Showing posts from March, 2013

A Creature with a Will

So we're home. We were in California for six days, and now we're home and reeling from the slap of real life--laundry and grocery shopping and doctor's visits and insane sleep trouble and jet lag and dinner. I'm supposed to make dinner. Can you believe that? It's nutty. And I think Henrietta is missing her cousins. Her cousins (ranging in age from 3 to 15) were fascinating. My baby is a social creature, it turns out, and she watched them as intently as you see above, as if what she learned from them would shortly save her life. Watching her cousin B jump on the trampoline was, as it turns out, totally hysterical. And her parents, on the other hand, are just not that interesting. The poor, bored dear.

While away, she amassed a number of firsts: she played the drums, played in a pool, stuck her toes in the freezing Pacific Ocean, tried an apple, ate a few baby crackers, went for walks galore in the mountains and on the beach boardwalk, watched kid TV, and pet a smal…

We've Learned An Important Lesson

Well, we've learned an important lesson: when I'm on vacation with my family, blogging doesn't happen. Henrietta and I were in California, visiting my parents and my sisters and their families. It was basically heaven: warm and sunny and Henrietta giggled profusely.

I hope to get back to regularly scheduled programming soon, but in the meantime, here's a guest post that went up last week at Doves and Serpents. It's another part of my "Of Jobs and Motherhood" story. In short, when I was pregnant I applied and got accepted to Divinity School at Harvard and Boston College. It was heady and exciting, and then confusing. Check out the post to read more.

None of Us are Spared

I'm beginning to think none of us are spared worrying over our bodies, thinking they're not good enough, destroying ourselves over this and that about them when there are other things we can and would like to think about. (Do you know anyone who is spared? Do such creatures exist?) Thank you for reading and responding to my post about it. Just before I hit publish, I worried it wasn't as universal as I thought, that this time I was really exposing myself. And as I read your comments, part of me was glad I wasn't the only one, and the other part of me was thinking, "You, too? You worry about your body?"

It reminds me of a moment in the women's meeting at church (Relief Society) a few years ago, when this gorgeous woman stood up to talk about how plagued she was by self-deprecating thoughts, how she never felt good enough or clever enough or pretty enough, and what she was doing to work on it. And I remember sitting there thinking, "You? If you don'…

Singing Them for Comfort

Henrietta is teething. There have been indications of teething for months, but now we're into some pretty fussy territory. I'm not sure that what we did Sunday night could be categorized as sleeping, and last night wasn't much better. She's quicker to cry in general, and by afternoon she's pretty much spent, which she expresses by screaming. I realize we're lucky that this is fairly unusual behavior.

Tonight as I was trying to get her sleep, I sang to her, and I realized how grateful I am to have a repertoire of songs from my Mormon upbringing. I make up a lot of songs during the day, inserting her name here and there, rhyming sweet with feet, that sort of thing. (Sam has a killer song about her comfort rabbit, Elroy. I need to get him to record it for me.) But when she's upset, when she needs the big guns, I go for the hymns. I often sing her "Come, Come, Ye Saints" (which Sam also requests when upset). I sing her "How Firm a Foundation&quo…

On Pictures and Memory and Bodies

I've been looking through old pictures, trying to find something in particular for another post (which I can't find; grrr), and I keep finding these pictures that I remember feeling terrible about when they were taken, but now, looking at them years later, I wish I could step into them and tell that younger self to chill out, to relax, and furthermore, that she is lovely.

This happens to you, right? That you get a picture developed (remember developing pictures?!) and you don't look at the lovely place you were, or think about the people you were with, because you're focused 100% on your thighs or your hair or your eyebrows or your [insert-insecurity-here]. And when the picture resurfaces years later, you stare and stare at it, remembering feeling bad, but not being able to re-conjure why on earth you felt that way. I can't tell you how many rolls of film I've looked through, my eyes zeroing in on every complaint I have about me, as if I took the film for evid…


I've been in a bit of a slump this week. A funk. Sloggy and a little sad for no particular reason. I've spent a lot of time on my couch, wondering which of the following might make me feel better: a nap, making a healthy and delicious dinner, vacuuming the stairs, taking a walk, playing with baby, writing. And since exactly none of them seem like they'll make me feel that much better, I stumble upstairs, opting to try the nap, since it requires the least effort.

Yesterday was a weird day, particularly in the morning, and in the afternoon Sam and I went out to run some errands. On the way home we listened to NPR coverage of the presentation of the new pope to the world. Sam was driving, occasionally shouting at the reporters for pinheadedness, and I sat in the passenger seat, looking out the window, feeling sloggy and still not sure why. I had wanted to tell Sam all sorts of stuff about this and that, but I was quiet so he could listen. It was good for me to be quiet. Some…

Rattling Around in My Brain: My Favorite Quotes on Writing

A few weekends ago I had the most delicious opportunity to teach a small writing class to some friends in my old ward. It was perhaps the loveliest afternoon I've spent in some time. I miss teaching and talking about writing. To prepare for the class, I gathered a few of the quotations about writing that I really love.

The nice part about quotations about writing is that they apply to pretty much anything you care to do. Take the first one, for example, from Isak Dinesen. Whatever enormous task you're attempting, it seems a wise policy to adopt: do it every day, and try to avoid illusions of grandeur, an overly ambitious goal for that single day, or despair at your meager progress. Just participate, and participate again tomorrow, and the next, and though you can't anticipate the outcome, there will surely be one. Something comes of working hard on something for the sake of doing so. 
So whether you're writing, or trying to teach yourself to bake a killer blueberry pie…

On the Other Side of the Country

Sam's mom left this morning. She was here for ten days or so, helping with the house and smiling at the baby, paying for dinner, and giving our living room such a thorough vacuuming that I told her she was hired, full-time. She taught us how to paint a room, and we painted Henrietta's: three walls a sort of almond-y color (almonds without shells, mind you) and an accent wall in a color called Eros Pink. I think of the room like a berry-almond tart, now, and sometimes when I pass by I stop and look at it, soaking in how great it is in there. This is a change from how it was before: it was painted this very dark and depressing blue, and sometimes when I'd sit in there to feed the baby, I would stare at the walls and feel like crying, just from the color--it was that bad.

It was lovely to have her here. Henrietta thought she was fabulous, and would start laughing when she was even in her general vicinity. And when I woke up this morning and Sam was already gone to drop his mo…

Mormon Women

Late one night I came downstairs in my pajamas, excited, asking Sam if I could just read him a little bit of something. He was still up, tending his fire, watching a movie that he kindly paused so he could listen. At which point I read him more than a little bit. I read him most of an interview with Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, a woman who is actually a dear friend from my ward in Cambridge. She's famous, in part, for penning the sentence that shows up on bumper stickers and t-shirts all over the place: "Well-behaved women seldom make history." She won a Pultizer Prize and a MacArthur Fellowship, she teaches a killer Sunday School lesson, and she's my hero.

Anyway, I had gone to bed worrying about how I would do everything I wanted to do, how I would do something that mattered to me and also take care of my baby. It was in the thick of my posts about figuring out working and motherhood, and it was such a relief to read her interview, which answered pretty much everything …

Chasing My Own Tail

Today, all day, I felt like I was chasing my own tail. The baby was up at seven, and I changed her, and we played, and then the electrician showed up during breakfast. I took him up to the master bathroom while carrying the baby, and still wearing my pajamas. And really the whole day was like that. I kept waiting for the baby to nap so I could get cleaned up, but she napped basically while I was feeding her, and then she was up again, wide-eyed and happy and increasingly wiggly.

Sam's mom is in town, so she's helping us paint and get a whole list of things done on the house. So I took her to the paint store, and Sam had to pick his cat up from the vet, and I was trying to get to Target for more diapers, and also trying to write something and get some freelance work done, and to trying to re-make the rugs I made for the nursery into something decent. And Sam's mom was painting an accent wall in the nursery "Eros Pink," and the plumber came, and the baby learned, o…

Rattling Around in My Brain: Asking Questions and a Question

This quotation from Dieter F. Uchdorf  makes me glad to be alive.

"Asking questions isn't a sign of weakness. It's a precursor of growth. God commands us to seek answers to our questions and asks only that we seek with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ. When we do so, the truth of all things can be manifest to us by the power of the Holy Ghost. Fear not. Ask questions. Be curious."

from "The Reflections in the Water"

In an unrelated question, would you lend me a hand? My friend suggested I have a list of favorite posts from this blog on the sidebar, and I like this idea, but I'm wondering what your favorite is. Is there a post (or more than one) that your remember and quite liked? If so, do tell. 

My Grandmothers in Their Kitchens

This week I found out that one of my father's grandfathers was Catholic. He was Catholic (though lapsed) and his wife was Mormon. This was, I think understandably, very fascinating news for me. All week I've been begging my father for whatever he remembers about them, and asking my aunts for the same, and boy have they come back with some fantastic details. All week I've been swimming in these stories, working on an essay about what it's like to be married for nearly five years and find out your great-grandparents sort of had a similar thing going.

Maybe I'll write more about it all here, fill you in on some of these details. But right now, now that I've finished writing the essay, there's a story about my grandmother (the one in the picture up above) that I keep thinking about. It's a story my Aunt Dawn told me, illustrating the easy-going, let-it-go style of my dad's side of the family. When my aunt was a little girl and her brother would tease h…