Category Archives: marriage

Yeah. Stuff Is Hard.

My old pal and running partner Sasha used to say that you can only do three things well. At the time, we both had small children and were training a lot for races. Her three things were running, writing, and parenting. Mine were….running, parenting, cooking, working, knitting….I might have been trying to do too many things, actually. I’m like that. It doesn’t mean I’m doing them well. It just means I “never have time” and I have too much going on.

I’ll be honest: I am having a hard time lately. Obviously, I cannot say too much here. But that is the truth.

A big part of it, I’m sure, is the damn election. As for probably every other woman out there, it’s triggering rage at the lifetime of sexism, minor assaults, etc. No need to belabor this point. At all.

And divorce. It’s hard. I’ll just leave it at that.

The cat I lost custody of* went missing for several days (one of which was cold, rainy, windy, stormy). Thankfully, she’s been found, and in other happy news, my landlord said I can get a cat, so the boys and I will start looking around for a kitty for our home. So that is very happy news.

Here’s what I’m doing:

  1. Parenting, trying to help my kids be happy and healthy and thriving during this big transition in their lives.
  2. Working (and I have an extra client right now, one I want to impress, of course, but it means the current couple of weeks are kind of a strain on me).
  3. Training for an ultramarathon (go ahead and say, “WTF are you thinking?”).
  4. Socializing and trying to recover myself and my interests (climbing, mountain biking, baking, etc.).
  5. Finishing unpacking and setting up this apartment (actually, screw that; I’m hopefully here only 10 more months and I don’t want to put much more money into this apartment or unpack anything else; we still need some rugs and some storage items, but I’m not doing much else).
  6. Figuring out what happens next regarding the divorce, where we’ll all live next year, future employment, and so on.

That is a lot. 

Honestly, fitness has fallen right out the window. I’m not going to the gym. I’m barely running. I should be doing multi-hour runs at this point. Instead, I’m trying to get sleep or get extra work-time in when I can.

And sometimes, like tonight, I just need to spend some time baking and vacuuming and then curled up on the couch watching old episodes of “House.”

So if, by Sasha’s rules, I had to pick three, it would be parenting, working, self-care/sleep. Some of that self-care involves time with friends; some of it involves baking; some of it involves time on Facebook, and I am not ashamed of that. Some days Facebook provides my only social interaction, since I work from home. Don’t judge.

Anyway. Lately things feel hard. Maybe I’m doing too much. The ultra training, much as I hate to say it, has to go. I just don’t have the time or energy for it right now, and it’s not where I should be putting my energy, and it’s becoming a stressor instead of something to look forward to. I hate to let go of it. But I need to take care of myself and conserve energy (physical and mental) right now.

So that’s where I’m at. Feel free to give me an unsolicited hug. Or ask how I am. Or tell me a joke.

*because when I found this apartment, it was “No pets allowed,” so C took the cat when we all moved in August. But now I can have a cat, YAY THANK GOD.

I kind of hate big announcements.

Hey, blog readers, I’m going to tell you something personal.

I’m telling you because you read my blog. Maybe you’ve been a longtime reader, someone connected since my exceptionally open postpartum depression days, or someone who just stops by now and then. In any case, I know my blog has really sagged lately for many reasons: my kids want privacy, I share a lot on Facebook that I previously would have talked about here, I no longer want to share as much personal stuff as I once did. And I’m busy with work and kids and no longer prioritizing my blog as much as I used to.

Anyway, we’ve told family, we’ve told close friends (and oh, dear friends, if I haven’t yet told you, it’s not that you’re not “the closest,” but I have a LOT going on right now–you have no idea–and I love you, and let’s talk), and as last weekend we have told the children: C and I are separating, heading for divorce. In short, it’s been a long time coming. We are fine, the children are fine. we have support, and his new place is very close to our current place. He moved out today.*

We’re OK. Feel free to ask me what you want to (I reserve the right not to answer), and please feel free to reach out if you want to hang out sometimes on weeknights or the weekends on which I will not be with my children. Which will be both freeing and painful. I’m here. You know how to reach me. Thanks for reading.

*Mostly. It will be a little while before the new place is fully set up. You know.  Lots of beds and stuff to obtain. It’s OK. There’s no rush. We’re getting there.

 

How to Return to a Full-Time Job

Next Monday I start a full-time job, on site. During standard 9-5 hours.

YAY! Go me! How exciting! It’s even more exciting because I interviewed for a copyediting position but they offered me an editorial manager position instead. So, hey.

But yeah, you’re right, I have an entire family who depends on my being here for drop-off, pick-up, afternoons, meals, all of it.

My husband has been supportive of my return to work and has said (and meant), “Whatever it takes.” This means that The Guy Who Is Definitely Not a Morning Person will now be getting out of bed at the crack of 7 a.m., waking the kids, feeding them, prodding them to get dressed (I myself can no longer tolerate this step)—oh, and actually at this point the little one is finally waking up after a million-and-a-half attempts to roust him. Teeth brushed, faces washed, lunches into backpacks, SHOES ON!!! and out the door by 8.

Yes, your children might have this process down to 20 minutes (some of their cousins do, with much earlier departures), but we need a full hour here. Older Boy could probably get it done in half an hour, but Younger Boy hates to wake before 7:45.

Anyway, with the new gig, my plan is to be out the door by 7 a.m., leaving the entire morning situation up to my husband. Don’t feel too sorry for him. I’ve been spending every waking hour emailing 60 possible sitters/nannies per day. I’ve posted to two different local parents’ listservs, SitterCity, Care.com, some local universities, all the parents in both my kids’ classrooms, and social media.

I’ll spare you the details of what I’ve had to sift through, but thankfully we have lined up some stellar childcare. Whew.

In related news, I went clothes shopping today (UGH), because I have exactly two day’s worth of office attire, and one of those outfits is my interview suit. I am sick of my interview suit (plus, I can’t take the jacket off without having totally bare arms…nope!). I now have six days’ worth of appropriate clothes, thanks to a trip to the Ann Taylor Factory Store. I told the saleswoman my situation (including “I hate shopping,” “I have no idea what to wear,” etc.).

I’ve also gotten the requisite anxiety dream out of the way (arrived at the wrong time, in torn pants, missed orientation, didn’t know where to get coffee or what to do, and meanwhile my husband got the kids to school four hours’ late).

All that’s left to do is…start!

 

 

 

The Grief with No Cause

I’ve been feeling like I’m grieving: a deep heavy sorry, quick surprising tears. This has been going on for a month. More. I wake with a heaviness, an aversion to the day. My eyes sting quickly and often with frustration, tension, emotion. I’m short on patience, short on memory. I need to grieve, for someone has died.

I suspect it is me.

The grief has been here before, settling on me, and it usually indicates that my depression is back. But, before now, I’ve never been so high-functioning through it as I am this time. I have to be. There are children, who need breakfast and clean socks and flossed teeth and packed lunches. There was moving to a new town. A preschool application (no, for real, that’s how it works—you have to apply to preschool around here and even have the former preschool teacher or daycare provider fill out some long enormous form about the child). Financial aid applications. Taxes (to submit with the financial aid applications).

One client did not send their 1099 until the very last possible day, the very end of February, but our taxes were due (for financial aid) February 15… and it arrived the day our mail slipped through the forwarding system and went to our old apartment. I’d do our taxes now except we have not finished moving, and I need to spend my days on that. No, and that is not my story to tell, though I’m working my ass off to make it happen, long days in a basement churning with what looks like broken suburban dreams: fishing poles and beach chairs and camping gear, various auto fluids, yard toys, extra furniture. We don’t have room for it all in the new place; nor do we need it. We really expanded there in our former home, with the big yard and the run of the place. Here we’re compressed, houses close together, little storage. Impossible to be our free-range shouty reclusive selves.

yard

This needs a new home by Monday, if we can chisel it out of the snow.

I felt happier by miles when my last project finished, an especially difficult one for me (harder with the snow days, the moving, the designated work time sucked away to tend to matters of the home and family). I’ll be freer still once taxes are done and we’re fully out of the old place, all of which will happen by Sunday despite doctor appointments and two days with kids home from school.

Basement of suburban dreams

Basement of suburban dreams

My left hip is out right now, literally, meaning my leg is turned out. My foot is turned the wrong way. My stride is off and I cannot support weight on my bent left leg. Running is out right now. I’m broken until I see my chiropractor tomorrow to put my SI joint and the rest of my hip structure back into place. I think, if you care to hear, this is because last week’s race stressed an already-stressed hip flexor or quad, which ended up pulling my SI joint out, causing intense pain, which I tried to fix at home, so now the SI joint is no longer screaming but the hip and leg are totally f*cked up.

Not running kills me in so, so, so many ways. It doesn’t help, here in my low point, that my friends are getting faster than ever, PR’ing in every race, every distance, while I get slower and now can’t run at all. My nonrunning friends are landing great jobs. Another friend, from my MFA program, just got into an exclusive writing group. Everyone is celebrating their awesome, because they are all awesome skilled, fast, honest, excellent-writing people. And I’m, you know, cleaning stables right now. Bitchily.

Despite feeling like “always the bridesmaid, never the bride,” I’m very happy for them. I have some super-powerhouse running friends, and I’m proud of their dedication, natural speed, and how their hard work is paying off.

I wanted to take some time. “Slack tide,” my sometime therapist calls it, and she approves of the idea. Time to settle into our new home and unpack, finish the big tasks on my plate, find a job. Time to not make many demands on myself.

It’s hard to talk about much here, in this space, at this time, because I can only tell my own story but I’m obviously so enmeshed with others. It is, at present, blurry and messy and painful and boring and tedious and stressful, and it will wash out to smoothness soon enough, I hope. I’m trying to hold on, to ebb and flow with it all, to finish this week’s horrible big impossible push, and then next week I will actually be able to start applying for jobs. Full-time jobs. Sorry, children, sorry, husband, but it’s time. We’ll all have to figure out how to shift our schedules and tasks a little bit.

 

 

The Type A Takeaway: Trust Yourself and Take a Leap

Last weekend I went to the Type A Conference in Atlanta. It’s a blogger conference. Blogger conferences are amazing because not only do you meet other bloggers — many of whom you might only know from online — but you can attend sessions on everything from honing your writing craft to making good Vine videos to pitching to brands…and everything in between.

Some of the most valuable sessions I attended taught me or reminded me to:

  • use short-form video (*sigh* I will try out Vine or something soon, I swear…but really, do YOU want to see videos here in this blog? Little short videos?)
  • show who you WANT to be (still working on that one!)
  • write engaging content (this session, with my hero Katherine Stone and my new hero Anissa Mayhew, was possibly my favorite session in the whole conference–it was a reminder to write)
  • use my blogging/social media skills to land a corporate job (or, even a non-corporate job)

I also got some great tips on monetizing my blog, working with brands, and the best use of email (still mulling that one over).

Most of all, I was constantly reminded — no matter what the session or who the keynote speaker was — to believe in myself, find my passion, and take a leap of faith.

I’m using bold here. Why? Because that shit is crucial to a happy life. I am not, to be honest, living an entirely happy life. And coming home from four days away, when someone else took care of the meals and tidied the bedroom while I could focus on something I was really interested in, was really hard: the mess, the clutter, the endless laundry, the endless cooking and cleaning and everyone’s needs. The fucking drudgery of it all.

I did choose to marry and have children; that much is true. But everything after, and everything now? It’s not working for me.

A few weeks ago, I started trying very hard to get at least eight hours of sleep per night. Do you know how time-consuming this is? I could no longer stay up late, enjoying my end-of-day wine and packing lunches, or folding laundry, or — more likely — sitting at my laptop trying to work and being too tired and distracted to be very productive at all.

Really, the tired evenings weren’t so productive. And sometimes if I had some wine and did some fun surfing online, I’d downright fight going to bed, because I was feeling relaxed.

Now, in just a short time, I’m addicted to my bed. I cannot wait for the children to go to bed in the evening, because a mere hour later I’m crawling into my own bed with a cup of tea and a book. It is the happiest place in the world. The next day, I wake up feeling pretty good, and alert and friendly. I am no longer looking deathly tired.

It’s a little too nice, though. It’s hard to get used to getting this much rest, and some mornings by 10 a.m. I’m wishing I could crawl back into bed for a nap.

For such a long time, I was used to getting only five or six hours of sleep. I was running on coffee, adrenaline, and my evening wine.

I’m not quite looking like the cover model on Yoga Journal, but I didn’t expect to and I don’t care. By embracing sleep (I mean, enough sleep), I’m hoping to start some other changes, too. I’m better rested and more able to get stuff done, and now it’s getting easier to see what needs to get done, I think.

So I’ve let go of the evening wine and am getting a lot more sleep and being more productive and on top of things, and I am still not totally happy. I know it’s only been a few weeks; also, I am in the throes of terrible PMDD right now because (JESUS, ENOUGH WITH THE HONESTY ALREADY) I didn’t start my estrogen patch in time (the estrogen patch being the total godsend in terms of hormonal balance and all the calm and peace that brings) and I am angry and sad and crying and pretty fragile right now.

So this part is good: getting sleep, being healthy, feeling strong, getting stuff done.

But it’s not enough. Something still isn’t right. I’m still not taking that advice to heart, to listen to myself, follow my passion, and take a leap.

I think I know what it is. I think if I stop and think and listen, really listen to my heart, I’ll know what the answer is.

But for now? I’m just going to keep on as I’m doing, for now. And sleeping. Sleeping is so nice. Seriously, try it. Try getting enough sleep for two weeks’ straight (or heck, even one week!) and  let me know how it goes. Do you already do this? It does take some getting used to, and some stuff doesn’t get done. That’s OK. YOU are more important than the laundry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking the Kids to Boston

This weekend I ran another trail race. It was awesome. I froze my ass off until we started running, and then I ran as hard as I could.

My husband, meanwhile, on his own with the boys, took them for haircuts. Both of them. Then he took them shopping for some stuff.* All in all, I’d say he did pretty well, considering he’s really not on his own with them that often.**

Today, after a brunch with my trail-running group (I think mostly I was in the backyard playing football with the kids, somehow, but it was a really nice get-together and my group is not named Team Pancake for nothing), C got ready to go climbing with a friend while I bravely stayed behind with the kids.

This was not unplanned. Ever since his friend had emailed us to climb with him, I’d told C that he should go and I’d stay home, since, after all, I was taking half of Saturday to run a trail race.

Fair, right? I could have hired a sitter so we could both go, but time alone with friends is so important.

I decided to take the kids into Boston. Alone. Max didn’t want to ride the subway (I think it’s too loud for him), so I drove.  No meters on Sunday. I packed lunches for them, and water, and plenty of changes of clothes for Ben, who’s totally dry all day at daycare but accident central at home lately. (Honestly, I blame Halloween. I don’t know why.)

And we were off. We parked at Government Center and the boys ran across the vast expanse of brick. They went down the huge staircase together, me carrying the stroller and trying to keep up. We walked through Faneuil Hall and watched a man standing on another man’s shoulders (and then head) juggle huge knives. We looked at horses harnessed to buggies. I would have paid for a ride, but Max didn’t want to do that.

Stop when you get to the stairs, kids.

We tried to find the carousel (the promised star of today’s trip) but couldn’t, so instead we looked at boats and then went to see the seals at the New England Aquarium. Max asked about going in, but that place is expensive, so I said we’d get discounted library passes and come back another day. The seals themselves were pretty exciting, though.

“I wanna see them!”
 
Brothers, watching.

Then we got explicit directions to the carousel, which still wasn’t there. A shirt vendor told us it had been packed up for winter but that there was a nearby playground. We walked through a “tunnel” as Max described it and found the playground, whose climbing structure was just big and sprawled enough that I was quite on edge trying to keep both kids in sight and Ben in safety. Then we had a picnic lunch, played in the sandbox, and left.

Ben can keep up.

I kept both kids alive and in sight in Quincy Market on a weekend, which felt like a big feat, and we hit the potties there. They’d eaten lunch but I hadn’t, and we were all cold, so I suggested we stay indoors for a snack. We’d nearly walked the length of the building before Max spotted a pretzel vendor. Go, Max!

Tired. Not done, but tired. Also the soft pretzel was saltier than he liked.

And then we sat outside forever in the cold to watch black guys dance (no, I’m serious, that’s how they advertised themselves, repeatedly: “Come watch black guys dance!”). Max really liked the hip-hop music and the breakdancing moves. Ben appeared to be stoically freezing in the stroller. I wrapped my jacket over him, leaving me shivering in a t-shirt.

Finally it was time to run back to the car to warm up and go grocery shopping.

It has been a long time since I actually took the boys on an adventure, especially on my own. It was fun. And they were great. Even grocery shopping after a long cold day, close to dinnertime, they were great. Well-behaved, good listening, funny and fooling around with each other but wanting to do the right thing…it was fantastic.

And Max loved it. Ben probably did, too, but wasn’t as expressive about it. Max thinks that we should have adventures more often. I completely agree. I wish I were the kind of mom who is constantly whisking her kids off to various adventures: pottery painting, the aquarium, horse shows, hockey expos, clown demos, Lego competitions (which he is totally not ready for).

But we’re working on it. We’ve had more adventures lately (including pottery painting). I’m on the verge of (hopefully) more blogging and writing and social promotion work, which would afford me more afternoons with Max and Ben. Life since my last big project ended has been really sweet here, more time with the kids, more time for everything, less use of sitters. I like it.

So here’s to taking the kids to Boston–or anywhere out of their usual routine–again soon.

* Target.  For cookies and toys. But whatever–I’d rather put a dull spoon through my temple than take both kids to Target on a Saturday morning, you know? Also, those generic-brand “Pumpkin Cremes” are actually pretty good, and the 75-lb box of “naturally colored” goldfish will save my butt on a double-whammy double shift of parent helping at Max’s preschool this week. So go, C!

** Not a blame. He has a full-time, onsite job. I have a part-time, freelance-from-home job. It just happens that I spend more time with the boys.

Need a Sitter Tomorrow Night? Problem Solved!

How many times have you thought, “Oh, I’d love to go to that event, but I don’t have a sitter!” Or, “There’s no way I could get a sitter in time!” Or, “Wow, I just cannot seem to find a good babysitter!”

Enter UrbanSitter. They’re kind of like Care.com or SitterCity but so much better. They use social media (i.e., Facebook), so you can know at a glance who of your friends has also used a particular sitter.

UrbanSitter occasionally has “speed-dating” events where you can meet a bunch of sitters. I went to one at Bread and Chocolate in Newton, MA (yum–wish I lived closer to that place! They’d promised us appetizers but fed us a full meal, including amazing desserts. But I digress).

Tables were set up (it being a cafe and all), and at each place were sticky notes, pens, pages of profiles of each of the sitters there that evening, a list of questions one might ask a potential sitter, and the very thoughtfully provided hand sanitizer. After some mingling and a quick explanation of the “speed-dating” aspect, we parents (and bloggers) all took our seats, with a sitter across from each of us.

The sitters all looked good on paper, and most were fantastic in person. (I say most because, let’s face it, some people are more socially comfortable than others, and I can’t imagine what it would be like to come to such an event to try to sell yourself to a stranger and her beloved children). One woman was so great that I tried to hire on the spot for the following evening (alas, she was busy). A few others I marked on my list with triple stars, intending to follow up with them.

The sitters were mostly local college students, and their bios tell where they attend school, making it pretty easy to immediately rule some people out (if they live an hour away from me by public transportation and don’t have a car, well, it’s probably not worth pursuing). But many lived quite close to me, fortunately.

This week I used a sitter from UrbanSitter. I went to their website to find a sitter, found that E—- (someone I’d met at the event) was available, and managed to hire her. I tried to use UrbanSitter for last night as well but, alas, tried too late. I would have been happy to hire someone I hadn’t met but who was—

–and here’s what makes UrbanSitter different from Care.com or SitterCity.com–

–apparently “known” by a fellow preschool parent I’m friends with. UrbanSitter lets you know who you and a sitter mutually know (“know” on Facebook, etc.). It’s kind of like getting a recommendation from a friend, really. I immediately emailed the fellow parent and said, “So have you used M—– as a sitter?” She hadn’t yet, but she’d interviewed her and liked her.

One of the managers of Boston UrbanSitter, Nicole Nogueira, has used a dozen of the local sitters for her own family. All of the sitters on the site go though orientation interviews with the managers at UrbanSitters.

I’m thrilled to have such a resource at hand. UrbanSitter exists in many cities across the U.S.; I recommend you check them out!

If you do sign up with them, use this link to do so (http://curebit.com/x/5Kis9). If you use that link and sign up, you will get a $10 credit to use.

[I am not paid by or compensated in way by UrbanSitter. I went to their speed-dating event and am just so pleased by the whole concept and by the sitters I’ve met. All opinions expressed here are my own.]

Planning a Wedding? Thoughts on a Registry

When C and I decided to get married, we chose not to register. As we saw it, we were adults, in our mid-thirties, who’d had our own households for years. The original purpose of a registry was to help the young couple establish their new household, wasn’t it?

We were neither young nor new.

We did register for a few small token items–stemware, flatware–but mostly we let guests know (if they asked) that if they really wanted to get us something, they could support a local artisan and buy us something handmade that was cool (we didn’t exactly phrase it like that).

Our friends and family gave us some beautiful, creative, and useful gifts, handmade by small-time artists and artisans, of wood and ceramic and clay–ceramic bowls, a wooden salad bowl, wooden salad tongs, a porcelain French butter keeper, and many other gorgeous items. One of my brothers and his wife, out of the blue, gave us a beautiful KitchenAid mixer as an engagement present, and thanks to other family, we have stemware and flatware (and a tablecloth). And fantastic pots. 

Alas, we own no serving platters, and about four years into our marriage I had to go and buy a new set of dishes, as my grandmother’s Johnson Brothers Friendly Village stoneware plates were no longer charming but instead busy-ugly and dangerously cracked, and C’s mother’s Corelle (which, I’ll be honest, I was never a big fan of) was starting to shatter at a touch.

[Go ahead, click those links. Let me know which pattern YOU prefer or if you’d enjoy a cupboard filled with the awkward combination.]

We now have lovely plain white plates and bowls. Coupe, even–no rim, no pattern, nothing.

We’re not terribly materialistic, and we strongly believe in reusing instead of buying new.

That said, I wish we’d registered. There’s something nice about the idea of passing our own stuff along to others who need it (friends, Goodwill, younger siblings if you have them!) and starting our lives together with a bunch of brand-new stuff that was all our own, together. No serving dinner on different plates. No stifled resentment that my thin-walled drinking glasses all somehow broke before our first anniversary. No heated discussions about whether someone’s blender was better than someone else’s low-end food processor.

Matt & Lauren Official Shot
Image courtesy of Natick Mall

Just starting fresh, starting together, and building a home together. Sure, it’s not about stuff, but if you’re going to be filling your home with the necessities of daily life–dishes, linens, kitchenware, whatever–isn’t it nicer to start out with stuff that is yours together, a celebration of your marriage, instead of a hodgepodge of “your stuff” and “my stuff”?

My new-bride self would have bridled at the thought, but with five years of marriage behind me, I feel differently now: Register. Let go of the old, and start fresh together with the new.

At the very least, you’ll have fewer shards of old cracked crumbling broken plates to sweep up!

If you’re in New England, come to “Our Favorite Engagement Party” this Sunday at the Natick Mall, celebrating the engagement of a young couple named Matt and Lauren, chosen from a search and now newly engaged. The engagement party, which is free, is a wedding showcase, including registry information, makeup tips from Sephora (who couldn’t use those??), honeymoon tips, and highlights of wedding fashion. The party includes free refreshments, plus swag bags for the first 200 to RSVP.

Disclosure: All opinions are strictly my own. I am receiving gift cards and will be attending the party in return for my promotion.

All Blockages Have Been Released.

“We’ve only had sex three times since I had my IUD removed, right?” I asked my husband as he was getting ready for work this morning.

“Twice,” he grumbled, grabbing his towel and heading for the shower.


[NOTE: This post contains possibly too much information about our sex life, my bodily functions, birth control choices, and so on, not to mention alternative medicine. You’ve been warned.]

It was three times. An almost embarrassing number, considering it’s been a month since the IUD was [thank GOD] removed. It had been irritating me for awhile, causing all kinds of discomfort and cramping and weird bleeding. It was never quite clear when I was menstruating or ovulating; I would just bleed for a week or two, then stop for a week, then bleed again.

No wonder I was so cranky for so long.

I know it was three times, because I knew of two condoms we had stashed away, and last week C had produced a third from somewhere atop his dresser, condoms leftover from those first few months after Ben was born, before I insisted on an IUD. [I’ll probably end up on birth control pills for hormonal reasons, but my doctor wants me to wait a few months before starting them. Thus condoms.]

Anyway, it was only three times because I was immobilized for more than a week with my back injury, plus, I don’t know, we were tired or something.

Still. Three times with condoms, but my period was still late. Also, I’m normally regular as clockwork, if you know what I mean, and this morning, nothing. Constipation has traditionally been the first sign of pregnancy for me (yeah, so some of you get huge boobs; me, I get stopped up. Big deal), so of course I thought, “Huh.”

The last thing I want right now is to be pregnant. Besides the fact that my back is still buggy and I’d like to be in full-on tip-top physical shape if I were to ever get pregnant again, I’m just not ready for a third. I’m not sure we can truly afford it. I don’t think my psychological condition could take it: what if I developed full-fledged postpartum psychosis this time? And there’s the body issue. My hip structure (iliosacral joints, etc.) has really taken a beating with both pregnancies thus far. Am I willing to risk more injury?

I had an appointment scheduled with my chiropractor this morning after everyone scattered their separate ways, daycare and preschool and work. The other two women in the waiting room were heavily pregnant. Another pregnant woman came in, followed by a woman with newborn twins.

“What’s going on?” I asked the chiropractor. “Do I have to be pregnant to be here? I hope not. I’m not really ready for a third.”

She laughed. “Yes, you should probably wear a diaphragm when you come here. Everyone’s pregnant.”

We joked about it for a little bit, but in the back of my mind I was uneasy. Why was I here the same time as all the pregnant people? Why was I constipated? Why was my period late? How could I possibly be pregnant after having sex a mere three times, using condoms correctly and responsibly each time?

She touched my back, listened to me describe what was going on with my back pain, made some adjustments, and touched my lower back some more.

“Hmmm.  Have you ever had abdominal surgery?” she asked me. “Endometriosis?”

“No,” I said. “The closest I’ve come to anything abdominal was my IUD, which was really irritating me for awhile, and I had that removed a month ago.”

“Hmmmm,” she said again. “I’m sensing some kind of adhesion. Something stuck somewhere.” To this point, she had only touched and observed my back. “Lie down on the table.”

I complied. “For what it’s worth, I am a little constipated today, which is highly unusual for me,” I said. I tell her everything about my body. “I mean, if you must know.” I giggled a little in embarrassment.

“That could be it,” she said. “There is definitely a blocked energy flow somewhere. You’ll probably poop after you leave here,” she said lightly.

Adhesion stuck in my mind, no pun intended. Adhesion. An implanted egg is an adhesion. Could she sense that? How could I be pregnant? What is going on?

She made some adjustments to my chest, where my clavicle meets my sternum. “I think the problem is in the front, actually, not in the back.”

She was right. The mid-back pain disappeared. She’s downright magical, my chiropractor.

She was right about releasing blockages, too. Not just the obvious but then my period arrived tonight without great fanfare, with no warning, just a little friendly tinge, as if to say, “Well, what did you expect? It’s been about a month, after all!”

Yes. I know my scare was irrational, but life is just irrational sometimes, isn’t it?

Turkey Soup and the Buncha’ Ingrates

‘Tis the day after the day after Thanksgiving, and you’ve been sent home with the turkey frame (“carcass,” if you will). What do you do? Turkey soup!

Except I started the stock too late in the day, because I’m a firm believer in the four-hour simmer plus an overnight cooling in order to skim the fat–so I had to thaw some of the chicken stock I make and keep in the freezer, to which I added carrots, onions, celery, turkey, the leftover Brussels sprout hash*, wild rice, a little of my mom’s excellent homemade stuffing, and a few spoonfuls of gravy. I also threw in some frozen corn to add a slightly sweet note.

It was a rich, flavorful soup, one of my best yet.


Max, upon having the bowl placed in front of him, declared that he didn’t like it and wanted something else. I said he could have cheesy toast if he tasted the soup. He tasted it (and I think liked it but wouldn’t admit it), so I made him cheesy toast. Cut into triangles, please.


Ben, on the other hand, couldn’t get enough of the soup. He loved it. Unfortunately C mentioned ice cream during dinner, which got Max talking about the little ice cream sandwiches we have in our freezer, which got Ben yelling “Sandwich! Sandwich!” (it sounds more like “Sammich! Sammich!”), which made C think that Ben wanted a sandwich, so he got up and made Ben a big gloppy PBJ.



Ben ate some of that but wanted more soup, which I happily gave him.

C, ever the culinary philistine, had–without tasting the soup–sprinkled his with fennel, turmeric, nutmeg, basil, and black pepper. This combination, of course, made it taste nasty, so he got up and made himself toast with peanut butter.

What is wrong with these people?

It gets worse–as if having your family sit around eating bread and peanut butter or bread and cheese while their delicious bowls of homemade soup sit untouched on the table isn’t bad enough.

No, C had to start dipping his peanut butter toast into his soup. And when Ben clamored to see some of the spice containers, C mistook his gesture and dipped Ben’s gloppy peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich into the turkey soup and fed it to Ben.

Still have an appetite? How about once Max starts asking how food gets broken up in your stomach and C tells him about stomach acid? And Max asks if stomach acid is “yucky” and C says that it is–“Remember the time that you–” at which point I kindly asked if this discussion could please wait until after dinner.

It made me want to never cook for them ever again. And possibly not even eat with them for a few days.

* Brussels sprouts shredded and sauteed in butter and olive oil, seasoned with a squirt of lemon and a little salt. By the time I made it on Thursday, my mother was out of onions, garlic, shallots, and bacon. But it was still really good.

[NaBloPoMo Note: Lest you think I took yesterday off of NaBloPoMo, I didn’t. I meant to write this post yesterday, but I fell asleep at 8 p.m. when I put Max to bed. Oops! Plus I just wrote three posts for today, so there. I’ve more than made up for missing yesterday.]