Monday, June 28, 2010

483: at least my knee is getting some action

This past weekend we did a tour of Wisconsin: Green Bay to see both sets of parents and Milwaukee to visit our friends BJ and Lynn, whose rabbit Herbie is not "fixed," and therefore, fell amorously in love with my arm. He also liked to rearrange my fuzzy pants, and I have to say: I had a little crush on him too. Not so much that I would "mark" him with my chin-glands or ready myself for a little humping, but enough that Herbie's nuzzling was a highlight of our visit.

Missouri was somehow easier on me; I was safely ensconced in a five-day hiatus from stomach unrest. This Wisconsin trip had Ryan pulling over both to and from, which is never terribly pleasant, though being outdoors, centered in such a strange way, was kind of peaceful. The dogs were a tad distracted, panting out the window, desperate to run around in the tall grass.

I have to say this, above all else: I have been blessed with such a kind and caring partner. This early pregnancy has not been easy, as evidenced by my many pregnant friends who are chipper and enjoying themselves. I'm pathetic and miserable, but I do have a husband who will bring home six different cans when you ask for one of chicken noodle soup, a husband who will experiment with the CSA goodies when I cannot fathom opening the refrigerator without detouring to the bathroom, has been sympathetic and patient and listening. I just know he's going to make a fantastic parent, which makes me very lucky indeed, because I know I will go into this with coltish legs. We both will, but he has that calm that will keep me steady.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

482: the sky on the way to missouri

Friday, June 25, 2010

481: missouri

We visited a pair of friends who live in Kansas City, where they took us to Boulevard Brewing Company (and the boys doubled up on beer tokens while the wives sipped water) and for a lovely Irish dinner.

Exhausted, I took two naps on Saturday, listened to thunderstorms roll through the night. I'll post the sky photos I took on the drive to Missouri next--I finally caught my goal, which was to capture lightning in a photograph. Next goal? To take a spectacular photo of lightning.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

480: some more hay creek

This last trip we took, I got in with the pups, wading around in the cool water, grateful for the quiet and still as the baby groaned about within.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

479: first csa box

Our first CSA box arrived a bit ago, containing: a rosemary plant, broccoli, dino kale, scallions, kohlrabi, purple top turnip, summer savory, and spinach. We missed the second box due to a doctor's appointment and the third was much like the first, with cabbage and snap peas.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

478: jonsi

Soon, I will share images from our weekend in Missouri (much of which I napped through, desperate for a string of decent sleep, and watching thunderstorms, and tasting the various beers my husband had), and soon I will bring another collection of Hay Creek images to you, but for now, here is a song I heard reviewed on Musicheads, and even more:

Today is Christian's second birthday. (For those who don't know, he is my oldest friend's son; I was present at the birth, and I hope she can manage to be present at Baby Kiefer's in January.) We went to a restaurant called Space Aliens, I had a lot of bad food, and he is looking more and more adorably like a little boy, which is so flatteningly strange to me. He's charming and sweet and perfectly hers, which makes me so happy. I hope our own alien offspring is parented as well as Kelly does to her son.

Happy birthday, little C. I love you so.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

477: fruits of my (un)labor

Today was the first heartbeat appointment, so if you are curious about that and our befuddled financial future, you can read this post over on roots + wings.

I promised myself that I would keep the baby-posts to a minimum here, small anecdotes and check-ins, but otherwise, everyday life ought to dominate, despite the fact that my brain is dominated by baby-thoughts and first trimester-recovery. (One week left...)

Outside, the trees are whipping a little faster, the sky is getting angrier, and the interactive weather map shows an ominous storm approaching our little town and the cities to the north. I love a good storm. A frisson--a wonderful, happy chill of tormented weather, angst, buckets of rain and crashing of thunder, bright lightning, all that is good in gothic novels such as Wuthering Heights. We have no moors around here, only prairies and bluffs and the Mississippi River, so I take the moody where I can get it, especially when life has been so cozily good.

Our garden is a weedy mess, as it often is after a string of drizzly days and me cooped up indoors. I'm gaining strength and appetite and was able to mow the lawn for the first time in weeks (fortunately, the husband has been picking up my slack). Our backyard grows thick and fast, and after that rotation, I was happy to plop onto the sofa with ice water and my most recent novel.

Within the garden, though, are little treasures, such as those above: two tart strawberries and a trio of raspberries went down my gullet after my doctor's appointment today, little bursts of flavor from an otherwise flavorless series of days. Green beans are emerging, little tendrils, little bits surviving my neglect, incredibly. We had our first CSA share last Thursday, and I'll share some recipes we used soon.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Not long ago, I glimpsed out the window a collection of ducks--a mama and five little ones--toddling around in our newly fenced in yard. My photos come from the window, that rain-blurred barrier, with no sense of decent perspective, and what I really wish I could capture was that sound--the sweet cheeps of baby to mama. Our little backyard on the corner of a four-way stop can be a magical place, indeed. I've been known to see deer in our yard too.

Life has been epically quiet in these parts, mainly because I struggle through the many layers of my first trimester. If it isn't nausea and bathroom-runs, it is restless legs or insomnia. I am grateful the baby is healthy and that when I do feel miserable, I am doing it in the best of places--in the beauty of summer, as a graduate student who doesn't need to be anywhere else but soldiering through, with the kindest of husbands.

Our home is so very slowly transforming, bracing itself for the major shifts. I have finally and officially finished the attic--it is an organized place, complete with bookcases full of knitting and sewing books, bins full of old clothes and dishes, a few mementos I could not part with. Ryan has begun sifting through the sea of paper that is his little computer room; eventually, that will be painted a fresh coat, and I will move my poetry bookcases, my desk, my futon from the second bedroom to these more cramped quarters, and Ryan will have the reign of the basement (which is fine by me--some glimpses here, but this is really the vortex-of-hell, as opposed to the two rooms that are legally a bedroom and den). The great room-shuffle is well under way, much to my absolute surprise.

Currently on my nightstand: Let the Great World Spin. I just finished Little Bee last night, which was very interesting--a smooth read, not without flaws, but one I'm glad I paused to read. I've been trying to write a little something each time I read a book, and you can find those little blurbs on my Good Reads profile. It's nice, when your memory is as shot as mine is, or when you read too many books in one year to maintain any semblance of differentiation, to have a few quick notes, and I know I appreciate reading the notes of others.

Monday, June 14, 2010

475: remembering

It's been six years now, since Yvonne Fraley passed away. I wrote about it here, three years ago, and I know now that my perspective has shifted. Yvonne was a second mother to my sister and myself as we grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and here I am, beginning my own journey to motherhood. I hope my own children will know love as much as I did when I was with her. I sometimes find the same two letters she wrote me, cry quietly at how she pinned the word "proud" on me, how she signed them "Your Second Mama."

Today also marks four months without Callen in the world.

I don't know what it is about good people going too soon, but here these two are, their stories wrapped in one another, the one of the second mother whose passing made me stronger facing the everyday, the one of the former student who led me to forgiveness. It's strange how loss leads to living in one's honor, how loss triggers what we should have done already: love more fully, live lives we can be pleased with, shed all that drags us down. Perhaps it's something about the fullness of the hearts of these people who have gone before us, a need to embrace everyone hello.

Monday, June 7, 2010

474: good fences make good neighbors

There are so many interpretations of Robert Frost's "Mending Wall," that it isn't surprising one can get tangled up inside. Conservatives like to use the phrase, "Good fences make good neighbors," in relation to foreign policy, or even in honest relationship with literal neighbors.

But what did Frost mean? Yes, there is tongue-in-cheek, a sweet humor in his poem, but there's also that undertone that Brende brought to Better Off, which was how mutual work can bring forth community. I prefer to consider this interpretation when I look out my window at the newly-erected six foot fence ringing our yard; last weekend, I was able to peer out the window, alongside Zephyr, and watch as my husband bonded with our former neighbor. We hired him for the project and Ryan certainly could have stayed indoors, in the air conditioning, sipped his beer, futzed on his computer, but he chose to be outdoors, to turn his forehead red as he knelt in the grass and did the entire row of bottom screws.

The fence is sturdy because our dogs burst through the old one on a regular basis. It was patched together in an embarrassing way--little boards found in the garage, mismatched and facing odd directions, holding the rotten wood together. At four feet, Zeph was capable of barreling his weight into the fence, barking and, thanks to a little trick we've taught him, fully capable of frightening the passers-by at his leaping powers.

It's also six feet tall because we live in a fishbowl, and this hermit needed some privacy. We're on the corner of a four-way stop, a little playground kitty-corner, a popular route to the ball park. Our neighbors peer over in spring, criticize, gossip; not all, of course, but enough that I wanted to pull the comforter over my head and never venture outdoors. I don't mind that my garden gets a little weedy after several days of rain, or that our dogs tear patches in the dirt. I don't mind lying about in the grass on a blanket, reading in the afternoon sun. But I don't want to be peered at while doing so behind twitchy curtains. In this sense, the misinterpretation of Frost comes into place--this boundary, this selfish hoarding of land that isn't really mine to begin with, this belongs-to-me attitude rears its ugly head. I love when neighbors are good friends, when we have bonfires and share beer, but I've always been overly sensitive to criticism, a deep, deep weakness of mine, which can be damaging to a place that is, in many senses, sacred and beautiful.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

473: rain camping

Day one: Settling into camp. Laughter, bonfire.

Day two: The rain started around noon and went until past dinnertime. When the sun arrived, for such a brief moment, the mood rose up.

Day three: Today was bright and sunny, though we didn't stick around for much longer after breakfast. It began raining again; as I write this, there is thunder and lightning.

Also see: a few thoughts on camping pregnant / camping with an infant on roots + wings, my "baby blog." (Or rather, my "parasite blog." Wah!)