Thursday, February 28, 2008

endangered species lament

with apologies to the late Reverend Martin Niemöller

First they came for the frogs
and I did not speak out - because I was not an amphibian

Then they came for the bees
and I did not speak out - because I was not an insect.

Then they came for the bats
and I did not speak out - because I was not a nocturnal flying mammal.

Then they came for me -
and by then there was no one left to speak out for me.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Half Breed

At the dermolotoligist's office yesterday the doctor asked me how old my children were. I immediately said that C was five and a half. Then I laughed at myself. C would have described himself as five and a half, that extra half being crucial, but without him in the room it seemed ridiculous for me to include it. No adult ever does that. In fact we probably do the opposite. People who are 39 most likely claim to be 39 right up until the clock strikes midnight.
When asked my own age I'm unlikely to announce, "I'm forty and a half."
That's because I'm not forty and a half. I'm only forty and one twelfth.

song: Half Breed • artist: Cher

Monday, February 25, 2008

What Do You Do For Money Honey

I hate to resort to this but is anyone looking for a new car? We need to sell the Subaru in order to buy more diapers.

song: What Do You Do For Money Honey • artist AC/DC

Sunday, February 24, 2008

99 Red Balloons

C's latest question is this: why does a balloon make a loud noise when you stick it with a pin and it pops?
I muttered something about rubber being stretched very tightly and air under a lot of pressure, but I don't think I was too convincing.
How about it someone?

song: 99 Red Balloons • artist: Nena

Friday, February 22, 2008

Winter Wonderland

Looking out my office window (home office that is), I muse over how babies are like snow storms - beautiful, yet slightly inconvenient. And even though they're all fresh and clean to begin with, they sure get dirty quickly.

song: Winter Wonderland • artist: Felix Bernard


I'm not one who usually cries at the movies. Love Story? Hated it. Beaches? Contrived. The English Patient? I side with Elaine Benes who once said "Quit telling your stupid story about the stupid desert and just die already!"
Over the years there are a few though that have choked me up. I was thinking of this recently because people have been asking me about postpartum depression. I don't suffer from postpartum depression, which can be very serious, but I do attribute hormones to my recent obsession with the easy listening radio station and my strange urge to sing along with Kenny Rogers.

1. Wuthering Heights - The first time I saw this was at the Coolidge Corner movie theater. I cried exiting the theater, I cried waiting for the T to come. I cried on the subway all the way back to Kenmore Square. I might be crying still except that my then-boyfriend told me I'd better stop because people were starting to look at him suspiciously.
The second time I saw this I rented it on Nantucket after Thanksgiving so my relatives could all have a good cry too.

2. Out of Africa - (warning: spoiler!) No relationship is that romantic but I still shed a few tears at the end. My boyfriend cried exiting the theater on this movie. I thought he was crying because Robert Redford died, but it turned out he was really crying because the space shuttle Columbia had exploded earlier in the week. He was always the more sensitive half of the relationship.

3. Champions: A Love Story - This one's only memorable to those of us who grew up figure skating. Those of you who have never heard of this movie can think of "Ice Castles" instead. It was an equally sappy film but no one died - they only figure skated competitively while blind - how realistic!

4. A Night To Remember - Obviously I didn't see this in the theater (it's from 1958). But I did tape it onto Betamax off the TV back in high school and I watched it a lot. I would turn all the lights off on the living room on Wednesday nights when my dad was at the Knights of Columbus and I'd cry at the part where the purser picks up the little boy on the slanted deck after all the lifeboats have left and tells him "we'll be saved." I'd usually pull myself together by the time the Carpathia arrived on the scene.

5. A Tale of Two Cities - This is also from 1958. For some strange reason movies from that year affected me. Unlike "A Night To Remember" I've only seen this movie once, but maybe I'll order it up again from the library since searching the CLAMS network is one of the things I can effectively do one-handed while nursing a baby (or two). I saw this in school, freshman year.
Yes, I cried in the high school auditorium, but I had stopped by the time the lights came back up so I doubt anyone knew. I think the entire freshman class saw this movie together. All the other English teachers brought popcorn for their students. Ms. Spring brought us granola. Even though that's reason enough, that's not why I cried. I cried because Sydney Carton was so dreamy and Lucie didn't appreciate him at all.

song: Overcome • artist: Live

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Company Way

February 19, 2008: the twins first trip to the Enterprise where in the future they'll be working as interns for auntie Pam and auntie Esther.

song: The Company Way • soundtrack: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

More Than Words

"Kennedy is every bit Koch's match as a joker in the deck, but the kinship pretty much ends there: Laconic and piquant where Koch is raucous and frenetic, Kennedy has always found his calling as a mordant wit in the old-school mold, a dab hand at the dapper style of snappy raillery and gadfly waggery that delivers its licks by way for formal prosody."
The above is taken from a Boston Globe review of five recently released books of comic poetry.
Now I'm a reasonably intelligent person, I've even been known to read a book or two, but there are a lot of words in that sentence that I'm unfamiliar with. When I read I'm okay with not knowing a word or two per book chapter. In fact I like the idea of exposure to new vocabulary. If I have a pen handy I'll jot them on my bookmark and look up their meanings later. But a half-dozen words in one sentence? That's quite a sentence. Is the writer trying to show off? Is he trying to make really good use of that Word-A-Day calendar he got in the office Yankee Swap? What are the chances that mere mortals like myself will go out and purchase any of the five books that were reviewed after being unable to understand the review? This review makes me feel like a bloomin' idiot. It's as if not only did I not understand the novel, I couldn't even grasp the CliffsNotes. The review's author, David Barber, is the author of his own book of poetry, I won't be picking that up any time soon either.
On a brighter note, another review in the same issue of the paper told me, in words I could comprehend, that I can change my brain and boost my brain power by simply changing the mug I drink my morning cup of tea out of. I'm fond of that mug, but I might give it a try. Perhaps with that extra brain power I'll be able to decode Mr. Barber's cryptic sentence.

song: More Than Words • artist: Extreme

Monday, February 18, 2008

Wasted Time

There's nothing worse than nursing your baby, lying him down, and then watching him spit up three-quarters of his meal. I feel badly for them when it happens but I also feel like shouting in my best mommy voice, "Stop! What are you doing? You're wasting it! Breast milk doesn't grow on trees you know!"

song: Wasted Time • artist: the Eagles

Sunday, February 17, 2008


The Daytona 500 is today. Have I made this analogy yet? Babies are like race cars. They can go from sleeping peacefully to crying hysterically in less than 15 seconds.
And what's up with them not wanting to nurse while lying down? Who among us doesn't want to eat in bed?

song: Drive • artist: the Cars

Friday, February 15, 2008

Long May You Run

Note to the folks on Quaker Avenue with the three Mitt Romney signs on their front lawn: He's not in the running any more.

song: Long May You Run • artist: Neil Young

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Late In The Evening

Even though we bought a package of perfectly acceptable Snoopy valentines, (yes, I know Snoopy is a licensed character but at least he's not licensed by Disney) C insisted on making homemade valentines for his classmates. I should have been pleased sine that's just the kind of obsessive compulsive crafting behavior I normally engage in. He's got 21 classmates, however, which means he didn't finish making Valentine cards until 9:15 last night. There used to only be 17 kids in school but they've added five new students since the first of the year. I think those kids joined up solely to reap the rewards of Valentine's Day.
Now nine-fifteen may not seem all that late, but it's well past C's bedtime and well into mommy's time to sit on the couch with a book, a baby, and a big glass of wine.

song: Late in the Evening • artist: Paul Simon

I Love You

A Valentine for Ken: I love sheep!
Just kidding!

song: I Love You • artist: Climax Blues Band

Stuck in the Middle With You

Things they didn't cover in the Nursing Mother's Support Group: What to do when you're about to nurse your crying baby and you realize the zipper to your fleece vest is stuck and won't unzip. Damn. Why didn't I burn this On The Water vest after H was born? It was one of the only things that fit me then too. I remember when I first got that vest and thought to myself, "what the heck am I going to do with a size XXL, black vest?
Other recent wardrobe malfunctions have included putting my arms through the extra holes in my nursing pajama tops, and being generally flummoxed over how to turn my nursing turtleneck from wrong side out to right side out.

song: Stuck in the Middle With You • artist: Stealers Wheel

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Dirty Work

Doesn't it make you suspect when you cut up a leek and there's no dirt in it whatsoever? I mean where did this leek grow anyway? Certainly not in the ground.
Speaking of suspect - I haven't heard the cat snore since Priscilla noticed that her purple collar had a choke hold on her neck. I suspect you cured her!

song: Dirty Work • artist: Steely Dan

Monday, February 11, 2008

It's Still Rock and Roll To Me

That last post reminded me of being in the 9th grade and going to the big Strawberries record store in Downtown Crossing after Saturday morning drawing class at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. I was looking for a cassette tape of Lynyrd Skynyrd because I liked the song Freebird. I couldn't find anything by the band because I was looking under "S" for Skinard, Leonard. Thank goodness now we have Google to prevent embarrassing moments such as that from repeated occurrence. I eventually figured out my mistake, but I never did purchase anything by Lynyrd Skynyrd at Strawberries or four years later when we used to browse through Tower Records on Newbury Street because it was something to do, and, because it was open until midnight.
I probably bought something by Billy Joel instead.

song: It's Still Rock and Roll To Me • artist: Billy Joel

Sunday, February 10, 2008

nightime blues (a senryu)

At night babies cry
First on my right then my left
Everyone's hungry

Saturday, February 09, 2008

That Smell

Ever notice that it's possible to put a dozen messy newborn diapers into the bathroom waste basket without having to empty the basket, but one stinky toddler diaper? That puppy needs to be disposed of pronto.

song: That Smell • artist: Lynyrd Skynyrd

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Do You Want to Know A Secret?

song: Do You Want To Know A Secret? • artist: The Beatles

Skinny Legs

song: Skinny Legs • artist: Lyle Lovett

Put Your Hand in the Hand

song: Put Your Hand in the Hand • artist: Ocean

With or Without You

Used to be I'd break out in a cold sweat thinking I might run into you while I was at the school on election days. It's worse though, knowing I definitly won't be seeing you.
Our state went with Clinton for the democrats. I would have figured you for an Obama kind of guy.

song: With or Without You • artist: U2

Monday, February 04, 2008

We Are Family

My cousin has been staying with us for the past few days. She's been wonderfully helpful petting our neglected cat, playing concentration (using the Snoopy cards) with my two-year old, and holding the twin who's not currently being fed. In addition to that - she helped this clueless mom fill in the blanks in the boys' baby books about current events, fashion, movies, popular songs, tv shows, and bands.
Speaking of the cat, she lived up to her end of the bargain we struck 17 years ago and managed to stay alive until my 40th birthday. Hurray for Rufus! In appreciation for this Herculean event, I practically choked her to death with a tight-fitting purple cat collar. Thankfully Priscilla noticed, thereby likely saving the cat's life. Maybe now she'll make it to 41.
In typical twin fashion, both umbilical cord stumps both fell off today.

song: We Are Family • artist: Sister Sledge

To The Lighthouse

Saturday was my birthday, my 40th birthday. It was a substantially better day than my last birthday when I was struck on the nose with falling ice. This year I have two beautiful new babies instead of a swollen proboscis to take my mind off aging and the even more pressing issue - what does it all mean?
Don't we always expect, on milestone days like birthdays, births, and the beginning of a new year, that somehow proverbial lightening will strike us and we'll discover - without the aid of introspection - the meaning of life?
Perhaps. But if it didn't happen to Virginia Woolf, what hope do I have that such a revelation it will come to me? I think Ms. Woolf summed it up the meaning of life (and I agree with her assessment) better than I could hope to: What is the meaning of life? That was all—a simple question; one that tended to close in on one with years. The great revelation had never come. The great revelation perhaps never did come. Instead there were little daily miracles, illuminations, matches struck unexpectedly in the dark.

book: To The Lighthouse • author: Virginia Woolf

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Say It Ain't So Joe

The newly pregnant, at their first visit to the ob/gyn, are usually showered with reading material. There's always a book on pregnancy and child birth. Each time I have been pregnant the book has been different. I seem to have hung on to only two such books and I just put them both into a bag with some maternity clothes that I'll not be using again. The title of one of the books is The Illustrated Book of Pregnancy and Child Care, the other is Your Pregnancy and Birth.
Your pregnancy and birth? I don't know about you, but my pregnancy, which culminated on Jan. 23, 2008, had little to do with my birth, 40 years ago today.
It's bad enough new mothers have to be subjected to sleep deprivation and sore nipples, must we be assaulted with bad grammar as well?

song: Say It Ain't So Joe • artist: Roger Daltrey

Friday, February 01, 2008

Moonlight Feels Right

In the hospital it seemed as if all the nurses had different advice on what was right for the twins. Some insisted that I tandem nurse, which is awkward at best. Others said I should stick with what I found comfortable. Some swaddled the twins up like stuffed grape leaves before handing them over to be fed, others stripped them down to "wake them up" before a feeding. Some were militant about babies being fed every three hours no matter what, others echoed my own personal philosophy "never wake a sleeping baby." Some put them in their own separate cribs, others insisted that they "liked to be together." Some changed diapers as a matter of course, others I had to request they do it (hey! I just had major abdominal surgery here!).
All this conflicting advice would have been confusing if I were a nervous first-time parent, or the kind of person who really thrived on taking the advice of experts instead of being who I am: the kind of person who would rather blunder through something on my own. On the other hand, it was comforting that none of them agreed on how things should be done. It leaves the door open for us blunderers to go with whatever feels right.

song: Moonlight Feels Right • artist: Starbuck