Sunday, October 30, 2005

Sunday miscellany

We're finally done moving. Tim did so much work! He cleaned our old apartment this weekend (I helped a little... very little since I watched Jonah and did other stuff around the house) and moved the few remaining items. Our new house is still full of boxes!! Sorting is one of my biggest nightmares. I swear I feel nauseous just looking at the piles of stuff we own. Having a large basement is a blessing and a curse. Some day I hope to reduce the amount of boxes I store... to two or three or five down from about a hundred!!!

In other developments, my good friend Lisa visited from Seattle today. It's always so inspiring to see her. She lives her life with such zeal. It's marvelous to hear someone say, without reservation, that life is great.

My mom has been staying with us for a week. She has had horrible back and leg pain, bad enough to make it difficult for her to walk. So I've been taking care of her. She has gotten a little better. The one advantage of this unfortunate situation is that she has gotten to spend a lot of time with Jonah. And she has helped us by holding him and playing with him while we chip away at our crazy mess.

Tim's parents are coming in a couple of days. It would be nice to at least make this house easy to walk through so they don't trip over the boxes full of who knows what.

All the essentials have been set up (except for the silverware and cooking utensils). Those are still in paper bags though they are used numerous times a day. I am even proud to report that I have started to decorate our house. Well, one decorative mirror is up on the wall. Hey, that's a start. I love this particular mirror. Its frame is a mosaic made of tiny mirror squares, hand-made by an acquaintance. Tim noticed I liked it and got it for me from the artist's stand at Saturday Market. It's special because someone I know made it. If I had more money, I would buy art from my friends. I already have a list of friends whose art I would love to look at every day. Some day...

I've included a picture of one of our other cats, Sarafina, looking out the window. There are more photos of our new place in the second photo album link from the top (right hand side). I'll add more photos as we set up the house.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

cat in a box

I took this picture of Pancho while moving. He found the smallest box in the whole house to sit in.

uncle Andy's birthday

On Thursday we celebrated Jonah's uncle Andy's birthday. Pizza and beer - Andy's favorite. Here is a picture of the birthday boy holding Jonah.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

no breastfeeding allowed

Last night I had a very vivid dream that I was getting ready to nurse Jonah at Fred Meyer's, a big local supermarket. Before I even got started, a guard in an all black uniform came up and rather aggressively tried to prevent me from nursing on the supermarket's premises. He started by telling me that La Leche League, a breastfeeding support organization, is shady. I didn't get why he mentioned them at all. Perhaps to scare me. Then he said that I am not allowed to breastfeed there. I got furious and began to argue with him, telling him that he is denying my baby food and that it's legal in Oregon to breastfeed in public. I wasn't going to quit or leave. At the peak of my argument Jonah spit up all over me as if to either punctuate what I was saying or to mock me. Impeccable timing. I am proud to say I took that guy on singlehandedly and wasn't gonna let him tell me what to do!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

all moved in... just about

We are just about all moved in!!! With the exception of a few more things we still need to gather at the old apartment. Several friends showed up and helped. I can't thank them enough. They worked so hard!!! I feel really bad for the person who hit his head extra hard... a couple of times while carrying heavy... machinery, was it? Perhaps I should protect this person by allowing him to remain nameless. Fortunately there was no lasting (brain) damage. Phew!

I love the new house! It's still full of boxes, but that will never stop me from enjoying it. It's so peaceful here. Can't hear the nearby train yard at all. Or hardly at all, I should say.

I took a walk to one of the two nearest parks today with Jonah in the sling. The park is seven blocks away. Most of the walk is on an obscure unpaved road (a rarity in inner Portland). The park is beautiful -one of the prettiest parks in the city- with two playground areas with play structures, lots of picnic tables, stately old trees, and gorgeous landscaping.

I met one of our nextdoor neighbors. She is very nice. She said to let her know if we ever needed anything. That is a very neighborly thing to say indeed. But she sounded sincere. Did I sound as sincere when I replied, letting her know she can expect the same from us?

Friday, October 21, 2005

new house

Yesterday Tim and I brought the first load of stuff to our new house. I just was mainly curious and wanted to see the place at night. Since we decided to go there we thought we would bring some books and plants along. The neighbors on one side had their curtains open and were thus in full view. And so were we. When we were standing in the kitchen, I noticed the neighbor standing by the window in his kitchen, looking at us with curiosity. Of course, like a good neighbor should, I pretended I didn't see him and he did the same. The second time our eyes met, I smiled and saw him waving to us. So I waved back. It really made me laugh. "Well, hello neighbor!"

I am anxious to start settling in and putting the furniture and things in their place. I hope we like living there enough to stay a while. Tomorrow is the big moving day!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

what is going on?

To those unitiated into parenthood it may seem that my days are somewhat uneventful, but my nights sure make up for it. The night before last I had a dream that large round rocks were falling from the sky. Last night I dreamt that a nearby volcano was errupting. The erruption was accompanied by an earthquake. Everyone jumped for joy when the erruption and the earthquake ended, but I had the haunting feeling that there would be another episode soon. I ran around, frantically grabbing things but not finding anything important. While doing this, I held the baby in one arm. Then all of a sudden the baby would be missing and I would have to search for him among the scattered clothes, shoes, and bags in the room. When we left the building I asked Tim if he packed anything for the baby. He said he only packed things for himself. I was disappointed at how selfish he could be. (Mind you, this in no way reflects our real dynamics.) Why am I having all these nightmares? When will it stop?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

moving soon

The moving day is getting closer and closer. Only five more nights in our apartment and then we move to our new house. I am excited for the change, but also sad to leave this place. This building has witnessed so many of our big life events and I've enjoyed living here. I'll miss having my brother- and sister-in-law in the same building. I will miss a few things about this neighborhood as well. The rose garden, for example. And the Overlook neighborhood which is so nice to walk through. I will miss having the video store and the pizza place just a couple blocks away. And also lots of parks and playgrounds to choose from walking distance. But I'm sure I'll get used to our new neighborhood and will discover some treasures there too.
Hopefully I'll meet some people in the neighborhood. Right now I don't know too many people that live close to our new place. It looks like there are some families with kids in the neighborhood there. It would be nice to meet some so Jonah has new friends to play with in a few months.

I wonder how long we will stay at that house. If we stay long enough, and if Jonah ends up going to a mainstream elementary school, he will be able to walk. There is an elementary school eight blocks from the house. I actually taught afterschool theater classes there several years ago. There is a high school about six blocks from the house. I met with the school psychologist there once because I had a teenage student who needed counseling. Ah, old memories.

Today was a good day. I went to work to submit and pick up some paperwork (I will have to do a few hours of work form home. Oh joy!). My co-workers that haven't met Jonah got to meet him. He was asleep though, which was a good thing. Then a friend of mine that I work with suggested we go out to lunch together. Perfect. We went out to one of my favorite restaurants. I had my favorite dessert on the planet, che van, a Vietnamese coconut milk dessert with jello and beans. Yuuuuummmmmm!!! Those of you that know I was supposed to cut down on my sugar, bread, and fruit intake now know that I have fallen off the wagon. To that I say, there are only so many rice cakes I can eat before going koo-koo.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Sunday hike

Tim, Jonah and I got out hiking today. No rain which was good. It was cold up in the mountains. We went up to Hawk Mountain in the Clackamas River area, hoping for mushrooms. But alas, this year has not been a good mushroom year. Why I don't know. We were wondering if it was because our little fun guy or "fungi," as we like to call him (Tim needs to be credited for this nickname), is so handsome and charming that he may be too intimidating for the other forest fungi. Perhaps that is why they all hide when we come around.

Here is a picture of the scenery. The view of Mt. Jefferson, which is usually stunning, was obscured by clouds. But the panorama was still beautiful. More photos in my new hiking photo album, "outdoor adventures," (the other is full now)- first photo link on the right.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

parties are fun

Today was a good day. After breakfast I took a long nap with Jonah on my chest. In the afternoon our whole little family went to a bookstore. I read one of my favorite magazines, Bitch, a feminist critique of pop culture. The writing is so smart and insightful in that magazine. It's people like the writers in Bitch that will change the world! Jonah was asleep the whole time we were at the bookstore.

Next we went to my favorite resale store that sells used children's clothes and other things like strollers and cribs. We had to get Jonah some diaper covers. You know, those things that keep the cloth diapers he uses in place... they are basically plastic underwear that opens up and seals with velcro for changing ease. One pair that I picked out seemed too big to Tim. Tim said I should save that one for when he "becomes geriatric." Funny, funny guy.

The day climaxed with a party at a friends' house where I got to see several people I work with (among them my favorite coworkers). The food was excellent, so of course I enjoyed myself thoroughly. There was another baby at the party, three weeks younger than Jonah. It was fun to compare the baby's behavior and see how far Jonah has come since that time. He changes so fast!

His new developments include him grabbing onto my shirt when nursing and holding it as if he wanted to hold on to me so I don't go anywhere. Also, when he is hungry he grabs at things and pulls them to his mouth. He is now able to see further. I notice him focusing on trees and patterns as far as a hundred yards maybe? I'm bad with estimating distance. But it's obvious that he can see far. He is also keenly aware of where I am generally, and turns his head to look for me sometimes. His smile is really the best. He is close to giggling while smiling, I can tell. He is also starting to make baby language sounds like "goo." But they are still infrequent. Also, he has been sleeping for longer stretches... not consistently though... usually the first chunk of the night. He slept for almost six hours last night without nursing. Of course half of it was still before my bedtime. Those are all the latest developments I can think of for now.

Friday, October 14, 2005


The last few days have been pretty draining. Jonah has been quite fussy and hasn't been sleeping much during the day. It's hard when he cries a lot. I wonder why he's been so unhappy. Is his body still dealing with the aftermath of the shots he got on Tuesday? I try feeding him, changing him, burping him, comforting him, but sometimes he just can't be consoled. A little break away from him to recoup is long overdue for me. But when he is so fussy I feel like I can't really get away because he might cry too much without me holding him or he might need to be fed more frequently than usual. When he finally does fall asleep I need to hold him. If I put him down he wakes up and complains.

My days consist mostly of feeding, changing and holding Jonah. Once in a while I squeeze a nap or a walk in there somewhere. Meals are quick and haphazzard. Showers infrequent, I'm embarassed to admit.

Yesterday I went for a quick check-up. The baby was with Tim. The midwives asked me if it's strange being without the baby. They were in disbilief, it seemed, when I told them that it wasn't really that strange. It was nice to take a breather, in fact. In the back of my mind, though, I worried that he was home with Tim crying unconsolably because he needed me.

My days go so quickly, but the times when Jonah cries, even if he cries for only five minutes, feel like eternity. These days I look forward to the weekend like never before. When Tim is home it's so nice because we can share the caretaking responsibilities and help each other do the essentials, like eat for example.

When Jonah sleeps more during the day I don't feel so burnt out. The quiet moments allow me to rest mentally or to think about things bigger than my little universe.

A part of me feels guilty for complaining. I should love every minute of having this baby, that's what everyone who has grown kids says. "Enjoy it while it lasts, they will be big before you know it." Of course I am happy being a mother and love my son. It's just hard sometimes.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

visiting babies

Let me not forget to mention that Tim's cousin Holly and her husband and 11-month-old son visited us last weekend. It was a brief but nice visit. It's always a treat to watch babies eat green mushy food with enormous excitement, and so is seeing them figuring out new ways to keep their parents on their toes, literally. It didn't take more than a minute, for instance, for little Cole to find the cat food in a bowl. Ah, all the excitement that awaits us!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

two-months old

Jonah is two months old today! It definitely seems like we've known each other much longer than that. Today was an eventful day. Jonah had a doctor's appointment. He got weighed, measured, and he got his first set of shots. Honestly, it was a day I'd dreaded for some time. I was so worried about how he would react to the shots.

The doctor was as nice as I remembered. She wore the same ratty sweater and clogs as last time, which I found refreshing. We learned she had a small child, a one-year-old, herself.

They must have mismeasured Jonah last time because he measured less today than three weeks ago. Anyway, he measures around 22 inches and weighs 11 lbs 6 oz which means that he gained a pound and 2 oz in three weeks (nearly an ounce a day).

After they measured and weighed Jonah, the dreaded moment came. He had to get three shots. The needles were huge! Tim held him while the nurse administered the injections. Surprisingly Jonah cried hard for only about two minutes. Then he promptly fell asleep in my arms. He slept for a long time. But then later in the afternoon he had several crying spells. One of them lasted a long time and almost broke my heart. It made me cry, in fact. It was the first time Jonah had seen me cry and the sight puzzled him. He stopped crying and for and for a few seconds studied my face. Then he remembered that he was crying and started again. Now he is asleep in my lap. He has hardly eaten, but more than food he probably needs sleep now. I hope the pain he is feeling goes away soon.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

today's hike

We went hiking in the Mt. Hood area today. It was a beautiful sunny day after lots of rain. It was cold in the forest though. We were pretty much the only people on this hike. No mushrooms though. It's been a bad fall for mushrooms so far. Hopefully next weekend we will find enough to be able to dry some for the rest of the year.


I had a dream that I was flying last night. I can't even remember the last time I dreamt that!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

family from NY

My sister and her boyfriend were here visiting from New York. They left yesterday. It was so wonderful to have them here! I miss them already.

My mom, sister, and I sang some Czech folk songs to Jonah. He really seemed to enjoy it. He was alert and watched us intently. At one point when we stopped singing he got fussy and then when we started again he calmed down.

I should sing to him more often. It's just that I can usually only think of two or three songs to sing and I get bored with them myself. If I make a song list of all the songs I know and put it in strategic places, such as right above his changing table, it'll jot my memory and I'll be able to sing him a greater variety of songs. I usually sing Czech folk songs to him that I remember from being a kid. My sister got me a song book of Czech folk songs. I was surprised to find out that we used to sing almost all of the songs in the song book. That means I must know at least fifty songs!!!

On Thursday we went to one of the many art events here in town. This one was a gallery walk that takes place every first Thursday of the month and so it's called "First Thursday." I felt inspired and took a few "artsy" photos. I've included one.

dream within a dream

Have you ever dreamt that you were dreaming? I did last night. I had a dream that Tim and I were to watch someone else's baby one day. There were lots of people around and Jonah and the other baby, a girl, were just hanging out, lying down in the midst of the action. Everything was going fine, except that I kept finding things set on the babies. I found keys, for example, set on a baby's face. I tried to tell people that babies aren't shelves or drawers, but they just wouldn't listen.

Later in the dream Tim and I were at a performance of some sort. Tim was showing off and flipping the baby girl we were babysitting in his arms, when all of a sudden the baby's head came off as if it were a doll. Its arms came off too. At first I panicked, but then it all made sense. I turned to the person next to me and said, "Oh, we must be dreaming."

Thursday, October 06, 2005

dirty looks

I forgot to write about this a couple of weeks ago. I took Jonah on a little outing to the bookstore, hoping to have a little change of scenery. I browsed the new non-fiction section and selected a book to look through, then I grabbed a couple of magazines off the shelves. I ordered a decaf coffee, doctored it up with the perfect amount of cream and sugar, and sat down to read with Jonah on my chest in a sling. I skimmed the first few pages of my magazine.

"This is the life," I thought. "I'm learning about the world and enjoying a tasty beverage with my baby quietly sleeping on my chest."

As soon as I thought that Jonah woke up and began to make grunting noises. I patted him on the back, but his vocalization only intensified. Soon he started rubbing his fists against his cheeks and mouth.

"Aww, he's hungry again?" I said to myself surprised. "I just fed him a half hour ago."

The grunting didn't last long. Within minutes it transformed into crying. I rushed out of the bookstore to my car to feed Jonah. But on the way out, I was dismayed to see the first dirty look that I've gotten as a mother of a crying infant. It came from the security guard at the bookstore. I didn't even know there were security guards in bookstores!

I fed Jonah in the car, then returned to an already empty table. I made my rounds around the bookstore, picking up the same magazines and book I wanted to peruse. And again, Jonah began grunting and then crying instantly. So, I fed him in the car again and decided we better go home.

I told the story to a friend of mine who said that he used to be one of those people who'd give parents of crying babies dirty looks until he became an uncle and had to care for his crying niece.

And that's the story of the first dirty look I've gotten as a "bad mother."

I forgot my baby...

in the car in my dream last night. I happily locked the car doors and walked away. Then I saw some mothers and babies in the street and remembered I left Jonah in the car all by himself. I panicked and couldn't remember where I parked at first. Shortly I found my car and my baby crying inside. Ahhh, motherhood.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Jonah met a dove

Today Jonah met a dove. It was his aunt Jenni's friend's pet dove named Frances, a seventeen-year old grandmother bird. It cooed and laughed like a human. Its feathers were pink and soft like silk. The dove flew around Jenni's kitchen and settled on Tim's head. Jonah, who was resting in Tim's arms, watched the bird flap its wings and land on his dad's head. The whole event made Jonah grin from ear to ear. Jonah means dove in Hebrew. Maybe that's why they had such a special connection.

Jonah also smiled at his uncle Andy for the first time today. To see this moment captured on camera, go to the photo album entitled "photos of Jonah & family" on the right.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

fun day

My sister's boyfriend arrived into town and on Sunday we all hung out and had a fabulous time. We started with breakfast that stretched into brunch at my mom's place. Then we drove by the house our little family will be moving into later this month. We wanted to show my sister and her man the place so they can imagine where we will be living. Next we went to Powell's Books to browse and read while munching on a little treat of course (except I was a good girl and only got a beverage so as to follow my naturopath's plan for me). (Oh, another aside. This was the first time that I nursed in a room crowded with strangers and with more strangers walking by the large windows outside o the sidewalk. It went well too!). Afterwards we had a late lunch from the delicious salad bar at Whole Foods, and later that evening we went to one of my favorite restaurants in Portland, The Farm. I've tried almost everything on their menu. This time the salmon my sister ordered was by far the best dish on the table. So tender, moist, fresh, and subtle in flavor.

The biggest issue I have with the restaurants in this town is that they are inconsistent. I'll get one dish and love it, then order it the next time and it will taste completely different. For instance, last time at The Farm I ordered the hazlenut encrusted tofu and mashed potatoes. But not only did it taste different - a lot spicier than usual, it was prepared differently. There were no hazelnuts in the crust! And that's how it goes. No wonder I get disappointed so frequently by restaurants. One would think that if a restaurant has a good thing going they would stick with it for a while. Maybe they should pay their cooks more so there isn't such a high turnover. Maybe the patrons should be more honest too. Like my father-in-law John is in restaurants. I should've followed his example. There is always a next time.

Such a busy day was followed by a fussy day. Jonah cried a lot and was quite clingy. He must've gotten overstimulated. After a lot of fussiness he slept for six or seven hours in a row though last night. And I slept for a stretch of five or six hours myself! I did wake up a few times checking the clock, but was able to fall right back to sleep. What a nice treat it was to not have to wake up every two to three hours to nurse!

bad dreams again

The other night I had a nightmare again. I couldn't find my baby and couldn't remember who was supposed to be watching him. At first, someone thought she found Jonah, but it was a different baby. When we finally found Jonah, his ears and nose had been tied with those paper-metal ties that bread is sometimes tied with in a plastic bag. These ties deformed my baby's features. When I woke up and nursed Jonah, I cried. That was one of the most horrifying dreams I've ever had.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

autumn is here

The fall is definitely here. As soon as my sister got into town, the clouds gathered overhead and it began to rain, though the summer, as per usual, was dry, sunny, and hot. It pretty much has been raining non-stop for several days now. It's been cold as well, especially at night. After weeks of sunshine I'd almost forgotten what the rain feels like. The upside is that the rain makes the air in the city so fresh. And there is a part of me that really loves the rain. It makes me appreciate being inside, indulging in warm beverages and food. But what doesn't make me want to pig out? Especially these days when I'm nursing. I'm constantly hungry.

What makes my obsession with food worse is that a naturopath I just recently saw recommended I cut out bread, sweets, and fruit for a while. How can I live without bread, sugar and fruit? I have been eating a little bread here and there and sneaking a spoonful of sugar into my decaf coffee too. I just can't go cold turkey. I trust the naturopath, but, people have pity on me. I'm really suffering here. Without bread it's so hard to ever feel full. I will just have to be more creative with what I eat. If you have any delicious recipes involving whole grains, send them my way, please.

Back to my sister's visit. On Friday we went hiking. I insisted that we go, that Tim and I go rain or shine, but my mom and sister were hesitant. I chose a hike in an old growth forest and reassured them that we will hardly feel the rain through the canopy of trees. Little did I know that the rain was going to be torrential. We were drenched within the first half hour. But we didn't let that stop us, especially since we were on a hunt for mushrooms. Sure enough we found some boletes (porcini). For dinner my mom made delicious Czech traditional potato mushroom soup we call bramboracka.

The hike was along the Salmon River, but in a different section than where Tim, Jonah, and I hiked a week ago. This time, again, we saw salmon spawn! My sister, a typical New Yorker, inhaled so much fresh air in the woods that she felt lightheaded or "high," as she claimed. Though I'm not a New Yorker, that has happened to me too. So much fresh air that my body didn't know what to do with it. The rain must somehow increase the effect with all the water particles adding more oxygen to the mix.

More pictures in the "hiking with Jonah" album on the right.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

aunt Marta

My sister is visiting from New York now. It's fabulous having her here. I wish she didn't live so far away.

announcing Jonah

I stopped by the birth center and finally took a picture of the board announcing all the babies recently born at Alma Midwifery center. Elijah, as per my earlier posting, was born in the room next door on the same night as Jonah.

I also took a picture of the building. The room where Jonah was born is the one with the two windows on the top floor on the right.