Monday, February 22, 2010

One Long Right Now

I can't seem to shake the worry off. I want to see the bright side of moving in with my family for a short time, but I only seem to fixate on the negative. It is harder to be calm these days. My third trimester began a couple of days ago and the reality that in a couple of months I will be a mother is starting to sink in. I have been packing my belongings without much enthusiasm, even though I have Matt, the greatest husband in the universe, riding the waves of my foul moods with me and cheering me on.

We packed up the candles and candlesticks yesterday. All of them. Nearly two full boxes! We don't even usually light them all, but now the house feels darker. Amidst the candles and vases and little chachkas, drawers of batteries and old take-out menus, Matt came across a notebook i bought on my first trip with him two years ago. The spiral notebook with green pears on the front came from the school supplies section of a Mexican Wal Mart. I had this idea that I'd let the beach and travel inspire some writing. In fact, only a couple of pages were used. No matter, I like to think it is because I had so much fun I didn't feel like writing.

There is one piece I wrote, though, that I am very glad to have found. Rereading it is helping me cope with the mixed bag of feelings I have over moving. Which, by the way, is happening on Thursday. It's called One Long Right Now and it was written on a beautiful beach in Sayulita.

One Long Right Now

Sitting with the grit of sand and salt
Feels like the right kind of dirty.
I love the way sand and little pieces of beach get caught in my hair
And no matter how many times I shampoo, it is always under
My nails when I scratch my head.
I am almost jealous of the little ant
Crawling across the terrycloth jungle of my towel.
It gets to live here.
After a week of soaking up every ray of sun, I am content
To sit in the shade eating a piece of sweet grapefruit,
Crunchy and peppered with sand dust.
All food should be beachy - it makes your teeth clean.
"Hammocks, braids, henna tattoo, Nestle ice cream, silver almost free,
Necklace amigo, Camarones, parrea lady very cheap, sunglasses..."
The vendors ripple accross the sand.
"No gracias, no gracias, no gracias, no gracias,"
The refrain stops being words and becomes an automatic mantra,
Just syllables jumbled together. "Pipes, puppets, parasailing..."
The hissing of wind, splooshing waves, a little kid getting covered in sand.
Yes I could stay here now.
Here now stretching out forever.
One long right now.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday Morning

I am waking up slowly. The quiet around me this Sunday is not hushed or forced, nor is it still or thick as silence can be. Quiet is not silence at all. It is the sound of my husband's sleep breathing a few feet away. It is one of my dogs, sensing my wakefulness, coming up for a nudge and a cuddle. It is the burbling coffee maker in the kitchen softly dripping bean juice into the pot. The click of thoughts onto the screen.

Monday and all through the week I wake up with difficulty, groggy and tired, wishing the night had more hours. Today I am awake early without an alarm to savour quiet time. I wonder why 7:00 looks so different on a weekday (dread, horror!) than on a weekend (hours to spend with just me, before the rest of the world intrudes). This is my morning, and the first words I have uttered have been through my fingers onto this page. My mouth is for smiling and sipping coffee and being closed until later.

Later i am sure I'll have plenty to say. My mouth is usually full of words, jokes, sometimes a little unsolicited advice for my friends (I'm working on that). Talking is a joy, but I am learning how true that is of writing too. If there is anything I get to learn from blogging I'd like it to be the discipline of writing almost every day. This means that you, dear readers, may not always get the best of me but I undertake to give you something each time.

Apropos of writing and stuff I visited Granny Lynn yesterday. You know, the lady my cat is probably going to love more than me. This woman, an English teacher to her bones, has taught me a lot about language and is probably one of the reasons I am doing this. At 81 years old Lynn writes creatively and when she talks, weaves the language into totally original patterns. She remarked yesterday that she is the matriarch, being the most senior member of the family. Matriarch, she said, was not her style. I agree that Lynn is not your typical prim old biddy. However, matriarch has a regal connotation and here is where I see the connection. Granny Lynn is a regent of language, a lifelong advocate of literacy (hell, she tried to get me to read before I was even walking), and the elder woman storyteller who is teaching generations not only how to use, but how to love language. I can't wait for my baby's turn to be read to and introduced to the beauty of words by my Granny.

Now my cat is stalking around on the bed and one of the dogs is giving me insistent wet-nosed nudges (the other dog is a professional sleeper). Quiet writing time is over and pet feeding, box packing, and planning for the move must begin.

Sigh. Here I go.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thoughts On Taking A Well Day

I am feeling refreshed and validated after my mini mid-week break. I woke up on Tuesday morning with a stiff neck and the feeling that I spent more time looking for the comfy sleeping position than actually sleeping. "Nope," I thought upon waking "I am not going to do anything today." With that, I made a decision to lie for the greater good. I was going to call in sick. I don't ever use sick days for anything other than being sick, but this was to be an exception. So I put on my most pathetic voice, summoned my long-dormant school-itis act, and called my boss. The truth is I did feel a little guilty because my boss is such a nice person and because I wasn't really sick, just pretty burnt out. I don't feel guilty anymore. Just having taken the time off to get centred again has made a HUGE difference in how I feel. In the end, totally worth it. So basically, I don't condone lying, and sick days are not meant as vacations for the conscience but every so often exceptions need to be made. Be well and if you aren't, then get well soon!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Humans: Beautifully Evolved or Intelligently Designed?

Ah the human body. There are people who believe that they were intelligently designed. I think my purse was intelligently designed, as well as a great number of shoes that I own. I tend to believe that my corporeal form is more of an evolutionary outcome. Please don't misunderstand, I am not ragging on God just because he/she/energetic entity is not winning Project Runway by the way. I even believe in God as an amazing divine force found in all of us that inspires creativity, inspiration, peace, and a bunch of other good things. But this is not about my personal religious views, it's about whether my body is evidence of intelligent design or evolution.

I do think it is marvellous how well the human body is adapted to life on two legs but there are some parts that, if designed that way from scratch, would just seem wrong. Like the knee. Who would put such an unsupported joint there? I mean the patella is just floating anchored by some very rip-prone ligaments which have the added job of making sure the floppy hinge joint underneath doesn't overextend! Or what about the appendix, or wisdom teeth. We do not need these, often don't have room for them, and many of us upright hominids have them rupture, or get abscessed, and ultimately surgically removed. Except for the fact that they ensure employment for dental surgeons and internists, why are they there? If one takes the intelligent design model to heart, why would God put something in just to have it taken out? It seems likely that at some point in our evolutionary journey to modern day us-dome, these extraneous parts may have had a purpose, and now they don't. Kind of like pneumatic tubes that are still inside old buildings, but instead of important memos, they house mice populations and cause problems for the buildings' current inhabitants (not the mice, though, who are very glad for the vacancy).

Or what about the pregnant belly. It puts a huge amount of strain on the lower back (the part that is already holding us up without the benefit of a ribcage for stability), wreaks havoc on the abdominal wall, does away with regular balance, and is obviously much less of a hassle for those beings that use all four limbs to get around. I am not saying that dogs, gorillas, and other part and full-time quadrupeds don't deal with some of the discomfort of pregnancy, it just seems like if I were allowed to crawl around instead of walk everywhere my back wouldn't hurt so much...but my knees probably would. Were I to look to architecture as a guide for where to put a pregnancy, It would seem like the top of the head is the obvious choice! After all our trunk is on top of an arch, and as long as the weight is centred, it should hold up well. We have all seen images of amazing loads being carried atop women's heads whilst body remains aligned and limber underneath, so why not design pregnancy that way?

I am not saying that I would make a more intelligent designer than God or anyone else really, and from having played The Sims I can say I am not much of an architect. I just look at all of the funny and kind of charming quirks we human bodies have and imagine that these are the result of growing up on Earth. Isn't it wonderful enough that this planet evolved life, and we have and continue to adapt to it's conditions? I think we are beautifully evolved, not intelligently designed. Some of us may end up with a few extra teeth, or a gill, but so what!

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Stress of Packing or Why I Love My Skin

Hello, I hope everyone out there had a lovely Valentine's day. I did, mostly because I stayed in my pyjamas until 4:30 in the afternoon and felt positively guiltless about it. I needed to take the day completely off. I am stressed out. Know why? In exactly 10 days from today I will move with my husband and two dogs out of our duplex and into my parents' house! For 4 months! My cat is going to move in with Granny Lynn, and he'll probably fall madly in love with her and never want to come home to the cheerful chaos that will be our new digs. Bummer.

Let me explain. My dear man and I are going to have a baby sometime in May, and thusly, we and our 3 pets have outgrown our humble abode. The doula I am working with (basically a wise and birth-centric woman I have hired to guide me through this crazy undertaking) recently asked why us pregnant ladies always want to move. I guess it seemed like a good idea at the time, and it is really hard to imagine anything going wrong with the then perfect plan when one is viewing it through the haze of hormones and rose-tint that everything has at the outset of creating life. Naturally, we would find the dream house promptly after we sold our duplex, and have plenty of time for this infernal nesting instinct I am developing to transform an empty room into infant paradise! Alas, though we found not one but two dreamy houses, they both failed their inspections. In fact, one of them failed so spectacularly that it deserves it's own entry. We did find a third house, and like Goldy Locks famously said, it was just right. Almost. Except that we can't move in until mid June. Therefore my parents are rescuing us and have generously invited us to stay with them a la Gloria and Meat head.

I find myself procrastinating about packing up the house, and this brings me to the second reason I am writing today; my skin. My poor skin has borne the brunt of my stresses and anxieties both about moving and about pregnancy. I have tried to be nice to it, but I think all the negative comments have, er, gotten under it? I have pimples like a love-sick adolescent and stretch-marks have gone streaking across my bulging belly but I have to give credit where it's due. My skin is a champ! When this is all behind me and I have moved house and gotten the tenant out of my womb, my skin will humbly creep back to it's former proportions, and it's marks will fade into the background. John Lithgow says it best in his kid's song You Gotta Have Skin: "Skin's the thing that if you got it outside it helps keep your insides in". Mine is doing a great job.

That's all for me today. Have excellent Mondays, it sets the tone for the week.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy birthday Nono

This is hopefully the beginning of a beautiful friendship between a pregnant lady and her computer. I am not yet sure what this blog will be about, but I figure I'll start writing and see what comes up. I only have a couple of minutes to write (as I wasted much of the precious writing "me-time" time setting this space up) before I go celebrate my grandmother's 80th birthday.
My nanny Nono is a remarkable, if cantankerous old woman. She has COPD, a shoulder that broke when she was 40 but never had set, a hip that was replaced twice, a dead husband, 3 kids, 9 grandchildren, 4 great-grandchildren, and sometimes a little too much scotch and soda. What a dame. I can thank her for imparting fabulous taste in footwear, nail colour, and sunglasses, as well as an innate sense of grace as a hostess. This gift for entertaining is one of the reasons so many people love her. In her house, whether it's a party, a meal, or any gathering, the following things will always be true: There will be lots of tiny food to eat with your fingers, there will be booze, and you will never feel like
you're the first one to make a plate or pour a drink. Also, to balance the sharp edge that we as her close family experience daily (very sharp, like split a hair sharp) there is a more subtle, playful, fun, if not quite soft side, too. Cheers to both sides of her.
Happy birthday Nono!