Today was the ophthalmology appointment that we've been waiting months for. We became concerned three months ago when we noticed that Sydney's left eye was crossing. Could have been any number of things, but today we finally got a diagnosis: Sydney is extremely farsighted.
The good news is it can be corrected with the glasses she'll be getting (do I need to tell you what color they'll be? pink, of course). With a +6.00 in one eye and +6.50 in the other, I think she should be able to see a speck of dust a mile off. The bad news is that she'll have to wear glasses until either her sight corrects itself (in her teens) or we give her laser surgery as a present for her 18th birthday.
Every school picture, every team photo, every family picture, there will be Sydney with her glasses. It's such a minor thing, I know. Lots of kids wear glasses, just like lots of kids have braces. And there's a certain adorableness about kids wearing glasses, like Jonathan Lipnicki from Stuart Little. It's just always kind of sad when something goes wrong with your kids. There wasn't a thing we could have done to prevent it -- Jason and I even have perfect vision. But still...
She's such a little girl. Wearing glasses.
It'll be okay. I'm happy we are getting her treatment. There are lots of other things, worse things, it could have been. It'll be okay.
Our tree is down. The decorations put away. The Christmas lights off the house. (POST EDIT: we took it down because we wanted the house in order before Jason goes back to school, and yesterday was the best day to do it.) Sydney tried valiantly to save the magic by putting the lights back on the tree and plugging them in. She sat on the couch and cried as the tree was hauled away, pointing it back to where is belonged as if wishing would bring it back. Quite heartbreaking, really.
Were it not for the Christmas memories, I might look around at my non-festive house and think it was all a dream. Still fresh are the memories of me, cooking a Christmas Eve's Eve dinner. Pot roast with rosemary, sweet potatoes in orange halves, key lime pie (Jason's request). The whole place smelling of oranges and cranberries and limes and peppermint. Later opening presents with Jason's parents, clothes and books and an Aquadoodle pad that must be God's gift to parents like me who hate markers.
And then Christmas Eve in Eugene with Jason's grandparents. His grandpa who survived a heart attack this summer, survived pneumonia this fall, survived heart surgery weeks later. The cousin's fiance from Switzerland. The uncle who met Sydney for the very first time. Conversations in the kitchen, around the oven, next to the open window letting in the non-wintry air.
Christmas Eve with just us two, Sydney gone to bed. Deciding not to wrap presents because it's too tedious. Hiding them throughout the house and finding them with clues of "getting warmer." Finding a new cutting board, new cookie sheets, new movies and books. The Passion and Satanic Verses now on my bookshelf; The Incredibles in the player. Trying on new clothes since he has learned that the way to my heart is through my closet. Two new pairs of shoes for him, Coldplay, Abe Lincoln book on CD, Polo Sport for smelling nice.
A rainy Christmas morning, a delighted child, a breakfast of puffy oven pancakes. Singing carols in church with Sydney standing on the pew, raising her hands to the heavens, crayons clutched in her right hand. Oh, Come All Ye Faithful.
After church, the hour drive to Washington for Christmas dinner with my family. Turkey and stuffing and the fluffiest mashed potatoes. The living room full with grandma, parents, siblings, spouses, and children. But no Grandpa.
The first Christmas without him.
Yet we still listened to him read the Christmas story. The video of Christmas 1996 -- the last Christmas with just our family -- in which we heard him read Luke chapter 2. And it came to pass, in those days. Grandpa will always get the Christmas story. And Sydney and Clover listened and watched Grandpa Great be great.
Then a flurry of activity, wrapping paper everywhere. A set of counter sink drill bits for Dad. Powells gift certificate for Andrea. Silk-screened drawing of Grandpa from Tyler. Ribbons, bows, books and more books. Waiting for Birdy, Mr. Brown Can Moo, farm animals and stickers. A sewing machine from my mom. Sydney and Clover fighting over circus animals. Sydney picking up all the paper trash and putting it in the trash bag, such a good helper. Diamond bracelet and earrings from Grandma. The only kind of ice I like on Christmas Day.
Staying up late with the family watching a movie about some guy who lived with grizzly bears in Alaska. Going to bed with Sydney snuggled between us. A merry Christmas indeed.
I don't look forward to tomorrow, when Sydney will run out to plug in the Christmas lights to find that the tree really is gone. I'll miss laying on the bed with her, watching her face light up as she looks up at the skylights to see the outdoor lights turn on. The Christmas bear that she hauled around is packed away, the Christmas music stored in boxes. How do you explain the end of a holiday to a child?
At least we'll still play her Baby Einstein Santa DVD. Watch her do the Santa dance, jump up and down, and laugh when the polar bear comes on. If she believes Polar bears are wonderful all year long, so do I. It will help make us a little less sad about Christmas going away once again.
Hope you had a wonderful one, full of good memories.
Here they are: My whole family. Ta da! From left to right: the newly preggers SIL Sarah, tall artsy brother Tyler, long distance runner brother Jake, globe traveling sister Andrea, oldest sister Me, sweet husband Jason. Dad and Mom front and center with World's Cutest Girls, Clover and Sydney.
We got this impromptu picture taken yesterday during our annual Family Christmas Shopping Day, or FamChriShoDa as my sister dubbed it. We walked in to Clackamas Town Center and my mom said, "Let's have our picture taken!" This has to be the world's easiest way ever: no time to stress or figure out what to wear or spend too much time fixing our hair.
We've been doing the family shopping day since I was 15 or 16, growing slowly from six to seven to eight to ten. It really is the best present that my parents give to us kids, and I think it's even better than Christmas Day. We got to witness my dad's mad driving skills, read kids books in Powells, push strollers through the mall, color on menus at dinner, crowd into the theatre and pass candy back and forth. And laugh and joke and have way too much fun.
Despite the busy schedules, we always make time for shopping day, and aside from the year Andrea was in China, we have never had anybody miss. Jake had only come by bus from Boise the night before, but he was there, and it was ever so good to see him. This year we started off with book shopping at Powell's, snack at Mia Gelato, more shopping at Clackamas, dinner at Old Spaghetti Factory (the riverfront one) and then into Vancouver to see The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. With the addition of two little girls we've had to split into two vehicles, but happily for us we borrowed my grandma's new Caravan with heated seats and a DVD player. It's a good thing Baby (Einstein) Santa isn't too annoying since the girls watched it no less than half a dozen times. The girls were SO good, and aside from one meltdown** early in the morning (from me) the day went off grand and gloriously.
And hooray for me: I got all my Christmas shopping done.
Now all I have to do is my Christmas grocery shopping!
**Sydney's ophthalmology appointment we've been waiting two months for? Got to the office, and the doctor had canceled because she was sick (sick of working the week before Christmas is more like it). That sobbing woman at the reception desk was me. At least I had my family to make sure that the day wasn't totally ruined.
I can go days and days without anything interesting happening, and then in a matter of three days I have more to tell than time to write. Let's start with Tuesday because it's the most romantic. :)
Last summer for our anniversary my brother gave us a gift certificate for a night's stay downtown Portland at the Hotel Vintage Plaza (in their Starlight room, pictured). Technically, he won it as a prize for winning some street race, and he would have no use for a night at a hotel (seriously...don't even think it), but he gave it to us so he's still a sweet little brother. Extra bonus points for him: he also gave us the $50 GC he won for Pazzo Ristorante (which he legitimately could have used because everybody needs to eat). We had plans to use the GCs the weekend after our anniversary, but had to cancel our plans to go see Jason's grandma in the hospital.
So, here, finally months later we decide that we are starting a new Christmas vacation tradition: drop off child with grandparents, stay night in hotel, and spend money with each other and not on stockings. Sounds perfect, doesn't it? I think so.
The hotel was beautiful. Tenth floor. Amazing view of the city. The friendliest hotel staff I've ever met, who offered to give us directions everywhere even though we knew our way around. Valet parking (that cost a small fortune, but c'est la vie). Strolled to Pioneer Courthouse Square to see the huge city Christmas tree. Walked around the downtown shops, even though it was pouring down rain. Ate a delicious dinner at Pazzo's. I had the beet and cucumber salad, along with grilled painted hills skirt steak (I don't know what skirt steak is, but it was good). Jason had the caesar salad, with black and white ravioli filled with salmon. It was very good food. For dessert we had the apple cobbler, which I don't recommend because even though the cobbler was okay it had a scoop of wild honey gelato on it making the whole thing taste like honey. I like honey, but didn't particularly want it for dessert. Should have gone for the chocolate...always a safe bet.
We saw the newest Harry Potter film; nicely entertaining, too scary for little kids in my opinion. We had the joy of having two children sit behind us and repeat every funny and non-funny line, including every single time Ron said, "Bloody hell." It's to be expected when one goes to see a kid's movie. I have to say, however, that it was totally unfair to run a commercial for St. Jude Children's Hospital right before the movie because it made me cry my eyes out. I understand the importance of their cause, but seeing those little kids with cancer was seriously the saddest part of the whole evening.
We slept in. Got an eggnog mocha from Peet's Coffee, a scone and muffin from Great Harvest. I read touristy magazines about Portland, while watching the rain run down the windows in the room. It was nice just to be with Jason. Just to hang out and talk or not talk. Sometimes I forget what that feels like when we spend so much time talking about Sydney, or playing with Sydney, or making plans that involve Sydney. Happy 8 1/2 year anniversary to us. The best stocking stuffer ever. xx
So that was Tuesday and part of Wednesday. As for today's dramatic events...they will have to wait until later.
Is it only Tuesday? We have fully immersed ourselves in enjoying the vacation, and kicked off the holidays with our first Christmas party of the season on Friday. Wassail warmed my tummy and friends warmed my heart. Then Saturday we made the hour-plus trek up the mountains. It was Sydney's first winter trip up north (and east) to Mt. Hood. I didn't know what she'd think of the snow, which wasn't so much snow any more as much as it was a replica of the Arctic Tundra. It was bitterly cold with winds whipping around us and chapping our lips, but Sydney was a model of bravery as she took her first sled ride. Jason's parents rented a two-bedroom condo at Whispering Woods resort, and invited us to join them. I sat in front of the fireplace most of the time, and Sydney helped her grandpa make gingerbread cookies, or "coo-ee" as she learned to call them. I'm pretty sure she ate more cookies this weekend than she has in her entire life, but what's a vacation if not some indulgence in sweet things.
If being around the frozen snow didn't get me in the Christmas spirit, then the snow that started falling the moment we got home did. Great big flakes that whispered to the ground, making me believe for a second that maybe we'd have a white Christmas. We won't -- the snow was gone this morning -- but that's okay. If there's anything we Pac NWers can't do, it's drive in snow. And since this week is full of driving from family to family to shopping to movies, we need the roads to be clear. It was enough to see the snow fall and bring with it some magic of Christmastime.
Now Jason and I are off to Portland to spend a night in a fancy hotel, eat fancy food, go to a fancy movie (not really...just Harry Potter) and all and all enjoy a night away from our sweet daughter. She gets to spend the night with my parents and sister, and all will be well.
If only I could get my Christmas shopping done!
I would be hard pressed to remember every Christmas gift I have ever received. Of course, I'll always remember the Christmas I was pregnant and Jason got me diamond earrings. I'll remember the dress I received one year that a relative promptly proclaimed as "hideous." I'll remember the not-an-engagement ring that Jason gave me when we were dating. I'll remember the yellow puffy stuffed animal that still sits on my bed at my parents' house.
And never, for as long as I live, will I forget the year I got blue eyes instead of brown.
That year there were four identical boxes under the tree. This tag had "Stephanie," that one had "Tyler," and those over there had "Andrea" and "Jacob." Love, Mom.
With four kids, lots of grandparents, cousins, pets, aunts, uncles, and a mom and dad, you can imagine that under our Christmas tree were piles of presents. My parents didn't hold back the gifts until Christmas Eve. They were there for us to organize -- that side of the tree was for my presents, that corner for Andrea... -- and gently shake. We'd search the creases and corners of the wrapping paper to see if we could get any hints to the contents of the gift.
The four boxes were a total mystery. What could they be? What would we all be getting? Our imaginations never strayed to thoughts of socks, or pajamas, or shoes. These were real gifts. We knew it.
Christmas morning came, and we four kids tumbled into the living room after an early morning of opening stockings in my room. The 14-foot tree sparkled with tinsel and bubble lights, and there! beneath the tree! the four boxes.
Other gifts may have been opened, carols may have been sung, but the only thing on my mind was the box. Finally, with our own respective boxes in front of us, we simultaneously opened. For some reason I dawdled behind in opening, so I saw what everyone else got. My mom had made us -- hand stitched, hand stuffed, hand painted -- dolls. They looked kind of like Cabbage Patch dolls, except better because, oh! because they looked like each of us. Tyler's with sandy blond yarn hair, and blue eyes. Andrea's with long red hair, and brownish eyes. Jake's with brown hair, and brown eyes. The dolls were us.
I finished opening my present, ready to hug her close to my heart. Imagine my surprise when I saw that my doll wasn't the same. My doll was a real Cabbage Patch doll. One that my mom had stood in line for, paid extra for, bought in the knowledge that I wouldn't want a hand-made doll. My good manners kicked in, and I smiled and thanked my parents. A real Cabbage Patch doll with a shiny vinyl face and birth certificate.
But something wasn't right. I looked at my blond haired doll and noticed, of course, that she had blue eyes. I knew all blond haired dolls had blue eyes. I was old enough to know the doll codes: red hair with green eyes, brown hair with brown eyes, blond hair with blue eyes.
The wrong color.
The present opening celebration continued, but my subdued manner finally caught the attention of my mom. Stephanie, what's wrong?
I had always been proud of having blond hair and brown eyes. Dark brown, chocolate, without even a suggestion of blue. Norwegian in every way but the eyes. Those eyes were from my dad, a gift that I wasn't ashamed of. Yet, somehow, looking at this homogenized doll felt like ridicule. Being teased. Made fun of. For being different. Bitter tears of disappointment streaked down my face, even as I thought, "I should be grateful." I realized what my mom had done. She had thought I wouldn't want a hand-made doll. She had thought I would prefer the store bought one, the doll that all my friends had. She had tried to make Christmas special for me by getting me the gift that was at the top of the list. The real, not the fake.
Turns out, real and fake are sometimes in the eye of the beholder. I didn't want blue eyes. I wanted brown eyes. I wanted one that was like me, so that our four dolls could play together and be little replicas of our selves. And of course, it wasn't just about the eyes. It was also about something else -- something I couldn't articulate at that age -- about having something from my mom that I couldn't get from a store. "You didn't make me one," I cried. "You made one for them, and not for me. And her eyes are BLUE." Tears tears and more tears. (Can you believe it, I'm even crying as I type this up.)
I know I surprised my mom. She had guessed incorrectly about the state of my materialistic heart. Maybe it made her smile. Maybe it made her laugh. I hope it made her proud.
The best Christmas present I ever received wasn't the one that I got on Christmas, but the one that my mom gave me a couple weeks later. My very own Stephanie doll. Blond hair. Brown eyes.
The perfect color.
Not even Typepad crashing today, rendering my blog temporarily stuck on the "More Matthew" post, could dampen my spirits.
Jason is home from school.
FOR SEVENTEEN DAYS.
That alone is enough to make me the happiest girl ever, but today's extra bonus: I have an 80 gig external hard drive to my right (thanks Mom!), and a bowl of Clementines on my left (thanks Costco!). Bliss.
Hallelujah, the laptop is working again. Serious catastrophe averted, and my mom is coming down tomorrow with the External Hard Drive of Pity. Bless her. I was reminded, once again, of how much I rely on my laptop, specifically for blog activities (posting and reading). Sydney knows where the "restart" button is on the desktop computer, and takes great delight in pushing it. That, or getting the CD drive to eject. Plus, I have to type with the keyboard on top of the monitor -- and with one hand! -- in order to keep little fingers away from typing up their own post.
And, as it happens, I am forced to do the same thing right now because Jason took the laptop to school for some video project. Sydney is mercifully distracted at the moment with dumping the crayons out of the box and then stepping on them to hear them snap in a symphony of sound. So, a longer post will have to wait until the weekend. I just wanted to post something because I know it's been awhile when my mom calls me up and says, "Are you okay? You haven't posted in days."
And just for fun, last year I somehow had enough time on my hands to create my Christmas Ornament Blog (amazing how much I could get done BEFORE Sydney starting walking). I was going to take it down, but thought I'd leave it up for this year. It's nothing spectacular, but you'll get a glimpse of what we have hanging on our tree this year.
Now, we have crayons being tossed around the room, but I have to squeeze my two fabulous announcements for the week. First, I am going to be an aunt again! Sarah has decided that Clover ought not be an only child. We are thrilled to pieces around here.
Second, starting at 3 PM tomorrow, Jason has 17 days of vacation (technically, they're not ALL vacation days, but he's home, so what do I care). HIP HIP HOORAY FOR CHRISTMAS VACATION. !!!
I have all kinds of shopping to do, but you know what's at the top of my wish list? Spring. Or better yet...summer. I'm not a grinch, it's just that it's cold. Really cold. The kind of cold that seeps in through the windows, settles in your bones, and makes your hair crackle with electricity. I know "cold" is relative. It's mid-30's around here, which, granted, is warmer than lots of places. But anything below, oh say, 50, is too cold for me. That whole "too cold is better than too hot because you can always add more clothes" is really just a bunch of hooey (sorry Emily). Because let me tell you something: YOU CAN'T ALWAYS ADD MORE CLOTHES. You can't. I've tried. I have four layers on right now, the heat cranked up to 70, and I'm still cold. If it's going to be cold, then it should be snowing darn it. Otherwise, weather god, WARM IT UP so we can prance about in our shorts and tank tops. Thanks.
I actually have some pictures to post of my weekend, but wouldn't you know it, my laptop crashed. I was trying to burn my Spooks episodes onto a DVD and *crash!* the dreaded blue screen popped up. Physical memory dump and all. I'm staying calm. Everything can be retrieved one way or another. I just know it. Even if I have to enlist the aid of the CIA or the FBI or Bill Gates himself, I will get all my information back. But for now, I'm hidden in our bedroom typing on the "office" computer (even though we haven't had an office since Rebekah moved in, but we consider one wall of our bedroom the office now). All that to say that pictures will be up sooner or later. Depends on how fast my mom can fix my computer (so far she hasn't returned my desperate plea for help. MOM! check your phone messages!).
Friday night and Saturday morning we were helping Rachel (and family) move into her new house! Yay for new homes! Yay for her own office, and instant hot water, and views of Mt. Hood, and bonus room over the garage. I'm sure she'll post plenty about it, so I shouldn't give all the good details away, but it is a beautiful home. Extra beautiful because it's close by. Syd and Livi had a grand time helping hook up the entertainment system, and breaking in the new couches, and eating cookies (I had to bring over ready-to-bake Otis Spunkmeier cookies because a home isn't really a home until you bake cookies in it!). So, happy new home to you, Rach!
If moving Rach into a new home wasn't exciting enough, Saturday night I drove up to Portland for a cooking night at SIL Sarah's house. Emily and Sister-Pister Andrea (who DOESN'T have a blog. BOO!) were there too and we made crepes, sweet and savory. Sauteed veggies and cheeses and spreads were stuffed into our toasty crepes and washed down with a good dose of port (well, not me because I'm still doing the pain med thing). Then dessert with fruit and chocolate sauce and whip cream. Somehow we managed to eat up all those crepes. It was tough work, but had to be done. You know the crepes were good because between mouthfuls we covered a million topics -- gun control, cell phone laws, reviews of Narnia, marriage, clutter, and tales of ex-boyfriends (err...just MY tale of ex-boyfriends) -- and came out unscathed and lovin' each other. I left before the candles had burned out, but it was still a grand time. Any time with my favorite sister, my favorite SIL, and my favorite red-head named Emily is a good time.
So, really, Saturday was the highlight of the weekend. Although yesterday was good too, with gingerbread house decorating (Jason's project, not mine) and learning a new word ("coat"...Sydney's accomplishment, not mine) and the laundry pile diminished (Daisy's chore, not....no wait, that one is mine). And even though Sydney didn't sleep through the night and woke up at 6 AM, I got my morning off with a great start by baking muffins for Jason's Christmas party and then taking a nap (did you know people take naps at 8 in the morning?). Somehow the rest of the world is going about doing Christmasy stuff, but I'm pretty content just doing the regular thing. Well, the regular thing in the light of the Christmas tree and to the tune of Christmas songs.
If only it were warmer.
That's how long I've been blogging. I started out on this to keep former students informed on the pregnancy and the other random things that happened in my life. Technically, Sydney started it out -- after all, she had the first post. She and I traded off writing duties until I switched to Typepad, and Sydney was too busy to learn a new set of instructions on blogging. Now I keep up this place by myself, although the little Syd does inspire me a great deal.
Through this little writing project I've been able to write about a lot of things. The way my life changed after Sydney was born. The struggle with being a stay at home mom. The mouse in the house. The first birthday. There are things I don't write much about. Like my struggle with depression, my issues with my weight, my relationship with God, my awkwardness in forming friendships. Maybe this next year.
If all I had at the end of these two years and one week was the process of discovery through writing, it would have been enough. Luckily, I got so much more than that. The icing on the cake is you. Some of you I'm related to, some of you I know in real life, some of you I know only through your blogs, and some I may never encounter at all. You encouraged me when I had papers to write, clapped when Sydney got her first tooth, and laughed when she danced in the store aisles. You helped me through the heartache of losing my grandpa, the stress of theatre productions, the dark moments when I thought "I'm a terrible parent." You recommended books, movies, and places to eat. You shared your life with me, and even when my real life community seemed like the loneliest place on earth, I knew I had another community to turn to. I write for myself, but I also write because I have learned that there is nothing like sharing part of yourself with others.
I admit that sometimes, after I wander around reading all your amazing posts, I get a bit insecure about my writing here at Creature Bug. You with your poetry, your funny stories, your artistic creations, your academic intelligence, your wise ways of looking at the world. I get caught up in the fear that others will think I'm...*big step here*...boring. I have said as much to Jason who reminds me of what I said when I started: "I do it for me. To keep me sane. Not for comments, or traffic, or validation."
So, I keep it up. I'd keep writing even if you weren't there, but I'm sure glad you are. I don't know what the next year will hold, but whatever happens I'll be writing about it. Heck, I'm even open for suggestions if there's something you're wondering about. Either way, thanks for being here.
Prepare yourself for some silliness...
I remember back in junior high when all my friends were crazy over New Kids on the Block. As soon as they could throw off their Strawberry Shortcake bedspread, they had pillow cases of Jordan's face helping them fall to sleep. I admit that I could *ahem* hum a few of their songs, but I was never one for putting up posters of people. It just seemed so weird. One morning, I woke up and thought "What a bunch of nonsense this whole New Kids thing is." I called up my bff Lynnel and told her as much. She gasped and said, "You're crazy." Crazy like a fox.
But here it is, the return of the celebrity crush. Oh, maybe not so much of a crush as a I-could-watch-a-whole-lotta-tv-with-this-fellow. I can thank (or blame?) Diane for my newest screen fave. After all, she's the one who invited me to go see Pride & Prejudice. And she's the one who told me that Matthew Macfadyen had been in a BBC television series called Spooks. And then, she's the one who -- thank my lucky stars -- downloaded the three seasons Macfadyen starred in. Today she drove down from Portland, towing along her laptop and external hard drive, so we could watch the first episode together. Then while the first and second seasons were being downloaded onto my computer, we went out to a fabulous lunch at Spoons (my friend's restaurant, and one I highly recommend if you're in the Cherry City). Quite an enjoyable afternoon, one that I desperately needed after feeling a bit blah all week recovering from the wisdom teeth thing.
So, thanks Diane, because I needed something to watch now that we finished the first season of "Lost." Extra bonus that I get to watch Matthew Macfadyen during Christmas break. I even learned how to hook up my laptop to our TV, so we all can watch him on a bigger screen. Amazing what I can figure out with a little incentive.
But don't start looking for any posters.
Jason and I got a nice surprise this weekend: a check that will cover the rest of our tuition for grad school. Jason's mom was generous enough to share part of her inheritance from her mom's estate with us, and I can't tell you how relieved and thankful and blessed we are.
We started grad school the summer of 2000. If your math is a bit sketchy, let me do it for you: that was five and a half years ago. It's a four-summer program, but lack of money and arrival of a baby stretched four summers into six summers, and we're still not done. But this summer we will be. Praise God.
So, I've been browsing the school catalogue to see what classes I might spend my tuition money on. I don't actually have a choice, I'm just pretending I do. I have to take Internet for Educators, Linguistics, and Teaching Writing. Blah. In my imaginary world I'd take the British Women Writers class they're offering winter term. Doesn't that sound fun? I'd go in all hyped up on Pride and Prejudice, and rave about the new movie until they'd finally tell me to shut up. If my fave professor (Hi Gavin!) was teaching a class I'd take it because I always learn a lot in his classes -- and he tells funny stories. But school politics is keeping him firmly planted in undergrad classes. Ah, well, maybe Internet for Educators will have a chapter on blogging. That'd be clever indeed.
Sidenote about blogging: when I interviewed for the teaching job, one of the professors noted to the group that I was a blogger. The journalism prof said, "That'd be an interesting class to teach. A class about blogging, that is." I chuckled and agreed with her.
The old sage of the English program, from whom I took 'Nature and Structure of the English Language' (whee), scowled and said, "That'd be like teaching a class in sewer management." I know him well enough not to take it personally, but I can't shake the image that I have become -- as my friend Laura so poetically put it -- a literary sewer rat. Ha.
Saturday was the annual "drive up to the mountains, get lost, fight in the car, find a tree, cut it down, drive home swearing never to do it again" tradition that Jason and I do with his parents. Only this year, the tradition was severely modified. Firstly, I didn't go. So right there everyone was missing out on all the fun that is me on Oxycodone. Secondly, my MIL didn't go, so no treats were packed and no voice of "there's a pothole! there's a cliff! please dear Lord don't let me die!" erupted from the back seat.
And they didn't get lost.
Hardly sounds like any fun at all, huh? But they got the tree. This year's tree is a bit on the...how shall I say this delicately since I know that Jason will be reading this...it's a bit on the slender side. It's not a Charlie Brown tree because it is in good health, but it looks awfully tame for having chopped it down in the wilderness. It's not Jason's fault. Our usual tree-cutting spot was packed with more snow than the mountains had at any point last year. So they had to cut the drive short, and still had to hike through three feet of snow. I'm just happy we have a tree. A Noble Fir that cost us a mere $7, a savings of about $60 if we had gone to a tree farm. So really, I'm liking this tree a lot.
We had planned to decorate the tree yesterday, but Sydney woke up with a fever, and wasn't in the mood to watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, our traditional viewing fare whilst putting up the ornaments. Poor dear. She has had a fever probably three times in her life, and definitely not since she's been walking. It was quite a sad sight, to just see her sitting quietly on the couch. Not running, not laughing, not even smiling at the tickle monster. Just sitting, all wrapped up in her blanket, whimpering occasionally. My head finally cleared, and I remembered to give her some baby Tylenol, which helped her out. But it wasn't until this morning that she seemed her usual self.
And me this morning? Ugh. Let the bruising begin. I have ugly green swatches along my jaw line, with just a tinge of yellow to really sicken it up. I also woke up with a massive headache, which is either a side effect of not taking my drugs or a side effect of thinking about the holidays. Either way, my kidneys aren't thanking me for all the Advil I'm taking (or is it liver? some internal organ...).
While I do enjoy the holidays, so jolly and merry, the whole planning of which days to spend with which family takes serious organization and diplomacy -- characteristics I sometimes lack. Two years ago I went so far as to divide the minutes equally between the two families, down to the half hour. True story. It wouldn't be so bad except that Jason's parents only have him since his brother lives on the east coast and doesn't come back for the holidays. And my family includes all my siblings, who are really entertaining and we enjoy being around. So the time sharing thing gets a bit skewed on account of us wanting to see them, but then feeling guilty because Jason's parents are alone when we're not with them, but then feeling bitter because we're feeling guilty since not very often is my entire family together, but then more guilt because of the bitterness and because because because. Add into the whole mix the Golden Grandchild (the only one on Jason's side) and you have a regular stocking full of emotional coal.
However, before this all spirals out of control, I should say that above all else, I am grateful to have this kind of problem. We don't worry about presents. We don't worry about getting a Christmas meal. We don't worry about missing the spirit of Christmas. We have all that, and so much more. The problem of wanting to be with everyone is a good problem. The problem of so much love it makes me a bit crossed eyed is one I can handle.
So pass the eggnog, and let the season begin.
Maybe it was my imagination, but I think our neighborhood squirrel might have winked at me this morning. I informed him that I was a chipmunk, not a squirrel, and he wandered off to something more interesting.
Oh my cheeks. My poor poor cheeks. And my vanity. Please feel sorry for that as well because I feel like I put on Monica's fat suit from Friends, but only on my face.
The good news is the surgery went well. The four wisdom teeth are out, the four tiny stitches are in. I got to experience laughing gas for the first time in my life, and that seemed to make the surgery go especially well. I was awake the whole time, but it was very surreal. Like it was happening in the movies. I distracted myself by listening to music on headphones. And humming. When the drill came on I hummed extra loud, which didn't go unnoticed by the doctor: "Your music is evidently keeping you quite entertained."
Well, it did.
And now that I'm on the road to recovery I'm keeping myself entertained by watching the Pride and Prejudice mini-series to see if all the hype about Colin Firth is true. Half way done. The verdict is still out.
Jason took yesterday off from work to clean the house so I wouldn't have to worry about it while I'm getting better (that's right: I married the SWEETEST man in the world). My sister drove down from Washington to help take care of me. She made me a milkshake, and drove to KFC to get me some mashed pots and gravy, and watched Sydney today while I slept. For dessert I got to eat a huge bowl of chocolate pudding made special for me by Laura. And when the Oxycodone didn't put me to sleep and instead keep me awake all night long, I entertained myself by reading an interview with Matthew Macfadyen that Diane sent me.
Don't I have such nice friends and family?
Finally, although it's a bit postdated, I have also kept myself feeling warm and fuzzy with a compliment from my former student Nathanael, who writes that my blog is an "antidote to the gloom" he writes about. If you knew Nathanael you would know how genuine the compliment is. Nate, you really can be so sweet.
That's the update from me. Thanks for all your well wishes. I'll probably take it easy this weekend, and not post anymore. Have a good one, and I'll see you back here on Monday.
Lucky me. I'm getting my wisdom teeth pulled this afternoon. Originally, it wasn't going to be until next year, but then they managed to get me in.
I am relieved to finally be getting them out, but I am rather apprehensive about the surgery itself. Partly because I had a prescription for a muscle relaxer that I didn't fill--one that expired at the end of October--so I'll go in there with enough tension to power those drills that will be digging at my gum line. I didn't get it filled because I was optimistically hoping that I wouldn't be having my teeth out. No, I didn't believe that my teeth would magically disappear. Back in October I was kind of hoping that I would be pregnant by December.
It's not a big deal. Nothing that I'm worried about. Just that I had it in my mind that we'd be having a baby next summer. Had it planned in the Calendar of Life Events. What I didn't have planned was getting my wisdom teeth out in December.
I admit the whole thing makes me kind of pissy in a I-really-wanted-it-my-way tantrum. Not having a baby next summer is a disappointment , one that makes me occasionally shake my fist at God and say, "You are messing up my life." Ironically, I pretty much hated being pregnant and wasn't looking forward to getting pregnant again. And now I feel like I'm being taught a lesson. Ah, well, I will dive into that well of emotions another time.
I promise not to take it out on the oral surgeon. Or maybe I will. Who knows what those drugs do to you. The good news is that tomorrow night I'm going--chipmunk cheeks and all--to see Pride & Prejudice again with Rachel. Nothing like a little Vicoden and Matthew Macfadyen to make a girl feel better.