Saturday, November 26, 2005

first memory

One of my first memories is of the sound of high heals clicking accompanied by the swishing of dry fallen leaves pushed around by feet on pavement. All this in bright yet low autumn sunlight. That's what I remember. The motion of being wheeled around in a stroller or buggie as I watched things around me happen.

Another one of my earliest memories is that of being alone behind the bars of a crib, crying for someone to come and get me and feeling abandoned.

My mom confirmed the second memory for me recently. She told me that in the summer she would put me in a crib on the balcony where she couldn't always hear me when I cried. No wonder that to this day I dislike cribs and have trust issues. Just kidding... about the latter.

I wonder what Jonah's first memories will be. Will it be the image of a giant cat staring in his face? Will he remember us dancing cheek to cheek to bossa nova as he falls asleep? Will he remember riding through the forest on his dad's chest? It's all a mystery.

I had a thought the other day. Maybe having children is our way of retracing the times we have forgotten - our infancy. By watching an infant, to some degree, we relearn what being one is like. The experience enables us to relive the part of our lives that we have forgotten, and when we are truly present during this stage, it makes us whole because to care for an infant, to muster up the compassion that we need, we must, in a way, become the infant. Or try to get inside the mind of the infant, anyways. The lines between self and other blur, and though we act as the responsible guardians, we must find the infant's angelic gentleness within us to be able to give it.

Also, observing our parents with our children helps us realize what made us who we are. We see our parents in a whole different light when they interact with our children. It lets us imagine what our mothers and fathers were like with us and shows us how much we have inherited from them unknowingly.

When my mom plays with Jonah, I find myself noticing how much some of my attitudes and mannerisms resemble hers. I am certain that someone on the outside would notice even more similarities between us.

Here are some lyrics (originally in French) by Angus Martin, a friend of mine, whose CD Presqu'ile I've been listening to:

A child is a declaration of hope:
A flare shot off into the dark mess of history
. . . A document signed against the ugliness
Of adults and all of their bullshit.

Friday, November 25, 2005

food is good

I am so glad that the night before Thanksgiving I decided on the spur of the moment to get everything needed for a Thanksgiving dinner. We were planning on joining Tim's family for the celebration, but it just killed me thinking about how we would have no leftovers once we got back. So I resolved we would make our own Thanksgiving dinner the day after Thanksgiving. That way my mom could join us too (she is still recovering from sciatica, so she wouldn't have been able to withstand the drive to Tim's grandparents). Upon realizing that baby could hardly breathe through his nose, we decided Thursday morning, only minutes before we were supposed to leave, to stay at home for Jonah's sake. It was a good thing that we had all the necessary ingredients and could make our own dinner here. How sad it would have been to be stuck in Portland with nothing but bread and cream cheese, imagining the turkey fat dripping down the chins of everyone but us.

I am proud to say I made tons of food that all tasted great! I even tried something new that I had been meaning to make for a while. I baked the turkey, made classical mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, steamed green beans, and - the new addition - yam fritters. My mom made the stuffing and baked a squash, and for dessert I made apple pie (bought the crust, but everything else was from scratch). The store was all out of small turkeys when I got there, so the smallest one they had was big enough to feed more than ten people! Sure enough, we have lots of leftovers. I love that! Of course, we missed seeing everyone, but had a delicious dinner over here. Tim says he is feeling better. Jonah is still stuffed up, but in good spirits. Here is a picture of us on Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

cold turkey

It turns out that Jonah is too sick to go spend Thanksgiving at his great-grandparents' where nearly thirty of Tim's relatives are getting together. Jonah is having a hard time breathing through his nose - it's that stuffy. Poor little guy. Tim isn't feeling so hot either. It's really too bad, because it would have been the first time for most everyone in Tim's extended family to meet the baby. But we had to stay home for Jonah's sake. He hates car rides as it is, but with his cold it would have been quite a trip. So, we will be having my mom over tonight and we'll be making a Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings and some interesting vegetarian twists (since she doesn't eat meat). But Tim and I will have turkey. And tons of left-overs, which is one of the best parts of Thanksgiving. Alright! Bring it on, cook! I guess that would be me.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

no violins

Baby doesn't miss me while I'm gone. It's true. We've been practicing for when I have to go back to work, which is soon. A little more than a week from now. The last two days I needed to run some errands, so we decided Tim would do his first official bottle feedings while I was gone for a few hours at a time. He had fed Jonah breast milk from a bottle once before a couple of months ago and so had Tim's parents once. But it will have to become a routine when Tim stays home with the baby while I work half-time. My fear has been that the baby would miss me and cry unconsolably the first few days. Yesterday I was gone for a couple of hours, and today for a full five, the longest I've been away from Jonah ever. And he did fine! Didn't seem to miss me at all. I am so happy it went well. Hopefully it won't be that much of an adjustment for Jonah when I go back to work. I will only be gone three days a week, but still, he is so used to me being around all the time. It'll be nice for Tim and Jonah to have their time together though, and it will be nice for me to be teaching again.

the saga continues

Just as I thought Jonah's cold was all better, it got worse. Poor baby cried so much yesterday. He must have had a sinus headache. He is still stuffed up. Hopefully he'll be well soon.

For a couple of days he seemed fine, so yesterday morning I took him on an outing. We took the bus downtown to run a couple of errands. I took our picture with my stand-in husband. Handsome guy, don't you think? And so nice too... hardly said a word. You could tell Jonah was quite interested in getting to know this man better too... since he seemed so exciting.

Of course, after we got home Jonah's cold got much worse. No fun for anyone.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

I spoke too soon

It turns out Jonah did get my bug afterall. Darn. His face is puffy, his eyes glossy, his nose stuffy, and he is very lethargic. Poor baby. I hope he gets better soon.

On top of his cold, he is also balding, I'm afraid to say, which is in no way related, mind you. I was in denial about this for a while, but it is becoming quite blatant. He has lots of hair behind his ears and above his forehead, but the rest of his head is becoming bald and naked-looking fast. With a hat on, no one can tell.

I'd heard of this. First hair tends to go, and the next set of hair that comes in might be drastically different. I'm guessing light brown and curly? Let's turn this into a guessing game and look forward to what will come.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Saturday in the park, I think it was not the Fourth of July

This has been a hard week. I've had a pretty bad cold and have been stuck in the house with Jonah since Tuesday while it's been beautiful and sunny (though relatively cold) outside. No walks, no friends, no trips to the store or coffee shop... I counted the hours every day until Tim comes home from work. How sad is that?

I feel much better today. The baby seems fine too. Cross your fingers, but I don't think he ever got my bug. We even went out for a walk today in a new direction from our house - to a nearby college campus, which is very picturesque. It has a lake and a trail surrounding the lake. We walked past the football field, on which were two teams playing rugby. I asked Tim about how the game works and he said that it's just a whole bunch of guys in a pile. That's what I figured looking at the soccer players turned bullies swarming around the field grunting and moaning. Tim commented, almost trying to convince himself, "They do have a ball."

The referee, who in his bright green shirt and tiny shorts looked like a granny smith on toothpics, almost got gobbled up by the crowd of shoulders and butts each time the game started anew. He was the most ignored person on the set.

"What happens in the pile?" I asked Tim. He basically said that the guys just touch each other's parts, which also seemed true. The players didn't have too many fans. Just a handful of girlfriends with dogs on leashes and a couple of thick-necked dudes shouting, "Rock n' Roll!!!"

We walked past a pretty outdoor amphitheater by a lake. A couple of students were meditating on the benches. Tim goaded me on to get up on the stage and fart, but I didn't feel the audience was worthy enough to witness my talents.

The other thing we noticed was that college students these days don't like wearing much clothing even if it's nearly freezing outside. Tim and I were both wearing jackets and winter hats, but the kids would walk by us wearing hippie skirts, tank tops, and flip flops. Or just t-shirts and shorts. I got colder just looking at them.

Then we decided we hadn't eaten out in a while, so we drove to a cafe and had us some grub. I think the cooks decided I haven't had my fair share of carcinogens in life, so they blackened my homestyle potatoes and the outside of my grilled sandwich so I had something to remember them by. Homestyle. Well, some people like their food on the burned side, I guess, in the style of "my roommate made this."

Because our wait for the table was a little long, we decided to browse the store next door, which was what I call a new age one-stop-shop. Everything one needs to decorate one's new age meditation gathering spot was there- crystal balls, wind chimes, steaming fountains that light up with the colors of the rainbow, books on how to find one's perfect spiritual soul mate, and much more. The man that worked there seemed a bit confused. Perhaps he would have been a better fit at a farm feed store or in front of the blackboard in a tenth grade math class. The music he had playing instantly put me in a trance - computer generated astral sounds - a perfect soundtrack to spice up your average Saturday afternoon.

My favorite item for sale was a standard paper size card of a mysterious function with a painting of a muscular, bare-chested blond man in ecstasy, his waist draped in light purple fabric. His body glistened as he looked up in rapture at the light source above him. Below him was the word "declaration." I pondered this curious item and thought, I must come back here and purchase this card for someone I know. It will make that someone very, very happy.

As we were leaving, Tim pointed at another piece for sale, "Hey, it's a woman having sex with a bird." Sure enough. This was a small print of a painting of a woman on the shore of a lake. She laid there, Barbie-like, arching her back, with a swan up over her. They were touching crotches, a pose that left you "guessing" and gasping for air. What did all this mean? Surely something more spiritual than one artist's rendition of one possible way to get the avian flu. Who was the target audience for this image? I could see grumpy, unshaven Czech city bus drivers plastering their dashboards with the likes of these candid yet fantastic scenes. The lady doing it with a swan would look so good beside the Czech immitation of Pamela Anderson on the hood of a ferrari. I doubt Czech bus drivers frequent this new age joint, however. But the poster might explain what the farm feed guy was doing working the counter of this fine spiritual establishment.

While we waited for a table back at the restaurant, the most voluminous spit up burst out of baby's mouth onto the restaurant floor, much like lava errupting from a volcano. I derived secret pleasure from watching the guests' faces, which involuntarily contorted into the most blatant expression of shock. "Ladies and gentlemen, and our special today is our legendary (drum roll, please) cream of wheat. Bon apetit."

As we were approaching our car, we passed by a guy in a black turtle neck, just a regular guy taking a Saturday walk. Except he wasn't pushing a stroller, holding hands with a girlfriend, or walking his dog. On his leash was a little black goat with a bell. What? I did a doubletake as did most others walking down the same street at the same time. Were we dreaming this? A sweet little black goat with a big belly, shaped much like one of our overweight cats. It was curious too, sniffing everything in its path, stopping to be pet by anyone who dared. A lady with a swan and a guy with a goat. What is the world coming to?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

foot and hand print

This is really interesting. We took Jonah's hand and foot prints when he was two months old. They are on one page, hanging on the fridge at the moment. I've realized that Jonah LOVES to look at them. When I hold him over my shoulder and I happen to be standing in front of the fridge, so that he has a close up view of the prints, he gets excited and stares at them, all the while talking at them. This has happened so many times that I am now sure he loves his own footprint and handprint. Sometimes when he is grumpy, taking him over to look at them cheers him up. So interesting.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Saturday we had a housewarming party. Pretty good turn out too, especially considering that it was a three-day weekend and that a guy I work with was throwing another party the same night, creating a dilemma for some of our mutual friends. The party was fun. I didn't want people to go home. The only thing is that I'm pretty sure I caught a cold from someone that night. So now I'm battling that, hoping baby stays healthy. No fun at all.

I took an advantage of the new evite survey option, and on the invitation to the party I told my friends I was doing a sociological survey, the results of which they would find out at the party. I asked the following three probing questions:

1. What do you usually wear to bed?
The possible responses were: whatever I can find, sexy underwear; pyjamas; my birthday suit; and sweats.

Whatever I can find won there.

2. Who is your hidden self most like?
The options were: audrey hepburn; mr. rogers; tina turner, albert enstein; oprah; richard simmons; arundhati roy.

Audrey Hepburn was the number one response.

3. In your next life you want to be...
I'd rather not be a human again; one of them creative types; an outdoor adventure thrill seeker; fighter - not a lover; lover - not a fighter; and monk/nun.

Two of the responses tied for first place: one of them creative types and I'd rather not be a human again.

Fascinating, isn't it?

Friday, November 11, 2005

three months old!

Jonah is three months old today!!! More pictures in the Jonah, Friends, and Family photoalbum on the right.

hello neighborhood

Unfortunately ours is a neighborhood with very little foot traffic. Not that I'm trying to run a business that relies on walk-ins here. It's just that I was raised as an urbanite and enjoy a little bit of friendly density and prefer people to cars. There are the occasional what-could-be Reed college students in rags that pass through here on bikes or on foot. Also one sometimes sees a pair of overweight lunch time speed walkers in sweats rushing back to their office in the nearby Fred Meyer supermarket headquarters. I once even saw another mother with a baby in the stroller, but she ignored me.

A bit further up the street, children walk to and from the neighborhood elementary school. Once a boy about eight years old with missing teeth and badly bleached blond hair, told me about how he has to wait for all the cars to pass before he can cross the street. He was rolling his eyeballs and twisting his body from side to side sort of like a hyper cork screw as he was sharing his frustration with me. The car he was hoping would pass soon was about half a mile down the road. I guess someone taught him well.

On my walks around the neighborhood with Jonah, I study people's houses and their yards, wondering who lives where and what their philosophy on life is based on the lushness and "kemptness" of their gardens, the colors of their abodes, the bumper stickers on their cars, and the various props strewn on their front steps and in their driveways.

Today I passed by a house that is most likely a hipster or college student rental. The tell-tale sign was the sofa on the porch next to the electric organ that served a a coffee table. The sight of a musical instrument left out in the damp cold made me sad. What kind of people would put a musical instrument outside permanently only to be destroyed by rain and the pervasive Portland humidity? Surely only ignoramuses. But maybe the organ never worked in the first place when the residents got their hands on it, I consoled myself.

The house of the young and the restless was painted the color of white man's flesh, the blinds were drawn, the yard nothing memorable. In one window was a small display board with removable letters, the kind one would find advertising a cigarette sale or soft drink special at a corner store or gas station. I expected an impassioned political statement, but was taken by a pleasant surprise and instantly overwhelmed by a nostalgia for a time before my time when Dada was king. "The roar of the masses may be farts." Hey, someone's words made my day.

Other than single family homes with yards and fences, interspersed with the occasional seventies apartment complex that loves to dress in grey or army green, this neighborhood boasts a few haphazzard businesses. There is the overpriced Japanese restaurant with bamboo shades, the sparse hip-seeming bar with a daily happy hour and wireless internet, and two dingy pubs - one with tainted windows, one with no windows at all. There is also the corner store where scruffy drivers of pick up trucks on steroids shop (the deli has a "porn corner" Tim just informed me. Yet one more reason to feel right at home in this neighborhood), and the adjacent Uncle's BBQ, which from what I can tell consists only of a dirty old barrel-style outdoor grill and no storefront whatsoever. Around the corner there is a printing business whose young receptionist I catch staring out the window, bored, every time I walk by. Across the street from the print shop is an autobody collision repair shop that once in a while spews paint fumes into the neighborhood. To add a little spice to our otherwise run-of-the-mill array of commercial spaces, an orange warehouse a few doors down from us serves as the regional capoiera (traditional Brazilian marshal art/dance) center.

A bit further is a mysterious photography studio I've wondered about since Jonah and I first passed by it. The converted tudor-style house sports a lantern-like five point red star above the entrance. Ah ha, a local communist stronghold I thought when I first saw the star. But no, it's a fancy photography studio, I realized. But why would they choose a symbol so many associate with totalitarian regimes to "say it all" about their business at a first glance? I guess some people just have no idea.

The large what-used-to-be living room window gives a peak into what happens inside - an overstuffed sofa and an umbrella in a tripod stand. That's all you can see. I've wanted to see more, but the window is too dark for me to get a better view of the inside without pressing my nose against the glass. I'd passed the studio numerous times, but had never seen anyone inside or any cars parked outside in the carefully landscaped driveway. Having recently inquired about the prices of professional photographs, I now know that a handful of customers a month would do the trick. But still, a photography studio needs customers. A photographer can go out on assignments and bring in money that way. Or is the studio a front for some other shady business? Finally yesterday, a fancy silver sports car stood outside, and in the display window hovered the ass of a bent over photographer hard at work. Picture perfect, I thought.

Just as much as every neighborhood has its corner store, each neighborhood, I am convinced, has its drug dealer den. In Seattle we lived across the street from one. All the fun ended when the police carried a dead body out of there on a stretcher. But our local one-stop shop is a milder affair, I speculate. I've seen a whole bunch of rough looking men over there, huddled over a duffle bag. But they seem to mind their own business which could very well be meth. Once they had a yard sale out of their house, trailer, van, and station wagon, but the smell was too much to get near the merchandise. Plus most of the items seemed useless, e.g. cat and dog salt and pepper shakers and stained tupperware. Also, I'll admit it, I was a little wary of the men. They talked loudly and hadn't washed their hair in weeks (who am I to talk, you may ask). That was even before I suspected them of dealing.

Heading south, a direction in which I hardly walk since it's noisy, is a self-serve car wash. I wonder if they recycle their water or dispose of it ecologically. Probably not. Not economical. Then there is a newly opened gas station. I met the manager a couple of weeks ago. He approached me in front of the pub with no windows. I wondered if he was lost. He was wearing an orange shirt and a gold chain, and looked very Roma (Gypsy). Perhaps he was Indian or Pakistani. He introduced himself as the neighborhood gas station manager and asked me if I knew of any apartment rentals nearby. I suggested a couple of places, but they were no news to him. "Good luck with the gas," I should've said. Or "Gas is a good business to get into." Because gas is funny.

Finally, this is not quite walking distance, but just a couple of minutes by car, there is a strip club. On Halloween their billboard advertised their "big event," Pornoween. I thought that was brilliant and couldn't stop laughing all day long. Tim and I have been wondering what their Thanksgiving event will be called. Any guesses? Or should I say, " Any gasses"?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

all the good stuff

What stuff? Well, let me tell you. There is this store that was pointed out to me today. It's called All the Good Stuff. On the outside it seems like a perfectly inviting junk store - dusty, cramped, and full of treasures waiting to be discovered. But on the inside you realize that this junk that the store owner most likely found in the trash or bought dirt cheap at an estate sale is ridiculously overpriced. And the guy that works there, or perhaps he runs the joint, is one hell of an asshole. Remember, the store is called All the Good Stuff and customer service there sucks ass. Why, you might ask. I'd be delighted to explain.

This morning my mom needed to buy something she knew this store had, so I drove her there. I couldn't get around the store because it was too crowded and the aisles too narrow, so I stayed right near the entryway with the baby in the car seat. And what was there to make my stay more enjoyable? A box of funny black and white photographs from the seventies. Posed shots of random high school football teams, scouts digging ditches next to an inconspicuously placed sign asking for a donation for the Boy Scouts, mustache-sporting businessmen in seventies attire in a meeting so fake you'd think they are Ken dolls.

I contemplated buying one of the photographs since it was guaranteed to make someone laugh. I didn't yet know which of my friends would most appreciate it, but was convinced it would make a great present. But, hold your horses, I thought, you don't yet know how much this amusing piece of paper would cost. I asked the guy stacking the merchandise and sipping coffee alternately. He mumbled, "Five."
I asked, "Really?"
"Ten," he muttered under his breath.
Now I was thoroughly confused. Five dollars for a photograph? Or was it ten? There are at least ten copies of each image in this box, I observed. These puppies are massproduced. Come on! I mean if they were one of a kind or of someone famous...
"Are you serious that they are five dollars?" I asked the guy.
"How many times do I have to tell you they are five dollars a piece?!" he attacked me.
Whoa, I thought. "Well, I'm just asking because I've seen old pictures sold in other places and they were much cheaper." I wasn't lying.
"Well, I have no problem selling them for five dollars." He hissed, looking at a rusty toilet bowl or whatever he was selling. Wow, I sure as hell don't want to come back here, I thought. But to my mom he was as sweet as a cherub. She was only buying something worth two dollars so it wasn't her "business."

What this guy's deal was I don't know, but as soon as I left there I vowed I'd blog about his poppycock attitude and his crappy kaka store. So, now you know.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

downtown where you can always go

The sunny weather today inspired me to go on a little trip with Jonah, his first time out and about downtown. Our adventure started in the morning with Tim dropping us off at the library which, it turned out, was still closed. I looked for a warm place for us to pass the time. It was chilly out, a thick layer frost on everything when I woke up. Most businesses were still closed, but I found a lobby of sorts with tables and chairs that was open and heated. Just a couple of morning birds were there reading the paper and a group of retired men happily chatting away over coffee about where it's snowed lately and the meaning of the word Arizona. Then there was Jonah and me, awkwardly smiling at the guard. When we finally made our way back to the library, the doors were still closed, so we ended up warming up the stoop with a whole bunch of homeless folks and strange types wearing strange outfits. Really I felt like we were extras on a movie set and I was the weird mom with the baby in a sling.

Before I set to do this trip I made a mental map of the possible places where I could nurse and change Jonah comfortably and somewhat discretely, need be. And sure enough, I used them all and then some. The funniest place to feed Jonah was the library. It was so quiet in there you could hear a pin drop. His slurping, burping, and pooping sounds must have carried far and wide. Jonah had his first diaper changing experience in a public restroom, not a type of an experience I would like to undergo more often than necessary.

With baby asleep in the sling, I took the Czech-made tram to my favorite bookstore where I had decaf coffee and a pastry, not realizing, of course, until I was midway through eating, that it was covered with chocolate. I'm supposed to be staying away from chocolate, remember? But, what the heck, I'll just finish this puppy, I thought. And tasty it was. Now that it's almost Jonah's bed time and he is fussy for the first time all day, giving dad a hard time, I'm wondering if he really does have low tolerance for chocolate. I promise I'll try even harder to stay away from it from now on.

At the bookstore I read a magazine and later nursed Jonah again. I had a pretty good spot at the cafe, turned away from nearly everyone except those out on the street in front of the giant glass windows. But there was one dude - overweight, dirty, scruffy, handle-bar-mustache-wearing graying man, scavenging the comics section, facing me, but half submerged in an aisle behind bookshelves. I couldn't see his face, but wondered if he was waiting for a peak at my boob. He lingered which made me even more uneasy. I saw his head move around like a jostled egg behind a magazine display rack. I gave him another chance to display some decency, but lost my patience pretty quickly. My heart beating fast, I got up in the middle of nursing and walked over to see for myself where this yuck meister was looking. I was ready to confront him in a rage if what I imagined was indeed the case. When I stood nearly face to face with him, he was non-chalantly staring at a comics book like he had been reading it for hours. Now, I have no way of knowing if the man was actually staring at me nursing, but the idea of it makes my skin break out in hives. The situation reminded me of a highly unpleasant encounter, to put it mildly, that happened while I was traveling solo in Mexico. I won't go into the details here, because the story would be just too disturbing. But let's say my radar has been out for creepy man behaviour more than ever since then.

When Jonah was done eating, it was pretty much time to head home. We took the bus (Jonah's first time) where he again got hungry and, after having another snack, promptly fell asleep. I included some pictures I took to document our "downtown adventure."

Monday, November 07, 2005

today in a nutshell

This morning I drove my mom to her chiropractic appointment, then after Tim went to work a friend came over with her one-year-old son and we went for a walk. Jonah was quite fussy today, spitting up tons. Our walk was cut short. He cried and wanted to go home to nurse and nap.

One-year-olds are quite a handful. One has to be extra vigilant. Fin had his hands on almost everything within his reach. But it was so much fun to see him explore his surroundings and to witness him say "apple," his second word after "mama." He was interested in Jonah too, especially when Jonah was crying. Fin had a look of fascination on his face.

I don't know what the spitting up was all about today. I've tried not drinking milk because I noticed a couple of times after having hot chocolate that Jonah had "digestive discomfort." But yesterday I craved hot chocolate so bad... as I often do after hiking in cold weather or cross-country skiing. Instead of a regular hot chocolate I made a soy milk hot chocolate. But baby spit up a lot today nonetheless. My friend told me that it could be the chocolate; that she's heard that chocolate is often a no-no during nursing. So I'll try to watch out for that. No chocolate? That's going to be tough :(

It's hard when baby is fussy and uncomfortable. I try everything possible to make him comfortable and get exhausted in the process. We did take a two-hour nap together today. Jonah doesn't really stay asleep for very long during his naps in the day time unless he is sleeping with me or unless I hold him. Setting him down while he sleeps still doesn't work so well usually. He'll only stay asleep for five to ten minutes. That will probably change later.

The other noteworthy thing that happened today was that our neighbor knocked on our door to ask about our cats. Instantly I wondered, oh oh, is Pancho making trouble already? The neighbor responded with this sweet, pinched, breathy voice like she was holding something back. I was just hoping that it wasn't anger. "Oh no," she said. "He wasn't bothering me. He was just sneezing on my patio." Well, I said. Those are allergies. "And what's wrong with his tail?" she wanted to know. I told her that Pancho had gotten in a bad fight about a month ago and that his tail got hurt in the process. Tim has taken him to the vet since and the vet shaved a small portion of the cat's tail to examine it and gave us drops for the little bit of infection that was there. But according to the vet, Pancho is just fine. Then the neighbor asked about one of our other cats, Sarafina. "And that black and orange cat is yours too?" Yes, I replied. "She is big," the neighbor observed, waiting for my reaction. I should've told her that Fini will be starting Weightwatchers for cats or something just so the neighbor would leave us alone, but instead I just agreed, "yes, she is big."

Only a couple of hours passed by and the breathy voiced lady was at our door again, this time with Pancho in her arms. "Here is your cat." Tim answered the door asking if the cat was bothering her. "Oh no," I heard the sugary voice respond. "He was just meowing on my patio. He has a cold and should really be inside in a warm place." Tim just thanked her and let her drop Pancho inside our house through the cracked door. "You thanked her for that?" I thought. But I know Tim. He was just trying to be a friendly neighbor. Though I can appreciate feeling bothered by a meowing cat on my patio, I don't appreciate being guilt-tripped. Just for the record - my cat does not have a cold, he is entitled to being outside as much as my neighbor's cats are, and if he bothers her that much, she has my permission to pour a glass of water on him to teach him a lesson. I guarantee he will learn fast. I'll give her that tip next time she knocks on my door and tries to disguise a scolding with motherly advice about my cats. Last time we had cat disputes like this, Tim answered the door naked to discourage the lady from ringing our doorbell and whining to us at odd times of the night and early morning. She never came back. But this neighbor lives right next door, not down the street, so we might have to think of another trick. Suggestions welcome.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

first snow

Today we ventured out on Jonah's first cross country trip. It's been raining here quite a bit and snowing in the mountains. The Cascades got a foot of snow on Friday alone.

It was a perfect day. The sun was out and the sky was blue with clouds moving fast. The snow was crusty and slick on top and powdery underneath. No cross country tracks. Those were mowed over by snow shoers and snow mobiles. But we managed, though I did fall once on the trail and then once right as we got back to the car, just after I thought, "it would be really silly to fall right here." Of course, the hardest thing about falling is getting up. Tim had to help me both times.

Back to the trail. The forest was beautiful. Heavy snow weighing down the trees and a gorgeous view of a sunny valley and cloud-covered Mt. Hood through the trees. The view opened up in one spot. We admired it, ate our lunches, took a few pictures and headed back. On the way back it began to snow. Baby slept the whole time, then ate when we got back to the car.

When we got to the trail after renting the skis we realized that we forgot to bring the baby carrier. You might see Tim's brilliant solution in the pictures. He put baby, wearing a sleeping bag suit, in his buttoned up wool shirt and wrapped a scarf around his neck on which he rested baby's head. It worked great!

Friday, November 04, 2005

family news

Tim's parents were just in town visiting. My favorite was seeing MaryAnn playing with her grandson. She's so great with kids! He really loved playing with her. They were talking back and forth and Jonah wiggled around on the playmat showing off his new toy batting skills.

In other developments, Tim's Montana cousin had a baby girl this morning. Everyone is very excited since this is her fourth child but her first little girl.

My mom is now back in her own place, doing better after some chiropractic treatment, going to work too. Still in pain, but getting better.

I feel like a regular housewife, taking care of the baby and making dinners just in time for the husband's return home back from work. I'm enjoying it for now. I'll be going back to work in less than a month. Time flies.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

dream bank

These days I'm a regular dream bank. Last night I dreamt that a girl about eight-years-old pointed out to me that I was prancing around out in the public with no underwear and no bottoms at all. I had no idea. Good thing the shirt I was wearing was long enough to stretch out over my bum once I was alerted. No wonder I still felt tired when I woke up in the morning.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

nothing but a piece of cake

Today at the store I noticed tons of babies around Jonah's age. No, they weren't for sale and no, they weren't scouring the isles for cheese and crackers or toilet paper and garbage bags like I was doing. Most of them were riding in car seat thrones atop shopping cart boats. With the younger babies I thought, oh, I remember when Jonah was that age. Funny since he isn't even three months old yet.

At a party recently Tim and I found ourselves sharing our "expertise" or shall I say, "passing our wisdom on," or was it "giving much needed and appreciated advice" to parents whose baby was about three weeks younger than Jonah. They really wanted to know certain somethings and we were happy to oblige them.

After weeks of learning to understand and appropriately respond to an ever-evolving array of signals an infant sends to his parents, it was a treat to be able to say, "this is what worked for us and may work for you." And it felt even better to make the advising session into a production complete with averted knowing gazes and waves of the hand to convey the attitude of "that's nothing but a piece of cake. Been there, done that."

Certain aspects of caring for an infant we've discovered on our own, others we've found in books or gotten as advice. It is fun to know that now one knows what one didn't know then ;)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

chubby cupid

I took this picture right as Tim was getting ready to bathe Jonah today. I really noticed then how chubby our little cherub has gotten.