up the running was when I went out jogging one morning with Dyami after I had been "training" most of the summer. My husband doesn't run now, and he was exercising a lot less than me that summer. He used to play soccer in high school. And after about half a block, he asked very politely if I would mind if he ran ahead, because I was running too slow. And he proceeded to run my whole jogging course easily, in half the time it took me.

Hrmph.

After that, I decided I was just not a runner. Walking, Pilates, dancing, all fine. I was in fine shape, my body just didn't like to run. No biggie.
Except then, the other day, I ran, and it worked! See, I'd set out for a walk with Lucy in the stroller, and my planned route fell through, because there was no sidewalk along a particularly busy stretch of road. And she was already fussy, and I had to retrace my steps back probably about a mile before I could take her out of the stroller.
I decided to run, expecting that after half a block, I'd get the sideache, and the shortness of breath, and the underwater lungs, and the blurred vision and the leg cramps.
Instead, I ran uphill, easily. My breathing...easy. My legs...strong.
I ran back around the corner, past the kids playing stickball, down the hill, and back to my destination.
No problem. I could have kept going.
Sure, the next day I felt very sore (running requires different muscles than walking! Who knew?) but I also felt triumphant.
Turns out that all that walking around I do to friends' houses in the neighborhood with a twenty-pound baby strapped to me are actually good for something.
Maybe I should challenge Dyami to a rematch.

*Did any of you have those fitness toy things? I had the rhythm ribbon. It was blue. It amused our cat, and got shredded, eventually. Is anyone else now bothered by the message those toys were sending to young girls?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

posting, posting...

1, 2, 3.
Sorry, folks, that's all we have time for tonight.
sad!

Monday, November 19, 2007

cleanup

Guess I'll get ready, choose a t-shirt and jeans. Oh, hi, Lucy. Look, how cute, she's pulling down a t-shirt off its hanger. And another one. Whoops! Let me just hang these up while you--oh. You found the shoe caddy. Oh, I guess you're going to, honey, can you leave the shoes alone? Let me just pick those up and we can...Hmmm. Good. Go play in the bathroom. Sure, open that cabinet. And play with my toiletries. Thumb in the deoderant? Greeeeat. Oh, yes, I guess you can, no, those rags weren't folded nicelyor anything. Help yourself. And I'll just tackle this tiny mess and--
No, God, please! Not the bookshelves!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

communication

Having Lucy communicate feels really good, like winning the lottery or something. Sure, it can be a little hit or miss--("Lucy, do you want some food?" "No. No." (while reaching for it), but the contrast from before is marked. Before, communicating was sort of lreading tea leaves. Sure, there might besomething to it--or it might be an overactive imagination. But now, now I'm sure, sometimes that she wants this, or will do something without protest. For example: if I ask, "Lucy, do you want to switch sides" (when nursing), if she nods, then she'll unlatch and not protest if I lift her up and switch sides.
That is astounding.

Some of you might ask what "before" was, and I don't really know. Everything is so gradual, so fleeting, that one day you're wondering, did t that mean what I think it meant? and the next you're telling her to clean her room.
Well, maybe by tomorrow.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Thursday, November 15, 2007

a walk

Lucy and I went for her first walk today.
She held tightly on to my finger, and sauntered down our driveway and into the street. It took a little coaxing to get her to the sidewalk (read: I picked her up and carried her, despite vociferous protests) but once there, she toddled almost down to the main cross-street, almost two full blocks.

As we walked, the full weight of all the things she has to experience yet overwhelmed me.
Rain. Storms. And why the ground can be concrete, or asphalt, or dirt. Why that is. Places that have not been landscaped and paved to within an inch of their life. Mysterious holes in the earth. Inchworms and ladybugs. Sunsets, and walking on the beach, finding sand crabs. The desert, the mountains. Trees, and different kinds. That a dog can be a mighty range of creatures, as can cats. Other cities. The world.
I get to introduce her to many of these things. Or be there when she discovers them.

It was a good walk.

brokey

Two things are brokey around here.
1. My committment to NaBloPoMo. Oh, sweet innocence, beleiving that I could post each day!
2. My laptop. This is one reason for #1. The other day I was sitting, probably checking email, and the screen flickered a few times, and then went from looking like a computer screen to a weird moonscape portrait in a few seconds. Like all weird silver and grey shadows. I didn't think that boded well for my computer.
Things to be thankful for: My computer failed less than one week after I printed off my thesis and handed it in. I have hard copies, but I don't think I needed the added stress of retyping a 100-plus page manuscript.
I had hopes that it was just my monitor that went bad, but last night we connected the computer to another monitor, and found that a) my laptop monitor works okay and b) the computer is not working okay--ie, it didn't work well enough for me to back up my files.
So, I am going to try with NaBloPoMo, but the obstacles, they are more daunting now.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

a book series I won't be investing in...I think

I stumbled upon these books on Amazon (sadly, I can't remember how I ended up finding them).
Now, at first, I thought, these books are awesome! Maybe I should get some! I mean, what kid wouldn't want to read about scabs and poop? And why shouldn't they?
But then I started reading the reviews.
They were a little less than complementary.
On the other hand, they were hilarious. Apparently these books are imports from japan, and like many things, just didn't translate all that well.
A sample follows:
About "Everyone Poops": "...Later on, they are told that it comes in different shapes, colors, and smells, and that, depending on who is doing it, it is done in different places. The summarizing statement is that "all living things eat, so everyone poops." However, there is never any explanation offered as to why....In case the message hasn't sunk in, the final spread presents a chorus line of creatures, backsides forward, each producing poop...."
About "The Gas We Pass": The drearily colored, amateur line cartoons depict a family of no particular race and zoo animals with sound balloons, such as "BURP!" and "BAAROOMM" being emitted from both ends."
About "The Holes in Your Nose": There are some imports that just shouldn't make the crossing, and this study of nostrils is one of them. ....Unfortunately, the book goes more than slightly overboard in its exploration of nasal passages. For example, a gorilla with a runny nose denies the offer of a tissue, saying that he plans to "let it dry then pick it off and eat it." Even the hardiest readers may find themselves opting out of this one."
Describing"Breasts": The rambling text explains that women have breasts so they can make milk and feed it to their babies, but that men, even Sumo wrestlers who have big breasts, dont make milk. The milk ducts look like cauliflower florets in a strainer and the drawings of a baby and its mothers breast look more like the child is playing with Snoopys nose or two Junior Mints.

I love that: strained cauliflower and Snoopy's nose. There you go. I might never have to post again.

Monday, November 12, 2007

more letters, more opinions

So I wrote two letters this morning, one to the N. Korean delegation in New York regarding a group of Christians that were arrested and called spies (and possibly executed), and another one regarding persecuted religious minorities in Iraq to my Representative, Brian Bilbray.
I'm trying to not get carried away with do-gooding. I tend to get carried away, and am not able to keep up the pace of my goodness, and then I get jaded about myself, and stop even the minimum of effort. So my goal is one or two letters a week for at least November. That seems pretty doable.
In other news, I saw this post about women not signing up for birth classes. I have a few thoughts on this.
  • One one hand, I think entirely too much attention is paid to pregnancy, at the exclusion of the much harder stuff involved with actually raising your child. Or breastfeeding. I think a lot of women would be better served with a breastfeeding class, and maybe a Q&A with real moms about what to expect from motherhood.
  • I wonder if women are avoiding the classes because so many of them are just "Hospital 101".
  • I had mixed feelings about our birth class--a lot of it seemed sort of self-indulgent--but in the end, during my birth, I thought about some of the facts we learned, and the knowledge really helped me not freak out. And talking about birth, and reading what to expect--not just reading about it--also proved helpful.
  • But bottom line, I think not taking a birth class is a bad idea. As the blog points out, the lack of birth education generally leads to more medicalized births. Women think birth isn't possible without major medical interventions, because no one tells them differently--and they sure won't learn about that on TV.
  • With all the publicity right now about our broken health care system, I wonder why nobody has pointed the the elephant in the room: the fact that we overspend egregiously on complicated hospital births for perfectly healthy babies and women. Anaesthesiaologists, hospital stays, medical equipment, surgeries, all of these things add up. And much of it is done not to soothe women, or help them (I'm all for epidurals if it helps someone get through a difficult labor--not so much into it just as a matter of course)--but to keep hospitals and doctors from getting their butts sued. This cannot be a good idea.
So there you go: the righteous indignation roundup. Happy Veteren's day.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

confession

So at 11 pm last night, I remembered I hadn't posted. And I didn't get up! For shame! See, I am already not posting on Sundays, and I was really tired and I just didn't think it was a big deal. Well, actually, I had a little argument with myself about whether I should get up, and I don't remember who one, because I fell asleep in the middle of it.
Last night's sleep was crappy. Not newborn crappy, just mildly crappy. But the problem is that we've gotten a bit carefree, what with the predictably-sleeping child, and so we've been going to bed a bit late. And so when she wakes us up two times, and then gets up early, it is hard not to lose my cool.
I like being able to be carefree. Except these babies, they really want to rub it in that they are in control, and any plans for long stretches of sleep you make are subject to their veto. It is a very powerful veto.
Let's hope tonight is better. There's always that (slim) chance. Usually once her sleep gets bad we have to do something slightly forceful to get it back on track. Ugh.

nablopomo day whatever.

forgot to post last nite. Not getting great sleep. L woke early. Extremely irritable (me, if that wasn't clear). need morning tea. excuse me while I go take care of that.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

it is finished.

The thesis, it is finished. Finito. Terminado. Endstop, period.
This is very exciting news, since I had taken to poking at my eyes with sharp objects when I thought about the sundry deadlines and signatures I had yet to get.
My "hand it in with no worries" deadline was today.
As of last night, I thought I only had one out of three required signatures on the cursed piece of paper that is the Golden Ticket to Graduation.
Then the stars and planets aligned, and God was In His Heaven, and the two professors signed, and I picked up the paper before class. And thus I was ready to hand it in to the Powers That Be.
Today, Lucy and I journeyed down to SDSU (about 40 minutes away if there's no traffic, which never happens except at 11 pm). We navigated Parking Structure Hell. We braved the Horrible Elevators of Death (Lucy suddenly developed a fear of elevators...which there are about 50,000 at State). We found the Gates of Purgatory (ie. the Graduate Division offices).
And they were really nice, and helpful, and they had little sunflower pens, and the woman that has to make sure my thesis formatting was correct said, "wow! Perfect!" and stamped it! And I was able to go to Montezuma Publishing the same day and hand them the manuscript and pay for the library copy, and they said "This is all you have to do to graduate! You're done!"
I'm done. I'm done.
I'm done!
Well, except for that pesky class I'm taking. Besides that.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

class tonight

I'm posting now because I'm going to class tonight. I have no great ideas about what to post, except that Lucy got really cute Robeez mary Janes. They are black and white and have a grey flower on the "buckle".
She's really styley, and I think she knows it.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

no. No no no. No!

It has started.

Me: Lucy, do you want this delicious lentil soup? It's so tasty.
L: No! (Shaking of head).
Me: Lucy, it's time to change your diaper.
L: No! Nonononono! Mama! No!
Me: That's not for babies.
L: No! Aaaaaaaaa!
Me: Please give back Mommy's $100 glasses.
L: Nooooooo.
Me: Mama needs to pee, and then we'll nurse.
L: Nonono. Mamamamamamama! No!

All the parenting books say if you don't say "no" a ton, your child will not say no to you. To those experts, I say, "No! Nonononono!" They are smoking crack.
It's fine, really, that she says no. It's not the end of the world. It actually cracks me up a little bit. But did it really have to start this early? I know it's only going to get worse. Much worse.
No!!!

Monday, November 5, 2007

writing wrong

So I got my packet for the Write-a-Wrong-a-Thon via email today. Opened the PDF and saw a few pictures of Christian religious leaders in various countries who have been imprisoned for their faith.
Something about pictures conveys the reality of that more than just words.
Anyway, one part of the campaign is to have people sponsor you. I write a letter, you pledge $. Then I donate it all to the organization.
I hate asking people for money, and I immediately was like, not going to do that.
Then I thought, well, I'll just post how I hate asking people for money on my blog, and if people are led, and have some extra centavos, they can contribute if they want to.
Since NaBloPoMo and this WaWaT dovetail nicely, I'll try to do updates here on my blog. I think I'm going to try to write a letter now: to Dmitry Shestakov, an imprisoned pastor in Uzbekistan.
But in less encouraging news, I opened the (real) mail today and found my letter to Myanmar returned to me for "insufficient address." I used the address from Amnesty International. My poor, forlorn letter little letter probably didn't even make it past the US.
So I guess I have to try again. If anyone knows the address for Foreign Minister Nyan Win, let me know.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

I'm not posting

This is a cheating post.
Dyami and I don't do computers on Sundays. I signed up for NaBloPoMo and considered making a tiny exception for four weeks, but you know, I really like our Sundays with no screen time. I like being countercultural and out of step and slightly awkward. So I'm going to forward date my posts and post on Saturday. So there you go.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

glasses

I recently got glasses.
I'm kind of a cyclops--I have one eye with 20/20 vision, and the other that's half-blind. My brain has worked overtime to compensate, though, and my good eye is extremely dominant, so I hardly even notice that one half of my vision is pretty cloudy. I can read, see distances, see close up just fine without correction.
When they discovered my bad eye, however, in third grade, I got a contact lens to correct it.
Except for a pair of glasses in seventh grade that I loathed, I always wore that contact.
In theory.
Contacts are kind of a pain, especially for forgetful, lazy people like myself. You kind of need to care for the lenses, since by extension, the lenses go in your eyes. I knew this, but never maintained the strict regimen of cleaning, enzyme tablets, etc, that I was supposed to. When I was post-college, and they invented the one-solution-does-it-all stuff, I thought, surely now I have no excuses.
I still hardly wore the thing. See, they're itchy! And when you only have one in, you can really tell how itchy it is! And if something gets in your eye, you might as well be blind! Sometimes my eye would just start tearing up and I'd have to take the stupid thing out. Usually this was in a place where I had dirty hands and no place to put the lens.
Legally, I am supposed to wear "corrective lenses" while driving. Realistically, I maintained an uneasy middle ground, where I'd try to remember to put it in if it was dark out. Which I often forgot to do.
So I felt really brilliant (or stupid: why did it take so long?) when I decided to give glasses a try again. Some people have reading glasses; I would have driving glasses.
I got the eye exam, paid for the lenses, hoped they weren't too geeky (I think glasses can be very cute--Think Tina Fey--but I'm not all hip to glass selection).
Then I put them on at home and felt like I'd stepped into a funhouse with weird mirrors.
It felt like I was watching my life on a movie screen--all strangely distorted and 'framed'.
And when I kept them on for more than twenty minutes, my brain hurt.
Plus, when I tried to drive, I quickly determined it was far more scary/dangerous to have them on.
I was very scared that I'd made a very expensive mistake. But since I'd plunked down the money, I kept wearing them, and they got better. First, it was just during the day--night was still scary. But then, driving home from Ojai after the fires, I wore the glasses the whole way home. I was very tired and slightly headachy afterwards, but since then, I can hardly notice my brain adjust after I put them on.
It is a very good feeling to drive legally (even if I don't notice a big difference in my driving when I put on the glasses). It is a very good feeling not to have to deal with ^%$*^% contact lenses.
Everyone is happy.
Plus, Dyami said the glasses kind of make me look like a 'sexy librarian.' Which is really the look I was going for. (Raspy voice: Hey, Sweet-Cheeks. Can I scan your (wink) library card? ) Really, I secretly long to be a librarian...or own a failing bookstore, where there aren't any customers, and I ahve a huge inventory that I read all day. This fantasy would also involve cats. And an underfed emplooyee that would scoop the kitty litter and remember to feed them.
Now that I have the glasses, I'm almost there!

Friday, November 2, 2007

doing something

So I had looked on a cool website about persecution of Christians*, persecution.com--and though it has info on what is going on around the world, it doesn't really have action points.
Then I looked on Tears of the Oppressed and found an Amnesty International type site where you can write letters to advocate for victims.
They're having a special push in November to write as many letters as possible.
So I signed up. They're going to send me an info pack.
Anyone interested in joining me? I'll try to post info here as I get it--maybe that way several of us can participate as we feel led.
As a completely unimportant side-benefit, perhaps it will give me somethign to write about for NaBloPoMo! That way the totally self-indulgent navel-gazing will have redeeming characteristics!

*I liked TotO's explanation for why they help Christians, not all people oppressed--surely there are religious and people groups as or more oppressed then Christians. But since my faith is important to me, and I have no conception of what it would be like to not be able to practice it, I feel drawn to this effort. Sort of like I have a special identification to the victims of the SD wildfires over the victims of Hurricane Katrina--even though Katrina was arguably more devastating, it's easier for me to conceptualize what is happening here. So as I hear news reports of non-Christians persecuted, I will try to take action, but I want to keep Christians on my radar.

swing dancing

I went out on the town last night, to the Firehouse, a local Lindy Hop club. I used to go swing dancing three, four, five times a week, back in the day. Back in the day where I was not married, lived in Claremont, and had no kids.
Swing-dancing was super fun, and I stayed until nearly 11 pm. That meant I was home, showered and in bed by nearly midnight.
This is very late for me these days.
But I feel fine! And I'm mostly recovered! And L slept well enough that idon't feel like poking my eyes out this morning!
My whole body has that pleasant achy feeling from exercising more than usual.
And now I have posted the second time for NaBloPoMo, since I did my first post yesterday without remembering about it.
Ha!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

being a woman

I've been feeling a bit melancholy the last few days. Sort of hard on myself in my head: like when I make a small mistake or a bad decision, I don't just laugh at my clumsiness and move on--I take it as a sign that Something Is Seriously Wrong With Me. Some of this is due to stress (will my thesis ever be officially signed off? Will I ever get the three signatures I need on the one key piece of paper? Will the gods find yet another way of thwarting my good planning--so far we've had (1) catastrophic wildfires, (2) my forgetfulness, and (3) really terrible Halloween traffic?)

But I digress. The melancholy is more than just stress, though. I really think that it's partly hormonal. I say this because before Lucy was born and I stopped, ahem, taking things to make sure she wasn't born, I went into a tailspin of self-loathing for a month. It was bad enough that I went to see a therapist I'd been to a few years earlier. She asked me a few questions, until she found out that I'd stopped taking the pill, and said, do you get like this every month? And I considered, and realized that, yes, indeed I did, but it had just been worse than usual. She told me not to worry, that there were things I could do to not feel so melancholy (like exercise and change my diet) but that it was also okay to just be blue at the end of the month, kind of cleansing, and I could feel the feelings if I wanted to.

Having had the steady hormones of pregnancy/nursing, I had forgotten about those monthly blues. Until my face started breaking out and I started cussing at myself because I accidentally changed Lucy's diaper when it didn't really need changing.
Being a woman is weird. You feel things that seem wholly related to circumstances, or Life, or Who You Are, but there are also these weird chemicals floating around in your brain that play a much bigger role in how you feel than you'd like to think. And not that the feelings aren't valid--it's not like the weird loathing is wholly chemical--it feels more like my defenses are lower right now, and the subtle insecurities I feel are just magnified. And it's not like men don't have these chemically induced moods--of course they do--it's just their chemicals are constant in a way ours aren't, and thus they're easier to forget about.
To be honest, I feel weird posting about this because my last two commenters are male, but you two can hang with this topic, right? (No comment necessary. Feel free to stay away from the blog for a few days, until the estrogen blows over).

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Exiled

So I read this really good book by Michael Frost, called Exiles: Living Missionally in a Post-Christian Culture.
It was really good. Not just in a, "Oh, that was a great book! So thought-provoking!" way, but in a "Holy crap! Now what do I do?" sort of way.
Personally, I would rather books take me out of my troubles and make me forget this world. It's so much more convenient, especially for a stick-in-the-mud like myself.
Frost's thesis is that Christendom is dead, or in its death throes (Christendom being the sort of societal, cultural Christianity where "Christian" values and institutions are the norm, and part of the state, politics, etc.) He does not think this is a bad thing. I'd tend to agree with him: speaking in broad stereotypes, where the state has sponsored Christianity, it has tended to become irrelevant and far from its founder's teachings. Where it has been oppressed and persecuted (the early church, China) it has flourished, and stayed vibrant.
Anyway, Frost argues that institutional Christianity is also dying: ie, institutional churches. Like the one I attend. This is demonstrably true: most of the major denominations are dying off in the US. Again, Frost doesn't have much of a problem with this (here we mostly part ways: me, probably more because I love my church. It is my family. However, I think his arguments are strong; I want to disagree with him, but have a hard time arguing).
He argues that churches are like little social clubs, little country clubs, set up mainly to benefit their members. Sure, churches do good, but much of their time and treasure is spent building themselves up--investing in big buildings, staff, and using the congregation's time in committees and church activities. So much so that if you're involved and committed in a church, you might never meet someone that doesn't attend your church (okay, people you work with--but if you're involved in church, you wouldn't have time to get to know them, anyway).
I wish this were not true, but it is.
If we are to be salt and light to our communities; if we're to engage with the world, and fight against injustice, poverty, environmental degradation, persecution, and the like, Frost argues, what are we doing investing most of our resources in big buildings? In sundry activities? In
ourselves?

He argues that more Christians need to break away from the structures and strictures of traditional churches and establish small, nimble communities that band together around issues of social justice and service. That we need to make "church" a verb, rather than a noun. That we should invest our time and money in the places they are most needed: in our struggling communities, in people that are poor and oppressed, and not in big churches, slick worship services, and hardwood pews. Because, really, who in our communities that did not grow up going to church would ever consider going in to those places? In fifty years, will there be more people that would consider it? Or less? Should we be content with allowing people to believe that Christ's message is irrelevant, rather than, perhaps, that only the institutions are irrelevant? Because Christ is relevant to the poor and oppressed; he always has been.
For example: I heard of a local business owner who has mostly been hostile to Christians he encounters in his business telling a pastor that he gets Christ--he just doesn't get Christians. I can't really blame him. I have a feeling he would nod at a lot of Frost's points, and say, exactly.
I wrote a letter to Myanmar this week as a result of this book, asking for the authorities to free some dissidents they've jailed. I want to start writing a letter a week to different places, for Christians and non-Christians jailed and persecuted around the world. I can't do a lot of volunteer work with a baby, but I can write letters. I'm wondering if anyone else wants to join me. Maybe we could all research this stuff, and help figure out where to write? Sadly, there's not a dearth of causes.
The problem I've been having with this book, is that being me, I have been having a hard time being in my church. I look at all the trappings of my wealthy suburban church, and wonder: is this where God would have us be right now? Is God pleased by this church ? If he were writing us a letter, like in Revelations, what would it say? Again, I don't deny our church does good in our community, that its programs meet a lot of needs and touch a lot of people. I just wonder: is it the best way to organize Christians to be salt and light? Is there a way to unleash the time and money spent on ourselves to truly help those who need helping? Should we lean less on organization and paid clergy and staff and do ministry in an active way?
I don't like feeling uncomfortable, suddenly, in my church. I don't like thinking these things. I would like to just feel happy feelings about my church family.
But good books are like that. They tend to yank the rug out from underneath you.

Monday, October 29, 2007

a little worrisome

Not to advertise my poor child's intestinal health on the internet (brace yourselves) but she is still suffering from the trots. Still odd-colored poop, more frequent and liquid then normal, and (last night) in the middle of the night.
Should I be worried? She seems happy enough. She's nursing a bit more frequently and not eating as much as she was last week. But her color and energy is fine.
I'm just wondering if it's something besides kiwi, this many days later. And then D had some gastric distress this weekend. Are we contagious or something?
Which brings up this question: am I next?
Please say no, readers. Please.

Friday, October 26, 2007

notes on kiwi

  1. Lucy loves kiwi! You give her a tiny slice, and she demands another, then another! She nods as she eats it, as if to say, finally! You get the kind of person I am!
  2. You're very excited to see her loving a new fruit. You give her several slices.
  3. At the next meal, you give her a few more slices, then think: perhaps I should stop before she gets kiwi-induced diarrhea.
  4. You stop.
  5. Lucy gets kiwi-induced diarrhea anyway.
  6. When children get kiwi-induced diarrhea, they poop a lot.
  7. Kiwi-induced diarrhea smells kind of bad, and is a nasty color.
  8. It gets all over those hand-washable woolen pants you love so much.
  9. It contains small black seeds that also get all over everything.
  10. You give the child the phone to play with while you're cleaning her, since it is a big job, and you don't want her touching the nasty poop.
  11. She rubs the phone into the poop.
  12. Then she sees the nasty poop on the phone, and touches it, and (of course!) tastes it.
  13. She does not look nearly as excited about the poop as she did about the kiwi that produced it.
  14. It has been a long morning.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I want to go home

We're comfortable here, in a familiar place, with a room to ourselves, a bed for us and a pallet for our child. Our food is great--my father-in-law is a great cook--and I'm having a chance to catch up with our family here in Ojai.
But I want to go home.
I keep thinking of the people who are cramped, in unfamiliar places, places that aren't even homes. I think of those people who don't have homes to go back to--or who don't know if they do. I think of those people who didn't have most of the day to pack.
I can't even imagine what my home city looks like. I feel so removed from what is going on--both in a good and bad way.
I wonder: how will San Diego respond to this disaster? What will the rest of the country think when they look on as we come back to a burned-out county? What will we do, as a community, to take care of each other? What will Dyami and I do?
I'm listening to KPBS right now, streaming on my computer. We listened to the broadcast all the way out of town, until we lost the signal in San Clemente. Somehow, I feel closer to these announcers--they all seem informal, as if San Diego were a family and they're giving difficult news. Will that feeling last?
It seems like New Orleans has had a lot of community bonding--but also a lot of bitterness. Is that our lot? I think the suffering in New Orleans was much worse than here--we're lucky that we're having our disaster in their aftermath--with all the lessons learned.
What will my home be like when I get there? What will we make our city into, moving forward?

Monday, October 22, 2007

fires

There were drifts of ash in our front patio; the sun was a bright red ball, the air a putrid brown. It looked like twilight at 1 pm. The air steadily worsened inside. My parents stopped by on their way out of town--their house was in a voluntary evacuation zone. We're only about ten minutes away from them.
We decided to leave.
We packed our car with (hopefully) all our important documents, clothes, a roll of toilet paper (for a while, I imagined us in a refugee camp) and our computers. We prayed in the garage before we rolled out of our street, thinking that we were still in little danger of losing our house. But that was before we heard about the neighborhoods that surround our neighborhood being evacuated.
We braved really crappy traffic out of town (funny, you don't complain about traffic jams as much when you know people are running from 200 ft. flames) were surprised by a mostly happy baby, and made it to Dyami's parents in Ojai after only six hours in the car.
We're thankful to be here, in a familiar place, with family. Very thankful that the trip wasn't awful. And that we're further from flames.
We're not out of the woods yet--there are fires east of here, too. I'm not sure there's any place safe in Southern California tonight.
I pray that if you're in SoCal tonight, you're safe, and breathing clean air. May God protect San Diego.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

what we do in the dark

You'd like to think you could be productive there, in the dark with your child, like you're productive in the car, radio off, sitting in traffic, or waiting for a friend at a restaurant. You'd like to keep thinking and be creative, imagine and dream and plan. Because it's not like you're active, exactly, as she's falling asleep. It's not like your mind is occupied with anything that could be counted or quantified. So you'd like to think that time in the dark could be filled.

You'd like to, but you can't.

It is an emptied--if not empty--time.

It is a time to be still, to let the complete dark of the room surround you, seal your eyes with velvet curtains and drapes with just the lone green light of the monitor. It is a time to use the dark as the wine you wish you could drink. It is a time to count your daughter's fluttery breaths and the light touches of her arms. Or, it is a time to endure her pinching, to work on the patience it requires to nurse a child down to sleep. It is a time to let go of your plans, because they are out in the other room, in the artificial lights we created, and they must wait until your child is asleep.

It is a time of terror, if we are honest with ourselves, and we realize just what it means to let go of our plans and dreams and distractions. It is a time of panic, sometimes, when you realize there are no guarantees with children, that they could take five minutes to nod off, or you could be there--perhaps--all night. It is a time to be afraid that the patience you practice each night will not be enough, that the hours will pass too slowly. It is a time to feel the weight, that cold lead, of the knowledge that you are the first and last defense your child has against the icy bitterness that somehow we people seem to leach into the air.

It is a time of rest. It is a time of quiet. It is a time of stillness. It is a time of warmth, and becoming accustomed to a child's soft arms wrapped around your arm. It is becoming aware and awake, even as your child falls asleep. It is perhaps the first time you will be able to fall asleep with a human in your arms.

It is an every night time, long time solitary discipline, is what it is.
It is the last thing we want to do every evening, and is sometimes it is the last thing we do.

So no, you will not be productive, there in the dark, not if productivity is your goal. You will not be able to forget what you are doing, or will your mind elsewhere, like you can at almost any other time. There is something about the dark--the dark that contains your child's dreams--that prevents your thoughts from leaving.

Why? Why?

Why does Lucy do these things?
  • When I sit her down at the toilet, facing in, for her to go to the bathroom, she pulls the toilet down on her head. Repeatedly. Bang. Bang bang. Bang bang bang. It's a little autistic.
  • When I let her use our walking toy (also known as the laundry basket) she pulls dirty underwear out of the basket and uses it as a necklace. Usually it's mine. Why couldn't she use clean underwear, at least?
Way you know she's still your child: even the crazy habits are cute.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

practicing for nablopomo

with somewhat crappy, posts just to post! Huzzah!

Monday, October 15, 2007

I remembered

Guilt #12:
My knives are dull! So dull that I can't cut tomatoes with my chef's knife! And must use a serrated knife! Of which I have many! For some reason this is a problem! Not sure why!

long lost

So a good friend of mine from college, Todd, that I mentioned in an earlier "religious crank" post, out of the blue contacted me the other day after way too long of us not hearing from one another. I just got the email today, but he sent it before I happened to mention him online. (creepy!)
Todd, I think you should come out of the woodwork and comment! And everyone should visit the site of his fame, T.W.I.N.K.I.E.S. Cause I know he hates it when I mention that. (Or secretly likes it...not sure which.) Or, visit a more glorious current site, Cockahoop. (What's up with that name, anyway?)
Welcome back, Todd.

juxtoposition

Since I'm on an 'I'm a crank, offending everyone with my religious extremism!' kick, I thought I'd share a funny juxtaposition I saw at Borders the other day in the Religion section.$
"Your Best Life Now," which I think belongs to the "Prosperity Gospel" wing of Christianity (ie, God wants you to be Happy! And Wealthy! Just send me $10.95 and I'll pray for you and you'll be as rich as I am!)
right next to:
"A Long Obedience in the Same Direction," which is about long-term discipleship. And a journey towards Jerusalem covered in the Psalms. A pilgrimage, if you will; saying our life is a long journey, and it requires much patience and perseverance, and possibly some travel mishaps.
It boggles my mind that these two books are shelved right along side one another. That "christianity" means such different things to people. Of course, I often struggle with how different my interpretation of Christ's words is from people who attend my church, much less people in different parts of the world that have completely different frames of reference than me, so perhaps it shouldn't surprise me.
Also, lest I get too persnickety, I should mention that I own "A Long Obedience" and have not read it through. It's a classic...like all those other classics I haven't read. So perhaps I shouldn't be so snide.
There you go. Does that seem odd to anyone else? Or have I just had too much wine?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

weird things I feel guilty about

These are in no particular order:
  1. I have lots of spots on my napkins. We use cloth--go me!--and when I first got them I wasn't as spot-savvy as I am now. So they have a lot (a lot!) of spots on them. They look like the What Not To Do example from a detergent ad. And now that they already have spots on them, I don't bother dealing with new spots. What's the point?
  2. Speaking of laundry, I'm very lazy about sorting. It's kind of a Rule of Laundry that you don't put red things in with other non-red things. Me? I stick reds and pinks with darks or lights. (No, not the cherry-red in with lights...more like light pink with light, dark red with black). What's wrong with me? Of cours,e I do this because I haven't noticed a down side. My blacks haven't turned pink, and my reds haven't turned black, so who cares?
  3. I don't shave very often. I.e. hardly ever. (For too much clarification: underarms, yes. Legs? no.) Look, I'm blonde, people, and so you can hardly even see the hair! I wouldn't feel guilty about this, except D really prefers if I shave.
  4. I hardly ever wash my car. I used to somewhat occasionally, but now that I have a young lass to take care of, I don't bother. Once, in college, I went a whole semester without getting it washed (parking it outside) and my dad had to get the top of it repainted.
  5. Other car guilt: don't wash the windowsheld much, don't check oil or tires. Ack!
  6. Eleanor guilt. Oh, how we neglect our cat.
  7. Not doing the exercises the various chiropractors we've been to have given me.
  8. That picture frame in the bathroom I've been meaning to put more current pictures in? Haven't done it.
  9. I don't really listen to much music. In the car, I prefer NPR. At home, I prefer silence, except sometimes at night, some quiet music. I like music, in theory. Just not...to listen to. Isn't music like something you're supposed to like?
  10. Shouldn't I care more about my personal appearance? I mean, I try to look put together, but I really don't care about shoes, or handbags. I like sweaters and hats. But other than that? It's handy not to care about clothes too much when you're a cheapskate, but sometimes I feel like I should be more, well, chic. So I do my hair funny and call it a day.
  11. I'm somewhat bad at choosing movies. This is especially bad because I'm in charge of setting up our Netflix queue. Well, actually, not in charge, per se, but the one who thinks to go and add movies. But I feel bad when Dyami asks what we have to watch for the weekend, and it's an old episode of Fame and a documentary about credit card debt.
  12. And the biggest one of all: well, I forgot. I started this post with a really good, really weird guilt, and it inspired this post, and I was all excited to really put something odd down, that shouldn't make me feel guilty at all, and instead, I forgot what it was. I guess it isn't weighing me down with anxiety, after all.

Friday, October 12, 2007

qualifications

So I've been thinking about my last post, and wanted to add some qualifications or feelings on the other side of my argument. Cause that's just how I play: I always get myself tangled up by seeing both sides of an argument waaay waaay too clearly.
I think I see the other side of this issue when I disagree about matters of faith with people who believe more things than I do. It's hard to argue with someone who believes more things. It's hard to say: believe less! Be less restrictive in how you interpret Scripture! It's easy to feel that you're lacking--or that other people think you're lacking--when you believe in less things. But the two things aren't necessarily the same.
I'll give you a concrete example. In college, I had a conversation with a friend who was of the Missouri Synod branch of the Lutheran church. I don't know a ton about that faith, but they are of the "more restrictive" camp in the Lutheran church. Their beliefs about communion are more like the Catholic line, that the bread and wine literally become Christ's body and blood during communion.
My friend, Todd, got rather heated with me (in a friendly way) when we discussed Communion. It's just not a literal thing in my faith, and hearing how convinced he was of it, I felt like there was something lacking on my end. Was I a heretic for not believing in transubstantiation? After all, clearly he believed more literally than I did, which would be a good thing. Right?
I'm a person who, despite her predilection for both sides of an argument, likes to believe clearly in things. If I'm going to go for the environmental movement, then I'm going to go whole hog. If I'm going to believe in Christ, I'm not going to pussyfoot around it. So it's always galling to be judged.
And believing that you have the Right Way in faith leads, well, to judgement. Which I know doesn't sit well with anyone.
I wish faith were easier to talk about openly. Without judgement. It's kind of like talking about politics, or parenting styles: unless I agree absolutely, I often end up feeling like a chump, or a judgmental hack. But if you absolutely agree, it's just not that interesting to discuss.

serious religion

I found that op-ed piece really interesting, because as a member of a faith (somewhat conservative Christianity) that gets lambasted in our culture a lot, especially by the crazy liberals I count myself as part of, sometimes I get tired of a certain hypocrisy in the left-wing treatment of religion.
Now I will say, I'm fully aware that other faiths that are not mainstream in the US probably have it a lot harder. Christianity, at least the cultural kind, is firmly entrenched in our culture. It's easy to be a Christian here, in many ways. So perhaps I'm just being whiny. However, I think that as The Religion of the US, we get our fair share of bad representations. When you see a Christian on most TV shows (Touched by an Angel excepted), they're usually huffy, prudish, and judgmental. Angela on The Office is one example.
What I thought was interesting in the article was the idea that a lot of our Western contempt for fundamentalists was based in the disbelief that they could take their faith seriously. Whereas we counted ourselves superior because were were above such ridiculousness. *
I'll give you a for instance. I was sitting with some writer friends at a holiday party a few years ago. We were quite a mix: a Wiccan, a semi-orthodox Jew, me, and a Unitarian. The Humanist asked the Jew (this is sounding like a bad joke) about his faith, and then started saying how, really, all four of us really believed the same things, that the faiths were basically alike. From her assertion, it was clear she wanted us all to chime in with Yesses.
The Wiccan agreed. The Jewish guy kind of smiled, and changed the subject.
Now, I can't really speak to what my Jewish writer friend thought of her assertion. He may have agreed. The conversation was uncomfortable enough that I didn't have the guts to ask him about it afterwards. I just wondered at the look of discomfort on his face and his lack of assent. If it had been me, I would have been a slightly peeved. I was slightly peeved. Because I didn't really agree with her, and sometimes I get tired at the liberal line that really, there is no difference in faiths, that they're all interchangeable, and that truly enlightened people would agree with that statement.
I think you can have respect for other religions (for example, I respect that the Wiccan belongs to a tradition that takes women seriously, or that the Unitarian admires other faiths and seeks to understand them, while finding the beauty in all of them), but still realize that there are fundamental differences between them, and that agreement in ethics is not all--and that you have to acknowledge that, say, a Jew, Muslim, and Christian have serious differences in theology--not to mention a Hindu or Buddhist or Wiccan or Mormon or Scientologist. They have some overlapping ideas--Golden Rules and all that, but the faiths have different feels, different world views.
Perhaps it's akin to me saying "Oh, I'm color-blind" when it comes to different ethnicities--which, really, is a little presumptuous. People's ethnicities often have a big effect on who they are--so for me to say ethnicity doesn't matter is to deny the possibility that it does.
Current liberal culture values tolerance--"there is no difference, everyone is right" tolerance--over all. The only thing we won't tolerate is, well, intolerance. So a faith like evangelical Christianity (or some strains of Islam), which dares to say this is The Way, is foolish, or heretical. In other words, if we take Christ's words seriously--or at face value, we're unenlightened.
I respect your right to disagree with me. Heartily. The post may make some people mad, or offend them. It's really not my goal: more, I just hate pussyfooting around this issue with friends that are not of my faith...worrying that they'll be offended by, what is to me, a central tenet of my belief system. And maybe they wouldn't be--maybe it's more of my hangup. I don't know. But the op-ed piece made me feel like someone had spoken about the elephant in the room, and helped me to acknowledge to myself that yes, sometimes I am really out of step with our culture, and it's not necessarily because I'm wrong.
Personally I find the claims of Christ to be The Way troubling myself. Sometimes--most of the time--I don't like the proselytizing that such claims would make necessary. Really, it's more of my style to be of the "they're all beautiful and essentially the same" camp. And then there are all of the real problems of violence and hatred that fundamentalism of any kind can breed. And yet--I still choose to be a Christian, and thus must reconcile my wants with the demands of my faith, as I understand them.
I guess what I'm asking is this: is it possible for 'intolerance' to be part of the fabric of a faith? So that to ignore it, or belittle it, is to belittle the faith, as well? Is it possible to be tolerant--to a point--of other faiths, while saying, I disagree with them, fundamentally?
I guess what I finally liked about the op-ed piece (is any of this actually addressing the piece) is the smugness, the hypocrisy, and the self-satisfaction of our culture. We're free to criticize the Taliban for destroying beautiful sculptures of Buddha, but are complacent when our modernist, relativistic world-view changes or eclipses more traditional world-views. We criticize the (peaceful) "intolerance" of some faiths, while ignoring the intolerance of our viewpoint. And we refuse to take seriously those who would actually believe in their beliefs.
I would like to know how to balance those two sides of the coin--real knowledge, tolerance, and appreciation for other faiths, while still finding that I disagree--and being able to say that, publicly. I would like to be enough out of our monolithic Enlightenment culture to be able to sense my own hypocrisy on this issue. And I'd like to be able to have a real dialogue with people of all faiths about how we learn about each other--while still agreeing to disagree.

*I don't exactly want to be counted with the Taliban in my pursuit of serious faith. There's serious where you keep an eye on love, and there's serious where love is abandoned in the pursuit of seriousness. One has to remain firmly in the first camp.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

yikes

Saw this very good, scathing op-ed piece in the NY Times. I'm curious to know what people think. Might try posting about it when I'm not typing 1-handed.

nanu nanu

signed up for NaBloPoMo or whatever it's called. Possibly regretful. Still going to do it. Going to post short stuff. Every day in Nov. (no pronouns and abbrev.'s help, no?) Not going to post on the Sabbath. Okay, maybe just a little. Trying to be inspired, or inspiring. Or something. Waiting for the accolades, the millions of new readers.
Still waiting.
Will post cool graphics and links soon. Figuring things out.
Join me.

conscious consumer meme

Aaaah! A meme! That requires thoughtful posting.
Thanks a lot, Megan.
Fine print:

Here’s how it works: post the directions on your blog, tell everyone who tagged you, answer the questions, and tag five or more people. That’s it! And if you want to grab the graphic to put on your blog as well, feel free.

The purpose of this meme is to inspire some reflection about how we shop and what we purchase. The idea isn’t that consumption itself is somehow bad, but that we all could probably stand to put a little bit more thought into what we buy. And, of course, it’s supposed to be fun.

So here goes! Pick a recent shopping trip — for clothes, shoes, groceries, doesn’t matter. The only guideline is that it will be easier to play if you purchased at least a few things.

Now tell us, about your purchases:

1. What are you proud of?
2. What are you embarrassed by?
3. What do think you couldn’t live without?
4. What did you most enjoy purchasing?
5. What were you most tempted by? (This last one may or may not be an actual purchase!)

here goes. Like Megan, I haven't done much shopping lately. Have been trying to quit.
  1. Organic chicken. Man, the stuff is expensive, but after reading The Omnivore's Dilemma, I just can't do the conventional stuff unless I have to. So to make up for it, I bought more beans rather than the other meat I was planning on. Aren't I green?
  2. Hmmm, embarrassment. Way too much oatmeal? My shopping trip two weeks ago was more exciting/embarrassing. I restocked on tequila and rum, and bought those strawberry fruit bars and some frozen strawberries to use as margarita mix. I shop at Henry's, and they don't have regular mixers. I think on that trip I bought some Beano, too. See, remember how I said I stocked up on beans instead of beef? Wellllll...
  3. I got some gluten-free flour that I've been using recently to make zucchini bread. When you've been wheat-free for a while, bread products are extremely exciting.
  4. I like getting things from bulk bins. Red lentils are pretty. Oh, and on a previous trip, I got Lucy some baby shampoo, and it was fun getting the nice expensive, all-natural stuff. She deserves it.
  5. I'm tempted by the Thai simmer sauces. The problem is, D doesn't like the Thai curries, and many of them contain either milk, soy or wheat. So I always put them down.
Okay, Diana! And...um, Susan! and, um. Alegra! And Melissa! (No pesky baby excuses either, Melissa! I expect a post!) And--that's all the bloggers I know personally.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

brain is dead

I would like to post, but my brain is dead.
But if I were to post, here's what I would say:
Dyami's doing an exciting project involving a stop-frame animation software program he wrote for his brother. He's going to try to polish it and sell it to animators (anyone who has used it on Jamie's projects has been dying to buy it). I am on board with this project. I want him to finish it! And make billions of dollars for us! I even want to write the manual for it!
But when Dyami gets home from his day job, I hate that he has to go work on it.
I want to complain about it, but I agreed that I would look after Lucy when he got home, even though (sigh) I have to make dinner and everything! And keep her happy, even though I keep her happy all day. And when he gets home, that's just the not-so-pleasant part of the day, where both she and I are tired and cranky.
What is it about those hours from 4:30 to bedtime (hers) that just suck the mop? Why do I want to poke my eye out every time D gets home, plays with Lucy for a few minutes, and then--ahhhh!--shuts himself in with a computer in the other room?
He's been working on this thing for a few days, and has made great progress. I keep asking for progress reports. Cheerily, so it won't seem like I'm breathing down his neck.
How's it going, dear? Made good progress? How much progress? How many more hours do I have to do solo baby care? Hmmmmm????
Waaaaaah!
So, that's my brain-dead post. It wasn't so bad. Was it?

useful

So I think it's official. Lucy is nodding.
Well, she's actually been nodding for a while, but she seems to be nodding yes. Which is not just cute, but useful.
I think this is about the most useful skill in the whole wide world.
Momma Q: Do you want more?
Lucy: Nods, smiles.

Lucy: Unrecognizable hand gesture.
Momma Q: Does that mean "Nurse?"
Lucy: Nods, smiles.

Momma Q: Are you just the cutest, smartest baby ever?
Everyone: Nods, smiles.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

meditation on walking

So Lucy is sort of walking. Just little steps, the kind of practicing that will blossom into full-blown walking in a matter of days? Weeks? We'll see, but there's definitely a new movement happening. It's quite exciting. Things I'm noticing:
  • She's been practicing like a madwoman. The last week or so, she pushes chairs, tupperware, laundry baskets, or any kind of box all around the house (except for the carpet, where things don't slide as well.
  • She likes to be near us when she takes a step. Right now she'll stand up in the crook of my legs while I'm sitting on the floor. Then she stands and gets her balance, and I move away quickly so she'll walk to me. But she won't just stand while hanging on to something and walk away from it.
  • She still doesn't trust herself. After a step or two, she immediately kneels. But just tonight, she started to kneel, righted herself, and walked another step or two. It's got to be scary moving through the air like that.
  • She is extremely, extremely pleased with herself.

career

So I went to a gathering for my thesis advisor's students yesterday. She's a lovely woman, a former modern dancer, with thick hair, large eyes, and an apartment right on the ocean in Solana Beach. It was a nice place for a grown-up party--a little alcohol, a cheese spread, and people that have read more poetry than you can shake a stick at.
I came with a diaper bag and Lucy in a sling.
It was a weird feeling to be there with my fellow students, try to talk about what we're all up to, and keep Lucy from eating the dirt in the planter.
It actually went better than I thought when I arrived. I mean, any time I come to a non-baby-friendly space, my stress level goes up. You just can't tell how non-baby-friendly someplace is until you set the baby down and see what happens. Luckily, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.
The most awkward time for me was the circle, where each writer talked about what we were going to do after the MFA program--and listened to the two graduates who were nice enough to be there.
I was fourth. So for four people, I had to think about the non-career direction my life is going, how I'm really okay with that, thank you very much, it's what I want.
Except it still makes you feel weird or dumb or just out of touch when you have to talk about finding the little bit of time to write between feedings and diaper changes.
I think I want to move to Botswana (site of the Ladies #1 Detective Agency novels). there, people know how to be better, rather than trying to achieve all the time. That would make things easier, right?
I left the gathering early, saying that Lucy was getting ancy, but it was more me: the effort it involves keeping her quiet and occupied in an adult gathering is considerable, and also, I just was tired. Tired of the effort, of the internal monologue in my head, and of the day.
I went home, back to the safe place we've created, and felt much better. I think.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

performing

Why is it that children won't perform on command?
Lucy has cool new skills: waving, doing high-five, taking first steps, dancing.
But she won't reliably perform them for naysayers.
People, please tell me: what is the point of having a child if they won't perform on cue? why have I been getting up in the middle of the night?

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

ages

I was thinking of Hack Mommy and her new baby, and thought about the ages of her current kids--seven, four, nearly two. And I thought, adding the ages together, but how could she have had all those kids--there wasn't time. Then I realized that you don't add children's ages together to figure out how long it's been since you first became a mom. It just feels like you do.

Monday, October 1, 2007

dancing

Whenever Lucy hears music, she stands up, waggles her hips back and forth, and then bobs up and down.
It's very cute.
Today, we just said "dancing" and she started.
My brain sort of fast-forwards through, and thinks--she loves music! She'll be a dancer! She will have preternatural affinity for rhythm! People of color will say, dang! that white girl can groove!
But Lucy's just dancing. She's just dancing how she dances, because it gives her joy.
well, that, and because we laugh at her crazy antics.

Friday, September 28, 2007

it happened

I started this blog with such good intentions. Intentions of posting. Of running sidebars that I updated. Of reading other blogs and commenting on them. Of taking pictures, witty pictures, that meshed in with the witty things I was posting about.
Here I am, late September, and I've barely posted at all.
Yes, I know, school started (finishing my Masters) and I have some really great and really crappy manuscripts to read at night. Plus we're hosting bible study at our house, and --oh, did I mention that we got addicted to television (well, Netflix) again?
So posting has been a little sparse, recently.
Sorry. I know you all have been missing me.
Right?
Anyway, things will probably stay sparse for a while. I am still in school, and D signed us up for Basic Cable. Not the 100-channel "basic"--the 12-channel basic--but still.
Oh, blog, how I've neglected you.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

night weaned

Congratulations, Lucy! You have successfully night-weaned us!
For a few weeks, your parents got full nights of rest! from dusk to dawn! There was no nursing involved! Yes, that's right! full nights of sleep.
You quickly realized that you did not like this situation. You took advantage of the upheaval created by (select one) a) travel to Ojai b) teething c) developmental milestones d) something else? You started insisting on nursing again. To go to sleep. And during the night.
You have successfully weaned us off those full nights of rest. We're not sure how long this night weaning will last. We hope it's short.
Is there something we can do to make it shorter?

Monday, September 17, 2007

control

What I want? I want a control baby. Like in scientific experiments, where they have a control? I want that. A baby that shares my baby's genetic makeup, general environment, temperament, etc, but that I can try a different tactic with, to see if the tactic I'm doing with the regular baby worked or was just the luck of the draw.
This is sounding like I want a twin. I do not. Twins are more work.
Let me clarify.
I want another baby that someone else is responsible for, but that I somehow can experiment on, and that will act like my baby. That Iwon't have to get up with in the middle of the night but that will act in exactly the same way as Lucy.

So. That's what I want.
I really don't think it's a lot to ask, do you?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

plagued

I've decided to come out of the closet.
No, not that closet!
This closet is the secret closet of infestation. I haven't fessed up about this because I'm afraid no one will want to come over here again, but I'm just going to suck it up. Because I have to talk about these problems!
We've been having a problem with infestations around here. I will list them in order of grossness. (least gross first)
1. Ants. Have mostly gone away. Were in the trash, dishwasher, and various cabinets. Now mostly just attacking the cat food. Outside.
2. Flies. Still there. Mostly outside. They also attack the cat food. For a while, we had put the kitchen trash (uncovered) outside (to avoid ant infestation). This was a Bad Idea. Flies seized on kitchen trash. And begat and begat and begat, producing, well, "baby flies". You do the math.
3. Rats. (shiver) Ever a problem here. Usually just in the attic. But we had one (please, God, only one!) in the garage. It was also attacking the cat food. But this time, the bin we keep the cat food in. This is how we knew it was there, because there were large chunks gnawed out of the container. It doesn't look like it actually gained access to the food, however. Perhaps the plastic satisfied its hunger. Dyami attacked the garage and we did a thorough cleaning. We think the rat is gone. At the very least, there aren't as many hiding places for it anymore.
4. Mice. (sigh.) Inside the house. (Ewwwwwwwww!) I kind of had a conniption when I found little, well, "mouse pellets" on the kitchen counter. Luckily, I had just learned about organic disinfecting! I attacked the "pellets" with vinegar and H2O2! Dyami set traps! We caught the mouse! End of story!
The major part of the infestations ended a few weeks ago.
Except.
Except I just found some more "pellets" in a drawer. There is a slight chance they were there before, and I just didn't see them but I think they are new. Because there were also some gnawed bits of a silicon muffin cup. Which I would have seen, since they were bright red.
So I spent a good half-hour this morning cleaning all of my kitchen tools (spatulas, measuring cups, etc) and disinfecting the drawers. Yummo!
What's next, locusts?
So now that I've come clean, I understand if no one wants to come over to my house, ever again. Really, we're doing everything we can to eliminate these pestilences. If anyone has any suggestions, feel free.

oh my god

Dateline, last night.
Lucy: nursed at 6:30. asleep by 7:30.
Mom: Asleep by 10:30. Woke up at 3:30 to pee. Fell back asleep.
Dateline: This morning.
Lucy/Mom: nursed at 5:50 am.
Lucy: Back asleep.
Lucy: Still sleeping.
Mom: using the computer, drinking tea. Eating breakfast. Lounging.

Lucy: Still sleeping.

Monday, September 10, 2007

a break

So I started school.
First day went smashingly. No problem putting L to sleep. I stayed the whole calss. She woke up after I got home.
But I have to finish my thesis pronto (revising one story) which isn't a huge deal, but is going to consume all my free time for the next week or so.
So, I'm not going to be posting for a while. Sigh.
Everyone, enjoy the Spice Choir Free Time.

negative

So L had her allergist appointment. They tested wheat, dairy, soy, egg, various nuts. Some other things I can't remember.
All negative.
Part of me is relieved. The doctor still recommended being careful about nuts--I shouldn't indulge, and she shouldn't have any for a year. This is pretty good news. It will be nice not to be horrified if I see nuts around--sure, I'll still be careful, but she's not showing any danger of anaphalactic shock yet, so I won't be so anal about it.
Part of me, though, is a bit disappointed. I still think L has food sensitivities. I still think she'll likely outgrow them. But the allergy thing--it would have been an answer. It would have definitively justified all the food I've given up. It would have cleared murky waters and assured me I wasn't just making things up.
Instead, I just have vague suspicions, nervousness about missing sleep, and decisions to make.
Like, should I start eating bread? Or dairy? Now I know it's unlikely to cause serious allergies in her, which is great. But the question is: do I want to risk more bad sleep? Or is that just a really sadistic coincidence?
It seems weird to complain about this. But I'm glad the tests are over, glad at least not to be so worried about L swelling up like a baloon and wheezing, and glad that I have a healthy baby girl.

Monday, September 3, 2007

dickens

So I'm reading David Copperfield. I haven't been a Long Victorian Novel fan in the past, but after reading The Woman in White and thoroughly enjoying myself, I decided to just jump in. One has to get used to the diction, but after that, it's not too difficult of a read. And it's nice that he alternates between serious chapters (infidelity! heartbreak! death! intrigue!) and comic chapters (foibles! social satire! romatic comedy!)
The thing is, this puppy is long. I'm a fast reader (I got through the last Harry Potter in two days) and I started reading this one---well, long enough ago that I can't remember. Has it been a week yet? I skim some of the more flowery passages and it still is taking me forever.
The good thing is that I always have trouble finding things to read. And since I'm enjoying this one, I might re-read A Tale of Two Cities, which was a favorite in high school, and then go on to other Dickens novels. With the rate I'm going, I'll be in novels through next year.
What warms my heart is that Dyami is reading a novel right now, too: Wicked. I think he likes it because he takes it, well, let's say everyplace with him. There's nothing more romantic than ignoring each other while you read novels. Ahhhh, wedded bliss.
Actually, I'm not really kidding about the romance. Reading is sexy.
So....enough about me. What are you all reading?

Sunday, September 2, 2007

am I weird?

So Lucy has started being kind of a Daddy's girl.
Today we were headed into Borders. Dyami and I negotiated about who was going to hold her. I got dibs. I put on the sling and started putting her into it when she started crying, reaching out to Dyami.
"Never mind then,"
I said and handed her off.
Am I weird that it didn't make me feel bad?
Don't get me wrong--I love my daughter, love holding her, but there have been so many times I have felt like having a break from being needed this year--and didn't get one because she wasn't ready for not needing me.
It feels great that she prefers Dyami some times. That I'm not the only one that can hold her! Comfort her! Feed her! Put her to sleep!
My fantasy of Dyami being able to do half the parenting work is coming closer to reality, and it feels pretty darn good.
Maybe I'll feel bad if there's something she does for him that she hasn't done for me yet (like when she started giving me snuggles before him, or saying Momma before Dadda). I'm still first, just not always preferred, so I'm comfortable with losing ground?
Or maybe it just feels good to share this parenting thing more equally.
SO tell me: do you think I'm weird?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

school

So I went to school yesterday.
(pause for applause)
For those of you who don't know, I'm almost finished with my MFA in creative writing (fiction) from SDSU. Yesterday I went down there to get a few signatures, hand in a few forms, and generally take care of business.
That last sentance makes it sound like a quick easy jaunt, but I was really dreading the trip, because:
a) it's forty minutes away
b) its hot and sticky near El Cajon
c) it's a big campus
d) I had to take Lucy
e) It was the first day of classes, so there were tons of people and limited parking
f) I don't have a parking pass
g) everytime I figure out the form I need to complete, sign and hand in, I discover three more forms I didn't know about that need obscure signatures and/or fees. They all go to different offices! Which are located across the really large campus!

The day didn't start out terribly well, since I ignored the "Oil Warning" light that went on in the car. Upon arriving at SDSU, I checked the manual, only to discover that the light I ignored means "Stop the car immediately! Add oil, you lazy nincompoop! Do not pass Go! Do not collect $200!"
Then I realized that the carefully written and double-checked itenerary I'd written up for myself (with room numbers, names, and everything I had to get done that day if I didn't want to make another trip) was--surprise!--still at home.
But the good news is: that was as bad as it got.
I found the lovely professor who agreed (sight unseen) to be on my thesis committee. She's a mom, too! She cooed at Lucy!
I joined the welcome lunch for new MFA students and got to meet a few. I saw my two favorite professors. They cooed at Lucy! I saw old friends. They, too, cooed at Lucy!
Then I took a break from the good vibes and walked all the way across the heat-baked campus, Lucy strapped to my hip, lugging a diaper bag, to the 7-Eleven. Where I bought a quart of motor oil. Then I schlepped back.
Then I met with my advisor. And got necessary signatures.
And handed in my forms to the department. They processed them while I waited so I could register for one thesis class right away! (Remember, this is a state-run beuraucracy, people! I didn't think they did Jiffy-anything. But the lovely woman there remembered my nervous phone call complaining about my childcare situation and long commute, and busied herself for me.)
Then I went to the Graduate and Research Affairs office to hand in my other thesis form (with my committee member signatures). I was most nervous about this one, since the website says to get the thesis form done "well before registration".
Registration was a month ago. Yesterday was the first day I could meet with my committee chair. Take that, Graduate and Research Affairs!
There was no line. The woman checked over my form and said they'd email me when it was processed. And that I could get the info I needed to register over the phone.
You mean, I didn't have to go to campus again? You mean it would actually be convenient?
All through this, Lucy was extremely winning and cute and completely good-natured about being dragged around the campus. She sat in her stroller part of the time, and in the sling the rest. She smiled at strangers. She flapped her arms.
Finally, I went back to the parking structure, where I hadn't gotten a ticket! And put the quart of motor oil into the car, and the warning light went away!
On the way home, I got a Coke Slurpee to celebrate our triumph.

This morning, I opened my email and found: an email from Graduate and Research Affairs. Saying my form had been processed and that I could register.
Gosh, I think I'll stop accusing SDSU of being un-Jiffy.

I wonder if they do oil changes?