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Saturday, January 30, 2010

I couldn't have said it better

Isn't it delightful when you have had an idea or emotion that you just can't put into words, and then you stubble across a perfect sentence or description where someone said it much better than you have ever been able to? You smile and exclaim "That's exactly what I mean!" and it is like some little part of your world suddenly makes more verbal sense?

I owe such a lovely lexical, lingual moment to Mr. Herman Melville.

The emotion is this: Each winter Trevor and I have the same argument about running the heater at night after we go to bed. He likes it on...I like it off or at least very, very low. I like the house to be cold, even "frigid" according to my husband. I have never been able to explain this...

until Chapter XI of Moby Dick

"If you flatter yourself that you are all over comfortable, and have been so long a time, then you cannot be said to be comfortable any more. But if...the tip of your nose or the crown of your head be slightly chilled, why then, indeed, in general consciousness you feel most delightfully and unmistakably warm. For this reason a sleeping apartment should never be furnished with a fire, which is one of the luxurious discomforts of the rich. For the height of this sort of deliciousness is to have nothing but the blanket between you and your snugness and the cold of the outer air. Then there you lie like the one warm spark in the heart of an arctic crystal."

(Don't you love that?)

Monday, January 25, 2010

A good old dress

I get a lot of flak for having a lot of clothes. People are constantly asking me if all I do is shop. And they never seem to believe me when I tell them that I don't really shop much at all. In fact, aside from some maternity clothes I haven't bought a new outfit since my birthday last year. :) I haven't bought a new pair of jeans since 2006.

So where do all the clothes come from? I have not grown or changed sizes since seventh grade. And, admittedly, there were days (back when I was single) where I shopped quite a bit. And I like to take good care of my clothes. And I love being around when friends are cleaning out their closets. This has resulted in a mass accumulation of wardrobe.

People often ask me about something I am wearing and where I got it - and truthfully I often can't remember because it is from years ago. This must be in my blood. My grandmother (also known for her closet) and I had the following conversation this Saturday after my grandpa admonished us both to get rid of clothes.

Me: Most of the clothes are from years ago, and most of those I bought at thrift and antique shops.
Grandma: I know. People ask me all the time where I get such nice clothes, and I say, my goodness they are fifty years old!

So I had to laugh to myself on Sunday at church when several people complimented me on the dress I was wearing.Why was it funny? I found this dress with my mother-in-law while sorting out some things in their basement. It was one she wore in college...and one she wore when she was pregnant with my husband! Which makes it at least 26 years old. You just can't beat a good, old dress.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


the cat, not the devil, died today.He had a beautiful life at a lovely little home in Idaho where he was fed cans of tuna and sometimes peed under the piano bench. He was a good cat. And so I cried today when my mom called and told me he was gone.Lucifer was one of the best cats I grew up with.

Throughout my childhood there have been many cats - we lived on a farm and farm cats come and go, but when I think of childhood pets I think of three defining cats: Blackie who I had when I was a little girl, who ran away and who I prayed and prayed would come back (and who did until he passed away and was buried under an old pine tree). Pansey who lived for 22 years - several of which she survived with one eye and who was a "tough old cat." And finally Lucifer - who was sort of named after the big poofy cat on Cinderella but mostly received his namesake from my little sister who hated him because he used to hide under things then dart out at her feet.

And even though I haven't lived with Lucifer since the night before I left for Russia (the night this picture below was taken - that's him sleeping on my suitcase) I felt his loss today as if he had always been right down the hall, snoozing in my bed for all these years. And I was a little embarrassed and mostly glad that no one else was here while I bawled as I cooked dinner.
Funny how pets become a part of who you are. A french writer, Jean Cocteu, said the following, "I love cats because I love my home, and after awhile they become its visible soul." So tonight I am missing Lu...and thinking about how he improved the soul of my childhood home, and how it will never be the same.

P.S. - My mom and I are pretty sure that if Lucifer gets to pick how he spends feline eternity it will be like this:

What do you do on a...

drizzly federal holiday when your husband is home and you should be either cleaning the house, working in the yard or doing scores of other things?You declare your own holiday and have "Awesome Winter Hat Day" at the dog park instead.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Be careful what you wish for...

It is not much of a secret that between Trevor and I, I am definitely the more nurturing of the two. Trev is sort of a "cowboy up" and "walk it off" kind of guy. Unless, of course, he is the one who is sick - and then he loves to be babied.

In the last month the poor boy has had it. He started off just before Christmas with a pneumonia and worked his way into a terrible head cold of congestion that he has been fighting for a week or so now.

When Trevor is sick there are three things that, as his built-in nurse, I believe in:
1) Vicks Vapor Rub
2)Hot baths
3) a humidifier with Vicks Vapo-Steam in it.

**Just a side note - I love the smell of Vicks Vapor Rub and would happily live down wind from Vicks Factory.

Whenever Trev is sick and I try so hard to take care of him - the martyr in me also often makes comments like this "Remember how good I am caring for you next time I am sick."

Well, it seems, when I caught the head cold just days behind him that Trevor finally took that admonition to heart. Turns out that as a nurse there is one thing that Trevor believes in: Water.

Yup - that is it - plain old H2O and lots and lots of it. He doesn't explain why. He just becomes a water nazi. The man seriously sets the timer on his watch for every 20 minutes then brings me a huge glass of water. This was cute and sweet for about the first hour...then it became tedious. But he is so persistent that I just keep drinking the glasses of water.

Don't get me wrong - being hydrated is good. In fact, Trev may be onto something in using hydration as the way to treat a cold. And it is so darling and sweet that he is really, genuinely trying to take care of me instead of giving me the usual line about "just riding it out." The biggest problem with the whole arrangement is that I am 7 and a half months pregnant and have a 4 lb fetus sitting on and squeezing my internal of which happens to be my bladder.

So between my 20 minute doses of water you can figure out where I spend approximately ten of my other minutes.

Monday, January 11, 2010


Reading over the last few entries in my blog and thinking over the last few months I realize that my pregnancy has been filled with a wide variety of emotion. Fear, anxiety, excitement, apprehension, love, wonder, discovery, concern, care, joy...just to name a few. Tonight though, as I feel my baby roll and kick inside of me I am overwhelmed by a feeling I cannot quite name or put my finger on.

We often hear that life is fragile. Until this point in my experience I have always associated this sentiment with random tragic, untimely deaths: a car accident that claims a child, cancer that seems to unwittingly strike, any of the thousands of ways that the forces that make us breath and beat can be snuffed out.

Tonight though, I find myself thinking about the fragility of the process that forms life.

In the last year we have known three couples very close to us who have suffered difficult pregnancies. The first resulted in an incredibly difficult and mysterious miscarriage. Then a neighbor around the street lost and subsequently had to deliver a still-born baby at 28 weeks. and tonight, I got a phone call about a sweet couple who have found out that the girl has toxemia. They are 27 weeks along with their first baby - so very much like us - and now she cannot leave the hospital with the baby inside of her. She is stabilized for now, and we are all hoping that she can stay stable for two weeks until the doctors can try and take the baby and still give it a viable chance at a fragile life outside of the womb. And because toxemia is a permanent condition this will be her only pregnancy.

On other blogs that I read by friends who I only keep up with from a distance, comments like, "this baby has been a long time coming" or "we are so excited to finally announce a healthy pregnancy" hint at miscarriages and other heartbreaking problems that I do not want to know the details of.

Suddenly, "life is fragile" doesn't just apply to sad newspaper headlines...but to so many lives that we never really had a chance to know. Lives that never got to experience the fragility we encounter everyday when we open our eyes - or stretch our limbs and muscles. Sometimes I do not think I fully appreciate or comprehend the fragile process that resulted in creating and maintaining my own fragile life.

I am thinking about my friend in the hospital tonight. And I can only imagine how on the brink of motherhood, she isn't thinking about her own fragile life and the threats to it - but she is thinking about the fragile life inside of her.

And as I feel the reassuring pressure of a little hand or foot against my ribs I have to blink my eyes to keep from crying. We are so lucky, Trevor and I, to be entrusted with this fragile little life that we were not planning on, and didn't even know we wanted until it became more and more real. My heart breaks tonight for the hard things we must go through in this life, in the process of creating lives. And it also fills so full and grateful to know that at 32 weeks the second heartbeat within my body is as steady and strong as such a fragile thing can be.