Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My Perfect Storm

Grant has been in Seattle for 4 days now and I have spent every minute being thankful that I am not a single mother and this is not my norm. Purslane is teething (first one came through yesterday!), will not let me out of her sight for more then 3 seconds and started refusing the baby food purees I make her and wants only what she can pick up and feed herself. I hallelujah her independence but shake my head at the freezer full of small tupperware containers of perfectly portioned and nutritionally complete baby food. (while I am writing this, she is standing on top of the printer in the corner of the office looking out the window at the snow falling) She is so active and can get across a room and halfway up a set of stairs before I open my eyes after a sneeze. Amazing that the only time she wants absolutely nothing to do with me is when she is crawling up stairs. Then my help or very presence is annoying and she holds on to the step with one hand and waves "bye-bye" with the other.

So I am exhausted, missing my husband and now housebound because of the foot of snow that just dumped on Bellefonte. The roads started to get bad just as I was heading out to the grocery store so decided I wouldn't risk it and turned around. Once cozy and warm at home, I noticed we are out of coffee. This is not good, as teething Pursy does not equal sleeping Pursy and she has been waking up several times a night. I depend on morning coffee to be able to formulate sentences so we might be trudging out in the morning Little House on the Prairie style to the closest gas station. Grant would not have been deterred by the snow and if he were here, I would have coffee and possibly be going to the bathroom by myself.

Cheers to single mothers, my dear friend Abbey who does this 50% of the time while Matt is at sea, and all the other women like me who manage a home, raise a child, and have a career. Cheers to us- we are fantastic.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Feels like I should be better at this...

This morning I showed up at a girlfriend's house 25 minutes later then I told her I would be, with makeup only on one eye and no coat. (it is 24 degrees and snowing) The important things though- Pursy was properly clothed and warm, had dry diapers and had been fed. I thought 9 months into this Mothering thing I would be much better at organization but it still takes me over 20 minutes to actually get out of the house. That doesn't include standing by the car staring at Pursy buckled into her 5 point harness carseat wondering if it would be worth getting her out to run BACK into the house for (enter XYZ here) that I forgot.

Preparing for worship on Sunday morning now includes a 45 minute countdown by Grant just to make sure that I am on track to get out the door in enough time to get to church before the final benediction.

Items that are usually forgotten: coat, gloves, hat, phone and (just once) socks. I figure the heater in the car works very well and for the moments I am out of the car am usually carrying a 17 pound 98 degree fleece-swaddled heater. Items that are NEVER forgotten: coffee in thermos, Sophie (rubber giraffe teething toy) and Banana Puffs.

I feel a little behind the curve here, but as Grant reminded me while we drove 30 miles out of our way to the closest Walmart on our way to our Anniversary trip last weekend "At least all you forgot was a piece to your breast pump and not something important, like Pursy". I love you, Grant.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Me and Natalie= BFF

I adore Natalie Portman. If she were not so beautiful and talented I would call her agent and ask if she wanted to come over for dinner. The issue of course is that I do not want Grant anywhere near her. :)

Black Swan came out a few weeks ago and my friend Amanda and I have been waiting patiently for a day with babysitters and no looming papers (for her) to go see it. I usually see these films with Grant but he graciously gave up his seat next to me so Amanda and I could go. I am not ashamed to say that I handpicked her as a movie partner because she was a ballerina in one of her former lives and I wanted her insider perspective. It was a brilliant choice on my part.

The film is a.. ballet thriller?? There was some campy moments (like when the main character's legs turn into swan legs) some creepy moments (like when her reflection starts staring back at her- alive) and some gory moments that I still cringe thinking about (like when she pulls her nailbed back all the way up her finger). But Darren Orenofsky is a dark crazy genius and this film was one of the best I have seen in quite a while. He merges the beautiful art of ballet with the obsessive behaviors of the ballerinas to make the world of professional dancing come alive in a way that I have been thinking about since I left the theatre.

Back to Natalie. She was the lead character and was more beautiful then I have ever seen her. But what sold me on her best friend potential was her acceptance speech at the Golden Globes. She was 1.pregnant 2.giddy 3.stone cold classy and 4.grateful. Her speech was unrehearsed, did not include a laundry list of names and seemed very genuine. She gushed over her fiance and thanked her director for "giving me the gift of this role".

I am self-admitted celebrity hound. I love reading People and US weekly at the gym and can rattle off the names of all the Jolie-Pitts. I actually tore a page out of my Newsweek a few months ago with the picture of the Supreme Court justices so their names could rattle off my tongue as quickly as Kate Winslet's movies. As I have explained to Grant, I study the world of entertainment celebrities like an ethnography. Here are a people who live outside of societal norms, rules and constructs. They do whatever they want- and the rest of us either admire or despise their status. But for the most part, I am not surprised when, in their real-life interviews, they sound like one big douche. Collectively, money and fame turns too many celebrities into self-loving assholes.

But Natalie seemed different. Somehow she seems to have escaped. She graduated from Harvard and has a string of lovers but no divorce dramas. I realize I am starting to gush but really think she is a classy broad. But I still would rather meet her out for a beer then have her over for dinner. I also am requesting Grant not see Black Swan without me, because if I fell in love with her a little bit who knows what will happen to Grant.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Best Things

Last evening Grant and I spent doing our favorite things- I met him at The Plaza (a fantastic 3 story antique store in our town) to browse for almost two hours. I always find treasures here and yesterday was no exception. I am now the proud owner of a moss green stonewear cookie jar with an etching of a pirate ship on the front. Fabulous. It is inspiring me to learn how to make biscotti, with which I want to fill aforementioned cookie jar.

After we left the Plaza, we walked to the Gamble Mill which is a 4 star restaurant in the heart of little Bellefonte that recently opened a Tavern downstairs and hired a brewmaster. The atmosphere is reticent of an English pub with stone walls, a fireplace and big oak bar. I ordered a Winter Stout and Grant tried a Farmhouse Ale. After we warmed up a bit, we went back outside to the snowy evening and trudged home- stopping at Anna and Bede's on the way to chat for a bit.

The best part of this evening (one that we have had shared together many times since we moved to Bellefonte) is that we had our daughter with us. She very happily took in all the sights at the Plaza, got rosy cheeked in the cold wrapped up in her fleece bear suit, sat at the end of the table at the Tavern and scarfed down Cheerios, and entertained all of us at the Portz's. She has the sweetest temperament for a baby, and is so adaptable to whatever we take her to do. She warms up to strangers after a bit, and has no problem letting our friends hold her. She is happy with a Sophie and a handful of Puffs and any crankiness can often be allayed with music. She fits so beautifully in our family.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Caffeine and Angst

I feel like a commercial for coffee creamer... the ones where the woman's husband greets her in the kitchen with an apron on and a steaming white mug of coffee. She sits at the bar counter in her perfect cream and tan kitchen and closes her eyes to smell and taste the first sip in a perfect storm of happiness.

My situation is almost exactly like that- except I made my coffee myself in a single cup French press almost 3 hours ago and just reheated it in the microwave because right after I made the coffee Pursy pooped her pants, my cell phone rang and I remembered a bill I needed to pay and get to the mailbox. Husband is not handing me my coffee, in apron or otherwise, because he has been at work for two hours and will be there most likely until 10PM. I don't own white mugs because they are boring, so my coffee resides in a much-used mug brought back from my favorite cafe in New Orleans. As calm as a tan and cream kitchen would be, I actually like my cinnamon colored kitchen walls but am distracted by the dog hair and Cheerio ashes all over the floor. And if I closed my eyes to take a sip of coffee, Pursy might be halfway to the steps and Elliott would be nose deep in the garbage. MY perfect storm of happiness is set to MJ's Thriller album on the record player, which allowed me to bust out some sweet dance moves to entertain Pursy while I made a week's worth of baby food.

If my morning looked any more like that commercial it would be creepy... I think we are using the EXACT same coffee creamer.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Baby Boogs

Every 'Mom' blog I read has, at some point in time, posted a blog about their baby's boogers. Some post pictures of good ones they have extracted, some talk at length about the methods they use, and others talk about their hypothesis for the importance of boogers in baby's development.

I just think the amount of time every day that I spend on sundry nose fluids is irritating. Pursy is quite content to let the boogers cake around her nostrils, snot run down her face and I don't think cares one bit about boogers one way or another. I on the other hand have run drills to perfect my technique of wiping her nose in order to maximize efficiency in the least amount of time. Because she hates when I come anywhere near her nose for the purpose of wiping boogers. I could play games involving her nose for hours but she can sense the second my presence is for the purpose of cleaning her face and she freaks out. I don't get it- she breathes better afterwards and her Dad is more likely to kiss her face- two very good reasons to let me use the bulb suction in her nose.

No dice. She pulls away from me and shrieks like I am trying to smother her with a pillow wrapped in barbed wire and makes me wonder if I should go explain to my neighbors what is actually going on in our house. Suggestions from any seasoned Moms?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Beginning of the End

If you are reading this and own a Kindle, Nook, MP3 player, IPod or other electronic entertainment device, please take my sentiments as part of the bigger picture.

Yesterday in the Wall Street Journal, the front of the Business section had an article about the bookstore chain BORDERS not being able to pay it's publishers due to decreased sales and a total chain loss of close to 74 million. Buried in the article was the tidbit of information that sales of electronic reading devices for the past fiscal year made up 8 to 10 percent of total sales. I wept. Visions of houses with 4 walls made up of television screens and the book-melting flames of Fahrenheit 451 flashed into my head. The world is moving away from books made out of paper and ink and shrinking it down to the size of a computer screen. I have seen the screens of the Kindle- they are amazing. There is no blue-green glow, no reflection of light to obscure the words, the font is pleasant and soft, and there are features such as built-in dictionaries. They are like the suburbia of books. They are made to mimic the real deal, but without any of the long commutes or pesky neighbors. They are made for convenience- and all the charm and allure of an actual book is sacrificed.

This week Grant and I were in our neighborhood video store and found out they were closing their doors at the end of the month. We knew it was coming- the owners had started selling electronics to boost sales and had even discussed the ramifications of opening a back room for porn. I knew I was getting desperate when that sounded like a good idea to me- anything to keep Mike's Video open. Grant and I had sacrificed the convenience of Red Box and Netflix numerous times in order to "walk down to Mike's" and rent movies for $2.50/night. I remembered why we do that when our buddy Ryan -who is one of the managers at Mike's- was giving us a 10 minute descriptor of what exactly makes a Film Noir. You can't get that standing at a Red Box kiosk.

It is the beginning of the end for quaint, antiquated things like bookstores, video stores and record shops. People want convenience above all else and can't be bothered to turn a page, walk to a store or flip over a record. I have a sinking feeling that Grant and I will be having a conversation with Purslane when she is in High School where we will hear "You guys listened to Compact Disks and took up all that room in the house with Bookshelves??? How retro!".

We will soon lose the beauty of cover art, which gives a small taste of what is contained inside the pages of a book. We will lose liner notes, which give artists a chance to acknowledge the people in their lives. We will lose the people who in 30 seconds can guide the rest of us in choosing a movie that will broaden our worldview and entertain us. We will lose the luxury of browsing and the joy of discovery. It is the beginning of the end.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Clarity in the Daylight

I decided not to edit and/or delete the previous post because it is how I honestly felt- even for a moment, it is true thought and I think that should be preserved. Where else can my honest thoughts be laid out if not on my own blog?

Even though this morning I feel the same, the context is different. Last night I could do nothing about failing to do the things I wanted. Today I still wish that I had accomplished more in 2010, but today I have spent in its entirety with my husband and daughter- laughing, eating, watching movies, napping, scrapbooking, football- being a family. And it was pretty damn good. I came back to what is real. And it wasn't anything mind blowing- I didn't change the world or discover the secret to always being peaceful and gracious. I just showed up. And who said that showing up was 90% of success?

Welcome 2011. I make no resolutions or promises to become a better person. I will just continue to surround myself with people who will sharpen me like iron and love me despite my irritating tendency to be human. Then maybe in 364 days I will celebrate 2011 as the year I grew up a little bit more and embraced any small advances I made towards being the woman I long to be. Maybe if nothing else I will believe the prayer I pray every night for Grant and I- that Jesus will make us look a little more like Him.

Why Isn't It Easier to Count Your Blessings?

If is officially 2011. Officially for 32 minutes but I am already feeling crushed under the weight of a new year. All of my high hopes to be better ____ (enter adjective here) in 2010 are feeling like even more of a collosal failure now that the year is gone. Slipped through my fingers like sand. Purslane is 8 months old and I didn't even blink. I feel like tomorrow I will be watching her graduate from college. I almost can't breathe.

I feel so cliche for using these first few moments of 2011 to lament the ways I didn't change the world in 2010. But maybe if I get the thoughts out of my head I will be able to forgive myself and march staunchly into this new year. After all, today- just like yesterday- Grant is in graduate school and needs a supportive spouse. Purslane is learning new things every day and needs a vigilant and loving mother. My friends are living their lives, going through their own struggles and need a loyal and optimistic partner. My cardiac patients at the hospital will still be sick and need my experience and passion for nursing. If I really think hard about it, I am not one of those individuals who, if I died tomorrow, no one would notice. And even when I am feeling crushed by the weight of my daily responsibility it is a blessing to be needed and depended upon. (I am now officially acting as the narrator for my own blog post... all I need is a femme fatale, a stark black and white coloring scheme and some dark alleys and I have a brilliant film noire)

It hit me today that one of my dearest friends moved away right before Christmas. I knew she did of course, but with the holidays, family coming into town, Christmas and New Years parties, I really have not had a "normal" day without her to notice the gaping hole. I don't think we ever talked at 1230 at night before, but I am distressed tonight with the reality that if I WANTED to drive to her house tonight and have a bourbon, I COULDN'T. I miss you Amy.

So back to my failures as a human being. If I look at myself on paper, I am pleased. I am a healthy, contributing member of society, I vote, I have a good job with the ability to support myself and my family, I got married to a good man and have a functional and loving marriage, I produced offspring that will be raised to be a healthy, contributing member of society, I own a home, I graduated from two very good schools with a BA and a BSN, I exercise three days a week and read stimulating books. I also am working on seeing every movie nominated for an Oscar, which I am interpreting as my passion for the culture in which I live my life.

My failures are on the invisible level and only those I have invited (or have pushed their way in) to the confusing labyrinth that is my heart and soul know that I thought by age 30 I would be much more content with myself. I have a million things to be thankful for- things that actually blossomed in 2010- the year in which I am lamenting as a complete cluster. Why isn't is easier to recognize my blessings?

Such as- my sweet husband is asleep in our bed waiting for me to come join him. So I will. And maybe in the morning I will delete this post and write something happier. Anyway... Happy New Year everyone!!