Thursday, March 27, 2008

I'm going home.

I am going to get minimal sleep before my flight in the morning. A recipe for me to be weepy by the time I see my parents tomorrow afternoon.

Never mind. Yes.

Before I get to Maine and will probably not blog for a little while, I leave you with a song. It's called "New Hampshire." I figure that's close enough, since NH is the only state Maine borders and it is actually where I am flying into tomorrow. And while the whole thing does not relate to me, I always think of the part about home when I am lonely for it and that's why I am posting it tonight.

"New Hampshire"
by matt pond PA

i saw a modest dream
the kind that can’t speak up
and lost before it’s let out
in the north we hold our tongues

but down here i believe
when you pull your hair back it’s so easy to see
this has not been thought through
there are things that we’ve done that we cannot undo
there are things i can’t hear when we’re telling the truth

at a table out in bethel
when i was thirteen
the criminals were saying
liked how i was silent

the cold was the container
for the sparseness of our speech
the expression in our hands
was all that we’d need

but down here i believe
that i made a big deal with a girl that can’t bleed
now I see red and black
and evening that kills i want to take it back
an evening that kills and i can’t take it back

i’m going home back to new hampshire
i’m so determined
to lay in lakes and see my sisters
i will hit my brother and hold my mother

this probably won’t work out
we might not live forever
while there’s nothing to confess
please pay attention

and i know that it’s brief
there’s not nearly enough in one night to have seen
what you had in your hand
was much more than the gold that i let go to grab
so much more than the gold that i let go to grab

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Freaking out and nearly tinkling.

I am flying into New Hampshire in about a day and a half. I did a ton more packing today but because of my lack of housekeeping skills ever since I got pregnant, it still doesn't look like it. Stuff is everywhere. I am coming to terms with the fact that I need to let go of things. That I need to stop collecting things, or as Gabe would like you to believe, hoarding things. I think that because I'm a middle child in a family that was never very, um, moneyful, I purchase and gather things and have a hard time letting go because I had so many hand-me-downs as a kid. Sometimes I didn't feel like those things were mine, and now I own things. So now I hoarde. I mean, collect.

In case you were looking for a little glimpse into Nora's psyche.

Not only should I be way more packed than I am right now but I am also freaking out about flying with Liam. We have flown with Liam before, when we went to my sister's wedding when he was 3 1/2 months old. We had a diaper fiasco and the air pressure bothered his ears on our last flight. The thing that's different now is that Gabe will not be flying with us. He's driving the moving truck and towing my car northward. I am flying alone with my 9 1/2 month old baby who is far more vocal, impatient, interested in the world and mobile than he was six months ago. I break into a sweat when I think of how unpleasant this flight could be for us. And for fellow passengers shooting eye daggers at me, because whenever a baby or child is louder than a whisper in public that obviously means their mom is a bad mom and doesn't know what she's doing.

Honestly I have another weighty and worrisome concern: my bladder. If you're reading this, and you're a mom, and you have also maybe lapsed a little on your Kegels (as in you've neglected them completely, as I have), you know what I mean. I have only had one baby but I also had a catheter in for a long time for labor and delivery because I had an epidural, and the catheter stayed in for what felt like days afterward because of the, you know, swelling I had, you know, down there, because of the, uh, tearing to the fourth degree. It was probably just 24 hours total that I had the catheter. But I just can't hold it as long as I used to. And how do I pee on a plane if I am the sole caretaker of my infant?

In case you were looking for a little glimpse into Nora's nether-regional health.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

9 month check up

Because I completely flaked and got all kinds of mixed up two weeks ago, Liam had his nine month check up this morning, at nine and a half months old. Eh, whatevs.

He is twenty-one pounds, which puts him in the 55th percentile for weight, and thirty inches, which is in the 95th percentile. He definitely has a belly and baby chub but he's so tall and thin!

He got a hep-B vaccine, which I wasn't expecting. I thought his nine month check up was going to be needle-free. This time though I didn't cry. I didn't even come close. Maybe I am getting stronger. Liam was pretty pissed about it though and I am not looking forward to his twelve month vaccines. The nurse warned me that he'll be cranky for a week. Poor baby. (And poor mommy.)

I was happy that Dr. M didn't try to sway me from feeding Liam a vegetarian diet like too many other non-vegetarians seem to have an opinion about. He recommended I start adding cheese, yogurt, egg yolks and olive oil to his diet for protein and fat. Liam had yogurt for the first time today, which he liked, and I'll start with egg yolks when we get to Maine later this week.

I asked Dr. M about the strabismus surgery and he said he completely trusts and agrees with Dr. Stone's advice to have the surgery done as soon as possible. Once insurance is straightened out after we get to Maine we'll look into it further. It still makes me sick in my stomach but I don't want Liam to have vision problems in the future if one of his eyes is always overcompensating.

We are moving in three days. We packed a bunch today but too bad it doesn't look like we did. Dudes, I have so many books.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Thursday, March 20, 2008

L-A but not California.

Today was my last day off from work before I officially don't work at the book store anymore. I work for two more days and that is it. I am leaving for Maine one week from today and that is CRAZY with a capital INSANE.

My work friend Jared came over to my apartment for lunch today, bearing food from the Greek cafe he's been telling me about forever now. He brought me Greek lasagna and a Greek salad and left me the leftover pita bread and hummus. Nora loves some hummus. And some time with Jared because he just started working at the store again part time and now I am leaving.

Gabe and I are having a hard time finding a place in Portland that will work for us in all of the following areas: cost (rent, utilities, deposit), location (safety, walking, parking), size (must be bigger than where we are now) and convenience (shopping, recreation, jobs). The better places we've looked into do not fit all of those categories for us, except for one. My good friend AJ looked at an apartment for us just a handful of blocks from where she lives on the East End. And I wanted the apartment. I wanted it so bad. It was bigger than what we have now but would have been more affordable because of the utilities included. I wanted it. I applied for it promptly, spoke to the owner on the phone and in e-mails, and basically just had to sit back and wait for her decision. She chose another tenant for the apartment. I cried. I cried so hard, I will not lie. Even when someone tells me something better will come along, I can't believe it.

We are starting to more seriously consider moving to an area closer to my parents and farther from the Atlantic. Lewiston-Auburn, the Twin Cities of Maine. It is more affordable to rent there. Two bedrooms in nice areas can be in the $500s. We would be just fifteen to twenty minutes from my parents, five to ten from my sister and her husband, and close to my brothers, wherever they will be. They are nomads. I have several aunts, uncles, cousins and my only living grandparent in the L-A area. (No, seriously, it's called L-A.) My family will get to catch up on a LOT of missed time with Liam and it would be a more viable option for me to be a work at home mom since my own mum can come and watch Liam while I get artsy and crafty and sell things online. There are definite pros to living in the L-A area.

The cons: It's. Not. Portland. The city I love and dream of.

He's cute. For real.

This is Liam in his carseat on the way to his uncle's wedding weekend in The Woodlands at the beginning of March:


This is Liam in his pack & play, sporting the most perfectly cool bedhead:

(Bedhead definitely doesn't look that good on me.)

This is Liam in his high chair, probably wondering what the frick Mama is doing behind the camera because it's obviously not funny:



Friday, March 14, 2008

Do I really look drunk? Or juvenile?

I have a travel mug I use for coffee at work. A co-worker gave it to me after I complained about wanting a travel mug but not wanting to pay $10 for one, which was the cheapest I could find. She said she just had too many at home. Lidded travel mugs with a stoppable sip hole (for lack of better terminology; I'm way tired) are nearly a must for me since when I am not actively drinking, the cup is sitting on my cart among my books and moving the cart can cause a lot of spillage and therefore damage to the books.

Well I knocked my travel mug over twice today while it was on my cart. Once when it was empty and once when I had two clearance books on it. Because it has a stoppable sip hole this should not have been a problem, expect the coffee was really really hot (I have an ugly red bump on my tongue as proof) and I left the hole open so it wouldn't trap in all the heat. This means the coffee spilled out everywhere. Twice.

The second time it fell over was because I ran a cart wheel into the little rubber mat that sits in from of the water fountain and the mug took a tough spill. It jarred open the seal I had created when I closed the mug hours earlier, I just didn't know it yet. After I cleaned it up I went back to the buying area to reload my cart. I was talking to our assistant manager Earl and took a sip of my coffee, which had successfully cooled off to a pleasantly sippable temperature.

Well. The stoppable sip hole was stopped, yet coffee was coming through. And it was dripping from the seam of the cap. Down the body of the mug. Onto my hand. Onto my shirt.

I didn't even realize it until I looked down and saw drops of coffee on my cart again. Earl had seen it all. He saw the confused look on my face.

"Nora, what did I tell you about drinking vodka at work?"


Not too long after that, I had just gotten off the phone with a customer who requested we hold a book for her. I turned and headed back to the buying area, where I was assigned to spend two hours buying books from our customers. I crossed paths with an older gentleman, maybe in his sixties or seventies. I smiled at him and he smiled back. Before I could ask him if he needed help finding anything, he asked me: "So, turning sixteen soon?"


I am so glad that it's almost bedtime.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A Crafting Fool

I went to Jo-Ann Fabric this afternoon when Gabe got home from work so I could use my 40% off coupon that came in the Sunday paper on some upholstery tacks for an art project I'm working on. I have never bought upholstery tacks before, and they sound expensive, so I thought 40% off could really be a big help.

I found steel tacks which will actually work better than upholstery tacks because the steel ones lie flat and they only cost $1.59. With the coupon that should have been about a dollar plus tax (I think?), but, well, I got a little distracted along the way.

I didn't realize that they'd become such a craft supplier beyond fabric, zippers and buttons. And crafts make me weak in the knees and my heart flutters when I go to Michaels and Hobby Lobby.

I ended up leaving Jo-Ann with acrylic faces to make my own stamps, felt letters to spell out Liam's name on the wall over his crib in our new home in Maine, three decorative storage boxes (to house/hide my stationery habit), a quarter flat of fabric for another version of the art project I am working on, recycled/recyclable canvas panels for this project, and of course the steel tacks, all for $20.

Inspiration: priceless.

The most expensive item was the acrylic stamp faces for $5.99. They were originally $9.99 and I was going to use my coupon on them but I didn't know until I was checking out they were already on sale this week for 40% off. The next most expensive item that wasn't marked down and therefore eligible for the coupon was the steel tacks.

I hope hope hope there's still a Jo-Ann in Portland and that it kicks as much crafting ass* as this one in my current town. I saw so many other things there that I can use for wonderful projects for myself, gifts, and crafts to sell. If I wasn't flying home in two weeks I would have spent a LOT more money today.

(Yeah, I said I am flying home in two weeks! I am so excited. And scared. And excited.)

Anyway so that's the story of my visit to Jo-Ann. I know it's not fascinating but I can't help but share when I find good deals on art and craft supplies.

* Edit: I've just done a store locator search for Maine. There's still one in Portland as well as one in Topsham but they are described as "smaller stores." The one where I live now is a Superstore. There are no Superstore locations in Maine OR New Hampshire. Poo. Poo, I say! Oh, my aching crafty heart. Maybe South Portland's A.C. Moore will do me right.

Monday, March 10, 2008

God said...

The Vatican hath spoken, thus ye must recycle:

It's a sin to be environmentally unfriendly.

So there.

Before anyone gets into a tizzy, I know there's more to it than recycling. Trust me. I am the captain of Team Green at work. I have done my research.

(And I'm not going to get into bioethics.)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Awesomeness That is Liam

Liam Mercury McCourtney-Wolf is nine months old today.

He has been outside of my body for two weeks longer than he was in it.

He has his two front bottom teeth and just this week he started sprouting his top right tooth. He has three alongside it just waiting to break the surface. He sleeps through the night next to me in bed and he's a total bed hog. Every morning he wakes up before me and will touch my cheek or try to stick his thumb up my nose. On the days (every other Sunday) when I get to sleep in, I often wake up later to the sound of Gabe making our son laugh.

He's been crawling like a champ ever since he figured it out. Cautiously at first, now with no fear or reservation. He pulls himself up to stand on everything he thinks might hold him and has figured out that the drying rack is not one of those things. He just does it more slowly. When he pulls himself up to stand in his pack & play or in front of the couch he'll walk along the edge to his heart's content. Sometimes he'll let go with one hand, turn away, and try to step away, only to fall to his knees or bum.

He has the softest skin. He likes to hold hands. He likes it if you sniff him or the air around him and say, "Ohhhh, stinky!" which started with his feet and is now a big hit with his diaper. He loves to eat fruit, Gerber puffs and teething biscuits. He likes to cuddle while he sleeps. He likes to take baths. He loves to bounce. He loves to sneeze. He weighs about twenty pounds. He just tried his first sippy cup last week and thought it was pretty fun.

When he smiles right at me, or touches my cheek, I seriously feel infinite. This kid loves me more than he knows, without even knowing what love really is. He just feels it and expresses it. It's beautiful.

He has to have eye surgery. He was born with an eye muscle that is too short and so his right eye doesn't always focus forward as it should. It's pulled outward. It's called strabismus. We're doing research and getting second (and maybe third and fourth) opinions. The pediatric ophthalmologist that we went to said that he'll need the surgery before he's four. I am really scared about Liam being under anesthesia, about the healing process, and my own ability to be strong for him while he heals. Because I am a cryer, and this is my son, and seeing his come out of anesthesia or in pain afterwards just seems like more than I can handle. Even though this surgery would do him well.

He's been wearing a patch on his left eye for two hours a day to try and strengthen up the muscle in the right eye so that it'll focus forward. The first time we put it on he wasn't so happy about it and ripped it off. He's getting better with it now. Sometimes it doesn't even look like he needs it.

He's nine months old and I cannot believe it. Didn't I just hold a warm and wet seven and a half pound newborn in my arms?

Happy Nine Months, Sweet Baby.

Lollipop Guild?

Best Smile, Class of 2025

Pirate style

Sunday, March 2, 2008

blogging, Liam, moving away and Chuck

I've been a bad blogger.

Well, an absent blogger.

In these hectic times of trying to find an apartment in our price range in a city two thousand miles away, which will be big enough not just for me and Gabe but for me and Gabe and Liam the Baby With Many Belongings, I find myself with less time to blog. Blogging only happens on my laptop and I haven't had much of a chance to pull it out from under the couch (where it's safe from Liam's curious fingers).

I've also been a bad blogging buddy. I haven't been keeping up with and commenting on the lives of handful of readers. If any of you actually have been reading. Or re-reading since there's been nothing new.

I do have big plans. The move northeastward will commence in four weeks. CRAZY! My brother-in-law is marrying a very nice lady next weekend. I have art supplies for a beautiful project I am planning, hoping it will be as beautiful as I plan. And sellable on Etsy.

And Liam's been amazing. Since I have been MIA, he started crawling, pulling himself up to stand and sprouted his first tooth. That all happened within seven days of each other. He'll be nine months old this Thursday. CRAZY! More about him later.

Once we move I will no longer be working at a bookstore with amazing prices and an amazing employee discount, so I am trying to collect a few books I really really want, before I can never afford books again. Last week I bought Diary by Chuck Palahniuk, and this week I found copies of Fight Club and Rant. The bonus about that is, I didn't even know Rant existed until I saw it sitting on the counter, and my new copy of Fight Club was published before the movie was released (or it's a re-issue) so it doesn't have Brad Pitt or a bar of pink soap on the cover. I hate movie tie-in book covers. The problem with it is that it's a pretty old copy that I had to take spiderwebs off of when I found it and it makes my fingers smell like stale storage and maybe even cigarette smoke while I read it. Reader(s), that's a big deal for me since I am a germaphobe and never buy used books from our store that are icky. But this one, I had to. It doesn't have Brad Pitt on the cover!!!

I started reading it last night and seriously. I want to kiss Chuck Palahniuk. Figuratively. For writing the way he does. I am really loving this book. I was sitting on the couch reading it last night and my heart was actually racing. Because I loved it so much. That had never happened to me while I read a book. Maybe when I was a lonely, depressed teenager who read PG-rated kissing scenes in lame teen novels, my heart raced a little in envy because I sure wasn't kissing anybody. But as a mostly happy adult who gets to kiss someone regularly my heart does not race while I read. And I work in a bookstore. Maybe my reading habits had seen busier days before the arrival of my son, but I have read a lot of books.

I do wish I had read the book before I saw the movie, not because they are of opposite quality, but because whenever the narrator mentions Tyler Durden I picture Brad Pitt and whenever Marla Singer is on the page I picture Helena Bonham Carter. I have nothing against Brad and Helena but I picture their very Tyler/Marla mannerisms, and even though (and probably because) my heart races for Chuck's words I wish I was creating these images from pure imagination. Funny, though, I haven't pictured Edward Norton yet while reading, and I like him more than Brad and Helena.

And my lovely Gabe decided a couple weeks ago to ever so casually mention that Choke will be a movie due out later this year and didn't understand why I FREAKED OUT! got really excited about it. I loved Choke. Chuck is co-writing the screenplay, as he did with Fight Club, so it should be a close representation. Be still, my fluttering heart.

xoxo Nora