Monday, September 29, 2008

Bawdy vs. Body

Young girls dressed up in ridiculous barely there frocks with 6 inch stiletto hooker heels. They stumble awkwardly, trying to maintain their balance and appear confident, all the while tugging the top of their too small strapless dress up again. Their Mamas walk behind them, oblivious to their error, cooing about the pictures they will take, seeing their daughters off to the night of Homecoming dances and who knows what else these days.
(Scene from the park on Friday evening while I played with the boys on the climber and observed the going ons).

I never did that, at least I do not think that blatantly and at such a young age. I maybe cringe a little bit when I think back on my concept of sexy in those high school years. But it seems like the sexy gets younger every year. And no offense to my Mama friends with girls, but I am glad I escaped that part of the world.

Now, I do think I know what sexy can be. It can be a lovely night (later that same Friday actually) with a close girlfriend, taking pictures to give to her husband as a Christmas surprise. Tasteful, yet revealing and just beautiful.
sexy jenn
The best part…she looked at the photos and told me she felt wonderful seeing herself like that. A night that started with us both being a little nervous (remedied by a few glasses of bubbly) ended with a set of racy photos, a totally trashed living room and two very empowered women (three, if you count her adorable sister who was my photog assistant).
post photo shoot
Post baby (babies) I think we all have to reclaim our own sexy goddess. I am still looking for mine, but I am so glad I was able to help another mama find hers.

And who knows, this could lead me into a new career direction. I can see it now…the ‘Bawdy Mama ‘ Photographer. Already all my other friends are clamoring for a night for their own session.

Just so you know…J okayed the use of her photos. And they were quite a bit racier, but I cropped out all the good stuff ;)
my fave by far
My favorite of the night

So, now, I challenge you, all my Mama (and non Mama friends) to do something for yourself that brings to the surface a little of the sexy. Maybe a new pair of pretty panties, maybe wear something that brings out your racy side….and enjoy it. We do not have to leave the sexy to the teenage girls, actually, it is probably okay for us grown women to take it back.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Backpacks :: Questions Answered

Well, my boys are really lovely cute creatures, but it seems that the backpacks that carry them are of great interest to many out there.
backpacks s.b.
I wanted to post it here because so many have asked (so many, like, 5 people, which is a lot for this little blog). I did a little research and you may not like what I have found.
backpack mission

The label on the reads Gerry, not a familiar brand in today's baby product world. I picked our pair up at the resale shop when the boys were about 5 months old and we have been using them heavily ever since. They totaled 24 bucks for the two, a far cry from the 200 it would have cost at REI.
backpack lake

I went back to find a few photos and got sucked into "when our babies were small' land so please excuse the plethora of pictures in what should be a fairly short post.
bakpack sleep
Anyways, when Googled I found out Gerry is gone (bought by Evenflo in 97), that these backpacks must be pretty old and that there is a recall on them due to large leg holes from which baby can slip out (whoops). Having noted that, um, these are the best darn things we have ever bought for babies.
backpack cabin
They have seen the world in them, but also watched as I cooked dinner or my Mama watered the backyard, and they were key in the three to two nap switch when Owen still needed a short nap pre-dinner just to make it through. You out there in the 5-7 month range know what I am talking about.

They are getting too big for them and we only use them in a pinch. No long sunset hikes anticipated this Fall, not that I could carry them very long at their current weight. And they refuse to stay in anything as they are big boys now and can walk.
backpack tahoe
I would pass them along but one is deeded to my sister for her little one and one is going to my brother. But there is a Ebay can find anything on the Internet, even dangerously recalled back packs.
backpack past
Our first hike with them in the backpacks, heads bobbing and all, were they ever really that small?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Seventeenth Month

It has been quite a month, and I am struggling a bit to recall it all. It was full of events of importance, of my first leaving and what will be your daddy’s first time away without us coming up this weekend. Here are a few things I am thinking about :

::The way you both drop onto your tummies in the bath when I tell you to ‘swim’. You squiggle down and kick all the way across the tub, you know, all 10 inches left. You are both so big now.
not safe, but he loves it

::The way you run Matchbox cars over every windowsill. Great incentive for cleaning the window sills.

::The park accomplishments which include climbing a vertical ladder without ‘help’ and going up the stairs with the rail. Not down though, when you go to get down I say “careful” and you turn around and go down backwards. And you climb up on the play horses and Jeeps and rock them with great abandon and then climb off, usually with success. There still are a lot of biffs on the playground but it is getting better.
trying to reach them

::The joy your red wagon brings. Owen, you love to push it everywhere and Mason, you love to ride so we have actually had moments of cooperative play/fun that soothe my heart.

:: Airplanes.
the plane

::The way you both understand toys now. Months ago we found those old school cube shape sorters. You liked them but had very little success. Now I find you with them, holding a shape and turning the cube to find the correct hole. You are not terribly accurate and still need some cues, but you understand the concept. And the stacking toys, the blocks, well, endless possibilities. And then there is always dirt. Ugh.

::The fun of ‘reading’ with you. This currently entails finding every ball, car and dog in each book and repeatedly reassuring you that you have found the ball/car/dog. Trains are ramping up in popularity, babies still receive sloppy kisses, and stories are still never finished because you do not sit still long enough

I have to admit, there are a lot of things you still do not get. Mason, you do not understand the need to share things. You are quite content gathering every little car, or every block in play and you tend to keep them away from your brother. You are a determined little man with a mean scream when I interrupt you and attempt to ’encourage’ sharing. You also do not understand the need to damper your banshee scream…a sound that has driven me a little mad due to the inhuman pitch. Owen, you just recently decided you do not get the need to sleep through the night anymore. Oh, the night wakings.
we love the jumper
It is not crying, no, it is talking, rambling on in your husky voice. Then comes the kicking, the crib kicking, the wall kicking (mind you, your room adjoins ours and your kicks land squarely and rattle me a bit). Then sometimes the crying. I am thinking you decided to start your 18 month sleep regression early. It is all the rage in the twin blogging world right now, wouldn’t want to be left out.

But this too shall pass, into what, I have no idea. At least I am getting six hours of sleep most nights. Always has been enough for me, gives me just enough energy to do the day and a good excuse to lay down with you at nap time if need be. And that is saying a lot considering the energy it requires to keep up with you.
The other day at the park we played with a boy named Joshua. He proudly announced to me that he was four, asked if you were girls or boys (it’s the hair that confuses people) and displayed his impressive rock climbing skills. And it made my heart squeeze a bit to realize that sooner than I thought, I will be writing your 47th month letter (well, maybe not that soon once I break it down to months). Part of me cannot wait and the other wants to freeze time. Ah, the juxtaposition of being your Mama.

Love you, boys, Mama loves you so very much.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Weekend :: Part I

I am tackling the weekend in a two part post because it was that epic. I am sitting here and thinking I have to write, despite an aching back screaming for a heating pad and a very tired mind from all of the activity.

We moved (one) of my baby brothers out this weekend, off to UCSB to start his journey as a young fairly independent college student far enough from home to not be able to get back for the night. He was beyond excited, but I could see the apprehension build as the weekend approached.
welcome to SB
I suggested that we tag along to help with the move in, not sure how helpful it is to have two toddlers, but I so wanted to be there. I was with my Mama when he came into the world, it felt right to help him move out to start this new chapter.

We had a really great drive up, surprising to me as I anticipated some car melt downs in the two hour time span. I was stunned by his dorm situation. The kid lives a two minute walk from the beach, his building has a balcony overlooking a lagoon and he scored a corner room with light and fresh air that stream in.
It was hard to believe that we were going to leave him there, but it went alright. I even got out of there without crying. And it was a joy to watch my boys run up and down his dorm halls, breaking in the floor to the fact that he might have some very uncool older siblings with two babies crashing on his dorm floor. Well, probably not, Tim and I are too old to crash out on floors now, but the babies were a hit on campus.
the boys
And I am in awe that my baby brother will be receiving his college education in the most gorgeous place on earth. I am so happy for him. Now let's just hope he stays focused and spends more time studying than hanging out at the pool steps from his dorm. Yes, I said pool. I ask myself why I went to NYC for school when I could have been here.
the view

After we reluctantly left the campus, we headed into SB proper to do a little walking and window shopping.
I had a slightly devious plan to get Tim and the boys into the downtown area so I could casually direct us to the three yarn stores I looked up on Ravelry before we headed out. Such a bad Mama. But it was not to be, the boys were in full melt mode and we were all a bit out of it.
the fig
We ended up parking by the giant famous fig tree and saddling the boys up in the much too small backpacks. After a few pictures, I realized we were not too far from one of the shops I had found, I consulted my sketched out map and everyone was nice enough to come along as I think they thought Mama was close to melting a bit herself.

We ended up on the loveliest of streets, a few down from the unbearably busy State St. It was a quiet cottage lined street and I thought my directions were wrong due to the residential feel. But we came upon the Loop and Leaf and my heart skipped a bit because it was just gorgeous. See?
I promised to not be too long and slipped in, leaving the babies outside with the big boys (Tim and my (other) brother). This place is heaven for knitters and they carry Habu. I just about fainted. And then I heard the babies inside and freaked out because the havoc, oh, the havoc they wreak with my yarn at home. But all was well because in the small room to the side of all the yarny goodness was a comfortable room with a couch, coffee and toys galore.
they have toys
The boys blissed out on the new toys and I blissed out on the yarn. The owner Celeste was the one to bring the babies in (she has a little one) and we talked about Habu and blogs (so weird how knitting and blogs are completely intertwined, it must sound like a foreign language). And I talked with the other woman working there about twins and yarn and portland, OR. And then it happened...I asked Celeste if I could blog some pictures, she asked my blog, and Brook, who had just rang up my modest purchase (of habu Silk/Stainless steel yarn) said, You are Mamie? Because, get this, a few weeks ago I responded to a great comment and she happened to live in SB and I happened to mention I was heading that way and then we both kinda' had that blogging connection when we were like, we should meet up some time if we get a all know the initial feeling of "I think I would like this person IRL".

But it just so happened the one shop we made it to, the one I picked randomly, not only held some of the most wonderful yarn, not only had a knitting group going that welcomed my slightly hysterical children and even played with them, it also held a person that I know now I am destined to see again.
Brook, my commenter, was also the same woman I had been talking to about the shop, twins, Portland, etc. We ended up hugging and forgetting to take a picture together (I am such a bad blogger) but I am going to make it a point to get up there again just to sit and talk and knit in that place. And if you are near you should too. It is awesome and they are having a trunk show for Habu yarns next weekend.
Go if you can and say hi to Brook and Celeste, believe me, you want to knit in this place.

We ended the day in dismal L.A. traffic way past the babies bedtime (what is up with L.A. having the crappiest drivers in the world? The whole world..I swear. They brake when the freeway curves. Dorks). You can see the set of SB pictures here. I cannot wait to get back. It is so great to know a place we once loved visiting is now accessible again, babies in tow.

Part II will feature Sunday's party schedule : a baby shower and a baby's 1st birthday party. Now I am out. Gotta' get back to latest knit project...I am loving my fair isle right now.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Blogger, bite me

Okay, Blogger is being crazy and not allowing me to edit the previous post, sp. mistakes and all. Sorry, it is pretty terrible. Plus no pictures because Blogger basically sucks ass. Sorry, delicate readers, I am just a little on it right now.

Here are some photos that I wish were interspersed in the post, because, you know, that is how I do it. Usually. Arg. Blogger.
Their Favorite place to be
Our Wagon
Scooting in Claremont
Daddy and the Boys
me first, no, me first
Hi airplane
hi airplane
Lunch sans Seats
lunch perch
i am so desperately in love with my boys. Can I just say, this gig is great. I have been trying to up my patient case load for the last few weeks, just to ow it would go. I tyold myself I would go back to work when they were 6 months, 12 months, maybe 18 months. Back to work is relative as I have been working but, like, real work. And you know what, everytime I try to organize it so that I can work more...well, I let it fall through. Because I love this job. My Mama time job.

There is something so wonderful about being witness. I found a fun red wagon a few weeks back at our resale shop and snatched it up. Since then it has become the star attraction for both boys. The other day Owen sat in it for 30 minutes with his Matchbox car in his mouth and his water bottle in his hand, just chilling. They spend inordinate amounts of time opening the door, getting out, then climbing back in. They jostle, sometimes outright push, but usually the peace is kept due to two bench seats. I love the wagon, but I love their fascination with it more.

Being witness means so many things these days. There are times when I realize I have sang 20 silly songs, counted to ten at least thirty three times, pointed up at airplanes in the sky over 40 times and then ran Matchbox cars over every surface of the house and every surface of my body and called this a day. A working day. And a pretty hard one at that.

I love my boys. I love their shrill screams and their constant abbling, their attempts at communication that range from the caveman to the actually intelligible. I love their curiosity, the way they stamp their feet when the totally inapproriate MIA song comes on and the way we dance and laugh and tackle.

Over the weekend on my Girls Night Out I took a stroll around the resort pool, a huge complex. I was with the only other Mama and it was the morning of the second day, hour before we head back home. We ended up at the kid's section, trying not to look like stalkers but unable to resist the hollers and joyful laughter. I wanted to tell all the other parents that we were one of them and that we would love to ride down the water slide with our boys. We talked bout vacations together next year with the kids and I could not have been more excited. Because as stellar as my time away was, it made me realize that nothing out there can hold a candle to my life as it is now.

Like I said, the greatest gig ever.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Girls Night Out

Growing up, I was not really great with having friendships with women. In high school most of my close friends, the ones I really talked to, were men. Odd, as I was surrounded by women due to my all female parochial schooling (or, maybe not so odd, if you think about it). In college I found one or two close women but we lost track of each other once our lives left NYC. Then Tim and I established our lives and for some time I found myself befriending the women of all of our guy friends, women they chose and that happened to come into my sphere due to their relationships with my friends. And eventually this was no longer satisfactory as they were not the nicest people and I realized that they could not truly claim to be my friends. You could say I have been pretty badly burned when it comes to female friendships.

I drifted in the friendship world for a bit, occasionally really feeling the lack of connection with other women in my life, but content and rarely lonely. Then things changed over the last few years. When we made the decision to become parents and then had twins, well, I wanted some connection…something more. And once I realized that I craved friendship something shifted. Over the last three or four years I have found some of the most amazing women in my life and that feels wonderful.

One of these women is Kate and we celebrated her Bachelorette weekend in a luxurious resort villa in Palm Desert.
party favors
I can say I was excited but apprehensive about going away, the only other girls weekend’ I have ever done was Vegas with the mean girls, and that scared me off a bit to the whole going away with other girls thing. But this time, oh, this time I will never forget. It was the best time I have ever had with a group of women and I know it was due to our joy and celebration of each other.

The setting was beyond.
gorgeous bed
We were at the Hyatt in a private villa (provided due to a hookup, not because any of us are wealthy) and the room had vaulted ceilings, French doors opening to our private backyard, an unbelievably sumptuous bathroom with deep tubs and mirrors everywhere (which none of us were completely enamored of, not always great to see one in all her glory, you know?). We really did have a private butler to provide anything we asked for, including a well stocked bar with waaay too many alcohol choices.

But best of all, we had each other. And that is why it was such and amazing time that is echoing in my mind right now. The serious conversations, the hilarious (and yes, inebriated) jokes we crafted with each other, the cuddles, the ridiculous pictures,
the making each other feel loved and fun and sexy…it was everything I thought women friendship could be. To finally have it, to be part of i,t was a gift that makes me feel all giddy.

We were also privileged to be served by my friend’s Mama, an established chef in the desert community.
sticky chicken
Not only did she prepare the best meal ever, she also told us tales of her famous clients, nothing bad but all very interesting. She had one about GW Bush…let’s just say, it struck me that he is a man and gentleman, even if he is the biggest screw up president ever.

The weekend closed with a commitment to find one weekend a year to meet and do what we did…to take the time to celebrate and cherish each other, to laugh and drink too much, to snap ridiculous pictures that will never see the light of day because of missing clothing articles (ahem, Kate). To be women.

I knew my thirties were going to be the best decade of my like. Right about now I am finding out why. Here is to us, women who understand support and love and fun and joy.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Kickoff

I have been meaning to address the post- Cleanse period, but things have been totally crazy around here and it is not slowing down anytime soon. I will put it briefly by saying, I feel great. Really healthy, light, slim and full of energy. I did the Cleanse early in the month because I knew I needed something to kick start my energy because things are so busy from now until Christmas. Our best friend’s are getting married and Tim is their best man. The nest few weekends are filled with Bachelor/Bacherlorette parties, showers, moving a brother to college in Santa Barbara, the wedding, a autumn trip and then the holidays begin. Whew. It makes me glad I started Christmas knitting in july.

The weekend was a blur, my sister, b-I-l and Baby Kayda were in town, we crammed in time with our children, cuddling, passing kids around, eating (my plan to slowly back off the Cleanse went to hell in a hand basket when my parents prepared an Indo feast on Sunday), discussing Mama hood (in the bathroom after one too many sakes… sisters are the best things in the world) and hugging.
almost got them all
We marveled at the fact that we are now Mamas and the changes it has wrought in our lives. And we laughed, about it all, because that is what you do.
Our Kayders is a perfect blend of her Mama and Dada and our boys had no idea what to do with a baby. They stared mute as my sister breastfed, trying to figure out the whole milk situation, they handed her toys but stole her binky, and they played the occasional pack horse when needed.
ride 'em, cowgirl
But I could tell they loved it, this new person, these family members that we see and wish for more time with. Oh, distance, it really strikes home how hard it is to be far from family when the children come into the picture.

I also had the chance to gift my sweet Kate with her wedding shawl. It was received with smiles and modeled briefly before getting tucked away until the big day.
I had to include pictures of the wrapping because I love it so. Wedding section of Target if you would like some for yourself.
I was quite proud of wrapping it as there was so much going on before her shower I could almost have imagined walking in and just handing it to her. But I did it, got it in the box and properly made up. I am really looking forward to time with her this weekend, we are all escaping to a luxury villa in Palm Desert for the weekend, just the girls and some food and wine. And a personal butler. And a personal chef (alright, it is one of the Mama's of an attendee and only for one night, but still, she is a chef and preparing a gourmet meal for just us. Woot). This will be my first solo trip away from the family and I am bubbling with excitement. I rarely went away even pre-babies, but this group of women rock, they are really down to earth, fun to be with and I cannot wait. And, ahem, did I mention the butler?

So, I have been knitting but I have most of the projects in various states of completion and none are very bloggable right now. But they are fun. I have a list projects to try to get to each week/month/etc and I seem to be sticking to it. And finding it fun and rewarding. But I did get distracted by some fabric that I bought in anticipation of Dia de las Muertas (almost as great a day as Halloween).
Snip those threads, Mama
I wanted to make the boys some pants, found this cozy flannel, then was inspired by the cooler mornings and fall like temperatures of the last two days (yeah, that would be low 60s in the morning and 80s in the afternoon...autumn California style. The pants are a quick project, I run into trouble on the waistband, but for these I just folded over the top, seamed with a hole in the back and threaded some elastic through the waist band. I used 1.5 inch elastic which seems to be comfortable on their baby tummies.
Halloween pants
And they were so cute, actually trying to get them on during the 'fittings'. It is almost as if they know when I make them something and get excited about it. Makes me feel so great. And I am encouraged to keep sewing, even though I am challenged by it in many ways.

So, onward to the rest of the week. Friday Tim and I are going on the Claremont village Wine Walk, a first for us. It sounds great, a night in the village, walking to shops that will be serving wine and food. If you are anywhere near Claremont you have to try The Back Abbey for excellent Belgium imported beer, then cross the court yard into Casa 425's enclosed patio, where you can sit and have a drink on comfy outdoor couches next to a glass firepit (our anniversary night and maybe post Wine Walk). Then off to the Villa for me on Saturday. I promise to take pictures.

And the last thing...probably the last time we can cram them into the same swing. they had a blast.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Master Cleanse :: Day Five


I am going to blog some of the less than pleasant aspects of the Cleanse first. Here, on Day 5, I find myself in the fifth day of a headache that is currently wrapping itself around my brain and preventing me from typing in any effective way. It hurts. And I am over it. I have had it since Day 1, but I can usually function okay with a headache. I have found myself reaching for the little orange Motrin that sit on my bedside table more than once, then reminding myself to drink water and leave the pills there...because on a cleanse, well, I think over the counter meds are a bit off limits. I have been using Wonder Oil (a Indo remedy consisting mainly of strong eucalyptus oil), drinking water, getting neck massages. And none of it helps much.

I am a bit surprised at the persistence of the headache as I usually only have one small cup of coffee in the morning, so I did not expect such a lingering (with such a vengeance) of the headache. It is likely due to the absence of the whole lot, the carbs, the coffee, the glass of wine I like to savor. I am not sure it is going to go away during this time.

Good stuff: Not feeling weighed down anymore, not having any type of indigestion and/or other GI stuff, and I have been sleeping so well, without any of the night wakings that have become standard since the twins were born. And with the sleep has come a return of the vivid dreams I used to have before children and total sleep disruption. I always loved my dreams, they have never been terribly exciting or relevant, but I used to wake and recall the whole thing, start to finish. In the last few days this ability has returned and I welcome it.

Another thing; I was worried about energy, you know, the kind required to chase two insane toddlers around, maintain some modicum of a household and work a few hours in the meantime. And I am happy to say there was a lot of energy to go around. I almost feel as if I had more, odd as that may sound. I took less downtime and accomplished a few things I had been meaning to get to. One of which was to jump on the February Lady Bandwagon (I know, not the smoothest knitting segue) and get this to the point where I feel it may be ready for Autumn, when it comes to us (usually in October).
'bandwagon' progress

I am using Cascade Yarns Venezia Worsted, it is lovely. It is a solid colored yarn, merino and silk, with a lovely sheen and drape. I think it will be a welcome piece to add to my 'knits I will wear' collection. I can see why so many are enamoured of this pattern. It is simple and fairly quick, the lace repeat easily memorized and the construction looks flattering to all shapes and sizes. I would have loved to try Sundara's worsted weight yarns, but apparently that wagon is long gone. Oh, how I would love to get some (read: all) of the yarns I find through Ravelry and other people's projects and stash.

I think the 5 days of the Cleanse were a good start. It has demystified the process and built my confidence that I can try the 10 day in the future. It has done no harm and made me feel a bit lighter, a bit more conscious of what, how and when I want to eat. I have read that Days 5 to 10 are when the real detox starts, lots of accounts of disgusting tongues and body pain, but I think for now I can say I am done.

My plan for the next three or four days is to do the lemonade for the first part of the day and then introducing a vegetable meal in the afternoon, using the salt water flush every two or three days and then figuring it out from there. I do feel like I am cheating by doing only the 5 days, but I think I am where I need to be for now and I will revisit the Cleanse at a later time.

Next, up, more knitting content and new pictures of my niece Kayda. She really is to die for.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Master Cleanse :: Day Three

I finally went and did it and stayed true to my word. I began the Master Cleanse on Tuesday, following a weekend of fun and festivities. It is long overdue as I have felt stagnant and stopped in many ways, the least of being my digestive track. Or maybe the most, without my true knowledge.

I do not know how many readers here are familiar with the Cleanse, it requires a few days (10 is the suggested amount) of drinking this lemon/maple syrup concoction coupled with a salt water flush that is meant to rid your body of toxins and help reset the digestive clock, so to speak. I read many accounts of the experiences of others and had initially planned to try it when the boys were a few months old. That did not happen. But I had the required items in the pantry; sea salt, grade B maple syrup, fresh lemons from an orchard nearby. I finally took the plunge.

It has not been awful, but it sure ain't what I would call fun. The salt water flush is the worst part. You drink 4 cups salt warm water that is intended to flush your intestines etc. of internal, um, stuff. It does. Nuff said.

The lemon drink acts as your daily 'food' and is the agent to cleanse, supposedly. I love the way it tastes, just fresh and sweet (almost too sweet) and you basically drink a glass whenever you get hungry and chase it with some nice cold glasses of water to keep your system hydrated.

It sounds kind of crazy when I write it down. I have never done a cleanse before and thought this sounded the easiest to do, it costs almost nothing and the reports, though varied, seem to be fairly positive. So, as for working? Well, on Day Three, here are some reflections:

- It makes me really appreciate food. Good food. I have some pretty intense cravings to eat. I want veggies and fruit and to try some of the recipes that I have seen linked in other blog entries. I should probably stop looking at recipes. Even the stuff Anthony Bourdain was eating on his program looked good.

- I am less hungry than I thought I would be. I realize the lemonade contains quite a few calories due to the maple syrup content (if you drink recommended amounts, it supplies about 800 sugar...I know. Sounds crazy. But if you read the 40 page dossier, there are a lot of benefits to maple). I have yet to drink the whole amount recommended, they say 6-8 glasses.

- It also makes me realize just how much (or little) I need to put into my mouth. I am simultaneously reading In Defense of Food by Pollan, wherein he talks on how to eat in this new era of food production. There is a lot to be said for limiting our intake. Might actually be the key to health, not low fat, not high fiber, just less food.

- My skin is clearing up. I usually struggle with severely dry skin, a form of chronic eczema that I have never been able to banish (except when pregnant, ahhh, the glorious pregnancy skin). Today, my skin is less painful and dry and cracked. Hmmm. Nice. And another plus, an absence of body order that has become such an issue since pregnancy ended (let us not lie, it was a bit of an issue before, but after, arrrggg). I use Tom's of Maine, but it does little to help at times. These three days I have yet to use Tom's. Interesting, wouldn't you say?

So, a few more days to go. I do not count on making ten days, aiming for about 5 this time around. There is some debate about whether it helps to do the Cleanse for a few days. I am sure anything that can help us break free, even if just a bit, from the Western diet can have some positive effects. I am doing the Cleanse to reset my system, but not truly sure of any other goals. I plan on changing my eating style post-Cleanse, but we will hold off until that time comes.

Until then, hope all is well in blogland. Been a bit quiet around here in the comments. Would a picture help?

Owen modeling a botched Xmas gift. (Rav) It was meant for an adult male. Whoops. Second one came out better. More on knitting later.

P.S. Katie, I just got a box in the mail. Going to open it now.

Calmer, sweet. Thanks, K. :)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Bells and Butterflies.

I have been thinking a bit on work, prompted by an excellent post by Goddess over at HDYDI, by her post abut Palin on her own site and by a movie Tim and I watched last night. The movie is The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, a book I had read in my previous life of pre-kids/working full time.

I was surprised by the movie, I chose it because the title seemed familiar and the reviews were excellent. It did not occur to me that I had read the book of the same title some years ago. I know I must have been prompted to read it by someone in my old workplace. What surprised me was how I had completely forgotten the story of the man in the movie, the story of a relatively young and very successful Frenchman who had a major CVA (stroke) which left him ‘locked in’, that is alert, aware of his surroundings and completely cognizant of his situation only totally and utterly paralyzed except for the ability to blink his eyes.

If you have not heard or seen this movie, I recommend it. It is done well, it captures the essence of the book and the essence of the man. It neither uplifts nor terribly saddens you…it just gives you a broader awareness of the things that can happen to others.

Why did it prompt me to think of work? Well, for the first 8 years as a physical therapist I specialized in CVA and Brain Injury Rehabilitation. It was what I did. I worked day in and out in a specialized hospital with people who survived their ‘accidents’ and were coming out the other side, into a bewildering world where every action, every thought, all their freedom was altered. Sometimes it was a slight thing, sometimes it was a devastating blow, but they were all survivors and in a place where they then had to go on and sometimes completely re-learn the simplest of things.

I loved my work. It never freaked me out, though I tended to get overwhelmed at times, unable to dissociate myself from them, the ones I worked with. My thought on it was that I would provide care as if this person were my mother, my sister, my grandmother, my child. Not always the best way to maintain professional distance, but an excellent way to insure ethical and excellent treatment for a person. And I was pretty darn good at it too. There are many who came into out treatment facility that left, not whole, not totally healed, but enabled to take on their world in its new form. There are also many who did not. It is not a science, rehabilitation. It has a certain type of mystery, of challenge and of failure.

I spent many years doing this, always finding the next person to come into my care with some type of unique facet and some type of unique challenge. As the years went forward I scaled back to working part time, thinking I would not be able to maintain the work if we had children. I knew I could not be vested in the things work required while taking on the new challenge of Motherhood. The gift of my career was the appreciation it gave me for both the fragility and steel-like strength that is Life. The curse was the burden of loss and despair that one stands witness to in situations when one wakes to find their world unutterably altered.

I knew when I got pregnant I should no longer be in the Rehab setting. I am still glad I made the choice to move in the home sector of my profession. I now work for a company that brings the care into the patients’ homes. These are usually the elderly, recently returned from a stay in a hospital or care facility, in need of help during the transition back to home. It is rewarding, no where near as challenging and very part time. It is flexible and fairly easy to manage from home, though my documentation and organization could be better. It works for now.

But watching the movie and reading about the choices other Mamas make and have made and are making (sometimes in front of the whole world and the media and the RNC) made me reflect on those years. Those years I spent honing skills of observation, of physical intervention, of prioritization, using my judgment to help decide how and if and when a person could be deemed ready…they seem like along time ago. I am not sure I miss them, just that it seems odd they could have faded so completely from my current reality.

Whether I ever return to the intense setting I once comfortably navigated, whether I return to ‘real’ physical therapy at all, that I do not know. But I do think you should read or watch The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Just for a glimpse into another world.