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


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.