Tuesday, December 31, 2002


Best movie I've seen this year: Sexy Beast

Sweetest movie I’ve seen this year: It Could Be Worse

Hottest movie I’ve seen this year: Time Code

Worst movie I've seen this year: It's a toss up between Vanilla Sky and Kiss of the Dragon. Bridget Fonda needs help.

Best book I read this year (fiction): Oranges are not the Only Fruit, Jeanette Witherspoon

Best book I read this year (non fiction): Desert Solitaire, Edward Abbey (make that the only non fiction book I read this year).

Best book I read this year (poetry): The Splinter Factory, Jeff McDaniel. And hey, I went to college with the guy too! But I don't really remember him. But I have his picture in my yearbook and stuff.

Best CDs I bought this year: Radiohead, Amnesiac; Lucinda Williams, Essence; Jonathan Richman, Action Packed: The Best of Jonathan Richman.

Song that never failed to make me tear up, all year long: "The Luckiest" by Ben Folds. It's our song, and everything. Awwww.

TV Shows worth setting the VCR for: The Sopranos, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Mind of the Married Man, 24, and, surprisingly enough, ER.

Proudest Moment: Well, that would have to be giving birth to the 9 pound, 4 ounce, 21 and a half inches long Javier Sebastian Vela in the comfort of my own bedroom. Did I mention yet that he weighs 17 POUNDS as of this morning? At 8 WEEKS? Astonishing.

Second Proudest Moment: Jack, while we are on our way to preschool, calls to me from the back seat: "Mama, can you put on Radiohead?" Melt my heart.

Happy New Year, and all that. The big plans for the evening are to mix up a batch of margaritas and put together something yummy to eat, dig out a DVD or two, and have a big smooch at midnight. Perhaps we'll meet the neighbors in the driveway with sparklers so we can pop corks and celebrate together right at the stroke of midnight. That's life in the big city, folks.

Monday, December 30, 2002

Calling the Saint of Lost Voices

Several weeks ago I lost my voice. Not completely, I can still carry on a conversation, talk on the phone, whatever. But I can't sing, can't really talk to someone in a noisy restaurant, can't call my dog over from the neighbor's yard, can't yell at my kids in a threatening manner, and I sound pathetic. Not gravelly and sexy like Lauren Bacall, just pathetic. And it isn't going away. This was before the strep kicked in, mind you. Did I mention the strep? My entire family, not to mention boyfriend, ex husband, and friend, has come down with this lovely ailment. And I have had it not once, but TWICE, in rapid succession. I was two days off the amoxicillin when I came down with it again and had to call in the troops (Brian) to come all the way back from Houston so he could drive to the pharmacy and get my drugs (Z pack this time! Love that stuff) and then put my kids to bed. Brian gets a big gold star for coming back to save my ass. I had to tear him away from his mother and grandmother. Really, the only good news in all of this is that babies don't get strep. Or, at least what I've heard is that they very rarely get strep, so I'm still ever watchful over little Javier.

But wasn't I talking about my voice? Oh, yeah. So, I'm becoming paranoid. I'm not given to hypochondria. If anything, I'm given to whatever the opposite of hypchondria is -- lackadasia? Whatever. I don't freak out when I get sick. I don't think this mole which has appeared on the side of my torso is a sign of cancer (unlike SOME people I know, whose names will not be mentioned, you know who you are). But this loss-of-voice thing is freaking me out. And no one else seems very concerned about it, even the previously unmentioned one. He's not worried about it. My father isn't worried about it either. People who I talk to on the phone seem totally oblivious to the fact that I sound TOTALLY different. And no one's rushing up to me in church to exclaim, "what happened to your lovely dulcet tones?" Of course, we haven't been to church much lately, so that could account for something. Anyway, I'm having this terrible feeling like it's never going to come back, and I'm going to have this voice forever. This voice which apparently makes me sound exactly like one of Brian's ex-girlfriends. And not an ex-girlfriend I'd particularly like to emulate, either. No, an ex-girlfriend I've pretty much snickered over. Apparently we sound exactly alike, especially on the phone, and he wishes he had a recording of her voice so he could play it for me. That would be fun. Is there a Saint of Lost Voices? I want mine back.
Wow. It's been a long time I guess. Nothing like the holidays and two bouts of Strep in a row, visiting relatives, impending divorce proceedings, a newborn...what am I leaving out? Well, there's nothing like all of that shit to just slow you waaaaay down and pretty much destroy your ability to maintain anything like a normal schedule, not to mention a blog.

Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, Rollicking Chanukah or Hannuka or whatever, to all of you folks out there. Or, as they say in Texas, to all y'all. I'm four days from D day. The court appointment is scheduled for 15 whopping minutes. It doesn't take long to get divorced in Texas, just thousands and thousands of dollars. And that's an amicable divorce, with a mediator and everything.

Friday, November 15, 2002

Big day today -- I was on my own for the first time since the birth, having sent my anxious boyfriend, who didn't believe for a minute that I'd behave myself and stay in bed -- off to Houston to see his mother and grandmother (and no doubt collect some nice birthday presents). It went OK. I can't believe how long it's taking me to feel normal after this birth. I'm quite sure that after Eli was born I was shuttling Jack to and from daycare within a few days, and doing pretty well. Now I get shaky after heating up a bowl of soup. That was lunch, and had me worried about picking up the boys, etc., but everything went well. I picked up the boys -- Jack's teacher Carla helped me get everything downstairs and into the van -- and we headed off to Chili's, because there was no way I was going to be able to cook a meal for these kids. Of course, Jack fell asleep in the back of the van on the way home and I had to wake him up to come inside. Normally I would carry him in and upstairs, but there was no way I was going to be able to pick up a 40+ pound boy and carry him up a flight of stairs. Poor thing was so tired, he collapsed at the bottom of the stairs and said he couldn't make it to the top. But I threatened and cajoled him and he got himself to bed. Of course at that point he immediately perked up for stories, and then he held Javi while I put Eli in his crib (he climbed in). He was SO cute holding his little brother, who fell right asleep in his lap. These boys are just knocking me out, they are so affectionate with the baby. Every time he fusses they tell him, "it's OK, baby Javi!" Awwww. Quite the contrast to when Eli arrived on the scene and Jack pulled him off the couch! Anyway, both boys fell asleep within minutes and I came down here and got in bed. Javi's asleep now so I think I'll go do some last minute picking up around the house and then go to bed for good. I feel surprisingly OK, not wiped out like I was day before yesterday, so I guess I really am on the mend. Finally!

Thursday, November 14, 2002

It's Technical Difficulties Day, otherwise known as Brian's birthday. Poor man is spending the whole day resolving issues with the NEW HIGH SPEED CABLE (woo hoo!) which is now up and running, and with my little ol' Palm, which keeps getting sick. Every time I change the batteries the f******ng thing crashes and I lose everything on there. So he's working on these issues while I sit here in bed like a helpless ninny, periodically nursing my child and doing stretches and stuff. Mostly I'm surfing the web (so quickly! so efficiently!) and reading emails and wishing I could just get out of bed and do things. I'm a terrible, terrible patient. But I'm trying not to be cranky because it's Brian's birthday and he shouldn't have to deal with Cranky Me today. And I really need to heal, already.

A very cool homebirthing blog has recently been brought to my attention. Check it out.

Yesterday I left the house for the first time, and oh what a mistake that was. Well, not a huge mistake, but enough of a mistake. We went up to Austin for our bi-weekly writer's group, then on to Central Market for some shopping. Within a few minutes of shuffling around the store I was light headed and shaky and tingly and stuff, and Brian had to escort me back to the car. Oh well. We did go out for sushi after that, so all was not lost. Mmmmm, maguro.

The boys will be back with me today after being at their dad's since Saturday afternoon. Brian picks them up from school in a couple of hours. I hope they're not too disappointed to find me still in bed...
Cable guy's here! Cable guy's here! I owe Brian (whose birthday it is today, by the way) a quarter (My daddy always told me never bet more than a quarter. Best financial advice I ever got). because I thought for sure he'd be late. Nope, right on time, right smack in the middle of his four hour window. He's oddly nervous and seems devoid of a personality, but who cares? I get high speed cable! No more 56K modem for me, baby!!!

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

I'm back after taking a little break to, you know, have a baby and stuff. I think he's the best thing since sliced bread, or at least the best thing since his two older brothers. Yes, I am now the mother of three boys. God help me. For those of you who like gory details, here's a link to the birth story. I'm not sure how long that link will last, though, since it's a message board. Try it, anyway. I suppose I could put the whole story on the blog, but we'll just see how it goes doing it this way. Javi was born at home, and it has been such a wonderful experience for us. I'm really thrilled I got the opportunity to have a baby in my own home.

So, I'm stuck in bed and terribly bored. I spend the day emailing and surfing and playing solitaire on my Palm. The baby spends the day breastfeeding, pooping, burping and sleeping. We're quite a pair. I'm on this classic movie fans list which I usually only pay a tiny bit of attention to -- most of the posts go directly to the trash. It's not that I don't think the discussions are interesting, but who has time? I guess I have time, now, because I'm reading EVERY post, and this is a prolific bunch. We've been talking a lot about silent movies this week, as we're having our own Oscar contest for the silent era. My vote goes to Janet Gaynor as best actress for her work in F. W. Murnau's "Sunrise." I know of no more beautiful film than that. Murnau was a genius. I'll let you know who wins, I'm sure you'll be on the edge of your seat.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

Poor Winona Ryder. But didn't you just love her defense? "My director told me to do it...it was all in preparation for a role!" Uh huh. I'll bet that went over REALLY well with the judge and jury, sweetie.

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

The boyfriend suggests that I write about my voting experience because yes, of course, I voted today. Always get a little thrill about doing my civic duty, even when there's hardly a soul worth voting for on the whole ballot. I grew up in Massachusetts, where they are still filling in little ovals with Sharpie pens, according to my sources in Leominster. Me, I got to punch a ballot today, which was mighty exciting. You can be sure I held it up to the light afterwards to make sure all was clear. Nothing hanging or pregnant, unless you count yours truly. Speaking of voting issues, there was a good little article in Salon lately on the subject of high tech voting. I think sharpies and punch ballots are just fine for now, thank you very much. Anyway, so it looks like virtually everyone I voted for will lose -- this is par for the course for me. Funnily enough, I cast my first-ever vote for a Republican candidate today (County Commissioner Susie Carter), and she may be the ONLY candidate to win from my ballot. But it's close. The guy she's running against is an absolute joke and had to be stopped.

Saturday, November 02, 2002

Turns out someone does read my blog, and she noticed the severe lack of posting recently. So Betsy, this one's for you. Halloween was really very fun this year. The kids had coordinating dragon/dinosaur costumes, made by their Abuelita who can sew ANYTHING. I am in awe of this woman. I can sew a button back on after it has fallen off, but that sums up my abilities. She made these incredible costumes with sticky-up eyeballs and stuffed tails and everything. The boys had a fabulous time (once they got over being shy) running up to the doors and ringing the doorbells. Say what you will about my weird, suburban, subdevelopment, Truman Show-ish neighborhood, the place was just made for things like Halloween. I have an absurd amount of candy left over, but that will all go into Jack's birthday pinata, so not to worry.

I'm one week away from my due date now. Just waiting. The nights are the hardest -- every night I think maybe, just maybe, I'll go into labor. Anything to relieve the pain, pressure, and trips to the bathroom.

Monday, October 21, 2002

Apparently, my 4 year old has been watching a little too much Sex and the City lately. This morning he pitched a fit because his shoes didn't go with his shirt. Should I take him shopping for some Manolo Blahniks? Do you think they have those at the San Marcos outlets?

Saturday, October 19, 2002

Jack said, "I'm too tired to come upstairs to bed." So I called his bluff and started story time without him, figuring he'd drag his sorry butt upstairs once he heard all the fun and excitement. Eli and I read our usual 4 stories, I tucked him into his crib, filled up his sippy cup and looked downstairs to see Jack, fast asleep on the couch. He'd made a little bed for himself with a pillow and the throw blanket. Poor pumpkin, he wasn't kidding. It's really fun carrying a 40 pound kid upstairs when you're 37 weeks pregnant. Really, really fun.

Did I mention we went to see Igby Goes Down? Go see it. I've always really liked Claire Danes, I used to watch My So-Called Life religiously -- I just have a thing for teen angst. Anyway, she's all grown up but in a good way. Also, I just really like the name of the director: Burr Steers. That just has to be a made-up name, don't you think? Oh wait, I found him! And he looks oddly like Bill Pullman, who plays the schizophrenic dad in Igby. Kinda cute, actually. Gore Vidal's nephew, too. Ya learn something new every day.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

It's bad enough that no one reads my blog. I mean, what do I expect, really? But the thing is no one CAN read my blog because of this FTP problem I'm having. I won't go into detail, let's just say it has to do with broken pipes or something. Whatever that means. Meanwhile, I'm delighted to report to no one in particular that the midwife came for a visit today. She does one home visit before the actual homebirth, mostly so she knows her way here and doesn't get lost at 2 in the morning trying to find the place. Anyway, she agrees with me that I am, indeed, carrying a long baby. We both came to this conclusion after being able to feel the baby's cute tiny little feet poking out from behind my collarbone. I am so, so ready to be done with this particular pregnancy.

The children and I had a delightful evening. One of those evenings, you know, where nothing goes right. Jack started things off by breaking his Jemimah Puddle Duck bowl because he was playing with it and let it spin off the table and onto the floor. (Have you tried reading any Beatrix Potter books lately? The ones we were raised on that we thought were so great? Take it from me, they're really very strange.) Then he and Eli basically fought over every toy they could get their hands on between then and dinner. While Jack whined about being hungry and wanted to know when dinner was going to be ready, anyway. He asked me this question about five billion times. After dinner, we continued with the fighting and the not sharing until bed time, when we had fun delaying and procrastinating. Then there was all the crying at bed time. After that I settled down for a good long hour of ER, which made me feel better. I took a few years off, and now the show feels all fresh to me again. Nice and fresh and bloody.

Thursday, October 10, 2002

It's actually COOL today. I mean, I'm still wearing a sleeveless dress, but there's a cool breeze, I can feel it when I walk outside. Amazing. Makes all the difference, really, when you're 36 weeks pregnant and the temperatures drop from high 80s/low 90s to high 70s/low 80s. Now if only the little munchkin would stop kicking me in the ribs. Sigh.

Sunday, October 06, 2002

I love laptops.
So my church had its first worship service in the new, big space today, which is just beautiful. The ceiling must be 30 feet high, the whole place smells like cedar, but not too overwhelming. It's sort of modern Mission style. Tile floors. And a really fabulous color scheme. The chairs aren't in yet, so we sat on plastic folding chairs, but otherwise it was all good to go. This is an Episcopal church which means we worship from the Book of Common Prayer and use a hymnal that goes back, like, a million years. But that doesn't prevent anyone from introducing new, horrid, soft rock-y Christian songs into the worship service. You know, "contemporary Christian music." Gag me. I'm sorry, I try to be tolerant, but PLEASE can we stick to the organ and the old, fussy hymns and throw that guitar OUT? Gives me the willies, that music. Sigh. Oh well, they're good people and they mean well, and they've been nothing but sweet to me since we started attending services last winter, so I'll cut them some slack.

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

Oh Captain, my Captain! Thanks for saving the day.

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

Fear not...captain is here to save the blog....
Oh, and my blog still isn't posting. Time to call in the technical experts.
What HAPPENED to Cameron Crowe? How could the person who brought us Fast Times At Ridgemont High, Say Anything, Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous have created the dreck that is Vanilla Sky? I hope he's working on something better, is all.

Monday, September 30, 2002

My blog isn't posting. I click post and publish, but it's not coming up on the page. I don't know why I even care, since no one reads this thing, but I care, and I'm frustrated, and I can't figure out what to do about it. Sigh.
Well, so much for daily. A two week trip back East really threw me off my blogging game. I've been feeling a wee bit disorganized and a huge bit anxious about money lately. There's nothing like being pregnant and unemployed. Nothing. So anyway, here's what's happened in the last month:

A two week trip to New England with two very cranky kids. We were supposed to go to NY, also, but the kids just weren't going to handle that well, so we changed our plans and stayed in Massachusetts. I managed to fall and hurt myself, pretty badly banging up my elbow and my face. When I heard my front tooth hit the brick I thought for sure I'd lost a tooth, but luckily it held up OK. Then, about a week later, I put my elbow through a pane of glass in a moment of pure idiocy. Everyone got sick. But we still had a good time. My cousin's wedding was a smashing success, and, as the official photographer, I think I did a good job. The prints await me at the photo lab...I'm afraid to look. What if they're bad? What if I suck? Oh, and a new addition to the family -- Amelia Ruby was born on September 8th. I'm a Great Aunt! Really great!

Back home. Hamish did quite well at the kennel for the 2 weeks we were gone. And chickendog lost some weight and was trim and spry. We were glad to be back, and to see the doggies.

My neighbors across the street moved to Oklahoma and took the last two remaining kittens from the litter with them, so now I'm back down to 2 cats from an all time high of 7. What a relief!

I've been working on my new career -- drafting a mission statement and a business plan. Flyers are up all over Austin advertising my services. Of course there's little I'll be able to do with a newborn, but it feels good to get some work done. I have beautiful new business cards, too! Time to network.

Reading: The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. About to read: The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen which is FINALLY out in paperback.

Watching: Rented The Talented Mr. Ripley on Saturday night. Good movie, really, although Gwyneth Paltrow always makes me want to gag. The Sopranos are BACK. My Sunday nights are full. I'm watching Six Feet Under too, of course. That's the best two hours of entertainment in my week.

Oh, and I lost some more of my back molar, so it's time to bite the bullet, so to speak, and go to the dentist. Appointment is for Wednesday. I have serious dental-phobia, so I'm mildly terrified.

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

We like the new Red Stripe Beer campaign. Hooray Beer!

Monday, August 26, 2002

I really thought we'd get all that done. At least we managed to make the ice cream (delish), and take care of the cat. But we never got over to Target and I never cut their hair...there's always next time. Eli managed to break two glasses yesterday. One right after the other. I really liked those glasses, they came from Crate and Barrel, and of course you can't buy them any more. Sigh. It's time to buy some more. Add that to my Target list. Watched The Shipping News on DVD today directed by Lasse Hallstrom. Kevin Spacey, Julianne Moore, Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench. Not bad. It was filmed partly in Nova Scotia. Between learning of Jean Rosner's death and then seeing this movie today, I've had Cape Breton Island on the brain.

Saturday, August 24, 2002

Big plans today. We're going to make strawberry ice cream in our really fun ice cream maker if I can ever get these kids dressed and out the door to buy some ingredients. The recipe calls for a pound of strawberries -- I might cheat and buy frozen, because I just can't see hulling a pound of strawberries. Then these boys are getting some hair cuts. Jack has a thick mop of hair on his head and is starting to look like Frankenstein. I won't cut Eli's curls very much, just a trim around the ears and bangs. It's never easy cutting their hair, but I bribe them with lollipops and they manage to stay relatively still. Then we'll head into Austin to feed my friend's cat, Ivan, and give him his asthma medication. Yes, this cat uses an inhaler. What else. Oh, we're stopping at Target to get some long pants for the boys to wear to church, and pajamas for Jack. He's outgrown all of his fabulous hand-me-down pj's, and Eli's wearing them already.

Friday, August 23, 2002

I spoke too soon. There I was, bragging to everyone that my feet and ankles never swell up during a pregnancy. But then again, I've never had to experience my third trimester in August in Texas. Different story. Second day in a row of sausage leg syndrome. Very unattractive and most uncomfortable. Sigh. On a happier note, the student teacher in Eli's room said she liked my hair color today. It's been a week since I dyed it, and I'm finally achieving the results I was hoping for a week ago. Last Friday my hair was PURPLE. Unequivocally purple. Now it's closer to the color as advertised on the box. Glad I did this now and not two days before my cousin's wedding!
I love my dog, but it's really time to get him fixed. I'm going to have to rent one of those carpet cleaner thingy's from the supermarket to deal with the stains upstairs. He's a bad, bad dog.

Thursday, August 22, 2002

I got the Putney Post in the mail today. This is my high school's semi-annual alumni magazine. I'm the class secretary but I've fallen behind on the job, which is why there's only one listing in my year, from Taylor Moriarty, who must have sent it in herself. She's calling herself Marion these days. Anyway, I feel like a schmuck for not being a better secretary, but there's always next year. I'll keep trying. I was sad to see that Jean Rosner died of cancer. Jean was Carmelita Hinton's daughter -- Carmelita founded the Putney School. The last time I saw Jean was over 10 years ago. I went up to Canada to check out my old camp on Cape Breton Island and visited with her (her campground was across the road). Jean immediately put me to work pulling nails out of wood in her garden, and milking her mare whose foal had just been sold. I went back the next day and helped her pull up some vegetables for dinner. She was blind as a bat, and ornery as ever, and it was wonderful to see her.
OK, so this is the first day of the rest of my blog. Today we had the MOST beautiful sunset. Jack and Eli and I went for a walk with the neighbors and their kids to a playground around the corner. They all had a blast playing on the equipment, and my neighbor Laura and I got to sit and chat. Just little walks like that are hard for me in this heat, being almost 7 months pregnant. I was happy to get home. The kids are sleeping now.

I was lucky enough to find the boys some new sandals at Wal Mart today. Target was totally out of sandals and had moved on to sneakers and boots. It's ludicrous to take sandals off the shelves in Texas in August. They have at LEAST 2 more months of sandal wearing ahead of them. Anyway, I found some good ones for $5 a pair.

The big plan for the weekend is to make some ice cream. And I'm going to get my travel plans together. We're going back East for a couple of weeks in September. I can't wait! Massachusetts and New York City. I haven't been to NY since Jack was a baby, although I've been longing to go, especially since September 11th. It will be strange to be there so close to the anniversary of that date. I think we'll avoid being in the city on the 11th itself, but will probably arrive the following Friday and stay for a long weekend.