Monday, April 30, 2007
Sunday, April 29, 2007
Knowing that everything is temporary helps, but Starbeans' teething and the seemingly constant fits and crying this week sent me into a downward spiral of despair. One that only my girl Barbara Kingsolver could yank me out of. During his nap today, I sat out in our sun-filled porch with carrots, cheese, and hummus by my side and soaked in the first three essays of Small Wonder. Finally, something to bring me out of my myopic focus on my own frustrations. Not necessarily trivial frustrations, but ones that I was allowing to effect me in a greater scale than should be. Barbara Kingsolver has a way of writing that incorporates the world at large. I particularly enjoy the way she looks at this through the lenses of biology and history. She reminds me that not only are the problems of the world much greater than mine, but so is the beauty, ingenuity, and stark grandeur of life on this planet, throughout all of its systems. I really appreciate her voice, much like the writings of Wendell Berry. She speaks so clearly.
With my remaining free-time, I looked for her online and found that she has a new book coming out May 2007, called Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. In it, Kingsolver chronicles a year that her family ate only what they grew or raised themselves, or what they could buy locally. I can hardly wait! With her usual insight into life, I'm sure that she will knock me flat. It's gonna be awesome.
Friday, April 27, 2007
Picking his nose with a pretty girl
- His new thing is "jumping" from his kiddie chair into my (or Squeeze's) arms. He climbs up on it and says, "Duhm! Duhm! Duhm!" [which of course, means, "Jump! Jump! Jump!"], makes big, theatrical movements as if he is going to catapult himself off the chair like a wildman, then walks right into our waiting arms. The kid can't jump yet. He knows what it is, but those chubby little feet never leave the ground.
- He is adding descriptors into his jargon, like "Bih Tuh!" [Big Truck] and "Bih Tratow!" [Big Tractor]. Well, I guess that is only one descriptor: BIG. I thought there were others, but they have left me (if ever they existed).
- His memory is amazing: We're working on not throwing food from his highchair. I've explained to him a million times: when he's done eating, say, "Mama, all done" and I will clear his tray and get him down. Up until this morning, he just didn't get it. The food would be thrown, reprimands would be made, the clean-up would start. But this morning, he pointed to the floor and said, "No, no"; I gave my mini-lecture again, and he responded with, "Ah-doh" (with the sign) instead of throwing food. He got it!! It is so encouraging, knowing that he eventually gets it. We went through the same thing with screaming when he was done eating. He finally started saying, "Ah-doh"...that is, until the food throwing began.
- His memory is amazing, Part II: He still remembers where the cat pooped on the floor by the door. He often brings up when he fell off the loveseat and hit his head on the floor the other day, by saying "Ow! Ow! Ow!", pointing to the loveseat and his head. When asked if he wants to go on a walk, he'll go and get up into his stroller on the porch. Every time we drive by a certain bright yellow restaurant on our way home from the library, he points to it and says, "Ye-yo!" He remembers the "Yowd!" trucks on our alley from 3 weeks ago. Every time we're in the backyard, he points to the door in the fence and says, "Bupa!" because that is where Grandpa parks when he comes over (in the alley driveway). He knows the cats' names. Etc. etc. etc.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Yellow & Purple Crocus
If there is any time of the year that I feel reluctant to move, it is spring. Our garden is on the verge of radiance; it is so nice to spend time outside. I know that 15 dreamy acres located in farmland will make our postage stamp of a yard seem like a cage, but I still feel sad about leaving all of our hard work. Four years of landscaping, to be enjoyed by someone else; much of it purchased when we actually had the money to buy nice things. We also planted several trees, three birch and a sugar maple - I feel sad about never being able to see them mature. There are so many bushes and plants in our yard that I will miss. Thankfully, we will be taking divisions of many of the perennials; but our most favorite dwarf Colorado Blue Spruce is going to have to stay. Sad.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Anyway, our Ice Cream Man yesterday afternoon played an array of Christmas music, of all things. While he was going by, I heard Jingle Bells and Silent Night. It seems so bizarre and ironic to me as a Northerner. Perhaps a Southerner wouldn't think twice? There is such a firm connection between summer and popsicles/ice cream that is seems so strange to be playing wintry Christmas songs while cajoling through the neighborhood. It gave me a chuckle while I was slaving to wash and rinse blinds that have been in storage since we moved in. It was shocking how dirty they were. It took some serious scrubbing to get the grim off and all the while, I was thinking, "Four years later, and we're still cleaning up their messes!" Seriously. They better be glad they sold in a Seller's Market. Spring cleaning was a foreign concept to these people; they kept their house surfacy-clean, so we spent the first few weeks/months opening up hiding places and shrieking, "Ahhhhhhkkkgh!" You would think blinds would qualify in the Surface Dept.
My meeting with the midwife went well; it was more of a "get to know you" session. We spent a lot of time just chatting, intermixed with light talk about birthing philosophy. They just sold their home FSBO, so that was an interesting connection. Starbeans spent his time going back and forth between the "prenatal room" and the living room, bringing toy cars galore and lining them up on the couch. I liked her. She seemed very big on nutrition and food intake during pregnancy, which is really nice. She is still nursing her 3 year old, so I know that she'll be very supportive in that dept. It seemed like the process of seeing her up unto the birth is not only to monitor general well-being and the pregnancy as it progresses, but also to get a good feel for each other prior to the Big Event. I like that, too. In the case of our move, she is willing to meet half-way for check-ups (amazing) and fine with traveling the 2-3 hours from her home to ours for the birth. She said that there aren't many midwives in the Western MN area. After my search, I would agree with her. I couldn't find much of anyone. Sad.
As far as selling our home goes, we may be going FSBO after all. I can hardly believe it. A simple conversation while meeting a new neighbor morphed into an opportunity to sell our home. The interested couple are friends of our neighbor; they want to move into South Minneapolis and like the idea of living close to their friend and, I believe, the Creek. They came and looked at our house last Friday and are already in the process of scheduling an inspection, an appraisal, another look-through, and plan to put their offer in this Sunday evening. It will be interesting to see what happens. We haven't signed with a realtor yet, so we are home-free to go FSBO. As you can imagine, we are very pleased. We knew our house was cute, but it is so nice to have that affirmed by an outside party. Hooray!
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
- His dad is his grandpa
- His mom is his sister
Yeah, try to wrap your mind around that one. But his breeders, like I said, were going for a longer nose. We got him from a friend who was moving and couldn't take him with (he still can't). He claims to have never seen that Seinfeld episode (the one where George goes ballistic after his acquaintances name their son Seven, the name he came up with). Whatever... The trial-period name before that was Pokey, so I'm glad that didn't stick.
I miss him. Every now and then I think of something he'd be doing or I think I heard his pathetic little meow, and I miss him more. We started calling him Little Bud because it was the only name stupid enough to fit his mental capabilities - like running after Q-tips that weren't even thrown, humping on stuffed animals, and attempts at ingesting yards (and I mean yards) of ribbon. He truly was a little buddy.
Monday, April 16, 2007
I am excited to hear her birth philosophy and start making plans for our birth process. I look forward with great interest to going through labor and childbirth again; especially being at home. I have a hunch that it is going to be a completely different experience. It is going to be so interesting!! The best part about it is that sweet little newborn that will be on the other end of it. What a precious thing to contemplate: the fact that it exists right now, who it will be and what it will look like are already formed. That really blows my mind. Squeeze is already calling it a "him", as males run so heavily on the Borealis side. In four generations, there have been 9 males and only 3 females born from Borealis men: those are pretty heavily weighted odds. [Interestingly, the 3 females are spread across 3 generations.] I'm still calling it an "it", though. I prefer the mystery.
While we were discussing our appointment tomorrow, the midwife clearly expected that both Squeeze and I would be coming to the appointment. I was a bit taken aback, mostly because he will be sawing logs at 10:00 am and taking "time off" from sleep is simply not an option - so I didn't even consider it. [Now that he works nights, he sleeps from about 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.] Thinking about it more, her assumption that he would be there is probably another indicator of her birth philosophy...that the male is going to be completely involved and therefore will want to be a part of everything. I like that.
Wednesday is 13 weeks.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
My grand scheme was always to get him back when we go rural this summer; to be an outside cat in the country. He would have loved that. Now I don't even know if he's alive. He probably is, but I'll never know that for sure. Unless of course, he comes back... But the only familiar thing at the new place was his carrier and the blanket inside of it. Not people. Not anything but that. Is that enough to bring a stray cat home? I can only hope. It has really been eating at me since I read, and re-read, and re-read again, her email with the bad news. I am very upset. Lester!!!
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
One thing that particularly struck me was how great I looked. Why did I worry that I wasn't up to par when my skin was so clear and fresh and young and smooth? Feelings of doubt certainly didn't dominate my thought-life then, by any means; but it lurked in the shadows. Ridiculous. I should be listening to myself present-tense, because I know I'll be saying the same things 5-10 years from now. Damn, I look good.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Monday, April 09, 2007
We eat so much of it that we were buying and consuming anywhere from 3-4 tubs a week. It was getting a little spendy (but not something we wanted to curtail), so I started making it. I have gotten myself into the routine, where it is hardly a blip in the radar on the days I make it. I am also speculating that I might have to start making it every 2-3 days, just to keep up with demand.
4 cups milk
1/2 cup starter yogurt
Put the milk in a pan, put the heat on low and bring it to an almost-boil. Turn off the heat and let it cool to 115-120 degrees (I keep a thermometer in the pan through the process, so I can judge when it it close to boiling, in addition to knowing how quickly it is cooling). Once it has cooled to the appropriate temperature, remove the skin and pour the milk into a pre-warmed bowl [a Pyrex bowl is ideal]; mix in the yogurt starter, then stick it in the oven for 6 or so hours.
I periodically (sometimes only once or twice) turn the oven up to 200 degrees for a minute or so, to keep things warm-ish. The goal is to keep the milk mixture undisturbed and at a consistent-as-possible temperature of around 100 degrees, in order for the yogurt to culture.
I've made all sorts of mistakes, including letting the milk come to a full boil; accidentally turning the oven to 200 for 5-10 minutes; and having to take the bowl out, cover it, and put it in a towel-lined cooler for the rest of the time (I had to use the oven for something else). And somehow, it has always turned out, which leads me to believe it is easier to make yogurt than one would think. You should try it!
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Transformers...more than meets the eye!
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
I want to do a homebirth for a number of reasons:
- Comfort: Being in my own home, in familiar surroundings. I don't want to plod around a hospital room again.
- Family: Staying close to Starbeans. Squeeze was with me the entire time with our first delivery; his presence was solid. I want to be near Starbeans with my second delivery (for crying out loud - we've never even had a babysitter!). I do not want to be separated from him for the 12-15-25-who-knows how many hours of labor.
- Personal space: I did not appreciate being confronted by the decision whether to vaccinate Starbeans against Hepatitis within 24 hours of his birth ("either now or at his first doctor's appointment", she said). While I wasn't completely educated on my options at the time, I had enough wits about me to say, "At his first doctor's appointment!" [You may or may not know my opinions about vaccinations, but this should be said: Target populations for Hepatitis vaccinations are drug users who use needles, prostitutes, and health care workers...why are we inundating a newborns' fresh immune system with this???]
- Personal space, Part II: I want to be left alone to enjoy my newborn for the first few days of his/her life and not experience the constant interruptions to test their vitals, as if their very life was in danger. I understand hospital regulations and liability, but enough already! [That's why I want to be home.]
Does anyone with homebirthing experience have advice on how to find a homebirthing midwife? We went through the midwives at HCMC last time; my experience was largely positive, but I'm (obviously) ready to give birth at home. My only concern is cost: our co-pay last time was $800. I've heard that a homebirth can run $2000 (assuming that our insurance, with is new, doesn't cover it). From a cost perspective, especially with finances as tight as ours, this may affect our decision. Advice. Please!