Saturday, December 27, 2008

Mama: love her or hate her

Driving home, Lucy was a bit worried about me.
"Mama? Sad?"
Since I was fine, I told Lucy no.
"Mama. Boo-boo. Head. Sleeping."
"You think I have a boo-boo on my head?" I was wondering where this was coming from, when Dyami reminded me that Lucy took care of me the other night. So I went with it. "Are you going to take Mama to nap, Lucy?
"Uh-huh. Mama. Nap. Lucy carry you me. Feel better."
"You're going to carry Mama to bed. And then I'll feel better?"
Here Dyami chimed in. "Do you love your mama, Lucy?"
The answer was quick and decisive. "No."
I probed a bit more: Did she like cuddling/snuggling/kissing Mama? Resounding no's. Did she love Dada? Yes, definitely. Really? She didn't love Mama? No, thank you very much.

Ah, well. At least she's willing to work for me, even if I don't get verbal props.

Monday, December 22, 2008

dyslexia solution

Dyami reminded me today that he has a weird word colorblindness. He always says "orange" when he means "green" and vice versa. He doesn't actually confuse the colors, just the words.

That reminded me of my own dyslexia: I constantly confuse the names "michelle" and "melissa". This was most embarrassing in eighth grade, when I accidentally wrote an entire yearbook entry to "Melissa" in my friend Michele's book. Talking about how glad I was we had become such close friends. Ahem.

Now I have two good friends (one apiece) named Michelle and Melissa. They live close together, know each other, and we hang out together with about equal frequency. It's a matched pair of confusion. I live in constant anxiety of calling one by the others' name. Actually, it has happened before (sorry, Michelle and Melissa. This is all old news for both of you).

Dyami suggested that I just combine the names to avoid problems.

That's why, from now on, I have two friends. Named "Militia."

That should work for everyone.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

like stars

Does anyone know what the word is for stars appearing? Like sunrise or moonset, but for stars?
I ask because Lucy is getting moles.
Hold on, these two issues are related.

No, really.

See, I have a lot of moles, courtesy of my dad. I'm rather fond of them. I always wondered when they appeared, because in early baby pictures I don't have them.
Well, I'm finding out, because every once in a while, Lucy gets one.
It's like stars appearing at night, one at a time (insert pertinent term for stars appearing).
Right now she has three.

One day they're not there, and the next day, they are.
Sort of like kids, and other precious things, no?

Friday, December 19, 2008

praying lessons

Jesus said to become like little children, and I think I'm getting his drift.
Lucy's been praying before dinner.
She grabs my hands, bows her head, and says, in a tiny, nearly inaudible voice, "Food. Dada. Poppa. Nana. (Other inaudible stuff)."
Then, louder: "Amen."

Don't know where she got the sotto voce--we always pray out loud, and she's not a child that often whispers. As for her prayer's content, I think she's thanking God for food, praying for Dada to come back, and lifting up Nana and Poppa, like we've been doing so often lately.
What strikes me is the quiet. She's hesitant, even though she happily volunteers to pray. Which is kind of appropriate, given that we're talking to God.

Something about her prayer is just so earnest, so yearning, and so right. I wish I could have her pray for me all the time.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

one way to get affection:

If your toddler refuses to give hugs and kisses for weeks on end, tell her she's a kiss monster.
It works.

Monday, December 15, 2008


Had a headache after dinner. Glumly informed Dyami (and Lucy).
I went into the living room to lay down. "I think I just need a nap," I said. "And a massage."
Lucy came next to me. "Momma? 'Sage?"
"Sure, Lucy, you can give me a massage."
Lucy pressed on my belly, her movements becoming more and more Heimlich-like.
"That's great, honey. Now' I'll just take a nap."
Lucy paused. "Momma? Nap?" She pulled at my arm. "Bed. Dada's room."
She pulled me up (with help from, well, me) and towards our bedroom/Dyami's office.
Pointed me towards the floor. "Lay down."
Pointed at the light. "Light, off."
Pointed at me. "Momma, sleep. Feel better."
Walked out and shut the door behind her.

Wow. Really?

Of course, she did pound on the door not three minutes later, but Still.
Now I just have to work on the massage.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

what to call me

Just wrote Lucy a note for our little advent calendar (this instead of candy, presents or activities, thanks to Amy for the idea!!) and had to figure out how to write Mama. Momma. Mama. Momma.
Is this why people default to Mom? Just because it's simpler?
Lucy is now in bed, and I just realized that we forgot to do the Advent note thingie. But our intentions were good. We have notes written!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

holiday clothing

We went to a holiday event last night, and I realized how much one aspect of winter really gets my goat.
Holiday women's attire.
1. It's cold out so you want to dress warmly. Womens' fashions generally are skimpy.
2. If you try to layer so as to be warm and fashionable, the effect instead is lumpy. With weird cords and ties hanging down from underneath the cute sweater that only looks cute if you don't wear anything under it.
3. Let's not even talk about the high heels.

I like dressing up, but I prefer it to be summer out when I do. After last night, I see why those Christmas sweaters are so popular--it's kind of like sidestepping the whole fashion quandry. You will be warm, and though you won't look fashionable, you also won't look like you failed to be fashionable--you will just look like you opted out.
Perhaps I should ask for some candy cane/reindeer sweaters for Christmas.
Just as long as they aren't lumpy.


L: Suspicious me.
Dyami: What? You're suspicious?
H: What did you say?
L: Suspicious. Me.
H: Ah. Christmas tree.
D: Perfectly clear.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

working working working

Why I'm not posting more: because I'm finishing the Christmas presents. Well. "Finishing" implies I'm close. Not sure if that's true. But I'm closer.
Sewing like the wind!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

tired tired tired

Around here, I generally get good sleep, but man, the trip to Ojai this weekend has really tapped us all out. Long drive, child waking two nights out of three, early mornings, and no naps for me. I had other various cute ideas for blog posts to finish NaBloPoMo, but instead I'm just going to whine.
Oh, and that NaBloPoMo thing? I did good all month (I think I missed once) and then pbthhhh. Missed like the last five days.
Oh, well. It was fun while it lasted.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


It's raining here. It's not a downpour or anything--just a steady drizzle.
This was the TOP ITEM on local news last night.
When there are terrorist attacks in India.

Really? A rain shower that's lasting more than a half-hour trumps the 100 people being held hostage in various hotels?

Plus the spin on the rain was "Wow, how will affect your T-day plans? Are people complaining?"
When we're in a multi-year drought and we're about to start mandatory water cutbacks that will affect one of our major industries in the state (agriculture)?
Really? Really Fox News? Really?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

thank you

Lucy has started saying, "Thanks."
It's not that she just started being polite--no, it's that she's shortened the construction. She used to say such a cute little, "Tank youuu Mohmma" and now it's all casual and clipped. What's next, "'sup?"

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Our cat, Eleanor (Na-Nor) is a source of much joy/sorrow, fear/loathing/happiness and other confusing back-and-forths for Lucy. She loves her! She's frightened of her! She wants her in! She wants her out! She wants kisses! She wants her to get the heck away from her, Right Now!
Typical exchange:
"Na-nor! In"
I open the door. Eleanor obediently comes in.
"Na-nor. Kisses."
Obedient (well, actually, indifferent) kisses/sniffs of the hand.
"Na-nor. Scratch. You. Me."
Runs and grabs hold of Momma's leg. Regards cat warily.
"Help. Na-Nor. Food."
Runs forward, digs kibble out of dish, places it next to Eleanor's mouth. Runs back to momma.
"Scairt. Na-Nor. Scairt. Scratch. You. Me. Momma. Up!"
Momma lifts up Lucy.
"Na-Nor. Out. Scairt."

Not that I can blame the kid, really. Eleanor is mercurial herself. But I keep trying to explain to Lucy that the cat can not scratch her if she's sitting across the room on top of a chair. It's just not gonna happen.
The other day, I caught Lucy shaking a set of measuring spoons at the cat, trying to shoo her away. What's next, mediation?

Monday, November 24, 2008


In the midst of all these holiday sales, let me share a bit of cross-cultural translation. In Japan, you see all kinds of stores that say "Book Off" or "Clothes Off". That's because they saw our signs that said "20% Off!" and took "Off" to mean "sale".
Happy saving.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

the joke

Today we were at the park with our friends Abi and Ginger. Ginger made a joke.
"Do you like my hat?" (Pause) "Goodbye!"
No, she wasn't wearing a hat.
Move over, Seinfeld.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

here baby

Today I turned into a horse. A lion came up and climbed up onto my back and rode while I crawled around, er, cantered. Then she got down and took my hoof and said, "Here, baby" and led me around the living room, er, corral.
Then the lion had to take a bath and go to bed. Funny, it's not as hard giving a lion a bath as you would think.

Friday, November 21, 2008

the take-home elephant

We went to the zoo today. Saw zebras, elephants, giraffes, monkeys, and flamingos. Lucy liked it. But she was a little scared of some of the animals. So she wants smaller ones to take home with her. They'll hang around with our cat and probably sit in her stroller.
If anyone hears about a miniature elephant, I guess we're in the market for one. Perhaps Craig's List?

Help my child turn into Audrey Hepburn

Just saw this on Grosgrain, and I need it need it need it. So I'm posting here:
Downtown Holiday Jacket and Pant GIVEAWAY!!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

toddler editing

One way of cutting fat from an essay pitch for a magazine is to try working on it when your toddler is sitting in your lap, banging the keyboard occasionally. Then save the file. When you open it, half of it will have been deleted. That part that's gone? You really didn't need it.
Surprisingly enough, I really didn't.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

craft lust

Some people like shopping. They get object lust.
I, on the other hand, have craft lust. I keep going to people's blogs, and finding links to more blogs, all with darling handmade thingamajigs. A fabric doll house. Homemade pajama bottoms. Thrifted sketch books.
It kind of brings to mind this article, on home "economies". Except in my case, instead of spending too much money, I will spend too much time.
But I will have lots of clever handmade things to entertain me.

more on fox in socks, sir.

--Lucy likes reading it to herself, now. Mostly, this consists in yelling, "Stop it! Stop it!"

--I feel the tiniest bit competetive when I read this book aloud. As in, No one else can read this book this fast! Until I stumble and say something silly, like quick blick brocks or tweedle poddle buttle. I practice diction every week, with singing, so shouldn't I be a shoe-in for a Fox in Socks speed-reader contest? Read, sir! Lead, sir! Lead in reading, sir! Needing some leading reading, sir!

--How can this be? I just googled "Fox in Socks reading competition" and got 0 results. You'd think someone would be trying for a Guinness Book record or something.

So here we go: send me your times, and I'll post them here! It will be a world first!


Thanks for the tag, Diana. Here's my stab at being, kreativ.
6 things that make me happy:
--Child staying asleep longer than 45 minutes for nap.
--A really fabulous long book.
--The Dynamite Roll at Blue Fin sushi. Oh, my God, they weren't kidding when they named this thing.
--handmaking something when it turns out like the picture.
--PG Tips.
--My husband's sense of humor.

I anoint thee, Anne and Michelle and Abi and Rachel and um, you. The person reading this. Meme away!

Fox in Socks

Wow, you get really thirsty reading Fox in Socks six times.
Really, really thirsty.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I am that playgroup member.
That one who keeps bringing her kids, even if they're sick.
That one you all like okay, as long as her kids are healthy, and those other times, well, you just grimace.


I kept denying it to myself, until today. I'd sent an email out last night saying I probably wasn't coming, except if things were better in the morning, when all the members of my beloved playgroup chimed in via email and said, "No, please, Heather, put the sick kid down! Stay home. Because, see, you're sick, too, and we don't need your germs. Please."

Then I had to look long and hard in that computer monitor screen and realize...I'd turned into That Mom.

In my own defense, it's only because my playgroup is That Awesome. Everyone's wise, and kind, and writerly, and terribly patient. The other, newer playgroup we've been attending? Skipped it. Childcare at church? We just said no. But this Tuesday playgroup? It's like missing my morning tea. Waaah!
Plus my child hasn't been sleeping terribly well lately (thus the clinging, never-going-to-go-away cold) and is Cranky. My husband and I haven't been sleeping too well either, and when she wakes up too early, we use our upper limit of feel-okay-about-it TV watching before 7 am. Leaving me with a cranky, sick toddler that no one wants to be around, except (most of the time) her parents.

And I thought the dumb cold was all but gone a few days ago. Except it ISN'T.

I know, blah blah blah, who cares about my problems when everyone else is sick? I have No Right to inflict this cold on other people. Especially (ahem) the mommies and kids I love so much.

So mea culpa, playgroup. Thanks for being kind to me, even in my sleep-induced selfishness. See, it's just cause I love you so much.

Monday, November 17, 2008

nap nap nap nap

My fabulous husband let me take a long nap today when our sick, tired child decided that a 10-minute nap was sufficient (?!?) for her resting needs, thank you very much.
I'm hoping I can nip this bug in the bud.

In other news, our church is supporting Advent Conspiracy, (the whole do-gooder movement that inspired me to make our gifts this year.) They played a video in our service, which noted this crazy fact:
Americans spend 450 billion dollars a year on Christmas.
There is a global water crisis. Lack of fresh water kills more people in the world than anything else.
Approximate cost to solve said crisis? 10 billion dollars.

There are lots of great ways to give to worthy causes this holiday season, but that one tops my list. I'm going here to donate (a Christian org). Not a Christian? I'm sure there are lots of non-sectarian places working on water relief. Find one and give them some cash, already! Lets let go of our water bottles and make sure everyone on earth gets decent water to drink.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

sicky sick

Dyami's been sick for the past week, and I was feeling all skilled in avoiding the germs.
Note the past tense.
Going to bed now in hopes that I will sleep the bug to death.
Wish me luck.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Last night, my parents watched Lucy for a while. My dad played Mr. Sock with her, using a sock as a puppet.

I think.

I think this because on the ride home, Lucy told me so.
"Mr Soooock," she kept saying.
She kept saying it because it took me a long time to get it. I thought she was saying "Mr. Sat," which made less sense. "Mr. Sat, Pata," made even less. But when it was "Mr. Sock, Pata (Grandpa)" I started putting two and two together.
I questioned her. "YOu mean Grandpa took a sock and made it talk like a puppet?"
"And he called it "Mr. Sock?""

Only time (and perhaps my dad's comment...Dad?) will tell if my reading of the somewhat cryptic Lucy story will prove to be correct. I sure hope so. Because if it is, it will be the first time that my child told me a story that I hadn't already participated in.

Next up: the story arc and lessons on characterization. Or should I work on dialogue with her next?

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Today at lunch I laughed at Dyami's jokes, and my eyes watered a bit. I shed tears at the drop of a hat, physiologically: when I yawn, laugh, or for the normal reasons.
Surprised to see tears, Lucy looked at me and asked, "Momma? Sad?"
"No, honey, I'm not sad."
She tipped her head to one side and tried again. "Itchy?"

new tiny phone technolog

Lucy holds a cracker up to her ear. One corner of it is in her ear. It looks uncomfortable and possibly unsafe.
"Lucy, please keep the cracker out of your ear."
Cracker doesn't move. "No. Talking."
"You're talking to the cracker?"
"The cracker is a phone."
"Uh-huh." Ignores me. "Hi. Yes."
Holding my hand up to my ear as a phone. "Hello, cracker. Can you hear me now?"
Lucy looks at me, incredulous. "No, Momma. No work."

I guess the cracker network doesn't interface with the hand network yet.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

lost shoe

Lost: One very small pink Croc. Somewhere in the streets of Leucadia. Still not found after driving said streets of Leucadia and getting fairly lost.
Reward: Kisses, nuzzles, and some dirt Lucy's always picking from between her toes. Which she will now do more of, since she lost her shoes.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

more notes on felting.

When you felt strawberry-pink wool roving, you will think, "wow, that texture looks really familiar." Then you will wonder what it looks like. "Hand-made paper?" No. "Feathers?" No.

Then it will come to you.

Pink fiberglass insulation.

Nothing says "fashion" like construction materials.

Monday, November 10, 2008

blah blah blah

Today was a blah day. Lucy's got the clear tracks down her face, slept oh-so-poorly last night, kept us up, and we are tired from traveling and from the giant mountain of laundry and post-packing chaos of our house. Dyami kept asking me if I was okay today. I was, I just didn't have enough energy to have a facial expression.
But. The wee one is in bed, we have high (possibly vain) hopes that she'll sleep better (longer than 20-minute stretches would be great!), and the house somehow got picked up by my half-hearted attempts to attack the clutter. Everything is still viciously dusty, but I Do Not Care.
Now that posting is out of the way (yay doldroms!) I'm going to go finish a Christmas Crunchy Granola Nut Job Craft Project.
Wish me luck.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Driving to and from camp this weekend, we were kind of appalled by the utter sprawl in SoCal's back country. Parts of the road were just through farming areas, but every, oh, five minute or so, we'd come over a hill and see thousands of cookie-cutter houses. Once, we just saw the farmland with a graded hill behind it, ready for the three car garages and streets like AspenGlen and WindyPines.
These are McMansions, 6-7 bedrooms. Out 40-60 minutes from any kind of urban center. In one case, I had no idea where you would even buy groceries. I have no problem with people moving away from it all, but why in the HECK would you live in a suburb that's not even sub to anything? That is it's own little pretend community smack dab in the middle of cow country? Where there are no jobs to support a seven bedroom lifestyle, so you MUST commute hours in each direction to pay the mortgage for said McMansion?
Please, someone explain this to me? Or--actually don't. Let me just remember the open fields and the rock-pile mountains and the wide valleys with the towering thunderclouds over them. And try to forget the benighted suburbia that lay over the next ridge.


We went to a nearby camp for a church retreat this weekend. Checked the weather before we headed out because there have been years with rain/snow on the ground. Forecast: All clear this year.
So tell me, why did it hail the last day? And pour rain? When we had brought no umbrellas or other rain-type gear?
Actually, I didn't mind too much except for the frozen toes and wet jeans. Here are the reasons:
1. Hail gets you less wet than rain!
2. Any weather is kind of a nice change of pace here in So Cal.
3. At least it was only the last morning.
4. Waking up to the sound of rain is very cozy.
5. The frickin' drought. When we're still watering our lawns with drinking water.
So, rain, rain, please stay. Just warn us next time so we bring our galoshes.

that hospice thing

So a while ago I posted about volunteering with hospice. I still visit Maggie, and also another gentleman I'll call Henry. It's weird that I got this inclination for working with hospice only months before my mom-in-law needed hospice care of her own. I'm not sure it gave me any insight or preparation whatever into Donna's sickness and death, but it was definitely weird timing.

I like the people I visit. A lot. Maggie manages to communicate with her smile that she is just so pleased we are there, so amazed to see a wee person beside her. Lucy is comfortable enough now that she pulls me down the hall, plays with the levers on Maggie's wheelchair, and gives her a kiss goodbye. Every time we see her, she begins the visit by staring off into space, but seeing Lucy has never failed to make her smile.

Henry was a harder nut to crack--he still is. He's able to communicate much more than Maggie, ask questions, answer them. So I think he has more frustration, too, being more aware. So when I first visited him, he told me not to turn down the (very) loud volume on his television so I could hear his (very) quiet voice. He was much more interested in CNN than hospice visitors. And who can blame him? And I realized I was a little annoyed at him for not being immediately taken with Lucy; he (gasp) almost ignored her during our first few visits. But now I catch him watching her with a smile on his face. He thanked me for praying for him. He doesn't object when I turn down his volume anymore.

The odd thing about doing something often enough is that you get used to it. Visit terminally ill people with various health issues, and it becomes normal. I greet Maggie's hallmate, the woman who always tells me that I should take her home with me and that she wants to keep Lucy, and who occasionally makes comments about her breasts in a very loud voice. I smile at the woman who says "Help! Help! Help" over and over, then stops and compliments Lucy's pigtails.

Mostly when we're there, Lucy wants to play the piano in one of the lounges. I let her, occasionally asking a staff person if it bothers anyone. "No," they laugh, and when I see the audience that collects to watch her concert, I have to agree with them.

Friday, November 7, 2008

what's pathetic

is I think I've already fallen behind on NaBloPoMo, and this weekend is only going to get worse. We're going on a family trip for a few days where I will not have I-net access.
I know you all are very disappointed.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

something witty and short.

Yes. Here it is! Witty, short, and just in time for bed.
Okay. At least it's short.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

super stoked

I am super stoked about our next president. Oh, so, so stoked. Whooop!

Notes on bedtime, continued

Four thirty am wakeup? Are you frickin' kidding me?
Confession: said a really bad cuss word when trying to change the diaper in hopes that it would convince a certain small child to go back to sleep. I mean, I hoped the diaper change would convince her, not saying "f$%^". Hoping the child didn't notice and pick up on said cuss word. Since she learned all the words to "Baa Baa black sheep" yesterday, I'm guessing that's a vain hope.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Notes on bedtime

1. The really good tips from Hack Mommy regarding bedtime? They'll work!
2. Well, by work, I mean, like a charm for four glorious days. Then there will be Halloween.
3. That Halloween candy--just a little bit, come on!--that you let your daughter have? Not a good idea.
4. Yes, two year olds have nightmares.
5. For the record, the nightmares involved a scary lion (roar) and an elephant with big eyes. (Or as Lucy puts it: "Lion. Come. (Nodding) Dream. (Wide eyes.) Roar. Scairt. Elephant (Nodding). Eyes. Beg."
6. It takes two days (approximately) to convince said child that the safari animals will not be making another appearance.
7. Add daylight savings. Shake/stir, whatever you feel like.

Result? Momma waits in the bedroom for an hour while the child falls asleep, just to keep the peace and her sanity intact while Dada's out of town for the night.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Okay. I'm very pleased with myself.
In keeping with my back-to-nature, living-in-suburbia-but-really-possessing-the-spirit-of-Laura- Ingalls-Wilder, handmade-on-the-cheap aesthetic, I've started making clothing.
Okay. A skirt. For Lucy. But see, it's So Cute. And it has a pocket for Lucy's buttons!

Thanks to Hack Mommy for skirt instructions, printed on a little slip of lined paper.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Lucy is really only herself.

"Are you my sweetie?"
"Who are you, then?"
(Earnestly) "Lucy."

"Are you my kid?"
"No. Lucy."

Or sometimes:
"Are you a little goober?"
"No. Woman."

Hear her roar.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


I'm going to make a second years' attempt to do the national blog posting month. There are several reasons:
1. You all just really want more content from me. You've been asking for it, daily, and I'm going to deliver! (I haven't received those messages yet, but I know you would send them if you weren't busily scouring the Internet for more of my essays).
2. In all seriousness, I need a serious kick in the butt to get writing again. My mother in law's illness has made posting difficult; it was most of what was happening with us, but it wasn't really my story to share, and I had little energy/time for posting, anyway.
3. As we mourn Donna, I know I'm not going to feel like posting, and won't feel like I have much to say that's important, and so the daily posting gives a convenient shape/excuse/motivation. Sort of like drinking from the fire hose.
4. I miss writing. I miss noting things that aren't really that noteworthy, and putting them up for the world to admire.
Nablopomo, here we come!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

goodbye, Nana

My mother-in-law died last week.

It's hard to beleive it has been a week. At these Signposts of Life I always want to cling to the post, and then I try counting steps as I walk away. But sooner or later, you lose track and you're just walking, and past the milestone.

But I was talking about my mom-in-law.

Donna Marie Calire, sixty years old, mother of three and wife, and Nana to almost six. Small and lithe, possessing more of a dancer's body than I (with fifteen years lessons) was ever blessed with. Long fingers that tucked and sewed and created. An architects intellect. Slow as honey sentences. Belonging to a different age, what with her spinning wheel and loom and false eyelashes and her collections of tiny, breakable things.

Donna. Who whenever I would leave, would say, "My girl. Don't leave me." Who patted me on the shoulder the first time I entered her house (her domain, her world) and said, "Please, make yourself at home. Really, you don't need to ask." Who was surprised to discover, a week away from death, that she had been beautiful child.

Who was surprised to find so many people would be bereft with her gone.

Oh, dear one. We aren't ready to lose you. You have six grandchildren who will hopefully inherit your avid brain, your penchant for crossword puzzles, your expert fingers, your kindness, your grace. Who will teach them to honor your gifts? My daughter will probably not remember you. I fancy myself a storyteller, but I know I cannot do your story justice.

Oh, Donna. We already miss you, and we haven't even had to try doing without you yet.
Even in the morass of your illness, you comforted those around you, prayed for the pastor who was there to shepherd you, apologized for your supposed awkwardness. Asked, gently, to be allowed to grieve your life.

Even in the hospital bed, you moved and spoke with grace. You lifted your hand and waved the fingers in a Giselle like gesture, as you always did, to get the blood moving. Who but you could turn a stretch into a thing of beauty?

Donna. We are mourning you, but are anticipating seeing you again. Surely, your workshop now is a thing of delight. Surely, you are with your Father, who created you to be that beautiful child, and who took you back into His arms, saying, "well done, good and faithful servant."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I've been reading a lot of Ann Patchett's books lately.

This is because I love her with a fervent love. Bel Canto. The Magician's Assistant. Run. And, oh, that loveliest of them all, Truth and Beauty.
Since she's not prolific enough to suit me (she'd need about a hundred more books) I've been scouring our local library for everything she's written. And got to read an expanded version of the commencement address she gave at Sarah Lawrence.

The thing about Patchett is that her writing is so human. Her autobiographical stuff makes her come across as profoundly sane. Without sounding like she's covering up all of her deep dark secrets and being less than honest. Or making everyone else seem supremely wacky in comparison to herself.

In memoir, this is a tricky thing to do.

I have also been reading some David Sedaris, and while I love his humor and his dark take on the world, he's very good at making himself seem like he needs some good therapy. This is also true of some other memoirists that I like: Anne Lamott and Donald Miller. You read these people's work, and you sometimes wish you had funny things happen to you like that, and then you think, actually, no. No, I like being boring and not going through a cocaine addiction or alienating six housemates or working in a pathologist's lab where there's a bucket full of severed hands.

If you think about writing memoir, in other words, you wonder if you need to get much more eccentric. And maybe pick up a drug habit and a sordid past.

That's why I like Patchett. She seems pretty normal, but her writing still sparks. She's the kind of person that cleans up after the cocaine user, the terrible roommate, and the kooky pathologist's assistant.

So maybe the rule is: either you have to have a sordid past, or you have to get more interesting friends?
Any takers?

Momma Bear and Baby Bear

Lucy asked for an apple this morning.

Since she usually asks for blueberries (only about fifteen times a day) I was overjoyed.

Especially since we got a huge bag of great apples from our CSA last week. And I'm not much of a fruit eater.

Except the apple was cold, having been in the fridge.

"Cowd, momma, cowd," she said after nibbling on the edge of the cute little slices I'd made.

SOlution? One minute in the microwave! Then they were exciting baked apples!

"Hot! Momma! Hot!"

Restraining the urge to ask her if she thought she was Goldilocks, I stuck the plate in the freezer for a few minutes.

But even when the apples were just right, she refused to eat them. So I shrugged and picked up a slice and ate it. It was darned good. I think I like cooked apples better than raw.

Only it was apparently not okay for me to eat the apples she didn't want to eat. "Back! Back," she said, as I swallowed the last bite.
No, honey, really. You don't want it back. "If you want the apples, then eat them," I said.
Apparently, however, my logic was flawed. "No!"
I thought for a moment, then picked up another apple. I put one end in my mouth.
"No! Back."
I bent down, and Goldilocks took the apple slice out of my mouth and ate it. Not all of it, but at least she tried it.
And we all lived happily ever after.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

asking for help

We just got back from a weekend in Ojai. Dyami's mom is sick and we went down there to be with his family.

When we got back, I emailed a few friends, telling them that we could use some help--we were frazzled by the visit and the drive back, and struggled getting dinner on the table that night. I asked for someone to help us take a nap over the next few days, and maybe some help next time we go up there.

And then some lovely people called, friends, family, and offered the help I asked for.

So why did I pause, and think, oh, well, you know--we're really okay. You don't have to. It's too much.

I decided to ignore that little voice. I took up some of the people on their offers, and we will be getting some rest over the next few days. My lovely friend Amy delivered a casserole tonight. My mom is coming tomorrow. And really, the help is an embarrassment of riches--we could really take the week off with all these offers.

But I've been in this place before: feeling overwhelmed, asking for help, and then wondering how to really allow people to help. Feeling that, once I ask, it's too much to actually take people up on it.

I've noticed this about a lot of my mom friends. And maybe all friends. The friend who mentions the out-of-town husband, but says, "oh, we're fine" when I ask if I could bring over dinner. The friend with too much work that waves off free babysitting. The mutual agreements to trade "daycare" that never happen.

I'm not writing this post to make anyone feel bad. I just think it's an interesting phenomenon. It's hard to need help. It's harder to ask for help. It's hardest to actually take the damn help when it's offered, thank you very much.

Is it guilt? Fear of seeming lazy? Politeness? What holds us back? I'm always talking about community and how it would make more sense to share child raising duties with our friends, but actually following through on that doesn't happen. I'm afraid of being a burden. I'm afraid of seeming like I don't have my act together.

So, thanks, dear friends. Thanks for helping.

Not that I needed it or anything. I just asked to make you feel useful. Really, we've got it together.

Or something.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Should you call me crazy?
It's a reasonable question. Since I have embarked on the crazy do-it-yourself project to end all projects.
I decided to make our Christmas gifts this year.
All of them. (well, talk to me on December 24th)

See, Dyami and I were really imacted by a speaker at the Presbyterian Global Fellowship Conference we went to this summer. He's a pastor at a church in Houston that decided as a congregation to spend less and give more for Christmas, and donated the proceeds to dig wells in Liberia. They ended up sponsoring enough wells to give a whole region access to clean drinking water that did not have it before. They're calling the movement they started Advent Conspiracy and I think it's pretty awesome.

I've also been thinking about the gifts I buy, the packaging, the production, the capitalism that goes into all of it. Not that capitalism is the Next Great Satan, but it has its limitations, you know? And I think there are better ways to be a good patriot than to be a great consumer.

So rolling all that into a crafty, do-gooder ball, I'm making things.
And man, I've already started. Because I know it won't happen if I save it to the last minute.

Some observations on the process:
--Don't use an ivory crochet needle to turn out a stuffed cat's tail unless you want one end to be part of the gift.
--Making things out of duct tape in someone else's house is sure to set off alarms in your host's mind. ("Wow, I knew Dyami started his own business, but I didn't realize they were that hard up!"). Plus they will question your taste. As will you.
--Yes, one can feel self-conscious going to the fabric store three times in three days because one does not make a list. One wishes she weren't so noticable with the slightly noisy, slightly rambunctious toddler in tow.
--Ask your seamstress mother for notions before spending money on them. Please!
--There is very little chance you will find decent-looking fabric at the thrift store, but it can happen. It will be cotton canvas, and striped with pale green.

Monday, September 22, 2008


We go to church on Sundays. And, often, we help lead the singing (I sing, Dyami plays bass). Lucy loves this time. "Singing? Practice? Church?" she asks, every day. When it is finally sunday, she rejoices.
Once on the way home from church, I did a little Theology lesson. "So, Lucy. When we sing at church, we sing about God. God is our Dada."
"God. Dada."
(Me: am I needlessly confusing my child? How do you explain the Immovable Object to a toddler?) "He's everyone's Dada."
"God. Dada."
"And we love him, so we sing about him."
"God. Singing."
"And we pray to him, too."
I thought about mentioning Jesus, and throwing in the Holy Spirit, and then I decided I'd save that for next Sunday. Or maybe later, like when she was six. Or thirteen. Because my mind was boggling. ("See, there's God the Father, and he's also his own kid, and sort of a Ghost, as well. Can you say "incarnation?")

Conveying faith to a child seems hard. No, actually: conveying theology to a child seems hard. Faith, I imagine, gets transmitted in the daily stuff we do, like worship, and prayer, and fellowship and worship. But the ideas about God, well, I still haven't figured them out for myself, much of the time. And theology is so confusing, even if it's really important to know what you believe, and why. Because ideas make a difference, even if they don't transfer to a felt board very well.

So I was pleased, and surprised when Lucy mentioned church yesterday.
"Singing. Church. Jesus. Lord."
Well, yes.
Maybe this indoctrination thing won't be as hard as I thought.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hello, Dominos?

Do we not feed her enough? Because recently, Lucy has taken to ordering takeout.

L: Picks up the phone. Dials. "'Lo. Taaacooos. Cheeeeese. Poppers*. Saaalsa. Chicken. Bye-bye."


L: Picks up the phone. Dials. "Papa**! Ham, butts***? Cheese. Sammmwich. Apple, bar*****? Bye-bye."

No, we barely ever order takeout. So no idea where she got this from. I guess this girl knows food.

**Dyami's dad.
***Okay, so D's great-uncle Caliri always used to say he was getting ham by saying, "I'm-a gonna go get some porka-butts!" So I said that, in jest, to L the other day, and it became "butts", and then when I explained it was another name for ham, and please call it ham, please, pretty-please? it turned into "ham, butts". With a comma because it takes her a while to say two words strung together. And a question mark because that's her two-word intonation.
****The Lara bar, "Apple Pie" flavor, with the two-word intonation. This was a snack we gave Lucy once, about 6 months ago. One. Time. And which she remembers every day and asks for. Every. Day. And has started singing songs about. Along with the ham, butts?
The song is kind of a "My Favorite Things," from the sound of music. It goes something like this. (Piano playing). "Apple, bar? lalalalala. Tacos. lalalalalala. Lalalala. Ham, butts?"

Hopefully she doesn't learn a real takeout number anytime soon. Cause I think they would be confused. And perhaps a little offended.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Lucy's favorite CDs (No joke)

1. Fris!!! Fris fris fris fris fris fris. Fris.

2. eieieieieieie (oh).*

3. "Donna." As in Ma. Yeesh.** I still remember my older sister asking "Dad, what's a virgin?" No, I don't remember his answer. If things keep going in this direction, I think Lucy will be asking this question by age four.

4. "Back! Back!" (Well, Beck). Question: Is "Sexx Laws" appropriate for toddlers? Really?***

5. Apple. Fiona, that is. Don't know why she should like this, since it's decently age-appropriate. Well, except for the bad breakup songs and introspection about betrayal and some violence. Hmm. No, this is right up her alley.

6. Fris. Fris fris fris fris fris fris fris. Fris. More heartbreak! More breakups! And lots of Bowie references!

Note to self: Perhaps we should start buying more children's music? Even though she refuses to listen to it? Help!

*Translation: Ella Fitzgerald's "Old MacDonald". Blisteringly fast.
**Blame Dyami. He keeps pushing dance music on her!
***Blame the day-glo cover. And Momma, who has a soft spot in her heart for Midnite Vultures. "She looks so Israeli!" Hahahahahaha.

Monday, August 4, 2008

it shouldn't make me laugh

I read this on a NY Times blog a few minutes ago.
For shame, Stanley Fish. For shame!
I'm appalled.
Absolutely appalled.
(hardeyhar har har)
How dare you?
Sigh. You're so much less enlightened then me. I should teach you something.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

shaking the family tree

We just got back from my in-laws. Lucy had a great time with Nana and Poppa, and keeps talking about them. So we've been having conversations about how we're all related.
Today, Dyami had a (reportedly successful) time explaining that Nana and Poppa are his Mama and Dada. He came inside to have Lucy tell me about it. Here's the transcript:
L: (Seeing some granola on the ground) Cereal! Cereal!
D: Lucy? Lucy! Lucy, who is my dada?
L: Poppa.
H: Wow, Lucy! That's right!
L: Cereal! Cereal!
D: Did you find some cereal?
L: Uh-huh.
D: Lucy, who is my momma?
L: Nana. Cereal!
D: And who is Lucy's momma?
L: Cereal!
H: Lucy, who is your dada?
L: (Pointing ad DYami) Yami. Huh.
H: And who is your momma?
L: Cereal!
D: Lucy, is your momma Heather?
L: Cereal!
Me, desperate: Am I your momma, Lucy?
L: (Shaking her head no.) Cereal, cereal, cereal!!

So there you go, folks. I've been replaced by fruits, nuts, and grains.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

mystery solved

For a while, Lucy has been saying an indecipherable word.
"Awefahn," she says, pointing towards a street she wants to walk down.
"Awefahn," she says, pointing at the toilet, rather than her little potty, indicating she wants to sit on it.
"Awefahn," she says, pointing at her Raggedy Ann.

Awefahn? Translation, please? We tried phonetic parsing and got nowhere. Off-on? Close in sound, but no sense in context. More fun? Kind of makes sense, but when has she ever heard either of us saying "more fun?"

Today, Dyami broke the code. "This one," he said, triumphantly.
"Excuse me?" I said.
"Awefahn means "This one"", he said. He'd asked Lucy if she wanted one thing or the other, and she pointed to the other, and said "Awefahn."
Clear as crystal.
We just wonder how we were supposed to get "This one" out of "Awefahn".
Of course, this may be setting expectations too high. She says "ABC" for "Oopsie" and "Baby soup" for "Bathing suit," so Awefahn is pretty close, all things considered.
And hey, I mispronounce every 25 cent word I pick up reading, so I guess she takes after me.
I'm so proud.

not working

Learning to talk is magical. Really, it is.
Lately I've been realizing that the magic of it has been leading me to some magical thinking. With beings that cannot talk.
Me holding squirming six-month-old. "You want down, honey?"
Me to meowing cat. "You hungry, kitty?"
It's not just me asking the question. It's the question with the expectation of getting an answer.
Next I'll be asking the mustard if it's empty.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

out of context

Me: Hey, guess what I found out?
D: ??
Me: Mommas are women. And daddies? Men.
D: Wow!
Me: Pop quiz! Am I a woman or a man?
D: Wow, that's a tough one. Ummmmm. Man?
Me: No, silly, I'm a woman!
D: Darn!
Me: And you. Are you a woman?
D: Uhhhh...
Me: I'll give you a hint. You're a daddy.
D: Oh! I'm a woman!
Me: Sigh.

Me: Can I tell you something crazy?
Friend X: Sure.
Me: Only babies use diapers!
X: Really? But what do grownups and older kids do, then?
Me: They go on the potty.
X: I did not know that.
Me: Yes. And not only that, they go both pee-pee and poo-poo on the potty.
X: The things you learn!

Me: So, I read online that when you stop using diapers, you wear underwear instead.
My relative: Oh! I'd always wondered about that.
Me: Yes, it's a little-known fact.
My relative: So underwear, then. A lot of people must use that.
Me: Yes, actually, I wear underwear myself. And I suspect you do, too.
My relative: How did you guess?
Me: But babies? They wear diapers.
My relative: So, let me get this straight. When babies get bigger, they become boys and girls, and wear underwear instead of diapers?
Me: Yes! You've got it!
My relative: But then, where do they go pee-pee and poo-poo?
Me: Well let me tell you...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


It's been a hard month for some people we know and love. Someone's father died, another friend suffered a stillbirth after years of trying to have a baby. Another person close to us gave birth to twin preemies, only to lose them both a week later.
Meanwhile, my family is able to go about our lives, go to the pool and beach, sleep in, and enjoy our daughter. I went shopping. I'm cooking fish for dinner.
I'm not quite sure what to do with the news I'm hearing.
I'm not quite sure how the world keeps swirling around and around, with me happily hanging on.
I'm not quite sure how to be a help and a comfort to my friends when I have not gone through the experiences they are.
I was walking to a friends' house for a playgroup this morning, and thinking about the pain these dear ones are going through. Wondering why on earth it has attached itself to people that are so undeserving of it. Some of these people have already suffered other hardships--broken relationships, failed businesses, depression, separation from loved ones. In my own life, I see how sometimes trouble seems to attach itself to people--through no fault of their own, they suffer setback after loss after disappointment after tragedy. I don't understand why.

Well, I have theories. The Bible talks about the "present darkness" we're in, and how there are forces at work that we don't always see or understand. Seeing all this suffering going on in my periphery makes me conscious of these malevolent spiritual forces all over again.

I can't look at these hardships and have my faith unaffected. Dyami and I were praying for our friends yesterday, and I could hear the bewilderment in his voice as he asked God why they are suffering. When my dear, steadfast husband is bewildered with God, things aren't good.

At playgroup, a group member, Megan, shared some materials she brought. She had the fabulous idea of us all getting a "sister" overseas to correspond with and support. She had done so previously, in an organization called Women For Women, and asked if we wanted to participate. The organization provides support for survivors of war. We all said yes, and today she brought the information for our sister.

She lives in Congo, and has six children, and has lost a seventh. No electricity in her hut, displaced within her country, unable to afford medical care for her family. No jobs available to help increase her family's means.

Somehow I wished I already had a correspondance with this woman, to ask how she copes with the obstacles she faces. How do people all over the world who suffer such losses continue to have faith, to sing and dance and serve in the midst of it all? For there are those shining people. People persecuted for their faith who prepare to share it anyway, despite the dangers. People persecuted who have great courage in their suffering. People in war who help others, despite great personal risk. There are those, like these women, are handed a bum deck of cards and yet do things like reach out to an NGO in the hope of some help and support. Who keep moving forward, doing what needs to be done for their families.

I often feel I have a charmed life (sometimes this feeling has me ducking, waiting for the other shoe to drop) but never more so than this morning. Sometimes it seems to me as though our odd middleclassness in the United States is itself an anomaly, our way of life, our expectation of safety and health and education and control is the abnormal thing in our world.

I was glad to be sistering this woman today. Perhaps if we are all a bit more acquainted with suffering, we can be of help for those close to us who are going through it.

Perhaps that has to be enough for me right now--since understanding and enlightenment as to why this all happens is a very open question for me right now.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

the litany

When we get up in the morning, we hear:
L: "Singee? Fris. Shurch! Tar! Kids! Shoes! Doctors!"
We smile. It's the litany, repeated at least four or five times, everyday. Unless it's Sunday, and Lucy picks up on the vibe. Then it's:
"Singing? Fris. Shurch! Kids! Shoes! Doctors!"
Yes, Today Lucy.
"Singing? Fris. Shurch! Kids! Shoes! Doctors!"
"Singing? Fris. Shurch! Kids! Shoes! Doctors!"
We tell her that Fris, (Chris, our good friend) will be coming after her nap. We have to pray that he's not out of town.
Then it's time to get in the car. When we get closer:
"Shurch? Singee?"
Yes, L, it's time for church and singing.
Then we rehearse for the worship service: I sing (singee!) and Dyami plays bass (tar).
Kids! Shoes! Doctors!
I have to keep her from running out of the sanctuary, because the kids are right outside.
The childcare, that is. Where they serve shoes (juice) and doctors (crackers).
Once we get back in the car after bedtime to go home, she asks again. "Singing? Fris. Shurch! Kids! Shoes! Doctors!"
No, Lucy, not till next week.
It can't come soon enough. For any of us.

Monday, July 7, 2008


I try to be careful with language around Lucy, because she is at the mynah bird stage. However. One can only be so careful. Many words that you wouldn't think are perilous...are. Some examples:


And there's no going back, either. When I taught her "Dildo," I said, "Oh, I meant--it's an aardvark! Can you say aardvark?"
Lucy, proudly: "Dildo!"
I have no idea if an aardvark and an armadillo are even in the same genus, but hey, zoological accuracy was not a top priorty. Luckily, it's unlikely to come up in polite conversation. Or impolite for that matter.
However, with my luck, someone will mention that funky shirt that the armadillo has on, and it'll all be over.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

clear as mud

Dyami tried to help Lucy improve the English today. Here was the exchange.
Lucy, pointing to a picture of a rabbit: "Rabbit."
Dyami: "Good! You haven't said that before. You're right. It's a bunny rabbit."
Lucy, confused: "Babbit?"
Dyami: "It's a bunny. Bunny!"
Lucy: "Money?"
Dyami: "No, see, a bunny is a baby rabbit."
Lucy: "Baby?"
Dyami: "No, no, it's not a baby."
Lucy, the light clicking on: "Momma."

See, we really should homeschool our child, because we definitely make things clearer for her with our instruction.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

pure and simple

I am running out of steam on this look-at-how-crunchy-I-am posting series. That's fine! Cause it's my blog and I can do what I want to.
Part of what is exhausting me is's not enough, is it? I've been craving beef this week (thanks, Carne Asada Burrito from Baja Fresh!) and the beans are just not cutting it. I put some laundry into the dryer this morning. Got into the car to drive to see some friends.
I'm not feeling that bad about it, but still. I read parts of this book called "Cradle to Cradle," that talks about how if we just designed products better, we could reuse them over and over (their biggest example was the book itself, which is made out of recycled/recyclable plastic polymers, is nearly indestructable, waterproof, and uses non-toxic inks. Pretty cool). Except: I don't see all of the products we use getting redsigned any time soon. Not even close. And no matter whether I recycle the aluminum that goes around the burrito or not, there are tons of it being wasted, as I speak.
I liked Michael Pollan's call to not give up, even if our "doppleganger" in China is happily stepping up to consume the things we're foregoing. We don't stop doing the right thing, even if it seems like a lost cause. That's part of what the cause of Christ is all about, right?
I also liked this posting on Image Journal's site: reminding me that this world is not pure, and is not going to become pure through human effort. No amount of recycling, laundry hanging,
bus-hopping, organic shopping, bean growing, or tofu frying is going to change that. I can't do it.
Repeat: I can't do it. I don't have to try.
I have to repeat that a lot these days.
My problem is this is not the only area I try to perfect in my life. It's kind of a lifelong struggle. I am trying to write an essay about my struggle to stop perfect my reading of the Bible. Still haven't figured that one out, but am a lot closer to just enjoying time with God instead of setting up a program to adhere to. I think greening one's life is kind of like that. If you don't slow down and try to appreciate the time you take to do things like cook, hang up linens, garden, and mindfully shop, then you jsut end up feeling guilty, pressured, failing, incomplete. And by "you", I mean me.
The mindfulness is the hard part, isn't it? That's the real countercultural revolution here. Waking up. Thinking about where things come from and where they end up. Why you reach for your wallet when other solutions might exist. Why security always comes in the shape of a dollar bill. Why I don't have time to do things slowly.
So here's to taking it slowly. And to being okay with slowness.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008


I read this cool housekeeping book by Ellen Sandbeck a while ago, and have tried to eliminate a lot of stuff from our house. Got rid of the paper napkins and towels and switched to cloth (not hard to do, and I actually like cloth better). Got rid of the windex, and started using vinegar (also, not a problem: plus, vinegar kills germs! bonus!) Got rid of the Ajax, and use baking soda (sweet! And it works). I'm still in the process of switching to less harsh detergents for clothes and dishes. I'm still going to use less green stuff for the cloth diapers, cause I've heard you have to to actually get rid of the, um, well, you know.
The one thing I've been trying to eliminate that I have not been so hip on is the clothes dryer.
I like drying my clothes. It's easy! It's right there! It's fast! It also uses a lot of energy during the summer, when there's a free energy source right outside! And we live in the sunbelt! Where it never rains! So I have no excuses!
I think the fact that we can't use a regular clothesline doesn't help things (thanks, HOA!). It means that each load barely fits on my drying rack, and an extra large load (which I try to do, to conserve water, right?) really doesn't fit. Plus when I hang stuff up, often Lucy pulls it immediately down. On the ground. She's getting better about it, but she's not as "helpful" as she wants to be. And I think the drying rack isn't as efficient--everything's close together and doubled over and larger things hang over smaller things, shading them from the sun.
It's also just an extra step. It's so easy to shove things into the door of the clothes dryer and forget about them. Not so much when you're lugging the clothes outside.
But still. There's that free energy source, right there. That I talk a lot about wanting to use. In theory.
But did I mention how much I love my baking soda? Really, guys, the stuff cleans really well. It's amazing.

Friday, June 6, 2008

nothing new under the sun

In contrast to yesterday's post, today's topic is something I think has gone pretty well. I was inspired by my friend Thia, who abstained from buying new things for some period of time (how long it was, I can't remember any more) and I thought, I should do that too.

So I did.

I decided to only get clothes for myself secondhand. Thrift stores, consignment shops, whatever. And I was surprised to discover that because we live in an area of ridiculously wealthy people (compared to the rest of the world, I'll even include us) it's pretty easy to find very nice clothes secondhand. And I ususally I just do thrift stores, and still find nicer clothes then I'd spend money on in regular stores. I've also gotten bags, toys for Lucy, clothes for Lucy, household items, and a bunch of books. People give this stuff away.

Shopping secondhand has really changed the way I look at shopping in general. I wait a long time before buying something new. I look around. I got Lucy a trike a while ago, (new), and have seen several used since then. So when I decided to get her a baby stroller, I waited. FOr like a month. But found one used. Which means that I'm not adding to the great machine of consumption that is our economy these days. And I'm supporting either a small mom-and-pop shop (the consignment stores) or a charity (even better).
Now I think before I buy. I think a lot. If it isn't food or toilet paper, chances are you can get it used. And why not?
Last Christmas, Dyami and I did a thrift store Christmas for each other--all our gifts came used. I think it was a mixed success--it didn't quite have the shine and polish of new-store shopping. And it was weird not having as much choice. However, we still use most of the things we purchase. We're still deciding whether or not to repeat it next Christmas. But what I did like, whole-heartedly, was that the stuff that we didn't use just went back to the thrift store, to be repurposed. We didn't waste a bunch of money--the money we spent went to a good cause, at least.
I don't see ending my fast from "new" shopping ending anytime soon. Well, that's not entirely true. I buy new sometimes. Like for underwear.
But what stuff I do buy new, I'm more motivated to think about, to buy more sustainably, and to spend money on quality, or greeness, or sustainability. Why not, when I don't shell out much cash for purchases anyway?
I have noted, though, that even secondhand shopping can become a way of escape, a way of entertaining myself. Which I don't like. So I try to limit trips to the thrift for when I actually need something.
There you go. Go local, go used. Go thrifty.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


So this post is about the thing we haven't done so well.
We haven't done much of anything to change our driving habits.
We watched An Inconvenient Truth, and Dyami pumped his bicycle tires, bought a helmet, and proudly set off to work each morning on his trusty bike from 1986.
For about three weeks.
The problem? we live a long way from the train station. With several very large hills in the way. And Dyami was often riding when it was dark out. And cold. And when he was sleep deprived.
He lost enthusiasm pretty quickly, and I couldn't really blame him.
Thankfully, his work then moved downtown, and he decided to take the train rather than opting for a parking space. Then he at least was only driving to the train station, which was a lot nicer.

And then there was my zealous attempt to take public transportation. Which I actually did! Once!
It made a difference, though: now every time Lucy sees a bus, she gets very excited, and says "Bus! Busss!" See! I have influenced the next generation with my greeness and environmentalism.
Problem is: with a baby, riding a bus to do shopping just isn't feasible. And I tend to forget to call to schedule a ride until, say, when I want to leave. You're supposed to call hours ahead of time. Who thinks that far in advance? Certainly not me about my library trips.

What irks me is that this is probably the single greatest thing we could do to live more greenly. And we're not doing it.
So I'm trying to eat less meat instead. Yesterday, I served tofu! See how I green I am?
We're in this house for a few more years, but when we do move, eventually, we're going to try our hardest to live someplace where you might actually be able to take public transportation and/or walk someplace.
It could happen.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

the lightbulb

So I'm flying solo for a few days while D is in Ojai, working. Generally, things have gone really well--Lucy went to sleep easily, has been her usual charming self, and I've managed to get some naps in when she woke up at godawful hours.
But lunchtime? What happened?
Sit down for lunch. Lucy trips (or something) and cries. I go to comfort her. Only she won't let me. She wanders around, pushing her stroller, yelling. Finally, I tell her I'm going to go eat my lunch (which was now mostly cold), and would she like some? Please? Since the lack of protein was probably why she was yelling?
No dice. She gets a book and asks me to read it.
No, I'm eating, sweetheart.
Read! Read! Read! Mamaamamamama. Read!
Take the book. More yelling. I tempt her with a banana. FShe sits in the high chair. I give her a variety of tempting offerings. Tea bags (which she likes to chew. Don't ask why). Water for said tea. Pasta. Banana. Tofu. Milk.
She shreds the teabag, tips over the milk, which swamps the rest of the food.
Still yelling, still not eating anything that might actually make things better.
I was about to lose it at this point. SO I clean up the milk, and I am telling her that I'm just the tiniest bit frustrated with her, just a tiny bit, when she says, plaintively, "Dada?"
The lightbulb went on. Tripping+hungry+missing Dada after two days of him gone? Probably a good excuse for not following Mom's agenda.
It's funny how it's a lot easier to be patient when you know why the child is not being easy.
We watched a little nature program to help us decompress. And she ate some eggs.
Everyone's happy again.
And it's only a few more hours till Dada comes home.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


So the next thing we did in our grand journey was eating a lot of vegetables.
A lot of vegetables.
I was inspired, reading Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma, to join a CSA. We did, and started picking up our veggies every week, and eating a lot of lettuce, and a lot more lettuce, with some lettuce on the side. Then we went down to every other week pickups, and we're a lot happier with less lettuce. But we still have plenty!!
As a result of the CSA, we had a lot of vegetables to eat every week, we'd paid good money for them, with more to come, and thus, we didn't eat out as much. Because we had to use the vegetables! So I got in the habit of cooking more. Luckily, I like to cook.
I also started getting used to prepping lettuce with real dirt on it (and living bugs, which at first seems gross, but then you realize that if the bugs are still alive, that's probably a good sign). And I started buying other organic produce, because the case against conventional produce was made pretty powerfully by Pollan. (Hearing from the potato farmer who won't let his family eat the potatoes he grows for the mass market is a little, well, disturbing)
Experimentation with more vegetables has also led to more vegetarian cooking, wherein I try to, at least a few times a week, use only beans/tofu for protein. I'm lucky that my husband is not a huge meat eater.
When I read a book about effective environmental choices, it said that food choices are one of the biggies. And while organic produce/meat is better, less meat (or no meat) is best. It's just such a resource hog.
One thing I like about cooking veggie stuff is that you don't have to worry about salmonella. Well, unless the spinich is tainted.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

keep it holy

It's so funny that Kim commented about Sabbath-keeping in response to my first post about lowering our consumption. I'd already started on a post about that very topic. Here it is.

I think the first really counter-cultural thing we did that started us on this path of less consumption was starting to take a Sabbath. Dyami heard a conference speaker on the subject of a day of rest, I'd read a book (imagine that) that talked about what an Orthodox Jewish Sabbath could be like, and we were both inspired.
Our rules were pretty low-key. No work (writing/studying/contracting/housework/regular work), no media (CDs, movies, TV, radio). We did decide that cooking, driving, eating out and quite a few other things were kosher on the Sabbath. Shopping was a kind of grey area.
I think of all the changes I've ever made in my life, this was one of the best. I come from a place where workaholism is a real temptation. I love being busy, multi-tasking, and being efficient. I also get kind of anxious when I don't have enough to do. Sometimes on these Sabbath afternoons, that happens.
That gave me pause. Why should resting make me anxious? What does all this business in our life really for? Is it because it's necessary? Or is it there to fill holes in our spirits?
Sabbath taking made me confront some of the big lies I'd been telling myself: I don't have control over how busy I am. I don't have time to rest. I have to do this work now, because otherwise it won't get done. Sure, we all need time to get our stuff done (Note: we started Sabbath Keeping before Lucy--it was a heck of a lot easier then. One would think God would include childcare in the Sabbath provision, but for some reason He did not).
Generally, work can wait. Housework, bill-paying, projects, take-home work, small business upkeep. It can wait. It can wait at least a day.
It's eerie--the times when we've decided not to honor the Sabbath since then, the times where we had to work, we worked and worked on Sunday, making no headway, and then on Monday morning, we've had aha! moments where the seemingly intractable problems resolved themselves. Spooky.
Bottom line: we are not in control.
So what does Sabbath keeping have to do with environmentalism?
I think it's the first step in taking stock of how broken our culture is. It's a wakeup call that we're all desperate, seeking solace in things (busy-ness, consumption) that cannot give solace. Not doing is profoundly counter-cultural, which is a great baby step for other counter-cultural things.
It's a great first step to being aware of the things you do on a daily basis. To take stop. And think.
I think thinking about this world a little bit more might help things, don't you?

be the change you want to see in the world

So a while ago, I read this book called "Serve God, Save the Planet," an environmental call-to-arms for Christians. It was written by a doctor named Matthew Sleeth, who after buying his giganto dream home with his family, decided that they were moving in the wrong direction and downsized drastically, moving to a radically smaller house, installing solar panels and the like, and cutting their consumption by a ton.
In a lot of ways, the book was great. Sadly, a lot of Christians need to be convinced of the disaster we're heading into. That's what the book tries to accomplish.
Unfortunately, it didn't talk about the main reason I wanted to read it:
How the heck did Dr. Sleeth do it? Not just change his own mind, but bring his two teenagers along for the ride? How did they all give up things that all of us have come to depend on, like driving everyplace? What was the sequence they did things in? What hurt most? What was the hardest shift? How much of a pain was solar paneling?
I was very, very disappointed that he didn't share any of those things.

Dyami and I have been doing some down-shifting of our own over the last year, some of it successful, and some of it--not so. But it occurs to me that it might be helpful toshare some of it here. I can be kind of a know-it-all sometimes, and a little holier-than-thou, so I kind of hesitated to share this stuff. In my family, when we get excited about subjects, we go whole-hog and kind of scare people. This happens to me a lot. But at the same time, I'm convinced that we all need to make these kinds of changes, and they are hard changes to make. Many of them (like carpooling, say, or buying fewer gifts for each other) require us to involve other people. So if I hid the bit of light I'm trying to create under a bushel, what good does that do anyone?
So here are my stabs at trying to go green. Many of them are drops in the bucket (the real biggies, like driving less and using solar power, we have not really attempted to do much of), but they're something. And you know what, they are changing my mindset, which is kind of the big first step, no?
I'm going to put them in rough order, and blog about them over the next week or two. I invite you, dear reader, to submit, in comment form, other ideas you've had, or great changes you've made. Give us more ideas!

Friday, May 30, 2008

TV Gold

What ever happened to the adventure drama?
I grew up on them. You know, A-Team, AirHawk, MacGyver, and--
Knight Rider.
Ohhh, Knight Rider. You rock my world.
What ever happened to that loner (or group of loners) who takes on the Bad Guys who are harassing helpless people/Beautiful Woman and also drive cool Vehicles? Possibly that talk?
Yeah, I knew you couldn't think of any current examples.
Those TV execs. They don't have any sense whatsoever. I mean, I really dig those "macho man rescues hapless female" story lines, the shiny black camaro/van with red stripe/helicopter/whatever MacGyver drove, and the ridiculous NGO supporting the one man army (FLAG, the Foundation for Law and Government from Knight Rider). The leather jackets or low-rider jeans and the aviator glasses! Mr. T's chains!
Also the ridiculous story lines: KITT meets his match in a super-charged 18 wheeler! KITT meets his match in a pit of toxic ooze! KITT meets his match in the form of his sort of twin brother, KARR, who has been programmed to save himself, rather than save human life first.* (Programmer says, whoopsie!)
Note: Can cars have twin brothers? How does the splitting of the egg work?
There's a lot of ridiculous TV on, but arguably, there's nothing this ridiculous.
Well, maybe.
I might need to go on NBC and watch some of the old episodes. Or possibly read David Hasselhoff's autobiography, Don't Hassle the Hoff.
Or I could go eat some Funyuns.

*What does it say about me that I can remember these plots but I often forget my keys/hat/wallet/sunglasses? What is wrong with my brain?

well, yeah

(Showing Lucy the New Yorker, wherein there's a drawing of a bunch of policemen testing a new weapon)
L: Man?
H: Yes, these are men. All men.
(Me, thinking): Hmmmm.

Monday, May 26, 2008


I decided to start volunteering with a local hospice organization. Hospice is a way of dealing with the end of life--rather than letting people die as they may in the institutional, techological black hole of the ICU, hospice tries to help people die with dignity, not using invasive methods, treating pain, and surrounding people with community. Sometimes that means that people die in their own homes, or it may take place in a nursing home or hospital.
I'd read about hospice, and heard about it, and after doing a home birth, the idea of a less-invasive, more personal death seemed kind of cool.
Plus, it sounded like volunteering with hospice would allow me bringing my child along to be an asset, not a liability.
Anyway, it took a while to get assigned to a person, but last week was my first time visiting her. I'll call her Maggie.
Maggie lives in a residential facility pretty close to my house. Because of her health issues, she's not really able to interact much, or say much, or really even move much. When I first saw her, with Lucy, she was eating lunch, well, being fed lunch, and her head was down. Her medium length grey hair was in her face.
I kind of wondered what I was getting myself into.
The first visit was a little awkward--a helpful person from the hospice was there with me to introduce me to Maggie, and so I kind of felt like I was Performing! To show how Comfortable I was! In front of my (sort of) Boss!
Lucy sat in my lap the whole time, her eyes as big as saucers. I'm not sure if it was the wheelchair, or Maggie's non-standard way of interacting with us, or the other resident who was wandering the garden, muttering to herself, but Lucy was a lt quieter than usual, and a little more willing than she usually is to stay in my lap.
At one point, Maggie said something, a whole sentence full of something, and I missed it entirely. Having a toddler, you'd think I would be used to only catching bits of conversations, but I was embarrassed, and said, "I'm sorry, Maggie, I couldn't hear you."
She looked away, and didn't say anything else.
Afterwards, the staff person told me that Maggie probably wouldn't remember what she had said, so I can just say something non-committal, like "That's wonderful!" or "Sweet", or "Fuhugugads", and it will be fine.
I felt awkward and dim, and wondered (again) what I'd gotten myself into.
Except for the last minute, before we left. We wheeled Maggie back inside, and I learned how to operate her wheelchair (with brakes. Note to self: remember to set the brakes on the very fragile lady's chair) and we said goodbye. That was when I realized that Maggie's head was up, she was looking at us--well, at Lucy, and she was smiling.

A few days later, I was kind of bored in the afternoon.
This is why I signed up to volunteer. I get bored sometimes, and it seems a shame. Couldn't I be useful in some way? Couldn't I get past my boredom and actually give of myself, and so, perhaps, feel better about the doldrums that come occasionally with housewifery?
Still, I hesitated.
I liked seeing Maggie smile. I like how she kept looking at Lucy, and how she tried to talk to us.
But old people's homes are weird, and people who are unable to move/talk/interact are awkward, and I was already out-of-sorts.
I got in my car, put on my Official Name Badge and parked.
As we marched to the front door, I told Lucy who we were visiting. "Maggie," I said.
"Maggie," she repeated. "Maggie, Maggie, Maggie."
We walked down the hall to Maggie's room. There was someone moaning in the hallway. "Owwww!" she yelled. "Owwww!"
I hoped it wasn't Maggie. I wondered if I should tell someone that a resident was in pain. Probably they knew? Seeing as she was yelling?
I asked a staff person where Maggie was--and he brought me to her room. As he walked in ahead of me, he said, "Oh, no!"
Not what I was hoping to hear.
I kind of stopped, hesitated, and said, "Is everything okay?"
She had rolled over in bed, and was half on the floor. The poor woman.
But he got her propped up again, and put the teddy bear she had dropped in her hand.
She saw us and smiled.
Lucy went mute and squirmed in my lap. She had remembered Maggie, but she still wasn't used to her.
I talked for a while, filling the silence. I told Maggie that Lucy was climbing on things now, and getting better at disobedience, an important skill. I mentioned the garden I had planted. I told her that Lucy liked "helping" with it--pouring water on the plants and her pants and her shoes. I told her that we liked telling Lucy that she was a rascal.
Maggie smiled. "Rascal," she said. "Rascal."
This time, I knew I understood her.
I got up and moved from the chair to the edge of her bed. I sat down.
Lucy wriggled out of my grasp. She wasn't ready to be so close. But funnily enough, I was.
I smoothed back some of Maggie's hair. It was drooping into her eyes. And I grabbed her hand. It's odd, how I don't know this woman really at all. She's (mostly) a closed book to me, and as far as I know, will continue to be. But sitting there on her bed, I knew her, and wanted her to be comfortable, and know she was loved, and that we would get to know the parts of her that we could.
"We're glad to be here," I said, glad it was true of me, hoping it would soon be true of Lucy. "We're happy to see you."
She mumbled something I couldn't understand. And then--I understood her whole sentance. "Tomorrow. I'll come to see you," she said.
"I'd like that," I said.
And meant it.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


So my little garden has plants in it. And sproutlings.
I planted fennel, basil, bunching onions (the scallion kind), tomatoes, strawberries, peppers and thyme.
My basil seeds actually sprouted! I have sproutlings!
Did I mention the sproutlings?
Dyami's getting the blender ready for pesto. The plants should be ready soon, right?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Just joined facebook.
Had been resisting. May not use it very much. But was pleasantly surprised to find a few long-lost friends that might even add me as friends.
But Facebook is kind of weird.
Very weird.
For example: the self-definition. I define my Political Views! My Religion! I was trying to be ironic (I put Jesus Freak) but there are many other people who share that religion, and it looked less ironic than, well, like I actually define myself as a Jesus Freak.
Also: The running commentary of Things I have Just Done. I.E., "Heather has just updated her profile." "Heather has just started using FaceBook, after avoiding it for years!" "Heather is Married!" "Heather just picked her nose." Well, not that last one. I haven't set up the webcam yet.
Also: the whole friends thing. That's the other part of the running commentary. My bro-in-law and two friends have added me already (thanks, guys). But when I add them, it says, "Heather and ____ have become friends!" Which kind of ignores the fact that each of the three people have been friends with me for years. More than a decade, in one case.
Anyway, look me up if you're all facebooky, yourself. I don't actually really need another time suck (besides this one) but Oh Well!
Heather just finished Blogging! Heather is going to go get ice cream! Heather is going to go to bed on time, in a few hours!
Heather is shutting up now!

Monday, May 19, 2008

act locally

We found treasure in the bushes by our house.
I glanced at the leaves while with Lucy on our daily walk, and saw a flash of gold.
With black spots on it.
A ladybug! A golden (yellow/orange) ladybug!
Didn't know they came in colors other than yellow, but I pointed it out to Lucy, let it crawl on my hand for a little while, then placed it back on its leaf and went on for the rest of the walk.
When we came back that way on our way home, L kept pointing to the bushes, so I went to the place I thought we'd left it and--
I found it again! I was so proud of my tracking skills!
Until we found it again and again and again.
Turns out there are a lot of ladybugs in the bushes.
So, every day after, we've walked past, admired the ladybugs, invited a few for a sojourn on our hands, and placed them carefully back on their bushes. Lucy loves it, though she keeps calling them "ants".
But. Two days ago, when we walked by, we heard a huge buzzing noise and saw a pile of fresh bush clippings on the sidewalk.
Trimming time.
My first thought: Oh no! The ladybugs are going to all fly away! Their ecosystem is in peril!
My second thought: Insects definitely outnumber us on this earth. And a suburban eucalpytus bush next to an apartment complex doesn't really count as an ecosystem. Does it?
Anyway, I told myself that surely the ladybugs would still be there. Not to fret.
Except--I was wrong. Their number is greatly diminished.
Not sure if the weed whacker scared them away, or if they got stuffed into trash bags or what, but there are definitely less then there were.
It made me sort of sad. I know that the HOA's around here have to make sure the sidewalks are passable, but the ladybugs! Their ecosystem!
It also made me think about why there is so much environmental degredation going on around in our world. Seriously.
I only noticed these bugs because I'm going at a toddler's pace, and because I happen to know this one bug's name, and what they're like (harmless to humans, bad for aphids).
But I feel embarrassed every morning when we walk and we see plants or bushes or birds and I say, "Look! A...bird! It's got...feathers! Brownish ones! And a plant! Of Some Kind!" Then I see a pigeon, and I shout, with some releif, "A pigeon! In its natural ecosystem!" I love birdwatching!

Growing up in Tucson, I felt like I knew the plants, knew the lay of the land, because I spent time in the desert, in the washes, and we learned about it in school. I got no such training when we moved to CA. I think it's a loss.
I like reading Wendell Berry (sometimes--sometimes he's too curmudgeonly) and one of the things I admire about him is that he is committed to his community, and the land that hosts his community. He knows where he's from. He knows how to make land productive. He knows when it changes and why. He's a farmer. He notices the changes in his town, in the small towns around him, because he's lived there for a long time.
Whereas me, I feel like an old-timer in our neighborhood because we've been here a stunning six years. Or an old-timer in our city because I've lived here almost 20 years. Whoopee!
How can any of us really see changes, see disintegration if we don't really know our land, the animals that coexist close to us, or even the people around us? If we're so cut off from nature that seeing a ladybug in a bush is surprising?

I did something either fabulous or foolhardy this weekend: I planted a garden. It is three feet by three feet, and I have planted three different crops thus far (Crops! I planted crops!). Onions, fennel, and basil. I also plan on peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, and maybe garlic and thyme and potatoes.
I'm hoping something comes up, that I get some kind of vegetables. Part of me just wants to have some idea how nature works. What kind of system it is. Like going out and watering my little patch of earth is a way of extending a hand and saying, "Hi! My name is Heather and I'm sorry I have killed so many plants in previous gardening attempts, but I read a book! Wait, don't laugh! I want to get to know you! I have good intentions of keeping these plants watered! Alive, I don't promise, but watered!"
I guess the garden is hopefully some way of paying more attention, and maybe noticing a little bit more. And helping Lucy to notice. And also figure out where things like tomatoes come from.
And maybe some of those ladybugs will hop the fence and come visit, sometime.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The invite

reads "Attire: cocktail."
Do flip-flops count for "cocktail"? They've got rhinestones on them.
Cool, cause I'm wearing them.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

on again, off again.

My internet connection is acting like an emotionally unavailable boyfriend.
He's connected! We're working on our communication! I'm getting on a roll, telling him things, and he's relaying them, and then, out of the blue--
He doesn't take my emails, ignores my calls. Just disappears.
I do some work on the relationship, reset our connection, and he decides to reciprocate.
For about fifteen minutes.
I'm starting to doubt us. If he really cared, wouldn't he listen to my cries for help? Wouldn't he answer me? Wouldn't we be able to dance wirelessly around the house?
If he doesn't shape up soon, I'm ending things. Except--
Except I need him.
I really need him.
I looooooove him.
I don't even know how to use a real dictionary anymore. Or look outside for the weather.
Or blog.
I think I can change him. Buy him some things, sweet talk him, plug the router into a more desirable location?
In the meantime, I'm going to go eat some Ben and Jerry's and watch TV to drown my connectivity issues.

Friday, May 9, 2008


So Dyami's last day at his job was this Wednesday.
So far that has given us two days of self-employment.
It's weird, I would have thought I'd be super stressed out or worried or anxious about him quitting. With the exception of the health-care issues, though, I'm pretty chill.
Who am I, and what have I done with Heather?

I think part of the calm comes from having a source of income. Dyami's software business is doing well. Not enough-to-pay-all-our-bills well, but pretty-darn-good-for-a-new-business-and-slowing-our-burn-rate well.
Also, I'm so much more spiritual now than I was in the past.

I think the time at my parent's also helped. We have a fallback plan! Hah! No, more that, "worst-case scenarios" don't seem so scary anymore. We have been able to depend on family in the past and it was a blessing. So taking some risks doensn't seem so scary. When D and I watched "The Pursuit of Happyness" together, we couldn't watch it all in one night, so we stopped in the middle, just when Will Smith's character is becoming homeless. I couldn't sleep that night, worrying about us becoming homeless. Doesn't that make sense? But I've realized how far away from the margin we have been living, and how many blessings we have in the people that surround us. It helps me not to be as scared.
Also, I am trying to live more simply, and it seems like doing more with less money is going to help with that. There's no better discipline than necessity, right?
I should also mention that spirituality again. Really, I'm praying right now.

So there you go. Dyami's self-employed, I'm self-aware, and we're eating a lot of beans.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

hidden camera

We have trouble with our camera.
No, it works fine, takes great pictures, and is small, easy-to-use, and, well, digital.
The trouble is, we can never find it.
Not just the lost-track-of-it-for-five-minutes kind of lost. No, this is:
  • Our camera getting stolen, so we buy a new one, until we find the old one in our suitcase, (because, of course, the theives brought it back).
  • Then, finding the camera, and having it for about a month, then losing it again in the cabinet where we usually store it, where I look for it at least fifteen times over the course of four months and don't see it even thought it's a very small cabinet.
  • Then finding it again, taking it out of the house for the very first time to take pictures, and leaving it at our friends' house. Where we forget we left it, and thus spend another week thinking we lost it.
I'm starting to think we shouldn't bother taking pictures, or having a camera, or really trying to save anything for posterity. It's been about six months since we've taken any pictures, and I'm completely out of practice.
Just for fun, the other day Dyami tried to take a video of Lucy playing with the cat, using the DVR he also uses for his software business (mostly he "animates" things like Tylenol bottles and his eyebrows). First time we've tried to record her, um, ever, and...
The tape was full.

Monday, May 5, 2008


Can I vent?
Now that Dyami's "retiring" from his job for the short term, we thought it might be good to purchase some health insurance to cover catastrophic events and/or planned or unplanned pregnancies. We've done this before--the last time Dyami got bored at work and decided to strike out into the great unknown of semi-unpaid work. Last time, we bought the high-deductable plan that's crappy but better than no insurance at all. So it was kind of nice, this time, to know what I was doing. No need to reinvent the wheel, right? I just signed up for the same plan we had before, and waited for the company (Blue Shield) to take our money.

Except it turns out they don't want our money.
Why? you might ask.
Well, because I actually used the health insurance we're currently paying for.

When we got company-provided insurance a few years ago (oh, happy day!) we shelled out a bit of extra cash to get some chiropractic coverage. Both of us like our chiropractor, we have a few aches and pains, and it's nice to be able to get them taken care of when they occur, rather than letting the kinks decide they're permanent.
So that was our big mistake: actually using the chiropractor.

After Lucy was born, I had some aches and pains. Ligaments were all stretched out, my old dance aches were irritated, and I slept wrong and got a crick in my neck.
Nothing too catastrophic.
And man, was I glad I had decent coverage! Cause then I could get it taken care of!
Except apparently that was a bad idea! Because it was on the basis of those complaints that Blue Shield decided I was in poor health and a bad risk.
Hmmm. I eat well, don't smoke, don't drink too much, exercise regularly, and have never broken a bone, been hospitalized, or had a major illness. Not only that, but I gave birth to Lucy at home, without anaesthesia.
If I can't get health insurance, who can?

We're working with our chiropractor to contest the denied coverage; I'm hopeful that the result will be good. After all, wouldn't they desire to profit off of our fabulous health?

But it just pisses me off that this is our health care system. That I will now be afraid to go to the doctor or use the coverage I pay for because it might prevent me from getting coverage later. That someone with an entrepreneurial spirit might think twice from starting a business because they can't afford or receive health insurance. That we are forced to fight to pay someone to provide us with bottom-of-the-barrel, only-prevent-bankruptcy coverage. That all this could be avoided if we all ponied up more taxes (probably less than what a lot of people pay for insurance and health-related expenses) and actually supported a health care system that made sense, pooling all of the people in our country of good and bad health.

If this makes you mad, too, here's an organization that's trying to do something about it. Healthcare reform is just one of their platforms, but it's an important one. I'd like to be optimistic our next president will solve everything, but I'm not. Unless we all put more pressure on them. And ditto with California's legislature. How do they know what it's like? The state already provides their insurance.
So I invite you to join me in supporting Moms Rising. Because in this economic climate, it could be you that gets laid off next. And you who is unable to find coverage for you or your loved ones. If you have had problems getting coverage for your kids, share your story here to help our lawmakers understand this crisis.
And pray that Blue Shield decides to take our money.

What's Happening Now!

a) We moved back in!
b) Many things still need finishing (tile! mirror! finding things that were misplaced! Three-foot-high weeds! Kitty neediness!)
c) Dyami quit his job!
d) We applied for health insurance!
e) We were denied for health insurance! (this merits its own post: soon to follow)
f) Moved Lucy into her own room! She's sleeping in her own room, people. Ie, without us. Why aren't you gasping?
g) L using potty on own, asking to go! (Yeah, I know, since we did EC in theory this shouldn't be exciting, but well, it is).
h) Weaning progressing so well I thought we might actually be done nursing a few days ago (we weren't, kind of glad I have a few more times to savor it before we move past this phase).
i) Am I missing something?
h) Oh, yeah. Lucy got her first mole today. Saw it on her arm while she was (um) nursing. It's like watching the stars come out at night.
So that's why I haven't posted for a while. It's been a bit, well, um, new around here.

Friday, May 2, 2008

great idea, but...

So I was all proud of my plan.
Our town has lousy public transportation, like the rest of SoCal, but I did find that there's this call-for-a-ride service that serves the area we live in. So you call the service ahead of time (the night ahead, or a few hours ahead), specify where you want to travel (from some pre-defined stops) and an approximate pickup time. Then they come get you and deliver you to your destination. They picked us up from the front door of our house and delivered us two blocks from the library. Then they picked up from the same location every hour.
Cool, huh? It's the same price as a bus ticket, and it's good for the whole day. I could go to the library, to Target, to a different library, and to the thrift store, all without using my car. Well, in theory. The schlepping of Target items and the baby probably won't work. But some books? I can do that.
So here was my plan, once we moved back to our house: try to use the service to go to the library/thrift, which are a few blocks away in our town's downtown. I go about once a week. Less driving, more public transportation.
Everyone wins!!!

Except when I got on the bus for my first ride, I see a notice posted that they're considering discontinuing the service in August. Completely. Along with many other routes and holiday/weekend service.
Come on, Transit District! I just got my act together to use the system! (Actually, the thing holding me up was the fact that our downtown library was just finished and I wasn't living within the service area for the past few months. Making the service not so usable.)
And the very first time I try it, it's going to be cancelled?

The thing is, this service seems to make so much sense for our area. Some kids got picked up from our local high school and delivered home when I was riding. How much sense does that make? (You'd think there were be school buses, but you'd be wrong.) Some older folks, that might not be driving. It's flexible, it can operate in a way where people might actually use it here, and it doesn't require a bunch of infrastructure.
It's kind of like public transit, with training wheels.
Consider: the closest bus stop to my house is a mile away. The do-gooder in me would love to use public transportation, but I ain't schlepping my baby a mile away and back for the privilege.
I think I'm going to send a comment to the Transit District. I mean, come on, people? Haven't you heard that all the cool people are going environmental? WOuldn't we want to catch the wave and do the same?