"She refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn't boring." Zelda Fitzgerald

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

One of Those Golden Days

 Today was the last day of January...and it was 56 and beautifully sunny! We celebrated by taking one of our long overdue trips up to the farms we love to visit. We stopped and visited with the cows, loaded up on milk, hit up the chicken lady for eggs, bought a honeycomb and ate some (quality control is important) and even scavenged a few flower bulbs on the way.

 The bees were out a buzzing and so were the kids on the playground. It was such a beautiful day that we couldn't resist an additional stop at the local park to see if the old equipment was still up to par. Fun to see the boys running across a field under a big blue sky with no winter coats.

Now I just need to hold onto that image for another solid month or two. Good thing we're headed into birthday season...that ought to help hold me over. Spring will eventually come!


Monday, January 30, 2012

I Gave Myself Flowers

Happy Monday world!

Today started out a classic Monday for me. I got on the scale and found I'd gained for weight than I would have liked over the weekend, I couldn't figure out what to wear (which always makes me feel ugly) and it was cold and grey with lots of wind outdoors. I started the morning by crying in the refrigerator while I was trying to get breakfast.

Little Bouquet
Image by mbgrigby via Flickr
But you know, I washed all the dishes, I planned out a fresh juice to make myself later that day, I took Aaron to work and then bought myself an armful of flowers on the way home, found a voicemail on my phone from an acquaintance who just called to say she admired me and was thinking of me and then the sun came out and the wind died down. By the time my aunt knocked on the door with her sewing machine cheerfully tucked under her arm, ready to sew the day away together, I was feeling pretty alright.

Sometimes you just need to figure out how to heal what ails you...even if it means a few indulgences. You're worth it.
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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Here And Now

Our fig tree is making fruit!
Life is slow and gentle at our house today. I painted this morning with my art fellowship group, we did a little errand running and now there's a chicken, slow roasting in the oven while we dash off for a post-nap park run and then pick up A from work.
Cold winter light through my blue bottle collection on the kitchen sill
I picked up paint to turn the foyer/entry area into a dark teal color with glossy white trim, a new print of a Jose Royo portrait is in the mail to me to hang on the main wall and I am hoping to attack the cupboard that I've stationed there to catch keys, and hold a scented candle and house baskets of mittens.
Little sculpture, little plant life: bright spots in our sunroom.
What else is new? The weather is insane. Last week we had chilly temps and our first real accumulation of snow. I was out shoveling snow up around the bee hive to insulate it extra and try to provide some protection. And then abruptly over the weekend we had a blast of warm air and a long rainy drizzle that made all the snow disappear into a swirl of foggy mist. The upside is, I've been out counting daffodil tips in the flower beds and have taken to morning walks before anyone else is up. (Yay motivation to be physical!) The downside is that although April weather feels good, it is after all only January and something feels unsettled in the pit of my stomach at all this balmy cheer. I hope the trees and the bees can weather it alright.
I can't get enough kumquats. And they're cute as all get out.
My reading list at the moment. Food issues, birth, gardening, poems. Good fodder.
I'm eating well....doing all in my power to avoid ridiculous cravings and gain control of my urge to sooth myself with food. (see the top book on my current reading stack above, for reference) I have dusted off my juicer and been revving myself up once daily with the juice of the hour and am still tracking what I eat on fitday, aiming for optimal nutritional content. I am also doing a pretty good job at weighing myself and tracking my progress there. I have gained 10 lbs so far this pregnancy and am at week 21 so I'm feeling good.
How I'm looking these days.
Speaking of pregnancy, the other big news is that we've found a midwife! It's about time! Halfway through is wayyyyy to late for my comfort level...but better late than never. We'll be delivering at the only birth center in the state this time which will bring my personal birth experience to a new level of well-rounded since I've been at home, and in the hospital already. Good for a future midwife, right? Someone tell me yes. Am still feeling a little bit unsettled and nervous about it but they have told me they're willing to handle my ITP and allow me to birth in their cozy home-like birthing room. I have found no other midwife besides Martha, my late provider who was willing to take on a blood issue like mine so that was a deal maker for sure. We're an hour away which is kind of annoying and there are still a few more medically procedures that I'll have to deal with than I'd prefer but it seems like a good solution so over-all I'm feeling grateful. My first real appointment is on February 2nd. Am looking forward to getting the ball rolling.
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Monday, January 23, 2012

Potty Training Round Three

Am surfacing again after the weekend, all ready to tackle a new round of days and tasks. Ready enough anyway. Sometimes I pretend because it seems to be a pretty effective method of mind trickery...even I believe me.

The big task for this week is taking my third sojourn in The Land of Potty Training. It seems hard to believe that I am already nudging my third child out of diapers and into big boy independence. I hardly feel accomplished but I can honestly say that I have fairly painlessly taught two already so I'm not very intimidated at this point.

My basic method involves:
  • A canning jar full of M&M's....and other very healthy components...heh
  • Rewards for all three boys when Nib tries and when he has hits (You are your brother's keeper, yes?)
  • Every 30 minute timer beep reminders for potty breaks 
  • Lots of enthusiastic cheering and excitment
  • Gerber brand thick cotton training pants (more absorbent than regular underpants!)
I recommend The Potty Watch, my secret weapon for remembering to set the timer + handing responsibility to the kid. I also feel slightly better about the candy quotient, silly as it sounds, when I buy the purple bag of dark chocolate M&Ms. How's that for goofy self justification?

So far the tally for today is: about 8 hits and 1 big messy miss. Not bad for a first round. I'll take it.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Poetry Friday: Married Love

Happy Poetry Friday one and all! I hope you've survived this chilly week in style and are launching into a weekend that will treat you well. I am a walking stereotype, the biggest thing I'm looking forward to is a grocery shopping trip to fortify the house with all my food cravings. Heh. That's what you get when a pregnant woman tells you about her inner life.

My Love
Image by Jennuine Captures via Flickr
Sharing a love poem today. This is only the second one I've ever written and although I aspire to emit bodies of amorous verse it doesn't come easily to me. I am very wary of mush and trite sentiment and also of untruth both of which seem more icky than sweet to me.

 Carving Our Initials

Here in our tenth year of marriage, Love has arrived
Gently swooping in to roost in the dormer over our heads.
It came when we traded totems, I saw you let go of your
Iron plans and glinting thoughts to consider and hold mine,
Smooth in my hands like beach stones, well worn and loved.
I have seen you open your mind like a creaking Dutch door,
Allowed it to sag agape, not closing out the interior glimpse.
You have seen me halved like a avocado, showing you my
Damp pit, and you have looked, open eyed on my green center.
Love has been born in our mutual loss and in the tender
Hope that grows up like a bright shoot pressed between
Two people feeling powerless in each others arms.

If you would like to sample the other contributions for this week's Poetry Friday celebration, click over to Wild Rose Reader where our host Elaine is compiling a list of participating bloggers.

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Munch, Munch...A Friend Lunch!

A visit from friends for an impromptu leftover lunch and mommy nosh session is sometimes exactly the cure for what ails you! 

I do love having friends just drop by. Am starting to mull over ways to restructure my life to allow a little more of this.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sometimes You Need A Little Taupe

I swear I decorate in rash episodes. I mean to have strategic plans and check things off cleverly one by one working my way methodically through the house creating a nest of beauty as I go. But what really happens? I wake up one random Wednesday morning and decide I have had enough....today I must paint the upstairs hall. Life and death hangs on it. And it has to be done before I take the boys to their co-op meeting, and before the babysitter gets here, and before my extremely stress laden meet-and-greet appointment with the birth center that is my last out of hospital hope. I am not sure if this is insanity, stress relief, brilliant inspiration or nesting.
Pre-renovation stairwell and view into hallway

Ripping out that old carpet
Who really cares? The hall looks good! Not finished, there is still a floor to finish, a ceiling to paint, and trim to re-paint with gloss white. But its starting to really look sophisticated and pretty and to hint at how I want the house to feel. Its a lot better than the plasticky faux wood panelling look + really dingy carpet look that was there before.
I always leave a set of squares for each of the boys to paint at the very end with their own brushes

Nib's first experience getting in on painting himself.
I've never painted a wall taupe before. I feel like a grown-up. It's very elegant on the wall, not boring and it feels adult. I had the runner on the floor and my friend and very sophisticated pal, who also happens to be Ru's godmother suggested taupe after taking an advisory stroll through the place during a co-decorating brainstorm. She's edgy and eclectic and hip and not at all the boring, bland over-elegant style of decorator that I makes me shrink into a very small version of myself. I aspire to be as expressive and creative as this girl. She's that hip.
The finished product. Hall doors and trip all white,walls taupe to match the cool runner.

And when I finished I re-hung the mirror I took down out of the kid-bath which is darn cool but going to be replaced by a medicine cabinet.

Good thing I kept it, eh? It's classy.
Anyhow...all that to say, she told me instantly that I needed taupe. "Taupe walls are the thing in here." And I would never, never have decided that on my own (I go for colors like teal and peacock and bright grape) but when she said it I could see it immedietly and it felt right and I also remembered that I somehow had a bucket full of taupe paint in the basement that I'd pick up somewhere on clearance. So, that was this summer and here we are, a few months later...tucking into bed, in a room off our newly classy hallway. Ah! Accomplishment. One "room" down...five million to go.
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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I Heart Vermont

State seal of Vermont
Image via Wikipedia
I am back from a little family get-away in Vermont. Vermont makes me happy. It is a state full of cheese, amazing warm old farmhouses, rolling hills and hardwood forests dusty old yoga loving hippies and salt of the earth types, amazing farm markets and wonderful chocolate. Can that get old? I love it in summer and fall and even winter has a certain chilly, nostalgic charm.

I'm not a big winter person anywhere but winter in Vermont, includes warm maple milk, snapping log fires, frosted mountains and is the perfect seasonal experience...at least for a weekend away. This weekend it was -15 below zero on top of the ski mountain so it was a bit chillier than my tastes generally allow.

I skied. I am halfway through a pregnancy, learned as an adult, hate truly cold weather and am deeply intimidated by athletics but I did, I skied. I was absurdly proud of myself. I do think that going out on the slopes in -15 below while pregnant is an achievement, isn't it?
Carts of chocolates in the factory.

In other news, we had some lovely chocolates after our tour at Lake Champlain Chocolates (not nearly as cool as the Ben and Jerry's tour but still rather stocked with free tastings). I do recommend purchases of whatever seconds the factory has on hand at the moment. I also reccomend picking up anything you can that's made by The Vermont Butter and Cheese Factory who are another company I swoon over in The Green Mountain State. They make some of our very favorite cheeses, for instance the Cremont and the Bonne Bouche are right up at the top of our salivation list. How did I get on to cheese? Time to take another look at our Great Cheese List sometime soon I sense.

Ru is turning out to be a top notch skier already at the ripe old age of 5. I am by turns jealous, proud, wistful and inspired by watching him zipping down the slopes fearlessly. I wish I had half of his vim and deep belief in his own genius. He is intimidated by no one. Not a single impressive, cocky racer whipping past him on the hill can make him wobble and pout. He thinks everyone at the resort is wonderful and everyone who is more talented than he is is just a few inches ahead and completely exciting. I was sharing with A on our drive back home that I truly believe deep in my soul that I need to treat everyone else on the run with me as a potential enemy because they all might find it hilarious to knock over that ridiculous looking, clearly terrified inchworm of a grown woman, creeping her way down the hill in giant, baby-step zig-zags. I believe the absolute worst of every other person on the slope. Isn't that awful of me? I am generally not nearly so cynical and prefer to believe the best of everybody but somehow skiing brings out my inner conspiracy theorist.

On the way home A and I read Greek myths to each other. Such incredibly interesting stuff. We are loving all those romantic, hilariously bawdy, heartwarming and curious tales. Some of them are very familiar to me (Pandora, Odyssus and the Cyclops etc.) but some pretty completely new (Hera's escapades to punish Zeus, the goddess Io and the Greek account of creation and the great flood). I didn't realize how much I had missed reading together. We've taken a long break and not been working our way through anything for a while. We've made our vacation schedule for the year though and have planned quite a few happy little road-trippy type jaunts and I am determined to begin packing the books again. We're even going to read fiction like we used to before we accidentally picked up a Henry James that one time. Heh.

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Monday, January 9, 2012

Pregnancy, Fitness and Mind Abuse

 Since it is January and all I'm thinking again about fitness. I'm back on board writing down the things I eat along with A who is fantastically consistent at it and keeping track of my nutritional intake on Fitday.com's handy little iPhone app (I still sometimes use the more comprehensive website, so don't be shy, non-smart phonies!) and I'm weighing myself every morning.
Physical Fitness
Image by Justin Liew via Flickr
 I genuinely regret slacking off on my running and then throwing in the towel. Summer heat is a major enthusiasm killer for me and I think the time period where it really started to get warm out is when I quit. Lots of people think the idea of running in the cold is crazy but for me it doesn't seem nearly as daunting as running in heat. When you run in winter you warm up and feel okay but in July running sounds like a completely terrifying thing to me.
Pregnant with Nib, no real prenatal shots this time around yet.

Truth be told there are several factors at work with me and fitness. One of the last times I ever ran was when I was in Florida on vacation with my in-laws and I think the combination of social intimidation ("Let's all go for a group run!") coupled with warm weather ate me alive. I tried to feel brave but honestly, I wimped out and walked back after quitting part way through our planned group run. I've been thinking frustratedly lately about intimidation and fear and all the crazy triggers I have for panics regarding fitness and exercise (being watched, sweating, physical pain, falling, feeling embarrassed...etc.). Consciously, when I think about it I realize that none of those things is going to kill me, none of them are objectively bad and lots of them would maybe even have something good to offer me.

This is where a personal trainer in my back pocket would really come in handy. One of the great things about a trainer is that they can order you through the blocks you set up for yourself, believe in you ceaselessly, know better than you about limitations and safety and not allow you to fink out when things get rough even if the rough is mental. Anyone have any great ways to stay fit while pregnant and/or brilliant ways to be your own personal trainer and order yourself to keep on and develop discipline even though you're scared? I've love to grow this way.
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Friday, January 6, 2012

Poetry Friday: A Dance Poem

Happy Poetry Friday everyone! I'm sharing a poem with you today that I wrote about dancing. Half of my "high school career" was at a performing arts charter school, an experience that really molded and encouraged my inner artist (not that it was exactly closeted anyhow) and helped me think of myself as part of the art world. One of the things that was most unique about high school in our building was that gym was replaced by everyone taking dance class together. We studied all kinds of dance from swing to modern to African with ballet influence and we performed for the public and for our parents and friends. I miss dance. After we married A and I studied privately with pair of ballroom instructors and learned to rumba and cha cha and waltz together. We quit when we moved out of Michigan. I think from time to time now about taking a class or going out to dance night event someplace but my current craving is just the see a dance performance. I want to see something live with thundering energy and swirling movement and the breathtaking moments that are lifts and dips and the human body in amazing, planned motion.
If you have to ask what jazz is, you'll never ...
Image via Wikipedia

I think I need to get on my local community calendar and find a local dance company to go see on a date night. This is getting bad. But in lieu of that I am clicking play over and over on this beautiful but short film of a ballet performance/fashion show. The female dancer is Janie Taylor and the male lead Justin Peck, both dance with our own New York City Ballet. We're a lucky crowd here in the metro area. Janie's clothing in the piece chances every few seconds, all the outfits are the work of the designer Chloe, and she's modeling the spring and summer line from 2011. I love Janie's hair and the fluid, amazing movement that dancing with it down creates.

Downright swoony, right? On to my poem.

 Music In My Body

When I was a little girl we danced in the kitchen,
Polkas on the linoleum, skipping past the sink
My Sunday dress hopping with my curls.
We went to square dances and I learned the
Internal swirl and bop of an allemande left
And bought my first pair of fragrant jazz shoes,
Leather curled like a crepe about each foot.
My second dance teacher, a warm sapling woman
All dark arching brows and shining seal's hair
She told me once to use proper posture in the car
"Sit like a puppeteer is dancing you from the roof."
I attended prom and shambled through the odd, close
Shuffle of a slow dance with my buzz-cut boyfriend.
And then I toured colleges and chose the Baptist one
Where I was smuggled into a hopping, underground
Swing Dance Club, all covert big band heat and zow.
I was at a wedding a year later, doing the macarena
When I overheard an old man say behind his hand,
"Those Baptist girls sure can cut a rug, eh?"
I married a man who was my ballroom partner
In the community dance class we took together
We trod on each other's toes and wrestled for the lead
Dancing our first, silent round of couples therapy
Now we have three little boys, all avid pint-sized swingers
And we hop and slide around the kitchen together
And I feel, as we do the twist in front of the sink
That I'll arch like Martha Graham into my golden years
With my foot pointed ahead of me, still following
That steady stream of music in my body.

A man and a woman performing a modern dance.
Image via Wikipedia
 So, that's my life's story in dance, or at least some of highlights. Good thoughts. I am sometimes asked if I'm a dancer and told I move like one. I doubt I really give off fluid ballerina vibes but something about me tells people that I like beauty of movement and that is a pretty good deal. I don't think of myself as a "dancer" per say. I was never any kind of star in the dancing circles I was in, I was afraid of being lifts since I was a big of a heavy girl for most of my adolescence, I was a little shy and a kind of wallflower socially and I didn't have perfect graceful instincts like some of my close friends. I've never danced a solo of any kind. I do have to say though that writing this poem really made me think about how much dance has been a part of my story and history. We don't have to be stars in order to sparkle. To say that the only ones who are dancers are the leads is cheating all the rest of us who just love to move. I'm a dancer.

If you want to take in other people's entries for the week, feel free to hop on over to Teaching Authors, today's host blog for Poetry Friday and take a look at what else is being represented. And have a great weekend! I'll be right here, with my toe pointed, on Monday.

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