Tuesday, February 27, 2007

~:M I T T E N S • F O R • M I A:~
I know this isn't the seatbelt bag, but I'll still boast. Finished a new pair of mittens for my niece Mia who lives in Chicago. We'll go visit them this weekend and I hope to see her sporting them. You like?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Remember my post about seat belt bag envy? Harvey's makes them and I'm a devoted fan. But these bags are expensive. Sooooo... just tonight I came across these instructions on how to make your own bag complete with a couple of links to show you where to purchase your own belts. Would this not be COOL!? Of course I could make my own bag. Of COURSE I could! Weeeeeeeeee!

Monday, February 19, 2007

~:L A T E • T W I C E:~

What happens to naughty boys who are late for Anne's class? They get to wear the funny horn hat while presenting their work to the class. Find out what you get to wear when you're late a second time. :)

I will say, though, that Jimmy is an excellent Portfolio Center student and a very good sport. I got a big kick out of watching him present a book on "rage" while covered in pretty pink flowers. Thanks to Ben and Korelia for the photo and videa.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Mom had an opening Friday night - her first in a long while since I got sick and Dad's battle with cancer. Dad pushed her to do it - to do something for herself. She sent this fab photo of herself (she's in the middle) and her work. I'm posting it to brag and
to encourage her
to get back on the painting wagon. She's an amazing person with incredible grace and energy and, in my opinion, the best mother on the planet. Love you mom!

More of her work can be found here.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

I am obsessed with this enchanting new Paint By Number Seatbelt bag. I've had this bag in solid hummer green for a few years and it's been a great performer. I feel after working so hard to deliver Anton safely into this world, I deserve this one nice thing.

Don't you?

E-mail my local husband to add your support to this worthy cause

Oh the agony of eating at Garrison's. What was supposed to be our first relaxing and romantic evening alone as parents turned out to be a laughable nightmare. I warn you now: Never EVER eat at Garrison's Perimeter Mall location. Big mistake. Why, you ask?

First off, our choice in the restaurant was kind of out of our hands. Doug got 2 gift certificates there from a friend at work and since we're really pinching our pennies, we have not been to a nice restaurant in a lonnnng while. So we decided to take this chance on a new place since it was such a great deal.

To begin, my husband was so starving and excited about eating out at a nice place, he reverted to his bachelor days of holding his fork like a shovel. "Can I eat the rest of your salad?" This is one of my biggest pet peeves. "NO, you MAY NOT." Grrrr. Then he knocked over his drink. Our kind waiter replied by offering to sell him another one, which happened to be a flat Newcastle Ale. Cheap, cheap, cheap.

Our appetizer, the "empanadas", tasted as though they had come from the freezer at a grocery store. Except the brand at the grocery store contains more meat. They were served with a tasteless "honey-mustardish sauce" which was billed as a "chipotle sour cream." Hmmmm. This was basically an appetizer of small, deep-fried bread, filled with a little bit of something dark.

I ordered the Low Country Shrimp and Grits billed as "sauteed shrimp, andouille sausage, mixed peppers, corn and tomatoes in red chili cream sauce with Logan Farms grits." What he received was a creamy stew that had no sausage whatsoever and very few grits to be found. He sent it back for the missing sausage. Once it was returned, he experienced the entree as an
overwhelmingly salty cream stew, that swam in onions (which makes him fart like the dickens). The corn and tomatoes that were advertised were either missing or so dissolved in the stew as to be rendered nonexistent.

I ordered the 8oz NY Strip, which tasted like a burnt sponge.

At this point, we realized that we had been sitting at the table with empty bread plates for the entire meal. Doug asked our waiter if the restaurant served bread. "Well, we usually bring it out with the salad but we burned the whole batch and had to throw it away. It's usually only on request so we can save money." Niiiiiice.

But here's the best part:
For our entertainment pleasure, we were tortured by what can only be described as the worst lounge singer ever. This guy (stuck in the 70's - a Kenny Rogers look-a-like BEFORE his horrid makover) seemed perfectly nice, but man, oh man was he baaaaaaad. He sat at a perfectly nice baby grand, which would have been fine by itself. Next to him was the synthetic beat machine thingie that I pictured sitting in Napoleon Dynamite's living room. Lordy, was the combination bad. He started out singing Bruce Hornsby's "That's Just The Way It Is" and ended whistling to Percy Sledge's "Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay". I held my fingertips at my temples whispering, "Please shoot me now" to my husband. It was so bad, we were actually entertained.

By this time, we were in no mood to experiment with dessert. We requested the bill. We were shocked and amazed to discover yet another gaffe. Although I requested the 8oz Strip, we were charged for the 12oz version. This added another 15 minutes of waiting to the end of what had not been a pleasant visit, as we waited "for the manager to get off the phone so we can fix the bill."

After it was adjusted correctly, the total bill came to about $75. But we still had to pay out of pocket for the $15.00 tip.

So maybe it was a nice evening after all, because we laughed madly all the way home, which made our reunion with Anton the next night all that much sweeter. Mom and Dad keep him overnight on Tuesdays.

When we got Anton back, we had discovered that Mom taught him to screech and kick his little legs in laughter. Honestly - he changes so quickly. Even after just 2 days of not seeing him, his hair is longer and he's "talking" more.

He's wonderful. Garrison's is NOT wonderful.

And I guess that's the moral of my story.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Here's a completely adorable pic of Anton during bathtime. It's our nightly ritual before bed and is so much fun. Just look at those cheeks. All four of 'em!

Yesterday the two of us went to Northside for a visit and a big thank you to the nursing staff on the HRP floor (my home for the greater parts of August and September). It was a bit weird, being back there again. Disorienting - as it was when I was there. The sensory deprivation is what made me so depressed. No breeze, no laughter, no music. Bad food, bad news, machines, monitors, no color but beige, white and a pale, dingy aqua that looked as if needed a blood transfusion. It was awful. Lots of quiet. Lots of waiting.

Surviving the depression was one of the things that made this visit so sweet and victorious. Everyone recognized me. And I got a LOT of hugs. I GAVE a lot of hugs. I think one of the things I missed while depressed was feeling like I had something to give. I will never take the power to give for granted any more. It was very gratifying to show Anton to everyone. They all knew him - monitored him each night - saw him move beneath my skin and on the screen. But to see him on the other side, so plump and happy - oh, it was grand.

I have thought a lot about the HRP nursing staff during my recovery. I still do. I have dreams about them. In spite of how much I complained about being a patient, for the most part, these nurses were wonderful. It felt so good to be standing on my own 2 feet amongst them. To be an equal and to say thank you with all my heart.

Before I left, I asked one of the nurses if there were any patients who might like a visit from me and Anton - to hear our story. There were two patients I saw. One was on bed rest with her second child, the other was with her husband, who were both waiting for their first. I'm sure I was not entirely helpful and I probably talked too much. I wonder if any of them were just being polite, or if they had not been there long enough to get as depressed as I was. But it felt good to be in those tiny rooms again and to be of some assistance this time. I tried to listen. To give answers and comments that were helpful to them. I can only hope I helped.

I think I'd like to return again. Volunteer or something. Give something back.

My god, it feels good to give again.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

When Anton was born, I was convinced that he looked more like Doug than myself. Not that it matters. Back and forth, back and forth, one day I'd claim his eyes as Dusenberry's, then give them back to the Elser's the next. Very confusing. Futile, I know. But still - aren't I in there SOMEWHERE?

So I did a little digging and created a page of photos to prove I really AM his mother and that Doug and I are both in there. A lot of folks have mentioned he looks like an exact combination of the two of us, which pleases me. I think the overall picture of Anton looks immediately like Doug, but when you look in the details, you see me as well. Right now I'm hoping he's got my big square smile. I hope? I hope!

And how is Anton these days? At 4.5 months old, he's now 15 pounds and a sweet, sweet boy. His eyes have discovered his hands, which thrills him. He'll grab at anything you dangle in front of him and thinks his fist tastes fabulous. I can now talk him out of crying, which I think is fabulous. His length is in the 90th percentile - 26 inches. Way to go Anton!

He got his first cold a few days ago - mine came shortly after. Mom has it now. I think Dante should have created an extra special level of hell just for these moments. The peaceful baby you once had, who slept through the night and never threw up on you now wakes up twice a night and tops each feeding off with lovely gut wrenching cough - productive enough to vomit the milk you just fed him. He is fussy, cranky, tired, confused and on top of that, YOU'RE sick yourself. It is an entirely draining drag. But I'm still in love, you see?

Very much enchanted and in love. Entirely consumed. Aching with love. Infatuated. Grateful. He is my miracle. What I've waited for for so long.

I had a very good week at PC. The new God poster concepts were presented. This class is very smart. Sharp. Dedicated and sensitive. Yesterday afternoon a few of us took our turns crying. This is the most emotionally brave group I've ever taught. I walk out of class at the end of the day, entirely drained again, but sooooo jacked up. Like you've had too much coffee from staying up late to finish a job and can finally fall asleep - but you can't from all the adrenaline. This is why I teach. It is the most gratifying career. I'm not exaggerating when I say that during each and every class I teach, there is a moment when I pause to thank God for putting me there.

I've thought a lot about God these days. More than I have in a long time. I suppose after being so helpless during my pregnancy and struggling to heal postpartum has brought me closer to God. When I look at Anton, I know God exists. Just look at him. This new person. He GREW in me. IN ME. And we are linked.

Anton has brought more stress, tension and anxiety into my life. The life I so carefully organized and perfected. Once he arrived, all I knew, I had to relearn. Everything was different. Everything changed. If marriage and having children complicates things so much, why go to the trouble of asking for either or both? I'll tell you why. Because with all that tension, confusion and fear comes 10 times more love. It's hard-wired in us. Make more babies to create more love. Love more to make more babies. It's how our species has thrived.

We humans like to make things happen.

Mom bought Anton his first pair of shoes and we recently slipped them on his perfect pink little feet. I cried instantly. 1 - because he looked so incredibly cute in them and 2 - because shoes are made for walking. "Oh Anton. You're not going to use those shoes to walk away from me are you?" How pathetic a cry is that? I got my first glimpse of mourning each stage a child moves out of to grow into a new one.

Raising Anton will mean slowly saying goodbye to him. I know that sounds so dark - but I've never felt this co-dependant before. I've lost my big brother already. And my husband lost his mother. My father's currently fighting cancer. Mortality has never been so real. Even my own has been considered. Do I risk losing myself again just to give Anton a sibling? I think not.

So this will be my only child. I am just about sure of it. I have to fight so hard, the crazy voice in my head that's convinced I will lose him and then I'll have nothing again. What do I do with that insecurity? It is larger than life. I think it's just my job to be OK with the possible loss and love on Anton anyway. I will not deny him that love out of selfishness or fear. I will raise an optimist. A realist. Someone who sees the value in creating good no matter what.

Someone wants to make things happen.

Good things happen.