Monday, April 30, 2007

a little personality evaluation

I think almost every woman in the world who has read Pride and Prejudice would love to be compared to Elizabeth Bennet. Hey, I've taken those Jane Austen personality quizzes. I was happy when Elizabeth was the result.

Of course, it helps when doing those sorts of things to have a preference for Pemberly as opposed to, say, Northanger Abbey. Unless you are excessively fond of a cottage and that sends us somewhere else entirely.

Actually I'm not sure how much I am like Elizabeth except that, like her, I sometimes wish I were like Jane.
Jane is sort of the gentle, refined version incarnate of the Boy Scout Law. She is, like Nathanael of the New Testament, without guile. I'd like Jane's abililty to honestly think good of everybody until quite obviously being wrong, and then wish them better than they deserve without malice.

Not that I am malicious. I'm not. I'm analytical. But you get the drift.

I do confess to resonating with Elizabeth's comment that "There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well." But I am uncomfortable putting myself there completely. (Ah, maybe there is a little bit of Jane in me after all!) I think my feelings of a similar nature may be because like Mr. Darcy I often feel "
ill qualified to recommend myself to strangers". Far from a pity party, I agree with Elizabeth, whose retort is a valid one. One just needs to practice more.

Where is all this coming from? Mostly from airy fluff that floats around my brain. And the seed for a post on one's personality vs. one's blogging personality. It's an interesting idea, no? But we will save that for another day. Perhaps you will agree, there is nothing quite like a good book that allows for some self reflection.

But enough of that for now. It seems that this morning, I am the Darcys. But without the money.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

why it is a good day

Because I just finished off the lo mein left over from last night's rare dinner date with Ben where we ordered more than we could eat, we got to sit by each other and we got to talk about whatever. It was nice.

Also I have a Haagen Das bar (spelling?) sitting in the freezer waiting for me. And the sun is shinning. The baby is napping. The girls are upstairs drawing and making up stories. And we got some important letters to the post office this morning (minor stuff, like pre-registration for the hospital).

Hope your Wednesday is a jolly one.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

a poem for today

Halley's Comet

Miss Murphy in first grade
wrote its name in chalk
across the board and told us
it was roaring down the stormtracks
of the Milky Way at frightful speed
and if it wandered off its course
and smashed into the earth
there'd be no school tomorrow.
A red-bearded preacher from the hills
with a wild look in his eyes
stood in the public square
at the playground's edge
proclaiming he was sent by God
to save every one of us,
even the little children.
"Repent, ye sinners!" he shouted,
waving his hand-lettered sign.
At supper I felt sad to think
that it was probably
the last meal I'd share
with my mother and my sisters;
but I felt excited too
and scarcely touched my plate.
So mother scolded me
and sent me early to my room.
The whole family's asleep
except for me. They never heard me steal
into the stairwell hall and climb
the ladder to the fresh night air.

Look for me, Father, on the roof
of the red brick building
at the foot of Green Street --
that's where we live, you know, on the top floor.
I'm the boy in the white flannel gown
sprawled on this coarse gravel bed
searching the starry sky,
waiting for the world to end.

-Stanley Kunitz

Monday, April 23, 2007

spring has sprung

...the grass has risen. A few more days, we'll be out of prison!

That from my elementary school days. We would gleefully repeat the little couplet to ourselves as the time grew near for the last day of school, which was never a full day. It consisted of showing up, getting grades and a few papers, cupcakes, and then home! We would walk home crossing through various strange neighborhoods, and then to the "dirt hills" a long stretch of empty lots filled with hills of dirt and rock and lizards. It make the trek feel a little more adventurous. Then across 4th South, up the hill, and into our own neighborhood.

On one occasion my brother and I arrived home to find my mom gone. We promptly went into the backyard and set up our little pool next to the slide on our swing set so we could have our own water slide. Never mind that it was May. Never mind that it wasn't yet noon. Never mind that the temperature had yet to reach a respectable summer degree. Never mind that as soon as our little bodies
hit the water, clad with last years swimsuits, they would be covered with goosebumps. Never mind that the actual swim would not be enjoyable. We loved it because we were free. Free for three whole months of eternity. And this is how we were going to celebrate.

The calendar is telling me that in one month's time I get to be free, too! My due date is May 23rd. Pregnancy is a school. You learn how to hold on to patience though fatigue is trying to wrench it from your hands. You learn how to let the little things go, that's not always by choice. You learn from your three year-old that the baby in your tummy is trying to get up to your head. Some days it feels like that. Zeus could sympathize. Has she been reading Greek & Roman mythology again? (Isn't it perfectly right that Athena cause him a massive headache before she was born- ah daughters- it is an omen of things to come.) You learn your body is has amazing capacity, every single time.

The thing with having a baby is that, unlike actual school, you may get out early (yea! early!) or you may have to stay put for a few more days in that classroom where all the posters and wall decorations have been taken down, the chalkboards are clean with only a farewell note on them, and it starts to feel a little more like a psycho ward than your classroom. I'm obviously holding out for an earlier slot, hoping to find a get-out-of-jail-free card, or something. But you live with what you get. Until then, or at least for today, I am going to do my lessons, take advantage of the sun at recess and try and eat a healthy lunch. Even if it is cafeteria food.

Friday, April 20, 2007

odds & ends

Today at the doctor's office the nurse told me repeatedly I have a baby face. I don't. She was simply astonished, for the second time (we had a similar conversation a few months ago), that I am having my fourth baby. Alright. It feels a little back handed, but I'll take the compliment.

I find it utterly annoying when I have an email in my inbox and it ends up being from Yahoo travel or something like that. It's disappointing.

My son really likes to rock out to the Beach Boys and Carly Simon.

Ben and I celebrated our 83rd month wedding anniversary yesterday, because we are sentimental like that. Actually, he sent me an email and I replied, the actual contents regarding a few mundane things in our lives, but it was nice anyway.

Today was gorgeous, although I think I'm hitting a little spring time hay fever. Tomorrow and Sunday are supposed to hit 70 degrees. Is it finally here at last?

Happy Weekend to you all.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

whatever on the brain

Lucy, from An Ordinary Mom, tagged me for an Obsession meme. I am supposed to list five things I am currently obsessed with. Given my current mental capacity, unable to maintain any obsession at this point because it requires too much of me, I am watering it down. And so, it is now my honor to present to you...

5 Preoccupations:
a list that may be full of incoherent ramblings by a somewhat intelligent, but slightly overwhelmed woman who is tired of feeling like her insides are dominated by a soccer ball, and whose children seem to be taking advantage of that fact.

1. My due date vs. the actual date. I spend a lot of time looking at the calendar and calculating. If this baby comes early like 2 of my 3 have, then I'm looking at mid-May. Perhaps, ironically, on Mother's Day. Or maybe, the Ides of May. (Is there such a thing?)

2. This thought as it passes through my brain is alternately relieving and terrifying.

3. A name. This child will need a name upon arrival. At least I've heard it's recommended. I'm having a hard time pinning anything down. With child #2 we didn't have a name until right before we left the hospital. While that worked, I'd prefer to not repeat it.

4. The waiting. (Which has no relation to the above three, although it sounds like it could.) At this point I am not really concerned with the outcome, I'd just like to know what the outcome is. (The cat was back last night, by the way).

5. Other ephemera that come in and out of my life, such as: chocolate, TWW, possible blog posts, strawberries, pestering control, good lines of poetry, an occassional nap, lemonade.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

free verse

While Waiting For News About A Job

All last night a cat
lay yowling outside
my window.
Whether he is sad that I am
going, or that I will stay
I cannot tell.


Just a few quick things: First of all, thanks to Julie, who nominated me for the Thinking Blogger Award in March. It is somewhat ironic, however, because I have not been able to think past getting out of my pajamas for the past few weeks and therefore have not mentioned it, or bothered to figure out how to post the nifty button on my blog. But that was highly flattering. Thanks, Julie!

Second, if my brain were funtioning fully I would nominate some blogs as well, but you may have to wait until after my baby is born for that one, because things are just a little hazy right now.

Third, thank you to Gabby, a.k.a. Design Mom, for sending some traffic my way by having a blog button for me up
last week on her site. And to all of you stopping by, thanks!

And lastly, congrats to my sister Bethany and her former boyfriend/current fiance, Kip, on their engagement. Woohoo!

Monday, April 16, 2007

monday morning wisdom

STOP, DROP AND ROLL- fire safety.


BACK TO BACK , BOTTOM TO BOTTOM- how we were supposed to sit in the school bus seats where there were no seatbelts.

And finally, from the National Weather Service because of all the rain we're currently receiving:

Friday, April 13, 2007

positive reinforcement on a friday morning

Michelle from Scribbit had a link to this baby- it'll tell you if you are a genius. I'm not a genius at first try- but after a few minutes, well, let's just say I make the grade.

So, I'm off to join Mensa. Ta, ta!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I have a goal

For the most part I think I'm a pretty healthy eater. I like vegetables, I don't stock soda in my fridge, potato chips are bought on rare occassion. But I do like sweets.

Occasionally, I enter the death spiral of survival. I hit a lull in energy and I try to climb out of it by eating mini eggs or something. Of course this gives me a little boost and sends my energy down even lower the next time, requiring me to eat more mini eggs (no, please! don't drop any more of those chocolate delicacies into my mouth!). I'd like to call it the chocolate spiral of survival, but that sounds tempting and delicious, so I stick with the more fear inducing name.

I decided that after the Easter candy is gone, that's it. I'm done with junk. I have 6 weeks until my due date and I need to shape up, metaphorically speaking. The literal shaping up at this point is moot, unless you consider shaping out the same thing. You can stop by to find me munching on carrots and enjoying the spring strawberries. Except I'm really craving the easter egg malt balls and they're all on sale... so maybe I'll have to stop spiraling in a day or two.

my name is getting out there

I've whined about this before. Just for fun. This morning I just couldn't handle it any longer. I've been watching to see how much/many (?) spam I could get in my spam folder before it hit the 30 day limit where it starts automatically deleting the junk. I was well past 6000 this morning. I had to get rid of it!!!!!!!! I happily hit the delete button.

By the time all the spam had been cleared out, my folder had already received 2 more lovely messages. About car insurance or something offensive like that. So at least my spam is somewhat benign.

But maybe it's about time to set up a new email account.

Monday, April 9, 2007

where my blog title and nat'l poetry month meet - it's lovely

Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross

To see a fine lady upon a white horse
With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes
She shall have music wherever she goes

I flatter myself, there must be a few people who ride over to see me occasionally just for fun and amusement. I know a few of you do. (to whom I say thank you, so very much).

My white horse has long since fled. But that's okay, because I'm in the market for transportation that can move more than one or two at a time.

Lest you think I'm vain, it's Ben who thinks I'm fine, which is a nice thing for a husband to do.

Of course any bells I had on my toes have long been abscondated* by my children who now wear them themselves. This happens in motherhood. Things you once thought of as your own suddenly are not anymore. But this has been beneficial to me because I can tell when they are trying to sneak up on me and catch me unawares - bells come in handy like that.

The rings I keep because, well, I'm sort of a sentimental person, so things like engagement rings and wedding bands tend to hold some meaning for me, so I keep them. If you were tired of your own rings and wanted to send them my way, I might pawn them, of course, but they would still hold a special place in my heart.

I still have music wherever I go. It's just a very different soundtrack than what it once was, sometimes dissonant, mostly harmonious and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Sometimes I do ask if we can move on to a different movement, though. You know, variations on a theme never hurt anybody. Or rarely did, anyway.

* yes, I know abscondated is not a "real" word, but if you go back in time and meet the me from several years ago in a language class I loved where I learned new and exciting ways to diagram sentences, I will tell you about morphemes and other such things and how abscondated is perfectly valid. Or I will look at you oddly and tell you I am not married, have no small children and haven't the foggiest idea of what you're talking about. Also, what in the world is a blog? It sounds ugly.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

it's the little things

My list of things that need to get done is slowly overwhelming me. Even the essentials like being a relatively decent human being to my family - it's slipping through the cracks.

My sister reminded me of the story of the husband who comes home after work one day to find the house in less than desirable condition and asks his pregnant wife what she did all day. To which she replies "Today I made a lung." And of course, once that is said everything else she could have done, and everything he did, fades into the background as, if not insignificant, at least to a distant second place.

I should say Ben is far less ignorant of my strained condition, and far more tactful and helpful than the above husband. It's me who needs the reminder. I can't say I enjoy my dimishing capability to do just about everything, except watch old episodes of The West Wing, but there is a very good reason for it.

At my most overwhelmed I'm not sure that the trade of a burgeoning body for one more little person to care for will be much of a switch as far as my energy level is concerned. But I know that isn't true. New little people bring with them far more joy than trying to pick up toys with the impediment of a huge ball you commonly refer to as your belly.

But until that switch is made if you need me I can probably most easily be found crawling on the floor taking care of what I can and trying not to look too pathetic.

P.S. In full disclosure, I should say I have some backup showing up soon. My (another) sis is coming for a few weeks to help out here at which point I may just permantly retire to the bed and Target alternately, and that will be Heaven. Or as close as I'm going to get in my current condition.

Friday, April 6, 2007

check that calendar again

I thought yesterday was Friday.

All day, even once I figured out it wasn't really Friday, I still tuned in to radio programs I listen to expecting to hear their Friday stuff and was constantly disappointed. Not only that, but the cantaloupes I bought had over-ripened under my very stuffed up nose and I had to throw two of them away. And the garbage folk had already come and hauled stuff away. Which is why I thought it was Friday, because they normally come on Friday, but since today is not just Friday, but Good Friday, I suppose they decided to come on Thursday instead. It's thrown me off. And now my smelly melons get to sit in the garbage until Monday. I hope the squirrels stay away. Did you know in New York they have some type of garbage collection almost every day? It's a funny thing. But convenient.

Okay, well, thanks. Just wanted to get a little whining out of the way so I can focus on getting ready for the weekend. Again.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

as Marie Antoinette would say

We made cupcakes yesterday, late afternoon. And I was oh so tempted just to eat them as dinner. That's a fun thing to do every blue moon or so, right?

But then my "responsible mother" side got a hold of me, so we had cold cereal first, and then the cupcakes.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

on the precision of language. sort of.

Something about precision of language is so beautiful. I love poems that say succinctly what they want to say. This is a daunting topic to broach, because now, here I am, weighing carefully each word I type and feeling it's lack and it's inability to convey a specific meaning. (That "so" in the first sentence wants to be changed, but to what exactly? At present, I cannot tell.) And while I don't have time this morning to let this post distill into something else possibly more profound, I think that the word resonate may be closest to what I'm attempting to describe.

Think of a single note being played on a cello. A lower note; not too low, but low enough that it reaches your core, your very center. A poem that can resonate inside of us causes either an empathetic or sympathetic response that binds us to those words. And in this case, it may be the sympathetic reaction that is the most powerful, because it allows us to understand something that we have never experienced ourselves.

Someone has decreed it that April is National Poetry Month. And though I came across an essay online decrying this phenomenon because it simply causes us to cater to the most common denominator by providing a collection of watered down poetry for the masses, or something like that, I don't mind it. I'm not out to convince you that poetry, like beets, isn't all that bad, and is in fact, good for you. That said, I like beets and poetry. California Pizza Kitchen has a great salad with beets in it, and you can come here for a few poems and some thoughts on poetry, if you like.

Today I'll share with you a single sentence. A good line in a poem can make me positively giddy, make me laugh out loud with delight, even though the subject matter may be serious. Of course, most good lines require the context of the other good lines that surround it, the whole poem is created for a reason; but this line by the late Leslie Norris says just as much outside of the poem as it does inside the poem it resides in. (From the poem Borders).
And Sally Taylor, her mother dying in the next room,
heard women's voices, young and laughing,
come in to fetch the old lady.

Monday, April 2, 2007

april fool

Well, just for starters the entire family woke up yesterday with the same cold that only half of the family had been flirting with for a few days. It's the kind of cold that requires umpteen boxes of kleenex for the first 36 hours, the kind that requires you to slather vaseline on your lips and nose because no matter how soft your tissue, your nose is raw because it is a fountain that requires constant attention. This also makes your eyes feel rather weepy; whether that is a symptom of the cold, or the result of feeling miserable, who can say? And your pseudoephedrine apparently isn't doing the trick. Or maybe it is and you should just be grateful. And believe me I'm trying.

We made our own little paper fish for poissons d'avril and stuck them all on Ben. He didn't cry.

And Ben and I spent the morning trying to find his card. You know, the all powerful, as good as cash (except in NYC, where they still like cash better), buy what you need or what you want card? We'd been called by an automated fraud hotline from our bank, although with all those sneaky people phishing for information Ben hung up on them at first. And when the card couldn't be found we checked our account and noticed a discrepancy in the balance and what had been purchased. And so we pulled out all our necessary banking information, and Ben called the bank. And thus we found out that someone else had the card and had gone on a $300 shopping spree Saturday before the bank got suspicious and rejected the card Sunday morning. Surprise!

My reaction consisted
mostly of disbelief, albeit mild, that someone would do that. And I felt bad for whomever it is. Really, do people have no conscience? Do they really think, hey! free money for as long as I can get away with this! And I hoped that they were starving in some Jean Valjean sort of way and that they bought groceries and shoes. Ben said realistically, they probably bought a lot of beer.

I'm assuming it was a guy who used the card, because Ben isn't really a gender neutral name, and to him I say: I'm sorry about this whole thing, but I'm glad to be my kind of fool rather than your kind of fool.