poopy pants

Something wasn't quite right this morning when I came back from my walk with the dog. I sat down at my desk and took a big sniff. What IS that? Is it the baby's diaper? Did the dog roll in something? Wait a minute, is it me? Did I...? Yes, yes I did. I stepped in poo.

That's okay, because I'd been meaning to buy a new pair of sneakers for several weeks. The current all-purpose pair lasted me through the last three months of my pregnancy, and then through a lot of runs since. Every time I got ready for the gym I'd think "I need a new pair of these soon." So not wanting to clean poop off the bottom of the worn sneak was just the incentive I needed to get my butt into the shoe store.

After work Dan and I packed up the baby and the dog and headed into Lexington center to visit Marathon Sports, the home of expensive running footwear. I brought with me the one non-poopy shoe (I have enough dignity to leave the smelly one home on the porch) and held it up to the salesman. "Another pair of these, please."

He brought out a brand new shiny pair of sneakers and I sat down to try them on. It was then that I noticed it... yellow and brown and smeared half-way up my pant leg.

"Oh my goodness, is that...?" I let slip. " I bent down to take a sniff. "It is. It's poop. I have poop on my pant leg."

I must have brushed my shoe up against my leg some time this morning and transfered the vile substance. What a realization. I had sat in poopy pants all day. And only reaized it when I was out in public, when another adult was literally standing over me staring at my leg smeared in animal feces.

"I have a baby at home" I tried to cover. "It could be from the baby." Like, as if that makes it better? Do you think it's better if people imagine that I hold a diaperless baby in my lap all day long and fail to notice when he shits down my leg?

Then the shoe salesman said something that totally redeemed the whole situation. "I can tell you're a mom" he said, "because you just bent down and smelled it. I would have puked if I saw that on my leg. But you just stuck your nose in it. When you're a mom nothing grosses you out anymore."

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hot beach video

Rascal ran and ran at the beach the other day, and some of that I managed to capture on video. When we got home he could barely move; it took him two tries to hop up on the bed.

Music is by the Infamous Stringdusters, included so we wouldn't have to listen to the wind that would otherwise be the only thing on the soundtrack. Go ahead and Buy the song on iTunes if you like it, so I won't feel so bad about the copyright infringement!

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unforeseen difficulties

The problem with being all more-alternative-than-thou and not watching tv is, we (or at least I) take up much of the saved time with reading (and even watching) things on the internet. Besides not being much better from a moral or intellectual standpoint, interneting also has the added disadvantage of being a mostly solitary pursuit. So not enough hanging out with my darling Leah. So never mind this post, I'm off to spend some quality time!

the burdens of popularity

It wasn't so long ago that we sat home every night, nothing to do, wishing that we had some friends to hang out with. No more! Now we're so popular that we have our choice of exciting evening diversions, not even counting going over to our parents' houses. Out last night until 10:00, tonight until quarter of—the busy social whirl never stops. So, you know, not so much time for blogging. Sorry, but something has to be sacrificed when you're as popular and in-demand as we are.

Not that we're going to stop posting entirely, though, even though my last post may have given you that impression. I'm sure you all had visions of us tossing our computers in the basement, and instead spending pleasant evenings reading or singing hymns together in front of the fire—when we're not out partying, of course. Not gonna happen. We did talk about trying to limit "screen time" in the evening—it is suggested that staying away from the cathode rays (or whatever it is they put in fancy flat-screen displays these days) is conducive to better sleep at night—but that lasted about one evening, for me at least.

Now if we had three hours of commute time a day, like our friends over at Factinis & Factomlettes (totally awesome blog, btw) we might be able to get our internetting in then, but, you know, we don't. I'm doing the bike thing, so being on the computer on the way to work probably isn't that safe (though I am rockin the Economist audio edition through one iPhone earbud, or was until my phone stopped working), and Leah's commute is the 2.5 seconds it takes to walk down the stairs. So evenings it has to be, for recreational online time. That is, again, when we're not out partying.

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garden wind-down

Every gardening season is a disappointing one, because it's frankly impossible for every plant to grow as well as you want it to. Especially when you don't know what you're doing. This year was further complicated by Harvey's arrival right at the beginning of the weeding period, and the distraction he provided from proper garden care and appreciation. Also it was either cold and rainy or way too hot, if memory serves, so we didn't spend much time outside. Excuses, excuses.

That being said, I planted so much more this year that I was pretty much guaranteed to come up with a passable harvest, and indeed, we did alright with tomatoes, greens of all kinds, and carrots, and we got a reasonable number of zucchinis and peppers as well. Wonderful peas early in the summer. Still, so many weeds... and so many wasted crops that dried or rotten on the vine because I didn't manage to harvest them in time!

So it's nice, in a way, to start closing everything down for the winter. The garden is never neat in the summer, at least not with the way I do my tomatoes! With them gone, and the cucumber trellis packed up, things start to look calm and tidy, and I start to be able to envision what I'm going to do next year. The anticipation is even better than the actual thing... at least at the end of the summer.

All that was in mind as I started taking things down on the first of October; imagine my surprise, then, when I couldn't get going on the cleanup until I picked a reasonable bunch more veggies! The day's intake is pictured above, and that isn't even the end of it. I got two nice tomatoes yesterday from some plants in the side yard, and there are a handful of carrots still in the ground and peppers ripening on the plants. So I can't get things down to bare dirt yet!

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A looooong blog post, befitting of the size of my husband's endowment which is also herein mentioned

I just learned this morning from my in-house gossip mill (that would be Judy taking phone calls while rocking the baby and then me screaming up the stairs: WHO WAS THAT? WHAT DID THEY SAY? TALK TO ME I'M DESPERATE FOR HUMAN CONTACT!!!) I learned that an acquaintance couple of ours is pregnant with their second set of twins, and with two singletons in between that brings their family up to 6 kids God willing and the crick don't rise. It's funny that I got this piece of gossip this morning, because I had just been thinking about them, thinking about their 4 kids under 5 years old, and I was wondering: How do they do it? How do they do - not the baby raising part, or the constant pregnancies, or even the financial piece. But the sex part. How do they do it? Like, at the end of the day do all those kids actually go to sleep? at the same time? and then the parents look at each other and go, "Hey, I've got a good idea..."

I know that this topic teeters on the border of inappropriate for this blog, since I know that DESPITE NO ACTION IN THE COMMENTS we are still widely read amongst our friends and family. So whenever I think of writing a blog post about sex, my initial reaction is to shut my mouth about it. (HA HA! No, seriously Leah, that's your problem!) But forreal, I would never want to give the impression that my perfect husband is anything less than a virtuoso in the love department, possessing of skills only hinted at in Harlequin romances, and ever so well endowed, and so forth. All these things obviously go without saying. Unfortunately, my perfect husband is currently cursed with an epic fail of a wife, at least in the love department. Even counting the brownie points that the recent production of an heir should award me... it's not going well. And that's why I absolutely have to write about it on the blog, because I'm desperate for validation. I just want one person to comment and tell me that it's okay. ONE PERSON, even a fake anonymous person, to say, yeah, we waited a year before having sex again. Sex isn't all it's cracked up to be. Many people go through sexless times in their marriage. Look at the Clintons. They're very accomplished.

You'd think that with my mind so continually tortured by failing marriage 101, that I would, I dunno, be able to buck up and force myself to perform at least one time in these 3+ months. But the thing about having a baby is that everything is so much work, and if you skip on having sex it's not like skipping on the laundry or the dog walking or a poopy diaper... the world continues to function after a fashion. So we'll be driving home from a party where I got adventurous and had ONE LIGHT BEER and I'll be thinking to myself in my half-buzzed state: Hey, I'm not shuddering at the thought of human contact... Maybe tonight's the night! But then we get in the house and change the baby, and the smell of wet poop is kind of a buzz-kill. And then I feed the baby, and he falls asleep in the middle of the bed, so if there's any chance of being intimate then there has to be a concerted decision to lift him up and put him into the co-sleeper, and that practically screams DESPERATE. And anyway, I'm not feeling so sexy anymore holding a burp cloth over my leaky boob.

So yes, we never have sex. And on the off chance that we try, I just can't get any into it. I'm so focused on getting it accomplished, getting it over and done, that I just can't make it happen at all, especially with my over wonderful, caring, respectful and loving husband who says feminist things like, "Um, do you even want to have sex? Because we could be doing something else."

And in reply I'm all: "For the first time in weeks the baby's sleeping and not in the middle of the bed! THERE'S NO OTHER TIME!"

Which doesn't really answer the question. Do I want to be having sex? No, not really, but I want to want to, and I want to not have it hanging over my head anymore. Which is maybe my problem, because I used to do things because I wanted to do things, not because I fear that if I don't consider it a mandatory priority it will fall into the bin of never ever happening which looks like a bottomless pit of life that is never coming back to me again. For everything. So like, Dan will say "Do you want to go to the gym?" And I'm all, "Want to go to the gym? I HAVE TO GO TO THE GYM! If I don't go, I'll stay disgustingly fat and in 5 years I'll be tottering around in a size 16 muumuu saying 'the baby weight! the baby weight! It's so hard to lose the baby weight!' and everyone will be whispering around me 'what is she talking about baby weight? She only ever had one baby and then she never had sex again!"

Anyway, I apologize for making my friends and family slog through 6 paragraphs of trying not to picture me and Dan having sex, but I do feel better airing out our non-dirty laundry out on the internet. Because there's got to be someone else, some sexy and attractive young mother like me who also went through a period of frigidity and didn't end up murdering her marriage because of it. And if not, it'll be a nice added dimension to all our social engagements when we walk in the room and our friends go "Hey guys! How's the not having sex going?" Answer: about as well as not sleeping, but we're getting through it.

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about the previous post...

It's not just me. According to a new book, all women are apparently completely batshit crazy when it comes to sex.

I'm too lazy to read a book, so here are the highlights from CNN's article:

It turns out that women's reasons for having sex range from love to pure pleasure to a sense of duty to curiosity to curing a headache.

A 26-year-old heterosexual woman wrote, "When I was single, I had sex for my own personal pleasure. Now that I am married, I have sex to please my husband. My own pleasure doesn't seem as important as his."

not epic, but still enjoyable

I spent a while this morning reading about some truly hardcore cycling, so of course I had to get out and do a little riding myself. I didn't quite manage to ride an off-road century or summit any major peaks, but I did squish around a little in the swamps of Bedford and enjoy biking just for fun, rather than to get to work. You'd think I'd be getting better at this commuting business, but it still seems like I'm dragging every morning. After trying to ride through bottomless mud—well, at least six inches deep—I felt like I was just flying along when I got back on the roads. Good times.

It's been quite a while since I posted about biking, but I'm very much into it these days—to the point where it almost broke up our marriage! We're scheduled for a ride with friends tomorrow; let's see if I can provide a cycling post with photos.

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getting by with a little help from our new friends

A few weeks ago Dan and I decided to up our number of weekly social commitments by adding a Friday night church group into the mix. I know, I know... fast times. We're trying not to let all the popularity go to our heads.

This church group is a Vineyard SmallGroup, pronounced with the emphasis on the first sylable as if it wasn't a modifier. You gotta say it as if it's all one word. The proper pronunciation is very important if you want to fit in with the evangelical crowd, so we don't want to get it wrong. Anyway, we've been spending more time at the Cambridge Vineyard church lately, on account of the rockin worship music and free bagels. So we thought we'd take the plunge and get to know some of the folks on a more regular basis. This particular SmallGroup is less intellectual and more pray-y than our normal bible study, which is fun just for a change of pace. And it's family friendly with a rotating baby sitting role, which will be helpful if I ever decide to let Harvey out of my sight for an hour.

This Friday Dan and I volunteered for kid patrol. We had a lot of fun playing with two kids who were there and with an incredible variety of brand-specific Mr. Potato Head attire. Note: it's very important not to mix the Star Wars feet attachments with Red Sox arms attachments if you're 4. Meanwhile the rest of the group watched the documentary film Finger of God, a film about miracles.

I had already seen the movie (indeed we own it) so I didn't mind missing the replay. Still, I was bummed to miss out on adult group time, so you can imagine my excitement when the kids' mom came in to get them ready for bed and told me I could join the group for the last 10 minutes of discussion. Of course it's a bit of a weird dynamic, jumping into a meeting already in session. I hadn't even introduced myself to all the people there, and when I came in they were debriefing the film, so I just plunked down in a chair by the door. The folks were talking about the types of miraculous healings in the movie, and wondering if it would be too much of a leap of faith for us regular people to try to do this stuff. Then the leader of the SmallGroup says, "So why don't we try this sort of thing out here, just to try something on a small scale. Does anyone here have some physical aliment that we could try to pray for?"

I waited a beat, and then another. Another few seconds went by as everybody looked around at each other. No one piped up. So from the back of the room I dove right in. "I've got something - I don't know if it's the kind of thing we want to pray for - but I hurt myself giving birth and I now can't have sex anymore."

Now normally I would have asked Dan permission to bring up such a topic in mixed company, mixed meaning that we don't even know half the people there. But he was still in the other room helping with the kids, and this issue has been sort of consuming my thoughts for the past month, and I can't abide a group silence, and also? Maybe I'm a little nuts. Because my brain is drowning in not-used-up sex hormones. Yeah, I think that's the way that works.

Anyway, these dear willing strangers had me sit in the middle of the circle while they all prayed for the restoration of my lady parts. Seriously and earnestly. Because that's what they're like at the Vineyard church - you should go! And let me tell you guys, my embarrassment over the whole situation was seriously counter-balanced by the fact that I could feel it working. Although, I did get a bit red in the face when Dan walked into the room a few minutes later. I couldn't see his face because I was turned facing away from him, but it was immediately apparent what everyone was praying for. And my poor long-suffering husband, I didn't hear him snicker or anything, but in my head I imagined him realizing turning a shade of purple.

As of right now this is more of a story about my embarrassing forthrightness than it is about a miraculous healing, because at the moment who's to know; the latter has not yet been scientifically tested. This was only last night, after all! And we got in late! But if we do manage a successful sexual encounter in the next few weeks I will consider it nothing less than an act of God.

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an afternoon in the saddle

As promised, we took a bike ride this afternoon, and I took pictures. Not so much of the biking part—my camera is too unwieldy for that, as much as I would have loved to get some over-the-handlebar shots—but at least of some of the scenery. Like, for example, the historic house pictured above, which as leisurely bike-tourists we were happy to stop and visit.

We stopped an awful lot, actually, in the first section of the ride; how could we do otherwise, when there were British regulars in the middle of the road?!

This portion of the ride was through Minuteman National Park, so the presence of old-timey folks was not entirely unprecedented, though of course no less delightful for that. Ditto old houses. That was on rock dust; thence we headed, on modern roads, into historic Concord center, where we shopped for a bit. Then down Monument Street to use the bathroom at the Old North Bridge, before hopping on a dirt trail to give the folks on the mountain bike tandem a chance at real off-road riding. Here we all are at the end of that section of trail.

After that it was just getting home on the paved bike path, with Leah speeding ahead of us for milk-production reasons. Actually, it wasn't really getting home home, because we had left Harvey at Grandma Beth's and had to head over there to pick him up. It really brought back memories, riding up the hill on Oak Street when I would much rather have been off the bike eating dinner. As nostalgic as it was being back in the old hood, I much prefer the flat approach we have to our current residence. Scenic over there, though.

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local thrills

Today was an exciting day around here, and not only because we ate the last garden tomato and the first pumpkin—you've got to take your excitement where you find it when you don't watch much tv! (And no, we didn't grow the pumpkin. Next year.) The real excitement was provided by the apple pie contest at the farmers market, which I had forgotten about, but which happily was just going to judging when I showed up at the market. One of the contestants was our neighbor Mary, and I waited anxiously with her and her family as the results were tabulated. Of course, her third-grade daughter had no doubts at all about the outcome: "Mom, you won at Topsfield, of course you'll win here!" (for the record, the Topsfield Fair prize was a third, Mary tells us). And indeed, the local talent was vanquished by state-fair caliber baking, and Mary came away with the blue ribbon and 20 dollars worth of gift certificates to the market. Congratulations!

There was also a pumpkin pie category, which I think I might have had a chance at if I had been organized enough to enter: as it was, there was only a single contestant. Easiest 20 bucks of free delicious produce she ever made!

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perspective

I rode my bike to work this morning, despite the cold rain and general yuckiness. As I wetly zipped past drivers sitting in traffic, we looked at each other, and both thought: sucker.

Why did I ride? Well, I guess it's this thing of trying to see biking as more than just a fun pastime. It is that, of course, but due to various recent events and conditions, I'm also interested in considering it a viable transportation form; in fact, the first transportation option, one that I default to absent any complicating conditions. And if I'm serious about that in New England, weather can't be a complicating condition. Not that I intend necessarily to ride every day, just that if I never ride in the rain there's something wrong with either my theory or my practice. I missed the last rainy day, so it had to be today.

And it really wasn't bad at all. Even my ancient rain gear kept me for the most part dry; the only part of me that was really significantly damp were my feet, especially, for some reason, my right foot. This didn't surprise me: not having a waterproof shoe solution, I chose to wear my beat-up old sneakers and wool socks. So, warm, if not dry. And sure, feet were plenty warm—albeit squishy—though I suppose I could have done without having to stand outside for half an hour in those wet shoes and socks doing traffic duty.

Really, the only downside to the whole deal was that everyone at work made fun of me and told me I'm insane. Well, perhaps. But I enjoyed the ride, I didn't get wet enough to have to change any clothes besides shoes and socks, and I got to stay true to my principles. Plus, it stopped raining by the afternoon. I stopped at the Lexington farmers market to buy a perhaps unsafe load of produce and delicious cider (thank you, new dork rack!), and just as I was getting back on the bike the sun came through the clouds right ahead of me, and I rode the rest of the way home with a patch of beautiful blue sky right over my head.

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the ancient emnity

Rascal was freaking out much of this afternoon due to the presence of our neighbor's cat, newly promoted to outdoor-cat status, in and around our yard. At a point at which I interpreted his energy as a need to go out for reasons other than feline pursuit, I opened the door that he was pressing his nose against, only to see him dash into the woods. Luckily for everyone involved, cats are strictly territorial, so rather than running straight away this one doubled back, followed shortly by an excited Rascal. Despite his superior speed, however, he was unable to effect the capture—due I am sure to some doubts on his part as to what exactly would be his next step were he to actually do so.

So naturally the cat soon made its escape, under the porch or into the bushes or something, but Rascal kept dashing around trying desperately to pick up the scent. He would not be interested in a ball, or anything else I could offer. I felt for the poor cat, no doubt crouching somewhere feeling, if not abject terror, then at least some mild concern, so I told Rascal, "If you don't stop bothering that cat you'll have to go inside!"

Of all that, the only words he heard and appreciated were "cat" and "inside", and he was up the steps and at the door with some alacrity; once inside, his behavior demonstrated clearly that he was surprised not to find his prey there, perhaps under the couch. Sorry to mislead you, pups.

He's a good dog, but we wish he would get along better with cats. As it is, though, I'm happy enough that he can't catch them. Same with deers, I suppose.

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Starts with a dirty word and rhymes with Christmas

Today my midwife came over to give me an exam and talk about the whole not-being-able-to-have-sex condition that I may have previously mentioned on this website. It's gotten to the point where we've tried it enough times to rule out a run-of-the-mill case of postpartum frigidity. We've worked with all the usual advice, and trust me; it's not a question of interest or patience or position or lubrication. No, my pussy's just broken. I had this exam today to determine how broken. And the answer is? broken. With something called Vaginismus. Don't be surprised if you have absolutely no idea; they're not advertising on TV this month. Instead, I'll quote from the wikepedia entry:

"Vaginismus... affects a woman's ability to engage in any form of vaginal penetration... the result of a conditioned reflex of the pubococcygeus muscle... which makes any kind of vaginal penetration including sexual intercourse either painful or impossible."

I'll highlight two words from that description: PENETRATION and IMPOSSIBLE. I'll say that again for effect: IMPOSSIBLE! Like the way a pig can't fly or you can't re-freeze melted icecream. Not gonna happen - Impossible. There's something so incredibly relieving in that word. Like It's not actually my fault. It's a real medical condition.

To use a well known phrase, you can't put a square peg into a something something something my snatch is wired shut.

Of course, I wanted to make sure that I wasn't just getting a trumped up diagnosis of "your junk is nuts" so I asked my midwife, "Is this a real thing? This isn't like restless leg syndrome, is it?" But she assured me that yes this is a very real medical condition, something that doesn't affect very many people, but still if I start treating it right away we may be able to have sex in two months, but if I wait to see if it resolves on its own I could still be waiting a year from now.

And I'm all, no two months is long enough, thank you. No need to get too extreme with the "y" word. Don't need to be throwing "a year" around. I'll do whatever it takes; what can I swallow, inject, or apply in gentle salves?

Well, it turns our there are various therapies for vaginismus, including Cortisone shots to the affected area, topical numbing creams, or even Botox. OMG, slow down, too many jokes! A Cortisone shot to the twat would make me feel like a professional athlete in the "doin' it" league. Hmm, a topical numbing cream... that should make sex feel AWESOME! Botox Botox Botox... I have always been concerned with the wrinkly appearance of my intimate area... will the injections return my lady parts to a teenage level of youth and vigor?

Not that this is a laughing matter... the pursuit of a healthy sex life now suddenly involves needles and that's really not the kind of thing I'm into. But no decisions quite yet. For now I have to wait a week to get a second opinion from a local gynocologist who would be the person to prescribe or administer such therapies. And it's got to be drugs, because the other option is a rigorous course of physical therapy, which I can tell you right now that I will never do. Seriously, I can barely force myself to do ten crunches after a workout. Can you imagine me washing up at the end of a long day of work and saying, "Wait, before I go to bed let me stick my fingers in my vagina for five minutes to increase dilation." No, I'd rather bring on the numb sex!

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good babies

We took a family outing this afternoon. First Rascal waited in the car while we made a quick visit to the Harrington School Walk for the Arts, for the purpose of showing off Harvey to those of my coworkers who were volunteering. He was duly shown off, and a good job he did of it too: all smiles, and extra cute in his fleece suit. Then Harvey dozed in the Bjorn while Rascal got to run all over the hills and dales of Whipple Hill in Lexington (with plenty of swimming in the pond in addition). Not long ago we would have been nervous with him off the leash, but no more: he zipped all over the place, often out of site but never slow to change direction and dash past us when we told him we were going a different way. That meant we could just stroll along, going one mile to his eight or ten. Yup, we sure are fortunate in our dependents.

weather update

Here it is the 18th of October, and we've had two snowy days already! Friday it snowed in the morning, and I couldn't resist the opportunity to play in the snow by biking through it to work. People again said I was crazy. This afternoon it started raining, but at some point giant lumps of snow (like, an inch across) started mixing with the rain, and then it changed entirely to snow. Now it's mostly back to rain, but still. Again, I couldn't resist playing in it, first by taking a walk with Harvey and Rascal and then by, ahem, biking in it. It turns out snow has some moisture in it!

Surprisingly, not everyone is as enthusiastic about this early winter weather as I am. In fact, most non-children seem quite unhappy! I can't understand why... would they maybe prefer rain? I'm sorry to break it to you, but it's very unlikely that we're going to be able to squeeze in another day at the beach this year, so I don't see how a little snow or cold weather inconveniences anyone in the least. But to each their own, I guess. Me, I enjoy snow at least through March.

[I have to add: one group who definitely enjoyed the snow was the Patriots and their fans. I wasn't going to watch the game—I'm too good for tv now—but I had to tune in to see them play in the snow. And so I got to watch a beating for the ages, which is nice.]

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a look that stops traffic

People occasionally ask me what I do at Harrington school this year. Traffic enforcement is certainly a highlight.

I Mammal, I Momma

The other night I had a terrible nightmare that we buried something in the back yard, some gruesome chopped up body part that we didn't want anyone to see, but we accidentally buried it on the neighbors yard by mistake, and a little girl was playing over the sandy mound where we buried it, and all the sand turned blood colored and stained her hands and dress, and the police were after us like on CSI. How could my brain conjur up such a terrifying image?

Over the weekend Dan did some work outside closing down the garden for winter. I was upstairs folding clothes while the baby napped. Suddenly Dan flung open the back door and stomped triumphantly up the stairs. "I've dug a hole" he said. "I'm ready to bury the placenta."

Yes, dear readership, it's been four months (Happy four month birthday Harvey!) and all this time this bizarre remnant has lurked in our freezer, terrorizing those who go in looking for the bag of raspberries which is RIGHT NEXT TO IT - OH DEAR LORD WHY ARE THE TWO ZIPLOCK BACKS OF RED FOOD AND NON-FOOD STUFFS RIGHT NEXT TO EACH OTHER IN THE FREEZER?

It's not like we were hanging onto this thing for sentimental reasons. It's just that, well, taking care of a baby involves many non-hole-digging related tasks, and we're not the quickest to jump on non-necessary chores, witness the IKEA shelf which has been propped against the wall in the bedroom for six months, and you realize that four is not a terribly long time to take to bury an organ.

Anyway, we headed out into the garden with the accusing looking ziplock bag, which frozen felt actually quite heavy. I pealed back the plastic from the frozen mass as gingerly as I could, trying as best as possible not to touch the thing, because I know I should be like a crazy hippy and all, but still, eeeeeeeeeeeew!

Then I dropped it into the hole and Dan covered it up with dirt. The last remnant of the "first pregnancy" part of our lives. In some bizarre way I was sad to see this little part of me disappear under the ground. Harvey is getting so big and smart and human, it's like he's his own person or something. I want to remind us both: "Hey! I know you! You used to be inside of me, little thing. I'm your momma."

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Slow Burn

I walk into the kitchen as Dan is cutting up some green onions.

Dan: "I've sprung a leek!"

pause
pause
pause
still more dead air as we stare at each other
pause

Leah: "Oh. I get it."

Which is not to invite criticism on my husband's sense of humor. The sleep situation may be a factor in the interpretation of puns.

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fall

In the course of revisiting the biking grounds of my youth in search of some good off-road cycling, I passed through our local burying ground and couldn't help but notice how pretty it looked in the fall mist. So I came back a little later with Harvey in an attempt to photograph the scene. Unfortunately, between Harvey squiggling around in the Bjorn and my nervousness about my car (which is displaying some very worrying symptoms) I couldn't really concentrate; and thus I didn't notice that the "auto" mode on my camera failed me in the bright mist and pretty much over-exposed everything. Oh well. A little bit of messing with levels in Photoshop gets you the two acceptable images here.

And yes, I did fall on my bike as well. Several times.

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recognition reorganization

Down at the bottom of every page of this blog (or sometimes to one side) is a little list of some blogs we like. Naturally, we can't put em all there; they'd never fit. So consider it a semi-random collection of favorites. Every once and a while the time comes to update the list, as I have just now done. Rather than let the new additions stand silently for themselves, though, I want to point them out so you can't fail to notice the change. Especially Factinis & Factomelettes, the fabulous new blog belonging to our friend Sarah and her friend April (who I'm sure we would count as a friend too, had we ever met). Go, read, and comment!

Also:

Bike Snob NYC - How I'm learning about the world of cycling, but funny even if you've never been on a bike in your life. Maybe.

papertools - Helen DeWitt's blog, mentioned previously in these pages. If only she would write more!

Removed are Polyglot Vegetarian and defective yeti for not updating enough, and The Daily Puppy for, well, you can only look at so many dogs. All three are still good, though. As are many more, that I really should write down somewhere, as if you cared what I read online.

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I bah humbug your miracle of life

Yesterday I got an email from some new friends of ours with the exciting announcement that they're expecting their first baby. Then today I get an email from a formerly very pregnant workmate that she just had her baby this morning. It's been a week of exciting baby news all around!

For some reason, this has made me very crabby.

It must be because I am evil incarnate that I cringe at the thought of other people's happiness. No, that's not it. Dial it back a few notches and it is revealed that I'm just jealous. Jealous that someone else is getting all the attention that comes when you're pregnant with your first baby, the caring nurturing spotlight you bask in before you actually become a mother and your identity drops off the face of the earth. Or jealous that someone else is leaving on maternity leave, and it means more mornings and evenings away from my own baby because I now have to work harder.

So much for the good sorority of motherhood.

I've long believed that becoming a mother does not make you a better more compassionate or empathetic person. Ha ha, no. If that were the case, then mothers would be better drivers, less gossipy at the bus stop, less rude to the baristas in Starbucks. It's a constant battle to ensure that motherhood does not turn me into a judgmental self-protective she-wolf, clawing others to the death for the protection of her own family. Although, as I look at that list of examples, (and imagining the huge SUVs in front of Starbucks) it might just be living in the suburbs that makes you a mean person.

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baby banshee

As babies are wont to do, Harvey has been experimenting with vocalizations. For a while it was just your standard coos and babbles, but then last week he moved on to buzzing sounds with his lips. I was all ready to sign him up for trumpet lessons, but he's already done with that and on to the next thing: high-pitched squeals that sound kind of like glass being cut with a dull saw. It's quite lovely! I cannot imagine what he's going to come up with next.

Two creditors calling this morning = last straw

We have changed the greeting on our home answering machine. If you call us you will now hear this:

"You have reached the Archibald household, home to Dan, Leah, Harvey, and Rascal Archibald. If you are looking for Karl Vumbacca, this used to be his number but it's not anymore. Please do not leave a message for Karl Vumbacca; this is not his residence. Unfortunatly, have no information as to his wearabouts. If you'd like to leave a measage for Dan and Leah Archibald, you can do so at the tone. Thank you and have a great day."

And if you have any information as to the wearabouts of Karl Vumbacca (may or may not be the official spelling) please contact us so that we can inform the many people who want him to a) pay them back money or b) build them new cabinets.

Thank you!

yard waste

Out here in the suburbs, it's always good to be a landscaper. If any one time is busier than any other for those fine sons of the chemically-fertilized soil, however, it's the fall. Sprinkler systems to pump out, lawns to aerate, and bags and bags of leaves and grass clippings to haul away. Bags and bags. The leaves are one thing: I suppose if you don't have a little corner of woods to toss them in, it can be pretty tiresome finding a place to dispose of them all (though if you have enough lawn that you can't just chop and compost the whole batch, why not plant some trees for your own little corner of woods?!). The grass is another matter. Oh how it pains me to see all that vegetable matter, carefully tended and grown with so much applied nutrients and water, being hauled away as trash. Do you think I could maybe ask them to dump a little of it in my compost pile?

In unrelated farming news, I pulled up the last of the carrots today, because their leaves were all eaten by varmints and I didn't want to risk losing track of them. The carrot crop was wonderful beyond all my expectations, and I will be planting even more carrots next year. I might even try some full-size varieties, so I can go for length as well as girth.

Also, I ate a cherry tomato this evening. It tasted wonderful. I think it was the last one; all the others got moldy. I would have given Leah the privilege of consuming it, since this year I finally got her liking tomatoes, but I worried that it might have been past it's prime. If anyone was going to spoil the memory of a delicious summer of tomatoes by ending the season on a sour note, it was going to be me. That said, this afternoon I picked one more green Early Girl from the plant by the south-facing wall and under the heating vent, so maybe we can get that to ripen up and extend tomato season into November!

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halloween recap

Harvey was a lamb for Halloween, befitting his status as an imminent baptizee. Most of the day we spent getting ready for the big party tomorrow, but we did take a little time to enjoy the day. I took another ride by the graveyard, for example, which I felt to be appropriate enough. It was about perfect around here, Halloween-wise: warm enough for all types of costumes (strangely unseasonably warm, in fact), nearly full moon, spooky wind with scudding clouds, and of course the fact that the holiday actually falls on All Hallows eve, like it's supposed to! We got a reasonable number of customers too, so all is well.

More pictures of the lamb below the fold.

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