Friday, December 3, 2010


I am happily pet-free at this time, and with the crushing loss of two family dogs over the summer I plan to stay that way for a while.

We live in an apartment, I love not dealing with pet hair, and I have my hands full keeping up with my crazy three-and-a-half-year-old and getting my own hair washed. Pets are not for me right now, although I have loved and lost and my heart is kind of too tender right now emotionally to take care of a pet.

I lost my sweet Betta fish just three days before Liam was born, and I had watched the little thing suffer for a while before Gabe euthanized him for me, and it still hurts.

Liam loves animals, and I support his interest by talking about different species, reading about them, pretending to be them and slowly adding to his collection of animal toys. In fact, he has a set of felt animal finger puppets and we've gotten into the habit of, every time we play with them, they talk in either deep deep or high-pitched voices back and forth about where they live and what they eat. He knows we don't eat animals and we occasionally talk about the horses and pigs we'll keep for pets on our future farm.

Today while waiting for a set of prints at the Walmart photo lab, I tried to make a beeline past the pet food aisles, holding my breath as usual. I think one of the most disgusting things on this planet is the smell of hundreds of square feet of pet food.

But I was distracted by the new tanks of fish, which are cleaner and less jammed full of little fishes than the previous pet section Walmart tanks. I stopped and peered through the glass with Liam, pointing out bright colors, long fins and bulgy eyes. And then I saw them.

The fiddler crabs.

The cute little fiddler crabs with their asymmetrical claws and sideways underwater shuffle. I don't know why it happened but my heart grew three times in size. (You can call me the Pet Grinch.) I told Liam I want to have pet fiddler crabs with him someday. I told Gabe about it when he got home. I had fiddler crabs on the brain, which was weird because I am so anti-pet lately.

And then? You guys! Wonder Pets came on and it was the freaking Fiddler Crab on the Roof episode!

It's a sign! I'm destined for fiddler crabs, OBVIOUSLY.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


To fill you in on the past 2+ months, I'll just tell you something cute Liam said tonight.

He was lying in bed and I told him good night, I hope he sleeps well. He shivered, clenched his fists and said, "Shimmer me timbers!"

Then, after our official good nights were said he turned over, squeezed my hand and whispered, "I love you."

Monday, September 27, 2010

paths colliding

I just had a pretty exciting weekend, and my weekends are full for all of October- I am actually using a planner to keep it all straight. This is totally exciting since I am a stay-at-home mom sharing her car with her husband in a city that is not incredibly pedestrian-friendly.

There was the Yo Gabba Gabba Live show, a fun day spent in Portland with my dudes, a marching band show, the season premier of Dexter! and all kinds of awesomeness, to be followed up by playground playdates, pumpkin carving and Halloween parties, apple picking with a new friend, the Fryeburg Fair, etc etc etc.

(So far this autumn is amazing.)

Yet, YET, among all this awesomeness I half-witnessed something that was greatly disturbing and that will always stick in my mind when I recall this weekend.

I saw a bicyclist get hit by a car in the Old Port.

**cue stomach churning**

Before I tell the story I'll first say that no one was hurt badly or killed.

Gabe, Liam and I had spent a couple hours on the East End, sitting in the grass first on the hill overlooking Casco Bay and then I chased after Liam while he explored dandelion puffs, rocks, dogs, and the scenery. He made a fast friend in an 18-month-old girl taking a walk with her dad. They followed each other, picked flowers for each other, took turns hopping and petting dogs. It was a gorgeous early autumn day in Portland- warm sun, cool breeze, puffy clouds. We headed closer to town for some ice cream and it was while we were walking down Commercial Street that we heard it.

It was a quick yell, echoing of surprise and distress, then a sickening plastic-crunching sound. I turned my head just in time to see a car screech to a halt and a bicycle flying into the air.

I froze, afraid to see A Body. You know, A Dead Body. I stood frozen in place in the sidewalk, a parked car blocking my view from the fallen bicyclist. My heart had stopped and my breath was stuck in my chest. One hand was holding Liam's, the other had traveled unknowingly to my mouth.

I couldn't move, couldn't look, afraid of seeing something I could not unsee.

Then, he popped up into the air. Literally. Like a jack-in-the-box, the bicyclist moved from the ground to his feet, unharmed. He shook it off. He held up his hands to show everyone, probably mostly the driver of the car, that he was ok. He checked out his bike, checked out the car, spoke calmly with the driver.

I almost threw up right there, partially because my mind was still in a dark place and partially from relief. Everyone in the immediate vicinity crowded around, wanting to help, and I just stood there until the ability to move returned to my frozen body.

Even though he was ok it took me a while to regain a regular breathing/ heartbeat pattern. I ate my ice cream in near-silence, staring at Liam's smooth face and the cleft in Gabe's chin. My cone was stale and the ice cream was too chocolatey. I watched the street through the shop window, wondering DID ANYONE KNOW? Did anyone else around there know that someone almost DIED on Commercial Street just five minutes prior? That you can't guarantee your own safety, your own little bubble of your silly little life?

Did anyone REALIZE??!

Now, three days later, I am able to NOT think about it. For the first day all I could see when my mind wandered was a bicycle flying into the air. I kept hearing that yell, and the sound of the bike hitting the car. I'm past that, back into the normal routine of my weekday life.

That doesn't mean I'm not saying a few extra prayers at night.

Monday, August 30, 2010

How did I get so weird?

A few nights ago I had a dream that I was dating twins. They were tall, strong and beautiful blond men who were both crazy about me but I preferred the company of one over the other. The one I liked less wrote me a letter inside of an old children's story book about why I should choose him; his brother found it and scrawled his own rebuttals into it.

Note to self: don't date twins because even in my dreams, it's complicated.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

soy sauce

The summer I graduated from high school I got a job as a waitress in a Chinese restaurant- "the best buffet in town," the customers always said.

I was 18 and hadn't had many jobs at that point. I filled out the application and less than a week later someone called me and asked if I could start work that day. No interview, no mental preparation, just, "WHEN CAN YOU COME IN, PLEASE HELP US!" Kind of like that.

And my training was just as thorough as the interview process. "Here, take a quick look at the menu and then watch this one girl take one table's order, then you're on your own, one two three GO!"

I got the hang of it, I made pretty good tips and my co-workers, all gravelly-voiced waitressing vets, loved me. They'd stick up for me when the owner or manager got mean or if the cooks yelled random syllables at me if they didn't understand my order slip.

There was this one cook who was closer to me in age and smiled at me a lot. You know, uncomfortably a lot. He'd try to corner me at the tea machine or the time card puncher to flirt with me, but here's the thing! He barely spoke English and it would take him several tries to communicate to me that he thought I was cute, or wanted my number, or was asking me where I was going at the end of the summer. And you know how when two people who speak different languages don't understand each other, they just talk louder and try a stab at useless hand gestures? It was really awkward- so much yelling and flailing while I just stood there with a smile/grimace.

One time he was asking me to go see a movie with him but with his ineffectual English and thick accent he actually said, "I'd like to see your boobies!" instead of "I'd like to see a movie with you." I almost died.

The only woman who worked in the kitchen was the dishwasher, named Ho. As you might imagine, the name Ho does not go over well with uncultured Americans so someone decided to call her Princess, which I thought was ridiculous. She had to be in her 30s. Anyway, she did not speak any English. Not a word. Her husband was one of the cooks and did some translating for her if the waitresses were loading the counter the wrong way.

One day he caught me by the arm and said, "My wife think you are beautiful!" I turned to her, where she was smiling at me from behind her counter and she gave a timid wave. "Thank you!" I said to her, and her husband proceeded to say, "I think you are too. Very pretty." He gestured to his face, meaning my face. "Very beautiful!" He patted my cheek. And that was a little awkward too, because he started telling me this every time I came into the kitchen. "Very pretty!" Pat, pat.

This was TEN YEARS AGO, kids. I just ran into this guy at Walmart the other day, which has happened a few times but if I see him in advance I can steer my cart away before he sees me. This time he saw me first. He threw up his hands, said "Ahhhhh!" and tried to cup my face but I managed to lean back. He gave me some of the loud talking and flailing, asking me about Liam and if I was married, which has happened every time I see him. He just stands too close and stares too much and rubs my arms, STILL! Like he recognizes me ten years later because I'm That Girl Who Lets Him Get Away With This Shit. Liam always gives him the stink eye and leans away from him too, which he does to everyone in public who has no concept of personal space.

As usual I, too, leaned away, wishing Gabe was with me, and I asked him about his wife. This seems to break him of his trance. He gestured that she was elsewhere in the store with her kids and I said, "Ok, gotta go, see ya!"

Just a few minutes later I passed him and his wife and kids, and he saw me again, like Nora Radar. Again he threw his hands up and said, "Ahhhh!" And he tried to touch my face YET AGAIN but I ducked. I said hello to his wife and she fawned over Liam for a few moments and she patted me on the shoulder.

I walked away feeling conflicted- I'm not trying to be a douche about non-English speakers but I would not mind it if that man could possibly interact with me without touching my face. Ho, a.k.a. Princess, was one of the best things about working at that restaurant so many years ago because of her smile and how excited she'd get about trying to talk to us waitresses. Her husband, however, constantly reaching out for me and telling me I'm pretty, still makes me cringe.

The other night I was mixing up a concoction to attract and trap some pesky bugs in my garden, and the mixture contained soy sauce. Almost every time I cook with soy sauce I toss a splash into a hot pan of garbanzo beans, so it's been a long time since I've smelled it all by itself. The aroma of the two tablespoons I measured into a bowl for the garden really struck straight up my nose and it nauseated me.

It brought me right back to the slow summer afternoons when I'd be cleaning and refilling the little soy sauce bottles at the waitress station- and I'd hear the kitchen door creak open, see arms flail from the corner of my eye, and I'd hear "Ahhhhh!" and feel him squeeze my shoulders, pat my forearm and eventually go for my face.

There has GOT to be a better way to say hello.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


From my very own garden, early July 2010.



Saturday, June 26, 2010

The scream to prove to everyone that I exist

Hey, so you know how I like Frightened Rabbit? Like, a lot? A lot, A lot? Well they came to Boston in April! Since they are one of the two bands I vowed to go see even in Boston if that's the closest they came, I headed down by myself to see the magic.

So, I was pretty close on the side of the stage, but I haven't mastered my camera yet. Let's pretend that instead of blurry, these photos are artsy.

They were amazing. There's no other word. They blew me away and they changed my life. I mean that.

Yes, that's a pretty halo right 'round Scott Hutchison's head and that's because he's kind of angelic. And yes, I mean that too, just not in the conventional angel kind of way. They were all glowing with something I can only think to describe as kindness or purity. Something really special, and I know that sounds cheesy, but these guys... I mean, have you HEARD them?

There was an epic sing-and-clap-along at the end of "The Loneliness and the Scream." Do you know the song? If so, you'll know which part I mean. It was one of many moments during the show that gave me chills. (If you don't know the song, you can hear it below- pay attention at 2:40.)

It makes you want to sing WHOA-OH-OH and clap like crazy, right???

It took me a very long time to get home because I may have gotten lost trying to get out of Boston, then it took me forever to find something to eat on the way home. For the 4+ hour stretch I was blasting Frightened Rabbit on my car stereo and singing at the top of my lungs. The early, early mornings in Maine are foggy so the moon and rising sun and skyline of trees were hazy, whispering, nodding.

It was all so pure.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

eyes in the back of my head

So, I have a stat counter on this here blog ( and sometimes it's really interesting or funny to see the search words and phrases that direct readers/browsers to this page.

Other times IT'S TOTALLY FREAKING WEIRD and makes me cringe. Fortunately many of the people with, um, unique searches don't stay long to actually read.

They're obviously in the wrong place.

The internet is so weird.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Three years in a blink.

On June 6, my little babycakes turned three years old.



Here is a photo of the three of us first thing on his birthday morning. Sleepy and excited.

His party was a week later- the Wild Things party he's been talking about for almost a year. I made a banner and giant character illustrations, and a cake that looked like Max that Liam specifically requested. The party guests (well, the kids) made a Wild Thing craft that I forgot to get pictures of! But when I read Where the Wild Things Are to everyone, the kids were so cute and involved in the story, roaring back at me and showing their terrible claws. It was such a great birthday party.



Liam's been telling me all of the things he can do now that he's three years old, like drinking soda, driving cars and motorcycles, and drinking coffee.

Not quite yet, baby.

*I am having trouble with sizing... please forgive the slight cutoffs on the right sides of the photos. The banner, in full, says, "I love you so."

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The List

Dear Reader(s?),

I'm going to talk about a potentially controversial subject that I've seen bitchy internet cat-fights over (because what else are BabyCenter message boards good for? You know, aside from trying to vent/learn/teach about our lives as moms? That's right- bitchy internet cat-fights.) and I want to say this is THEORETICAL. This is something some couples think about for fun because we're human, have senses of humor, and it's NOT. REAL.

That's right, ladies and gentlemen. I am talking about The List.

You know. The List of celebrity crushes you'd make it with if ever given the chance. Free pass. And your spouse can't get mad at you for it because of The List. And since Gabe and I have an overly exceptional level of comfort with each other and we have EYEBALLS that recognize the attractiveness in other human beings, our lists are no secret to each other.

And yet! The world still turns! We are still a strong couple! We are not heading straight for divorce because we joke about celebrity crushes!

Plus. You know? I would think it's totally weird if Scarlett Johansson showed up, hit on Gabe and he didn't take the chance. I mean, I would. She's hot.

So here, readers, is My List.
(Please note, I borrowed all of these photos from the internet.)

This is no secret to anyone who has ever read my blog in the past. I'm a John Krasinski lover, maybe a little bit too much, and watching him on screen makes me giggle.
YOU KNOW HIM FROM: The Office, duh.

At first when I saw him as a faun in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe I was like "WHO IS THAT ADORABLE FAUN, oooh and he plays a cute little flute!" I felt a little weird for being attracted to a half-man/half-goat and then I reconciled myself over the fact that it was James McAvoy, and it was ok.
YOU KNOW HIM FROM: Atonement, Wanted, The Last King of Scotland

During a conversation five or so years ago when Gabe and I were talking about The List, I removed someone and added Mr. Sarsgaard. Then this happened...
GABE: Peter Sarsgaard? You think he's cute?
NORA: Cute? No! Are you kidding me?? He is smoldering.
(...And that's how I feel about Peter Sarsgaard.)
YOU KNOW HIM FROM: Garden State, Kinsey, An Education

Mark Duplass is a fairly recent addition to My List, and it's based mostly on his role in The Puffy Chair, which you should watch. He seems like he'd be comfortable to hang out with and listen to music. Yes, I definitely make random stuff up like that about people I've never met.
YOU KNOW HIM FROM: The Puffy Chair, Humpday, Hannah Takes the Stairs
(He's currently starring in USA's The League and he used to be in the band Volcano, I'm Still Excited)

He is the newest member of My List since I started watching Dexter a couple months ago. You know the opening credits where he pulls his t-shirt over his head and stares into the camera? (If not, you can see a photo here.) Holy shit. That's why he's on The List. That and the fact that he plays a serial killer who can be a little dopey when it comes to relationships, yet Dexter Morgan is still so likable.
YOU KNOW HIM FROM: Dexter, Six Feet Under

And now I want to hear all about Your List!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

the end of May

I get really steamy-eyed and dreamy this time of year. It's the end of May. Three days in a row, for every year of my life as far back as I can remember, I recognize:

05/28: The anniversary of the death of my mum's best friend Karsten. She died when she and Mum were high school seniors so I never met her but there's always been a picture of her in Mum's house, and my older sister is named after her.
05/29: My Mum and Dad's wedding anniversary! Today marks thirty-four years. Amazing.
^ My parents in 1976.
05/30: My younger sister's birthday. I've talked about her here, about her death and her birth, which happened in that order.

This year I'm feeling nostalgic about my pregnancy since Liam is about to turn three years old. THREE! YEARS! OLD! I'm thinking about that big heavy belly I had, about the way I waddled, about the contractions I'd been having for weeks- about the fact I hadn't yet met my baby! And now he's almost three and he's... what are the words?... BEYOND AMAZING. Ridiculously cute.

Also, a luna moth appeared on our doorstep this morning and has spent the day there.
This moth means something, and it makes me smile.

Friday, May 28, 2010

au naturel

A recent Dooce post (I know her name is Heather but I always refer to her as Dooce in my head) got me thinking about personal hygiene- particularly my own bathing habits.

And how you probably think I'm kind of dirty if you're the kind of person who showers a lot.

I've never really been a shower-every-day kind of person. I thought it was weird that my best friend in elementary school took a shower every day before she came to school- I mean, we were eight years old, you know? Pre-puberty, pre-body odor. The time before school was meant for eating breakfast, getting dressed and walking to the bus stop, but only after sleeping as late as possible.

In high school, I lived in an old farmhouse house that did not have a shower. There was a bath tub, but no shower. I took baths because that was my only option, and I hate baths. They are so boring and I feel like I'm sitting in a big pot of Nora Soup. (It was a novelty for me to sleep at a friend's house and use an actual shower. In fact, when I moved out at the age of twenty into my own apartment I once took two showers in one day JUST BECAUSE I COULD.) So in high school, because I would sleep until the very last possible second and because I hated sitting/stewing in the bath tub and because I was not an athlete that produced a lot of sweat, I took a bath every other day or so. Whenevs.

When I reached the end of my early twenties my body had taken great strides in maturing. FINALLY. My skin was less oily, therefore so was my hair. I didn't need to shower every day. Or every other day. So I didn't. I must have been a cat in a past life, or maybe I drowned, because I just don't like being wet unless I am swimming. (Which maybe means I didn't drown in a past life- I don't know. Maybe I was a deep sea diver, dry under my wet suit. Sure, that's it. Deep sea diver.)

Plus, my hair- man, my hair. It is so healthy. It's not actually good for your skin and hair to bathe every day. All that hot water, all that soap. It dries you out. I know it's the norm here in America to shower every day; Gabe cannot even function if he doesn't shower every morning because it helps wake him up and start with a clean slate. Me, I'm a European at heart, or as close to it as I can pretend since I'm only the eleventh person on my mum's side of the family to be born in the States instead of in France. My mum was the first. Oui, oui.

So that's my confession: I'm dirty by most standards. I do not shower every day. Well in the summer I'll have a stretch when I do, when it's the most humid- or when I have sand from the beach stuck in all my cracks and crevices. But when I can get away with it, I let my body do its thing. (Within reason because I do have a husband to share a bed with. You know. No one wants smelly armpits with their lovin'.)

And it's not gross. I have healthy skin and my hair is in pretty great condition. I use deodorant and WILL shower if stinky. Every other day works for me. I know I'm not alone (Hello, Dooce!) and there's been conversation among one of my birth clubs on Babycenter where I learned that many other moms of infants and toddlers skip the daily showers because, well, it's just not necessary.

As long as I'm not offended by the smell of my own body, I'd rather spend time building towers out of blocks, reading story books, going outside OR EVEN HOUSE CLEANING instead of wasting soap and water and feeling like a soaked, pissed-off cat in the rain.

How about you? Are you squeaky clean every day or are you a "dirty hippie"* like me?

*I've actually been called this. No offense to other dirty hippies.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

How to know when you might be more interested in a kid's show than your kid is.

This is a recent text message conversation between me and Gabe.

NORA: Yo gabba gabba is coming to portland, omggggg
GABE: Whaaaat
NORA: Im hyperventilating over here
GABE: When and how much!
NORA: Sept 24 and i cant find the price ahhhhhhh!


It is time to rock and roll.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

"Give back to the soil to see what can come up from the spring."

Here I am, in a photo that Gabe snapped a couple of days ago, expanding my garden with a pitchfork and a trowel.


It's a lot of work. Poking at the grass, lifting it in sections to separate the roots, shaking off the soil.

I really love growing things. I love my houseplants, and I loved my little and slightly unsuccessful garden last year. The process of preparing a patch of soil, dropping seeds in, and caring for the little sprouts to eventually pick and eat your own vegetables? Amazing.

The smell of the dirt is intoxicating. Finding bugs is exciting. I found the most magnificent worm the other day! He was long and shiny and I transferred him over to the compost pile, hoping he'd make a happy home there. Gabe, Liam and I watched him for a few minutes straight, captivated by the way he (she?) moved.

I'm expanding the garden so I can (in theory) grow more, and my dad is going to help me build a fence to keep out the small animals who stole my goods last year. Liam is just as emotionally involved in the garden as I am- yesterday he asked me repeatedly when we were going to head to the yard to "work the garden"- and he helps me in ways that he can, like moving little rocks and removing some of the dried grass and using his little hands to plant some seeds himself.

Having dirt all over my hands and watching things grow is downright spiritual to me. It's a gift. LIFE comes from the ground. We all have roots on the bottoms of our feet, sucking water and nourishment from the ground. Kneeling, hands in the soil, growing my own food with the help of my son- I feel like I am myself photosynthesizing and creating oxygen and growing deeper, thicker roots. I am sucking in the rain and soaking in the sun.

Living. Giving life.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Ambien, take me away.

I hardly slept last night.

As I was drifting off to almost-sleep shortly after midnight I was startled to full consciousness by the figure of a man standing in my room, which turned out to be the silhouette of the closet door.

Then Gabe woke me accidentally when he came to bed later. I slept, kind of, from around 2 am until 3:30 am when I woke up, too warm, shoulders sore, eyes burning from fatigue yet unable to keep them closed for long.

I tried sleeping on the couch. I tried that until around 7. I watched part of an infomercial about a magical melon from France that has immortalized Cindy Crawford's face until I found some Cosby re-runs. I dozed a few times between 7 and 8.

During one such doze, I had a dream that I can only attribute to the fact that I started watching Dexter a couple weeks ago and I'm already nearly done with season 3. There was an empty parking lot, a bank/car robbery, a getaway slowed by sleet on the roads, a ticket from and a sassy comment to a cop, a thrilling and liberating uphill jog (???), an illegal entry into a secure building- and then Dexter Morgan himself, ending some killer's life and then rescuing me from whatever I was running from.

Thank you, Mr. Morgan.

At 8, Liam tiptoed into the darkened living room and touched my shoulder and asked me if I was awake. I put my arms around him and he cuddled with me, resting his cool cheek against mine and we whispered our Good Mornings and I Love Yous to each other.

We kept busy today: a bike ride, a trip to the cemetery, a little shopping for art and gardening supplies (and I scored a new bedding set for $20!) and repotting some new house plants. I'm so tired I almost fell over while I was vacuuming. Literally, almost fell over.

I am currently unable to convince Gabe that some Ben & Jerry's will cure me (Strawberry Cheesecake? Coffee Heath Bar Crunch? Cherry Garcia? Yes, please.) and I don't want to risk passing out in the frozen food aisle at Walmart if I go myself, so I'm just going to go to bed early tonight and hope I can get to my garden work tomorrow.

And maybe dream about Dexter Morgan again. Woo woo!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

moving on

Instead of talking about the several weeks that have passed postlessly I'll talk about the present. Particularly, today. It's Mother's Day!

I am fortunate to be married to a man who knows that one of the best things he can give me for such an occasion is the gift of rest. I stayed in bed until almost ten this morning, and I later napped on the couch for a while. (He also gave me flowers earlier in the week that are still blooming brightly in the kitchen, and this weekend he gave me some things I needed for my garden.)

Most importantly today I am aware of the reason I celebrate Mother's Day for myself: Liam. He is almost three years old. He's about half my height (I'm 5'7" - I am not short) and already about half as smart as me. He just needs to learn to read and write, and he'll be a flippin' genius, I'm sure. He just stuns me daily, and even through the occasional whines and disobedience and sass, he's a smart and funny sweetheart who delights in cuddling, reading and making us laugh.

Recently Gabe and I were being goofy together (the kind of goofiness that is funny to us but no one else, because we've been together for a long time and we can be comfortable that way so I won't try to explain the whole context) and this happened:

ME: Obvi!
GABE: Totes!
LIAM: [from out of nowhere] URBAN OUTFITTERS!

One of my favorite things about Liam, though: he's a hand-holder.

Liam's been holding our hands since he was a newborn. Very early on he learned how to soothe himself by holding our fingers and rubbing the tips of his thumbs against our fingernails. He still does this; during quiet time as we cuddle on the couch, when he's sleepy in the car, when we're holding him at a store. It's come to soothe me and Gabe, too, that gentle friction that reminds us of when our rapidly growing boy WAS still a tiny baby. Even when he's not thumb-rubbing, he likes his hands to be in ours, as we take walks, or push the shopping cart, or simply move from the living room to the kitchen. His hands are so warm and soft and I want to eat them. The other day while we were having lunch at the table, he pushed his chair closer to mine, then reached over to hold my hand and continued eating wordlessly. The kicker? He linked his fingers through mine AND I DIED.

Liam's done a lot of changing in his time since birth, but I'm glad that holding our hands is not something he outgrew.

Happy Mother's Day to me.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I want you all to know, for those few of you who read this blog still, that I'm ok.

I'm more than ok.

I started the anti-depressant two months ago and I want to sing from the rooftops.

It's working.

I am just... better. In nearly every way. I'm the happier, more patient person I used to be and it works. I clean the house more, it's easier to eat healthy, I'm more physically active and I don't avoids social situations. My heart palpitations almost disappeared, along with my anxiety attacks.


This probably all sounds cheesy AND YET it's just the truth, and I am happy to be happy.

In completely unrelated news, I frequently have this song stuck in my head.

It was really nice to listen today while Liam and I were in the kitchen, having a snack and watching the fat spring snowflakes fall.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Leslie Hall

I discovered this video recently on some message boards and I cannot get the song out of my head.

Liam even sang it in the car the other night. He said, "Watch out for my body rolls, watch out for my body rolls. Tiiiiger, tiiiiiger, this is how we do it." (That's not really how the song goes, but since he saw tiger costumes in the video, he replaced "High kicks, high kicks" with "Tiiiiiger, tiiiiiger." To-may-to, To-mah-to.)

I haven't even watched the rest of Leslie Hall's videos (although I've seen her as a Dancey Dance friend on Yo Gabba Gabba) because I'm too busy watching this one. I think I'm sitting on a goldmine, so to speak, of entertainment and I look forward to when I have a couple hours to myself because instead of napping, cleaning, reading or writing letters I will be watching Leslie Hall on YouTube.

Monday, March 8, 2010


Yeah, yeah I haven't been blogging AGAIN. Pfffft. Here are some items of note from my lately-life that are worthy of mention !!! but not individual blog posts.

1. I had a night to myself lately with Gabe out of the house and Liam sleeping soundly in the bedroom, so I watched instant-access movies on Netflix instead of doing anything productive. The Ugly Truth was offensively bad, and despite how sexy Gerard Butler was in that scene where he was dancing with Katherine Heigl, I'm stickin' to it.


2. Smiley Face was bad too, maybe because I'm not a stoner and it wasn't Pineapple Express. I have this habit of watching anything that John Krasinski was in BECAUSE I LOVE HIM but really... it's not the greatest plan.

3. I have recently acquired new shoes and a new TV stand, which excites me beyond reason and may actually result in blog posts devoted to them. Just wait till I get my steam cleaner. YOWZA!

4. Liam sings "Bohemian Rhapsody" and it's amazing.

5. Spring is springing early here in Maine and all I can think about is hiking and planting my garden and bodies of (unfrozen) water.

6. I got my ticket in the mail for the Frightened Rabbit show in Boston and their new CD is on its way to me. Add this to what I'm thinking about in #5.

7. I want to invent a time machine that is actually a diaper disposal can, like the way Diaper Genies are supposed to close away the smell of pee and poo laden diapers, but without making a toxic atmosphere inside the container that melts your eyebrows off when it's opened. Here's how it works: you put the dirty diaper in the Time Machine Diaper Pail (awesomer name to be announced soon), and time inside the pail turns backwards, the pee and poo gets stuck in the time-space continuum, and you get a fresh diaper all over again! I'm going to be a millionaire.

That's it for now, folks. Hold tight to hear about my new shoes and furniture!!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

itty bitty

It seems I spoke too soon about my breasts. They're gone again. Back to my newer "normal." THANKS FOR NOTHING!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Take your latte and shove it.

My friend Amanda is blogging again, and she wrote recently about her job at a coffee shop- more specifically, the strange coffee orders she receives.

It reminded me of when I worked in a cafe when I was 20. I was not a coffee drinker (outside of the very occasional cup at home, and sometimes a splurge on a Dunkin' Donuts Coolatta- but my body could not really handle caffeine then so I mostly avoided it) and I had to not only learn words like cappuccino, latte and espresso, I also had to learn their ingredients and how to make them. And serve them with confidence and not a look on my face that said, I don't know but this might be a cappalatto.

Before I was really ready for it, I was left alone in the cafe to fend for myself and work out any problems alone. One day this lady strides up to the counter and is the type of customer not to greet you or show any signs of friendliness.

ME: (smiling) Hi, how are you?
CUSTOMER: (looking at her cell phone) I want a tall skinny latte.
ME: (panicking in my head- WHAT THE FUDGE does that mean???) Ok. Is that for here or to go?
CUSTOMER: Ugh. To go.

I stepped away from the counter and looked at our to-go cups. The tallest ones were not skinny, and the skinniest ones were not tall. My only experience in a Starbucks up to that point in my life was ordering a tiny cup of four-dollar hot apple cider that tasted like apple juice with a dash of cinnamon. I had NO IDEA that "tall skinny latte" meant "small non-fat latte." I could MAKE a small non-fat latte, if you ASK for it like a normal person.

I went back to the counter and showed her the cups. "These are the only sizes we have." Of course, she looked at me like I was a flaming idiot and said, "So?" My face flushed and I stammered, "We- we don't really have any that are tall AND skinny."

She flailed her arms and shoved her phone back into her purse. "Tall means that small size and skinny means skim milk," she barked.

And that is why I still didn't step foot into a Starbucks for years to come.

Friday, February 5, 2010

night time perfection

There is nothing like smooth, freshly-shaven legs between soft, freshly-washed sheets, and a comfortable sleepiness behind my eyes as I sink into bed and find the sweet spot on my pillow.

With a new anti-depressant in my system this week, I've had a couple recent nights of almost-adequate sleep. Tonight I'm trying a mug of lemon balm tea before bed, which is known to fight insomnia and sleeping difficulties.

I'm hoping for one of those magical nights where I sleep deeply, dream and fully rest.

Those nights are known to cause next-day productivity and alertness and motivation for me.

Pure magic.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I actually made New Year's Resolutions this year, something I normally avoid because I figure that if something in your life is important enough to do or change then you should just do it. Whether it's January 1 or April 22 or August 3. Just take charge and do that shit.

Which is funny since I am so laid back and not a take-charge kind of person. Suffice it to say there is little shit I have done and things happen at a pretty slow pace for me.

I like it that way.

But what with my depression swallowing me whole and with little accomplished outside of parenting in my lately-life, I decided to make myself a list, which I'll share with you because I'm sure it is very interesting to the world at large.


First, the serious stuff:
1. Call a damn doctor. I have already had a visit with an OB/GYN to speak about my lady business, and I have an appointment in place for later this week with a general practitioner to begin talks about my sleep (lack of it), depression and anxiety, and that night I thought my gallbladder or something was going to kill me. Now I just need to schedule with a dentist. Because having health insurance is pretty great.
2. Start and actually go through with a more rigorous at-home exercise plan to strengthen my body and increase my stamina. I can't wait for spring to arrive so I can get outside more and ride a bike. In the meantime I'll spazz out in my living room and play in the snow. Maybe ski and skate.
3. Make more art. Actually BE the artist I like to think of myself as, and make stuff! And sell it! And be so happy about it! (Two projects already underway because I'm awesommmmmme.)
4. Be a better housekeeper. Know where things are. Store things appropriately. Put the freaking laundry away when it's folded, not two weeks later.

I have also resolved some fun and silly/superficial things to make my 2010 to-do list more fun. Here we go:
1. Put clothes on. Clothes that are not jammies. I have found that when I put on some jeans and a bra, I have more motivation to get things done earlier in the day, and then that pumps me up because I see these results like a sparkly kitchen before noon. Maybe this belongs in the 'serious' category.
2. Wear heels. I don't have feet that were made for heels but I feel like if I wear them (lower, more reasonable ones) then I will feel fancy and if I feel fancy I will have more fun. I bought this super-cute pair of pumps at Payless and I cannot believe how comfortable they are, even on my feet. Sometimes I wear them while I cook dinner or wash dishes because, well, being two inches taller and having shoes that click the floor is fun.
3. Accept invitations to events where I can wear these heels. I already wore them on my date with Gabe for his birthday, and now I need weddings, gallery shows, museums, and parties to attend so that I have reason to wear them again.
4. Have more sex. Tee-hee-hee!
5. Go swimming at every possible opportunity this summer, and hike from spring through fall. Purchase and ride a bicycle regularly.
6. Get more familiar with Maine and all of its hidden gems I have yet to discover, and revisit the destinations of my youth.
7. Purchase sweet prints on Etsy (like this one and this one) and frame them to display in my home. Also print more photos of Liam and my life to frame and display. No more bare walls!
8. Step up my social life and that of my son so that we go less crazy. I already have some sweet activities lined up for us, events I am actually planning!, and I'm really excited.
9. Get rid of all of the underwear that does not fit me; more specifically, the underwear I've owned since before my pregnancy and then throughout it, resulting in an almost total loss of elasticity. I still wear this crap when I haven't done enough laundry. But I aim to get rid of them all and replace them with much cuter undies.

It's almost the end of January- have you made any resolutions? Have you already forgotten them? Have you had any successes so far?

Monday, January 25, 2010

golden nuggets

For the past eighteen months, whenever Liam has had a doctor's appointment- be it a well baby visit or a sick visit- I've been told he has an awful lot of wax in his ears, to which I have always replied, "Is there anything I should be doing about that?" I was consistently told no, there's no safe way to irrigate the ear canal, and I was always like, so why are you telling me how waxy he is? and they're all blah blah blah and I'm like ?????? and they're like, have a nice day!

For at least a week, Liam has been tugging at and poking at one of his ears. It started just at nighttime before bed and I thought he was simply stalling because he doesn't like going to bed. More recently I'd ask him what's wrong and he'd say, "I'm fine." There was an absence of any other symptoms like coughing, congestion or a fever so I let it go until yesterday, when Liam was touching his ear all day and saying it hurt. I got him in to the doctor late this morning expecting some kind of stealth ear infection.

Once again, when the doctor peeked inside of Liam's ears I got the wax comment. This time it was, "Whoa! Got some wax?" I didn't even ask this time. I was just like whatever, at least I have a small co-pay for this visit. Then the doctor went on to say Liam has so much wax built up that it's all packed in and he can't even see his eardrum. So he used a little tool (I just tried Googling it to see if this tool has a name but I ended up with some gross earwax shots so I'll leave it at that) to dig a tunnel to check out the eardrum. The eardrum looked good- no infection!- but he gave me two options about the wax:

1) Buy an over-the-counter liquid to dry up the earwax
2) Flush out the wax in-office, same day

I chose number 2 for quicker results for Liam's relief. And HOLY MOLY. I cannot believe what came out of my son's ears!

There were several flecks of wax floating in the little cup that caught the water as it came out, plus a few pea-sized gobs of yellowy-black wax. The SIZE OF PEAS!



It was so gross and fascinating. I didn't even know there was ROOM for that much wax inside of Liam's cute little ears.

It was not a comfortable procedure for Liam; I held him close to me and he quivered and cried but he was so good and did not try to get away. Almost as soon as it was over he looked at me and said, "Mumma, I feel better already!" This evening as I was tucking him into bed, after I read him a few stories he told me his favorite part of the day was going to the doctor and fixing his ear.

From now on I'll be dropping peroxide into Liam's ears weekly to prevent the future need for wax-flushing. Most importantly, I don't want Liam in that kind of pain and discomfort again if it's something I can prevent.

Also, I cannot get the image of those wax nuggets OUT OF MY HEAD!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Welcome back, girls. And by girls I mean my breasts.

I haven't been on birth control in over three years. There are reasons why, but they're kind of accidental reasons so they are boring and do not matter. But I decided to go on birth control again because I thought it'd be nice to have clear skin for the second time in my life, and also be able to know when I should be expecting my period. Because every 20-32 days is not regular enough for me and my period was trying to kill me with pain and excessive blood loss.

(And by excessive I mean, you don't want to know how much blood was coming out of me.)

So today marks the start of my third week on a regular ol' birth control pill. In my first two weeks I gained five pounds, an insatiable appetite, less sleep but more fatigue and my boobs.

That's right. My boobs, who both went missing when my breastfeeding days were over. They are back.

They're sore from so much growth in such a short period of time, but they are currently sitting perkily upon my chest, pressing warmly against the inside of my bra, happy to be home.

And I'm just going to say it- I like having breasts that feel familiar again, no matter how superficial and shallow that sounds. I missed my breasts and I did not like what they'd been replaced by. This is not about sex or my husband (who loves them no matter what, thankyouverymuch) or pressures from society and media about how I should look. My breasts are a part of me and I just wanted to feel like myself again. (If, say, my eyes changed color or something happened that altered the shape of my lips, I'd be sad about that too.) I can't exercise myself into bigger breasts and I don't like the idea of having implants- so this side effect from the birth control is a very welcome change.

In (somewhat) related news last week I was helping Liam pick up his toys, and he caught a glimpse down my shirt as I bent over. Upon seeing my cleavage briefly he asked me, "Mumma, why you have a butt in your shirt?"


Saturday, January 23, 2010


One of my oldest friends just had her first baby in December; a sweet little girl named Ava who I got to hold and she looked at me with wide blue eyes and gurgled at me and all I could do was gaze back and tell her how sweet and tiny and pretty she is.

Gabe's cousin and his wife just had their first baby a couple weeks ago; a sweet little girl named Lily. They live in Texas so we haven't met her yet but in her photos she's all soft and loved and beautiful.

My buddy Bridget just added a gorgeous baby girl to her family. Welcome, Ada! You and your brother are going to have so much fun. But get better soon, first!

Gabe's brother and his wife are expecting a baby girl in April; also their first. I already bought some clothes for my new niece (the very day I found out they are having a girl, in fact) and I'm just giddy with anticipation to meet her. I'm so excited for my brother-in-law and sister-in-law. What a beautiful family they'll make!

Feel my forehead, folks. That's baby fever. I'm afflicted.

Also spiking my temperature is that Gabe and I have begun talks to mayyyybe move up our "let's try to have another baby" plan by a couple years, which WHOA OMG DID I REALLY JUST SAY THAT?!!! Yes. Yes, I did. It's not going to happen right this second and we're still not sure when exactly we'll try to conceive but it's definitely not 4-6 years from now, which was the plan pretty much since I was pregnant with Liam.

I'm revamping my list of names, thinking about where to move next and will promptly enact a plan to get my body into some serious shape to help support a strong and healthy near-ish future pregnancy.

Pass the Tylenol please.

Friday, January 15, 2010


I woke up one morning last week to a wide-eyed Liam squeezing my nose and saying, "Wee-wee-wee nose! Wee-wee-wee nose!" And as I hugged and snuggled him and said good morning, he took my face in his hands and said, "You are my woman in the whole world."

(melt melt melt!)

Just a few days after that, we were in the check-out line together at Walmart, buying a cartload of groceries. I noticed a man staring at me from the bench nearby- the kind of staring that is intentional and creepy and uncomfortable. So I was trying to avoid eye contact, and I was chatting with Liam as I loaded grocery bags into our cart. Liam was playing with the big green buttons on the front of my coat, and then he pulled my coat aside and gave one of my breasts a good squeeze. You know, just for toddler fun. Creepy dude watched on.

(ack ack ack!)

You win some, you lose some.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Tiny changes

Frightened Rabbit's Midnight Organ Fight (2008) is my new obsession, and that's a big deal. In the past couple years my interest in music has really tapered off and I just stick to the music I know and already like. I don't seek out new music and new bands like I used to. Here and there I'll hear a song I like but nothing really grabs my attention for long before I am back to listening to matt pond PA, David Bowie, Mozart and Neutral Milk Hotel on repeat.

I'm not even sure where I first heard of Frightened Rabbit, seeing as how the album is almost two years old now and I am late to the game. But I recently looked them up on MySpace to find out what they sound like, and I liked what I heard enough to ask for one of their albums for Christmas. (That's a big deal too since I haven't actually gone out and bought a new CD in ages. If memory serves me correctly the last time I slapped down some cash for a CD was in October of 2007 when I bought Last Light at the matt pond PA show in Dallas. I'm only twenty-eight and that's like an eternity, especially compared to my past music-buying rates.)

Gabe gave me a copy of Midnight Organ Fight for Christmas and I am officially, whole-heartedly SUCKED IN and I am showing no signs of shrugging and turning back to my old faves. These past couple weeks have been like embarking on a new relationship. Really exciting, heart-skipping, breathless. The songs consume my mind like I might think of a new lover in his or her absence-just wanting to be near again, wanting to nestle into those new warm arms, and trying not to giggle when we kiss.

It's actually a break-up album full of sadness and anger, heartbreak, brutality- yet there's something still so sensual, sexual, passionate and even hopeful about it. Scott Hutchison's voice will tear you to shreds and then stitch you up gently, ALL AT THE SAME TIME.

I've ordered their first album, Sing the Greys, from my local music store and am not-so-patiently waiting its arrival. I should be realistic, though, and know that I will only stop listening to Midnight Organ Fight when someone rips it from my cold, dead hands OR BETTER YET, when their new album comes out in March.

(That sound you just heard was the quiet thunder of my heart beating twice at the same time. Yes. The same time.)

I am hoping with a silent, obnoxious shriek that this Scottish band tours North America to support their new album. I'd go see them. Anywhere. I live in Maine and most touring bands I am interested in don't seem to want to come to Portland, so I used to travel frequently to Massachusetts and even Rhode Island to see bands I loved. Now that I love fewer bands, I am really only willing to leave Maine (I am older, have less income that can be used frivolously, chronically sleepy, etc) for one band. Now it's two. TWO BANDS! Frightened Rabbit has changed my life!

This is serious.


From their upcoming album, The Winter of Mixed Drinks: