Monday, March 30, 2009


Viv had her four month appointment today, and she was again deemed perfect.  Even the ARNP said that she has an ideally shaped face.  So, professionals have confirmed her to be so, to no one's surprise.   I mean, look at this face!

She is now 14.5 pounds, which is the 75th percentile and she is 25.25 inches long with a head circumference of 42 centimeters, both of which are in the 80-90th percentile.  Her muscular development is ahead of the curve and her sleeping habits (so far) are exceptional.  I'm so proud!  

If only these tricks were part of my audition package.

I've often thought I was born in the wrong era.  I wanted to be born in the 20s to allow me to be in my 20s in the 40s, so I could be a big band singer.  In my elaborate fantasy, Christian is a trumpeter in the band and we meet and fall in sparkly, lyrical love set to fantastic dance routines in sound stages made up to look like Paris.  However, if being a singer in the 40s would mean competing with the Ross Sisters, I would have been screwed.  I can't compete with that. 

Who are these women and why have most of us never heard of them until now?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

It was the shrimp, wasn't it?

God, let's have a little chat. I gave up two things for lent: buying yarn and eating fast food. I've been incredibly devoted to that first promise, which has been surprisingly difficult. I've mentioned before how yarn is my soul's warm blanket on a cold, cold night, and not picking up a beautiful skein here are there has been utter torture. The skeins I already have are not shielding me from the bitter cold of the recession. However, not spending any money on anything, much less yarn, has been another kind of balm for my worry, so I'm at least glad for that. Oh, and everything I've knitted in the past month has been with yarn from my stash, so there.

So really, fast food was a secondary promise. I only gave it up to save us some money and calories. I don't eat it all that often, really, it's mainly a convenience thing, so when Christian brought home Ivar's shrimp and fries last night, I gladly ate the meal. It was already paid for, so throwing it away would have been wasteful, it was Friday, so no meat, and I've been sick for over a week with a sinus infection, as stated in my most recent post, so I haven't had a lot of energy to cook. So why the disproportionate punishment, oh white haired One?

That first call to the bathroom at 1 am started out blandly enough, I thought I just had a little distress from the fried food. Happens sometimes. I have tempermental bowels. But then, the violent one two to the gut, wrenching my stomach out through my belly button and wringing out the contents in front of my eyes, not one, not two, not even three but five or six times, until there was nothing left but tears in my eyes? And then, the next bout at 3, so brutal that the force of it lifted me to my tiptoes, gasping and choking. But that wasn't enough! At 5 I was so grateful to have a bathroom small enough where I could sit on the toilet and reach the tub that I could have kissed the porcelain if it hadn't been visited once before, and not by a kiss.

And now, unable to even keep water down, so wrung out and exhausted that even typing this is an effort that will render me useless for hours, wondering when it will end. And all because of that shrimp. I get it. You made your point.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Warm now, please.

In three weeks, I will be here:

Right now, I'm cold, I've been sick for over a week and I have a messy house littered with hampers of laundry.  At least it's clean laundry.  That way, if I fall asleep under it, I won't wake up smelly.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

They help her self-confidence.

I have a shameful addiction, even more embarrassing than my love for Duran Duran and Easy Cheese.  I cannot stop watching pageant shows on WE and TLC.  Exploitative parents?  Check.   Unrealistic expectations?  Yep.  Enormous pressure placed on tiny shoulders?  Of course.  Women who wish they were still young enough to compete so they force their daughters to dress in matching outfits so they can compete together?  Don't you ever doubt it.  Tragic, inbred families who have one lone beautiful child they hope will save them (and their gene pool) from poverty/obscurity/institutionalization?  Yes, oui and da.  Fathers who watch blandly as their wives/sisters/mothers/grandmothers turn their children into hateful, vain, selfish, spoiled, greedy, arrogant little bitches?  You betcha.  Mothers who spend an entire month's salary on one beaded dress that makes her daughter look like a cowgirl stripper from the 50s, but keep the expense from the husband?  What he doesn't know won't hurt him.  Telling the world that no expense (nails, hair, tanning, clothing) is too great as long as it makes the little girl happy?  Paging Suze Orman.  Hiring a pageant coach/hairdresser/choreographer for a two-year-old  because only the most artificial child with the biggest hair is allowed to win?  Sing out, Louise.  Teaching the next generation that the only thing in the world that matters, aside from getting married before you get fat, is being pretty?  Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who's the vainest of them all?  All-encompassing fury boiling in my innards, so hot and violent that you can hear the enamel being ground from my teeth three counties over?  Just ask Farmer Bob in Snohomish.  He made a complaint about the noise.  

I'm so deeply ashamed that I now know the what flippers are and that the Grand Supreme title is for the contestant with the highest overall score.  Now where's my shoe so I can beat some sense into these parents?

Friday, March 20, 2009

The constant struggle.

Christian and I have already started talking about schools for Viv.  I went to Catholic school, he went to a free school in Seattle and then public grade school and high school in Bellingham.  I believe the education I received at private school put me ahead academically of my peer group in public school, and, as I spent a year and a half at a public junior high and was years ahead of my classmates in math and English, I had a good basis of comparison upon which to make that judgment.  

We agree so far that Viv should attend a private high school such as Blanchette, as their academic, extra curricular and sports activities are exceptional, and by that age, she'll be able to form her own judgments regarding the things she's taught, and we'll have had ample opportunity to instill in her the values we find important. 

However, grade school has become a bone of contention.  I want Viv to have the greatest opportunities for academic success, but I'm just not sure I can send Viv to a school that teaches the things the Church taught me while I was growing up.  I don't want Viv to think that gay people are sinners and that their love is less than that of straight people and that they can change if they choose.  I don't want her to be taught that condom use will exacerbate the AIDS pandemic in Africa.  This pope is supposed to be God's representative on earth?  I find the current pope to be a reprehensible, arrogant and spiteful old man, and refuse to pay money to any organization who takes his orders as handed down from God, and am deeply ashamed that the administrators of the Church have chosen to continue to cloister themselves from the needs of their flock.

These issues chafe on a painful and long-worrying problem I've been wrangling with since I was a teenager.  My objections to the Catholic Church and its dogma make it extraordinarily hard for me to remain a member.  I've stayed because I've always believed that the Church is defined by its members and not its leaders, much as America wasn't defined by George Bush when he was in office.  However, Catholics lack the ability to make their dissatisfaction heard by voting their appointees out of office.  We are beholden to the entrenched, conservative bigots who continue to appoint individuals who forward their agenda, and those who disagree are marginalized.  I have remained a Catholic because of individuals like our parish priest, a devout, kind, welcoming, intelligent and compassionate man, but a man who is on the verge of retirement.  Who will the Church appoint in his place?  Surely not another one such as him, the man who founded the gay ministry at our parish and who jeopardized his own position by viewing it not as a career in need of advancement, but as a means to do what was right.  The direction will likely be one of revisionism, a reversal of all that I value in my congregation.  I've also always believed that change can only come from within, but if those within continue to try and downplay the importance of progress, love and tolerance and instead push the doctrine of exclusionism, judgmentalism and all of those things I find so contrary to Christ's teachings, I cannot see how those who wish for change will find a willing ear.  

I'm often surprised at how heart-wrenching I find this conflict.  I was raised Catholic, yes, but that's not why I feel a strong attachment to it. It's the fact that the Church has survived in spite of itself, in spite of the terrible deeds and injustices and greed and baseness.  It has survived because members believe in something far, far greater than themselves, and they only find that greatness in each others presence, in the sharing of that sense of love and wonder, in the ability to more as a group than as an individual.  Whether we believe that Christ was human or divine, he was a really, really great guy who came to us to forge a new relationship with God and with each other.  So much beauty has come of that message that, even though the worst kind of ugliness has resulted from it as well, I'm not willing to give up the quest to find the means to have the former without the latter, to keep the beautiful rituals that bring comfort and hope and community without having those rituals take the place of enacting real good.  Attending Mass on Sunday doesn't free one from applying the lessons of that service to the rest of the week.  Giving money to help Catholic Charities doesn't mean that you can conveniently forget that charity starts at home, or at work, or at school.  We understand the Mass, we feel that it gives us a sense of continuity with our forebears, we can go anywhere in the world and know what is being said, even if it's in a language we don't speak.  I would be loathe to give that up, I would hate to not hear the music I so adore in a context I value, but I'll do it.  I'll do it because I don't want my daughter to have a hypocrite as a mother.  

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The cheeks are legally ours.

Since we brought Viv home, I've tried not to think about the steps we would have to take before she would legally be our daughter. I knew that if I let myself dwell on the post placement report, the additional fees, the paperwork and the final court date, I wouldn't be able to just enjoy the first few months of Viv's life, her life as our girl. Because I had so vigorously pushed down the painful what ifs that would pop into my head when people asked us questions about such things as whether the birth parents could change their minds and take her back, I had avoided thinking about the court date as it would arouse similar anxieties.

So, March 2nd's seemingly instantaneous arrival surprised me almost as much as the springlike weather that accompanied it. I had knitted Viv her berry tart hat and planned our outfits and made arrangements with those who wanted to come to the courthouse with us, but I didn't think about what the actual event would be like, or if it would make us feel any different, which is why I was so surprised to find that, upon arriving in the courtroom to meet the judge, I was actually shaking with excitement. When Judge Fair (so auspicious) signed our papers, I would have cried had I not been smiling like I was in a toothpaste commercial. I felt not just relieved, but elated, proud, indescribably grateful and bucolically happy, which I can't really say is an emotion I've ever felt before. On my wedding day, at the moment where we were told that we were married, I was happy but dazed, like the event was happening to someone else. I had planned for so long that it seemed like it would never arrive, and when it did, all I could think was, "Oh, thank God, we can go eat now."

Because I had planned for nothing and halted myself from even imagining what the event would be like, I had absolutely no expectations for the final court date. It was more different that I could have imagined from even the fragment of thought I had given it in the few minutes we were waiting for our time. It was so quick! We answered a few questions, the judge signed the papers and then held Viv while praising her sweetness, we took pictures, Christian posed with Viv in the witness box, we had lunch, and went home.

I'm now exceedingly glad that I didn't run the day in my head a million times, as I think it would have lessened the perfection of the way it really happened.