In Which I Keep A Spider Count In Order To Preserve My Sanity

I know as well as the next person that when you move to a new place you inevitably must deal with new inconveniences. In the southeast these took the form of cockroaches. In the southwest they were scorpions, and snakes, and mice, and poisonous spiders (wait, why did I like the southwest so much?). In the northeast it’s ice and snow and depressingly grey skies. And in the west it was earthquakes and bugs whose names I never learned because that would have made them all to real. Now that we’re in southern Oregon, we have bears (cute) and cougars (the animals not the older women; also, cougars?! I kind of thought those were make believe), but honestly I’ve never seen either in the eight months we’ve been here (though Bambi and his family make regular appearances on our street). What I have seen, in hoards, are spiders.

Sometime in mid-June our rental house was invaded with spiders. Big spiders, small spiders, spiders on the ceilings, spiders on the floor, spiders smack dab in the middle of the wall, spiders in the bathroom, spiders in the hallway, spiders on our sheets (!!), spiders in the kitchen. Really, spiders everywhere. And while none of the spiders I saw looked particularly poisonous, spiders are still the creepiest creatures of all. They have so many legs. And if you look away for even a second they can fly across the room and disappear. And then reappear on your face when your sleeping. And then they crawl all over you. And then you spend the next two weeks swiping at various parts of your body because you swear there’s a spider there only to have your husband tell you it’s just your hair that your baby pulled out when he grabbed a fistful and wouldn’t let go, but it’s too late and now the whole world thinks you’re slightly unbalanced because you keeps swiping at yourself and oh-my-god spiders freak me out so much that I write stupid-long run-on sentences. Someone stop me. [Read more...]

Conversations with Dog

Most days it’s just Sadie (The Dog), myself and Caleb (The Baby) in the house by ourselves. As we haven’t quite gotten a schedule a down for The Baby, we stay close to home most days in an attempt to find a napping schedule that will stick. In general I’m not some who needs a lot of conversation (Adam will tell you it took him a long time to get used to my prolonged silences, especially during long car rides), but there are moments when my exasperation with The Baby’s lack of sleeping requires some venting. This is really the only explanation that I can give for the following (that or I’m becoming a crazy dog lady, but I think my definition that can’t be true since I also have a baby in the house). As a final caveat I think it might be important to clarify that The Dog does not actually speak using words (I’m not that far gone), but we all know how much a look can communicate and The Dog has perfected many looks over the past seven months since we brought The Baby home.

 

Upon The Baby Waking from a Too-Short Nap:

The Dog: Seriously? I was resting peacefully. Why are you not running to make that infernal noise stop?

Me: I got him last time; it is totally your turn.

The Dog: I’m not the one who decided we should have a baby. No one even asked me. He’s your problem.

Me: But I got him last time. And I just sat down. And I’m tired.

The Dog: Seriously, go make that racket stop. Do you not even know how to parent your own child?

Me: Fine, but I’m bringing him out here and putting him down next to you so he can grab your fur for entertainment.

The Dog: Unlike that loud lump, I can actually move by myself so your threats have no effect on me.

Me: Fine. I’m going.

 

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Cultivating Contemplation

Caleb isn’t one to sit still. At six months, he isn’t one to sit at all, but that’s neither here nor there. In general, he’s a baby that prefers to be occupied. He’s not a fan of simply sitting and snuggling, even sitting to read books strikes him as a little dull, and most of the time I understand: there’s a lot to explore in this world, a lot to figure out, and I would guess that growing bodies itch to be moved. But as one who would be content to sit and stare at nothing for hours on end without ever getting bored, I am at times overwhelmed by the constant energy required to keep Caleb entertained and happy.

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A Life By Any Other Name …

photo credit: lovelightlifelaughter

In my last post I might have casually mentioned that my current school work does not provide interesting blog fodder. So here’s a blog post about a book I’m reading for school. Haha. Either I’m a liar or I’m about to bore you to sleep. Rather than focusing on how neither of these options are particularly flattering for me, let’s focus on how reading this post could be an exciting gamble: will I be a liar? or will you fall asleep? [I think the fact that I am considering this a gamble might be an indication that I need to get out more.]

I’m reading a book, written by an Israeli Jew, about the history of the Holy Land’s landscape since 1948. [Commence yawn.] It is a little dry, so I am only on the second chapter, but the first chapter was all about how Zionists changed the map. Not being a geographer myself I was at first a little confused by this argument. Given that a map represents/reflects the physical landscape, how can one simply change it? Apparently my given was a bit off. The author argues that the Zionists were using the map not simply as a representation of the physical landscape, but as a political tool. How were they doing this? By changing the Arabic names of places (villages, towns, landmarks, rivers, mountains, valleys, etc) to Hebrew names.

Who knew names were so powerful? [Read more...]

Motherhood Is So Cliche

I find it difficult to write posts for this blog because the majority of my life at the moment is spent either working on my comprehensive exams (interesting fodder for public consumption they are not) or caring for a small being who exists primarily to eat, shit, sleep, and cry, with occasional bursts of smiles that fool you into thinking babies are the cutest. Motherhood, I know, does provide plenty to write about, but frankly everything I can think to say about it is so cliche.

Parenting is exhausting. It’s harder than I ever anticipated and in ways I never anticipated. But every other mother has already realized this and those who have not been mothers have read plenty of other mothers who have told them this. The secret is out. [Read more...]

Why I Read Parenting Books

Before Caleb was born, Adam had a series of posts on Facebook that elicited impressive controversies. One was a question about circumcision and one was a question about vaccines. We were not particularly surprised by the strong reactions to either of these questions. What did surprise us was the strong controversy that emerged when Adam asked what one parenting book he should be reading. This, apparently, touched on all kinds of deeply held beliefs regarding “parenting philosophies.” I have to admit that before becoming pregnant with Caleb, I wasn’t even aware that there were such things as parenting philosophies. I naively believed that one just raised a child and took advice from wherever one could find it and used whatever seemed to work.

Not so.

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Ashes to Ashes and The Question of Heaven

When I was little, I remember going to see the Care Bears movie and thinking that Care Bear Land must be what heaven is like. Think about it. That place was basically a castle/playground in the clouds and the Care Bears got to fly around in little cars and peek through the clouds to see who needed their help before sweeping down to save the day. How could heaven (and angels for that matter) not be like that? I couldn’t imagine anything better. Frankly I still kind of hope heaven is like that.

To be honest, I’ve never been a big believer in heaven. For most of my life I’ve fallen squarely in the agnostic camp when it came to life after death. Maybe there is, maybe there isn’t. It never seemed particularly important to me – life now, here on earth, that was what was important and worth worrying about. Perhaps my anti-anxiety meds keep me from feeling all “angsty” about what comes next. But since we lost our boys, I find it matters more to me now.  [Read more...]

On Stinky Socks and Lucky Shirts: Or How Being a Mother Has Made Me Superstitious

I’ve never been big into sports. I kind of know the general goal of most sports and some of the rules, but I’ve never had favorite teams nor been particularly invested in the outcome of games. Therefore the whole idea of superstitions and not washing particular clothing items because your team finally won when you were wearing those striped socks that you had had on for three days has always seemed ridiculous to me. I think maybe I had a luck rabbit’s foot in seventh grade, but I’m pretty sure I left it somewhere after a day or two and never missed it. I think finding a four-leaf clover is pretty cool, but only because they’re so rare, not because I think they’re going to change my life. All in all, I’m a highly rational person.

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A Franciscan Benediction

May God bless us with discomfort
at easy answers, half-­‐truths, and superficial relationships,
so that we may live deep within our hearts.

May God bless us with anger
at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,
so that we may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless us with tears to shed
for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war,
so that we may reach out our hands to comfort them
and turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless us with enough foolishness
to believe that we can make a difference in this world,
so that we can do what others claim cannot be done.
Amen.

Against Puking

I’m notorious for pushing things too far. Be it running, hiking, biking, lifting weights, or using the elliptical machine at the gym, I go too hard too fast. Take running, for example: I much prefer sprinting to jogging. Jogging is so boring. It’s painful. And slow. But,

sprinting … oh sprinting: fast, powerful, distance, movement, joy. Who doesn’t love sprinting? Or the gym. Why do the elliptical slow and steady when you can push it hard? Isn’t that the point of working out? To push yourself to your limits? To see how far and how fast you can go? No pain no gain, right? Right.

The problem is, when I push it too hard too fast, I puke. Every time. This leads to some unpleasant, and potentially awkward, moments. I, for one, do not find puking an enjoyable past time. The taste alone is enough to make me go to great lengths to avoid it. And, when you have to do it on a hiking trail when other people are passing by … awkward. When you routinely have to ask your personal trainer to give you a minute so you can go puke in the bathroom … embarrassing.

I like it hard and fast (we’re talking about exercise here, don’t be dirty), but I don’t like puking. I’ll grant you that the purged feeling that comes after is wonderful. Puke once and I’m good, I can keep going and do even more. And I like that I’ve pushed myself to the edge (and fallen over). It makes me feel like I’ve done all that I can – a good workout. That’s what working out is all about, right?

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