Thursday, December 31, 2009

A New Decade

New Years Eve, in general, sucks. The pressure to make it something meaningful and lots of fun, while somehow marking the passage of time, raises expectations that are never met. I do best with a small group of friends and a large amount of alcohol. Last year's baby bump prevented the latter, and for that I had the most dull New Years of ever. This year I am recovering from the Great Christmas Plague, and I fear it won't be much better. Plus I have a baby. So the wild partying? Kind of out. Not that, if I actually had some wild friends around here, I wouldn't shove him on my parents (sorry Jack!) and go out, but seeing as I don't....yeah. Lets just say the day is here and plans are still up in the air.

While this decade was pretty amazing for me, 2009 was a pretty crap year to be honest. I know that's a horrible thing to say about the year in which my beautiful son was born, but it's the truth. It was the unhappiest year I've had in a long, long time, a year in which I seemed to sit by and watch as my youth, my freedom, and any beauty I might have had drifted--no, galloped--away. In their place is something infinitely more precious and irreplaceable, that I know. But there is an adjustment to be made, and make it I will in the coming year.

Here's hoping that 2010 kicks 2009's ass.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Families share everything

A violent stomach virus has made its way through the 40 or so people who were in attendance at the two-day Townley Christmas Extravaganza. We were dropping like flies by Sunday night, when 15 cousins went out to a pub relatively healthy and 6 of them were fighting for the toilet by night's end. I am feeling much, much better today, but I still can't even think about food. Ugh.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas to all

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas. Pictures of our insane Christmas are forthcoming, but for now I'll leave you with this gem from my childhood. If you're wondering which one is me, I'm the little girl that looks like a little boy.

Merry, merry, merry.

Friday, December 18, 2009

People are here; people are coming

This is going to be a BIG Christmas. Have I mentioned that? All our Christmases are BIG. But this one will be exceptionally BIG. Not only are David's parents here to add to the festivities, but the entire Townley Clan (that being my mother's family) are gathering to celebrate this year. This is not so unusual--we spend every Christmas together, but there is always someone who can't make it. And this year nary a face will be missing, and four new faces will be added to the bunch. That's right, four new great-grandchildren were added to the family fold this year, all within a space of four months.

Therefore, around the Christmas table this year will be, in order of venerability:

My grandparents, who recently celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary (I know!)

Their five children and their spouses, all present except my dear Uncle Ken, who passed away of cancer in 2006.

Their thirteen grandchildren, nine of whom are bringing spouses or partners.

Their seven great-grandchildren, one five years old, one three, one 18 months, and the rest under a year.

David's lovely parents.

I believe that's around 4oish people? So like I said, Christmas will be BIG.

After we celebrate our small family Christmas (my parents, my sisters-and-spouses, our children, and the Napuks--more on the myriad traditions regarding this later), we will all caravan out to my grandparents' house on Christmas Day. For a few hours there will be appetizers, my grandma's mulled cider with Soco, and much drinking and visiting. Then there will be the opening of presents, an elaborate process that begins with everyone drawing a name the year before and culminating in the Great-Under-$30-Gift-Exchange on Christmas Day.

After that there will be the feast, with "adults" in the dining room and "kids" (most of whom are now over thirty, but whatever) at a large folding table in the living room (Thank God we finally convinced my grandmother we were all too large for the traditional foldaway plastic picnic tables last year). The "kids" table is by now much, much larger and louder than the "adults" table. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

After the feast, there are stories and toasts and other insanities, followed by dessert, followed by a gradual thinning of the crowd as some of us make our way home, and the rest head to one of the four bedrooms upstairs. We used to have a tradition of going to a movie on the evening of Christmas, but seeing as we now take up the entire theater, and we are so happy to be in each others' company, this year we will most likely stay in. And recover.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Two seconds then I'm out...

...but first a post. I have a few fleeting moments before Jack eats lunch, another round of laundry finishes in the dryer, and my dad arrives to help me string Christmas lights. After that there's a last minute cleaning frenzy, and then David's parents arrive for three weeks. I am attempting to not be Easily Overwhelmed, and am even feeling a bit zen. But just a bit.

Oops! Took too long to write this. Baby's crying for his food.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Childcare and such

So I found someone to watch Jack. It was fate, I tell you. The other day I finally realized that I had to do something, had to find just two or three hours a day, a few times a week, in order to preserve my fraying sanity. So I typed "childcare Cleveland" into google and sat back to await my salvation. I have typed those words in many, many times and come up with all sorts of daycares, all too expensive or too scary sounding (I watch you're kids for you. CHEAP!) . But this time a craigslist ad, posted only two days before, popped up. Lilly, a stay-at-home mom of an eleven-month-old boy, looking to supplement her income by taking a few other children into her home. Two blocks away from my home. For $8 an hour. An early childhood education major who wasn't ready to formally go back to work. (And Jewish!) I called her. We met. She's perfect.

So yesterday was the big day. I took Jack over, planning on running errands for two hours. We'd spent about an hour or so there the day before, and he was laughing and playing with her, smiling when I left. So I ran to get some Christmas shopping done, only to have her call me an hour later. Apparently Jack had started crying right after I left, and hadn't stopped. She had tried everything, but he was inconsolable. She worried he had an upset tummy. But, lo and behold, as soon as I walked in the door, he was fine.

I honestly thought it was too early for separation anxiety. And I've left him before, but always with family members he knows really well. I should have had a bit more respect for him I suppose, as a developing personality and an intelligent baby. He's just so mellow, so happy to be passed from stranger to stranger (so long as he can see me I now realize) that it never occurred to me there would be a problem. Although I must admit it is a thrill to know just how important I am to him, considering he doesn't show much preference for me above other people normally. But still. I stayed for an hour, letting Lilly hold him, and then snuck out again for a half hour, and he was asleep when I got back. Today we'll take it slow again. Here's hoping.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

I did my best... add a little Hanukkah spirit. It's been very tough finding time to post these days. Jack is in a new phase, whereby he wants me to hold him every single second. Not for security or affection, mind, but simply because he isn't crawling yet and I am to be his transport as he moves from place to place, preferably every ten minutes. If I'm lucky. I understand that all babies are like this, but are all mothers like me? The ten hours a day I spend alone with him go so slowly it's maddening. And I know, I know, that one day I will long for these sweet, simple days, to have all the time in the world to look at him and kiss him and squeeze him. But knowing that doesn't make it any easier for me. He is the world, and the moon and the stars and all that, but he can be pretty fucking boring sometimes. Meaning he requires 99% of my attention, but only about 1% of my concentration, so that I am insanely busy and mind-crushingly bored for a lot of hours during the day. I am in awe of the stay-at-homes who love it and do it well. Meanwhile I'm looking for some part time childcare. Because it's time.

For your enjoyment, thanks to Brooke, I have discovered what may be the best movie coming out in 2010. Check it out:

Sunday, December 06, 2009

I'm no web design expert.

Basically I cobble together what little knowledge I have to make my site sort of pretty. But I have been unable to find a Hanukkah blog background. There are Christmas ones galore, and considering my secret (okay, not so secret) love for all things Christmas that's not a problem, and forsooth this blog shall be Christmasy with apologies to my fellow chosen people, but Hanukkah comes before Christmas and I'd like to give it a little bloggy love as well. So, anyone know where I can find me a Jewy festival of lights blog background?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


It's quiet around here again. I had a loud, crazy, fun weekend that ended just as quickly as it began. I would be bereft if I didn't know that in three short weeks everyone is coming back. It made Thanksgiving that much more wonderful. So did this:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

I'm going to be absent from the Internet for the next few days as the hurricane that is my three sisters prepares to touch down for Thanksgiving. It will be great fun as always, but also as always the day before their arrival is a bit rough. This is due to the fact that my parents go into meltdown mode as they try, desperately, to prepare their empty nest to be filled to capacity. Staying this year: Jack and I, with David dividing time between our house and my parents', plus my older sister Anne, my younger sister Sara, her husband Wes, their 18-month-old Brayden, my baby sister Melissa, and Anne's good friend Rebecca. The matter of where to put everybody has been discussed in great detail and with considerable volume. Anne and I were the first to arrive home, and I'm afraid we've already turned on each other.

Still, the fury only lasts a few hours, and before you know it, everyone is here and there is too much joy to allow much room for fights (though we do fit in a few good ones normally). Tomorrow marks the beginning of my favorite time of year (I can hear groans coming at me from all directions. Yes, I love the holidays. LOVE them.) So my posting may be sporadic. For now, let me just wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. And here's a little something I'm thankful for:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Weight of a Thousand Small Tasks

I named this blog Bex, Perplexed because that's kind of how I feel most of the time. Not confused, but perplexed. So this is life, eh? Hmmmmm.

But I think a name that might be more apt these days is Easily Overwhelmed. Because that is what I realized I am. I feel completely paralyzed lately by a mounting to-do list, and a nameless discomfort that I carry around everywhere. If you know me, than you know I am more than a little obsessed with order and maintaining it, but that I also happen to be very bad at maintaining it. Imagine if you will a person with OCD who is also horrible at cleaning and you have me, ever trapped in a cycle of can't-function-because-of-the-chaos and can't-organize-the-chaos-in-order-to-function. So I do nothing.

The things that are currently overwhelming me, in no particular order:
  1. My house. Okay, so maybe this is in order because this, friends, is number one. The state of my house directly mirrors my emotional state and apparently my emotional state is cluttered, filthy, and unfinished. Because that is how I feel about my house. I hate the colors I painted it, I hate that I never finished getting it the way I wanted it, I hate the piles of junk mail and electronic gadgets and baby paraphernalia, and most of all I hate that I can't make myself do anything about it. It's like I've given up, and am letting it return to the earth. It even smells.
  2. My weight. This will eventually get a post all to itself, but for now let me just say that I have not lost a pound since the twenty I lost two weeks after giving birth. Not. A. Pound. And along with my former body, all impulse control has disappeared and I can't seem to control what I put into my mouth. What is that about?
  3. Writing. This is kind of a secondary infection, as it's actually all the other crap in my head that keeps me from writing. I sit at my computer and think about how I want to change my dining room, what art I want on the walls, where to find curtains I can afford, and I can't clear my mind enough to slip into that vivid and continuous dream that must be creating a story. Which, of course, overwhelms me more.
  4. Blogging. Again, something for another post, but in a lot of ways blogging is like high school in that, while opening up entire new avenues for friendship, learning, and self-expression, it can also open up new feelings of rejection, misunderstanding, and self-doubt. When I am healthy, grown-up me, this isn't a problem. When I am overwhelmed, paralyzed me, sometimes blogging feels like a big birthday party I didn't get invited to. Silly? Yes. True? Unfortunately. 
  5. Random tasks I have yet to accomplish. Getting Jack's British passport. Refinancing my house. Communicating with the IRS. Grocery shopping. All equally important in their way, all waiting to be accomplished. OVERWHELMED!
I feel a little bit better just writing that, as all obsessive people feel after making a list. God, I love lists. Tiny little bits of order to throw into the chaos, making it slightly less powerful for at least a half an hour, without requiring me to actually do anything. So lemme just shove it out there into cyberspace, see where she goes.

Behold my list!  Take that, Chaos!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fight for Preemies Day

I couldn't let this day pass without posting a link to the March of Dimes. Today is Fight for Preemies Day, an effort to raise awareness about premature births, of which there are around 500,000 in the U.S. every year. That's just over 12% of all births--12%! Prematurity is the leading cause of disability and death for newborns, and according to the March of Dimes the U.S.--supposedly land of the greatest healthcare people can afford--scores a D in caring for these little ones. My state, Ohio, scores an F. Wow.

So I post this in honor of my friend Jason and his family. They are one of the lucky ones. Their twins were born on August 30, 2008, at 26 weeks. Parker was 1 lb 12 oz and 13 3/8 inches long. Emma Jane was 1 lb. 13 oz and 13 3/8 inches long. Here they are with their Daddy:

 They were in the hospital for three months, struggling with underdeveloped lungs and a host of other problems, but they were blessed. Unlike so many others, they thrived.

To give you an idea of how they thrived, here are some newborn shots, and year-later shots for a little perspective.

Parker and her monkey:

Emma and her owl:


And the girls now:

I'm so happy for them, that they are healthy and happy and strong. But there are so, so many who aren't. So I'll be heading over to the March of Dimes and donating in Emma Jane and Parkers' names. You can too, if you want.

So I'm a little behind

I've only got 10,000 words, and the month is half over. But hey, that's 10,000 more words than I had before I started, right? The glass is half-full, my friends. Or at least one-fifth of the way full.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

It's okay to brag sometimes, right?

My freshman year in college was pretty miserable; I went from a very diverse, liberal high school to a white-bred, upper-class homogeneous university, and I felt completely out of place amid the drinking, wild parties, and general cookie-cutter personalities around me. My sophomore year, I saw a weird looking guy with blue hair riding a bike through the quad, and I thought to myself, there's somebody who might understand me. A bit simplistic, maybe, but that's how I felt at the time.

Finally I heard about the improvisational comedy troupe, Tower Players, and I went to my first meeting eager to join. There sat the guy with the blue hair, surrounded by a bunch of other weirdos, and suddenly I felt like I belonged somewhere. It's hard to describe this particular group of people. Most of them weren't very popular in high school, most of them were a bit insecure and overcompensating--we all were--but they were very much their own people. Funny, strange, sarcastic, they were a group of misfits that became my best friends all throughout college, and remain dear friends today.

We used to sit around and talk about how one day, when we were all famous, they'd talk about how we all attended Miami University. Like we were Dorothy Parker's vicious circle, or the artists of Paris in the twenties. Oh yes, we'd start a new art movement. A movement of misfits. "Without deviation from the norm, there can be no progress," we'd say. A bit of an ego trip, maybe, but not a little inspiring.

So most of us are still on the bumpy road to fame (I hope you sense my sarcasm here), but one or two of us have already realized our dreams.

Here's my friend Amos Heller, whose dream it was to be a musician, on stage with Taylor Swift last night when she won Entertainer of the Year at the CMA awards. He's her bass player. And he's awesome, and I'm proud of him, and I reserve the right to brag about any and all Tower Players who Make It.

His facebook status today:

ME: You were AWESOME in "Tremors"!
REBA MCENTIRE: That was...NOT what I expected to hear!

And here are the Tower Players, from way back in the day, standing onstage at Second City in Chicago.

And another one from graduation, flipping the bird to Mother Miami:

How cool are we?

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Williams & Williams

So David managed to surprise me last night. Let me just say that David, my love, father of my child, is crap with surprises. He gets so excited about them that he either spills all immediately or starts dropping extremely obvious hints until I figure it out. Even if he doesn't tell me outright or hint me into submission, should I get even a tiny bit close to finding out he acts so dismayed that I know something is afoot.

But two nights ago, he simply said "I want to take you out on Saturday night, what do you think?" A wonderfully vague way to get my commitment without revealing anything--could be something big, could be just a movie. Beautifully executed, darling. Of course then he blurts out, "Do you want to know where?", and then I knew it was a surprise, but I said not to tell me and anyway, this counts as serious progress.

How meticulously planned the evening was I did not know until we arrived at Severance Hall, home of the Cleveland Orchestra, and I see the program is a tribute to John Williams. Now, if you know me, you know I think John Williams is a musical deity, having basically written the soundtrack to my childhood (think Star Wars, Indiana Jones, E.T., Superman--what has he not written?). The place was packed; he must have ordered the tickets weeks ago. Weeks, people. Without so much as a single hint, with barely a blip on the oversharing radar. I was so impressed.

It was a lovely concert. Made even better by a bellyfull of wings and ribs a la Hot Sauce Williams, the home-cookin'-in-a-bad-neighborhood restaurant that was our only option once we realized that every place even remotely close to our destination had an hours long wait for a table. Still, Hot Sauce Williams? John Williams? Magic, my friends. Pure magic.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

NaNoWriMo, Bitches

Yeah. I'm doing it. Fueled by warm cider and Southern Comfort, I am attempting to hammer out 50,000 words of a novel before the end of the month. Along with 25,000 or so other people, 75% of whom are doomed to failure. The odds are against me, I'm afraid, but even if I only make it to 30,000 words? That's still pretty swell. It's about time I stopped calling myself a writer and actually wrote something.

Progress to date: 2500 words. Looooooooong way to go.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Jack O'Lantern

Until next year, folks.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Six Months

Six months ago today, Jack Henry came into the world. It wasn't the perfect, awe-inspiring moment I envisioned. I was strapped to a table and sawed open, and when they lifted up this writhing, meowing little creature so I could see him, the first thing I felt was profound sadness. I expected a thunderbolt of love to clap me smack in the heart. I expected to be overwhelmed with love the way they say it is supposed to be. But I wasn't. I felt desolate and lost, and entirely alone, and vastly disappointed in myself as a mother. Because I had to have a c-section. And because I didn't love him. I didn't feel like I loved him.

Those first few weeks--maybe even months--the only indication I had that I loved this child of my body was the fear I felt. I was afraid for him, always, as if I were caring for one of my own organs outside of my body. Fear, concern, and worry were the only constant emotions I had toward him. There were glimpses of true tenderness, but they were few. Mostly there was checking he was breathing, biting my lip as I tried--painfully--to breastfeed, and making sure he was warm enough, dry enough, happy enough. That was all.

My love for my son was not like a thunderbolt; it was more like a seed buried someplace deep. It needed nurturing to grow. But mostly it just needed time. My love for him has grown alongside him, and now they are both constantly outgrowing constraint. Finally, it is what I always imagined it would be, this love--something astonishing and powerful and devastatingly sweet.

Kind of like him.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

To the pumpkin patch we go!

I love fall. Apple picking, hayrides, pumpkin carving, Halloween--what's not to love? Last weekend we made it out to Patterson's farm to pick apples and get Jack his very first pumpkin. We think he liked it...

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Brief History of this Blog

Six years ago today, I started a blog. I'd never even heard of a blog before, but my boyfriend at the time, tech savvy Jef, introduced me to them. I wish I could remember the exact conversation, as I always do when some new technological marvel is absorbed into my life, but it's patchy. I remember looking at a few "blogs," which looked nothing like the blogs of today. Ah, things were so simple back then.

We were both moving across the world--he to South Korea and I to Israel--and we wanted a way to keep in touch with friends and family back home without the old mass email trick. This blog started on typepad, Jef's choice; I paid eight dollars a month for two years before I realized I could have one for free. Back then it was called Bar Kochva, after the street I lived on in Israel. I was still a born-again Christian at the time, fresh from serving as a missionary in the South Pacific, but burdened with doubts. I was getting my Masters in Religious Studies. I wanted to document my experience with grad school and my travels in the Middle East; I wanted a place to post pictures and impress everyone with my superior and witty prose. Obviously.

So, six years. A lot has taken place in that time, some of it recorded here, some of it just memories in my head.

In that six years...

I lived in Jerusalem.

Holy to three of the world's religions, it is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It is also one of the most dangerous. When I was there in 2003, buses were still blowing up every day. The number 19 bus--my bus--blew up one morning, packed with students. The Israelis took the bus and set it in front of the hotly contested separation wall, to remind people why the wall stood there. I went to see it.

I saw what the Palestinians wrote on the wall to remind people that they weren't animals to be caged in.

And I saw soldiers everywhere, all the time, reminding me that I was living in a war zone.

I was in Israel when they caught Saddam Hussein. I was there when Arafat died, and later, when the pope died. I was there for dozens of bombings, and I was there when they practically stopped altogether.

I learned Hebrew and I speak it well; I learned Arabic and I can barely read a newspaper headline. I studied history, philosophy, the anthropology of religion, the Pseudepigrapha, the early Christian martyrs, Maimonides, Mohammad, biblical theory. My faith suffered.

Still, I spent Maundy Thursday in Gethsemane, walked the Via Dolorosa on Good Friday, and spent Easter Sunday at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Christ was buried.

I traveled to Jordan.

And Egypt.

Somewhere along the line I fell in love with Judaism. And I fell in love with a Jewish boy.

I didn't write about him on this blog, because he read it. Instead, we moved to New York City together in 2005. I didn't write for two years. I didn't write about teaching English in a community college on 52nd Street. I didn't write about the ups and downs of our relationship. I didn't write about my 14 month conversion to Judaism, how I studied with an orthodox rabbi, how I kept kosher and shabbat, how I learned the 613 commandments.

I didn't write about our breakup and my subsequent breakdown, though I'd written of my struggles with depression before. I didn't write about how I couldn't eat or sleep, how I lost ten pounds in as many days, and how I started taking effexor. I didn't write about how it started working immediately.

I didn't write about finding a job as an intern at a fledgling business magazine called Success, and how that turned into an assistant editor job and later an associate editor job. I didn't write about having my name appear on something I wrote that 650,000 people read. I didn't write about my Scottish boss, the one who drove me crazy and sometimes drove me to drink after work, but who also managed to become a good friend.

I didn't write about going to the mikveh and finishing my conversion. I didn't write about throwing myself a bat mitzvah for my thirtieth birthday, in which I went back to 1989 (the year I should have had one) and brought my friends along with me...

I did write when, in the summer of 2007, I traveled to Germany, and went back to Israel. But I didn't write about the fact that while I was there, Success was sold and we all lost our jobs. I didn't write about how my Scottish boss--you may know him as David--emptied my desk for me, and how I went to his apartment on Horatio street to pick it up, and how we got a bit wasted and made out, and how we spent one blissful unemployed month in the big city in the summer, falling in love.

I didn't write about how I helped him pack and he moved back to Scotland.

I did write about going to Argentina for six weeks. I wrote about meeting up with some Uruguayan theater students in Montevideo. I wrote about getting beat up and mugged by a gang of children in Paraguay, and how I had to bribe the guards at the border.

I wrote about having to leave early because my grandpa was ill, but I didn't write about how he died and my heart broke.

I didn't write about my first trip to Scotland to visit David, and how blissfully in love I was, and how he asked me to come live with him there.

I did write about moving there and starting a life together. But I stopped writing when I found out I was pregnant, and I stopped the effexor, and the world fell apart. So I didn't write much about my pregnancy.

Not until he was born.

And then I wrote all about him.

And that's pretty much where we are now. Six years later.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Decisions are the worst.

Choice makes me crazy. I personally believe it makes all of us crazy, but me especially. I have a love/hate relationship with choice actually. Because I'm American, and if I didn't have choices I would feel as if I were being denied something essential to freedom. Part of me loves endless options and equates it with grandiose ideals like the pursuit of happiness and the ability to create the life I want. But the other part of me--the neurotic, indecisive part--can never get over the fact that once I've actually waded through all the options and made a choice, maybe--in fact, probably--I've made the wrong one. Maybe I was too hasty! Maybe there was something better!

This is true of nearly everything in my life: from the tiny (the paint color in my kitchen, the name of my blog, the gym I joined) to the enormous (my major in college, my chosen career, the house I live in). So difficult are these choices that until now I have never put roots anywhere, flitting from place to place every two years, safe in the knowledge that I could always pull up my feet and choose differently should I feel the need. In fact, I have never been truly committed to anything (or anyone, really, but that is a different post altogether).

When I am sick, (and I use that word to denote my mental state, i.e. depressed or anxious) the problem of choice reaches ludicrous proportions. Last night I got my invitation to Google Voice, the service that allows you one number for the rest of your life, (meaning you can link whatever cell phone, work number, or home number you have even if they change over the years), and the process of choosing said number was long, arduous, and still destined for regret. I spent an hour thinking about it, another hour searching, another hour choosing, and the rest of the night regretting my choice. I mean, this is my number FOR LIFE! It has to be good! It has to be me! Even now I keep wondering if I can change it. But what would I change it to?

The same goes for my house. I spent a lot of time decorating it, haven't even finished, and already I want to change it all. I am torn between a colorful, bohemian style--eclectic, thrift store furniture, funky art, and lots of texture--and a minimalistic, modern style--neutrals with pops of color, clean-lined furniture, and no clutter. One makes me feel warm, cozy, and creative, the other makes me feel relaxed, clear-headed, and energized. At the moment my house can't seem to decide which one it wants to be, and as a result, negotiations have stalled and it just stays as is, half-finished. Living in a half-finished state makes me more depressed, which in turn makes me more indecisive, and on and on in one of those vicious little cycles. It's no good, I tell you. No good at all! I am stalled. More than a little stagnant. And unable to choose a way out. Help me!

P.S. I love Halloween. LOVE it. Have changed blog accordingly. What do you think of my Rubick's cube costume, lovingly made by my super-creative mother?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Home Again

Well, somehow we made it back. I do not recommend traveling solo with an infant on a twelve-hour, two-leg journey, but as I said, we made it. Thankfully Jack was really good, minimal crying, maximum charm, and good luck with seatmates who were helpful and sympathetic. But still, no matter how good the baby, it is simply exhausting. He's not big on crying jags, but if he's hungry and I'm too slow he can scream with the best of 'em. At one point, when Jack leaked through his diaper and was screaming for dinner, I managed--oh yes--to change his diaper while breastfeeding. This, for me, is a transcendent mother moment. Not only because of the multi-tasking, but because I managed to do anything while breastfeeding. A few short months ago, I never would have imagined a world where breastfeeding did not involve pain, enormous amounts of pillows, and a huge, sticky mess. Hurray for me!

So we made it, but now it's back to the dull doldrums. Scotland was wonderful, perfect, full of relaxing days, great food, and stimulating adult conversations that didn't revolve around poop. Now, here I am, home all day, alone except for Jack (who hasn't got beyond the bubble-blowing stage yet). I don't have a car; all my friends work, and I'm really isolated here. My brain, which was busy expanding in Scotland, is once again beginning to atrophy. Not good! Changes must be made, but how?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Country Walks

We've taken to long walks (we being Luise, Jack, David's mother, Angela, and I), and so far Scotland is cooperating beautifully, weatherwise. There have been a few hours of sun nearly every day, and the temperature has been perfect--warm enough that you only need a sweater, cool enough to keep your cheeks rosy. It's a good thing too, because with the way we are eating the clothes I just started fitting into would be too tight if we didn't get some exercise.

The routine seems to be a pub lunch, followed by a long walk in a place where we can push Jack in the stroller. (He, by the way, is a miracle baby, and hasn't slowed us down in the least. He is content to sit and play with his hands while we eat, and content to watch the trees go by while we walk. He is well behaved even when surrounded by strangers--in fact at the wedding he fell asleep in his stroller and we stayed out until eleven! Not late by the standards of my youth, but pretty damn impressive with a baby. I'm not trying to be smug posting this; I am just blown away by how lucky we are. Which of course means that our second child will be a hellbaby, as karma dictates. But I digress.) Anyway, here are a few shots of the past couple days:

At night we laugh, talk, and eat. Oh, and drink. A lot. David's father, Kerry, is a member of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, and the other night he took Luise and I to its headquarters in a Georgian Mansion, where you can taste drams of whisky and eat by the fireplace in various rooms of the house. I, of course, loved this, and even enjoyed the whisky, which I drank with a bit of water as is proper.

Just look how proper I am:

And artsy, too!