Thursday, December 30, 2004
Posted by Carrie at 3:08 PM
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
On the morning of September 11, 2001, I sat in my office, staring dully at the computer screen, constantly refreshing the news sites and listening to the radio. One of my employees, a Mexican-American, came in to ask me something about the WTC, because I had lived in NYC and had watched the aftermath of the first bombing. He sat down with me a while, and we listened to the radio, where they gave an estimate of 20,000 people dead. He said, "Wow, that's almost as many people as died in the Mexico City earthquake".
In the USA, we have no concept of this kind of mass disaster. Our hurricanes kill in the tens, not in the thousands. The September 11 attacks were the worst terrorist attacks in the world, but even they pale in comparison to the nearly one million people killed in 100 days in Rwanda in 1997. There have been an estimated 15,000 civilians killed in Iraq, minimum, just in 2004. It's not that what happens to us isn't tragic; it's that we often forget how far down we are on the scale of human suffering.
The Tsunami is shaping up to be one of the worst natural disasters in history. You can donate to the American Red Cross at Amazon.com,
or to UNICEF through their web site. Cash donated is not only used to buy supplies, but also to pay for shipping the supplies to where they are needed.
You'll be doing at least as much as our President (emphasis mine):
Earlier yesterday, White House spokesman Trent Duffy said the president was confident he could monitor events effectively without returning to Washington or making public statements in Crawford, where he spent part of the day clearing brush and bicycling. Explaining the about-face, a White House official said: "The president wanted to be fully briefed on our efforts. He didn't want to make a symbolic statement about 'We feel your pain.' "
Many Bush aides believe Clinton was too quick to head for the cameras to hold forth on tragedies with his trademark empathy. "Actions speak louder than words," a top Bush aide said, describing the president's view of his appropriate role.
Posted by Carrie at 9:57 AM
Friday, December 24, 2004
Ladies and Gentlemen of the blogosphere, I need your help. I need to bombard a clueless social worker in charge of fostering and adopting children in my county with posts telling her how completely off-base she is. This is the deal:
The local weekly in my area did a story on a couple who signed up for foster-adoption in our county. I read it eagerly, because T. and I have been looking seriously at fostering to adopt in the next few years. They had a little boy, who was about a year old when he arrived, for a year and a half, after receiving all sorts of assurances that he was going to be adoptable, that there was no way that his mother, a teenage drug addict, could ever be considered fit enough to get him back. Then she went into rehab, and in November 2004 was given custody of the boy again. My quibble isn't with this so much, as it sounds like this girl worked very hard to be considered a good mother, and it isn't her fault if the county didn't move fast enough to terminate her rights before she got better. This happens--it is the whole point of foster care, though I would say they shouldn't wait so long to make these children adoptable. And it is a news story, so I don't know how accurate a picture they've painted anyway. At the very end of the story, there is a discussion of what exactly a parent would have to do to be unfit, and the struggle between the rights of the birth parents and what's best for the child. The second to last paragraph contains a quote from the Child Protection Services manager:
But the county's Orlin says children have a special connection to their parents that no outsider can replace. "Even the happiest kids adopted at birth go to see their natural parent," she says. "No one will love them the same. It's a bond that can't be broken by any court order."
How completely demeaning to both adopted parents and adopted children. I couldn't believe what I read. This, apparently, is the reason for those horror stories about children who have lived with foster parents for years and bonded with them who are then taken out to live with birth parents they don't remember. I'm sure my brother-in-law, who is adopted and has never tried to look for his birth parents, will be glad to know that he spent his life missing out on this kind of parental love. And my cousin, who grew up in an abusive and neglectful household with the woman who gave birth to him, will be cheered to know he got the most loving bond he could have, despite never having enough to eat because his mom spent all her money on booze.
I plan to write to her about how she has just lost me as a potential foster parent, if that is the way placement is looked at. I would just love to send her (and her supervisor, as well as various government officials) other comments as well, because there are people out there who know from experience what a load of crap her statement is, and how hurtful that sort of thinking is, especially for someone in her particular job. How about it? You can leave a comment for me, or email me at empress dot carrie at gmail dot com. I'll send them along with my letter. Either she needs to get some education or she needs to be out of a job, as far as I am concerned. And anyone who is above her in charge of this program needs the same thing. For those of you in the adoption process, here's a lovely way to get your feelings out towards a clueless social worker without jeopordizing your own placements. (I don't have anything against social workers, btw. They are, for the most part, unsung heroes of our society. But some are bad, and when they are bad it can screw people up their entire lives).
Merry Christmas, by the way. And Yule or Solstice too.
Posted by Carrie at 3:02 PM
Saturday, December 18, 2004
I will return to blog soon about my trip, but in the meantime, I will share with you the most exciting part of it.
We spent 2.5 hours in line at the airport in Toronto, from check-in through customs through security, then the shuttle to the gate. This may be a blog entry in itself. I spent nearly all of it next to Justin from Queer as Folk. He is very cute in person, though not very tall. It took me a while to figure out where I knew him from, and I was guessing the show, but then I saw the Showtime logo on one of his duffel bags and I was sure (I thought about asking, but if I was wrong and it was some asshole straight guy I felt the observance might not be appreciated). I spoke to him briefly and he flashed me the most beautiful, Colgate-perfect smile I think I have ever seen. His boyfriend is a very lucky man.
The weirdest part? Realizing I am standing next to a total stranger that I have seen buck nekkid.
Posted by Carrie at 8:12 PM
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
We are loaded up on antibiotics, and the packing is nearly done. T. and I are off to Toronto for his company's holiday party, and Peanut is going to stay with her grandma (who is also loaded up on antibiotics) until we get back. Did you know the way they diagnose sinus infections in babies is just by length of time of congestion? Me neither. I am not thrilled about leaving her when she is sick, but if I stay here I will go well and truly insane. This last week has not been especially fun.
A good description of what is going on in my home right now is at therapyeggs, my friend Jen's site, because she is going to the same party. My poor husband once told me he found me attractive because I did my hair and wore makeup and knew how to put it on properly. I don't think I've done that more than about three times since before the baby was born. I feel like I'm going to prom or something.
I will be back later this weekend, hopefully with some good stories. It is a company holiday party, after all. Somebody is bound to make an ass of themselves publicly, and I'm just going to pray it isn't anyone I care about.
Posted by Carrie at 6:41 PM
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
I wanted to say Thank You to the people who have come here and offered support. It means a lot. We're doing better here, a little. I'm over my anger at T., and both Peanut and I can breathe through at least one half of our noses. I am still up, though, because the sooner I go to bed the sooner it will be tomorrow. And I don't want tomorrow to come very soon.
I'll try and be funny (again?) in the future. There just isn't much funny going on around here lately. And I need to do a little update on all the progress Peanut has been making. She's amazing.
Posted by Carrie at 1:41 AM
Sunday, December 12, 2004
Posted by Carrie at 11:45 PM
I'm chickening out.
The last week or so has been terribly cloudly and gloomy, and tomorrow is supposed to be more of the same. But Tuesday is predicted to be bright and sunny and beautiful. So, if I think she'll be ok one more day, I am holding off on having the vet come until Tuesday.
We bought the house we did in part because of its big, fenced yard that even the cats wouldn't get out of. Suki has spent her life living mostly indoors, either below or far above ground level. She got to go outside and eat grass and lay in the sun for a while on a leash several years ago, but hasn't been able to in years. So I was happy to be able to let her out safely. Until she found the hole in the fence. Then I kept her in, for weeks and weeks because we couldn't get around to fixing it properly. They'll have the whole next summer to go out, after all, right? I want her to have one last morning in the warm sun, though it will be too cold to go outside. We have a window seat facing the morning sun, and she liked to go there before she got sick. Now on Tuesday I will get up early and help her get up on it and sit with her a while.
You know, knowing that it is coming doesn't actually make it any easier. And for someone like me, who doesn't ever kill bugs if I can help it (I scoop them up and put them outside), the idea of scheduling the death of my pet is just about as traumatic as the death itself. I will have to do this four more times in the next 10 years or so, though, so I guess I'd better get used to it.
Posted by Carrie at 11:03 PM
Tomorrow is D-day for Suki. It is odd to me to know the day a life is going to end, as it was odd to know in advance the day Peanut was going to be born. It's not the way things are supposed to work, is it? But the time has come. Thursday afternoon I noticed her kind of tripping on one of her back feet. I called the vet, and they said without examining her they couldn't say whether it was from the tumor pressing on her spine or whether it is from the cancer metastisizing to her brain. There is nothing to be done that would give her more than a few days or weeks of relief anyway. Once the weakness started, it spread rapidly. Since I first noticed the problem she has lost nearly all strength in that leg and much of her hind end is also weak. She can barely climb a stair, and needs help to get on the bed or a chair. I am waiting until tomorrow because her original vet can come to the house then, as Suki has always been terrified of the car and I don't want her to have to go through that. So that's our sucky weekend.
I have put all anger at T. aside for the time-being. He has been sick for the last week along with Peanut, and I came down with this same terrible cold on Thursday as well. I can't deal with being sick, my baby being sick, being angry at him, and putting my cat to sleep all at once, so I am letting go of anger. It was time anyway. I love my husband very much, and he's a good man. He doesn't screw up often, though when he does, it's a doozy. So I'm going to focus on the "doesn't screw up often" part and go with him to therapy when he's ready and figure out how to stop self-destructive behavior before it really starts. Therapy has helped him enormously in the past, as it has helped me. I don't know why it is having a perfect stranger tell you things you somehow already knew works so well, but it does.
I'll try to have a cute baby picture the next time, to make up for all of this.
Posted by Carrie at 6:34 AM
Thursday, December 09, 2004
I am having a big issue with my husband now. As in an Are-we-going-to-stay-married issue. We will, for now. We will see a therapist together to see what can be done to prevent this from ever happening again. No, he didn't cheat on me, and he didn't smack me or take crack or gamble money away at the casino. Writing those things helps me put things in perspective a bit, but it doesn't make what happened any better. Anyway, I may put this on hiatus a bit, seeing as I need to euthanize my cat in a few days (her tumor has spread so her back legs aren't working right), and I caught Peanut's cold and my God how did she survive it? My class is over (which does make me sad), and I already gave this blog's URL to my instructor to read so I can get credit for the journaling. Right now, things are just kind of sucky, but we'll get through. Sorry for the downer.
Posted by Carrie at 9:28 PM
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
Now that I have a news aggregator for my blogreading, it isn't as much fun anymore. Reading the blogs still is, of course, but I had this ritual of doing the rounds that is now pointless. Of course, it means I am not spending thirty minutes just checking blogs, either. I know it means fewer page hits, and I'm sorry I'll be bringing down your hit count, but it is better for Peanut. And for the dirty dishes in the sink.
Yes, the dishwasher is broken. The repairperson won't be here until THURSDAY, for heaven's sake. What am I supposed to do until then?
Posted by Carrie at 6:35 PM
Monday, December 06, 2004
The bloodwork came back from the doctor's today. Everything was within normal limits, although my iron level was at the low end of normal. While I am delighted not to have diabetes or a malfunctioning thyroid, I am less than thrilled to be back to square one. There is something wrong, and it is getting worse. I feel like I am trudging through molasses all day, and that my head is full of cotton. I didn't feel like this a few months ago. The doctor will be calling back soon to discuss what is next. I am so sick of doctor's offices, I am changing my mind about med school and I think I'll go to law school instead.
Posted by Carrie at 8:43 PM
Sunday, December 05, 2004
Peanut came down with her first fever yesterday, accompanied by a junky cough and slightly runny nose. It wasn't super high, but any fever is too high when you are two first-time parents about to go out on the town. Thank heaven for Grandma, whose fever-caring qualities I can vouch for personally. She even got Peanut to bed at a reasonable time. This morning the fever is down, but the rash on her chest scared the bejeezus out of T., who was afraid she had become horribly infected with something life-threatening. Drilled, however, in the dire consequences of waking me up from sleep since the dawn of our marriage (though I keep telling him if it is about the baby to go ahead), he didn't wake me or call the doctor or anything like that. Anyway, her fever is down this morning and she seems to be feeling herself again, meaning she is lying on her mat waving toys around and trying to grab the cat. We'll see how the day goes.
Our night on the town was supposed to be dinner at a new Irish pub and seeing our friend's band play. But the information I had gotten that they were opening for this show was incorrect--they were playing last, which meant we would have to stay up past our bedtimes to go. We tried, we really did, but we are old. But dinner was really good, at least on my end. I feel bad, because the dinner was for T.'s birthday, but I got the good meal (bangers and mash, the sausage homemade and flavored with rosemary and with baked apples on top, mmm), and his was only so-so (Guiness Irish stew, which you would figure would be a priority to have really good in an Irish restaurant). Anyway, the only excitement for the evening was watching people dressed as Santa Claus trickle down from the upstairs bar in groups of two and three and run off into the night. Apparently Santa's Helpers had their Christmas party at Brocach Bar last night.
Posted by Carrie at 9:38 AM
Friday, December 03, 2004
Brunswick Stew is mmmmgood.
Thanksgiving was fun. Peanut was apparently a perfect angel for her daddy on the plane flight there (damn her!). They were all so entranced with her that they all forgot to come and get me at the airport the next day. This is true. Apparently my brother-in-law finally decided somebody ought to check my arrival time, and lo and behold, I was just about to land. All I know is that the next time I am down there, I'm not letting my kid out of my sight, because I know how I rate.
The big news is that said brother-in-law is eloping with his girlfriend and moving to Australia for a job this spring. I finally got to meet the girlfriend, and she isn't intimidating at all. Yes, she's tall and blonde and reasonably skinny. But she's a total goofball, and Peanut loved her instantly, which has only happened once before in her life. So now I feel bad about ever being snotty. I'm such a wuss that way. I'm sorry, I know some of you were looking for some snarky comments, but there really aren't any to make, she's that nice. I can't see what she sees in her future husband, actually. Just kidding, Beano!
We had a lovely dinner which including some friends of my mother-in-law's, one of whom is a trained pastry chef. Yes, she brought some cake, and it was delish. I went to bed early, and slept late, which was to be the pattern over the next few days. We ate barbecue the next night, and T. thought it would be cute to feed the little darlin' hush puppies and Brunswick Stew. Turns out it was cute, as you can see by the above photo, though she didn't do more than chew on the hush puppy. She loved it, and her Carolina relatives couldn't have been more pleased.
The rest of the trip passed uneventfully, except for the fact that I tripped and fell on the front walk not once but twice, tearing holes in both pair of pants that I brought (and the only ones I own that fit), as well as large holes in my knee and hand. Too much stuffing makes me clumsy, I guess. I got to take long naps every day and read four whole books, which is more than I've read in months. Peanut was not quite an angel on the trip back, but she was certainly not a demon either, and we managed. It was honestly one of the most restful trips I've ever had, which I really need.
I haven't been posting much because I've been utterly exhausted every night lately. I finally got in to the nurse practitioner today and she is running some tests. No, it isn't just because I have an infant--I had way more energy when she was three months old than I do now. Anyway, until this is figured out, I will not be able to post much, I don't think, because I can barely stay awake. Bear with me, if you please. I have a lot to say. I can't promise it will be interesting, but hey, you're here, so there must be something in this for you. Though I suppose it could just be for the cute baby pictures...
Posted by Carrie at 11:11 PM
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Peanut and her daddy are bundled and packed off to his Momma, and I am bereft. I was looking forward to this day for weeks, thinking of all the things I would do with my free time (sleep! shop! sleep! massage! pedicure! sleep!) but it appears I will do none of these things, because it feels like someone cut off a body part and misplaced it, and I keep looking over my shoulder wondering what I'm missing. No, nothing like King's Missile. I can't sleep well, because I wake up with a start, wondering where she is. It was worse when I was out of the house at the co-op this morning, feeling like I'd left my purse somewhere except more so. There is the chaos that my house always is after a big packing job, and that must be straightened before class tonight or I will go insane when I get home, so no pedicure. I had hoped to do the cleaning before today, but with Peanut's teething and vaccination fretfulness I had to spend the last few days just holding her. Now I want to wail, Oh why Oh why did I get irritable about holding her all the time when now I can't hold her AT ALL, all the way until tomorrow afternoon? What is wrong with me as a mother? (In case anyone is wondering why I am being so dramatic about this, please understand I have never been separated from her for more than four hours, in her entire life. This, to me, is a big deal). The guilt! Did you know being raised by a lapsed Roman Catholic can apparently instill almost as much guilt as being raised in the church itself?
In fact, yesterday I was lying in bed wondering how on Earth I got to be in this place, which was lying in a creaking, smelly bed while wearing sweatpants with holes in the crotch, so sleepy I couldn't keep my eyes open, while my daughter held on to one of my ears and whacked me in the head, repeatedly, with an empty Infant Tylenol box. Not that I would take anything back, because then I might not have her. Though I now have a wonderful fantasy of having sex at exactly that same moment in time with my husband, except that we are doing it in our French villa, and have a maid who'll change the sheets later on. But who knows what his sperm might have been like after a life of champagne and fine French produce? I still might not have her, so it's not worth it.
Anyhoo, I am flying down South tomorrow morning, and I have no idea whether or not I'll be able to post or read until I am back on Monday. So I wish everyone have a Happy Thanksgiving, whether it involves turkey and mashed potatoes and football, or tofurkey and mashed turnips and protesting First Nations treatment by the US government (I'm with you there, except for the tofurkey part).
Posted by Carrie at 1:49 PM
Monday, November 22, 2004
Friday, November 19, 2004
You know why I love my husband? He's been gone all week at the home office, and dealing with a lot of stressful stuff on not nearly enough sleep. He'll be back home tonight, after flying in from Canada and then working a full day 90 miles away. But when I talked to him this morning and told him about the dog incident, the first thing he said was, "Leave it, and I'll clean it up tonight when I get home".
And you know what? I'm a bad wife, so I will.
UPDATE: I made him go out and get the carpet cleaner, but I cleaned it up. Now that's love.
Posted by Carrie at 2:29 PM
I got up this morning to go to the bathroom and to let the dog out. The dog sleeps in a room off the bathroom and next to the bedroom because otherwise I would wake up all night to the sounds of ear-scratching and cat-taunting. As I passed her door, I smelled a foul odor that I took for her having a particularly bad case of gas, which is COMPLETELY reasonable thing to do considering this particular dog. When I did open the door, I discovered she'd had gas and then some, all over the carpet. Good dog that she is, she both did it right in front of the door, and never whined to wake me up and let me know it might be happening. Unfortunately for me, the door drags when you open it, and smeared the blobs of crap all over the carpet. The dog had to be coaxed to dance delicately between the blobs and get out of the room.
I closed the door. My clothes are all in there, but I may not dress all day if it means my husband will clean this up.
Sophie on a better day
Posted by Carrie at 9:00 AM
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
It doesn't mean I'll post more, though. I usually avoid doing dishes for days at a time if I can get away with it. Between the cats, dog, and diaper pail, a few dirty dishes isn't going to make my house smell any worse. But it will be very very nice not to have those piles around anymore.
The stencils came with the house, I swear.
And please welcome metrodad to my bloglist. He cracks me up because he's such a ... guy. My husband does a very good job of hiding his "guyness" around me (I haven't asked him to, but I think former girlfriends scared him into it), so it is fun to read a bit into what he must really be thinking. Though he has no interest in drinking the breast milk. Really.
Posted by Carrie at 11:21 PM
Thursday, November 11, 2004
I know I have been falling down on the posting job, but you must understand that while I love you all, I need my sleep. Peanut has been teething again (can't we just fit her with dentures and be done with it?), meaning the lovely schedule I've been so proud of has gone out the window and splatted 20 floors down. And since the only time I really have to post is at night, I have had to make the tough choice, and frankly, y'all lost (yes, my husband is from the South and that's the way we talk around here). At least, I am hoping you'll feel it's a loss. Not that I want anyone to feel loss, of course. Hell, you know what I mean.
Posted by Carrie at 10:33 PM
Sunday, November 07, 2004
The Dallas movie that was on tonight was not, as I expected, another movie, but in fact a reunion show where the stars got together and exchanged scripted banter while introducing clips from the show in little themes (pool scenes, Sue Ellen drunk, Bobby punching out JR, Sue Ellen drunk, touching Jim Davis moments, Lucy being a ho, Sue Ellen drunk).
I was disappointed. I was hoping that it would be a movie letting us know that JR did not, in fact, shoot himself but instead came to his senses and found God, sold any interest he had in Ewing Oil to Bobby and then joined the board of directors of of a company called Halliburt, eventually becoming the running mate of a blue-blooded New Englander's good ol' boy son and Texas governor who aspired to be President, enriching himself at the taxpayer's expense in the process.
Perhaps no one would believe that.
Posted by Carrie at 10:30 PM
Thursday, November 04, 2004
Thanks a lot, Ohio.
Today Peanut is 9 months old. A special date. I can't begin to say how much I love her, how much a part of my soul she is. So reading the above link...I don't have the words. Except to say that I'm sorry.
And my thoughts are with you too, CL.
Posted by Carrie at 11:01 PM
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
When I was in high school, I had a friend with a hand-me-down car from his parents. Granted, it was an Audi, but it was an older, high-mileage one. He was lucky, as the rest of us had older beaters (I drove a Renault LeCar) if we had one at all.
One night he decided to drive way too fast (well, many nights he did this) and crashed it going around a curve, breaking its axle. I don't know about you, but if I had been driving recklessly and caused an accident that trashed my car, I would have been grounded, had my license taken away, and told to walk to school from now on. Not my friend. Not only did he keep on driving, his parents bought him a BRAND-NEW SPORTS CAR to replace the old beat-up one he crashed. None of us could understand it. I asked my mom, "So if I total this car, you'll buy me a brand new one? That's how it works?" She wasn't amused. My friend would never really say what transpired in the conversations with his parents that led to this (although my commentor C. in Brooklyn may be able to enlighten us, since it was his younger brother). But I do remember him laughing at our disbelief.
I think you all know where I am going with this.
Posted by Carrie at 9:28 AM
Monday, November 01, 2004
Tomorrow is Election Day. I think most of the people who read this blog on a regular basis are probably prepared to vote tomorrow if they haven't already. But just in case you aren't sure if you'll get around to it, or just in case you aren't sure who you want to vote for, I want you to think about this:
You may think that Bush did the right thing invading Iraq. You may be afraid that if you vote for Kerry he won't be as serious about fighting terrorists, and that it will put our troops in more danger. I can understand these feelings. I wasn't entirely against the war myself when the time came, because I believed Saddam was creating dangerous weapons meant to harm American interests, and I believed he would happily support others who were working to harm us too. I believed this because my President told me it was true. I may have believed there were other, more nefarious reasons as well, but never in a million years did I think that the reasons I believed would turn out to be entirely untrue, the assertions unfounded. I mean, you have to trust your President. All the women and men who enlisted trusted that they would be taken care of too.
And then the video of Bush at some function, joking about looking for WMD's came out. You remember the one, where he looks under seat cushions, laughing about not finding any? Mr. President, this is not a joke. You sent over a thousand American soldiers and countless innocent Iraqis to their deaths because you said Saddam was a danger to us. And now you joke about it? And you expect me to believe you are the one who is the most serious about "fighting terror"? Maybe you should do that routine in front of a group of military widows sometime. How can anyone put their faith in someone like that? John Kerry may be a lot of things, but he is not someone who finds the cause of our invasion being a mistake a joke.
I will vote for Kerry for many reasons. I am pro-choice, I feel strongly about the state of our environment, and I believe that good people sometimes need a little help from social services. But the number one reason I am voting for John Kerry is because he is serious about keeping my life, as well as the lives of our soldiers and of innocent people in other countries, safe. George Bush is concerned with keeping his pride, his tough guy image, intact. Vote for someone who can actually lead us, instead of telling us, "you'd better support me or the terrorists will get you". Vote tomorrow, and vote for John Kerry. It's important.
Posted by Carrie at 1:20 PM
I've been having kind of a hard time lately, and I'm not sure quite why. Specifically, I am having a hard time seeing other people's healthy kids. The theory I have is that when babies are 3 months old, there isn't much that any of them can do, so my daughter didn't seem a whole lot different other than the way her legs looked. But now, at almost 9 months, it is very apparent how far behind she is from other kids. The women I am closest to in my mother/baby group happen to have rather precocious babies--they've been pulling up and even cruising for a month or so. They've all moved on to bigger carseats, and are talking about babyproofing. My daughter still can't roll from her tummy to her back, cannot sit unsupported, and will not be walking until next summer at the earliest. I love my daughter beyond words, and I wouldn't trade her for any other. But it is getting so hard, so very hard.
I've been reading Julie's blog and she's talking about how she went through so much just to get pregnant, and now she can't even have a normal pregnancy. I think that is part of my problem too. It is this resentment that things just couldn't, for once in my life, be normal. I had a lot of health problems when I was younger, and wasn't able to graduate from high school, much less college. I missed Homecoming, the class picture. I failed out of one junior college and two regular ones because of my health. Didn't dare apply for a decent job because I was afraid I couldn't physically handle normal work. I started getting better, and dared think we could have a baby. Then I spent years off birth control, wondering what the hell was wrong now. I finally got pregnant, and instead of going for daily walks, doing yoga and eating broccoli, I was so tired I couldn't stay awake more than three hours at a stretch, and got gestational diabetes, and finally pre-eclampsia, necessitating bedrest. I didn't get to get those glowing pregnancy photos everyone else had, or get to put together my baby's nursery, or even a normal baby shower. We got a final ultrasound not of her face, but of "abnormalities" that they said meant she wasn't going to live. And I had a c-section, with the baby whisked off to the NICU after I only got a glimpse of her. I didn't get to hold her until the next day, after they'd already given her a bottle of formula. I have been trying so hard not to feel sorry for myself because at least she was alive, which was more than we were hoping for at that point, but dammit, this all sucked. It sucked really really hard. And it still sucks for my daughter, who will not have a *normal* life as most people define it. She will never move quite the way other kids will; will always have scars to explain, and will probably not like to have her picture taken. Whenever I would whine to my mother, "why me?", she would always answer, "why not you?" and it drove me nuts even though I knew she was right.
I don't care if I don't *deserve* things to go right. I want them to. I want Peanut to have a normal childhood with both her eyes and her knees moving in all the directions they should. I want me to be able to have another pregnancy that is healthy and glowing and full of yoga and spinach salads, where I feel the baby kick non-stop for months. I want T. to be able not to cry from fear when thinking about the pregnancy and delivery. I feel cheated. I also feel guilty for feeling cheated, as if to say so means that Peanut isn't good enough, that I am not grateful I have her. But that isn't what I mean at all. I am lucky to have her, to have a baby that makes total strangers smile when they look at her because she just radiates joy even at her most serious. Frankly, she is the only reason I have not become a completely bitter hag. We all have these expectations. I have said we're lucky, in a way, that we have thrown off a lot of expectations for our child early on because it will mean a lot less pressure for her. But that doesn't mean we can't grieve when we lose the dream we always had of what our lives would be like. So apparently right now I am in the anger stage of the grief process. I went a little out of order, with the bargaining phase happening the week before she was born, promising God everything in my soul for her to be ok, for it all to be a nightmare I was going to wake up from soon.
People have been telling me since the ultrasound how strong I was, what a good attitude I had about everything. I wasn't lying, or putting on a brave face. I meant it when I said I just wanted her alive, and I still do. I know rationally that things really could be worse. And it isn't as if I am not happy for my friends and their beautiful children. I guess sometimes I wish I could stop being so strong, and just rail at the world and feel better afterward. Or something like that.
We've been talking about when we want to try for another baby. I am both excited and terrified by the idea. What if Peanut's problem was actually genetic, and the next baby is even worse? What if the pre-eclampsia returns, earlier this time, and we lose the baby? What if we go months and years again with negative pregnancy tests? Can we handle these things? Why can't we just be happy and giggly and completely ignorant of these worries like most people? Why do they have to be considerations for us? I will never, ever be able to be pregnant without worrying about these things. I will never be able to blissfully assume that all is well and that all will be well. I know there is always adoption, but I don't want to adopt yet. I want to have a normal healthy pregnancy and delivery and a healthy baby, just once. Is that too much to ask?
Posted by Carrie at 1:11 AM
Sunday, October 31, 2004
Saturday, October 30, 2004
Welcome To The World Cobain Joseph! He arrived this morning by c-section and weighs 7 pounds, 4 ounces and is 19 inches long. His mom is Dana, and she is doing well too. I can't see him yet because of this stupid cold, but I will be going to peek at him from the doorway later.
Dana was with me for the birth of my child. I love her very much and couldn't be happier for her and Cobain's dad, Joe.
Posted by Carrie at 10:50 AM
Friday, October 29, 2004
Oh, and I'm not sorry anymore that I wished Ann Coulter was hit by pies. I don't normally pay attention to what that freak show has to say, but I finally read the following quote:
My pretty-girl allies stick out like a sore thumb amongst the corn-fed, no make-up, natural fiber, no-bra needing, sandal-wearing, hirsute, somewhat fragrant hippie chick pie wagons they call "women" at the Democratic National Convention.
A hint for Ann: If you have to keep telling people how pretty you are, maybe you aren't as pretty as you think.
Posted by Carrie at 7:46 PM
Just when I was all ready to have a nice fat posting session, I come down with a terrible sore throat. If I can't speak in real life, I probably shouldn't be hanging out all night on the internet. I want to be better tomorrow, so I can go and see The Treats, a cool band, whose bassist was a frat brother of my husband (yes! he was in a frat! as a 30+ year-old student! but they were cool kids, see?). He's a hoot, his wife is even cooler, and the band is pretty good.
Posted by Carrie at 7:36 PM
Thursday, October 28, 2004
Thank you all for your kind words about my cat. She is doing very well right now, which means there is one treatment she can get, which could slow the tumor growth. We'll start it on Monday.
I'll post more tomorrow, I hope. I have been extra-special tired these last couple of weeks, for no discernible reason, as Peanut has been sleeping very well.
Posted by Carrie at 10:53 PM
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
Reading Cecily's blog made me feel like someone was standing on my chest.
And to Russ Feingold's opponent in this election, the guy who said on TV he was against pregnancy termination even to save the life of the mother because that really never happened anyway, Fuck You.
Posted by Carrie at 10:10 PM
Friday, October 22, 2004
Thursday, October 21, 2004
The test results show her abdomen is full of cancer, so we aren't able to operate. We have maybe a month left with her, probably less. She has a urinary tract infection, so we are treating that because it might make her feel better. I am very sad. It might be a while before I post again, or it might not, depending on how I feel.
Posted by Carrie at 8:23 PM
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
My cat Suki was diagnosed with cancer today. She is getting an ultrasound tomorrow, but it doesn't look good. I wanted to write about her tonight, but I think it will sound too much like a eulogy and I'm not ready for that. So here's a picture. She's about half her normal weight, and her eyes are closed because the camera has a double flash, but she's really beautiful and regal and all those things that make a cat so great. So we'll hope that her vet is as wrong about her as Peanut's doctors were about her.
Posted by Carrie at 7:58 PM
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Tonight was the way it is supposed to be:
T. gets home around 5:30 and Peanut wakes up. He goes in and plays with her while I start supper. We all eat together with Ella Fitzgerald playing in the background, and then he takes her and plays some more while I do dishes. T. brings her into the kitchen and dances with her while she smiles and giggles at me. When dishes are done he gives Peanut her bath and puts her to sleep, singing softly to her, while I settle onto the couch and start doing homework for class. He goes to bed early, after having a long and frustrating day at work, while I finish my reading and get on the computer to do my writing. Peanut stays asleep, and I will get to sleep by ten o'clock. Even the cats behaved.
No major crying (me or Peanut), frustration, exhaustion, phone calls from T. that wake Peanut up right after I get her down for the night. No feeling like the day will never end, like I will never ever have energy again, like T. will just always be gone and I will have to do this alone forever. I really hate his job. I hate him being gone so much. I know it got me a house and allows me to stay at home with Peanut and pay the bills. I know that most people don't get to have one parent work nine to five while the other stays home. I know even if we were that lucky we wouldn't always get nights like this. And I know that if he didn't have this job, I would also be working full-time and we'd be working different shifts and I still wouldn't see him much, and see much less of Peanut. It just doesn't seem like it would be that bad if it meant I would get more nights like I had tonight.
I like my husband. I miss him. This sucks.
Posted by Carrie at 8:41 PM
Monday, October 18, 2004
Yes, you, you total piece of shit. Next time you decide to cross the street in your gigantic SUV at top speed maybe, just maybe you ought to stop READING SOMETHING IN YOUR LAP WHILE YOU CROSS FOUR LANES OF TRAFFIC and maybe you won't come within feet of t-boning a mother of a young baby in her small fuel-efficient car, and she won't have to pound on the gas pedal and pray her four cylinders are enough as she looks out her side window at the grill of your ugly vehicle coming right towards her head as if she wasn't there at all. This is not an exaggeration, you fucking moron. You aren't driving a Festiva, you're driving a piece of machinery that weighs three tons and you have to take responsibility for that.
Christ, I was sick all afternoon from the adrenaline.
Posted by Carrie at 7:13 PM
Saturday, October 16, 2004
You know, when a full half-dozen people ask me since Peanut was born, "So when are you due again?", it send a strong signal to me that it is time to start Weight Watchers. And while that's all well and good, please, people, don't ask a woman when she's due unless you know for sure she's pregnant. Unless you're looking to ruin her day.
Posted by Carrie at 10:35 PM
Friday, October 15, 2004
Today, the mail carrier rang my bell because he had a package for me that wouldn't fit in the mailbox. He complimented me on my yard signs, and proceeded to go into a rant on that "fucking idiot Bush", expressing his confusion as to why anyone would even consider voting for him. This from a man with a mullet. As my friend Carlos says, when Bush has lost the mullet vote, there is little hope for him. I hope that is true.
Posted by Carrie at 12:52 AM
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
You know why I never wanted to go back to school to study writing? I'll tell you why. If you study writing, there are two main things you can do with it. One, you can earn a living by writing, which as we all know is not easy. Two, you can teach writing. The problem with that is that you then may have to read a personal essay by a student containing the phrase "immortal essence" or a poem containing the line "scheming, wet, mucilaginous mollusks".
Whatever they are paying my creative writing instructor, they aren't paying her enough.
Posted by Carrie at 8:26 PM
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
My grandfather is ninety years old. He's a wonderful man, and has been in pretty good shape. Tonight wasn't so good. My younger brother lives with him, but was out tonight. Grandpa had a little too much wine, and tripped getting out of his chair, falling flat on his face. His glasses were pushed into his nose, cutting it in two places and making it swell twice its size, and he wrenched his shoulder. He had also forgotten he had put a pot of water on for tea, and the pot had boiled dry. We went to the hospital to have him checked out, and he's fine. This isn't the first time this has happened, and it always happens after he has had a few glasses of wine.
Nevertheless, I am torn. The man has lived for nearly ninety-one years. He has lived through depressions and wars, survived a flu epidemic that took his father, raised a family and had a successful career, enabling him to retire in financial comfort. And here is his granddaughter, who needed his help just a few months ago to buy a house, having to help him get to the bathroom and scolding him for drinking so much he could have burned the house down. He has to ask for rides to the bank and store now, because he isn't supposed to drive anymore. I can't imagine what this is doing to him. The loss of independence I am feeling now can't even compare. I don't think he is feeling any joy at being alive anymore, and I can't do anything to help him. It makes me very sad.
The good news, which I forgot to mention the other day, is that Peanut has started saying mamamamama. No dadadas in sight. I know she isn't actually calling me Mama yet, but I don't care. Every few months, she does something that makes me so happy that I can't imagine being happier, and then a few months later she tops it. It's truly amazing.
Posted by Carrie at 9:32 PM
Monday, October 11, 2004
I'm going to try to come up with some positives here, so I don't leave with such a cranky post.
- Peanut is now old enough/heavy enough for OTC cold medicines. Thank God.
- I got my Kerry/Edwards yard sign today.
- My mom made dinner and brought it over for me tonight.
And if you haven't watched Desperate Housewives on ABC yet, hoo boy are you missing a good show.
That's it, that's all I've got. I'll feel better tomorrow.
Posted by Carrie at 8:51 PM
The Princess is sick, my husband is gone for the week (again), and my team is getting creamed for the third time in a row on Monday Night Football. And Superman died. I haven't felt much like blogging for a few days, and I think that will continue for another day or two. Will you miss me?
Posted by Carrie at 8:05 PM
Friday, October 08, 2004
I was awoken this morning by the lights of a police cruiser. The officer was giving a driver a field sobriety test right in front of my house. To the astonishment of everyone, including, I think, the driver, he passed and was allowed to drive away (yes, I watched, you never know what you might see). Since I was now wide awake, I decided to while away the hours by going online, because I have read all my books and fafblog is funnier than anything I have anyway. Unfortunately, I came across photos from the bombings in Egypt that included both a wounded child and a wounded pregnant woman. So, to counter the ugliness and sadness in the world that I just can't bear to think about right now, I am posting this picture of Peanut. Life can be good too. And now I need to go and give her a kiss.
Posted by Carrie at 2:56 AM
Thursday, October 07, 2004
I forget to feed my child because I am instead on the internet looking at pages that say:
Finally, a 21-year old heavy-duty pot-smoking, post-hernia-operation over-masturbator said ' my urinary incontinence is absolutely GONE AWAY... Thanks for your great product Dr.Lin !!' Restoring his sexual orgasm in only 1 month!
You too can have your orgasmic problems solved!
Posted by Carrie at 8:52 PM
I forgot to feed her again today. You might wonder how it is possible to not remember to feed your child-doesn't she cry? What kind of mother are you? Well, I have already established I am a bad mother, but I will still explain.
This morning Peanut had a physical therapy appointment at 10 am, and an appointment with her orthopedic surgeon at 10:50. We didn't sleep well last night, because of nose stuffiness (I've tried to explain to her that crying hysterically makes it worse, but she can't hear me over the screaming). So she slept later than usual this morning, and since I spent that free time messing around reading blogs instead of packing her diaper bag, finding her clean clothes, and preparing her food, I didn't have time to do those things once she did wake up, because I tend to forget all of these things are necessary before we leave the house. She doesn't fuss specifically for solid food, so I can just give her an extra bottle (yes, we are doing supplemental formula-my body doesn't cooperate with the milking anymore) and she doesn't complain too much. So that is what I did. After the appointments were over, she was cranky and tired, so instead of giving her lunch I put her down for a nap. When she woke up, I forgot that she hadn't eaten yet, and so it wasn't until seven that she actually had a meal.
This might not seem like a big deal, as she is still only eight months old, and some babies are barely starting solids at that age. But it is a big deal with her. She's been eating solids for three months, and they are important because she needs to put on weight. She is *tiny* for her age, and her pediatrician was concerned enough to encourage me to get her eating solids earlier than she normally recommends. It is also necessary for her to put on weight before she has surgery in a few months. So this isn't just a matter of being a careless mother, it is downright bad when I know it is so very necessary. I blame it on being a stay-at-home mom with a traveling husband, because I have no schedule to keep. These things are never my fault.
The good news today is that her legs are looking good, and when we go back to the orthopedist in January, we'll schedule her surgeries. The first one will involve lengthening the muscles and tendons around her knees and in her right foot. She'll be in casts for four weeks, and then her hip surgery will be done. This surgery will involve bone being taken from her femur shaft and put with the ball of the femur, so it is a longer and more complicated operation, which scares me in a way I haven't been scared before. She'll be in a body cast for six weeks after this surgery, and then she'll be back into a short leg cast for her foot for the final three weeks of the ordeal. The goal is to have her out of casts by next summer. Her doctor is doing a similar surgery on another baby with arthrogryposis in January, so he'll be all practiced for her.
I just realized I forgot to read to her before bed tonight too, though she did get a bath.
Posted by Carrie at 8:12 PM
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
Posted by Carrie at 3:57 PM
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
I am posting this to fulfill my daily journal requirements. I am working on a longer post, but it just isn't flowing right tonight so I'm giving up for the night. In the meantime, here is a joke, courtesy of Rodney Dangerfield, R.I.P.
A lot of girls turn me down. One girl turned me down, she said she had to go to work in the morning. I told her, "I'll be finished by then!"
Posted by Carrie at 9:57 PM
Monday, October 04, 2004
Sunday, October 03, 2004
In the last week, our (brand new) water heater, vacuum, computer, car, and inside telephone line all decided to take a break from working. They were apparently following the example of our range hood, outside security light, and telephone, all of which have taken permanent vacations in the last few weeks.
It is a good thing I don't work on the space shuttle.
Posted by Carrie at 5:47 PM
Saturday, October 02, 2004
I happen to know I have some very intelligent women, both with and without children, who stop by here (I'm so lucky!), and they have a lot to say and like to say it. Laura at 11D is looking for just those kinds of women (and men too, actually). She is organzing a blog conference on blogging, work and the family for next week, and is has a tentative schedule up at her site, though she is still taking suggestions for topics. This conference will be looked at by influential women in academia and business, who are interested in hearing about experiences being a woman with children working, wanting to work but not being able to, or not having kids because of work or because you waited too long, for example. Single people and men are also welcome to participate, discussing how family issues affect their work too. I believe they are also going to talk about how the internet has changed mothers' lives as well. It looks to be interesting, so maybe we can jump-start our brains and participate.
This is my second post today. I'm rolling, baby!
Posted by Carrie at 9:46 PM
So I was having a bad day the other day. Peanut wasn't sleeping well at night, and that day she hadn't even napped. I had class that night and still hadn't been able to do my homework because she wasn't napping, and had stacks of dirty dishes in the kitchen and piles of laundry. I was exhausted, and also PMSy, which meant that my ability to deal with the stress was seriously compromised. My mother was coming over to watch Peanut while I was in class, and I had called and asked her to come a little early so I could finish my homework. I made this call practically in tears, with Peanut screaming in the background.
My mother is a wonderful woman, usually very kind and thoughtful. She has never been one of those mothers who tell you to get your hair out of your face or ask if you really plan to eat that second bowl of ice cream. She has never told me that I was anything other than brilliant, talented, and beautiful. I love her very much, and am lucky to have her. And you know, she was doing me a favor by coming over and watching the baby. So maybe I am being silly about what came next, but I am pretty sure I have readers who will understand.
By the time Mom got here, Peanut had fallen into an exhausted sleep, and I was just settling down for a frantic skimming of my readings, having forgotten just how much I had to do. Mom came in, took a peek in at the baby, and sat down on the couch. Then she laid down. Closed her eyes. And. Took. A. Nap.
The mothers of babies I have reading here will understand what it is like to watch someone take a nap on your couch when your baby (and therefore you) hasn't slept more than an hour straight for days. For my mother to do this, in the middle of the week when my husband was gone from Monday morning until late Friday night, with the house a shambles...well, let's just say I was not quite fully appreciative of her wonderful qualities.
I didn't say anything. I finished my homework, with enough time left to do some dishes and get cleaned up. I woke her up and told her I was leaving for class. When I got home, I had forgotten to get some stuff at the grocery store, and she ran out for me so I could stay and nurse Peanut. So I shouldn't be worked up about the nap. But I couldn't help it. I am so jealous of people who can just doze off in the evening while reading a book, it is unbelievable.
Anyway, I just had to get that out.
Peanut was difficult because she just started getting her second tooth in. She likes to sneakily grab my finger when I'm holding her and not paying attention, slowly guide it to her mouth, and then chomp down on it, making me yelp. She'll look up at me with a big grin on her face, and try it again. She's sleeping better now, and last night slept from ten p.m. until half past eight this morning. I hope for both our sakes that that continues, because she seems happier when she sleeps like that too.
Posted by Carrie at 8:14 PM
Friday, October 01, 2004
I don't care who you plan to vote for in November (well, I do, but that's another post), but I am going to assume that the Americans who read this blog don't approve of government-sponsered torture. After all, isn't the reason we went into Iraq (at least, the one being put forth now) that Saddam was a horrible dictator who tortured his own citizens?
Sponsors of a bill now in the House seem to think that it is okay to allow other countries to torture people suspected of having terrorist ties, and to allow us to send these suspects to these countries, knowing that they will be tortured. Apparently it wasn't the fact that Saddam tortured that was wrong, it was the fact he tortured the wrong people. They've buried it in the bill that implements the 9/11 commission recommendations, one of which was that this particular policy NOT be implemented. Even if you are someone who believes a (suspected) terrorist deserves everything bad he gets and then some, please read the blog post Making Light, which explains what "extraordinary rendition" is, who it can apply to (people with think might be associated with terrorists, whether or not there is proof), and why it is next to useless in the war on terror.
The good news is that Rep. Edward Markey of Massachusetts is sponsering a bill amendment that would remove this provision and outlaw it entirely. However, there are only a limited number of representatives signing on. When you click on the link above, there is a list in the comments of reps who have done so. If yours is not on this list, please write to your respresentative and ask them to support this amendment. If you don't know how to contact your rep, clicking here will send you to the government site that tells you who it is and how to do it. If you are short on time or don't know what to say, there are posts in the comment thread with examples of letters already sent whose authors have given permission for you to copy and/or amend. This bill is supposed to come up next week, so you need to do this right away in order for your voice to be heard. And if yours is on the list of supporters, drop a note to let them know they did the right thing, and it will help them to do the right thing next time too.
I want to be able to look my daughter in the eye someday and tell her that I stood up for her and for our country, and just exactly what that means. I do not want her to think that I approved of torture done in her name as well as in mine. I feel bad that I don't give as much of my time as I should trying to better the world (outside of raising a good citizen), but with two minutes I can do something. This isn't going to go away if we pretend it doesn't exist. Our government is supposed to represent us, and it is our responsibility to make sure it does. When policies like this are put into place, we all look bad.
Posted by Carrie at 10:24 AM
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Posted by Carrie at 9:23 PM
I think we can all agree that when you name your home furnishings catalog (or any other business) Touch of Class that you are probably overstating things a bit. I'm not sure how my husband got on the mailing list for a catalog filled with objets des arts that might have had a place in the homes of my grandmother's neighbors in Florida in the '80s. You may look at this site and think, "There are some cute pieces in here", and in fact, there probably are. But if you are the kind of person who needs to decorate right down to the toilet seat, I'm not sure I trust your judgement on these things.
Posted by Carrie at 7:40 AM
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Sunday, September 26, 2004
Thursday, September 23, 2004
Ok, the thing is, other people can wait between posts as long as they like, so that when they do finally post they are witty and entertaining and well thought-through. I have to post every day, and most days I have a brain made of cottage cheese going bad. So that's my excuse, anyway.
Peanut had her first three-meal day today. She's been ready for it for a while, but I always forget one until it's almost time for the next one anyway. It did not make her any less cranky, as I had hoped. I realized that if she eats three times a day, I will be spending at least an hour and a half every day feeding her, and that isn't counting preparation of the food (because I haven't been preparing food outside of taking the lid off the jar--but it is organic!). This is a somewhat depressing thought.
Which leads me into tonight's post question, the equivalent of a sitcom doing a clip show: What did no one tell you about being pregnant/birthing/caring for a baby that you think it would have been useful to know? My answers are as follows:
- That being pregnant could hurt so damn bad. I mean, sometimes it hurts so much you can't walk, you can't even roll over in bed.
- That while you may have gone without using a lot of over-the-counter medications for colds, etc. before you were pregnant, you knew you could if you really needed to, and so it is waaay different when you just can't. Also, that sometimes you can take them, even though you assumed you couldn't.
- That having your husband in the room with you at the hospital isn't necessarily a good thing if he snores.
- That newborns eat as often as every hour sometimes, and it takes them that long sometimes to do a complete feeding. Do the math, and you'll see why you'll be tired.
- That babies can sometimes be perfectly happy sleeping no more than 20 minutes at a time, around the clock, for days and days.
- That a baby can be working on the same tooth coming through for WEEKS before it finally does, and therefore be cranky for that long.
- That there is really no point in trying to get a baby to sleep on your schedule, or really do anything at all on your schedule, before they are about 6 months old, because as soon as you think you've got it down they change.
- That you really don't need most of the stuff on the layette lists at all, and most of what you do need you probably shouldn't buy until after the baby is here because whatever choice you make will be wrong for your baby for some reason.
- That you can't nurse in a sling while you do housework -- it's a lie.
- That your baby might not like to be carried in a sling, or a frontpack, or even rocked and cuddled.
- That no diaper works on all babies all the time without leaking.
- That babies can shoot poo out the backs of the diapers as high as their shoulders.
- That this will happen the first time when you are holding them in public and don't have a clean shirt handy for either of you. Always have a clean shirt handy for yourself.
- That your kid, the one you went through all the pain and diet restrictions and headaches with no Advil for, might not look the least bit like you.
That's all I can think of, besides the obvious "How much you'll love your kid". Any other suggestions?
Posted by Carrie at 9:33 PM
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
I have all sorts of stuff to write about, and I can even remember it. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective, although if it is the latter why are you here?), I am way too tired. This is all I can do, so Laura, you can count this day as a journal entry, because I'm here. Sort of.
Posted by Carrie at 9:19 PM
Monday, September 20, 2004
So I am sitting in what used to be my room on the last night I'll spend at the house I grew up in. It wasn't supposed to happen quite so quickly, but it did and now I have to deal with it. My parents' divorce is final, and the house will be sold as of Friday.
I haven't really been back here more than once or twice a year since I moved out at age eighteen. At the time, I couldn't wait to leave. I didn't want to live with my family, and I didn't want to live in this small town. A month after I left, my room became an office. It's been a while now, and it is easy to get nostalgic for the people and places. I walked the dog across the street to the park where I spent my summers, and looked for evidence of the carvings we made in a tree before my mom told us it would kill the tree (it didn't). The tree had grown so high I couldn't see if they were there anymore or not. I ran into neighbors whose daughter was my brother's best friend. The mother came to coo over Peanut. The father has leukemia, and I only recognized him because of the dog he was walking, he's gotten so skinny and gray. I also saw the woman who was my best friend from the time we moved into the house when I was two until junior high, which is where everything changes anyway. She has a son, five months older than Peanut, who looks just like her. She, by the way, is a stick. I thought you were supposed to get fatter after high school, not skinnier? No one informed me of this rule change.
My room has a gray carpet and walls so pale pink they are almost white. This was my choice, after I was told I couldn't paint the walls black because it would hurt the resale value. Fifteen years later, the new owner, a single woman, plans to change everything anyway. She is either covering or filling in the pool (why buy a house with a pool and then demolish it?), ripping out all the landscaping (actually a good thing - my parents weren't big on yardwork and it shows), and completely redecorating. It isn't that I'm so attached to the decorating, I guess. It is that it seems like my history will be obliviated somehow. It bothers me enormously that Peanut won't get to see the house I came from, or sleep in the room I slept in. I know many people don't get to do this, so I'm not quite sure why I wanted it for her so very much. Maybe it is all the changes in my family that I never would have expected ten years ago. All but one of my grandparents have died since I was eighteen. My parents separated and then divorced after thirty-plus years of marriage. I got married, had a baby, bought a house ( the last two in the last year). My remaining grandfather is going to be going into an assisted-living facility soon, and his house will be sold too, the house where I took my first steps. Maybe if I was still living in this town, it wouldn't be a big deal, but I don't. My mother is moving to the city where I live now, and my father won't be staying too long in my hometown either. I will have no reason to be here anymore.
Most kids nowadays don't live in the same place their whole lives, with their parents working at the same jobs. They don't get to play across the street from their houses while still in kindergarten with their mothers still inside the house, checking periodically while doing dishes. They don't go to school with the same kids from pre-school to high-school graduation. Seeing my house go I think is a reminder that Peanut won't get to experience what I think were some of the best parts of my childhood. She'll get different ones, ones that I hope she'll one day be nostalgic about too.
One of the frequent commentors here (if you can call any of them frequent), is Carlos, who also grew up in my hometown, though his memories are not so fond. I think, though, that it won't matter when his old home is gone too. It somehow makes me feel more like an *adult* then even having a child did. In many ways, my childhood will be gone in a few days in a way it never was as long as I could come home.
It's a good house. It had its leaks, but it is a wonderful Home.
Posted by Carrie at 9:17 PM
Sunday, September 19, 2004
I am belated in responding to the earlier comments on what kind of blog this should be. Thank you Claudia, Anna, Stacey, and Jo (and Carlos) for your thoughts. I've kind of decided that really... I won't decide. I let another two friends in on the site, but I honestly don't think they're even reading. I will tell my mom that I have it, but she wouldn't know the first thing about how to go about finding it. My husband knows I have it, and also knows I prefer my privacy, and I trust him. I'll copy both he and my mom any particular post I would like them to read. And I'll work on outside writing, so Mom and T. can go ahead and read other things and be proud. So if I want to vent, I can. I've never been someone to share intimate details about my marriage to just anyone else, and since there is at least one other person reading this that knows T., I wouldn't consider writing anything about it I wouldn't tell a friend, and admit to T. I talked about.
I used to write in journals, years ago. I would write anywhere, in all my notebooks, on stationary, backs of envelopes, wherever and whenever I felt the urge. I reserved the most private of my thoughts and weird story ideas for a journal that I never bothered to hide, because what kind of person reads someone else's journal? Well, my boyfriend did. More than once. I know this because he would then decide that we needed to discuss what he'd read. This, understandably I think, dampened my enthusiasm for writing anything down, so this blog is an enormous leap of faith for me. I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed writing, and I really want to continue it.
Claudia, I'm afraid anyone looking here for discussions of Eastern European economic policy will be sorely disappointed (if you are looking for it, please check out Claudia's blog Halfway Down The Danube, which is very interesting and has pictures of her adorable kids too). As much as I'd like to talk about things like politics, there are so many people that do it better than I ever could that I'm not particularly inspired to try myself - it's more fun to read their sites. So I'm stuck with stories like the following:
Tonight, Peanut rediscovered her ability to do raspberries. So nursing has become a wet adventure. I made the mistake of laughing when she interrupted a nursing session to blow raspberries on my breast, and now she thinks it is a fantastic fun thing to do, and ends up not finishing a meal in less than an hour. She has also decided it might actually be useful to roll from her tummy to her back - she has been able to do it for a while, but has stubbornly refused to more than a handful of times. We crouch over her, dangling toys, "Go Peanut! Yay, Peanut! You can do it!", with crazy grins on our faces and artificially chipper voices. We are genuinely pleased she's doing it, but really, it is only exciting for so long.
That's it. My brain is officially empty for the night. Probably because T. is watching Adult Swim in the same room, and, while very entertaining, it is enough to deaden anyone's brain. Quote I just overheard: "Like my hydraulic penis. Which is huuuuge".
Posted by Carrie at 8:36 PM
Saturday, September 18, 2004
Ok, so I'm watching the Miss Americ@ pageant (why? Because I'm a masochist, okay?), and the swimsuit competition came on. I haven't seen this spectacle for a few years, and honestly, I'm confused. What really is the point of this part of the contest? All of these women have bodies I would love to have. What is the criteria used? Would a short and curvy woman who was still obviously in good shape score as high as one who is tall and slender? I can see why it is kept, because it means ratings. I can even understand some of the rationale for including it in the scoring--it takes time and effort to keep yourself toned and slender, even if you are genetically inclined towards that kind of body. But I want to know what you get points on. The best able to smile without showing how much you hate being there with tape holding your ass up?
What really got to me, though, is the little quiz portion the final five contestants had to go through. It was multiple-choice, and the topics were mainly civics and current events. All the contestants knew where the next Summer Olympics were being held: Beijing, China. But only ONE, just ONE, even with the choices of 1920,1925, and 1930, were able to say when women got the vote in this country. As far as I'm concerned, if you are supposed to be a role model for America's young women and win thousands in scholarship money, you really ought to know something like that.
It's only 5 percent of the score, while the swimsuit part is 10 percent. And the scholarships total $40,000. Guess I should have taken fewer English classes and more Physical Education ones in school.
Posted by Carrie at 8:05 PM
Today is Mexic@n Independ3nce Day. I am reminded of this because I live on the main drag of my city, and currently there are about a hundred cars and trucks with Mexican flags waving, driving up the street honking their horns. This is actually a much bigger deal in Mexico than Cinco de May0, which more people in the USA know about and celebrate. I attribute this to the fact that it arrives in September during football season, and that it doesn't have the date in the celebration name, which means Americans can't remember it.
Posted by Carrie at 5:53 PM
Thursday, September 16, 2004
I was on Meetup.com tonight, looking for playgroups. I ran across the Attachment Parenting playgroup in my area. Their introduction reads: Meet other parents who don't take the easy way out of parenting. Whether supporters of Breastfeeding, Child Led Weaning, Cloth diapering, Homeschooling or Co-sleeping all are welcome here.
All, apparently, except parents who don't do those things because they are taking the easy way out of parenting.
Look, I cloth diaper, eat organic, co-sleep, and exclusively breastfeed. All of these things were the choices I made because they feel right for me and they work with my lifestyle. Frankly, for me they are the easy way to parent. But it pisses me off that this group of people seem to think that those that didn't make those choices are copping out, compromising their children for convenience's sake. Who the hell do they think they are to make that kind of judgement? Besides, cloth diapering, for example, has nothing to do with attachment parenting, and I think it is a stretch to say homeschooling does either. This is exactly the kind of judgemental bullshit I moved here to get away from.
I won't be joining.
Posted by Carrie at 7:58 PM
I spent almost four hours this morning writing the story of my pregnancy and Peanut's birth for my essay assignment instead of sleeping. It is something like seven pages long, so I'm not sure if I will be posting the whole thing here, or some abbreviated version.
I have told this story in bits and pieces online, over the phone, and in a brief synopsis to people who say "what's wrong with her?" For the record, never use those words when asking about a child's differences. "What happened?" is, I think, acceptable, because something did happen, but absolutely nothing is wrong with her. I don't mind being asked, I do mind the implication that she is somehow defective.
My daughter has been diagnosed with Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita. I am leaving the letters the way they should be because I want people to find this place if they are looking for it, because there aren't a lot of active sites out there about it. The name means multiple joint contractures from birth. Peanut was in a frank breech position throughout my entire pregnancy, meaning her feet were up around her ears. Her knees were locked in a hyperextended position, her right foot was clubbed, and her right hip was dislocated. None of the joints from the waist down, except her toes, have the range of motion they are supposed to have. Her thumbs and one index finger are also affected, and she can't really use them. She can't pull her arms straight above her head, or bend backwards very far. Her arms are very small and a little short compared to most babies. She also has an eye condition that sometimes goes along with this, where her left eye doesn't move in all directions, giving her a cross-eyed look sometimes. She was put in hip-to-toe casts at the age of six weeks, and wore them for the next three months. She now wears removable splints that she will have for the next several years. Her legs are skinny and obviously look "different", with odd dimples at the knees, and her right one is shorter than her left because of her hip dislocation. Her feet look different too: one is long and slender, the other is short, wide and curved. Her legs now don't quite straighten, but don't bend more than about 30 degrees unless we bend them for her, and then only to 90 degrees. She cannot put her feet in her mouth like most babies, and is just now, at seven months, able to bear any weight on her legs. She needs at least two surgeries on her legs and hip, and possibly one on her hand, within the next year. Her surgeon promised us that by the age of two, she'll walk and run like any other child that age, but she'll never have a normal range of motion.***
She is alive, however, her brain MRI was just fine, and she's the prettiest little girl in the world, to boot. You can see the pictures, and you can't deny it, can you?
The link in the title above contains information about Arthrogryposis, as well as information about a baby girl with Arthrogryposis abandoned in a hospital in Ecuador after her birth and who is now up for adoption. I know some people who read this blog are interested in adoption. Please take a look. If I could take her, I would in a heartbeat.
**UPDATED: Well, the surgeon was a little off. During her surgery to lengthen her quadriceps muscles, he discovered she had a lot less muscle tissue than it appeared from the outside. At well past two years-old, she is able to stand in full-leg braces, and take some steps behind a walker, but she's a long way from walking and running like any other kid, if she ever will. We'll keep working with her, and keep our fingers crossed.
Posted by Carrie at 12:42 PM
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Monday, September 13, 2004
To the man who fell off his bike into the median in front of my house tonight:
Riding your bike home from the Player's Tavern while stinking drunk may seem to be a fantastic idea, but it really isn't. I do wish to thank you for not getting behind the wheel of a car, and I'm glad you aren't really hurt.
Posted by Carrie at 9:41 PM
Sunday, September 12, 2004
I am officially obsessed. As you might have noticed, I got a hit-counter for this blog. As I write this, it has 5 hits, 2 of which I think are from me. I went from not being sure about having a blog because I'm kind of a private person to an attention-whore who just wants hits and comments. When I realized that people I have never spoken to have started to read this, the pressure to be entertaining mounted, though as you can see I am resisting it admirably.
So in order to get more comments, I am asking a question. Dear Readers, if you have a blog, do your friends and loved ones have the URL? Or are you using it as a private place to vent? I am asking this because I would really like my mom to read this. She would think it was very cool, as she has always wished I had become a writer. However, what if I want to complain about her? The same with some of my close friends or my husband. God knows I don't have that much to talk about that anyone would be interested in, so my only chance might be slightly entertaining rants about how they are irritating me. How often do you find yourself using your blog for this sort of thing? If your friends/family read it, do you find yourself censoring yourself a lot?
And Carlos, why don't you have your own blog yet?
Posted by Carrie at 9:51 PM
Saturday, September 11, 2004
My friend Nikki wanted me to blog about a conversation she had with a co-worker recently, so I will.
The discussion was about a college town in the South, a little hip and funky. Though by all outward appearances this co-worker, whom I shall call Freak because she is one and I can't think of anything witty, seems a little hip and funky herself, she isn't. Freak doesn't like this town because of the kinds of people in it. As an example, she mentioned seeing a young man begging in front of a natural foods store. Apparently he told people he was begging for money to buy soy milk. Nikki and I both think this alone is hilarious, but Freak does not. "If he wants to live that kind of lifestyle, he should go out and just get a job!" We also agree that the proper response Nikki should have made was probably, "you mean the lactose-intolerant lifestyle?" but instead she asked if she would prefer the young man be asking for money for alcohol. "Well at least he would be honest then" was her answer. So while Freak was apparently unsure of the man's motives (is he a secret alcoholic or a unemployed vegan?), it was the final nail in the coffin of Nikki's desire to have coffee with her anymore.
Trust me, this is far preferable to all the sad things I otherwise had to blog about. Not sad things I am personally experiencing, but to people I care about and the world in general. And Nikki, I thought about using a fake name for you too, but you wouldn't have liked any of my choices, I'm pretty sure. Thanks for the topic suggestion.
Posted by Carrie at 8:45 PM
Friday, September 10, 2004
Thursday, September 09, 2004
We're home. I apologize to those giving me a hard time for not writing immediately upon my return, but I just drove for two and a half days (should have been two, but we were twice given bad directions and ended up going the wrong way on the interstate for about 4 hours total) with a teething baby with diarrhea, a dog who was terrified of me and any vehicle with its engine on, and my father, who once didn't talk to me for two years for some still unknown reason. Hurricane Frances slapped us in the ass with a wet towel on our way out, I imagine for being so cocky about missing it over the weekend. It absolutely poured rain on us through the mountains and into Kentucky. Not fun driving.
I had a question about the barbecue. Eastern Carolina barbecue is a peppery vinegar-based sauce that contains no ketchup or mustard, served with pulled pork -- never beef. It can contain molasses and/or brown sugar, but it is thin and not sweet, and nothing like the ketchupy sauce you find in the grocery store. The whole hog is slow-roasted in a pit with this sauce, and the meat just falls off the bones and is sometimes chopped. We went to a place called Bullock's in Durham, NC, which always has a long line even though I am told there are better places. The only problem with eating-in at a barbecue place there is that they serve no alcohol, and you do miss the beer. There were twelve of us, counting the baby, so we ate family style, meaning big plates of all the food is just set around the table, and refilled when they empty.
You start out with hush-puppies, which are fried blobs of cornmeal batter seasoned with onion. Usually they are served with seafood, but they are a common starter at barbecue restaurants in the Carolinas, like tortilla chips and salsa are in Mexican restaurants. When they are dipped in honey butter I could eat them all day. Then the plates come out. The standard meal consists of pulled-pork barbecue, Brunswick Stew, coleslaw, and green beans. Brunswick stew was originally made with wild game like rabbit or squirrel, but now it is usually made with chicken. Every time I've had it it also contained corn and lima beans, although the ingredients tend ot vary depending on where you are. Dessert is usually banana pudding with a Nilla wafer crust, and maybe some kind of pie or chocolate cake. Here you can find another discussion about what the typical meal is like. My husband's family has been in North Carolina since colonial days, and this is how they eat their barbecue, so that's what I know.
As mentioned above, Peanut is FINALLY getting her first teeth. She's been having bumps pop up and down on her gums for months, but now at least one tooth is out and clicking against her toys. She won't let me look or even feel, so I can't tell if there is more than one. She has had the trots for the last week because of it. This isn't good as we just discovered her diaper rash was caused by all the "skin-soothing" ingredients used in her conventional disposable diapers, and the only kind that doesn't bother her is an insanely expensive unbleached brand found only in the organic food stores, none of which is open 24 hours a day. Yes, we normally use cloth diapers, but I wasn't going to haul poopy cloth diapers across the country for a week, and frankly hers don't hold it in well anyway. But yay, she has teeth! I am kind of sad to lose that gummy smile, though.
The dog was attacked pretty promptly upon arrival by the big bully cat (also from North Carolina, actually). She is happily chasing butterflies in the backyard for now, until I figure out how to keep them all from killing each other. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. She barks viciously at my neighbors when they pull into their driveway, so I'm sure we won't be getting any party invitations from them anytime soon, as well as at things I can't see. She does not bark when someone comes up to the front door, or around to the fence gate, which is when I want her to bark. That's ok, I guess. At least she's cute.
Posted by Carrie at 2:09 PM