Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Ten Pound Tuesday

This past weekend I was reminded of why I live here. Why I endure freezing winters spent standing on windy snowy train platforms waiting for trains that never come. Why I endure slush, snowplows and high gas bills to heat my house. This weekend was the first real breath of spring, and I spent it at the beach. It was glorious.

I spent most of Saturday harried and aggravated, a result I think, of knowing how beautiful it was outside and being pissed I couldn’t get my butt into gear fast enough. Finally though, seamonkey and I were both napped, dressed and fed and ready to go by 3:00. I went outside with the boy and started packing up the truck for a ride to the beach, planning to walk the boardwalk. Hot and sweaty, I hoped the walk would improve my mood. Just then BT returned home from doing a beach cleanup he organized with his fishing club, and I coerced him into joining us even though he was dead tired. The cool breeze and sunshine revived us both as we drove.

We strapped seamonkey into his big fancy off-road manly man jogging stroller (No sissy strollers for THIS SAHD), loaded it up with water bottles and off we went. Our beach has a wonderful boardwalk that hugs the shoreline, providing a spectacular view of the waves and dunes. The boardwalk is also touted as a “Health Walk” and has markers along the way to tell you how far you’ve gone. From end to end, the walk is exactly 2 miles. In case you can’t do the math – that’s a four mile trek round trip.

Our walk was an exercise in diversity. Old wizened faces and little pink cheeks. Short and fat, tall and thin. Jogging, ambling, strutting. Walkers and strollers, wagons and wheelchairs. Kites and seagulls and perfectly blue cloudless skies. Smelling hotdogs, French fries, tanning lotion and sea water. High heels, running shoes and bare feet. Airing of differences, sharing of problems, fervent gossip, easy laughter, contemplative silence. All of us sharing the same stretch of sunbleached planks. Did I already use the word glorious?

Seamonkey thoroughly enjoyed himself. We took off his shoes and socks, and he babbled merrily as we bobbled along…playing with his toes and graciously accepting any and all compliments from passersby. We stopped along the way to sit him in the sand. He would touch the ground and pull his hand back fast – totally perplexed by this new mysterious substance. We buried his feet and he wiggled his toes to find them again. We can’t wait to bring him here for a proper visit. We came back to the truck after our four miles, glad that we were able to take advantage of the weather.

So what’s with title of my post, you ask? Well I am really trying to lose weight. It seems that we loved the food in Colombia a little too much (empanadas-worth it)…plus all the big holiday dinners when we got home didn’t help. Besides the fact that I just need to look and feel better for the usual reasons, I have a high school friend coming to visit in June, we have an agency social that month, and the 4th of July (beach party) is closing in fast. So yesterday BT had to help a friend with something, so I had seamonkey all to myself again. So back to the beach it was for another four miles.

After the first 2 miles I was feeling so good that I started to do a very slow jog. To keep my motivation up, I would pick a landmark and tell myself I would stop when I got to it. When I got to it, if I still felt okay, I would pick another one farther up. At first I was picking landmarks too far ahead, and the whole time I was running towards it I would think “I’m never going to make it that far” and I would start to get discouraged. But, if I picked something close, I would get there in no time and be on to the next one. I eventually jogged an entire half mile! So I started thinking. I need to lose like 50-60 pounds, but losing even 40 would be huge for me. When I think of that goal (landmark) it seems too far away to be feasible. So I need to pick something closer. Like 10 pounds. When I lose 10, I’ll think about the next 10. So every Tuesday, I’m going to tell you how I’m doing toward my first 10. I weighed myself yesterday, and after I went through all seven stages of grief*, this is the game plan I came up with. Who knows if it will work. Lord knows, I’ve got to do something.

Okay, got to go fill up my water glass again. My tonsils aren’t quite floating yet. Now if I can only get out of this chair without using my ass muscles. They’re freaking killing me. Who knew you had so many muscles in your ass?

*Shock, Denial, Bargaining, Guilt, Anger, Depression, Acceptance

Friday, April 20, 2007

Water Water Everywhere...

Hello and Hallelujah, the sun is finally shining! That nor’easter was really a pain in the ass. It made last weekend miserable, and it prevented me from going into work on Monday.

You see, there is only one road into and out of my little neighborhood. That one road runs alongside a canal. So at the highest point of high tide, the canal overflowed and flooded the street. So, since my little Honda Civic doesn’t have a outboard motor, we worked from home that day. The tides did eventually subside some hours later. But with all the train delays, it just wasn’t worth trying to make my way into the office. Besides, I was in my jammies in a warm house with an endless supply of hot coffee with southern pecan coffemate – you couldn’t have pulled me out of there for anything!

That little aforementioned street is at the very north end of my neighborhood. I live on the very south end. South, as in, 8 houses away is the open bay. At the southern most point of my street is a narrow bulkhead with a railing (like you see on dead end streets) and beyond that is good old Atlantic Ocean water. The water came up and over that bulkhead and alllllll the way down the street. See here: That Honda Pilot on the left is ours, sitting in our driveway. The railing is way down at the end beyond the parked white car. The houses on the right, across the street, are on the canal, so the water overflowed from behind their house as well. Back water met front water, so they were completely surrounded. Yikes! We watched the water creep up our driveway, but luckily it stopped a few feet short (we have a High Ranch so no basement). Of course, Big Tuna gets on his Big Tuna Boots and goes wading out into the middle of it all just because he can. He ends up talking to other neighbor husbands who all have on their manly man boots too. Inside, they are all really just 12 year old who like to splash in puddles, aren’t they?

And speaking of water and splashing – seamonkeys lessons aren’t exactly going swimmingly (HA GET IT).The second time we brought him; BT got the not so bright idea to convince my parents to come along. First of all, let’s try to imagine the ridiculousness of four grownups bringing in a 7 month old to watch him be walked up and down the length of a pool shall we? I was mortified. I never want to be one of THOSE parents and here I am doing it. I think having both BT and I there every week is already very silly. Anyway, of course that day he was all off his nap schedule, so he went into it totally over-tired. He did his usual scream thing, and I just kept saying “Don’t worry, he’ll stop soon”. But after saying it 25 times it became clear that stopping wasn’t on the agenda. Making this all the more aggravating, was the fact that my parents were acting as if we had thrown him into a vat of boiling oil. “Wow, he is really crying”. “He really doesn’t like this” “Maybe you should take him out” “Maybe swimming isn’t a good idea” “Starfish, don’t you think he’s had enough?” “Oh my God listen to him cry”. So, Crying Baby+Annoying Parents+Tired after a long day of work + Starving = Complete and utter nervous breakdown. I finally got up (you can watch from a room that overlooks the pool with a one way mirror), went into the pool area, and took seamonkey out after 20 minutes. The ride home was pretty quiet. I believe the only words I said were “You are NEVER allowed to come again”. I think I heard my mom laugh. Sheesh, grandparents. I sure don’t recall my parents going that nutso over ME.

The third time we brought him, we tried to ease him into it. We brought him to the pool area well before his session. We let him get used to the noise, and see the other kids. Alas, as soon as I handed him over to Shawn, he started crying again. Now let me say, that we know his cries. It wasn’t the ‘I’m in excruciating pain cry’ or the ‘something just scared the living shit out of me’ cry…it’s the ‘I am just not happy at all and I must tell everyone around me’ cry. Kind of moany and whiny screaming. If it were the all out red faced can’t catch my breath cry, I would have pulled him out immediately. I’m not a complete barbarian. Partial maybe. So we left him in. After about 10 minutes, BT and I start trading looks, and I start to feel the nervous breakdown feeling creeping back in. So I went to the front desk to talk to them. As soon as I began talking I started getting all choked up, which, if you knew me, is NOT like me at all. I managed to keep my shit together, and I asked the woman “Look, he is still screaming…at what point do we say enough is enough? I feel like we’re torturing him”. From the time I approached the desk, she had a knowing smile on her lips. She patiently let me talk, and then she said very nicely “Okay. Listen to me. “DO NOT PULL HIM OUT. You will be sorry you did. If you can’t watch him cry, then STAY OUT HERE.” She then went on to tell me about all the kids who have cried and proceeded to be awesome swimmers. I was really happy that she told me flat out what I needed to hear. She gave us some other options if we still didn’t feel right about it, like changing instructors, or time of day, or allowing us in the pool before the session to ease the transition…but my gut tells me he’ll be okay – he just needs to get used to it.

So THIS week when we brought him, he cried for 15 minutes and then stopped. And he actually enjoyed himself. In fact, he SWAM. No, seriously! Shawn had him lying in the water, holding him by the armpits and and Holy Crap if this kid wasn’t kicking his legs with a big ol’ smile on his face. *Sigh* I swear. This is why God created Vodka. And is why I just found this:

Monday, April 16, 2007

Monthly Update - 7 Months old

Dearest Seamonkey:

Another whole month has gone by. I know I say this in every letter, but the time sure does go fast. Recently I heard the phrase "The days are long but the years are short". So true! You are such a solid little boy already, and we can't even remember you as the little peanut we first grew to love. We watch the videos from Colombia over and over and you look so small and different than you do now.
I wouldn't say that there have been dramatic changes in you this month. More like a general improvement in everything. You've got that pincer grasp thing down, and you concentrate very intently when there is a small speck of something you want to grab on your high chair. Your brows furrow in deep concentration. You seem to eat more hungrily now, and it is less of a chore to get you to eat. Sometimes I can't seem to shovel it in fast enough for you. You also roll over both ways now, and it's your preferred method of transportation. You can get yourself into crawling position from a sitting position, but once you're there, you're not quite sure what to do. You'll rock back and forth a bit, making us think you're about to start moving forward, but alas, you're not quite ready yet it seems. We're trying to keep you on the floor as much as possible to encourage you.
Your amazing personality continues to shine. Anytime you see someone you know, you smile a big cheesy grin. If it's someone you really like, like Daddy or Grandpa, you jump up and down and laugh. You have really been cracking up alot lately. One of us will say something that suddenly strikes you as hilarious, and you'll giggle so hard you can't catch your breath. That of course, makes us laugh, and you start laughing at us laughing. It never fails to make tears of laughter stream down my face.
With strangers you start out a bit wary...looking from the person to us and back again, as if to say "I don't know Mom, this guy looks kind of shifty to me..." But after a few minutes you are smiling. You LOVE other kids. Especially your cousins. You'll spontaneously grab them for your version of a kiss...it's the cutest thing.
This is your second cousin N, who is the closest in age to you...she's just a few months older. We love to see you together, and we hope you develop as strong a friendship as her mother and I do.
This month included your first Easter. The Easter Bunny brought you a ton of gifts via your grandparents, aunts and uncles. You even opened it yourself:We started the day by going to Aunt M's house and having dinner with Daddy's family. You were intrigued by the little dogs and didn't even cry. Afterwards we went to your Great Aunt's house to see my side. I hardly saw you the entire evening, because you were passed around from person to person. You didn't mind one bit. At one point I think I saw you holding a chocolate twizzler in your hand. I knew any attempts to tell my family what you were allowed to eat would be met by yelling and shooing, so I didn't bother. I figured one day wouldn't kill you. By the end of the night, I was handed back an overstimulated, sweaty, sticky, but extremely happy baby. After a good hose down, you slept like a rock.

Almost every day your father and I comment about how blessed we are. We wonder if everyone loves their child this intensely, and if a baby can get bruises from being kissed so much. Your grandma (my mom) went through her old pictures to show us how you look just like me when I was a baby:
What do you think? Same eyes and nose...but maybe all brown eyed brown haired babies look the same. Anyway, we know you were chosen especially for us, no matter what. We love you very much.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Time Traveler's Wife

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have participated in the latest round of the Barren Bitches Brigade Book Tour. I opted in because I heard alot of good things about this book and was anxious to read it. Each participant has been asked to select three questions from a list and answer them. Below is my review and my answers. Hop along to another stop on this blog tour by visiting the main list here

Spoiler Alert
If you want to read this book but haven't yet, you may want to avoid reading this post.

So on to my review. In a nutshell: This book bugged me. I was excited to read it since it had the sci-fi time traveling thing going on as well as the fact that it was supposed to be a grand love story. Everyone was tellingl me that they read it over and over, and how they cried every time. I gotta tell ya, I just didn't see it. I thought it was a dark depressing story, with desperation as it's main theme. Henry DeTamble was a reckless human being, not only with his own life, but with the life of his wife and future child. Clare Abshire is a lost soul. She starts out that way before she meets Henry, and when he arrives on the scene she is desperate for the attention she couldn't get elsewhere. . Besides the fact that his visits start to border on the inappropriate, his tales of their wonderful future have Clare enraptured. She focuses on nothing else and misses out on a normal childhood and early adulthood...convinced by Henry that their fate is already sealed. Their "real" life together is snippets of sex surrounded by dark periods of oppresive waiting. It's hard to figure out if Clare is really in love or just unnaturally dependent on Henry. The more time she spends with him, the more depressed she becomes. At the end, she is even more lost than she was when she began.

The chapters about infertility are heart wrenching, and I suppose one could argue that they accurately reflect the horrible pain, suffering and desperation that many women go through. As my answers below will indicate, I feel that Clare's intentions are selfish, so much so that she disregards the health of her babies, and they die as they time travel out of her womb. I have a hard time believing that any woman would be that desperate (and stupid).

I don't expect to be in the majority with my views. I know that many people liked it, and if you got something good out of this book, that's great. It was certainly a well crafted story, just not my cup of tea. If you want some serious romantic time traveling story about a woman who can't conceive, go read Outlander. Now that's my cup of tea with milk and honey! (For another fulfilling albeit cheesy experience, go rent Lake House).

Clare endures a lot trying to create a child. She keeps trying, regardless of the fact that she continuously miscarries, continuously wakes up covered in blood, and knows that her child could have the same "problem" as her husband. What drove her to continue down this road and why do you think Henry participated?

Clare was so desperate to have a piece of Henry with her always, that she stopped at nothing to get it. Because Henry came into her life so early and so often, Clare knew nothing else but him. Her whole world revolved around him; her days were either spent with him, or pining away for him until he returned. So it’s no surprise that Clare says “I wanted someone to love who would stay: stay and be there, always. And I wanted Henry to be in this child, so that when he was gone he wouldn’t be entirely gone, there would be a bit of him with me…insurance, in case of fire, flood, act of God.” Which funny enough, she does end up needing in the end. I suppose Henry participated at the time because at that particular moment he hadn’t really known for sure if they could or could not produce a baby. Although he does say “I know, without knowing, that this is very unlikely”. I believe that Clare couldn’t think rationally, or even objectively…so obsessed was she with having Henry, even if it was just a small tie to him. If mothering were her only objective, she could have adopted. But when Henry suggests it she says “But that would be fake. It would be pretending.” Maybe it was at this point that I really started to hate this book.

The present and future intersect frequently in the book. Often the result of these minglings is that information about the future is hinted at or revealed early but the actual experiences cannot be altered or prevented. If you could have known about the struggles you'd face on your path to parenthood, would you have wanted to know? Would you go back and warn or prepare yourself, even though you'd be powerless to change the outcome? Why or why not?

If I couldn’t change the outcome, then I wouldn’t want to know. I remember sitting in my RE’s office after the first failed cycle, having a real conversation after we finished with all the medical talk. I was saying that if someone could just tell me, “Look, this is never going to work so stop wasting your time”, I would have stopped in a heartbeat and went on to adoption. But as we all know, the siren song of IVF is strong. Each new cycle I thought “THIS is the time it’s going to work!”. But eventually we realized that it never would. So, even if I thought I could prepare myself for that awful journey, I don’t think I would have believed myself. I would have tried to change the outcome anyway. Clare is clearly very happy when she learns that eventually she has a baby, although she doesn’t know how many tries it will take. She has one further miscarriage, and there is no discussion of how she felt through it, so it’s unclear if was easier for her to bear than the others. No miscarriage is of course, but perhaps that glimmer of hope gave her the strength to try again.

Due to his ability to time travel and jumps into the future, Henry knows that he is going to die. Yet in the beginning, he works hard to try to create a baby with his wife. This situation obviously benefits Henry in that he gets to parent Alba for a bit before he dies. This situation also benefits Clare since she wants to be a mother. Yet Alba grows up without her father yet with his extraordinary abilities—abilities that were a difficult adjustment for Henry growing up. Do you think he acted in the best interests of his child when he helped create her knowing that he would not be around to help her understand her ability to time travel? Do you think it is truly possible to take the feelings of a child in mind prior to creation as well as fulfill your own need to parent? If you had been in Henry's shoes, would you have created this child knowing she would be able to time travel and you would not be there to help her understand this anomaly?

Throughout this whole story, I couldn’t help but think that Henry was hiding behind his “fate” theory, and engineering all these events out of pure selfishness. Or if not selfishness, his desperation to stay grounded in the present. To begin with, I don’t think he acted in the best interests of Clare. I think he could have withheld his identify from her when he came to her as a young girl. He didn’t have to supply her with the list of dates that caused her to spend her life waiting for their next encounter and essentially stealing her childhood. It was as if he were cementing his future by binding her to him from the very beginning. Although he gets a vasectomy, a time traveling self gets her pregnant anyway. Knowing what he is, and what could happen, he does it anyway. I think it is a necessity to take the feelings (and health!) of a child in mind prior to creation. Your desire to parent a biological child should never supercede their welfare. Even worse if you know you won’t be around to help them.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Take me out......

....to the ballgame!

Happy Mets Opening Day!