Friday, April 22, 2005

The Picture Battle Continues...

Subtitle: I'm whining again....

Does anyone else use Hello? If not, what? It hasn't been working for me for days now.... And I know you are all dying from lack of a baby-picture fix. I had a great fish picture to post for Susie... it is a bASS. And, of course, I wanted to get in on the 4-legged Friday picture post....

I swear, I'm actually fairly technologically intellectual.... but this is kicking my ass.

Another thing about duct tape.

(Stolen from some comedian….)

Duct tape… it’s like The Force.
Light on one side.
Dark on the other.
And it is what holds the Universe together.

The Creed

If it moves and it shouldn’t… use duct tape.
If it should move and it doesn’t… use WD-40.
That’s all you need to know.

My brother said this but I’m sure he stole it from someone…..

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Because my husband says I shouldn’t give advice….

I know, I know, you shouldn’t give baby advice. But I can’t help it. I just think I am so Damn Clever for having survived the first 10+ months of this experience. I must. I must.

1. Make goals, and I mean big personal goals, for the time after your delivery. Here is my list: Take a shower every day (even if it is 9:00 pm before it gets done). Put on real clothes & tennis shoes every day (ok, this was a white t-shirt, grey athletic shorts & my trusty Solomons… but it still counts). Make the bed (ok, this won’t happen every day but maybe 3 times a week). Brush your teeth at least once a day.
2. Get a clear shower curtain. You can shower & watch the baby in the bouncy seat/bassinette at the same time. Besides, it lets in more light so you don’t hack your legs apart speed-shaving.
3. When people give you advice, nod, smile and do whatever you were planning to do anyway.
4. Don’t be afraid to change your mind about anything. Parenting style, breastfeeding, daycare, diaper brands…. Anything.
5. Ask for specific help.
6. Don’t be afraid to bribe your family. “If you empty the dishwasher I will let you hold the baby…”
7. Take lots of pictures.
8. Start a daily calendar. I wish I had done this the minute I found out I was pregnant. I never got around to working very hard on the baby book (yet!) but I wrote down a lot of little things on a desk calendar & it is so fun to look back.
9. Ask for food as a shower gift. One of the nicest gifts I got was a lovely lasagna, bread & salad a few days after the baby was born. Fed the swarming masses of family & comforted me.
10. Take a take-out menu to labor and delivery. When we left the hospital we headed straight home and sent the family to Staggering Ox to get food. This gave us a few minutes at home as a “family” and it provided our first meal post-hospital without too much stress.
11. “What To Expect When You Are Expecting” is crap. Some of what they say is good general information but any book that says, “There is no place in the pregnant woman’s diet for soda.” And “To reward yourself, have a small bagel.” Is just plain WRONG. I don’t even like soda and that line made me want a Big Gulp. And rewards…. Reward is when I eat the WHOLE pan of brownies instead of just the half-pan that is my usual diet. Hah!
12. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.
13. Use a sling & Robeez shoes… even if it shocks the boot-n-belt-buckle portion of your family…. It is just breaking them in for when you whip out your tit during “Fear Factor” and start singing “Beep, beep… here comes the nipple bus.” (Ok, I stole the Beep, beep phrase from Brain, Child magazine…. But ya’ll know what I’m talking about… everyone has some form of the “Shitty Pants” song in their repertoire.)

The Three

There seem to be three distinct blogging categories I am trying to fit into… not very successfully, I might add. The first group is the Montana bloggers. They post about some serious topics…. Politics, farm subsidies, wolves. They are passionate and eloquent. To them…. I offer “Gross Farm Topics.” It is the best I can do. The second group is the Mommy bloggers. They post humorous and sometimes desperate entries about the day-to-day challenges of parenthood. For them, I offer several posts about and pictures of Sweet Boy… he isn’t perfect, but he is close. The third group is what I will refer to as the Hip bloggers. These are sharp, witty, sarcastic and sometimes thoughtful posters that I have (mostly) discovered through comments on Dooce.com and links from other blogger sites. Some are controversial, some are funny and a few really need to learn the difference between “your” and “you’re” but they all have something to say.

Oh, and, of course, the most important “group” I forgot to mention… my brother & sister. Several posts I have written have elicited a fury of email from one or both of them…. Particularly the post when I offered to sell my brother on Ebay. After much discussion, the offer still stands. Anybody want him? He’s very handy, pretty funny, not too ugly & he comes with two horses (Sonata & Rowdy), a pickup (Copper), a snowmobile (Zoom-oh-Shit), a horse trailer (that doesn’t have a name?) & two barn cats (Yowler & Whiney). Make me an offer.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

URTHEIS

What does that mean? URTHEIS. I saw it on a license plate this morning. Even now, a cup of coffee later, I don’t get it. I like personalized plates that I can understand… and if I can’t understand it I like some directions nearby. Really, it’s about the only time I truly appreciate bumper stickers. UROLGST accompanied by a bumper sticker that says “Peeing is Fun.”

Help me out here people…. What is URTHEIS?

I’m not a bumper sticker person.

I do enjoy the occasional bumper sticker (the favorite one here is “Cows, not Condos”) and, perhaps, at some point in my past, I may have even enjoyed “stealthing” a bumper sticker onto someone’s vehicle as some form of vigilante justice but, generally speaking, I don’t like to broadcast my preferences so prominently… call me sneaky, I don’t know.

My father-in-law? He’s a bumper sticker guy. He has several that give you a fairly good, but limited, understanding of him as a person. A part of me likes that sort of brief summation of a person but another part of me prefers to remain undefined by my rear… the rear of my car, that is…

I worked (in a previous life) in the, um, martial arts industry and there was considerable pressure to put a bumper sticker on my car declaring this fact. There is no quicker way to get your ass kicked outside a bar than to have a “I heart martial arts” bumper sticker on your car. Seriously. Think about it. I would want to kick my own ass for that… black belt or not. (Now, if I had a “keep honking, I’m reloading” sticker next to it the story might end differently….)

This brings me (ok, it doesn’t “bring” me but I’m going there anyway) to another point. The Yellow Ribbon. I was so dim as to think they were just a Montana thing. They aren’t. My husband has one on the Dodge with the name of his buddy on it. It looks nice. It is red-white-blue and helps me pick his rig out from the 47,000 other white Dodge pickups in this town. It shows his support.

I don’t have a ribbon on my car. A (uniform-wearin’) fella hassled me in the parking lot at the fair grounds last fall trying to get me to buy one for $5. One, I was there to visit the duck pond and didn’t have $5 with me… just a bag of stale bread. Two, at that time people had been stealing them off cars on a regular basis. Three, I didn’t WANT one. The end. Leave me alone you camouflage-wearing nut case. Do not stand in the parking lot hurling insults at me & my infant because we aren’t supporting the military… you don’t know what we support or how we choose to support it…. We support the National Guard via Doritos (more on that later). It is just not good form to verbally assault new mommies. So by now those of you who know me will know that I will NEVER have a ribbon on my car. I don’t respond well to bullies… no matter what I think of their cause. Don’t try to boss me around buddy. That is all.

The Weather Report

My tulips? They are under about ten inches of snow this morning. Yup. Just rain in town. Power went out four times but was back on this morning. My mother-in-law was at my house fixing her hair… their power is still out. The school bus was in the ditch…. Bad. I’m pretty sure if the driver could see how bad it was she would have crapped. Rear tire up in the air…. Leanin’ on a fence. Tip over material. I stopped and talked to her for a minute… asked if I could bring her a cup of coffee or something. I love springtime in Montana.

Go Rodeo.

I promised rodeo pictures…. So here ya go. Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera settings correct for this shot. (Oh, that makes it sound like I actually KNOW what camera settings I should have used when we all know the truth. I have no idea how to use anything but “automatic” on my camera.) It is hard to take pictures of barrel racing because, well, I don’t have a fancy camera with no delay… so I kinda have to guess where she’s going to be in 2 seconds and point it there and when the whole run takes less than 15 seconds…. You see the problem.

Go Rodeo. Posted by Hello

I just like this picture. Posted by Hello

Monday, April 18, 2005

Pussy….

…..Willows are blooming.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Gross farm topics

Ok, so I told a story about my grandpa hanging BACON on an ELECTRIFIED WIRE in Closet Metro’s comments section. But you have to understand that I grew up on a farm/ranch with a veterinarian father.

I once took pickled baby kittens for show & tell in the second grade. My dad spayed a cat that was pregnant (he didn’t know) and put the kittens in a baby food jar for me to show my friends. Later, in high school, this same project (with preserved horse nuts) prevented me from having a date for 2 ½ years. My mom even had t-shirts made about it for my sister & me…. “Hey guys, My dad is a vet & he castrates STUDS.” Something like that.

My dad often compares food products to animal diseases and by-products. Red jello salad, for example, looks like biopsied dead cow lungs. And sour cream is frighteningly similar to a cancer-eye abscess.

When my sister was 12 she did a very accurate explanation of a cow’s circulatory system using a dead cow, 2 sticks & a piece of garden hose. All went well until she got into a tug-o-war with the dog over the stomach.

I was the only person who could eat a roast beef sandwich DURING cadaver lab. (Cadavers remind me of dried apples.)

We used to walk barefoot to the horse barn.

My brother called placenta “plazooka” and it is a common joke at our house to respond to the question of “What’s for dinner” with “plazooka sandwiches.” (Imagine my horror when I found out some people do, indeed, eat the placenta of their offspring… stir-fried, with a hint of garlic.)

In which I call my son's gall bladder puny....

Have I mentioned how much Sweet Boy likes sticks? He really likes sticks. There. I’m pretty laid back about most things (Who am I kidding? That is a lie.), but I live in fear that he will impale a major organ on one of these sticks. I mean a Major Organ…. Not his appendix or his spleen or his puny little gall bladder (it is so tiny I don’t think he could impale it if he tried… but don’t give him any ideas). So his Poppa provided the solution…. A piece of garden hose. Brilliant. Now he can fall on it without risking injury to his eyes (I know, eyes aren’t organs, I have a degree in this shit). Yeah, who needs that fancy swing set anyway?? Other mothers worry about their kids getting dirty or eating properly…. I just give my kid a piece of garden hose and tell him to have fun and be safe out there.

I wish

I wish my boob had a gauge on it...... Nothing too complicated.....2 ounce increments would be fine.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Project Jumbo Closet

Subtitle: How to have a really good time for $5.

Project Jumbo Closet is nearing completion. Let me explain. The “new” house has two bedrooms and very, very limited closet space. Apparently it was perfectly acceptable to NOT HAVE STORAGE in 1897. So I need a place to store my books. My holiday decorations. (‘Cause ya’ll have SEEN the hideous Easter montage from previous posts and you know I need a place to keep my pastel eggs in the off-season.) The two twin beds that make up the booger-bunks. (More on that later.) The baby gear & maternity clothes & empty baby-gear-in-use boxes. The husband’s “important” papers. That kind of stuff. You know. Stuff.

Enter Bright Idea. I decided to turn the Feed Shed (one of those small barn-like structures) into a Jumbo Closet. I cleaned it out. Lots of donkey treats, salt, random bits of leather, a few bear traps (I can’t make this shit up) & some big 55 gallon drums.

Then I got out the spray foam sealant. I think I have a repair products fetish. I get so happy. This stuff goes on in a little gooey foam spurt (reminiscent of an ex I had) but then it swells and swells (no longer reminiscent of said ex). I stuffed the cracks, crannies & crevices with steel wool to keep out the mice and then foamed away.

Ta-da. Closetus Readyius. Perfection. I really, really wish I had taken “before” pictures but this will have to suffice.

The exterior of The New Closet. Posted by Hello

The interior of The New Closet. Posted by Hello

Never fear... these ones are still whole. Can I hear an "Amen" for deer spray? Posted by Hello

The bad news.

Well, the Redneck reared her ugly head again… in spite of my best intentions.

1. While I will be attending the symphony later this month, the next cultural event on my agenda is the college rodeo on Saturday night. I’ll try to provide pictures.
2. My son is too small for Montessori. His daycare lady has chickens. He loves chickens. And she tells me his favorite activity is playing in the dirt with a stick. The boy is gonna grow up and have a job with his name on his shirt…. I just know it.
3. I wore my fabulous scarf to work this week but my current attire has the word “Wrangler” on the ass.
4. Bud Lite & Tequila…. Again.
5. Oh, I can’t watch PBS because we only get ONE CHANNEL on our tv.
6. I did manage a little pasta with some fancy cheese & artichokes for dinner but tonight it is all about chili and cornbread…. I’ll post more when the noxious cloud clears….

Fucking Deer. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Crap, I really am a Redneck.

We watched “Blue Collar Comedy Rides Again” last night. I laughed. I admit it. I’m not such a fan of Jeff Foxworthy but Larry the Cable Guy and Ron White are hilarious. And who hasn’t wanted to say “Here’s your Sign” more than once?

So now I must make a list of things I will do to balance the Redneck in me.

1. Attend the symphony.
2. Enroll my child in Montessori.
3. Wear my fabulous print scarf.
4. Drink hi-end red wine or cosmopolitans.
5. Watch PBS.
6. Cook something with brie cheese & portabella mushrooms.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Update on Nadine

Following is an email written by Cheri that was recently forwarded to us. We also learned there will be a spaghetti feed/benefit... probably on May 7. Local folks... I'll keep you informed.

Hello, all our dear friends!

We left the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth (CHAD) Wednesday evening, and now are settling into Barbara and Roger's house. As many of you know, the kids and I were just meeting Dan's family for the first time during this New Hampshire vacation, but not to worry -- these folks are definitely NOT strangers any more! Dan's family has been absolutely wonderful, and we are developing life-long bonds during this trying time.

Dan's nephew Matthew, who is 19 years old, generously gave up his HUGE room for us. He's moved into his sister's old room, allowing all four of us to share his room and finally be together as a family again. That's good for my soul.

So now, we are: Barbara, Roger, Matthew, Nadine, Levi, Cheri, Dan, four dogs, about 15 cats, 27 goats, and what appears to be hundreds of chickens. A BIG and relatively happy family for the time being.

Nadine, as you know, received her first chemotherapy treatment on Wednesday, before leaving CHAD. The drugs are administered with a syringe, through the medi-port in her chest, over about 4 minutes each. Being the strong-willed, inquisitive young lass that she is, Nadine decided to give herself the treatments. So, with her nurse's help, she held the syringe, and gently squeezed the chemo into her own port. God bless her, she is so strong.

So far, so good, with the potential side effects. They gave her (actually, she gave herself) an anti-nausea medication before the chemo drugs, and that seems to have worked beautifully. She has complained of an upset tummy a few times, but nothing to speak of, really. The only effects Dan and I have noticed are that she is definitely tired -- taking long naps in the afternoon, and her voice is raspy (that one is breaking our hearts, just because it is a physical and therefore, obvious, thing).

The oncologist said that she will probably begin to lose her hair by the end of the week, and by the end of week two, she'll probably have lost it all. We have decided to broach this subject when it happens, rather than to tell her now and get her worried about it. I did buy a really cute pink (what else?) hat in the hospital gift shop, and we're saving that to give her when the time comes. Keep your eyes open for pink bandanas and cute hats!

Too bad we can't hang on to those wonderful gifts called Shock and Denial... The reality of all this is beginning to sink in, and as you can imagine, it stinks. It's strange to be far from home and friends and the familiar. On the other hand, it's great to be here where there is such great medical care and Dan's family. So......

The best thing about being here is that we totally trust her physicians. I think it would be an even harder trial if we questioned her care. But we love her oncologists, her surgeon was amazing, and we believe she is in the best possible hands. So, thank God for that.

It's sunny and spring is coming to New Hampshire. Every day when I look outside and the sun is shining and the trees are beginning to bud, I thank God. I thank God that this happened now, and not a few years ago. When I was doing my Wilms tumor reading, I discovered that usually Wilms tumor rears its ugly head before the child is four years old. Five years old is rare. Six years old is really at the OLD end for this.

When Nadine was younger, I didn't know God's amazing presence in our lives, I didn't have my pillar of strength -- Dan, I didn't have my cutie Levi, I didn't have my prayer group and my steadfast Helena-based friends, and my parents lived 2000 miles away. So this awful life-changing event had to wait. And now that it's happening, I have God, Dan, Levi, all of you, and my parents right there to help prop us up when we need strength from an external source!

For now, Dan and I are feeling strong. We are anxious to have a treatment plan and to know when we can go home, but meanwhile, we're in relatively good spirits and the kids are doing great. The hardest thing for me, right now, is that we're back in "vacation mode" while this is definitely not vacation any more. We are here in Tilton, just waiting until Monday when the radiation starts.

So we're trying to have fun, and fill our days with family visiting and goat milking, and maple-syrup-making. We're trying to keep our minds on the good and off the bad. We're looking toward Monday and beginning to tackle this thing head-on, while at the same time dreading the next six months.

And we are always grateful that you all are in our lives. Your prayers and support are felt and appreciated. We couldn't do this without you all.

We love you,

Cheri, Dan, Nadine and Levi

Green eyes or Brown?? Posted by Hello

Friday, April 08, 2005


Future Horn-hunter.... just like daddy. (I wanted to say "horny like daddy" but that is just wrong.) Posted by Hello

Ode to Martha

Yes, it is several, uh, WEEKS after Easter and, yes, this is JUST PLAIN GOOFY, but here is the "front porch montage" for your approval... Oh goddess of d├ęcor.... Validate me. Posted by Hello

Flowerbed or Deer Salad Bar?? Posted by Hello

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

A-Gardening-We-Go

Well, I have pictures to go with this post, but "Hello" is giving me the big kiss-off. I'll try for pictures in the morning... until then....

We moved into this place in October so I have no idea what the flower beds have in store for me. I’m pleased to note tulips and daffodils and chives. I think those are chives. I would eat them with a nice baked potato but I already hosed them down with deer repellent. Next year I will yank some out and put them in a clay pot in my kitchen before I get jiggy with the deer spray. The dead-looking stalks are peonies…. These peonies have been there since before the previous owner and she was there 37 years…. Those are some old flowers.

My plans are pretty simple…. I’m going to dig in some border of some sort… probably pavers with gravel and/or weed barrier under them. Something I can put the wheel of the lawn mower on and not use the weed-eater. And something that won’t snag the blade of the snowplow. Then sink a few pots of mint in the front to further repel the deer. I might try to build a nice deer-barrier on the other side where the daisies and who-knows-what-else are growing…. Something creative with scrap metal… and put some of my more luscious-tasting plants under there. I have vast quantities of old donkey crap in a big pile out by the barn….. I know, not too appetizing but heavenly for gardeners.

Gardening… the slowest of the performing arts.

Margaritas

It was the worm. The worm made me do it. I finally decided it was time to drink the bottle of mescal I got from duty-free after my trip to Mexico several years ago. It has been my tequila-like-substance experience that the shit don’t get better with age…. And, maybe it was watching Fear Factor one too many times (one time is too many), but I was starting to dream about the worm in the bottom of the bottle.

My, um, constitution isn’t as strong as it was in years past so sitting down with a couple of limes, some salt and an “I heart Las Vegas” shot glass was not an option. So I found one of those “bucket ‘o margaritas” mixes in the pantry and started stirring. (It should be noted that the last time I did bucket ‘o margaritas my aunt passed out from heat exhaustion at the Livingston Rodeo and the kids ended up using the empty margarita bucket & a super-soaker to wage war on some friendly locals. I have pictures somewhere…)

Yes, I had to wipe the dust off the margarita glasses and, yes, I was again amazed at the vast array of alcoholic beverage glassware I own.

Honey even got into the festive spirit and decided to imbibed in neon beverages with me. After the first sip we had the conversation we usually have about tequila-like-substances. He said it tasted like an ash tray. I said that meant that, some time in the past, he had done a shot with a cigarette butt in it. I told the story about losing my tent in the Gila National Forest and being directed back to it by a friendly herd of local elk…. I’m not making this up. I couldn’t make up shit like this.

Alas, it is a testament to a kinder and gentler me that this evening did not end with native-style horseback super-soaker ambushes or gentle guidance from friendly bipeds. We quietly finished our drinks and ambled off to bed… but at least I didn’t dream about the worm.

Please Pray for Nadine

A little girl I know named Nadine is very sick. She is six years old. She had a Wilts tumor on her kidney. Now she has to have chemo and radiation and she is very upset that she will lose her hair. Please think about Nadine and her family.

Nadine’s mom says she is really struggling to “keep it together” as she comes out of denial about her daughter’s condition and faces the reality of the situation. So please send strength prayers and vibes to Nadine’s mama and daddy and little brother too.

Things my doctor told me.

Subtitled: Why I love this man.

1. You can buy that fancy boob lube, but Crisco works pretty well too…. Although I wouldn’t recommend the butter flavor. No, definitely not the butter flavor.
2. Pregnant women make people hysterical. Everything has a warning label for pregnant women. Yes, you can use the back massager.
3. Don’t believe everything you read.
4. Wow, what gauge is the fishing line you used to keep your belly piercing open? Where did you get it? (The man is a hard-core fly fisherman.)
5. Two days after my due date… on a Friday. “Don’t have your baby this weekend. I’m out of town until Sunday night.” (I had the baby Monday morning at 6:58am)
6. Really, it isn’t that difficult to work spermicide into foreplay but it doesn’t taste very good.
7. To the nurses “Hey we’re having a baby over here.” To my sister & husband “Never mind, we can just do this ourselves.” And they did.
8. Don’t get hung up on numbers. (referring to my weight and to my son’s temperature.)
9. All a newborn needs is love, a few diapers & a warm place to sleep.
10. Oh yeah, wait until I tell you what my kids did when they were babies….
11. Hey, I can see your ankle bones and they look just fine.
12. Just call the office.
13. Well, try putting a pillow under your butt. (He gave me this advice multiple times and for multiple reasons…. I’ll leave it to your imagination… but, whatever you are thinking, you are right.)
14. That’s normal.
15. Just put the child development and baby care books on the back of the toilet. They’ll get read.

Monday, April 04, 2005

A Cultural Event

Ok, but before I get too down on myself for not having a life…..Friday night I saw Axis Dance Company. They are amazing. Go see them if you get a chance.

I thought….

I thought my blog would be more…. Interesting. I thought I would write about politics and current events. I was sure I would say the word “Fuck” much more frequently. But I gotta tell ya… I just spent the better part of a day at the Capitol and I would much rather write about how my son just walked up to me with the cabinet locker (formerly on the cabinet) in his mouth and gave me a look that said, “Feed me.” Politics suck anyway.

The Boobcycle Review Part I: Background

The wee one is now a strapping ten-month-old. The mama has been providing the boobage from day one. I could brag about it and tell you it has been easy and I’ve loved every minute but why lie? It ain’t easy and anyone who tells you it should be is either brain-dead, lying or a man.

The process was made both easier and harder by a lactation consultant my husband refers to as “The Boob Nazi.” Good advice in class (oh yes, the nerdy ones took a baby class… more on that later) about how to turn the baby & theory on how to smoosh the ta-tas so the baby gets a yummy nipple sandwich.

But the reality ain’t the dream, people. For the first day or so I thought I was the Queen Mama and couldn’t figure out how anyone could complain about this….it was easy. My sturdy 8 pound 11 ounce guppy had it all figured out. No assembly required.

Then came day two…. Nipple Pain, Engorgement… ya’ll with wee ones know all the key words….. I am just thankful for a sister-in-law & a best friend who are nurses and mothers…. Nothing like your best friend telling you to get in a hot shower, bend over and sway the udders gently…. Hell, isn’t that how I GOT in this condition in the first place??

I gotta tell ya girls…. It takes six weeks. By week seven I was starting to see the light and not hitting the advil bottle pre-sucklage every day. Meds are good. I could watch someone slurp a popcicle without wincing. Heck, I even let the husband fool with the colossals a little…. But those first 6 weeks were hell… anybody who tells you different is WRONG.