February 26, 2010

an unhealthy man

I found out Thursday morning that my dad had a heart attack on Tuesday evening. I can't say that I was terribly surprised, as he's always been significantly overweight, he smokes like a chimney, eats whatever he wants and his general attitude is that he's invincible to the forces of nature and is always testing the theory. I had kind of assumed that he would end up living to be 120 or something, just to spite everyone who may have thought otherwise or ever told him to diet or quit smoking. And the heart attack didn't kill him, so maybe he still will.

I haven't had any contact with my dad for a long time. Going on thirteen years now. For a long time I didn't have a relationship with anyone on his side of my family, but for the last couple of years I've been in touch with his sister and her family, and I've seen my grandparents a couple of times as well. My Aunt Carolyn is the one who called to let me know. She left me a message Wednesday evening, and I checked the message the following morning. (I'm terrible at retrieving voicemail- be forewarned.) There are usually a couple of messages in there from my mom, sitting unchecked for days, and they're always novella-long, so I'm often uninspired to listen to them.

When I heard Carolyn's message, I was confused about how to react. I mean, it's my dad, and of course I don't wish him dead or anything, but I've also moved on from my life with him in it. I didn't really feel anything, which of course made me feel kind of guilty and heartless. It sounds so awful to say that I don't care that my dad had a heart attack, but I kind of don't really care... and before you say "whoa, that chick clearly needs therapy," let me tell you that I've had some, and that's how I've gotten to the point I'm at. I think it's actually kind of a good thing, as crazy as that sounds!

So anyway, I called my Aunt and she said that they got him to a hospital and went up through a vein in his leg to his heart and found a clot. They "roto-rooted" it out, as she put it, and he's recovering. He should be fine, and now that he has a fresh clean artery, I have no doubt that he'll be around for a long time more.

***

When I started writing this yesterday, it seemed a lot more important for me to get it out and off my chest. Today, it just seems trivial and I can't think of anything inspired to add. So, it is what it is. Estranged father avoids death; daughter carries on. The end.

February 19, 2010

my little secret

Even though it represented the height of modern convenience, I felt compelled to remove the old wall-mounted can opener from our kitchen pretty much the moment I moved in.

In case you missed the technological advances of the 1960's, it was a contraption like this:

(not our house, but you get the idea)

And although it was an improvement, I was left with a hole in the wall with two electrical wires capped off with wire nuts. Not the prettiest aspect of the kitchen, to be sure.

My solution: put our knife block in front of it. Out of sight, out of mind! We also talked dreamily about putting up a tile backsplash a few dozen times, but never roused the initiative or funds to make that happen.


That was all fine until yesterday, when I decided to rearrange the kitchen to make more functional use of the countertops and available space. The knife block and cutting boards, which had been fairly efficient camouflage for my gaping hole, were relocated across the room to our new "prep zone". You can probably imagine that having this ugly hole in the middle of our kitchen was not going to work for me. Not even a little.

Thankfully, hubby was considerate enough to buy me a card for Valentine's day, despite the fact that we don't typically like to endorse those fakey made up commercial holidays. And it just so happens that his card was lovely enough to frame, so I was able to cover the hole with a pretty and functional new piece of art for the grand total of zero dollars. Necessity is indeed the mother of invention.


Now, just promise that you'll pretend that I never told you that there was a big hole in our wall, and if you come over don't stare! I'll know that you know, and you're looking right through the art to the unfinished wall behind. Repeat after me: out of sight, out of mind!

And if you were curious, the card says:
Some people make the world more special just by being in it.
I know, right? Sorry ladies, he's taken!

February 16, 2010

stuff & things

Lincoln is sitting up by himself pretty well now. It amazes me how quickly babies learn new things! We really only started focusing our attention on sitting last week, making sure that he practiced for a while each day sitting in between our legs or with us holding him steady. Within a couple of days he was so much more stable, and yesterday I was able to walk away and get the camera and when I came back he was still sitting there smiling at me! He still face plants occasionally, but he just rolls over and keeps playing!


***

Mom brought over three more bins of special treasures that she has hoarded away saved for me over the years. Inside were a few actual treasures (photos of me as a baby, a newspaper article documenting my five minutes of fame in fifth grade, some special notes from mom's baby shower) and a WHOLE lot of garbage. Least questionable but still doomed for recycling were every single one of my progress reports and report cards from preschool through senior year in high school, and EVERY certificate or award I've ever gotten. There were pages commending my participation in Jump Rope for Heart and D.A.R.E. in elementary school, student of the month and thank-you-for-being-a-library-volunteer certificates, FBLA awards and ribbons, and much, much more. And as I said, those were the least questionable items.

Now that we have Lincoln, it's easier for me to understand that desire to document your child's successes and keep that kind of stuff for posterity's sake, but seriously. Some of these papers have been stored for 30 years! Not coincidentally, I'm currently reading It's All Too Much by Peter Walsh, the guy from TLC's Clean Sweep. In it he talks about this kind of sentimental clutter in a way that I think makes a lot of sense:
If something is important, give it a place of importance. Find a way to respect and display that memory. If you're not treating it with honor and respect and you can't find a way to do so, then get rid of it.
Just having all those documents stored away in boxes in the closet wasn't doing anything to honor the memory of the achievements, nor does throwing them away make the memories disappear or belittle my successes. In all honesty, that stuff was just a fire hazard! It was time for it to go. I saved a few little tidbits that I found actually meaningful and that held sentimental value, and I'll scrapbook them or put them in an album so I can actually enjoy the memories. And I've made a promise to myself that if in a six months, they're still in a box just waiting to be scrapbooked, those things will go out the door with the rest.

***

In other news, Lincoln's sleep schedule seems to have regulated a bit more, and naps are going a little better than they a couple weeks ago. It really is just so much a matter of being consistent. Consistent in timing, in ritual, and in attitude. A month ago, I couldn't get him to sleep alone in his crib for a nap no matter what I did and I was going insane. Times have changed though, and now he'll usually sleep for an hour or sometimes two without much trouble at all. Of course, since I typed that, he woke up screaming after just 25 minutes and wouldn't settle back down. It's still kind of a crap shoot, I guess!

***

I've been making granola with this recipe for the last couple months, and it is so good! I've been using a mixture of slivered almonds, sunflower seeds, and walnuts because that's what I had on hand, and adding dried cranberries. Today I had some leftover Cranberry Cove mix (from shopping PCC's bulk bins when I was hungry) that included apples, pumpkin seeds, papaya, cashews, and some other yummy goodies, so I threw that in. It's delicious! We like it over Trader Joe's Greek style apricot mango yogurt, but it's also good for just snacking on.

And speaking of food, I'm trying to get better about meal planning and grocery shopping, since that's pretty much my least favorite thing in the world. Ideally, I would have an idea of the things we're going to have for dinner for the whole week, and then I can just go to the grocery store once and get everything we need. Instead, we end up stopping at the store for one meal worth of groceries on the way home from work, or I rummage through the freezer and pantry and make a concoction of whatever's already here. You would think that this would be one of those things that I would enjoy, along with all the other weird organizational things I obsess over, but no. Any good suggestions for this headache?

February 11, 2010

halfway through!

Halfway through the first year, that is! Lincoln is six months old today. I know I keep saying this, but it has just gone by so quickly, I can't stand it.

Our little bug has two tiny teeth, a full head of reddish hair, and he's so tall he looks much older than his six months.


He's full of giggles and smiles and is rolling all around. He's pushing up on his hands when he's on his belly, and scoots around in circles and travels short distances by wriggling and squirming his legs and arms.


Everything you hand him is destined for his mouth, whether it's meant for eating or not. And he does like to eat a few different things, including bananas, carrots, peas, sweet potato, and rice cereal. He blows bubbles and makes groaning noises and chatters to himself and anyone who will listen.


He can sit up unassisted for a little while, which is fun because it makes it even easier to get things into his mouth.

He sleeps in his very own room at night now, from seven p.m. until seven a.m. most nights, awakening just once (or sometimes twice) for a quick snack of momma's milk. Unfortunately, he's also pretty much abandoned his daily nap schedule, so the battle for sleep rages on, albeit on a new front.

He's so curious and interested in the world, and he excitedly reaches out to touch the faces of the other babies at the playgroup we attend most Wednesday afternoons. He laughs and grabs at the puppet that sings the hello song.

He recognizes the sign for milk, and will turn anxiously toward me with an open mouth when I sign it while he sits on my lap.

He's the most amazing little human I've ever had the pleasure to meet. He pulls my hair and grabs my glasses right off my face, but then he gives me a great big sloppy open-mouthed kiss right on my cheek, and I forgive him immediately.

I love you Lincoln! Thanks for letting me be your mommy. It's been an amazing adventure so far!

February 7, 2010

my mother is crazy
my mother is a crazy hoarder

my mother is a hoarder

So last night my Mom left a message in my voicemail. She was moving some boxes out of a closet so workmen could get in and replace her water heater and she came across a couple of sweatshirts. She's not a sweatshirt person, so she's never worn them, and she wondered if I wanted them. The collection included one with a big purple H in honor of my high school (I graduated in '98), one that I brought back to her from Paris when I traveled there in 1995, and a third with "Seattle U Mom" embroidered on the chest.

For what I presume are obvious reasons, I did not want them, and when I returned her call I told her as much. I suggested that since she had never worn them and never would, she should donate them to the thrift store. She scoffed at such a ridiculous notion and said "Oh no, I couldn't do that!" I assured her that there was nothing sentimental about a couple of sweatshirts, and she was being foolish. Declaring that she might wear them "someday", she decided she would return them to her closet, where I will surely find them after she's died, still unworn.

She came by not long after to visit Lincoln. When I opened the door she handed me a file folder of paperwork that "I might want". Paper-clipped to the front was my certificate of completion from Defensive Driving school, dated 1996. Inside, a collection of brochures from Seattle U, a generic "Dear Parent" letter from the director of Freshman Success at SU, a couple of high school report cards (one was actually just a photocopy of the original), my financial aid award letter from Freshman year, and a letter welcoming me the Alber's School of Business and Economics (my major for less than one school year). To round out the collection: a verbose and angst-y letter that eighteen-year-old me had typed (in cursive font, no less) to my estranged father, along with his terse (also typed- in courier) response. My two-page letter and his two-paragraph reply, stapled awkwardly nowhere near the corner and edges misaligned.

What that motley collection of documents were doing all together is anyone's guess. Why I might want any of them- another mystery. And I know that Mom's closet is stuffed to the brim with boxes containing many more files just like this one. All those meaningless documents and reminders of things and times long gone. Just knowing that makes me want to rent a big dumpster and rid my own closets of everything that I might have tucked away "for someday". Doing that won't help her though.

I told David that I should have told her that I did want the sweatshirts, if only so that I could throw them out for her. But again, it won't help. The sweatshirts will just be replaced by some other meaningless trinket that she has assigned a sentimental value where none exists.

Now I'm not suggesting that there is no value in holding on to the things that matter. That's not the case at all. I could understand a box with a well-loved baby blanket, or a dog-eared copy of her favorite novel, or even ticket stubs or similar ephemera- reminders of a full life well lived. But no such box exists- just stacks of junk. Maybe it's in the absence of those more meaningful things that she feels the need to save the rest?

There may not be tunnels of junk leading from the front door like you see on those intervention shows or when Oprah has a hoarder on, but oh yes, she's a hoarder. I have the file folder to prove it.

February 3, 2010

Coolest craft medium ever?



Yesterday Amy of Mod Podge Rocks wrote a sweet little bit about the jar of olives that I gave to David for his birthday. Thanks Amy! Check it out here.

And you should definitely take a look at some of the other awesome projects while you're there. Seriously, Mod Podge is some amazing stuff!

I think Lincoln needs an elephant like this one.

Or how about this beautiful table? Or this one?

I'm completely inspired!

February 1, 2010

still here!

Wow, it's been forever since I've stopped by here to say hello. Anyone still here?

Hi! I've missed you!

Things have been great, and a bit busy. Now that we're (sometimes) getting a little bit more sleep than we were, it seems like we've had a lot more initiative to get out of the house and go have adventures during the day. The weather probably helps a bit too.

In the last couple of weeks we've done a lot! We took a walk to the fancy new library, went for a walk on Seahurst Beach, went to the Baby Play play group at FamilyWorks, tried to go to the play group again but it was cancelled, went for a walk at Lincoln Park with a new friend from PEPS, met a wonderful old friend for lunch and shopping at U Village, met my sister for lunch at Bellevue Square, toured Three Tree Montessori, and saw ALL of our grandparents! It's been lots of fun.

See, look how much fun we're having:


We also had a lovely woman from Safety for Toddlers come out and give us a whole-house baby-proofing consultation, since Lincoln's rolling all over and crawling is probably just a few short weeks away.

It was a little bit overwhelming, but we got a ton of really great suggestions and she pointed out some things that we never would have considered. We learned that there is a baby-proofing gadget for everything, and now we just have to decide what is really valuable and necessary.

We added some cool new book shelves to Lincoln's room based on an idea that Gus saw on ohdeedoh:


It's just a couple of Ribba picture ledges from Ikea. It's perfect for kiddos who can't read, because then they can choose books by looking at the cover. Plus, it's a super cute addition to his room. Love it!

Also, thanks for your feedback on the trim for the last mixer cover! She chose the polka dots, as that was the hands-down winner, and she totally loves the result!


More to come! Be back soon!