Wednesday, October 31, 2007

captain Inappropriate Humor strikes again

I don't know what is wrong with me, other than Pregnancy and Extreme Over Stimulation Due to Too Much Going On (a lot of it not on the side of GREAT). I've been in a slump for a couple of days now, and was strolling around the many, many blogs I read (it's almost embarassing, but if I didn't think of these people as my Pretend Friends, I'd be even more sad, so there). I came across this entry from Plain-Jane.

It's a thing about her cat that was just put to sleep. And I'm not even sure if it's meant to be funny, but dude-on-a-stick, it had me laughing so hard at my desk, I actually had little bits of Snapple droplets stuck to my monitor (yessssssss - we're back in SNAPPLE MANGO MADNESS). I just need to know from you, my polite and long-suffering friends: Is it really that funny? You have to read to the END - just keep reading. And then break the news: Is my funny bone broken, malfunctioning, or wonderfully intact (if still odd)? I thought of going in and commenting, letting Plain Jane know how excellent her post was, and how much I enjoyed it. Really - I NEEDED TO LAUGH LIKE THAT. IT WAS DEEPLY THERAPUTIC. But I lost the nerve when all the other comments were of the "I'm so sorry about your cat" and "Telling children about the death of a pet is very hard" variety. I HAVE A STONEY BLACK HEART.

Monday, October 29, 2007

love this guy

Yeah, this guy here.

Love him. He is silly, sweet, sexy, goofy, kind, thoughtful, a Tetris MASTER, stubborn, loveable, strong, deathly afraid of spiders, a talented musician, can't stand people who don't wash their hands, a genuinely Good Guy, generous, gentle, sensitive, and about a thousand other words that don't come close to truly describing him.

Happy birthday, you big lug.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

thhhhhh... blah

Can I tell you, I'm beat. Beat up. Beat down. Burned out. Tired. Feeling lame. Blobby. Drained. Dried up. Unfunny. Unfocused. Uninspired. Fizzled. Haggard. Spent. Wasted. Weary. Worn out.

I can bring myself to tell you that I'm grateful for the following:
  • Tums. Smoothies Tums (assorted fruit flavors), specifically. They save my heart-burned belly on a regular basis. And bonus: CALCIUM!
  • My Boss asking me today if I've ever seen someone put one of these on their lip (as he flourished a binder clip in his fingers). I can't tell you enough just how random this dude really is.

I'm now going to go crawl under the bed.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

is that a baby in my belly or did i just have teriyaki for lunch?

I am swamped, beleaguered, very much BURIED in work right now. But I have time for a quick post. Quick! Post!

Despite the ginormous piles of work, I might have spent some time looking at all the beautiful things here. And also here. What? I can’t pretend this baby is going to be adorned in $45 onesies?

Speaking of The Bean, I thought I was just getting extra hungry/gurgly in the belly area around 3 pm for the past week. Today I realized no – that’s just THE BABY IN MY BELLY GETTING ALL JIGGY WITH IT. We felt her move for the first time about 3 days after I got back from visiting my parents. It was this little almost stomach grumble, but without feeling like it was an actual part of me. Like someone else’s grumbly stomach had jumped into my stomach. The little rolls and kicks of The Bean have continued like this – sometimes getting vaguely stronger, but nothing major.

For the past week, 'round about 3 o'clock, however, The Bean gets some kind of manic jolt of energy (no - it's not THE SNAPPLE, I swear), because gosh darn it, the girl is tap dancing across my insides. And it’s really weird, in the loveliest way. I am mesmerized by this sensation, and can sit/lie for HOURS (yes, HOURS) feeling her move, waiting to feel her move, anticipating her moves, etc. I keep grabbing Chip’s hands and showing him HERE, YES HERE. And he’ll smile and stay transfixed for about 30 seconds before he goes back to his meaningful game of golf on the 360.

Now I'm headed back to do some WORK. I must labor diligently for my dollars to purchase at least 3 pairs of these (because - STRIPEY!)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

warm and fuzzy

The New Girl wrote a brilliant post about this a while back – how once you have a baby, your Pets, your furry babies, become just, you know, your pets.

I was thinking about this last night as Fergus and I had a very nice little love session involving many purdles and pajama-pants-tastic jumps to reach my fingers for nuzzling. The past few weeks have been a little challenging for me, and some serious Cat Time seemed in order. These two cats have been my bosom companions for nine years. They haven’t done anything to warrant the downsizing of their Whimsy household roles.

Last night I stared at Fergus’ face – looked close enough to see the tiny short fringes of actual eyelashes that shield his beautiful green eyes (not the long whisker eyebrows that cats have – what are those things?).

The cats have no idea what’s in store for them, once The Bean gets here. I know that there are things that will change that are beyond my control: there will be New Noises, there will be New Smells, there will be some High Intensity Sleeplessness, there will be Furniture That They Cannot Sleep In or On. I hope that in one respect, I will be able to give the cats some consistency: I will love them with all my heart – love them from the top of their furry ears to the tips of their swishy tails.

I can only hope that this will be enough to get them through the changes to come. I promised Fergus this much last night, as we whispered the things you can only tell a cat.

Monday, October 22, 2007

name bonanza

(Updated: So I wasn't kidding when I said I was an internet dummy. I've fixed Stacie's link. You can now vote to help her name her fish.)

Hello my fellow Creamies. I have a challenge for y’all: go on over and Help Stacie Name Her Fish. This is Beta Version 3.0 – the replacement Beta fish after Version 1.0 and 2.0 regretfully expired. I’m personally voting for Scarlet, because I think the name is adorable, but can’t imagine Chip agreeing to such a thing for our child. Next best thing to naming a human baby is, of course, naming a fish.

(Note about this post: All names have been changed in my best attempt to avoid offending anyone who happens to LOVE the names that I would be mocking. The only names I didn’t change were the ones that I came up with when I was 12. Because there’s no excuse for that madness inflicted on a wee little baby.)

Now that we know about the girly-girl swimming around in my belly, we are faced with Name Bonanza 2007 – Northwest Division. I’ve had several versions of the official Whimsy Name List for Future Offspring. There was the 12-year-old version, where I went through an unfortunate phase involving many, many extraneous letters to complicate names such as Khirstine and Maureene Lynne and Ariabella. (These are the only three I can remember – but if I could find the official list? You’d be laughing your fannies off right now.) In the few years prior to meeting Chip I had another list going (I know! I was no longer a silly 12-year-old! I was now a silly 27-something-year-old!). Of course, once you get married, you’re faced with the –GASP!- reality of actually agreeing to a name. I’m totally convinced that this whole naming endeavor isn’t really so much finding the perfect name, it’s more along the lines of coming up with the solitary common denominator name that is least offensive to both parties. I’m glad that Chip and I discussed the Name Issue in our free time in those early months/YEARS of marriage, because otherwise this girl wouldn’t have a proper name until she reaches 3. We finally had settled into Our Favorite Girl Name about a year ago. And then, 2 weeks ago, we went to dinner. And I mentioned names. Suddenly, all bets were off, no holds were barred (what?), and I found myself in an actual conversation discussing new names like Conception and Fredericka and Demsella. Because Chip wasn’t so sure anymore. And maybe we should think of some alternatives? My answer to Conception and Fredericka and Demsella? JUST NO. A THOUSAND YEARS OF NO.

I have some very strong opinions involving names. Who doesn’t, right? What is one person’s favorite name in the WORLD (Gorgonzola), is another person’s YUCK (What are you thinking? That’s a CHEESE.). The first question people ask, after whether The Bean is a girl or a boy, is of course: Have you thought of a name yet? Yes, we have thought of names, but at this point at least, we aren’t telling anyone which names are on the shortlist. I’m curious what you guys think. Come on, here’s your chance to give me all the uninvited advice a person could want in a lifetime.

- If you don't have kids: Do you have The List of names? If so, do you talk to people about it? Do you share what's on The List? If not, why?

- If you do have kids, or are on the verge of them: Did you have names picked out beforehand? Did you talk to people about The List? What was the outcome? If you didn't talk to people about The List, how did you handle the awkward yes-we-have-names-but-no-we're-not-sharing-The-List-with-you-nothing-personal-ha-ha conversation?

As a way of dealing with the questions this weekend surrounding The Names, we came up with the most outlandish and weird ones we could think of, and listed those as possibilities. Some of my favorites are listed above (I apologize if you or anyone you know is named Demsella – because what the HECK were the parents THINKING?). At one point, Chip told his older sister that we were thinking of Faylene. Being the very nice people that they are, SIL & her husband totally jumped on the bandwagon – THAT SOUNDS LIKE A GREAT NAME! SO PRETTY! WHERE DID YOU COME UP WITH IT? Umm, from Bambi. And no, my future daughter will NOT BE CALLED FAYLENE.

Okay, you have your marching orders! I want to hear from you!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

quick quick

So... it looks like we'll be outnumbering Chip in the Whimsy household. We're having a GIRL. In Chip's words: IT'S A FRIJOLITA!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

dealing with it

My in-laws might have been a wee bit horrified the other night at dinner, when I was relating Winston’s Current State of Health – and I started to laugh. In my defense, I was telling them about my plan to Photoshop some Groucho Marx eyebrows onto my dad’s photo for Christmas. Chip put his hand on my knee as I giggled uncontrollably, and said, “She’s handling this a little differently.”

I didn't realize that I’d been handling this “a little differently”. But with some reflection, I suppose he’s right. These days, I’m equally drawn to tears and laughter (and ham – I’m drawn to ham sandwiches right now, and I don’t even like ham). As with the ham-fixation, I blame the pregnancy. I know that getting all with child and stuff wreaks merry havoc with your hormones. Those hormones, of course, then wreak merry havoc on the rest of you: your muscles, your joints, your complexion, your appetite, your hair, your skin, your nails, your gums, your eyesight, your GI tract, your memory, and yes: your emotions. Knowing this, of course, and actually dealing with it are two different things. To which my current confused state can attest.

When I talked to Mom & Dad on the phone Tuesday night, I held it together – tried to be funny, tried to be positive, tried to be UP. I succeeded in being more UP than is really, well, normal and I’m sure my mom was a tad confused by her manic daughter. And then Winston talked about radiation therapy and when that was going to start – and Manic Whimsy became Crying Whimsy – just like that. It’s nothing new, I’m sure. Those of you who have dealt with a parent’s illness can tell me a thousand stories of the weird stuff you did in order to Deal. And those of you who have dealt with pregnancy can also tell me a thousand stories of the hilarious hijinks of Pregnant You.

In the end, because this is all new to me, I’m really trying to Deal with Dealing. How to be strong and supportive while also being sensitive enough to feel through the tender moments. It isn’t easy geography – the tightrope, the emotions, the crowd of people, the familial relationships.

For today’s Thank-a-lot-Thursday post I’m officially going on record to be thankful for the dumb things that Chip & I navigate. They might be dumb, but they're our very own.

I'm also grateful for clip art eyebrows (did you know they have PAGES and PAGES of them???).

Tomorrow's post is probably going to be something along the one-word variety, and I can tell you it will either be a word beginning with the letter B or a word beginning with the letter G. Oh, and there might be an actual belly photo of my very own. AREN'T YOU EXCITED?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

we're all lumpy here, thanks

We're attempting the two-fold post here at The Creamery again. It didn't work out so well last time, but I have much hope that we will achieve success. We are hardy!

Thought of the first variety:

Winston is recovering nicely. I spoke to him last night, and actually made him laugh when I suggested Chip’s offer of Eyebrow Solidarity wherein he shaves an eyebrow and they both get inked at a local tattoo parlor. It looks like the doctors will be monitoring his recovery, and in a few weeks Winston will start radiation. We don’t know if he’ll be doing that cream treatment I mentioned yesterday.

Thought the second:

Consider the scene, a couple of weeks ago - I'm trying to get my husband to help me take a belly photo. I was overcome with guilt, that I was 18-weeks pregnant and didn’t have a single darn picture of my midsection. I suppose my thought process had been about shielding the unsuspecting masses from close-up shots of the after-affects of too many donuts. Anyway, I started thinking of The Bean, and the fact that this is my chance to give him or her a true birth experience. I’m adopted – so I don’t have any pictures of The Belly That I’m In. I don’t feel deprived, by any means, but it’s one of these unique little situations we adoptees find ourselves in: being able to provide something for a child of our own making that we, ourselves, did not have. Like the ability to curse me (to my face) for my gosh-darn slow metabolism, or dry skin, or whatever ailment I am passing on to The Bean. (I do have fantastic eyebrows, even if I say so myself – so I do hope he or she gets those. I love The Chip and all his parts – but my eyebrows are fantastic.)

Anyway… I decided to do some belly pics. Like I could track the projection of girth from 18 weeks on. Pretend that nothing happened in the previous weeks, physically speaking, at least.

Chip was excited to help me out in this endeavor, if a little clueless in what I wanted. I kept trying to explain the kind of shot I was looking for. Finally, he decided to pose for me, so I could actually, you know, show him – with photographic pictorials.

I was expecting him to just stand there. Instead, he did this:

I suppose it was to give the general idea of my belly, as opposed to either his bad impression of it (am I all LUMPY or something?) or his hilarious method-acting techniques.

I love this guy.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

gone missing

Winston lost his eyebrow yesterday. I'll let that sink in.

This is not some crazy new-fangled way of saying he lost his mojo or juju or anything not related to his face. No, really, Winston lost his eyebrow yesterday. It was actually taken from him – removed completely. Why, you ask? Why would anyone remove Winston’s eyebrow?

This was yet another punch dealt to me by Monday, my emerging nemesis. It was a late-dealt blow, too. I thought Monday had finally decided to cool off a bit, lay low and let the Whimsy recover from unadulterated hatefulness. I was packing my things, ready to leave Workplace when my cell rang. Mom was calling. I picked up – she was fairly normal, asking where I was, why I was still at Workplace (this is a typical, loving conversation between mother & daughter). Then she launched into this, “Well, your father and I are just getting home from the hospital.”
Me: “Really? What’s going on?”
Mom: “You remember when you were here, and Dad had that little dot on his forehead?”
Me: “Yes, vividly.” (Dad had me looking at the “dot” with a magnifying glass, trying to convince me that it was a stitch that was just magically emerging from his forehead after he had some skin cancer removed in March. After a time, and consults with other family members, Winston agreed to go to the doctor. The man is a BRICK. I think if he had an actual boulder emerging from his head, he’d still be all, “Oh – it’s nothing! Just a bit of gravel from that time when I fell down the mountainside! Pip pip!”)
Mom: “The doctor wanted to remove it – thinking that it might be a bit more of the same skin cancer. We thought the appointment would just be an hour. It took 6. There were all these… fingers of cancer that went deeper, and farther…” she trails off.
Me: “What?! Is dad okay?!”
Mom: “He’s really tired. And his face, really looks like hamburger. They had to cut everywhere. It’s really terrible.”
Me: “Is he going to be OKAY?”
Mom: “Your father doesn’t have an eyebrow anymore! They took his eyebrow!”

Today Winston is undergoing reconstructive surgery skin grafts of his neck to cover most of the affected areas on his face, but apparently, the eyebrow is gone. It isn’t growing back. They had to remove too much of the actual eyebrow tissue. Did you know you have eyebrow tissue? You do, and so do I. But not Winston. He now will walk the planet in a state of either perpetual astonishment or perpetual scorn. I figure that’s how he’ll look, once everything else heals. Kinda like someone who has either raised one eyebrow so high into the hairline (for the surprise) or squished one eyebrow so far down over his eye (for the scorn), you can’t see it. Chip and I tried to do different impressions last night, in our best attempts to picture Winston’s new look.

You can imagine that I’m putting a light-hearted spin on something that is not altogether pleasant. I just hope and pray that Winston is going to be okay – that they got all that nastiness out. We’re told that the next step, at this point, is a nasty cream therapy that he’ll use for a few weeks. This cream will not be kind to his poor beleaguered skin, but if it will ensure that the cancer is gone – bring it on. I do believe we will throw in the other eyebrow, if that will help.

Monday, October 15, 2007

a case of the mondays

Dear Monday,

As calm discussion seems to be out of the question, I'm trying a different tactic. Clearly, I don't understand you, Monday. Why are you so mean? Why do you consistently greet me with dull gray sky, with rain, with horrid traffic, with people who refuse to see reason? Your peers Wednesday and Thursday seem to be unaffected by the items you experience. They are (as you), just another day in the work-week. They start much earlier then they’d like. They are full of Commuters. And yet Wednesday and Thursday are still quite pleasant. They occasionally gift me with sun. They don’t rile the people up to intolerable levels of nastiness.

Why, Monday, why? What did I do to warrant this treatment? I have always tried to be as kind to you as possible. I've never been one to use that dreaded phrase you hate so much: A Case of the, uh, YOUS. (And I know you hate it when people mispronounce your name, and call you Mun-dee, which I never do.) I have always tried to help people think about the joy that you can bring: the first day back at work! A brand new week to experience exciting things! A place to start over, if that's necessary! A new episode of Heroes! Monday's can be great!

But today you went too far. You have pushed me past my tolerance, Monday, and I'm letting you know that you're on notice. If you don't shape up and get with the other perfectly delightful days of the week, I'm going to boot you altogether. Don't think I can, Monday? Think that's a feat beyond me? Oh, Monday, don't push me. Don't mistake my kindness for weakness. I think Tuesday is enterprising enough to recognize an opportunity, and if you don't cool your jets, you're going to find out that Tuesday might just be interested in an expansion day.



Thursday, October 11, 2007


Although my dad looks a bit like this guy:

Inside of him is this guy:

It was about 5 years ago. I had been the Project Administrator (office-speak for Favorite Monkey Girl) for a major IT project at my company for the last year. As the project itself was nearing close, I was hunting around for my next job role - whether that was with Current Workplace or Another. The going was rocky because positions for individuals with my particular "expertise" were slim at Workplace, and the jobs I'd interviewed for outside the company weren't panning out. Sitting at my desk, I related the latest Tale of Woe to my dad on the phone. I also mentioned that it was my birthday very soon and WAH WAH WAH Life is Hard. After listening quietly, Dad busted out this chestnut: "You've just got to keep a stiff upper lip. Buck up. Cheer up. Things will be fine." We talked for a few more minutes before I begged off, irritated by his seeming lack of concern and empathy. I wanted to kvetch. I wanted to complain. Dad wanted me to buck up and have a stiff upper lip, whatever THAT was.

I was still peeved later that evening when I met up with The Gorgeous Girls of Miniondom (I really will need to fill you in on this sometime - have you ever known someone with Minions? You do now. Because I got me some Minions. Love me some Minions. They are spread across the country now - but still my Peeps, always will be.). I related the story of my dad, and mentioned that he was this stiff-upper-lip-pip-pip-cheerio BRITISH GUY walking around in the guise of an older gentleman with white hair that looks startlingly akin to Boris Yeltsin. The term BRITISH GUY was born to us that night. It's a noun (as in, my dad is a total British Guy); it's a verb (as in, my dad British Guyed me that night on the phone). It's a wonderful thing!

I continued my job search in the weeks to follow. I had some great leads, when I came upon the wild insanity that I should start my own little greeting card-making company instead. I'll never forget that afternoon, knowing I could accept an administrator position with another company (making an equivilant salary) OR I could accept a job with my current employer in a totally different (read: strange) division that had me making significantly less money, but promised to allow me some free time (even 4/10's!). And I wanted to do the later, because I could start my little card business... and what if... So I called my folks to get their opinion. Mom was worried, but supportive. And Dad, British Guy Dad was... INCREDIBLE. SUPER. A ROCK. A ROCK OF GOODNESS AND LIGHT. Later on, when The Minions and I were talking about it, we realized that a British Guy isn't always a bad thing. Sure, they can be cranky. They won't let you complain very much. They remind you that things could be much worse. They don't cater to freak-outs. They tell you to settle down. They dump a heaping portion of Reality on situations when you'd much rather dwell in Your Own Version. But a British Guy also pulls through in a tight spot. They cover you when you're down. They tell you the truth. They stick with you, even when you're in the darkest deepest yuckiest place. WINSTON CHURCHILL WAS A BRITISH GUY. Behold, my father, Winston.

Since then, I speak of Winston often with my buddies and Chip. My dad has no idea that I gave him this name (until now - HI DAD!). But he's the best Winston a girl could have on her side. Winston turned 69 two Sundays ago. It's so weird to see your parents get old. I'm sure they look at themselves and still see the younger version, as do we, their children. I see the Winston that used to drive his Fiat to church, and we'd BEG him to put the top down for the drive home. I see the Winston that pulled my teeth for me when I was too chicken to do it myself. I see the Winston that told us one year that we'd all be getting a block of wood for Christmas - and we did, each of us received a lovingly handmade oak sign with our name carved into the surface. I see the Winston that had me "help" him design a beautiful wall unit for my bedroom. I see the Winston that would get so mad about the barbies I'd strewn around the house, he'd threaten to get The Black Bag (really a black Hefty bag) - and though he did, occasionally, collect items in the bag, I don't remember him once actually throwing anything away. I see the hard-as-nails Winston who melted when my sister & I put a stray black and white kitten on his chest and asked, oh so politely if we could keep her. I see the Winston that cried on my wedding day. I see the Winston that has come through for me in a thousand different ways, in a thousand different situations.

I love you, Dad. Happy belated birthday.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

the hopeful refresh

(I am a little peeved, my friends, because I had the whole two-fold post going, and the second half -which you do not see here- was this little photo essay about FREZENTS/presents for The Bean, and the cat's reactions to said FREZENTS but I am an Internet dummy and cannot make The Internet Universe bend to my Will and post the pictures in the correct places throughout the entry. They all get just dumped at the top, which is stupid and also very unhelpful. I blame it on the lack of Mango Madness Snapple*. So you're only getting part one of my original post. Aren't you sad.)


I have some, uh, OCD tendencies. Okay, let’s be honest: I’m totally neurotic. At the tender age of 10, I remember telling dear friend Stacie that I had to have things EVEN – like if I stepped on a sidewalk crack with my left foot 4 times, I needed to do it with my right foot 4 times – and they needed to be in alternating order and and and … I’ll never forget, with dawning realization, that she was SMILING and IT WAS EXACTLY THE SAME FOR HER. (Hello Stacie! Sorry, I just outted you as a weirdo.) I knew then that I truly had a freakish friend for LIFE. And we’re still freakish friends. In high school she shared her findings from the Psychology class that she was taking, that, in fact, this behavior was known as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and it was actually pretty normal for a kid.

Fortunately, my neuroses are all pretty quietly contained now, out of the general public’s watchful eye. And it’s not like I’m in need of much medication or anything (ha ha ha)… but uh, I have this thing with the REFRESH button. Do you do this?

I can’t stand it when I’ve sent an email and I know I should be hearing back from the person I’m stalking – I mean, the person with whom I’m corresponding. So I’ll sit, staring at hotmail, willing the page with my laser beam eyes to present a new message to me. And then I REFRESH. Over and over and over again.

Send message.
Wait a beat.
Stare at screen.
Refresh, refresh.

And then I go to a blog or website in the hope that I'll get my mind off of the blasted email.
And I read for 2 minutes.

Return to email.

And then I usually have to pee, so I get up and leave the room and try not to think about email.

Can we all guess what I've been doing today?

*Also - please send your good vibes my way today, because I MAY DIE FROM LACK OF SNAPPLE MANGO MADNESS 10% "JUICE" (now with more "juice" - ha ha I crack myself UP). I took the last one in the cafeteria refrigerator yesterday, thinking stupidly that they'd restock, just for me. They did restock. Everything else. I held up the line for a while, rooting around inside the 'fridge, hoping I'd find one last Mango Madness. I had to take a Pomegranate Raspberry instead. It is not the same, people!)

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

current confessions

I’m drinking my second Snapple Mango Madness “Juice” of the day. I believe that it was a Sign From Above that this second Mango Madness was meant for me when it was the only one left in the cafeteria refrigerator.

I like to use Random Capitalization. Though I don’t believe it is actually random in any way. I fully intend my Capitals when I Capitalize.

I am in the throws of a ginger obsession. I simply can’t smell it enough. It is helpful that I have a ginger perfume (Origins Ginger). It is the only thing I’ve worn in 5 months, when normally I’m a more fruity perfume lover. Origins Ginger: The Official Perfume of My Pregnancy.

We are having the official ultrasound a week from Friday. Until today, I hadn’t even considered that The Bean wouldn’t let us see his or her private parts. Suddenly, I’m sitting here thinking – wow, we’re so looking forward to this whole unveiling thing, and it might not even happen. It’s stunned me a bit and now a feel a little duncey that this has never before occurred to me.

Have I mentioned I can be a little dumb sometimes?

There’s a blog site that I visit often, thanks to The Wife’s suggestion. The site is a shocking purple color. I normally limit myself to only a few minutes of it, because all that purple does something wicked to my own personal SIGHT. Earlier today, I somehow found myself reading the back entries over at the purple place. And I think I stayed on there a bit longer than recommended (is 2 hours really too long?) because now I CAN’T SEE. EVERYTHING IS A WEIRD YELLOW COLOR. WHITE = YELLOW. THAT’S NOT NORMAL, IS IT?

Monday, October 8, 2007

being better, part 27

It’s funny how I said that thing about my neuroses on Friday, and then… well, here’s the thing.

Twice a year my church has an international conference wherein we can watch all of our church officers and general authorities speak to us from Salt Lake City. Luckily, we have satellite, so we can watch the proceedings from the comfort of our couch. We wear pajamas for a good majority of the weekend. We eat lots of homey food. We cuddle. And we listen to these amazing men and women share direction with which we can improve our lives and our time here together.

Kathryn writes about it here.

I haven’t been able to talk about this hang-up I have, because I didn’t know how to present it here in a public forum, in a way that would be both helpful and constructive. It’s my baggage – and I wasn’t sure if there was a way to sort through it with you all looking on. I have some issues with feeling small – we know this because I have shared that – more than once. The thing is, it comes from something else – something about fitting in or being part of a group – something that has never been right with me. I’ve always been a bit of a loner. You can ask Mom – she’ll tell you a MILLION stories of me hanging out in my bedroom when we had company over – or how I was much happier making something with a pile of paper, some scissors, and some glue than playing with a group of kids I didn’t know. (And sometimes – even when I DID know the kids. Happier by my lonesome.) I have a bizarre sense of humor. I love good science fiction. I can quote obscure movies and books, and work said quotes into harmless conversation. I write poetry. I love to read. I love art. I don’t enjoy small talk. Fake gives me hives. I want to have real conversations with real people. In most cases, I haven’t felt like I could trust myself with people. That’s really it: the old addage of I’ll Show You Mine if You Show Me Yours never worked with me because I didn’t ever feel like Anyone Showed Me Anything – and when I did, indeed, Show Mine, it was usually stolen or trampled or misunderstood altogether. (Don't get me wrong: there have been some rare but WONDERFUL exceptions to my experience: my lovely indelable creamy friends & Minions - you know who you are. They have accepted me, the entire me, and have made me all that much kookier because of their influence.)

Because of my hesitancy to show the Big Me to the Big World, the Big Group Dynamic has always been challenging for me. My best way of dealing with it was to buck it altogether. Funny thing about growing up, though (and WHY don’t they tell us this?) – The Big Group Dynamic never goes away. Whether you’re in high school or college or some kind of pseudo business professional – you are still faced with daily BGD’s. At work, I’m best equipped to deal with the BGD by using Avoidance and Substitution. In these situations, I can be found either leaving the room entirely (I have work! To do! Somewhere else!) – or I huddle close to those people I know best and chat with them about NOTHING until the BGD has settled itself into more manageable clusters. At church it’s a little more difficult. The BGD is there, whether we want it to be or not. Through the BGD, cliques can form, whether we want them or not. For the last couple of years, I have dealt with the BGD at church with my old method of Avoidance and Substitution. I have kept people at arm’s distance, not only to protect myself, but also because I didn’t think anyone really wanted to see beyond that safe perimeter.

I’ve recently identified something in my soul that is restless and unhappy with this state of affairs. For the last few months, I thought it was about identity and having a baby. Like I was going through this identity crisis of sorts because I was going through so much change: my body, my marriage, my entire way of being is under construction. Makes sense that it would lead to some funky Who Am I questions, right?

I have played with the idea that this Having a Baby endeavor would change my relationships with friends. Suddenly those individuals with whom I have developed tenuous connections would be that much farther away. I have been terrified that the folks I’m now going to resemble (those with kids, the SAHM’s) wouldn’t take me in. Like I’d be left at the door knocking, and they’d all just huddle in the corner with the lights out, hoping I’d get the hint and just leave – taking baby and stroller with me.

I had such an urgent need to remember Who I Am (at least in context to FAMILY), that I booked an emergency trip to see my folks. It was fantastic to spend time with them – and good all around (Dad’s birthday, etc. etc.) – but we never got down to the kind of brass tacks conversation I’d imagined in my head, where I tell them that I needed to be with them for a few days, to feel like myself again. In the end, I don’t think it was needed. Because what’s going on inside of me is so much bigger than that.

At one point during the conference this weekend, Julie Beck, the President of our worldwide organization for women (The Relief Society) shared thoughts about Women Who Know. In her talk, she spoke of women of truth – women of power – women of influence. She shared things that these women would do – and in these things she shared, she gave us patterns to follow. Kathryn mentions this in her post today – and she shares that not everyone felt a sense of purpose and direction hearing Sister Beck’s words. I can imagine more than a few women (myself included) who felt small, who felt inadequate, who felt impossibility rising within them. And then… and then I felt an overwhelming sense of calm. Sister Beck shared a laundry list of things that I need to do better – there’s no doubt. But I felt such a great sense of peace settle over me, that I knew that there was something between the lines that I needed to see. My struggle with identity is tied up with my sense of inadequacy. And in that, I realized that what I need to focus on right now is being a better person. I know, I know, this sounds totally cheesey and canned. It sounds like other posts I’ve written. But hear me out. I have worried so much about where I fit, and with whom, that I haven’t bothered to look within. The times when I’ve been most inline with my sense of right, are also the times I’ve felt most free to be who I am. When I focus on improving myself, double checking that my actions are congruent to Christ’s teachings, I am much less inclined to worry about the BGD. I can motor on my way, happy to know that cream really does recognize cream – and when that happens, a friendship will be born.

Friday, October 5, 2007


It was Monday night when I realized I hadn’t taken a single blooming picture – really too late to fix the problem, what with me leaving the next day. I wound up taking a couple of quick shots of the dog – and one of a particularly pretty tree in my parents’ front yard. No images of people. Strange that this was my last trip to see my mom and dad before The Bean’s entrance into the world, and even stranger that I have no pictures to show for it. Instead, I present you with my mental snapshots from the trip. Some are more disjointed than others, like those photos you quickly take, hoping they’ll make sense to you when you’re whizzing through the images later.

Sitting by my sister-in-law at the little dining room bar, looking into the kitchen, watching Mom make rice for Dad’s birthday lunch. SIL relates the more HILLARIOUS pieces from a recent funeral – complete with reinactment of two individuals’ musical talents and the offering they made thereof. There is also mention of a somewhat inappropriate show of too much emotion. I laugh until I cry.

Dad's use of bungee cords.

A very lively and family-filled visit to Chuck-A-Rama, an establishment with which I have been heretofore uninitiated. The food is absolutely fantastic for a pregnant girl (all you can eat, mish-mash of every comfort food known to mankind--including the Utah/Idaho version of a scone which is basically deep fried BREAD, salad bar, and yet more bread, and the previously mentioned and much-loved lemon poppyseed cake). The name of the place keeps cracking me up. I lean over to try to include someone in the joke, and realize that they might be offended by my amusement. It's Chuck-A-Rama! It's hillarious!

Joyously happy cousins and their little girl.

Frequent bathroom stops, including one at a McDonald's where the desire for a cheeseburger overcomes my better judgement. I leave poor Mom & Dad out there in the car, awaiting my return, while I cruise through the SLOWEST LINE KNOWN TO MAN to order my food, and grab a Coke. As I get back into the car (with my winningest smile), Dad mutters something about how they were thinking I'd fallen in.

Dad hugging me at the airport.

Standing in the living room, looking out at the aching beauty that is my parents' backyard. And then seeing mom walk out on the grass with a blanket wrapped 'round her shoulders. So odd, so good.

Mom's lovingly-made peanut butter and jam sandwich, awaiting me in the car upon my arrival on Thursday night.

Watching the family of deer in my parents' next-door neighbors' backyard.

Light snowfall - and driving through it safely.

Me, in a bathroom stall of the Salt Lake City airport facilities, after a 2-hour drive. All is quiet until I hear Mom's voice calling my name, and when I respond, her excited exclamation, "Oh! I just knew you'd be in here! You left your camera in the back of the car." As I frantically try to get done up, she hands the camera to me under the stall door and says she has to run so Dad doesn't get a ticket. This hand is the last bit I see of Mom before I leave.

Enjoy your weekend, my dears! Next week, I'm going to talk about: Winston, Whimsy television line-up, and perhaps a bit about my ever-expanding neuroses. AREN'T YOU EXCITED?!?!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

free floating thanks

Seeing as how I was suspended magically in mid-air last Thursday (whizzing thousands of feet above the face of the earth – on my way to picturesque Familyland) – this is my 2nd Thankful Thursday. For you, gentle readers, I have prepared a double helping of Thanks:

- Planes that stay up

- BLT sandwiches made by mom (how is it that they're ALWAYS better when assembled by mom?)

- The rare chance to sleep in

- Homemade apple pie

- A friend that will text you on your cell phone, just to see how you're doing

- Returning from a trip to a SPARKLING CLEAN HOUSE - including clean bathrooms & vacuumed stairs

- The lemon poppyseed cake (with a tiny bit of vanilla soft-serve) at Chuck-A-Rama (more on this later)

- Even when it isn't the house you grew up in, it can still be your childhood home. Your parents are there, as are those familiar smells that make everything so presient.

- Coming home--- the home of now, the home of always, the home of your heart. Always coming home to the one you love, whose arms are familiar beyond comparison. The ache is gone and you're so happy to be in his presence, you make him follow you upstairs to keep you company while you unpack.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

best laid plans of mice and whimsy

I guess I was, uh, wrong about the posting bits while I was away. But I have some GREAT excuses! Really! Dad's internet was down Friday due to some nibbly squirrels (apparently those cable wires are very tasty). Saturday was spent on the road, and visiting family. Sunday was Dad's birthday. Monday was all kinds of errands and running around. And Tuesday, I packed up and made the trek back to the airport to fly home.

But I'm back with you, my dears. A few posting bits to take care of - but there is Much Work to be done, as well. How's everyone here? Have I lost all of you in my absence?