PS: I love foggy mornings

Even if it is 80 degrees outside.

God bless 1995 and John Stossel

As some of you may know, I'm trying to sell my behemoth of an armoire (with absolutely zero luck, I might add) and so in an attempt to get ready for its [hopefully] imminent departure from my home I've started to clean it out. I went to the Container Store yesterday (thanks solely to a catalog I got in the mail this weekend - yep, direct marketing worked on me) and bought a really cool door-mounted media storage system by Elfa.

In one of the boxes I was cleaning out and reoganizing into my beautiful new door-mounted media storage system were a dozen or so VHS tapes. (Anthony and I have kept our VCR even in the face of a total phase out of video cassettes - we're old fashioned like that.) I dusted them off and one by one popped them into the VCR to see what was on them. I was nervous and excited whenever I put in an unmarked black tape. Would I find some exboyfriend's Skin-emax show about the beautiful, buxom, and naked-on-a-Bow-Flex-loving personal trainer trying to solve the mystery of her lover's murder? Or maybe the Jump-Off finals of the 1992 Equestrian Olympics? Well - yes, and no - I'd found that Skin-emax movie years ago and threw it out, but the jump-off is a new discovery! But I also unearthed an old 20/20 about the differences between the sexes hosted by John Stossel.

I'm watching it now and it is still relevant! I'm shocked - really. Yet I don't see myself represented in it. I think I'm one of the new breed of feminists. I believe that men and women really are different and have different strengths and weaknesses and are complements to one another. It's how we've evloved over thousand of years. Our societies need both of us. Men are generally stronger and better able to tinker with shit that breaks. Women are more intuitive and generally do things that involve nesting (see above) and binding social groups. I'm a feminist because I believe we are as smart as men and deserve equal pay for the same work, but I'm different because I have a masters degree and yet choose to stay at home to raise my babies during their formative years.

I've taken what my sisters fought so hard for during the sexual revolution and women's rights movements (choice and freedom) and [shockingly] I've decided to do exactly what they didn't want to be forced to do: stay home with a baby.

I've been challenging myself to change the definition of "success" in my new world. Success does not equal a paycheck. Success does not mean having a powerful position in a company. Success does not equal being important to people whose pockets you line. I struggled with it at first, but I'm really beginning to sink into it now.

Isn't this how we created sexism and got women in a second-class position in the first place? Nearly every single thing a woman does has less importance (and associated success) than a man does... unless, that is, she's doing things that mostly men do. And this is also how we emasculate men: a man who does something mostly women do often has his very maleness questioned. Is a male kindergarten teacher viewed as successful a man as a CEO?

I think all the time about how to educate my kids about this mess. It's so complicated and tricky. I want them to know that things may come to them easily because of how they're wired (however that may be, boy or girl), but they may get flack for it because of our culture. I want them to know that it's ok to go against the grain and find their place and define their own meaning of "success." I want them to know, especially my boys (if I have more than Hollis) that it is utterly supported and ok to pursue things usually only girls are interested in. I don't see why it's ok to be proud of a tomboy, but embarassed of a little boy who's quieter, more sensitive, and who likes dolls.

It's so fucking twisted. Why would I encourage anyone to shut off parts of themselves that come naturally? Thankfully, I don't have a macho-man husband and he's behind me 100%. I think he's kinda girlie and he knows it and I love it. It's more attractive to me that he's a thinker, not a hitter. That he loves to read books, not Playboy (although, the articles really are very good). That he is sensitive to my feelings and never punishes me for having them and expressing them. He even does a little fairy-wave-wrist thing that is adorable and hilarious (have I mentioned that before on here? haha).

And because Anthony's so not a macho-man, we've talked at length about sexuality and how to address it with our kids, too. I hope to avoid saying things automatically like, "Oh, he's a lady killer." Who knows? Maybe he'll be a boy killer? I'll keep it open. I don't want to add to the societal assumptions about my kids' sexual preference. There will be enough of that in the outside world if they end up being gay.

Wow. All this from a dusty old VHS tape. The show ended while I was writing this. It was called, "Men, women, and the sex difference: Boys and girls are different". I Googled it, but 1995 was so pre-internet I couldn't find it anywhere except referenced in some thesis.

Anyhoo, stick that in your cap and chew on it... er... you know what I mean.


Being sick

I'm generally healthy as a freaking horse, so it was quite a surprise to me that I couldn't shake this belly ache I'd been having for over a week. It was a painful, sorta all around mess in my abdomen that was reminiscent of my normal girlie pains. Nothing but a hot water bottle and a whole mess of Pepto could help me.

I thought I had it beat when it went away on Thursday afternoon, but it came back with a vengeance on Saturday morning. Eventually, we decided to go to an urgent care center. We packed up the baby, I took a shower, and off we went only to have the urgent care doctor send me to the ER.

Eesh. I was terrified. I've never been to the hospital for anything other than suspected broken bones, which are much less mystifying and life-threatening than an ominous week-long belly ache. But the ER staff were professional and very much determined to figure it all out so I felt a little better about it all. My mom came to help with Hollis and she and Anthony switched off for his feedings and naps.

After a very long night of pelvic exams, CT scans, and an inside and outside sonogram (that was interesting) they discovered what they thought was a 6 cm ovarian cyst. The ER doc recommended I stay the night so they could my now unbearable pain (I was resistant to morphine and they had to give me 1 mg of dilaudid in the end, which I guess is a whole shit load) and I was moved upstairs. The oncall OB/GYN was paged and notified of my case and we were told she'd come and see me in the morning to discuss surgery and options.

If the whole day wasn't Twilight Zone-y enough for me, that night it got even weirder. While on the dilaudid my breathing got r e a l l y slow. I already have low blood pressure and heart and couple that with slow breathing this monitor thing I'd been hooked up to in the ER kept going off because it detected low levels of oxygen. They didn't have me hooked up to that upstairs and when I was trying to fall asleep I'd wake up in between breaths with nothing in my lungs. I was so scared I was going to die. My family was gone, I was exhausted, still in quite a bit of pain and I couldn't breathe right! So around 1:15 am I rang for the nurse and explained to her my situation and could she hook me up to something so someone would know if I stopped breathing? She looked at me like I was nuts, but she said she'd give it a shot. Then I heard her telling others my situation and that it was weird. I felt terrible and tried to not overhear any more.

Eventually I was hooked up to a monitor and felt much better and was just drifting off to sleep when my door opened and someone came in. It was a woman I knew from my masters program who was working as a CA (clinical assistant or nursing assistant). I said, "Did I [accidentally] ring the call button??"

"No, she says," and proceeds to walk around to the other side of the bed and sit down in a chair. "I can't believe you're here! How crazy is that?" and she proceeds to chat me up for 40 minutes while I lay in bed, barely conscious thinking to myself, "Why don't I tell her to leave?!"

I only get about and hour of sleep that night due to pain. The nurse comes in and thankfully keeps giving me more pain relief whenever I ask which I keep to about every 3-4 hours. In the morning, there's a shift change and my mom shows up. Around 10 or 11, Dr. Schneider, a blonde bulldozer of a doctor, comes in and says, "The cyst is just a straight cyst, nothing abnormal and it should go away on its own. However, your other option is to have surgery. Which do you want to do?" She goes on to tell me that she'd send me home with pain meds and that I'd be just fine in a couple of weeks with no surgery. That cysts like these were no big deal and tons of women got them and didn't ever have surgery for them and that mine wasn't even that big. She'd send me home with some vicadin and some anti-inflammatories and I would be just fine. On the other hand, if I opted for surgery she'd be happy to do that too, but since she'd been up for 48 hours, she wouldn't do it until Tuesday so she could rest up on Monday and get all the myriad of moving parts necessary for surgery all lined up (it was Sunday morning we were having this conversation). And did I also know that there were always greater risks involved with surgery because of the general anesthesia and whatnot? Because there are and I should think seriously about those.

When she left my mom and I looked at each other and said, "Well, it was obvious which of the two options she wanted me to do!" It was so crystal clear that she did NOT want to do surgery. I don't know that I can explain it here well enough to do her persuasive powers justice. Without coming out and saying so directly she made it perfectly clear she thought I should go home and deal with the pain until it went away. Clearly, she wasn't listening to me about how much discomfort I was in. My first thought was, "How the hell am I supposed to take care of Hollis and run our lives all drugged up and what could they possibly give me that would do the trick when I was on fucking dilaudid!?" Not to mention I didn't want to be in pain for my trip to California in September (my first vacation in two years). She left saying she'd be back in an hour or so for our decision.

It wasn't too difficult of a decision for me. I wanted surgery so that I could definitively end the pain and recover in time for my family vacation and get back to 100% normal a whole lot faster. She didn't say, "Ok, great decision, I'll get right on it," instead, her eyebrows shot up and her eyes got all big and she sorta shook her head to clear her thoughts and said, "Wow. Ok, I wasn't expecting that," and you could see the wheels spinning in her head as she scrambled to rework the next 48 hours. It seriously looked like I'd slapped her.

While she went to go figure out when she could perform the surgery I continued to get pretty good care. I still had the IV drugs coming, but then Dr. Schneider came back and told me that she for sure wasn't going to be able to perform the surgery until Tuesday so there was no reason for me to be getting IV drugs anymore and why don't we practice with the take home drugs/anti-inflammatories for the Monday I'd be at home prior to surgery? So they gave me vicadin and a shot which didn't really help with the pain all that much.

Up until this point I'd been reporting the worst pain as an 8 (that was in the ER after the morphine) and a 6-7 for really bad pain that needed relief. 4-5 was quite painful and uncomfortable and in need of relief, as well. 1-3, no big deal, I'm cool. With the vicadin, I was at a constant 4 or 5 and it never felt better. I kept having them refill my hot water bottle and I was pretty much miserable all Sunday.

Later that day Dr. Schneider comes back in to tell me she's going to come in on her day off (Monday) and do the surgery. I ask her if she'll sleep. She says "Yes, of course. Don't worry." And because I'll be having surgery, I'll get to keep eating, but not after midnight.

Hours later, I figure that since we're going through with this surgery tomorrow, I won't have to keep dicking around with this pain med experiment that hasn't been working and I can get back on the stuff that actually works, but the nurse tells me she only has doctor's orders for the vicadin/anti-inflammatory (which is not working!). I take a dose and suck it up and do my best. By 10, I'm back at a full blown 7 and I'm dying. I ring for the nurse and I ask for some pain relief. She says she'll have to ask because it hasn't been 4 hours, yet (she'd kept me on this brutal strict 4-hour regimen all day) - it'll be 4 hours at 10:45. She comes back to tell me the doctor told her to wait. I say ok and she leaves and I cry for 45 minutes trying to be brave and wondering if I'm just a gigantic wimp and am I asking too much from these people?

At 10:42 the nurse comes in with my drugs. At last!! But I don't see a syringe. I see a little cup with two shitty little pills in it. I say, "Vicadin? But I thought... you see, I'm so tired and the vicadin makes me all chatty and it takes so long to kick in at all..." My eyes well up and I try to keep from bursting into tears. I'm looking at hours more of pain. She says, "You wanted pain relief, right??" I say, "Yes," still trying to keep my tears at bay. I take the pills and ask her to help me with my breast pump gear and she leaves.

Thankfully, I was so exhausted I slept for 5 hours and when I woke up I got the dilaudid. I fell back asleep for a few more hours and got dilaudid again from a new nurse whose first words were, "So I hear the doctor didn't want to do surgery, but you did." Then it was go time and I got wheeled off and my cyst removed.

In the recovery room, Dr. Schneider barrels back in to tell me that everything went fine and she'd already talked to my family and that my cyst was on my fallopian tube and not my ovary as first suspected. And not only that, but it was twisted, which might explain all the pain I had been in. Then she was gone. Poof. Just like that.

Back in my room I told my family what she'd told me and they were surprised. She hadn't shared the twisted cyst part with them or that that might have explained all the pain I'd been in. She hadn't wanted me to do the surgery in the first place and was obviously skeptical of my "pain," otherwise she wouldn't have done that bullshit vicadin experiment on me and given such firm orders to the nurse to make me wait another 45 minutes. She never said she was sorry. Now I'm pissed and my mom and Anthony both are livid.

My mom's been a nurse for 25 years and she couldn't believe some of the things I'd told her. Like overhearing the nurse saying my request was weird, or that CA school acquaintance of mine barging into my room at 2 am for 40 mins, or the doctor making me wait for 45 minutes for more pain relief, or another nurse saying, "Hey, so I heard the doctor doesn't want to do surgery, but you do," or how the doctor clearly didn't want to do surgery and thought I was med-seeking, or how the doctor never apologized once she discovered something unexpected that might explain all my "med-seeking," or how every time I buzzed for a nurse I felt like I as putting them out. She went and found the hospital administrator and gave her an earful for an hour. Then the admin came to my room and apologized profusely and has asked me to come and talk to the staff that worked on my case next week during one of their routine meetings. She's appalled that the nurses didn't stick up for me in the face of Dr. Bulldozer and instead adopted her attitude towards me. I told her I'd do it (part of why I'm writing all this down - so I can better retell it later).

I'm never sick. Last weekend was so hard for me to let go. Poor Hollis didn't get to nurse for 48 hours due to something I had to take for the CT scan, Anthony had to take care of him around the clock. I couldn't manage my own pain, couldn't eat for most of the weekend, and I was terrified of surgery. Obviously, everything turned out ok, but it was rough. I still feel battle weary and not just because my belly hurts from the operation, but because it was an emotional operation, too. It was a great experience in the ER and a wholly mediocre one in the hospital itself. I can't believe that healthcare workers would be so callous and critical of someone. They don't even know me and who cares if I am drug-seeking?! I was in horrible pain, for Christ's sake!! What the hell do they care if I get more drugs than the prescribe intervals? I'm there for, what, 48 hours? How's that going to hurt them? And their general attitude towards my seeking their help, too, was bad. I felt like I was putting them out whenever I asked for more hot water, or for something to drink, or for more pain relief. Unfuckingbelievable.

Thank God it's over and thank God I was right about all of it! It was the right fucking thing for me to have surgery. I'll be as good as new in a few days with this debacle 100% behind me. I even found a new OB/GYN who's willing to do my follow up visit because there's no way in hell I'm going back to Schneider.

Anyway... so that's what my weekend was like. How was yours??



When was the last time you felt like shit? How did you behave? Were you mopey? Bitchy? Shitty? Irritable? Well, I can tell you the last time I felt like crap I was mostly irritable. I figured I was allowed to when my stomach had been hurting for days on end for no apparent reason.

My little baby, however, has a very different take on being ill. On Monday he got his first fever ever and what did the little guy do? Nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, he was just a tad quieter, but his natural curiosity and good nature never got dampened by the fever. He was more willing to sit in my lap while he drank ice water, for instance.

I find it so interesting that I can find some kind of life lesson in just about everything Hollis does and he's just existing! He's not thinking about what he's doing, he's just doing it! That in itself is something to think about - I can go round and round about this.

Here he is in his beautiful pink muu-muu playing and watching the Olympics with us. He's probably feeling better due to some help from some Ibuprofen, but he's still not 100%. How cute is that?

Anyway, what a good reminder that just because you may feel like shitballs, doesn't mean that you have to make everyone else around you feel it to (note to self).

And what a good reminder that sometimes people need a little extra from you even if you might not feel like giving it or it might not be convenient (I already got that "note to self").

And what a good reminder that this little person that I chose to bring into this world really can count on me and that despite my inexperience I really can take care of him.


Nasty... nasty boy

I rescued this disgusting thing from Hollis' mouth the other day. It dropped on the floor and I was afraid to pick it up with my bare hands. You can't tell from this picture, but it looks to have a small vertebrae and some kind of attached "organ." I felt like barfing on the spot, but instead I grabbed a wipe and picked it up and went foraging again into his mouth for two little bits that had broken off.

Now, we weren't outside, or under the fridge, or playing in a compost pile. We were in his nursery!! A room I keep meticulously tidy and picked up. I was sitting in the glider reading and he was playing on the floor. I saw him come close and pick something up and stick it in his mouth, but I assumed it was a Cheerio since there are lots of Cheerios around these days. But then he made a little coughing noise and I thought, "Wait a minute... I better go check that out." And that's when I swiped that thing out of his mouth. - UGH, just retelling the story makes me want to gag!

Was it a dead thing the cats had dragged in? Where did he get it from?? Was it something the dog had pulled out of the trash? Was it cooked/rotting/dead/a gigantic old dusty booger?!?!

I rinsed his mouth out and made sure to wash his hands and figured I'd done all I could on that end. For extra measure I put it in a baggy and dated it (in case I had to take it with me to the ER if he got violently ill later on, of course).

My mom and Terry came over later on that night and I say casually, "Hey, Mom. Check out what I found in Hollis' mouth today. It's over there on the counter." She was appropriately grossed out and we laughed. She thought it was a bug of some kind.

Well, since today is the 11th and I haven't made any trips to the ER Hollis is obviously going to live. I had kind of forgotten about the whole thing, which is why when Anthony walked by the baggie on the counter top and said, "Hey, what's this??" I didn't know what he was talking about right away. He picked up the bag and I gave him a brief recap.

Without hesitation he says, "It's his belly button!"

Yep. That's right! Ten long months ago when Hollis' umbilical stump finally came off we lost it. We figured the dog or one of the cats had eaten it. But nope!! It had fallen off and landed in some nook or cranny of the glider. That belly button survived being moved down the hall and various positions in the nursery lodged in its secret hiding place.

I still feel like vomiting in my mouth a little at the idea of Hollis jamming his rotted belly button in his mouth, but at least it's his own DNA (Anthony's helpful suggestion)!


Sweet chaos

I've been getting into a major groove lately and I'm loving it:

Wake up at 7
Bring Hollis into bed with me and nurse/cuddle for 30 mins to an hour
Into his jumper for some exercise while I shower and get dressed
Feed Hollis breakfast, pill/feed the dog, start water for my tea
Drink my tea/play with Hollis/check email
Around 10 am Hollis goes down for his first nap
While Hollis sleeps: blog/email/bills/watch the View/clean/etc.
When Hollis wakes up, it's time for another nursing and to get out of the house running errands
Home by 3 or 4 and down he goes for a quickie nap of about 45 mins
Wakes up and it's dinner time
Play, play, play until the 7 o'clock hour
Bath time!
Play some more then some cuddles and lights out between 8 and 9

Of course, since Anthony's been gone this past week and some change I can't seem to fall asleep until really ungodly hours of midnight or even 2 am. So despite having pleasant days, I'm exhausted (and now I've had a bellyache for almost 18 hours straight - not fun!). But, despite the sleeplessness (and the bellyache), I still feel like I'm on vacation. You probably didn't notice, but in my day there is NO COOKING! And I love to cook, I really do, it's my meditation and my art, but I had no idea how much energy it takes out of me during a regular work week - breakfast and dinner, all the dishes, the planning, the shopping for it, the making of it, the synching up with Anthony's schedule which never seems to be the same from day to day. This week I basically ate a frozen dinner for lunch and a bag of M&Ms for dinner and called it a day. It's been great!

Hollis really seems to be responding well to this organization, too. He's been sleeping through the nights like a champ and been a honey of a baby during the days.

I wonder what it'll be like to have Anthony reenter our lives. The last time he came home from an extended business trip (only 5 days that time) Hollis started waking up multiple times during the night. I wonder if it's because of the added stress/responsibility I feel during the day when Anthony's here depending on me (all pressure I put on myself, I assure you - Anto's the most easygoing guy I know of). I'm going to make a concerted effort this time to try to just relax and ease into a modified "vacation schedule" and hope for the best. I don't want to kick up a dust of chaos around me, you know?? I want to be chill, and graceful, and together.



My fat little baby is the cutest thing I've EVER seen.

Gotta love 50% off sales at Babies 'R' Us!


Go! Fairfield! F-A-L-C-O-N-S!!

Katie (McClaflin), me, and Linda (Hubbard) in the quad
This whole internet thing is so crazy. I moved to Texas 13 years ago. I left Vacaville, CA on August 11th and arrived here in Austin on August 18th. I have never ever even come close to running into someone I know from back home. The closest was finding people who had been stationed at Travis Airforce Base, or people who used I80 and therefore had driven through Fairfield. In comparison, my native Texan friends run into people from their home towns all the time - just yesterday Sheree, my best friend, told me she ran into people from her home town this weekend!

I wistfully imagine that's what it's like when you stay in the state where you grew up as opposed to moving several states away. Not that I don't keep in touch with some of my closer friends. I still talk to my closest high school girlfriends regularly enough and have seen them over the years at weddings and Christmas. And a few years ago several of us from the swim team managed to organize a little reunion since our graduating class never has had a reunion of its own.

But eight or nine years ago the internet starts offering these free sites like Classmates.com (it used to be free, you know). I was able to get in touch with all sorts of old high school friends as if I were running into them on the street. Stan Montee, for one. He was in school to become a dentist and we talked about our mutual crush in high school that, sadly, went absolutely NO WHERE except that he was the first boy whose hair I touched (it was crunchy from all the gel he used). I found a handful of other friends from school that way, too, but none of us kept up a correspondence and I lost track of them all over again.

Friendster and MySpace were a lot fun for me, too, in kind of a similar way, but it was more of a local thing for me - long lost college peeps that I'd run around with. But Facebook - whoa, boy. My good friend Bob (whom I actually MET online) kept telling me it was like a big high school reunion for him and I should totally join. I was skeptical thinking I had already done the whole online reunion thing. Yet, boredom and nervous energy while waiting for Hollis to be born found me at the computer making my Facebook profile. And voila! I'm in touch with so many old high school mates that I feel like my deepest roots are finally being watered.

Leaving the world I knew to make a new life for myself has had amazing ramifications on my person - every one of them a good thing - but I have always yearned for that sense of familiarity that only comes from a shared experience. In this case it's Fairfield. That bedroom town that no one notices on their way to San Francisco or Sacramento. Split down the middle by 80 with the "rich kids" on one side and everyone else on the other. A town so unremarkable even the mall is laid out in a strip (I experienced my first mall with turns in it when I ventured closer to the bay in Walnut Creek). The "downtown" experience was a series of rundown store fronts, ostensibly charming, but more like just sad. Trapped in the outskirts of "the Bay Area," but devoid of any of the rich culture Fairfield's biggest claim to fame has always only been Travis and the fact it was where all the Vietnam soldiers left from and came home to. How sad that Fairfield was the last US city some of them ever saw.

I know I sound harsh, but it's how I feel and how I have always felt about that town. Fairfield isn't even in the top 10 to the beauty queens that are San Francisco, Napa, Stinson, Berkeley, and the ocean. Thank God they were all at least in my orbit, or I would have surely suffered even more than I did; my thirst for culture, passion, art, and intensity such as it was. My parents hated FF, too, but it was "a good place to raise kids," they have said. Whatever, we make do with what we've got, right?

All my friends here in Austin don't know what Fairfield means, but all my long lost schoolmates do. It doesn't even matter to me if their feelings are the same about FF. And we don't even need to exchange long emails catching each other up. It's enough to have this webbed connection of 1s and 0s and I feel good about it. I love reading everyone's blogs and profiles (I'm going to list all the blogs I know of on here so I can feel even more linked up).

Thanks to Facebook I've been able to reconnect with some surprising characters from my past. People whom I never thought to talk to again and it has been wonderful discovering all the new things about them and reconnecting. I must say we've all done very well for ourselves! Bravo to everyone! Cheers! Woot! Yaaaaaaaaaay!

So this post is for you guys, fellow Falcons. Thanks for being so open to reconnecting and I look forward to keeping the connections going.


Horse goes to...

For those of you who don't know Horse, let me fill you in. My Grandma Berber (baby for, "Barbara") gave me this little brown stuffed horse when I was an infant. I, quite literally, do not know what life is like on this planet without Horse. He has always been there and I suspect that seeing his long fuzzy nose in the crib helped to spawn my all-out crazy obsessive passion for horses as a little girl.

Among all my stuffed animals he always had a special place in my heart and home. I never out grew him, I never felt he fell out of fashion. He was Horse. He had immunity from the Velveteen Bunny Effect.

I once used duct tape to fashion a saddle and bridle for him. You can still see a little bit of the sticky stuff on him. His nostrils are gone, his tail sewn back on, and he's even had a little under-belly surgery (c/o my mom), but he still has his kick. He continues to stand on all fours and is as taut with his stuffing as day one. How can that be?? He's got to be at LEAST 32 years old! I doubt that today's toys would last even half as long!

He is the most precious material possession I have. I have chased down a bus in an airport terminal when I accidentally left him on it and I always check him with my carry-on in case of a tragic suitcase mishap. For the entire decade of my twenties I fell asleep with him in my arms and never traveled anywhere without him, feeling on some deep level that he was a good luck charm.

All my friends know Horse. He was featured on our "save the date" card "drinking" a glass of red wine (not unlike the black and white picture up top of us in the DFW airport on our way back from Mexico two years ago), sitting at our sign-in table at the wedding, and I even had a stamp made of him to mark on all the welcome bags, too. I love Horse, plain and simple and am not ashamed to yell it to the world.

Since Anthony came around the only change in my devotion to Horse has been to sleep with him less (Horse, not Anthony). He now has a place of honor in my bedroom on a bookshelf in plain sight. He watches over me from his perch and I feel at peace and as if all is right with the world - and if any of you are wondering what I'd do if I lost Horse, well, I'd grieve and get over it. I'm not that freaky! haha.

I've sent Horse on multiple trips with Anthony and he always takes pictures of him for me. Here he is at Niagra Falls. Mind you, I've never been to Niagra Falls.

He's posed with other horses, puppets, dogs, cats, babies, pan handlers, street performers, relatives, oceans, and trees. Here he is with Zack in Mitchell NE (or SD - I can't remember which) on his way to Sturgis with Anthony this week.

One of the things I want to do is make a coffee table book of Horse. Not for anyone else but me. He's been all over Texas, to Pittsburgh, London, Paris, California, New Orleans, the Florida Everglades, and Mexico to name a few. Whenever I leave town I make sure to take a picture of him. I want to sit down when I'm 80 and look at all the things Horse and I did together. - Hmm, I hope I can dig up all those photos. Despite being freaky-organized with most things I don't have a "Horse Folder," yet.

I told Anthony to have the scariest looking biker at Sturgis hold Horse for me. We'll see if he can do it. He said it's easier to be a cute blonde girl asking people to hold Horse than it would be for him. I told him he was plenty cute for the job. We'll see if he can pull it off. With Horse by his side I don't see why not!



What is it about Cheerios (or in my case Organic O's - no wheat involved) that evokes such a sense of childhood? For that matter, why are kids so nutso for them? Cheerios in our house went like this:

"Hollis, this is Cheerio. Cheerio, Holl-" and I couldn't finish the sentence because Hollis had already shoved a handful into his mouth.

I'm happy for this new development. As we nurse less frequently and switch over to "real food" I find that I have to become more creative with our non-eating time. His development demands it. A perfect fix for the both of us is a dozen or so Cheerios. It keeps him occupied and me free to do other things besides distract him for about 5 minutes. It's the perfect amount of time to do dishes, start some laundry, make the bed, feed the dog, sweep the floor, whatever.

Before Cheerios, I was using toys, which are great, but he's one smart baby and isn't satisfied with the same old toys over and over; I could only buy 30 seconds to a minute sometimes even though I keep a bunch out of rotation so they seem new over and over.

The focus and determination he shows in trying to get the O's to his mouth is incredible and sweet and hilarious and astounding. His little fingers pinch and his fists ball up. I take for granted the dexterity I enjoy with my own hands. He's even developed a new "scream" which means, "More Cheerios!!"

Yesterday I set up a "Cheerio Gauntlet" and let him go crazy. He's just started to cruise around his new crib (it's a much friendlier baby-cruising set up than the last crib) and so I wanted to see what would happen with his first Cheerio trail. I'm happy to report most of the O's ended up in his mouth. A lot also ended up on the floor and he'd look over the rail as if to say, "Well... crap!" then look at the next one and happily move on. I think I had about a dozen all lined up to start out with.

THEN another milestone: he sat on a toy with wheels. I'm sure it's the beginning of his lifelong love affair with things you ride as it is for all of us. Who doesn't love to ride a bike, a horse, a motorcycle or drive a car? Hell, it'd be fun to ride on a tractor! There's something about tooling around by means other than your feet that is such a thrill.

Anyway, here's Hollis at almost a full 10 months on his very first set of wheels (a hand-me-down from friends who said their son loved it, too). He pushed back and forth on it and even was able to [make a motion to] lift his leg up and over it. Ugh. It hurts it's all so cute.

Everything hurts these days. My heart, my brain, my very soul. All with good things: love, wonder, tenderness, anticipation. Of course there's also a very healthy (or not so healthy) dose of fear mixed in there. It's a miracle we survive childhood, let alone adolescence, and if we're lucky enough to reach maturity it's still a miracle that we don't die stepping outside our houses on our way to work every day (I imagine our ancestors rolling over in their graves when they look at us whizzing around at 70 mph in 2-ton steel monsters while talking on the phone, applying lipstick, and yelling at the kids).

Right now Anthony's probably in Nebraska somewhere with his dad and his step-mom on their way to Sturgis. He'll be gone for a total of about 10 days and it's a constant effort to not worry about him. I worry that I worry so much! What am I going to do when Hollis gets older?? I don't want to be one of those moms who pad their kids whenever they go out the door. I want him to keep hitting milestones, but I also want to lock him in the house. I know all the stupid crazy shit my friends and I did - UGH - and we survived it all (barely in some cases). I know I'll work it out by the time I need to. It's just so exciting and terrifying all at the same time.

Ok - time to reassess my house for lethal situations for baby - for the thousandth time.