Advice Column

April 12, 2007

One of the hardest thigns about this period is the alarming frequency with which women say the phrase: “You’ll know. You’ll just know”
If you’re me (a relatively high strung woman with an inferiority complex) this phrase will make you feel so fucking shitty. Because here’s the big secret:
Unless you’ve done this before, there is a pretty solid chance YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW.
You won’t know if you are having real contractions or irritating regular old Braxton Hicks. You won’t know if that increase in vaginal discharge is just that or a slow leak of amniotic fluid. You won’t know what it feels like if your water breaks, or if it happens in the bath or on the toilet as you’re peeing how you’re supposed to tell the difference. You won’t know what your mucus plug looks like.
And you’ll feel frustrated, and angry and sometimes you’ll feel like a failure. You’ll feel like all these chicks are out there saying “You’ll know, you’ll know, you’ll know” and at the same time telling 400,000 different versions of what it feels like, looks like, is like. All about the EXACT same event, all wildly different from the next. And so you really have no other choice than just to buy into it, assume you’re an idiot and that “you’ll know” even if everything and everyone inside and out is each telling you a completely different story.
Today I am overwhelmed. It’s day 4 of what we’re going to call “pre-labor”, Day 4 of being at 1 cm dilation and 80% effacement. Day 4 of increased discharge being nothing, of irregular incredibly painful contractions, of being so big that the skin on my belly aches if I have to stand up, feels like I’m going to split my skin in two if I contract anymore, Day 4 of feeling helpless and uniniformed and stupid and histrionic. Day 4 of having person after person tell me: “It’ll happen, you’ll know”
Day 4 of being so indescribeably frustrated with NOT KNOWING.
I told Luke last night that this process feels very much like the ultimate betrayal of my body (or maybe the ultimate payback for all the ways I’ve abused it?) against me. Pain and frustration and crazy mood swings for 3 days straight…with nothing to show for it except pain, frustration and crazy mood swings.
I have never been a patient woman, and that’s part of my problem. I’m sure of it, wanting everything to happen the way I picture it.
But let this serve as a reminder: it WON’T happen the way you picture it. because you can’t. I’m sitting here at the computer and telling you straight out: It’s very possible that my water broke 10 minutes ago but I honestly have no idea if it did or not. And now I’m weeping hysterically and getting more and more agitated because the very strong contractions I had after it (a sign? a ray of hope? I dared think) are completely gone. And all I have is my usual discomfort.
I guess wanted to get all of this out so I remember and never do the grave disservice to someone I love while they’re laboring of telling them that they’ll know. Instead I’ll tell them: “I know how much this sucks, and you can only keep telling yourself that it can’t last forever. Sooner or later they’ll HAVE to induce you.”


St. Pat’s Adventure

March 19, 2007

Last year for St. Patrick’s day, I took my then 11 year old cousin Steve to see if we could vicariously experience the Flogging Molly concert at the Mesa Ampitheatre.We planned to sit on the grass and listen and be chased around by secuirty guards. Instead we ended up watching Flogging Molly perform from the top of the conference center for the hotel, after being snuck in by some strange guy and his buddies.
This year (and not on St. Pat’s, but Sunday night, as Staurday turned out to be insanely crowded at the concert), as I am 8 months pregnant, we decided to take Luke’s truck, some blankets and a picnic dinner and listen to the concert from the parking lot – slightly closer to the action and with the added benefit of being public parking so we couldn’t be chased off!
Steve and I were bummed that Luke wasn’t feeling well and didn’t come with us but we loaded up the truck and headed to the concert. It was much less crowded (adding credence to Steve and my mad skills regarding concert attendance guestimates) and we found a spot close enough to hear the music, enjoy the sunset, and eat out dinner.
Saturday when we attempted to crash the concert, Steve had bothered some security gaurds to sneak him in. Much to his chagrin they refused and he was left to skateboard on the outskirts. Last night, after finishing dinner, he grabbed his board and said:
“I’m going to see if those security guys remember me and let me in”
Feeling secure in my knowledge (no security guard ever let ME in when I was trying to sneak into concerts in junior high!) I told him to go ahead and settled back for a nice concert.
About 10 minutes later he comes running back: “THe security guy said he’d let me in if I left my skateboard here!”
“What? no he didn’t”
“he did! I’m gettin’ in!”
“Steve if you get fucked up in there your mother will kill me, don’t even”
“I’ll be fine” This last bit was yelled over his shoulder as he sped off.
Still feeling secure (if irritated that a security guard would mess around with a little kid) I didn’t yell for him to come back. I  was sure that he would come stomping back, fumung after a jerk security guy told him he was kidding around.
10 minutes passed.
I realized that he hadn’t returned. My jaw fell open.
He actually got in.
Feeling slightly panicked I called his sister first: “um, your mom is going to kill me. I let Steve go into the concert by himself. I didn’t think it would actually work. Call me back”
I called Luke: “I don’t think I should be raising a child. I just sent a 12 year old into a punk show by himself. It’s very possible he’ll be killed.” (Luke found this all wildly amusing by the way)
I called whomever I thought would be in town to help me figure out a way to track him down inside the concert. Paul didn’t answer. Mollie didn’t answer. My cousin Ben didn’t answer.
Steve’s sister Natalie called me back: “He actually got in by himself! Holy crap!”
“Natty! Your mom is RIGHT THERE! She’s not supposed to know!”
“Okay, whatever, just come down here and help me figure out how to retrieve him”
“we’re on our way!”
Mostly I wanted to track him down because 12 years old isn’t the ideal age to attend a punk show by yourself, he had no cell phone and no money and there were upwards of 3000 people at the Ampitheatre. It was alightly alarming.
Natalie and her mom arrived, both cool as cucumbers, Natty was certain she could get us into the concert without having to buy a ticket. I was sure we’d have to wait it out by the truck and just wait for him to come back after it was over.
We had no idea if he’d ACTUALLY gotten in or was just canvassing any security gaurd he could find around the perimeter.
So Natty and I went to work. We chatted with security gaurds, asked at will call and racked our brains. We found out that indeed a little kid HAD gotten into the concert although it “was not authorized”and so were reassured that he was in the midst of all the folks.
As I talked to my aunt on the phone again, Natalie had the brilliant idea of asking the guys at the Edge booth for tickets. She told them our predicament and asked if there was anything to do. Once again I rolled my eyes, sure. they’ll just hand you the free tickets for this huge show.
And what do you know they did. Out of their bag came two tickets. General admission.
And once again my jaw dropped open.
I called Luke: “um, babe, I’m going into the concert. We got tickets from the radio station.”
“Have fun!” he was still wildly amused.
So the pregnant lady and the absolutely opposite of punk looking 18 year old walked up to the security gates to get into the concert to look for the errant 12 year old.
When we got in I was struck by how much I didn’t actually want to be there. Any other time I would have been thrilled but being pregnant at a punk show is not the best of situations. I didn’t want to be around the cigartte smoke, I didn’t want to get a contact high from the thick layer of weed smoke, I couldn’t sit on the grass for very long without my insufficiently padded rear getting sore, I was worried that the deafeningly loud music would somehow make my wee child retarded.
Although, all of that aside, it was pretty cool to get in. And Authority Zero was fabulous. As was Flogging Molly. 😉
Natty and I wove our way through the crowds of people, we sang along with the band, and generally kept our eyes peeled. I knew if we didn’t find him by the time Flogging Molly started we would just have to enjoy the free concert and meet him at the truck later.
As the last band finished, we split up and began asking folks in the pit if they’d seen a 12 year old galivanting. Natty gave out her phone number to half of Mesa and a whole bevy of girls asked to touch my belly, being tickled to see a pregnant lady at a show.
Just before FLogging Molly took the stage my phone rang: “I found him! I found him. I found him!”
“Don’t move. Don’ t move a muscle. I’m coming to you. Marco”
“polo…I see you! Look up!”
Turns out the security gaurd told Steve to hide out up at the top of the Ampitheatre and stay out of sight. Much to Steve’s credit he did as he was told and only gazed longingly at the pit where giant men crashed into one another to the dulcet tones of Authority Zero. He stayed put at the top of the ampitheatre and enjoyed seeing the show.
After calling my aunt and assuring her he was intact, we decided to stay and enjoy the concert.
We left early because I’m a party pooper but got to hear at least one of their big songs. I took some pictures on my cell phone (T-Mobile hates me currently and I can’t send them to my Flickr account but I’ll upload them later), I let Steve venture to the edge of the craziness with his sister (she hung on to the back of his shirt and he jumped around like a loony), and wished very much that I could knock back beer.
The show was great, a little loud (does that mean I’m to old? Or just that my sensitive pregnancy hearing was on overdrive?), and I could have done without the copious amounts of smoke but I sang along with the songs I knew and danced on the grass with everyone else.
Overall, it was another fabulous random St. Patricks Day adventure (albeit one day late) and it has set the stage for tradition. As long as Flogging Molly plays the Ampitheatre for St. Pat’s, Steve and I will be there seeing the show for free somehow. Maybe next year we’ll even manage to get backstage. You should come, Steve and I have mad random adventure skilz.


March 14, 2007

Thinking about singing to my son has me thinking of music that played throughout my childhood.
My family loves music, we play musical instruments, we sing, we rarely gather without music playing in the background. I used to sing professionally for weddings and funerals, my mother plays the guitar and the accordion, my father plays the guitar and the piano, my cousin Darin has an album out and my cousin Hannah’s voice is awe inspiring. (as a side note, there was a short while when the music wasn’t played as often as it was, just after my mother’s father died, both my sister and I struggled with depression and anxiety, her moreso than myself and music seemed to exacerbate her anxiety attacks immensly. To this day, she’s very interested in why that was, because now she loves music and if asked about that period will talk about it to a certain extent)
While I was growing up there were several songs that all meant something special to me, time and time again these songs played in house. And they each meant something specific: Sunday mornings, time for bed, evenings when my father was home making dinner and drinking a glass of wine…
Sunday mornings were the most upbeat, most diverse tunes: Graceland by Paul Simon, Djobi, Djoba by the Gipsy Kings, anything by Gloria Estefan. I’ve spoken about Sunday mornings here before, and to this day they are some of my best memories of growing up. The soundtrack to those memories will always inform the color and feel of them. It is always summer in the Sunday mornings of my mind.
Other songs that played throughout my childhood are a bit more unusual. My parents, hippies that they are, taught us great songs from their college days: “If I had a Hammer”, “Fortunate Son”, and “Hey Joe” are all songs that bring back memories of sitting around the dinner table with my parents learning about Kent State, bra burning, and living in Tucson. My mother used to play “Sloop John B” on the guitar for us, and it amused us to no end. I have since discovered that most kids’ parents weren’t as politcally charged as mine, and that my childhood was a little bit different from average. Not that I’d trade it, I like having wierd stories to recount to my friends.
When my family moved to the Robson house I was about 7 years old. At first I shared a room with my sister. My father used to sit outside our bedroom and sing to us to put us to sleep, a lullabye that I have since sung to many children I’ve nannied: “Over in the Meadow”, a counting song that still moves me to tears to hear him sing it. To hear anyone sing it really. I plan on teaching it to Luke so he can carry on the tradition. This song has taken on new meaning in the last year as it is one of the songs I hummed to my Nana as she lay dying. I would stroke her back and sing quietly to her as she shallowly breathed in and out. I used to wish I could have come up with something more profound, but I have since realized how calming lullabies can be…
I hope that my son’s memories are as filled with music as mine are. I know that I’m doing my best to expose him to music now, singing and dancing as I clean the kitchen, as I drive my car, just listening to music with his dad.  Luke says he loves to hear me sing and I know that he sings at the drop of a hat (and he can carry a tune bless him!)
And now I’m curious, what kind of music makes up your memories? A specific song? A band?

The Best One

March 9, 2007

“The Best One”

Note: I composed all of this at about 2:00 this morning, insomnia struck again and it was the real kind of insomnia where you’re exhausted and can’t move but you can’t fall asleep. And you sort of want to punch whomever is sleeping in the bed next to you because they’re blissfully (loudly) sawing logs mere inches from you. And you have to go into the other room to try and sleep. And end up watching Law and Order reruns for 4 hours.

It was like that.

The subject of this post is a phrase I picked up from my Jess…oftentimes, if you’re doing something nice for her, or have said something particularly brilliant, or if you have just bought her a beer for her new beer leaf (which is, by now, no longer new but tarnished and well established), Jess will turn to you and say: “You’re the best one”.
This phrase is used often in our home, used well. It may be because Luke is not so much with the romance and this a practical way of telling me how wonderful he thinks I am, it may be because it’s nice to change up “I love you” with something else every now and then…
And then I read this:
“…I wasn’t sure how it happened, but I was sure I had found the best one. And I had.
I realize now this is just part of what it means to fall in love. Negatives slip away like dead skin. You don’t even notice they’re gone. You are left with the overwhelming evidence that you’ve got the best one. Logic dictates that not every husband, or wife, or child can be the best one. Yet in the face of that terrible logic, belief persists.
That belief drives us to document it, to photograph the object as proof. It may drive us to share those photographs with strangers (even thousands of them). Though a belief may be illogical does not make it untrue. It is true for all of us. The moment every child enters the world, two insufferable blowhards are born. That’s just the way it is.

And I realized that maybe Jess has created a phrase more powerful than she originally thought. It took me a lot of looking but Luke is the best one I’ve ever known. I realized that Jess has perfectly captured what it means to love unconditionally because, sometimes, late at night, when the belly has kept me up with his dancing, and I’m aching with the muscle pain of carrying around 60 extra pounds, and I’m exhausted but STILL can’t sleep, sometimes I run my hand over the hard ridge where my baby’s head is and whisper: “You’re the best one my babe” and he quiets and I can feel his little hand pushing back at me like he’s saying: “You’re not so bad yourself momma”.


February 23, 2007

Today is my birthday. One of my favorite days of the year…
Today I have been ruminating on a lot of things, having been up since 7:30 or so (cut me some slack, since I started my 9-5 I can’t sleep past 8:30 usually, birthday or no)
mostly the ups and downs of my life over the last 25 years. The important things I’ve learned:

-Trust your gut.
-Always make sure people know how amazing you think they are
-Take risks
-Find one thing every day to be joyful about
-Learn to cook well
-Be flexible
-Take nothing for granted
-Nothing is what it seems, or what you plan, or sometimes even what you hope…

This last one the most simultaneously painful and joyful lesson I have ever learned. The essence of it is that elements of our lives are whizzing by us at an incredible rate and every so often we get lucky enough for 2 or 3 things to collide at just the right moment and create something astoundingly beautiful. Sometimes these collisions result in a life changing, painful, blinding explosion but if we try and control that process, we might end up mising the best thing to ever happen to us.

So today, this day of my birth, I am taking the whole day to be grateful for all those little collisions that led me here. And for all the people who helped me survive through them.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, a million times.

"The dawn is breaking

A light shining through

You're barely waking

And I'm tangled up in you

YeahI'm open, you're closed

Where I follow, you'll go

I worry I won't see your face

Light up again

Even the best fall down sometimes

Even the wrong words seem to rhyme

Out of the doubt that fills my mind

I somehow find

You and I collide

I'm quiet you know

You make a first impression

I've found I'm scared to know I'm always on your mind

Even the best fall down sometimes
Even the stars refuse to shine
Out of the back you fall in time
I somehow find
You and I collide Even the best fall down sometimes
Even the wrong words seem to ryhme
Out of the doubt that fills your mind
You finally find
You and I collide You finally find You and I collide You finally find" -Howie Day, Collide.
"A mother told her daughter go out and find yourself 
a brown eyed handsome man
That's what your daddy is a brown eyed handsome man

Milo Venus was a beautiful lass
She had the world in the palm of her hand
but she lost both her arms in a wrestling match
to get a handsome brown eyed man
she fought and won herself a brown eyed handsome man..."

 There are a lot of songs about blue eyes and green eyes and every now and then a 
love song about brown eyes...Eyes of every color get odes. Even hazel eyes got a little 
tribute thanks to my girl Kelly Clarkson!
 I've been listening to a lot of love songs lately, all kinds of styles. From joyful upbeat ones to 
quiet sad songs. Mostly I listen because the baby seems to like it when I sing to him and
when I dance around cleaning the kitchen. But I've been listening to get a grasp on what this
feeling is that I've had a lot lately. This sense of ease and lightness. It takes a lot for me to go
crisis mode, and I feel confident (if ungainly) and though things still frustrate me every now and then
and sometimes I have a hard time communicating what I want, I am truthfully very happy.
Is this the love they're talking about?
 I've been innundated with the images of romance and love lately, everyone has, with the good old V-Day
coming up. Honestly, I nothing the holiday, since my birthday falls in the same month, when I'm in a 
relationship my birthday usually got precedence over the corporate holiday and I was given a joint present. 
And when I was single, it just never occured to me to be bitter because it came and went without my noticing it.
But I've been reading all those articles about romantic gifts and engagement proposals and roses
and I've been ruminating on it all...
 Mostly I have been thinking a lot about my relationship. And not just in terms of how it will be changing
once Colin gets here. But how we got here, where we're going, what makes this relationship so steeady 
feeling, so comforting and familiar. Our 6 years of friendship certainly helps, as does our ability to talk 
about everything. I'm sure that my being mentally healthy as of late (read: since last May) helps a lot too.
But it's more than that, something intangible, something that I struggle to define but am certain I have never felt
before. I use the word "incredible" a lot and "wonderful" and "joyful" in almost irritating repeat, and yet
it's still not enough. This morning as I kissed Luke goodbye, and he got into his truck to go to work, I looked at
this handsome brown eyed man I've got. A man who couldn't be more different from what I thought I wanted, a man
who really believes that his job is take care of me and worship me, a man who loves his family and friends and his God
with a ferocity that inspires people who meet him, a man with an innate curiosity about the world and a passion
for learning. A man who quite probably shares his beautiful brown eyes with my son...
and I smiled. Because there it was again. That feeling. 
 Where am I going with this? I don't know. Is it an attempt to create a Valentine for the partner I am irrevocably
bound too? Is it just a stream of thought that occured to me as I listened to Chuck Berry and Van Morrison as
I washed the dishes? I don't know.
But I'm grateful for that feeling. Whatever it is. Because it makes everything that much better.

I don’t quite know when I got interested in food. The actual cooking of it, the preparation, recipes, watching Food Network and Top Chef on TV, reading cookbooks…

Possibly it started as a way to get out of having to do the dishes, in all of the places I have lived in, if you cooked dinner for everyone you didn’t have to do dishes. And I DETEST doing dishes, something L. can attest to very vocally.
Possibly it started when I worked in a traditional European restaurant. I call it traditionally European because the head chef is a wonderful Romanian man, who is gigantic and slightly overwhelming when you start serving, but is in fact a teddy bear of a human being. He can pair food and wine like no one else and has a soft spot for unusual and exotic wines. Working at his restaurant (off and on for 3 years) was an interesting experience and allowed me to try all sorts of food combinations I otherwise wouldn’t have, see the inner workings of a kitchen and learn a BUTTLOAD about wine.

Possibly it stems from my childhood. My parents made sure we tried everything. A plate with only two colors is not a complete meal for me. My father would often order something unusual in a restaurant and make sure we tasted it before (and expressed our love of it) before telling us it was lengua (ground cow tongue, really fabulous) or squid. My sister and I are now avid sushi eaters, lovers of Ethiopian food, and willing to try just about any food thats put in front of us at least once.

who knows…

I find cooking very relaxing, when I’m stressed out or frustrated, it’s not unusual to find me making biscuits, or cookies or dinner in the kitchen. With my pregnancy making me crazy hormone girl and feeling a little lonely being at home all day, I’ve tried to cook dinner as often as possible.

My recipe collection (the dishes I can make well) is slowly growing. I’m well versed in Mexican food (from my Nana and my Dad), I cook a delightful pot roast (a skill first learned for an ex-girlfriend), and I adore making soups, my cream of tomato is my favorite. Mostly I stick to comfort foods, Thai style salmon with glass noodles, grilled cheese and tomato soup, hummus, fajitas, chicken with rice, Minestrone soup, Manacotti (a dish I first tried for a friends birthday). All of these are easy and taste good and most everyone enjoys them.

Lately, I’ve been slightly frustrated with my partners limited palate.  L. has some food issues which are more entertaining than  life threatening and cooking for him is a little bit of a challenge. I’ve learned to make new things, how to grill a steak, how to let go of any dreams of candlelit gourmet meals. And when I really want to make something new (or something he won’t eat) or try an unusual food I call up my less picky friends like Molls, or even better Pablo Norte (who I assume will eat almost anything!) or my dad and get my fix.

At the new place we have a gas stove, which I adore having grown up cooking on one. Electric stoves are fine, but gas is much easier to work with. I have used it in limited quantities, since I have no earthly idea how to cook for only 2 people. But it’s great.

Today I’m making a pot roast. I’ll make Luke pick up a loaf of sourdough and a bottle of blood orange soda on his way home and we’ll have a lovely little feast.

Tomorrow is fajita night (it’s a weekly thing here)

This is one part of staying home I can enjoy…maybe I’ll bake bread tomorrow…


January 15, 2007

My mother handed me a piece of paper.

On it, in a familiar hand, that I hadn’t seen in a while was a prayer in Spanish.

It was the prayer my Nana said over me the day I turned 15.

I grew up in a household divided. My mother being fiercely Mexican and my father looking so very white. I inherited my fathers skin tone and my mothers eyes. I learned how to make tortillas and menudo when I was 10. I understood Spanish from childhood. My mothers cousins children called my “El Casper”…

When I was 14 my parents asked if I wanted to have a Quinceanera. I decided that it was something I wanted and we planned a day that mixed Mexican tradition with my feminist upbringing. My grandmother and my Nana said prayers over me both invoking the Virgin. It was a great party. 🙂

4 years ago my Nana had a severe stroke that left her unable to communicate, unable to write, it limited her movement and she wasn’t able to stay by herself. Every Friday night (when I wasn’t doing a show) for 3 years from 5:30 until 9:30 I was at her house, making her dinner, talking with her in her limited vocabulary (mostly a mix of nonsense and Spanglish), watching romantic comedies with her.

She died in April. I was in her kitchen. She looked at the statue of La Virgen as she stopped breathing.

I sat there, weeping,  as I read the prayer that she wrote for me. A prayer about family and faith. She ended it the way Catholics have done for centuries “en el nombre del padre, del hijo y del espiritu santo…” but then she took my face in her hands and said “y que la virgen maria te acompane siempre…Amen”

I don’t miss being a Catholic. I miss my Nana so tangibly that it is hard to breathe sometimes. But today something transcended those feelings….

I wish I had words for it. But it’s been a bit of a mixed bag today. I’ll let you know when I figure it out…

This past Thanksgiving L. and I visited his family in Texas. I was greatly looking forward to this trip, as I love meeting people’s families and was very much anticipating sending a text message to my sister when the plane landed that read: “I have breached the Republican stronghold. Will report back soon”

L. is big on helping out wherever he can and within a few hours of our arrival at the homestead he had gone out to the backyard of his grandparent’s house to light a huge pile of leaves on fire.
huge. pile. of bone dry. leaves.

The man was in heaven…he was also sporting a relatively heavy Texan accent. Something I had never heard from his mouth in the 6 years I had known him. I kept asking him to say specific phrases, and while he did so I could tell he thought I was insane. Shows what he knows.

I spent the weekend people who reminded me very much of my own family, only Republican and in a scaled down version. They truly love being with each other and they are happiest when they are playing and eating and, well, burning huge piles of leaves together.

I have always struggled with the aspect of family in relationships. Ask anyone who knows me, my relationship with my family is an incredibly close one. I tell them everything, generally I want to be with them than with anyone else. I am fiercely loyal to them and can tell you in detail about almost all of my 35 cousins. I am especially close with my mother, father, and sister, they are like the gatekeepers of my life, to be close to me, you must also be close to them and to not get close to them wreaks havoc on our relationship (mine and the partner who isn’t communing with my wacky immediate family) I have never been able to adequately express how important it is to me that my partner be close with my family.

My ex-husband struggled with this. He was not as close with his family and I think my closeness with mine intimidated him. All of my other partners have either shut them out completely, or haven’t been around long enough.

Strangely enough, the few people who have fit seamlessly into my family unit I had never been romantically involved with. Jes, who can call my mother “Momma” (the only person to successfully attempt this trick), Juls who my sister always asks about, Just (my best friend of 16 years) who my mother offered to fly to Canada to keep him from getting shipped to Iraq, who has been at almost every major family event the run of his life, Sam who spent time with me during my “Nana Duty” before La Reina died, watching movies with us…

and L. Before we started dating, L. and I had been friends for almost 6 years. He came around every now and then, fixed my mother’s computer, talked wine and travel with my father, gave my sister a hard time. As we moved (relatively seamlessly) into the romantic aspect of our lives together, he fit so well into the family group that it was like he had always been there. He is the only peer of mine to date that can tease my mother like me and my sister. He can talk with my father for hours. My aunties and cousins who have met him send their love to him when they talk to me. Several members of my family have his cell phone number (something that didn’t happen with my ex until after we were married).

I realized on that trip, that the reason he fit so easily into my family is because thats what’s important to him. Watching him call his grandfather “council” (like my Grandfather called my mother) or tease his sister, wrestle with his little cousins, and offer to clean up his grandparents yard, I realized this man is the partner who will get the relationship I have with my family. More so than some because he knows how I feel being seperated from some of my family be state lines. He misses his little family all year round and seems so at ease around them, people who have known him for years in Arizona would barely recognize him.

I was incredibly apprehensive about the trip because of my difficulty meeting new people, because his family is so devoutly Christian, and so hard line Republican. I am my politics and my liberalism is as natural to me as breathing. I was delighted to find that this family is friendly and loving and easygoing…and if I steer clear of the political conversations I’m home free!

More than anything I focused on the fact that I had finally found the mental clarity and stability, happiness and stillness that I had been looking for. I thought about the fact that even though we have lost the matriarchs of our families my huge crazy patwork families have managed to hold each other together and love each other all the more. I thought a long time about my darling friends, who love me even if I am crazy and difficult and flaky sometimes. I gave thanks for the fact that one of those darling friends, who has stood by me through ups and downs the last 6 years, waiting patiently for me to realize how perfect we are for one another, understands my craziness and my dedication to my family, my struggle to adapt to new situations and to make the best of stressful ones, that he is forever curious, because it’s his best trait.

I was most thankful this past Thanksgiving for the realization that being myself is easier than I ever thought it could be. Easier even than breaching the Republican stronghold (which turned out to be totally simple, so much for them being all big on security).


January 3, 2007

I am trying, in my gestation/unemployment, to try and come up with some sort of rhythm and schedule for my days. To not fall into the habit of napping whenever I feel  a teensy bit tired or get all aflutter with worry everytime I cramp a little.

This is made hard by the fact that I am not what’s known as a “self starter” (please imagine my doing this like the Chris Farley “van down by the river” character, it will make it more visceral). I like assignments and schedules and what have you. I like to be creative within the confines of a deadline but darned if I don’t like a deadline. I’ve been enjoying spending time researching grants and pulling info for a couple of organizations but the last couple days of doing it on no schedule I’ve looked up at the clock and 4 hours have passed without my notice. It was slightly panic inducing to realize that I had become a corporate drone. But there it was.  In terrifying technicolor.

This morning I woke up at 6, not having yet mastered the art of staying asleep while someone is up and about getting ready (very quietly) for work. L. and I chatted, while it was still dark out and I had a little breakfast. I looked at my to do list for the day and looked at getting up 2 hours early as a bonus! Look at all the time I had! WHEEE!
At 9:00 I was tired again, having moved things around and sorted and started laundry. So I climbed into bed to take a short nap.

(A note for me to remember if I ever want to do this growing a person thing again: I DETEST sleeping whilst pregnant. Detest it.  I usually sleep on my stomach but with a gigantic bump in the way that is out of the question. So it’s mostly sides for me, as sleeping on your back apparently puts undue pressure on your vena cava, a major vein or artery or something. (not that it works, 9 times out of 10 I end up on my back after being a rottisserie all night) This would be fine but I’m packing about 25 to 30 extra pounds these days and it’s all mostly on my front so I have to creatively prop my stomach up and find a way not to squish the mattress with my massiveness. Also, being in my third trimester means I have a wee child pushing into my diaphragm and lungs making breathing a might difficult so that wakes me up to.

Along with the constant kicking and moving around from the baby.

And L. snores.


For some reason this nap was filled with comfortable sleepnig positions. Turn to the left, perfect spot! No aches, no difficulty breathing! The baby decided to nap with me, no random alien flutterings and sharp kicks to my sides! Turn to the right, no shortness of breath, stomach perfectly propped! It was heaven. So I napped for 2 hours. And lost all of my morning headstart.

When I woke up, I decided to eat lunch and re-strategize. I watched a little TV, I made another list. I felt the rhythm coming back. And so I proceeded with my list, checking things off here and there. But no matter, the time was lost and I didn’t get everything done. The rhythm of my day apparently takes a ton of time to get into gear.

stupid rhythm.

More than missing the rhythm I miss the company that having a daily rhythm brings you, at a 9 to 5 job you seee your co-workers, if you’re in school you see your classmates. As an unemployed person, if you don’t find a rhythm that involves seeing other people you find yourself alone for 8 hours a day…and your rhythm gets all shot to shit…because of the ever present lonliness.  (please insert sad face here)

So step number two in learning how be unemployed…finding people who likewise have minimal responsibilities during the day to entertain me…

With the understanding the in 3 months, I won’t be around so much because I’ll have to, you know, care for another living being exclusively.