Friday, November 13, 2009

office hours...

Really needed to get some work done today so I'd have less to do over the weekend toward deadline, so I'm sitting in my Satellite amazing place on Tunnel Road in Asheville called Growing Young Cafe. Check it

It's a huge coffee shop full of toys and games for kiddies, so I can work while Veda runs around entertaining herself. What would I ever do without it?

(By the way, my Satellite Office is actually way more posh than my Main Office, which is a corner of our living room with a TV tray set up to be my desk. Here I have a table and chair, plus people to make me a nice cup of green tea when I need it!) Oh, so looking forward to the day when we have the money to remodel and I get a 'real' space to do my work!!)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Chuckie T's

Mad Crafting Update:

The latest addition to my etsy site: -- Little Pumpkins Tie Dyed Halloween Onesies

Made this jacket for veda out of old felted wool sweater, love and insanity. It's a bit wonky because I screwed up the jacket pattern a little (copied it from a book) plus on a whim I decided to add a lining, and I have no idea how to do it has some, um..character.
Now I'm working on a pair of felt and leather slippers for Veda. Poor kid...her mother dresses her funny and there's nothing she can do about it...mwa ha ha ha!!!

Chuckie T's......
I'm so proud! Yesterday my 9-year-old got his first pair of Converse All-Stars. I never thought I'd see the day. For so long he thought my all-time favorite shoes were "lame" and just for old folks like me (I have 3 pairs that I wear very often). But when we went shoe shopping yesterday he spotted a pair of black high tops with flames on the side and decided they were beyond awesome. I agreed...but made sure not to make a big deal about my approval lest he be spooked by my positive reaction.
So, I am keeping my giddiness to myself, but secretly rejoicing in my son's punk rock fashion choice. Rock on, little man! Next I'll have to somehow get you into the Ramones. =:-)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Papa Passes

Zeus dancing with Scott in his younger days. With him is his son Apollo who died of a blood disease shortly before Scott and I met.

Papa Dog, that is. Our old papa Great Dane Zeus passed away Sunday around noon at the ripe old age of 10 (quite elderly for a Dane). Zeus was such a grand old fellow. So sweet-natured and friendly. He was always charming the ladies -- whenever we took him out for hikes, he would look for other hikers (particularly women) and make friends. He loved to be petted and hugged. He left behind his son Hercules, an Irish Wolfhound cross that is a little strange in the head, but loveable all the same.

After his passing, we buried him in the corner of the backyard where I plan to plant a shade garden. Birch was very distraught and tearful about his death -- he had gone down the hill to visit with him where he lay in the sunshine shortly before he died and was the last one to see him alive. He helped Scott dig the grave and we held a funeral to celebrate his life and mark his passing. Birch and I picked herbs and flowers from the yard, Scott and Birch threw in locks of their hair and I placed a handmade wool pillow under his head (he loved to lay on pillows, even though he was so big he needed a full-sized bed!).

Zeus, you will be missed, old friend!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

More crafty photos

A cute handbag with moon and star applique. Made out of a pair of old blue jeans and lined with leftover fabric from my wedding dress.

A plain onesie I decorated with a painted bird applique. I just paint the images onto the appliques with fabric paint.

A really bad photo of a really cute pin cushion.


The front applique on a onesie I decorated. There is another one with a different chicken on the back. Veda loves this one and carried it around with her until I finally just gave it to her!

We live in a tiny house. We are two adults, a 9-year-old boy and very active toddler living in less than 900 square feet with only 2-bedroom . This means the baby has to sleep in our room (less than ideal, to say the least). But nearly equally as alarming is the fact that my craft addiction has no place to call home.

Our family's only table (located in the dining/play/study/computer room) is almost always occupied by my sewing machine, ironing board, iron and stacks of fabric, patterns and sewing books. Sadly for my long-suffering family, this usually means that in order for us to eat a meal or for Birch to do his homework, the mounds of stuff must be moved to the floor...where it will promptly be inspected and tasted or even chewed on by Veda.

Behind the table, in one of our house's rare areas of actualy floor space, are bags of fabric, a basket of needlefelting supplies (securely tied shut! can't have Veda chewing on felting needles!), and usually some half-finished paintings or other semi-completed projects.

In the living room, in the corner behind one of Veda's toy boxes, sits my baskets of yarn. I had to move the crochet and knitting stuff to the closet, because Veda kept trying to joust with the needles. ("You'll poke your eye out!")

We do have plans...someday, when we win the lottery, we want to renovate our basement and make another bedroom, a play room and a craft area. Until then, though, we just keep shuffling stuff around.
Anyway, I have been very busy lately with my craftiness. I'm working on a sweater coat for Veda...the decorations look pretty awesome, but I have to say that the sewing job is beyond terrible. Really. I'll take photos when I'm finished, but I am pretty embarrassed. It looks like it was assembled by hallucinating monkeys.

Other than that, Ive been making more of my crazy felt mushrooms and some other felt things and clothes that are up now on my etsy site ( Also doing a bit of screen printing. I just can't stop!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

married...with children

We are officially official now. On 9-09-2009, I did what I said I'd never do and got married...again.

We went into this whole wedding thing with the thought that we would do it as simply and inexpensively as possible. And, by "Modern Bride" standards (RIP "Modern Bride"!) we did just that. But by our standards, things did end up going a bit overboard in the end. Both our bank accounts ended up overdrawn and we went a bit further down debtors' road. But we did have truly, the best possible wedding. I - with 2 previous wedding experiences to draw from -- like to refer to it as "my last best wedding." :-)

Just so you know, getting married when you already have two kids to take care of -- one of whom is a nursing toddler -- is an entirely different deal than tying the knot when you have no responsibilities. For one thing, the whole idea of a romantic honeymoon for two is pretty much out...or it was for us, anyway. There was no way I was leaving my nursling for very long, plus we don't have the money (or the room on my credit card) to pay for a trip to Jamaica or something.

So the wedding we ended up with was this: We chose the date 9-9-09 because Scott likes 9's and it seemed cool (yes, I can admit that). Nevermind that it fell on a Wednesday. Then we gathered all the friends and family we could find that were willing to get together in N.C. on a weekday to see us united in unholy matrimony and asked them to drive to the Linville Gorge with the rain...and hike a mile up a steep mountain (Hawksbill). And that's where we had our ceremony.

It was pretty epic. It really did rain all day. Everyone was wet and cold and miserable and many were more than a little unhappy about the strenuous hike. Some family members were in their 70's (hi mom and dad!) and some were in grade school (Birch and Syd!) or even still nursing (Veda!). But everybody made it to the top, although my sister at one point turned to me and growled "I am NOT having fun!" and my neice cried for the first 15 minutes of the climb. This is the same neice who also commented "I wish I was just sitting in a big comfy chair watching TV instead of climbing this dumb mountain!" Fortunately, Sydney was won over by the grandeur of Hawksbill once we reached the summit and asked if we could "do it again tomorrow!"

And once we got to the top, it was truly amazing!! The sun came out and the mountains and rivers of the Linville Gorge surrounded us green serenity. My old friend T-Bone, who conveniently happens to be ordained in the Church of Universal Light (a very reputable online fellowship, I hear!) performed the ceremony. Scott and I read vows we had written the night before. Veda and I wore dresses that I had made for the occasion. Sydney (my flower girl) and I had crowns and I held a bouquet we made that morning from flowers and herbs grown in my garden (plus some crepe myrtle I stole from the parking lot at Abele's Restaurant in Morganton where we stopped for lunch...thanks Abele's!).

That night, after we drove back, we had dinner at a nice restaurant downtown (Magnolia's) then Scott and I spent the next two nights at the Chestnut Street Inn in Asheville, driving home during the day to be with the kids and visit with everyone. That Saturday our good friends Jenn and Brett hosted an amazing celebration for us at their house...friends of ours were there from all over the country. It was completely incredible to see so many old friends from so far away. I will never forget it. I write this, I'm realizing we really did have a dream wedding. It was perfect!

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Birch had his friend Michael over for a sleep-over last night. Michael is a Good Kid. He listens when you tell him something, is polite, eats what you serve him and makes sparkling conversation for a 9-year-old boy. Plus he always wears a black every day. Sheesh. How adorable. No complaints here for him.

However, I do have complaints about MY kid who morphs into some sort of deranged, moody Yeti creature whenever his friends come over. His manners deteriorate until he is ape-like, he gets smart-mouthed and pushy, he whines more, begs more, wheedles more and generally gets on my nerves more. Ugh. Can you fire your own kid? If so, he is totally fired.

Part of it is the fact that they stay up so late and get up so damned early (what's up with that? I remember doing that and I still can't fathom what point is it that we started to cherish sleep...i can't remember that either...). This, I reason exhausts them and makes their emotions a bit raw. Then there's the sugar thing...

I'm not big on feeding kids sugar. He gets more than his share, but mainly because he is an amazing opportunist and takes advantage of the fact that I am often distracted with work or the baby to grab extra helpings of whatever sweets are available. But today...(((sigh)))...okay, brace yourselves...this story is classic....

I took the boys to the movies. The baby will NOT sit still for a movie, so I get them seated and give them $5 to buy "popcorn and anything else they need" knowing that popcorn is $2 each and water is provided free. They said popcorn was what they wanted, so i figure the worst they can do is get a candybar to share between them...this I can handle. So, then I take the baby outside to walk around, etc. and later I find out that instead of getting popcorn, they used the money to buy 5 - $1 candy bars!!!!! AND...this is the best part...Michael doesn't like candy that much, so my son ate 4 of the candy himself!!!

Can you imagine this??? Can you imagine eating 4 normal sized snickers, m&m's or whatever...ALL AT ONCE??? He didn't even act hyper afterwards. It's spooky, really.

I love sweets, personally, but even I am dumbfounded by this. Is he some sort of sugar mutant? How does his body process it all? really.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

My Big Fat Jewish-Hawaiian-Japanese Wedding

I'm clearly quite insane. Evidence: This past weekend I took The Boy and The Baby on a 2-day trip to Boston for my good friend's wedding. By myself.

Actually, I must still cling to some remnant of sanity because I opted out of the 24-hour long drive (visions of Veda shrieking from the bondage of her carseat for miles and endless miles....Birch asking every 30 seconds "are we there yet?") and I decided to break out the old credit card for some plane fare.

In retrospect, the travel part wasn't too bad...compared to something like 12 hours of back labor or getting your wisdom teeth removed with no painkiller. Veda had been getting her eye teeth the whole week before, which meant about 6 nights of screaming (Veda screaming, me crying) and no sleep, but thankfully she seemed to come out of it by the time we left.

We had to drive 2-1/2 hours to Charlotte for the flight, so I decided to spend the night before the trip at my friends' house in Cornelius to break up the travel time a little. That was fun. We drank wine and at homemade pizza the night before...stayed up a bit late and drank a bit too much wine, but hey, you only live once.

Anyway, we lucked out on the flight up...even with a stupid layover in D.C., we had no delays (what are the odds?) and the kids were great. Birch was super-helpful and Veda traveled like a pro. Thank goddess for my Ergo. Can't imagine doing the trip without it.

The wedding was so cool...Daryl (mi amigo from way, way back) is Japanese-American and grew up in Hawaii and his bride Becky is Jewish and the descendant of Holocaust survivors. So what we had was a wedding with Jewish klezmer band (accordian and all), leis, paper cranes, an aikido demonstration, singing in Hebrew and a rousing round of "banzai" at the end of the reception. They held it at a pre-Revolutionary War era farm in the Berkshires and it was just fantastically, flowers, everywhere.

And bonus...I even saw (or experienced) a ghost when I was upstairs in the old farmhouse nursing the baby. It was so was just me and Veda up there in this incredibly old house full of antiques. It was totally quiet and really, really hot. We went into a bedroom and I locked the door with a bolt lock so Veda couldn't run out of the room and onto the stairs. We sat down on an antique sofa and I had just whipped out a boob, when the bolt flew up and the door slammed open. It startled me because I thought somebody was coming into the room (even though it was bolted from the INSIDE...duh!) but there was NOBODY THERE!!!! Yeah. Veda laughed. I sat there nervously for about 10 seconds, then we got up and left.

So, now we're home...exhausted but happy. It was a fun trip. And now that I've done it, I'm ready to do it again. Hey...maybe if I come into some money I can go back to my globe-trotting road rat ways...this time with babies in tow. :-)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

the summer passes

Birch being his usual silly self at Scott's birthday celebration last week.

It seems impossible that it is almost the end of July! Thursday is Veda's birthday, then the party Saturday night, then the following weekend me and the kids go to Boston for Daryl's wedding. Every day is a mix of laid back and crazy. Birch is doing skateboard camp right now, then next week cartooning camp. And of course these endless therapy sessions. Right now he goes at least 4 times a week!

I'm just realizing how completely drained I am from all these therapy sessions. I can only imagine how he feels. But we have to do it. Thanks to the sorry state of our nation's healthcare non-system at the moment, I only can afford therapy for him through the medicaid I get because of my status as a "single" mom right now. My income qualifies me and the kids. However, once Scott and I get married in September, I won't be a "single" parent anymore and his income, although inadequate to pay for insurance for me and the kids, will bump us out of the medicaid qualifying range.

So. In September, my kids and I will lose our medicaid, Birch will no longer be able to do therapy, and we must squeeze it all in over the summer. One summer for a 9 year old to learn how to pronounce sounds and deal with physical maneuvers he's never been able to do! I wish we'd found out about his challenges sooner. a mother can torture herself. BUT, the wonderful thing is how Birch has stepped up and dealt with all this...he is learning his "R" sounds!!! He is writing in cursive!!! It's truly amazing. Miraculous.

Friday, July 3, 2009

now i'm cooking with gas!

Today I got a stove. It's white and clean and perfect...and it cooks with GAS! Yes, I am a huge gas stove nerd. I've wanted this freakin' stove for like 20 years, and now thanks to the convenience of craigslist and a my willingness to take advantage of a down-on-her-luck woman forced to thin her belongings in order to buy food, I am now the proud owner of an almost-new, pristine, snow-white gas range.

I swoon over gas ranges solely because of the year I lived in that old apartment building owned by the old Bulgarians in St. Pete, FL. Our particular apartment had been inhabited by the owners for quite a long time, and the appliances were vintage, to say the least. There were lots of other perks like a very cool ironing board that folded up into the wall and a large selection of choice, used leopard-print furniture available for free in the storage room below us. But the coolest thing was the huge, ancient gas stove that sat like a tired elephant against the wall of our kitchen.

It had a ton of big, clunky dials on the front and it was really about as big as a VW Bug. You had to light it with matches and I'm pretty sure it wouldn't pass any modern safety inspections. When you had the oven on, the kitchen heated up so much you could have fired pottery on the kitchen table. I loved it. Despite its oldness and the danger factor, it was the most perfect cooking device I had ever used. Gas burners allow you to be detailed and precise about how you cook your food. I was spoiled. And ever after I have pined for the blue flame of gas.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

crafting non-update

With all the illness and teething and miserable boobages around here, there has been no crafting going on. Ah, well. I do have photos of a few more things though -- some are on my etsy site at and some are not.
The little blue dress I made for Veda a few weeks ago. It is made from an old skirt and an old men's shirt. I like it a lot, but it is too big right now, so will have to wait. The ball is a needlefelted jingle ball that's on the etsy site along with the little shirt. THe shirt was an old one that I tie dyed then appliqued with some fabric scraps. I dig the mushroom motif. (cuz I lika the shrooms...the wildcrafted edible kind, of course!)

the crazies

It seems like life throws the crazy stuff at you in fistfuls...not ever in manageable bite-sized morsels.

I guess it's common knowledge that things go along okay for a short time, then suddenly -- powpowpow -- you get socked with a whole lot of nuttiness all at once. But I just never get used to it.

I'm drained right now. The flying fistfuls of awfulness have finally got me down. The whole family...including me...have been sick with this rotten, dragging-on fever/sore throat/body ache thingie for a week. There was this weird twister the other night that knocked out power and took down trees and squashed my new garden pretty flat. THe baby is getting another tooth and screams and screams all night so there's no rest for any of the weary and sick. Worst of all, my dang boobies are in agony. I let princess nurse too much during her illness, and now I have excruciating sore nipples. And guess what? Yep. All she wants to do right now while she's teething is nurse.

I guess, you know, this is just life. That thing that's not for sissies (or is that old age? I always confuse those.). But right now, even with the persistence of that indescribable shade of pale spring green practically tumbling through my windows, I am feeling pretty down and out. Physically more than mentally, I guess, which is somewhat of a beacon of hope.

So for now, I breathe. In and out. Just this moment. And this one. And this one. And I just have to remember to ride it until it levels out...and gather my strength for more.

Friday, April 24, 2009

crafty update

So in the past few months I've gone wild for wool. And this is what I'm into:

-- Currently working on making a pillow out of felted sweaters with a needlefelted piece in the center.

-- Making dish cloths for the kitchen on the knifty knitter looms out of cotton yarn.

-- Loom knitting hats out of this incredibly soft organic cotton yarn for the family.

-- Weaving a rug for Birch's room out of old bedsheets that were on their way to Goodwill.
And I'm still...always...painting here and there. Plus some odds and ends of sewing projects, etc. I posted a few photos here of some recent stuff I've done. It's so fun! A woman at Birch's school used to raise sheep and she just gave me 3 trash bags full of raw wool, so at the moment I am experimenting with washing and carding this wool for future projects. Hoping to get into some wet felting soon! Yay!

special night

With Scott working out of town for the 4th week in a row, I sometimes now get the pleasure of waking up in a bed full of angels. I realize that's a very precious thing for me to say...all Hallmarky-sounding. Ugh. But really, sleeping with both my kids, while not always conducive to the best night's sleep, is usually a cozy and amazing way to wake up in the morning.

Birch calls it "Special Night." Longtime co-sleepers he and I, after finally being forcibly removed from my bed just after his 7th birthday (okay, it was bittersweet for me as well), I now allow him very occasionally to come share the bed with the baby and I when Scott is away. And he loves it.

It's funny...Birchman needs his beauty sleep and will be the first to tell you so...and sleeping with Veda is what I imagine it would be like to sleep with an insomniac spider monkey, but nevertheless, he claims he doesn't mind her crawling all over him in the middle of the night.

And this, wake up to this warm spring sunshine with the two of them nestled together like little puppies beside was the most perfect thing in the universe.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

where i'm at feels alright. Finally past the Horrible Week of Plague (so fun having your baby miserably sick with an awful cold while you have the same cold and a sinus infection...who mothers the mother, I ask you???). Scott's still out of town for the second week in a row and that blows, but there is an April snowstorm today, which is oddly satisfying and my baby is sleeping in my arms as I type this and I have the whole day ahead of me to sew and bake and'm going to relax a bit in this little piece of bliss. :-)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Thursday, March 19, 2009


This is crazy! Veda is only 7-1/2 months old and she is already about to walk. What is up with this? Where has my baby gone?

She started crawling not long after the holidays. It was maybe sometime in late January that she pushed herself up on all fours, rocked back and forth a few times, stuck out a tentative arm...and off she went. She practiced a bit before she took was a period of a couple of weeks where she was really trying to work out how to do this movement thing. But it didn't take her long.

She's so different from her brother. Birch learned to crawl at around 7 months or so. But before that he was an expert roller. He spent a good month or more rolling very quickly from place to place. He would look at something, point to it and then roll right to it. It was so funny! And once he started crawling, you couldn't stop him. He love it...and he was FAST! He loved it so much that he didn't even bother walking on his own until he was 16 months old. (He did, however, very much enjoy walking around holding onto my finger from about 12 months...oohh, my aching back!)

Veda, however, is not much interested in this crawling business. Inferior transport, I can almost see her thinking as she reluctantly crawls after the adored cats after trying desperately to figure out how to get upright. She had only been crawling like 3 hours or something when she worked out how to push her bottom up in the air in downward facing dog, and she had only been crawling like 3 days when she figured out how to pull up on furniture and stand up. Now she spends the whole day standing next to the furniture trying to figure out how the HECK we do this.

Also, she has learned to clap. It's so funny. For several days I have noticed her watching her hands she did when she was a tiny baby and still trying to figure out that they were attached to her. Then today I saw her watching them and slapping them around, then BANG...she clapped them...and was delighted! She did it! It happened at her Mother Goose story time at the library. She was so excited. She also waved today to a stranger at the chiropractor's office and shook her booty to a reggae version of John Denver's "Country Roads" at Mother Goose.

It's been quite a day. So many milestones. I feel exhausted!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

gag me

This morning I had one of those mothering moments that was so stupendous that it has burned itself indelibly onto the walls of my memory. It went like this:

It's 8 a.m. and I am in my daily Near-Frantic Mode trying to dress myself, gather the baby's things, make sure Birch has all his things and get us out the door in time to keep him from getting one of those stupid "tardies." (I want to beat to death the nincompoop who decided that any kid who is a minute late gets a "tardy" and that any kid with 3 tardies is in some sort of trouble...whoever came up with this idea definitely didn't have to get both an 8-year-old and a baby out the door.) I run out the door to turn the car on to thaw it out and when I run back in the house to grab the kids, I notice the baby has crawled under the coffee table. When I bend down to get her, I notice she is...ugh..I can barely even type this...she is grinning up at me while happily snacking on a...a...a...

A pile of cat puke.

UGH!!! grossgrossgross

Yep. It was the chunky kind, too. Like the offending cat didn't even bother to chew...just gulped it down then yacked it back up, kibble intact.

She seemed annoyed when I scooped her up and frantically wiped and washed it off her chin and mouth. "Sheesh, Mom," she was thinking,"What's your deal, anyway? Can't I even snack?'

I think I'm totally traumatized. I'll never be able to erase that image from my head. And I thought that the time Birch was a baby and had a rotavirus and puked right into my open mouth was nasty...

Ah, motherhood.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Yesterday I did the unthinkable and woke the baby up from her afternoon nap. There was a needlefelting workshop at a local cafe smack in the middle of naptime, and since I have been curious about this weird craft for awhile now, I decided to be wild and crazy and go for it.

I'm so glad I did it! Needlefelting is indeed about the oddest thing you could ever imagine spending your spare time on, but something about it really resonates with me. Basically, what you do is you get a big hank of raw wool and a tiny little barbed needle and you stab the wool over and over and over until it turns into whatever you want it to be. It's way easy and an excellent way to vent any nagging frustrations -- like stabbing a voodoo doll again and again. Plus there's this thing about can sort of "paint" with wool. You blend the colors all together and create really cool stuff.

The best part is, you don't have to have any coordination or skill whatsoever. All you have to have is the needle and the wool and a level of inertia that allows you to sit for a fair amount of time doing repetitive jabbing motions.

So yesterday I made a fried egg and a little blue ball with a sun on it. And today I made a strawberry. Next, who knows? A doll? A flower? A replica of the Lincoln Memorial? The skies the limit. If I can just keep the cats and the baby away from my wool balls, that is.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

veda's amazing birth story (very graphic - read at your own risk!)

I originally wrote this in a letter to my friend Kim while Veda nursed or napped. It was all a bit haphazardly thrown together and I haven't edited it at all, so please excuse the roughness of it...

I went to see the midwife on July 22 and was 2cm dilated, 50% effaced so I knew it was coming...I had felt it coming on for days already anyway. I kinda felt like I was in early labor for almost a week (while we were moving all the shit out of my house in 95 degree weather! totally no fun, that) know...lots of random, braxton-hicks-like contractions, and was just generally feeling like I was going into that "birth zone."
Then at 3am on July 23 I woke up with a really strong contraction and I had a pretty good feeling that the big stuff was starting. I waited until 4:30 or so to wake up Scott...until then I just paced around the house in the dark and breathed and meditated and stuff. When Scott got up he started getting the birth pool ready and made up the bed and all. I tried to sit in a chair by our back window to watch the sun rise over the woods, but as soon as I sat down I got a big, fat contraction that really got my attention and I started moaning and told Scott to call the midwife right away. He had a hard time getting the midwife to call back -- it was around 6 or 7am by this time. I went to the bathroom and found out I had bloody show...lots of it. At about 8am the midwife and her apprentice/assistant arrived and by then I had laid down on my side on the bed with pillows between my legs...the contractions were hard and strong...I had to chant and sing through each one to keep focused...I played the "Birth Chants" cd on a loop over and over and used the chants on the cd to focus also.
Rani checked me at about 10am or so and I was at 7cm and 100% effaced. she told me I should get up to help move the baby down more, so I got up but it HURT to move...and it was disrupting my little peaceful mental cocoon, so I sort of limped in to the birth pool and got in...with my socks still on! SO funny...I just didn't want to take them off so Scott just let me be and I got in with them on.
For the next hour the contractions got more and more intense and I just hung over the edge of the tub on hands and knees and chanted my way through them. With each contraction kept feeling this overwhelming urge to push (never felt that with Birch). FInally Rani checked me again and I was at 9-10cm, BUT...I had a cervical lip. Arrrrgggghhh! Rani said she wanted to go inside me during my next contraction and move it,but it was gonna hurt like a mother...When she tried to do it, I freaked and splashed her with water. So, we decided to wait a bit and see if it would go away. Long story short, it didn't move and finally she went in and moved that time I was so over the overwhelming contractions that I was just glad to get it over with.
Then Scott got in the water behind me and leaned against him, pulled my knees up and started felt like I was pushing a truck out of my body! It was just this huge, primal rolling thunder of craziness...and then...she crowned!!! Yay!!! I was so excited! I could feel her hairy little head in my was so weird! Then I pushed really, really hard and felt the 'ring of fire' and her head came out...and I was so excited and pleased for like 1/2 a second, then Rani started to freak...she ordred me to get on my hands and knees..."right now!" she said. I was like "hell no, I'm not, I just got that huge head out" and then she ordered Scott to flip me over, and so I got on hands and knees...I knew then something was really wrong and I started to feel sad, like my baby might be dead...
Rani ordred Jen (the apprentice) to call 911 then she started the most painful thing...she went inside me and started pulling and twisting to get the baby out...the baby had shoulder dystocia!! I thought she'd never get her out. Turns out the cord was wrapped several times around her neck and torso like a harness also, which was making it all more difficult. When she finally got her out, I collapsed down and didn't look up at first because I thought the baby was dead.
When I did look up, Scott was holding her and she was ENORMOUS (9lbs 8oz) and looked so foreign to me...not like Birch who I knew right she was totally limp and smashed-looking and dark blue. I thought she was dead...but Rani was working with her...and she got her breathing...
They pulled me out of the tub and we stumbled down the hall to the bed...I was dragging this huge, long umbilical cord and dumping so much blood all over the floor! We got in bed and they put Veda on my chest...and she was doing fine!!! About then the paramedics all showed up...there were at least 4 or 5 of them standing in my bedroom looking all embarrassed (butt nekkid me and all this blood everywhere) because Rani told them everything was fine and they could go.
A few minutes later I delivered the placenta...the HUGE placenta! It weighed around 5lbs -- biggest one Rani had ever seen. No wonder I had placenta previa -- it stretched from the top of my uterus to the cervix for most of my pregnancy.
Turns out Rani being such a kick-ass midwife saved Veda from being severely brain damaged or dying. WHen a baby gets stuck with shoulder dystocia,there is a 4 minute window for them to get the baby out. If they don't make it, it's death or severe mental and physical handicap. Rani got her out in about 2 minutes -- by being a no-shit, takeover awesome midwife. YAY Rani!!
SO, that's my story. It was a great birth. Scary at the end, but it all turned out okay. i couldn't have asked for a better birth partner than Scott or a better midwife than Rani. Birch had wanted more than anything in the world to be there for the birth, but he was visiting his dad then and didn't get a ride home until 2 hrs after she was born. Turns out that was a good thing, because he would have completely had a melt down and lost his shit if he had seen me in all that pain and bleeding and the baby looking all dead at the end. The universe had a good plan in keeping him out of the picture.

Friday, January 16, 2009


I doubt there is any life experience quite as complex and surprising as parenting an 8-year-old. As a mother you realize that each age has its charms and challenges, but there is something completely unexpected and edgy about this 8-year-old thing...we have entered a new frontier.

For one thing, his body has become his own. Gone are the days when I felt I knew his physical being as well as I know my own. He dresses himself behind closed doors and selects his wardrobe based apparently on the prime directive of some chaotic alternate world dedicated to egregious color combinations and nonsensical layering. We do not hug and cuddle like we used to do. We don't have our long weekend mornings of hugs and stories leading to he gets up before we do and begins his mysterious rituals with the computer and his supremely important collections of trading cards and comic books. He has suddenly, almost overnight it seems, stretched out and grown into a lanky, bony fellow immersed in secret worlds of his own design.

And the mouth on this kid! This year he knows everything. Even more than before. Everything. And he is not even near puberty yet. It is most disturbing. I mean, I'm not even allowed to be the expert on ANYTHING anymore -- not even "mom" stuff like compost and grilled cheese. It bruises one's ego a bit.

I can handle the know-it-all-stuff, though, it's the incessant lawyering and backtalk that gets me. I start off each day swearing to treat our relationship like a moving meditation. He is my guru, I tell myself, my great teacher. I will take our experiences and learn from them.

Yes. This is what I tell myself. But by suppertime I am nearly apoplectic from explaining for the millionth time why we can't just leave the supper sitting on the stove and run to Wal-Mart Right Now so he can buy a pack of Pokemon cards that he can't live without...and then I veer insanely from apoplectic to morose and expasperated as he breaks into an absolutely stunning display of heaving sobs over my millionth 'no' to that same question. "You say 'no' to EVERYTHING," he shrieks, arms flailing dramtically over his head to illustrate that "everything" includes even the very air around him. "You never, EVER do anything I say." I am, indeed, a monster.

And so later, Baby Daddy and I find ourselves, after watching yet another incredible performance prompted by our announcement of bedtime, exhausted and chuckling, then giggling, then laughing hysterically over our situation. You see, during the bedtime eruption I found myself stuttering and nearly slobbering stupidly with frustration as I tried to reply to him...honestly, I swear my eyes were twitching. It was truly shocking. And Baby Daddy and I laughed.

"I think I'm developing a nervous twitch," I say ruefully.

"Well," says BD, "If someone asks you if you have Turret's Syndrome, you can just tell them 'No, I have an 8-year-old.'"

Truer words were never spoken.

Friday, January 2, 2009


I've had so much to eat in the past two weeks that I can almost watch the fat cells swelling on my flying squirrel upper arms and wibble-wobble thighs. It's bittersweet really. You see, I'm on a mission to eat any damn thing I want until I get back to North Carolina, at which point the holidays are Officially Over and I have to make good on my personal decision to do a detox and get rid of my beloved sugar and dairy. The next couple of days are my sweet tooth's last hurrah.

I do love my sweets. My mom's pecan pie topped with a fat pile of vanilla ice cream heads the list of favorites, but this year's Christmas bonanza cornucopia has also dumped in my growing lap some rather lovely butter toffees and a seemingly endless assortment of cookies.

But yes, it is high time for me to bite the bullet and stop wallowing in my recent pregnancy as an excuse for my fatness. It's time to get rid of the excess baggage. I need exercise. I need less food in general, but definitely less dessert. Yes, I am breastfeeding, but no, I am not breastfeeding an army of babies -- just one fat one.

So here's the plan: On Monday morning I officially stop eating anything with refined sugar or dairy until the following Sunday night. I will do a one day juice and tea fast to kick off the week, then eat only whole grains, legumes and raw or steamed fruites and veggies for the rest of the week. After that, I'm going to eat only a small snack for breakfast and try to generally consume less (esp. sweets!) until I lost the extra 20lbs I've been lugging around for the past 5 months.

So...wish me luck. Will power is not my forte. But it's a change I owe myself.