Wednesday, December 31, 2008

We have returned

For now, that says it all. I'm sure I'll be blogging about the 11 day trip soon, but for now, I am just so glad to be in my own home with my own bed and my own things. I will say the trip was very eventful, but most of the events were positive ones. Yetta did try to initiate one fight, but C's rather unexpected response ended it fairly quickly. We have no elaborate plans for New Year's Eve. Both C and Wild Man are getting over pretty yucky colds, so we're going to lay low.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Tale Wherein My Parents are Assertive

Earlier this afternoon, I called my parents and explained the various options Yetta had come up with for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. My mom asked me point blank what I wanted to do, and I told her that I really just wanted to have a huge glass of red wine, which given my current pregnant state is out of the question. I also told her that C, Wild Man, and I would be spending a significant portion of Christmas Day with her, my dad, and my brother whatever they decided. I assured her I would be ok with whatever they wanted to do, even if that meant I had to have two Christmas dinners or if we just went over to her house to eat grilled cheese sandwiches. She said she'd talk to my dad and call me back later. Now, given past experiences, I fully expected my mother to call and say "M, we'll do whatever you want. If it is easier on you for us to come to Yetta's house for Christmas dinner then that is what we'll do." I have to say, my parents shocked the hell out of me today.

When my mom called, the whole conversation started differently. She asked no questions about Yetta's plans at all. She said they'd be happy to attend Christmas Eve dinner with C's family as our family really doesn't have any elaborate Christmas Eve traditions. Then she said, "But, M, you know, we do have our own Christmas traditions. Your father and I would like to introduce Wild Man to those traditions, so we'd like to have Christmas dinner at our house. We'll have our traditional dinner (which is a very untraditional chicken teriyaki, rice casserole, and stir fry), open presents, and take family pictures. If this causes you major problems, let me know, and we'll figure something out." I said, "Mom, if this is what you and Dad want to do, we'll make it happen. After all, our family traditions are as important as C's family's traditions."

I don't know if I can express what a rare thing it is for my parents to be so assertive. Frankly, I don't care if this causes Yetta or Pita to have a global meltdown. My parents actually told me what they want to do, and I'm thrilled that they did.

Heading out

Tomorrow, provided the weather cooperates, we're heading out to begin our holiday travels. First, we're traveling to my grandparents; we'll spend the weekend with them. I'm very excited about this leg of the trip because we haven't seen my grandparents in a while. On top of that, my sister and her family will be there for the weekend, which means that I will get to see my entire family in a one week period, something that doesn't often happen.

From there, we head to Home State. We'll spend the first few days with C's family as Pita is going out of town the day after Christmas. She is, by the way, already living up to her name by making lots of plans and lots of demands about where we'll be and when we'll be with her and Yetta. We got a phone call this morning from Pita and Yetta, and C ended up pissed off and they both ended up cussing and in tears. This, my friends, is precisely why I'd prefer to stay in CU Land for the holidays. The problems seem to be as follows:
  • My parents are anti-social. Well, we all knew that, and while it doesn't exactly make me happy, it is a fact of life.
  • Yetta is tired of making everyone happy; she is especially tired of accommodating my parents. Um, ok. First, my parents don't require any accommodation. In fact, they are passive to the point of absurdity. They are not going to invite C's family to their home; it just isn't going to happen. They are happy, however, to join in any festivities that C's family wants to include them in. They are also equally happy to stay home and spend time with us.
  • Yetta is tired of being the planner. Well, she does this to herself, quite frankly. She wants to be in control plain and simple. She's already planned extensive things for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and she's pissed b/c my parents have declined one of the invitations (this is, apparently, why they aren't accommodating.). Yetta is pissed b/c this means that we have to go to my parents house on Christmas Day instead of just spending the whole day with her. We would have done that anyway b/c I want to see my family!
  • Pita is pissed b/c she's convinced she won't get to see Wild Man enough--b/c I'm unreasonable with his schedule and will likely refuse to let her spend time with him alone. I have no response to this whatsoever.
So that is what I have to look forward to, and we aren't even there yet. I've already informed C that this will be our last holiday trip if they initiate any kind of fight at all. In fact, at the suggestion of a fight, I'm packing Wild Man up and heading to my family's house. I'm not putting myself or Wild Man through that crap.

And what kills me the most is that it doesn't have to be like this. It could be simple and lovely. C actually thanked my mom today for not doing this sort of crap. He said "You can be difficult in your own way, but you never pull these sorts of demands on us. I appreciate that." I know my mom appreciated him saying that; I sure did.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dissertation Frustration, part I have lost count

Usually when I write a post with this title, I'm frustrated by myself. Well, I'm happy to report that I'm quite pleased with my progress. Since the beginning of November, I've written 35 pages of the chapter I'm currently working on (which, if we're keeping track, is the last actual chapter!). I have laid out the theoretical framework and discussed one of the texts. I still need to write the section on the next text, which I had hoped to have finished before Christmas. So, for a change, I'm not frustrated with myself or my progress. I am frustrated with the lull that is about to happen with my work.

This week is the last real time I'll have to work on my dissertation for at least 2 weeks, and more likely 3. Why? Well, we leave on Friday to travel to my grandparents for the weekend, and from there, we head to Home State on Monday or Tuesday until the 29th. Then we head back to CU Land. But when return, Wild Man's school will be closed until the 5th. So C and I will attempt to divide the day up (he'll likely get the morning, and I'll likely get the afternoon) so we can both try ever so feebly to get some work done during the week Wild Man is home with us. C is working on a book prospectus and prepping a grad class (the first he's ever taught), and I have to do some course prep of my own as well as finish this chapter. If I could have 2 weeks to work uninterrupted, I think I could have a really solid draft of this chapter done by Jan. 5th. But I'm not going to get that. I'll have to make do with what ever moments I can steal while we're visiting family, and given past experience, there won't be many. I really wish we had decided to stay in CU Land and work, work, work, but alas. I think it is too late to cancel the trip now. . . I feel so close to finishing that I don't want to stop working. I just want to finish the damn thing!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Is it . . .

too early to take a nap?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Feeling Decadent

For the second Thursday in a row, C and I have hired a babysitter to watch Wild Man so we could attend his department holiday party last week and mine tonight. I have to say, I feel a bit decadent. Last week, things were a bit more rushed, as the party started earlier. We dropped Wild Man off at Dr. Nice Guy's house because his teenage son had graciously agreed to watch Wild Man. Now, Wild Man loves both of Dr. Nice Guy's sons, but he loves this one in particular, whom I will call T. In fact, it had been several weeks since Wild Man had seen him, but last week he ran up the steps to their house calling out his name. When we got to their house after the party, around 7:30 or so, Wild Man absolutely refused to leave. He behaved perfectly for T, and then, we arrived. He threw a huge tantrum, which is fairly unusual for him, because he didn't want to leave T. This week T came over to our house as my department party started later. When I told him what time we'd be home, T encouraged us to stay out later than we'd planned. After we left the party, we actually went out for dessert just the two of us. I honestly can't remember the last time I was out after 7:00 with my husband. Oh, yes I can: my birthday in June. It is so lovely to have a reliable, trustworthy, and affordable babysitter.

Wild Man-isms

I'm in need of a good laugh today, so I thought I'd share a few Wild Man-isms. Feel free to share ones from your own kids.
  • Don't tickle my butt, Daddy!
  • Roar, growl, roar! (He has recently decided he is a dinosaur.)
  • Pearlie, do you want to eat the Christmas Tree? (Pearlie is one of our cats.)
  • I have to fart, Mommy.
  • Let's eat snow.
  • Don't pee in the bathtub! (I think he was talking to himself when he said this, but I can't be sure.)
  • Theresa (one if his buddies from school) likes to shake her bootie.
  • Mommy, I need cookies--now!
  • I not! (He usually says this when you ask him to do something he doesn't want to do, as in, I am not going to pick up my toys right now!)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

L and Run, World Run

I'm adding my good friend L, who blogs at Run, World Run, to my blogroll in a shameless attempt to get her to blog more frequently!

Today vs. Yesterday

Yesterday was very productive for me. I wrote a total of 5 pages, reorganized a rather large section of my current chapter, and graded 3 papers. Today has not been so productive, at least not in terms of my dissertation. I began the day much earlier than usual, at 6:00 am, as I had to be on campus by 8:30 to give my final. That means the entire family had to be up and out the door by 8:00, no easy task, I tell you. As I have blogged recently, C is wonderful on many levels; he is not, however, wonderful about getting up in the morning. I could set 3 alarm clocks, and he would somehow manage to sleep through every single one of them. Me, I'm the type of person who wakes up 5 minutes before the alarm goes off. In fact, when we still lived in Southwest College Town and C had to be out of the house by 6:45 to make his 8:00 class (he had a 50 minute commute), I always awoke to his alarm and then woke him up. Getting C out of bed most mornings takes a good 10 minutes. But I digress. . . We were all up, dressed, fed, and out the door by 8:15, a small miracle because since we've moved to CU Land we're seem to be perpetually 5 minutes late.

Now that I'm nearing the end of the day, I can reflect on what I've accomplished.
  • given an exam, following CU's fairly strict rules (including filling out lots of paperwork, which no one warned me about)
  • graded 6 8-page papers, several quizzes, and 2 response papers
  • graded 1 exam from a course I taught at Southwest College Town this summer (the student received an incomplete due to illness, and has only just made up the final) and emailed the grade to the appropriate person
  • returned books to the library
  • outlined the next large section of my current chapter, which means I should be able to write this entire section tomorrow
And for the rest of the day, I'm going to pick Wild Man up at school, and we're going to the mall. Why am I subjecting myself to this torture so close to Christmas? Well, C has a meeting on campus until 5:15 today, which means there is little point in going home as we'd have to turn around to get him after being home for less than 30 minutes, and there isn't much else to do with Wild Man on this side of town considering it is 28 degrees outside. So the mall it is!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


This morning I decided to channel all my frustration at life in general into my dissertation. Thus far, I've already written 2 1/2 pages, and I have a clear idea of what I want to write after my lunch break. I have to say, I'm feeling pretty proud of myself right now!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Freedom, Sweet, Sweet Freedom

For the first time in I can't even remember how long (since we moved to CU Land at least), Wild Man amiably agreed to permit his father put him to bed. Well, ok, he didn't so much agree as I slipped out of the room right after story time just as C turned the lights out. I did, however, fully anticipate that I'd be back in Wild Man's room within 5 minutes as whenever I do this, I'm usually met by cries of "Mommy, I need my Mommy! No Daddy, Mommy!" But this evening Wild Man apparently cuddled up to C and dozed off within 15 minutes. I'm usually in there for at least half an hour, generally longer. But not tonight! It's 8:15, and I have the whole evening to myself! Too bad I actually have to go grade a paper. . .

Job frustration

My friends who know me well know that I don't always deal with change very well. I am, by nature, a creature of routine. I like to know when things are going to happen so that I can plan. Of course, the fact that I've chosen to pursue a career in academia means that there is often a lot of uncertainty in my life.

As I wrote last week, the job situation is not good at CU, at least not for me. I met with Dr. Feminist last week, and she has been able to earmark one course for me next year, in the spring. She can't guarantee anything for the fall because of budget limitations. She told me that she was able to give me two courses this year because the Dean had "found" the money, which I knew. But this year's assignments didn't come with any guarantee that the Dean would "find" money again, which I didn't know. Let me clarify: I knew that I primarily got hired because of C, and frankly, I was (and am) ok with that. But I knew that I would only continue teaching at CU because of me; C may have gotten me in the door, but I am the one who has to keep me hear and, ultimately, turn the job into a tenure-track line. The Dean (who is, of course, no longer the Dean) did, however, lead us to believe that there would be a few years of part-time funding for me since she realized that me teaching here was a retention issue for C. It seems that this wasn't the case. The money was guaranteed only for this year, and now if Women's Studies wants to keep hiring me to teach part-time, they have to lobby the new Dean for money. Well, since I've been hired, the economy has gone to crap, and CU is at the end of a budget cycle. Deans and department heads across the board are starting to be conservative with their spending as they have no guarantees from the Canadian government what sort of funding they will get for the next 3-year budget cycle.

So what does this mean for us? Dr. Nice Guy, C's department head, was told point blank by the new Dean that she couldn't come up with any money for me, either for a term-appointment or a tenure-track line, unless C was in a position to leave. Meaning either one or both of us has to get a job at a comparable school and use that as leverage to get me a tenure-track job in either Women's Studies or English. I know all you academics are thinking: not so unusual. Well, this is actually a bit unusual for CU, which has a history of partner placement. In fact, both Dr. Nice Guy and the previous Dean had told C on multiple occasions (before he accepted the job) that I probably wouldn't have to have a job offer to secure a tenure track line at CU. He was told over and over again that they value their employees, have strong retention policies, and have high rates of partner placement. While I never really believed this (it seemed too good to be true), it did provide us both with a modicum of comfort. Now it seems that we will have to do things the old-fashioned way.

So why is this a source of so much frustration, since I knew inherently all along that this is the route we'd have to go? For two reasons. First, I'm now in the position of not having a teaching position for the fall. I am, of course, already looking. I'm being pro-active, which isn't always something I'm great at. I've already contacted the head of the English Department (the whole reason I didn't get courses there this year was because they had already hired all their part-time people by the time C was offered the job), and he has seemed very receptive. I have a meeting with him next week. Second, C loves his job. As nervous as he was about taking a position at an R1, he loves it, as I knew he would. He's already been asked to present at his field's major conference next spring, submitted an internal grant for research money, and proposed a major curiculum change for his department. On top of that, he has been solicited by a publisher to turn his dissertation into a book, and he actually has time to work on a book prospectus. He has also started working on an article. Because he was teaching a 4-4 load and commuting an hour each way, he didn't have time to do these things when he was lecturing at the small liberal arts college near Southwest College Town, a job that was slowly sucking the life out of him. In short, my husband is flourishing here. I don't want to be the reason he has to leave CU. I honestly don't see myself getting a job at a comparable school the first year on the market, which will be next year. And given the nature of my field and the economy, I am fully aware it will likely take me two years (if not more) to even get an offer. All of which means, I will be facing some job uncertainty for a while. It's times like these when I ask myself: M, why didn't you go to nursing school?

Friday, December 05, 2008

Wild Man and morning sickness

First, I want to say that the all day sickness I experience while pregnant has subsided. Now I'm just sick first thing in the morning and that's it. This I can handle. And this also seems to be waning. If I actually get to sleep past 7:30 (a rare thing, let me tell you), I manage not to vomit. But every day this week I've been up much, much earlier than that, so I generally start my day with my head in the toilet.

This morning, as he has done many mornings, Wild Man followed me into the bathroom. As soon as I knelt in front of the toilet he asked "Mommy, are you ok?" Then he tried to close the toilet, saying "You no sick today, Mommy." I think he meant "Tough it out, Mom. Mind over matter!" When he realized that I was, in fact, going to be sick, he stood right beside me and rubbed my back while I heaved my guts up into the toilet. When I was done, he said, "It's all better now, Mommy" and gave me hug. Then, as I stood up, he patted my tummy and said "You be nice to Mommy, Z." I swear that kid knows exactly how to make my heart melt.

Just to prove that Wild Man isn't all sweetness and light: when he isn't rubbing my back while I vomit, he is pretending to vomit in his potty. I have to tell you, it's really painful to laugh and vomit at the same time.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Coming out of the closet

Following yesterday's post on keeping things close to my vest, I've decided to come out of the closet.

I am 12 weeks pregnant.

I feel like I needed to give that one some space to sink in, if not for all my friends in the blogosphere then for me. Yes, I am 12 weeks pregnant, and I am still digesting that information. Whereas it took us about 7 or 8 months (depending on if you ask me or C) of actively trying to conceive Wild Man, we conceived our second child after a five minute conversation that went something like this.

C: I think we should talk about having another baby.

M: Um, are you crazy?

C: Seriously, now is as good a time as any. In fact, if you got pregnant right now, the baby would be born in June, right? We'd both be home the entire summer, which would be great. We wouldn't have to rush back to work. We'd actually have time to get acclimated before the fall semester starts. You'll be finished with your dissertation, and you'd have the baby before you go on the job market. Wild Man will be almost 3. I think it is a great time.

M: Um, are you crazy?

And I really did think that was the end of the conversation. But apparently in the throws of passion, when asked about birth control, I said, "What the hell?" which is, actually, the sort of thing I would say as I assumed it would take work to get pregnant a second time, just as it took some work (not a lot, mind you) to get pregnant the first time. Apparently, it didn't take much work at all.

When my period was late, I thought, "Huh, I guess I could be pregnant, but really, it isn't possible. We always use protection, except for that one time." I waited a few days, and when I said something to C, he said "You're pregnant. Let's go buy a test." So we did, and I took it the next morning, all the while knowing I wasn't pregnant. Well, I was. And this time the experience of taking a pregnancy test was completely different. With Wild Man I woke up early, took the test, waited for the results, and then, when I saw the positive sign, I woke up C and showed him the test. We both cried a little and were so excited. This time I thought I'd try to do the same thing. But while I was taking the test Wild Man woke up and needed to use the potty, so while I was peeing on a stick, Wild Man was peeing in his little potty while C supervised the both of us. The test showed a positive sign within 30 seconds. C smiled and kissed me; I felt a little sick to my stomach. I mean, here's the thing: I feel like we've got the parenting thing down--with one kid. What's going to happen when we throw another kid into the mix? I guess you could say I've been feeling a bit ambivalent about this second pregnancy.

Slowly, I've come to terms with the idea of a second baby. It helped that C named the baby almost immediately, just as he did with Wild Man. Whereas Wild Man was known as the Seedling in utero, our second child has been dubbed Z, as in zygote. I have to hand it to my husband; he is a pretty wonderful guy. He understood my ambivalence completely, and as if to help me through that, he embraced this pregnancy wholeheartedly from the beginning. He immediately began talking to Z. Well before I began experiencing morning sickness (or, rather, all day sickness followed by gut wrenching vomiting that Wild Man now frequently imitates), he stocked up on ginger ale, crackers, club soda, and life savers, all things that helped my nausea when I was carrying Wild Man. He met with all the right people at CU to find out about paternal leave, and he has determined that he will be the one to take that leave rather than me as he will get almost his full salary whereas I'd get peanuts. As he has fallen in love with Z, he's made me see how we can make this work, and he's helped me fall in love with Z too.

So there it is. I will be about 34 weeks pregnant when I defend my dissertation. I will have a 2 month old in tow when I walk across the stage to receive my hood (and I will be getting that hood even if I have to nurse Z while my adviser puts it on me!). Despite my initial ambivalence and all the things we still have to figure out, I feel good about this new journey we're taking. I'm well aware of all the complications of being an academic couple with two children, and I'm well aware how I'm likely to be viewed by my peers when they learn that I have 2 young children. But I know we can do this, and more to the point, I know this is right for us.

*On a side note, I have yet to share any of this information with any faculty members of Southwest College. If you know me in real life, I'd appreciate it if you'd keep this information to yourself for the time being.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Keeping things close to my vest

I generally think of myself as an open person. While I'm not the sort of person who rambles off my life story when someone asks me "How are you doing, M?", I am fairly open with close friends and colleagues. Or at least I used to be. I am realizing that since we've moved to CU Land I'm much less open with the details of my life.

To some degree, I feel like I'm constantly on guard here, particularly when I'm on campus. I'm slowly learning that many of my colleagues don't have a lot of tact, so that doesn't necessarily make me want to reveal things about my life to them. Here's an example of a tactless colleague: yesterday, I had a lengthy conversation with one of my office mates, the first one I've had with this person, in fact. She was very pleasant and informative, and she shared a lot of information about CU Land that I didn't know. She is also a grad student, although at CU, and is teaching part-time in the Women's Studies department while she finishes her dissertation. She asked me how I ended up here from Southwest College Town (which is a very reasonable question), and as I explained the circumstances, she said "Well, that's just bad timing, isn't it?" I gave her a "what the hell are you talking about?" and she elaborated. CU has a policy of writing into new hires' contracts that they will hire their partners in X number of years if the partner has completed her dissertation. She then said, "Too bad you weren't finished when your husband went on the market!" I knew all of this, and while I really wanted to say "Thanks for pointing out the obvious and the impossible!" I just changed the subject. We then got on the topic of post-docs, and she asked if I was going to try to apply for one. I explained that most post-docs in my field require the candidate to teach at the institution or to do research at another institution; since we have Wild Man, that really isn't an option for us. To which she replied, "That is just monumentally bad timing, isn't it? Why would you have a baby while working on your doctorate?" And no, my friends, she wasn't joking. She was quite serious. I have no idea how to respond to such questions other than to tell people off (and this didn't seem like the best tactic to take), so I just said "Well, there isn't really a perfect time to have a baby." Thankfully the conversation ended soon after this, but I have had a number of conversations with colleagues who have demonstrated a similar lack of tact--although none have said things about my decision to have a child.

Another reason why I'm playing things close to the vest is the uncertainty of my situation here. I wrote a few days ago that Dr. Feminist was exploring the option of hiring me for a term-appointment, which would eventually become a tenure-track position. Well, largely because of the sucky economy, that is not going to happen this year, and now the department is struggling to find two courses for me. As a result of my uncertain status, I find myself very mindful of what I say to people. I'm much more likely to talk about my teaching or my work than to share stories about Wild Man; in fact, lots of times, I find myself consciously avoiding talking about Wild Man. I feel like I'm trying to cultivate an image of myself that may or may not be true in an effort to have these people take me seriously so that they will give me a job at some point in the future. And while I understand that is all part of "playing the game," I feel like I'm being false, like I'm not being myself, and that bothers me. I'm missing the freedom that comes with being a definite part of the department, and I don't like feeling as though I'm always on display, even if that isn't necessarily true.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American friends! C, Wild Man, and I will be celebrating with a small dinner on Sunday, as Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated in October. I have to admit it was a bit odd this morning to get up and go about our usual routine rather than watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and putting a turkey in the oven. This is also the first time in a long time we haven't shared either Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner with our good friends Harrogate, Supadiscomama, and Supadisco-T. We are really missing you, and all of our good friends in Southwest College Town, today. Eat some turkey for us!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wild Man Earns a Stripe; or, Adventures in Canadian Medicine

As you all know, my son is, well, a bit wild. C and I often describe him as a bull in a china shop. He is not clumsy or awkward, but he is full of energy. That energy is often difficult to contain, and it frequently results in bumps, scrapes, and bruises. Monday night the energy led to more than a bump or a bruise. Monday night I think my Wild Man may have actually earned his stripes.

Monday evening Wild Man helped C organize our recycling and carry it to the curb while I cleaned up the kitchen after dinner. This actually means that Wild Man ran circles around our garage while C organized the recycling. Afterward they took a shower together, which is something that they do a few times a week. It gets them both clean, it saves a bit of time, and it even saves a bit of water. Near the end of the shower, I went and sat in the bathroom, so that I could quickly grab Wild Man up and dry him off. As I got into the bathroom and as C was preparing to turn the water off, Wild Man began picking up his toys. Just as he put his boat in the corner of the tub, he lost his balance (despite standing on a full length bath mat) and fell, hitting his face on the wall of the tub. He has done this many times before; no matter how many times we caution him to be careful or to ask for help in the tub, he often insists on doing things himself, and he occasionally falls. Monday night, however, he hit his face right above his eye, and he cut himself. As C bent to pick him up and hold him, he said "Get a cloth now." My husband is not prone to panic at all, but at that moment, I heard panic in his voice. I quickly grabbed a cloth, gave it to C, and calmly waited for Wild Man to calm down. Within a minute, he had calmed down enough so that C could look at his face. C visibly relaxed as he said, "It is just a cut. I thought he had hurt his eye." I asked if we needed to go to the emergency room, and C answered, "I think so." I wrapped Wild Man in a towel and took him from C. As I held him, I dried him off and tried to look at his eye, which he understandably didn't want me anywhere near. When I was finally able to get a good look, I saw a fairly long gash about half an inch above the crease in Wild Man's eye. It was still bleeding, but it had slowed considerably. I said to C "I'm not sure if they'll do anything, but given the location, I think we should have it looked at." So C got dressed and gathered some things to amuse Wild Man while I dressed him and tried to explain what was going to happen. Wild Man could have cared less to be quite honest. He dutifully held an ice pack against his head while I put his shoes and socks on, but then he asked "Mommy, please read Babar?" I told him we'd read it in the car, as I carried him downstairs.

About 20 minutes after he cut himself, we were standing in the emergency room of the closest hospital. C looked from the crowded room to me and said "Are we sure this is the right thing to do?" I said, "Well, we're here now." The receptionist pointed us to another room, and we quickly realized that this hospital has a separate ER for kids--and it moved much faster than the ER for adults, which was the one we had initially entered. A nurse quickly triaged Wild Man, as I completed the paperwork, and then we sat down to wait. After about 45 minutes, Wild Man's name was called, and we went back to an exam room. Within another 5 minutes a doctor came by, took a brief look at Wild Man, and told us that the cut was superficial and not deep at all. He was, however, concerned about scarring, especially given the location. He recommended stitches, although he admited that they were primarily cosmetic, especially given that the cut was already beginning to scab over. C and I looked at each other briefly before we both agreed. Within another 5 minutes the doctor had returned with a nurse and a med student. The nurse wrapped Wild Man up like a mummy, instructed C to lie across his legs, while she held his head. I put my hands on his face and told him to focus on me, as I began to sing any song I could think of. I also tried my best to keep Wild Man calm and not to cry myself. The doctor, who was seriously lacking in bedside manner, gave Wild Man a shot of lidocaine and then 3 stitches in about 5 minutes, all while methodically explaining every step to the med student. As soon as Wild Man was out of the blanket and in my arms, he calmed down and said "Mommy, that mean doctor!" which made us all laugh. The doctor gave us a few instructions, and we were on our way home. Wild Man was in bed and asleep about 45 minutes after his usual bed time. Yesterday, aside from some fussing when we had to put medicine on his stitches, he was his old self.

I also have to say that our first experience with the Canadian hospital system, which is notoroisly slow, was relatively painless. I'm sure if C or I had been the patient, we would have had to wait much longer, but the nurses seemed especially focused on moving the children through very quickly. While all of us would have preferred not to have had this experience at all, we're quite pleased with the level of care Wild Man received. But C and I are seriously thinking of buying him a helmet to wear at all times. . .

Friday, November 21, 2008

What's in a name?

This morning, as I pulled up MSNBC to check out the headlines in the States, I saw this headline: "It's a boy for Ashlee Simpson." Ordinarily I have no interest in Ashlee Simpson or her husband, but as I do like to read about babies, I clicked on the story and read that they have named their son Bronx Mowgli. So they have followed the celebrity trend of naming their kid after a city, which I sort of get. But Mowgli? He's the main character in Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, but I daresay the couple is unaware of the colonial implications of the book. In fact, I'm quite certain they named him after the Disney version of the film. I mean, do they love this movie so much that they couldn't resist naming their newborn son Mowgli, a name that he is sure to be ashamed of later in his life?

But here is my real point: do people not think about their children as adults before they name them? Seriously, the odd names I've come across since Wild Man was born (who has what I think is a fairly normal, albeit a bit yuppie, name). We've met an Ayvree (Avery), a Salome, a J'Mikal (Jaymichael), a Brittaneigh (Brittany), a Unique, and a Circe as well as countless other fairly normal names that have been so misspelled that I have been unable to decipher them on my own. While I understand wanting to give your child a name that he won't share with everyone else, I don't understand purposely choosing an unusual name for the sole sake of being unusual.

I really wish people would remember that their children will have this name for the rest of their lives. Naming shouldn't be a joke (why would you name your child Pilot Inspektor, as Jason Lee did?), nor is it a place for a parent to live out his or her childhood fantasies (Nicolas Cage named his son Kal'el, which is Superman's birth name). It also isn't a place to demonstrate your love of history (Gretchen Mol named her son Ptolemy). I say this as someone who seriously considered naming Wild Man "Scout" if he had been a girl; luckily, C convinced me that, my love for To Kill a Mockingbird notwithstanding, it is not a great name to give a little girl. . .

Thursday, November 20, 2008

More snow and more writing

That is the gist of my life right now. We're predicted to get intermittent snow squalls for the next three days. For those of you unfamiliar with snow squalls, they are rather like pop-up thunder showers. They can drop several centimeters of snow in an hour, and then they disperse as quickly as they formed. We're also supposed to get real snow overnight, anywhere between 15 and 50 centimeters--or 5 and 20 inches! Wild Man, at least, loves the snow. Every morning as we make our trek from the front door to the garage, which is all of 8 feet, Wild Man manages to high tail it to the nearest pile of snow. He then throws himself into it, sits up, and cackles!

I'm not such a fan of the snow, I have to admit. It is very pretty when it first falls, but it quickly becomes a nuisance! At least it makes for good writing weather, which is what I've been doing all day, every day--when I'm not grading or prepping to teach.

In other news, the chair of my department, Dr. Feminist, is speaking to the powers that be about a term appointment for me, so I may have a one or two-year position as an assistant prof starting next year, which could turn into a tenure-track position.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Stating the obvious

Angelina Jolie has stated the obvious: "Breastfeeding Twins is 'Very Hard.'" For some reason, I find this article (and the many others on the web stating the same thing) very, very annoying. I mean, I just want to say "Duh!" Breastfeeding one baby is hard. Of course nursing twins is harder. But I'm not annoyed by Jolie's statements. In fact, I'm glad she's talking about breastfeeding at all. I'm annoyed by the media's determination to paint her as a "supermom." She is not a supermom. Having 6 children does not make her a supermom. Being Brad Pitt's partner, making lots of money, being able to travel with her 6 children in private plans, with a nanny per child does not make her a supermom. I don't mean to dismiss her abilities as a mom, but the simple fact that Jolie has innumerable resources at her disposable makes her life easier than the average mom's. I also don't think it is advantageous to any woman to perpetuate the myth of the supermom. She is a mother, by all accounts a good mother, but no mother is a "supermom," whatever that means.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Flurries or 25 centimeters

That is what the forecasters are predicting for CU Land today--either flurries or 25 centimeters of snow--for those of you not versed in the metric system, that is 10 inches. That's a big difference. . .

Friday, November 14, 2008

And the holiday drama begins

After unexpectedly dropping $900 yesterday on a new refrigerator, C and I are rethinking our plans to travel over the holidays. We were lucky enough to have the money in our savings account, but now our savings account is essentially depleted. We are also lucky enough to be in an economic position right now that most of my pay check for teaching in CU Land's Women's Studies department can go into the bank. This was just the first month that we hadn't invested most of my check into minor repairs for the house--not to mention winter wardrobes for all three of us. So by this time next month, our savings account will once again be back where it was yesterday, which means we will be able to afford a trip to see our families, theoretically. The issue is that I will not get a paycheck this summer; we will have to live entirely off of C's pay. With at least 2 trips to Southwest College Town planned (1 for me to defend, and 1 for the entire family for my graduation) and 1 conference for me in February, we'd like to have a fair amount of money socked away before my final paycheck arrives on May 1st. To recap, we can afford to go, but we don't know if it is the smartest thing to do.

The moment C and I realized we were going to have to purchase a new refrigerator, we both said maybe we shouldn't travel over the holidays. I was rather stressed out Wednesday evening, and this stressed me out even more. Well, actually, anticipating C's mother's response stressed me out. You see, several months ago we invited all of our family members to CU Land for Christmas. My parents never really responded to the invitation (which isn't unusual, but is also the topic of a different post altogether), and Yetta firmly said she couldn't afford the cost of the ticket. She reasoned with her trip here in October and a trip she's taking next month with friends a second trip here would be too pricey. At the time, I said to C "at some point she will offer to help pay for us to travel to Home State, and that will really annoy me. She can afford to come see us, but she wants us there."

Last night C called his mom to talk, and he, of course, told her about the refrigerator. She was on her way out, so it was a short conversation. She told him she was sorry and that was about it. C naively believed that was the end of the conversation. A little while ago, Yetta called him, and the first question out of her mouth was "Does this mean you won't be able to come home now?" C calmly explained our current rationale, and she calmly listened. She then offered to send us $500--which is at least $200 more than the cost of an airline ticket to CU Land from Home State. C declined, telling her we just want to wait and see. He reminded her that she agreed to a low key holiday anyway, so there isn't any need for us to rush to make a decision. He asked, "any thing that needs to be planned will only involve family, right?" She apparently said "oh, of course, take as much time as you need." But she will ask this question every time they talk until we make a decision.

Since she called (and since we had a similar conversation when she was here) I've been asking myself, "why is this a big deal?" She wants to see us, so she wants to give us money to ensure we're able to make the trip. Why does it bother me so much? Why do I let it irritate me and get me upset? I think I've finally figured out why. As I've said many, many times before, Yetta isn't a bad person. In fact, I really do feel like I have a fairly good relationship with her. But she doesn't often show much respect for our decisions. With this particular situation, there is no recognition that we are adults who are capable of making an informed decision about our own finances. Further, there is never (and, if we ultimately decide not to travel, there won't ever be) any recognition that we are upset by our inability to travel to Home State as often as we'd like. We will only hear about how it will affect her.

I know in the grand scheme of things this is fairly minor, and some may say if we really wanted to see our families over the holidays we'd accept her generous offer. But I'd honestly rather stay in CU Land than take her money. It makes her think she can demand our presence in Home State whenever she wants so long as she foots the bill. It makes it seem as though our relationship with her is based solely on money. And it makes her believe that she always gets what she wants.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Our new refrigerator

So after talking to the salesman at the appliance store several of C's colleagues recommended, I decided not to wait until C got out of class to go look at it. The store only had 2 delivery slots left for tomorrow, and I did not want to live out of a cooler any longer than necessary. Less than 30 minutes after I left C's office, I had purchased our new refrigerator. I feel better knowing the problem has been solved, although I didn't relish spending all that money. And to make me feel even better, I still have some time to get some work done before the end of the day.

The Joys of Home Ownership

Yesterday afternoon, Wild Man and I arrived home to find a big puddle of water in our kitchen right in front of our refrigerator. Wild Man promptly said to me "What happened, Mommy?" I told him I had no idea. I sent him to play in the living room and began investigating after mopping up the puddle. As far as I could tell the contents in the refrigerator were still cold, so I checked out the freezer. Things were partially defrosted, and the compressor was running rather loudly. I quickly pulled everything out of the freezer and carried it all down to the laundry room, where I loaded it into our recently purchased deep freezer (for once, I was thankful my mother-in-law tends to purchase extravagant gifts). I then sent C, who was in a faculty meeting, a text message, and then I called my dad. I asked him if he thought it was worth finding a repair person to check it out. He asked if I knew how old it was and had me describe what was going on. In his best estimation, given the water all over the floor, the compressor had suddenly died, and that, as I well know, is pricey to replace. In the mean time, C sent me a text telling me where the warranty information on the refrigerator was. Luckily our house's previous owners were very well organized and graciously left us the warranty information on all the major appliances that came with the house. It turns out the refrigerator was purchased in 2001, so it is no longer under warranty. And the best I can tell, it only cost $500. Some quick internet searching told me that replacing the compressor could cost at least that much. So I made dinner for Wild Man and me and waited for C to come home so we could discuss our options.

As soon as C got home he stuck his trusty weather monitor (the man is obsessed with the temperature in the house and outside) in the refrigerator to monitor the temperature. By 9:30, it was apparent the refrigerator wasn't working well either as the temperature was sitting right at 53 degrees. So we loaded everything up into our coolers and carried it outside. For the first time all week, I was glad the temperature was in the 30s! C went out to pick up some ice while I finished researching refrigerators. And as soon as C is done teaching, we're heading out to buy a new refrigerator, in the hopes it can be delivered by tomorrow. Oh, the joys of home ownership.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dirth of blogging

For whatever reason, I haven't been compelled to blog recently--odd, I know, especially since I was blogging almost daily when we first arrived in CU Land. Here are some random updates to let people know that I still exist.
  • My students, who are exceptionally bright, are complaining about the amount of work I require of them. Apparently they'd rather turn in a single paper that is worth 70% of their grade than several smaller assignments. I reminded them yesterday that I will not be ammending the syllabus, nor is the class a democracy.
  • Wild Man has entered a whiny phase. I think it is part of being two. He whines when he doesn't get what he wants, and he whines when he does. He is seriously testing C's patience, who doesn't deal well with whininess from anyone.
  • We have decided to travel South for Christmas, and we will, despite my earlier posts, be with our families on Christmas day. If we go and come back before Christmas, Wild Man will be out of school for 3 weeks. This isn't much of a problem in and of itself. The problem arises when C and I were discussing work schedules. School starts very early in CU Land, and with Wild Man out of school until the day before classes start, we didn't have much time to prep for classes. I also didn't want to sacrifice 3 weeks of work on my dissertation. So we will leave on the 20th and return to CU Land on the 29th or 30th. C has asked his mother to keep things low-key, and she has agreed, at least for now. What comes of the holiday still remains to be seen. We're driving (yes, we're insane), so I will have access to my own car, which will help keep me sane.
  • I have 15 pages complete on my third chapter, and if I can stay on track, I will be able to submit a complete draft to my adviser by the 15th of December.
  • C refuses to tell me what he wants for Christmas, as does everyone else in the family. I think this may be the year I buy everyone gift certificates.
  • Wild Man has his 2-year check up on Monday. He is 34" tall and weights 30 pounds and 12 ounces. He also acquired several freckles over the summer, which he keeps trying to scrub off in the bathtub.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Wild Man in the snow

I've gotten a few requests for these, so I thought I'd post a few. Needless to say, Wild Man really enjoyed last week's snowstorm.

A sudden realization

At some point late last night, in the hazy joy that permeated our home, C and I watched Brian Williams interview Luke Russert, Tim Russert's son. The younger Russert has been reporting on the youth vote for NBC for several weeks now, and as C and I listened intently, I said "This is so awesome--people our age got motivated, got invovled, and made a difference." C looked over at me and said, "Um, M, I hate to tell you, but we're not part of the youth vote any more. We're now in the next category." Oh, yeah, that's right. I'm not in the 18-29 category any more. . . when did that happen?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Going to bed happy

C and I are now going to bed, very, very happy with the election results. I'm so proud to be an American at this moment.


What a night to have a migraine! Wild Man actually put me to bed at 7:30 (seriously, he lied down beside me in mine and C's bed and rubbed my head until we both fell asleep). I woke up about 20 minutes ago and had to get up to check the early returns. My migraine is better, but frankly, I'm still anxious. It seems like good news, but I don't want to count our chickens before they've hatched, as my grandmother would say.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

6" and counting

That's right, my friends. C, Wild Man, and I woke up to 6 inches of snow on the ground this morning. Wild Man was in utter awe of the snow, and he couldn't wait to go out in it. Of course, by the time he was all bundled up in his brand new snow suit (courtesy of Yetta), he didn't seem to know what to do. He waddled around like a big navy blue snow man. We slowly made our way to school, leaving a bit later than usual. We saw lots of limbs down and a few down power lines. This early snow storm did a fair amount of damage it seems; most of the leaves had not yet fallen, so the trees couldn't take the weight of the snow and their leaves. When we got to Wild Man's school, all the kids in his class were bundled up and playing outside. Our snow bunny eagerly went to play with his friends, happily waving good-bye to us. While neither C nor I was prepared for snow this early in the fall, we're both happy to see Wild Man enjoying it so much!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Snow in October

That's right it is snowing in October. We're supposed to have between 3 and 6 inches on the ground by tomorrow morning. I think fall may be over.


Wild Man has entered a scared phase--everything scares him. Thus, the last few nights have been rough as he has been waking up at least twice and needs reassurance that there are no monsters or "scary Pooh bears" (I can't explain that one) in his room. Needless to say, I'm a bit tired. I have to finish prepping to teach in 2 hours, but I'd really rather go back to bed.

*I realize now that he is saying the Pooh Bears are scared too, not that the Pooh Bears are scary.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A long talk

Yesterday afternoon, C and I had a long talk about the plans for today. I carefully explained how I felt about the situation, and he listened. I offered up several possibilities, and he was open to every one of them. At dinner, we talked to Yetta, and she said she'd really like to drive along the border and see some of the towns there. When C explained that wouldn't be particularly easy to do with Wild Man, she seemed to understand. She asked me point blank what I wanted to do, and I explained that I really didn't want to lose an entire day of work. I said I'd like to work for part of the day, and that way you and C can do whatever you'd like in CU Land (C had already pointed out that there is actually quite a lot to do here). She asked about Wild Man. I said you can take Wild Man with you, or we can take him to school. She visibly blanched at the idea of having to manage Wild Man while C drove her from one place to another, and said, "I think he'd do better at school. That way he won't miss his nap." So that is precisely what happened. C and Yetta dropped me and Wild Man off at the library and his school, respectively, and they are planning to pick us up around 2:30 or 3:00. Then we will head to Mid-west City, where we will have a nice dinner and spend the evening together in the hotel.

My conversation with C was productive for another reason: I think I've finally made him understand why I just don't enjoy going to Home State anymore. Traveling to visit our parents, who live about 30 minutes apart, has been stressful for me for years. It's been difficult for me to articulate why, and I think I have finally been able to do so in a way that C understands. First, as I've said before, our families are just different. His celebrates every single holiday, even Memorial Day and Labor Day; holidays are a big production with lots of people, lots of food, and lots of plans. My family is much more low-key. My parents don't have a lot of friends, and they aren't into entertaining. Holidays (and we only really celebrated Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and 4th of July along with our birthdays) were just us. We had our own traditions, but unless we traveled to see family, holidays didn't include anyone but the 5 of us. Second, Yetta plans ahead; for example, she's already planning her Christmas dinner and it's only late-October. My family decides what to do and what to eat about a week before. Third, Yetta wants to be the center of attention; she wants all of her family and her friends around her because she truly does love them and want to spend time with them. To achieve this, she makes plans early, making it difficult for my laid-back parents to make any plans at all (not that they would in the first place). And my parents just want things quiet. They are happy to be included in any holiday plans C's family has, but it honestly doesn't occur to them to make similar plans. Yetta thinks this means my family is rude as they rarely reciprocate by inviting her to their home; it doesn't. They just don't think that way. All of these things make holidays when we're in Home State stressful.

On top of this, there have been some major changes in my family's dynamic in the past few years--changes I'm not comfortable blogging about. Suffice to say, my parents are essentially hermits. They go to work, they run what errands need to be done, and they stay home. When at home, my dad reads, and my mom watches TV while she sews. When we visit, this routine changes only if I make plans for us to do something specific. Otherwise, we just do the things they do everyday, which is hard for me because my parents weren't always like this. At Yetta's, I'm expected to go along with her plans, which usually means we're visiting or shopping. None of this is my idea of fun. Most of my friends have moved away, as has my sister, so I don't really have anyone to see in Home State aside from family. This means that I have no way to escape the tedium of life at my parents or the constant demands of Yetta. C, as I pointed out, has an escape: he goes hunting with his brother. So while he's gone for 6 or 7 hours at a time, I'm stuck trying to keep Wild Man from breaking the innumerable knick-knacks at Yetta's or trying to amuse him at my parents. I emphasized to C that I do not begrudge him the time he spends hunting. This is something he truly loves to do, and he only gets to do it once a year at most. I'm happy for him to spend time with his brother doing something they love. As I said all of this, he looked at me and said, "I get it, M. It just isn't fun for you anymore. It was a lot better before your sister moved away because you could do things with her and her kids, but it's harder now with all the changes that have happened." And he hugged me. Suddenly all the anger and frustration slipped away as I realized that he understands.

All of this means we have a new plan if we do go to Home State in December. We will be traveling before Christmas and back in CU Land, in our own home by Christmas Eve at the latest. We will map out some things that we want to do in Home State with Wild Man, tell our families about these plans, invite them to join us, and go. Since we're planning on driving (a nightmare in itself, I know, but Wild Man doesn't fly free anymore), I will have a means of escape if life at my parents or at Yetta's becomes too much for me. I'm so thankful that I was able to explain all of this to C and that he was so willing to listen. Now I feel like we have a plan that will not leave me feeling stressed and isolated in Home State.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I'm trying really hard . . .

not to be annoyed with either C or his mom right now, I really am. This visit has gone well, aside from the requisite passive-aggressive comments, and I don't want to be the one who ends it on a bad note. That said, I would like to strangle my husband, something that I don't often want to do. Why do you ask? For once, I'd like him to stand up to his mother and say no.

Before Yetta even arrived we had planned to take Friday off, take Wild Man out of school, and drive down to Mid-west City for the day. Our primary motivation is doing this is that Yetta's flies out of MW City on Saturday morning at 9:00 am, necessitating that we either stay overnight in MW City or she and C get up at 4 in the morning to leave. She offered to pay for a hotel room, so we decided to stay overnight. When this was originally planned we decided we'd either go to the Science Center or the zoo in MW City, both things Wild Man will enjoy. Since Yetta has been here, however, she has mentioned (rather passively-aggressively) that she'd like to explore some of the towns on the border. Here is how she does this: "Those little towns look so quaint. I wonder what they are like. Do you know?" or "I'd really like to see some of the area. But I don't guess it would be much fun for Wild Man to just drive around, now would it?" At which point, I am supposed to say, "Sure, we'll just strap him into the car for 10 hours while we wander all over and you can tell us when you want to stop. Then when you want to get out and look at antique shops I'll stay in the car with him so he doesn't destroy the store. We are here to serve you, Yetta." But I haven't; in fact, I haven't said a damn thing. If she wants to be passive-aggressive, I figure I will be to. I've just smiled and ignored her.

Last night as C and I were getting Wild Man ready for bed, I asked him if we had a definite plan for Friday. He said, "Well, I think Mom wants to drive around some of the border towns for a while before we head into MW City for the night. I guess that is what we'll do." I wanted to strangle him. I said "I thought we'd talked about the zoo or the Science Center, since those are things Wild Man will like. I don't want to strap him into the car all day long, C." He responded "I know, M, but Mom really can't walk that far, and if we go to those places, we'll end up chasing Wild Man while she sits on a bench somewhere. I want to spend some time with her before she leaves." And I said, "Fine, then we'll just stay in CU Land for most of the day. You can take me to the library so I can work, and we can take Wild Man to school. We can leave for MW City around 3:30, have a nice dinner, and hang out in the hotel room for the evening. That gives you and your mom all day to hang out and do whatever you'd like." He said nothing, but his body language made it clear that this wasn't want either he or his mom had in mind. Am I being a bit unreasonable? Sure. Wild Man would survive a day in the car, although he'd be really cranky by the end of it.

But here's the thing that gets me so irritated: I feel like C never tells his mother no. NEVER. Sure, he tells her "no, Wild Man can't eat that," or "no, Wild Man doesn't need another toy." But he never says, "I'm sorry, Mom, but M and I have already made our plans and we're not going to change them because you've changed your mind." Instead he says to me, "It's just easier to go along with her than to fight her," which is why she feels like she can dictate whatever she wants. I cannot even count how many times I have had to change plans with my family or my friends because Yetta has decided she has to be in control. Holiday dinners are always at her house, and if we're in town, we're expected to be there. My family may or may not be invited, and if they aren't invited, they are expected to make their plans around Yetta's plans, ensuring we attend both dinners. She has never once waited to find out what my family is going to do before she plans her various holiday extravaganzas; she has never once given my parents the opportunity to host a holiday dinner. On the few occasions we've traveled to my grandparents (who are in the 80s and in poor health) for a holiday, she has tried to invite herself to those events, saying things like "M's mother is going to be there; why can't I?" To which I, not C, say, "Well, of course, my mom's is going to be there; they are her parents!" And really, I'm not angry at Yetta. I'm angry at C because he lets her do it. There are no consequences for her at all. When she acts like a spoiled child, which she can do, he gives in--something he never, never does with Wild Man, I might add. And frankly, I'm tired of it.

What happens tomorrow remains to be seen, and apparently I have more built up anger about this particular issue than I realized. I just want C and Yetta to understand that it is a bit unreasonable to expect a 2-year-old to be happy to spend the day driving around, looking at fall foliage, and antiquing. I'd also like C to understand that the world won't come to an end if he says no to his mother, and I'd like her to know the same thing.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Just for fun

While eating my lunch, I took a quiz to determine which "Mad Men" era woman I am most like. And apparently, I am most like Bette Davis, and oddly enough the characteristics are fairly on target. . . Who are you most like?

You Are a Bette!


You are a Bette -- "I must be strong"

Bettes are direct, self-reliant, self-confident, and protective.

How to Get Along with Me

  • * Stand up for yourself... and me.

  • * Be confident, strong, and direct.

  • * Don't gossip about me or betray my trust.

  • * Be vulnerable and share your feelings. See and acknowledge my tender, vulnerable side.

  • * Give me space to be alone.

  • * Acknowledge the contributions I make, but don't flatter me.

  • * I often speak in an assertive way. Don't automatically assume it's a personal attack.

  • * When I scream, curse, and stomp around, try to remember that's just the way I am.

What I Like About Being a Bette

  • * being independent and self-reliant

  • * being able to take charge and meet challenges head on

  • * being courageous, straightforward, and honest

  • * getting all the enjoyment I can out of life

  • * supporting, empowering, and protecting those close to me

  • * upholding just causes

What's Hard About Being a Bette

  • * overwhelming people with my bluntness; scaring them away when I don't intend to

  • * being restless and impatient with others' incompetence

  • * sticking my neck out for people and receiving no appreciation for it

  • * never forgetting injuries or injustices

  • * putting too much pressure on myself

  • * getting high blood pressure when people don't obey the rules or when things don't go right

Bettes as Children Often

  • * are independent; have an inner strength and a fighting spirit

  • * are sometimes loners

  • * seize control so they won't be controlled

  • * figure out others' weaknesses

  • * attack verbally or physically when provoked

  • * take charge in the family because they perceive themselves as the strongest, or grow up in difficult or abusive surroundings

Bettes as Parents

  • * are often loyal, caring, involved, and devoted

  • * are sometimes overprotective

  • * can be demanding, controlling, and rigid

Take Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz at HelloQuizzy

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A little sad

I have to say, I was a little sad yesterday. Sad that it was Wild Man's second birthday, sad that time seems to be flying by with him, sad that he seems to be just a little less interested in snuggling with me, and sad that he is quite pleased to do things for himself. In fact, the new mantra around our home is "I do myself, Mommy!" or "No help, Daddy! I big boy." It is a strange sense of sadness though, as it is mixed with equal parts of pride and awe. I'm proud that C and I have managed to help Wild Man become an independent little guy, who asks the toughest questions and expects answers, and I'm proud of the person he is becoming--thoughtful, stubborn, considerate, and funny. I remain in awe of the fact that we made him, yet he is figuring out, at a relatively young age, how to negotiate the world on his own. When I'm putting him to bed and he tells me "Mommy, today was good," I feel like we're doing something right.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Birthday wishes to my boy

I can hardly believe my wonderful boy is two years old today. It seems impossible that it was two years ago that I held him for the first time. Almost overnight he has transformed from a squirmy, cuddly red-faced little baby into a thoughtful, energetic, independent little boy. Here are two pictures that demonstrate just how much he has changed in a relatively short period of time. The first was taken just moments after he was born, and the second C took yesterday while Wild Man enjoyed a large slice of birthday cake. Happy, happy birthday my sweet boy!

*Keeping with my promise to C, I removed the second picture. Despite C's protest, I'm leaving the first one up because Wild Man looks absolutely nothing like this anymore.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Family Visit

C left at 11:00 this morning to pick up Yetta and Pita, who are visiting for Wild Man's birthday, at the nearest major U.S. airport. Their flight arrived at 2:15, so after he picked them up, they stopped for lunch, did some "quick" shopping at Target (there is one about 5 miles from said airport), and headed back to CU Land at 4:40! If you think you detect some annoyance in this post, you're correct! Given the fact that it typically takes a minimum of 45 minutes to cross the border, they won't be back until about 7:30 at the latest, or 15 minutes before Wild Man's bedtime. This already bodes well for trying to keep him on any sort of schedule during their visit.

Friday, October 17, 2008

And we finally . . .

. . . have a doctor's appointment for Wild Man. But only after 4 unreturned phone calls (3 made by me, and 1 made by C), which included a fairly irritated message that I left yesterday. We will finally be a part of the Canadian health care system, and Wild Man can get his 2-year check-up.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wild Man, Dinosaurs, and Pearlie

Here's part of a conversation I had with Wild Man this morning.

WM: Mommy, see dinosaurs? (He was wearing his dinosaur pjs).
Me: I do see them.
WM: Pearlie (one of our cats, the one that permits Wild Man to touch her), see dinosaurs? Mommy, dinosaurs eat Pearlie.
Me: The dinosaurs are eating Pearlie? What should we do?
WM: Dinosaurs, stop biting Pearlie. Leave my kitty alone! Pearlie, I love you.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

So it won't take . . .

3 weeks. I just received a phone call from the university health center at CU. Our paperwork has been processed, and we can now make an appointment to meet with the doctor, which we do as a family. It seems as though my doctor frustrations may be coming to an end. . .

Um, seriously. . .

I've spent the last half an hour calling various doctor's offices that have been recommended to us in an attempt to get Wild Man an appointment for his 2-year check up. So far, I've had zero luck finding a doctor who is accepting new patients. We've been warned this was an issue, so we do have a back-up plan: the University Health Clinic. There is apparently a really great pediatrician there, and as a plus, there is a separate clinic for faculty and their families. We don't have to wait in the lobby surrounded by sick students. But I can't get an appointment for 3 weeks because they just received our registration paperwork last week. In all the myriad of forms we've had to complete and take to various university office and government agencies since we moved to CU Land, somehow we forgot to complete our registration forms for the University Health Clinic. We realized our mistake last week, filled out the forms, and dropped them off. But it seems it takes 3 weeks to process this paperwork. Um, seriously. . . 3 weeks? The forms had our names, our address, our phone numbers, and really, that was it. How long does it take to put that in the system so we can take our kid to the doctor? Luckily, Wild Man isn't in dire need of of this check-up as his doctor in the States was kind enough to give him his 2-year vaccinations before we left Southwest College Town, but what if he really was sick? I asked the not-so-kind receptionist this, and she said "You could take him to anyone of the walk-in clinics around town." Yes, I've heard about these clinics--they are like walk-in clinics in the states, and they operate on a first-come, first-serve basis. Precisely where I'd want to take my sick toddler.

And a lot of this is to blame on the rampant doctor shortage in our province. Apparently a lot of newly graduated Canadian doctors prefer to find jobs in the States, where they can make a lot more money than they can in their own country. It seems that the U.S. healthcare system is also screwing up the Canadian healthcare system.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Thanksgiving: To Give Thanks or Not to Give Thanks

Monday is Thanksgiving in Canada. C and I have yet to decide if we will do anything to celebrate. I have learned that Thanksgiving in Canada is vastly similar to Thanksgiving in the U.S., including the menu. It is based on the same principles, without any false stories about the Pilgrims and the American Indians happily sharing a dinner together. It falls earlier, I've learned, to reflect the earlier Canadian harvest. I realize that today is Thursday, and if we, in fact, do want to celebrate in a traditional way, I need to buy a turkey tomorrow. . .

*Edited to add: I went shopping today (Friday, Oct. 10th), and I visited 3 grocery stores. It seems that one can only buy 30-plus pound turkeys in CU Land, and thus, C, Wild Man, and I will not be partaking of a traditional Canadian Thanksgiving. Instead, we're having tacos.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

A book review

For months I've been eying a cookbook called Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld and one written on a similar premise called The Sneaky Chef. Both include techniques and recipes for "hiding" pureed veggies in your food in an attempt to get kids to eat vegetables. When both books initially came out, I thought "I already do that." And I do indeed sneak vegetables in all kids of food: carrots and celery in marinara, spinach in meatloaf and turkey burgers, and zucchini in chili. I also put bananas and apples in my pancakes, various muffins, and cakes (when I actually bake). My reasoning behind this: neither C nor I have the best family medical history. I figure the healthier I can make meals the better. Plus, while C will eat just about anything I put in front of him (yes, following traditional gendered roles I do almost all of the cooking in our house!), but he will not seek out fruit or vegetables for a snack. So I figured any way I could get more vegetables in our diet was a good thing. As attractive as both of these cookbooks was to me, I figured I didn't need another cookbook, especially to teach me a technique I already use. I briefly reconsidered purchasing one of these when Academama wrote a review for Deceptively Delicious, but as we were in the middle of moving, I soon forgot about both.

Flash forward to the last few weeks. Now that we live in CU Land, we have all sorts of produce available to us that we couldn't purchase in Southwest College Town, and it is remarkably cheap. During a recent trip to the local farmer's market, I bought a butternut squash for 50 cents. I had no idea how to cook it, but I figured for 50 cents I could experiment. When C saw the squash he was aghast. He hates squash of any kind, with the exception of zucchini, which he has only recently started to eat. I think he assumed the squash would go bad before I could figure out how to get him to eat it. Then we visited some friends who had Deceptively Delicious, and I took the opportunity to read the cookbook.

My first reaction was that the text itself was incredibly annoying. Seriously, Jessica Seinfeld, Jerry's wife, includes cartoon images of herself and her children on each recipe and their comments. While the kids' comments are marginally cute, Seinfeld's comments are annoying and border on condescending. Here's an example: the cartoon Sasha, the Seinfelds' oldest child, says "I don't like avocado," to which the cartoon Jessica responds "Shhh, don't tell her it is in her quesadillas." I mean really, is that necessary? And this cutesy sort of thing is on almost every recipe. It makes me want to openly mock her. But I've got to admit, she's creative. And after flipping through the recipes I had about 15 different uses for that butternut squash that had been sitting on my counter for a week. Not only that, I learned I could make chocolate chip cookies with garbanzo beans, chocolate cake with pumpkin, and cauliflower in just about everything. Thus, I bought Seinfeld's book (as an aside, I chose this one over the other cookbook for only one reason: I like a cookbook that has photographs of the food accompanying each recipe.). With this cookbook's help, I feel like I have an easy way to make use of the fantastic (and way cheap!) produce that is now available to me. And, in my opinion, the best thing about this was that Wild Man and I spent Monday morning in the kitchen cooking and pureeing squash, sweet potatoes, and cauliflower. So I would recommend the book for the recipes, urging you to realize you can do all of this on your own and to ignore the annoying cartoon images and their commentary.

Dissertation Changes

In the past week I have been experiencing a lot of anxiety over my dissertation. I've become really concerned that one of the chapters I planned to write just wasn't going to work. On top of that, I'm having a hard time getting resources in CU Land (for some reason, CU has a relatively limited selection of critical sources on 19th-century American literature), necessitating that I spend some money on books I access regularly. I've also started to wonder if I could, in fact, finish 2 whole chapters, an introduction, and revisions by late May. Last week, I used C as a sounding board for some changes I wanted to make, namely reorganizing the dissertation, dropping an author and a chapter, combining two authors that were previously not linked, and changing the focus of that chapter a bit. C was for some of the changes, but he thought dropping one author was a bad idea. He argued that this author made my project more rounded and articulated the point that the spatial constructions I'm considering aren't limited to America. I think his points were valid, but they didn't ease any of my frustrations. So I scheduled a phone date with my advisor, which I just finished.

The result of the conversation is 100% positive as far as I'm concerned. I articulated my concerns about two of the five authors I'm dealing with as well as my concerns about organization. First, we tackled organization. I had planned to organize chronologically, but ultimately that doesn't make sense since I'm not making a chronological argument, i.e. arguing that history affects the way these women view the types of spaces I'm talking about. In turns out I'm making a thematic argument, and so now my project is organized to reflect that. I move from actual physical spaces to a discussion of metaphoric spaces, concluding with a chapter and a novel that deals with both. Then, we considered my concerns about Harriet Wilson and Fanny Kemble. Now, combining these two women in one chapter has always been sort of odd to everyone on my committee, but they all gave me the opportunity to work through this myself. In fact, Kemble's presence in the project has always presented complications--she's British, she comes from a position of privilege, and her work is published 30 years after she writes it. But I still think my points about Kemble are valid. So I explained that I wanted to keep Kemble, but not discuss her in conjunction with Wilson. I then would combine Wilson with Harriet Jacobs. My advisor's response: cut Kemble altogether. I was surprised, but on some level, I was hoping she'd say this. Her reasoning: I no longer have to argue why Kemble is in the project in the first place, and a comparison of Jacobs and Wilson just makes more sense.

So I now have a 4 chapter dissertation, including the introduction. I will, obviously, have a conclusion, but I'm not yet sure if that will be a chapter unto itself or if it will be at the end of the 3rd chapter. This means that I only have 1 chapter to draft in its entirety. I still have to revise Wharton signficantly and write the introduction, but somehow that all seems manageable. A late-May defense is looking more and more possible.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

My Wild Man . . .

. . . is rapidly becoming a little boy. Everyday he looks more and more like a little boy. Here are some recent pictures of him, showing just how much of a little boy he is.

Here is he demonstrating his independent streak on two recent trips to the park.

And, he is clearly his father's son as he demonstrates his profound love for ice cream.

*Keeping with my promise to C I only left these photos that showed Wild Man's face up for a few days.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


I'm having trouble staying motivated to work on my dissertation again, and there are a variety of reasons why. I don't feel like going into the reasons, though, because I don't feel like that will accomplish much. I have lots of reasons to be motivated, and I am managing to get work done. I am not, however, getting as much work done as I think I should be. At any given point in the day I can thing of 10 things I could be doing rather than working on my dissertation, and generally, I'd rather be doing at least 5 of those other things. That seems to be the nature of dissertation work for me.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Milk and Butter

During our trip this past weekend, C and I did a little shopping for Wild Man. We bought all of his birthday presents, including a countertop kitchen, a set of wooden pots and pans, and 3 sets of wooden food. We had planned to by the countertop kitchen and pots and pans, but the wooden food was not a planned purchase. I found it at a toy store we visited and was amazed to see that it was about 15 dollars cheaper than any similar sets I've seen in CU Land. I pointed it out to C, who made the executive decision to purchase 3 of the 4 sets the toy store had. We've decided to put 2 sets aside for his birthday, and we gave him one set yesterday. He loves it. He played with it all yesterday evening while I made dinner and C finished unpacking. This morning he made C "steak and eggs." In fact, he was so engrossed in playing with the food this morning that both C and I had to tell him to stop playing so we could all get out the door. Wild Man said "Wait!" He took his play milk and butter over to the refrigerator, and said "Please open, Daddy! Food go in the refrigerator." He then placed the milk and butter in the refrigerator and said, "Ok, ready to go." As C said, it was rather difficult to argue with Wild Man's logic.

Vocabulary Explosion

Since our arrival in CU Land, Wild Man's vocabulary has exploded. He gains several new phrases a day, and it is quite easy to have a conversation with him. As many of my Southwest College Town readers have been asking for updates, I want to share a conversation that he and I had this weekend during our visit with Solon and Megs. During an afternoon out, C and Solon stopped in a store to shop while Megs and I amused Sweet Toddler J, Lion Cub, and Wild Man on the sidewalk. As we chatted, a police car zoomed by, and Wild Man reached for my hand and pulled me down to his stroller, and here is the conversation that ensued.
  • Mommy, look!
  • I'm looking. What do you see?
  • I see a horse.
  • You do?
  • And I see a cow, and I see sheeps. Lots of sheeps.
  • Really, sheeps on the street? What else do you see?
  • I see octopus.
  • An octopus?
  • Yes, right there. I see octopus.
  • What does an octopus say?
  • Um, (long pause) I don't know, Mommy. (very loudly) Octopus, what do you say?
So not only is my kid able to carry on a conversation now, he also has quite an imagination!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Thursday is my day to work from home. I haven't worked from home consistently in over a year and a half. Our schedules dictated that I was the one who took Wild Man to school, which meant it was easier (logistically) to work from my office at Southwest College Town. That meant I actually had to put clothes on every single day. Since C takes Wild Man to school on Thursdays I don't have to get dressed all day long if I don't want to. I forgot how productive I can be while wearing my pajamas!

For Supadisco-T

Wild Man's best friend, Supadisco-T, is having tubes put in his ears this morning. I wanted to let him and his parents know that we're thinking about him today. Here's a clip from his favorite movie to let him know that Wild Man would love to help him recuperate today.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

One more thing. . .

Why does my mother-in-law insist on saying things like: "For God's sake, be sure to keep hold of Wild Man in the airport!"? This comment was prompted when C reminded her that we are traveling to see our friends Solon and Megs this weekend. C, being the smartass that he is, responded: "Nope, we figured we'd let him check us in while we parked the car."

Oh, and she also tells me I'm perverted for taking pictures of Wild Man running around the backyard in the sprinkler naked: "What if a pedophile saw them, M? What is he was kidnapped because of those photos?" Yeah, because I'm planning on putting those photos up on a billboard in downtown CU Land along with Wild Man's name, our address, and our phone number.

I am, as far as my mother-in-law is concerned, an idiot with no common sense, and apparently Wild Man is damn lucky to have made it to almost 2.

Two year olds

Here's another piece of useful information: toddlers do not know that they are toddlers. Most don't even know how old they are. Most don't even count yet, and if they do, they don't really know what it means. Yes, my kid is bright--he talks in complete sentences most of the time, he can take the phone apart and put it back together (literally, we have an old fashioned rotary phone, and he does take it apart), and he knows his colors and his ABCs. But, in fact, he doesn't know that he is turning 2 next month, and no, he is not excited about his birthday.

Thanks for allowing me that sarcastic rant. If it wasn't for this blog I would have ranted all over Pita, and as you all well know, that wouldn't have been a wise idea.

More weird things about CU Land

We've been here for almost 2 months, and we're only now figuring out the trash pick-up. That's right, it has taken C, with his Ph.D., and me, with my almost Ph.D., 6 weeks to figure out when to put out our trash and recycling. Why do you ask? Well, my friends, because it is never picked up on the same day of the week. Last week, the trash and recycling trucks came on Wednesday morning (I remember because Wild Man loves to watch the recycling truck, so we looked at it for a good 10 minutes). The week before they came on Tuesday, and this week, they come tomorrow. Logically you'd think that next week, they'll come on Friday, but no. Next week they skip our neighborhood altogether because in CU Land we go one full week a month without any trash pick-up. Normally, this wouldn't bother me, but here's the thing: there is a 4 bag limit. Yes, we're recycling so much more than we did in Southwest College Town, and yes, we no longer have to schlepp it to the recycling center. But we still average a full bag of trash about every 4 days, sometimes more often when Wild Man has had a particularly stinky diaper or we have to empty our cats' litter box. So in the 10 plus days our trash isn't picked up, C and I are cramming everything into each bag we can before we empty the trash and put in a new bag. This, my friends, is just plain odd to me.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A conversation with my father

I was originally going to post this on the other blob in which I participate, The Rhetorical Situation, but as it verges into the personal at times, I decided to post it here.

Sunday is the day I talk to my parents. I occasionally chat with my mom during the week, but for whatever reason, I usually only talk to my dad on Sunday. Lately the conversation has been rather mundane, almost to the point that I'm annoyed when we talk. This past Sunday, however, my dad surprised me by asking my opinion on something. He asked me why Democrats dislike Sarah Palin so much. This question took me off guard for several reasons. First, my dad and I avoid talking politics because when we do talk politics we usually end up yelling at each other. Second, my dad made it clear that he was only asking for information; he didn't want to get into a political debate. Rather, he wanted to understand some of the things being said about Palin. I tried, the best I could, to explain that I couldn't offer an opinion for all Democrats, so I tried to articulate why I think Palin is a bad choice for VP, without going into why I will not be voting for McCain. I told him that Palin is inarticulate, inexperienced, and ignorant about many things. I also said that I think McCain was pandering to women by choosing her. My dad then asked "But why are Gloria Steinem and NOW so anti-Palin? Don't feminists support all women?" I think my dad asked a question that a lot of Americans are also asking themselves, so I tried to explain, again from my perspective, as best I could. I said, yes, in theory, feminism is about improving life for all women. But Palin isn't representative of most American women. In fact Palin's situation is sort of unique. She is a working mother who has a supportive spouse and a network of family around to help her. Further, I said, her policies, and Republican policies in general, aren't supportive of women. He seemed to understand this, and we had a really good conversation without any yelling.

The conversation prompted me to consider how it is that my dad, a former self-proclaimed "flower child" who dropped acid, smoked pot, and wore his hair long, could become so conservative. It also made me wonder yet again how our politics can be so different. My dad is liberal socially (he supports gay marriage and a woman's right to choose), but he is very conservative in terms of crime and defense (and he, unfortunately, tends to vote for people who are equally conservative in those areas, negating his social liberalism). I can't account for all of my dad's conservative beliefs (although I do think his decision to join the military in the early 1970s profoundly affected his "hippie" views), but I do know that he has become increasingly conservative about military matters since September 11th. My dad is a firefighter, and he was profoundly affected by the number of firefighters killed on September 11th. Since that time he's become increasingly conservative and willing to follow our military leaders into any war that will ensure that the individuals responsible for September 11th are brought to justice. His brand of justice, needless to say, is vastly different from my own. Recently, however, my dad has begun to make some statements that lead me to think he is not so sure the Iraq War, of which he was once an ardent supporter, was the best idea. He has been out of the military for some time, but he continued to work in a military fire department, as a civil service firefighter, until he retired last year. I know several of the young GIs he worked with are currently on their second tour in Iraq, and one come home severely injured from fighting a fire caused by a bombing. I don't know if this accounts for his change or not, but I do know he seems to be rethinking some of his positions.

Given this I was more than a bit surprised to have a fairly open conversation with my dad regarding the current Presidential campaign. I don't think my dad will suddenly change his mind and vote Democrat, but the conversation does give me hope that maybe, just maybe the tide is changing in the U.S.

Friday, September 19, 2008

A conclusion

I finally have a conclusion for my Phelps chapter! I'm going to take some time today to read over the entire chapter (it is the longest thing I've ever written at 60-plus pages) and send it off to my advisor next week. I already know where I need to revise it, but now, I'm ready to move on to the next chapter.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Here's a tip

I've just finished printing off and reading the 20-plus abstracts I received for my panel, and I want to offer some tips to any of my readers who may be submitting an abstract in the future.

  • put your name and your email address on the abstract
  • single space the abstract
  • give the paper a title
  • and, finally, PROOFREAD!
Seriously, you'd think full profs at fairly well known and well respected institutions would make sure they don't send off an abstract with typos and misspellings in it. . .

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How cool is this!?

I'm putting together a panel at a regional version of the Major Conference in my area, and I've received about 18 proposals. Apparently people liked my CFP, which I'd thought was sort of vague.

Here's the cool thing: 2 very cool scholars that I've read, one of whom I use fairly extensively in my Wharton chapter, have submitted abstracts to my panel!

The Holidays

Yes, I know it is only mid-September, but C and I are already getting the "What are you doing for the holidays?" question from his family. My family, as I've said before, is more laid back (read: passive) and doesn't think about the holidays until a week before. Both approaches are annoying. So what are we doing for the holidays? I have no idea. C and I are in total disagreement, although we're not fighting about it. I've made it clear that I'll go along with whatever he wants to do, since, in truth, Christmas tends to be a bigger deal to him than it is to me. Here are our options.

1. Stay in CU Land, enjoy a white (possibly) Christmas with just the three of us. This option, as I'm sure you're all anticipating, appeals to me quite a lot. No fuss, no muss. No stress, no tension. Just me, C, and Wild Man. What could be better?

2. Travel to Home State and divide our time between the 2 families. There are actually 2 variations on this option.
A. Fly to Home State, spend about 8 days, dividing said days between our 2 families, and fly back to CU Land. This is an ok option, so long as we are able to devise a schedule before we leave CU Land and get our especially stubborn families to abide by it. The biggest issue is cost. Wild Man will be 2 by Christmas, which means no more flying for free. Do we really want to spend $800 plus to be moderately stressed out for a week. C, who desperately wants to go hunting with his brother, says yes. I say, let's think about it some more.

B. Drive to Home State, with a side trip to Mountain State where my grandparents live, spend 3 days with them, continue on to Home State, spend 6 days with them, drive back to CU Land. Although this plan would be moderately less expensive and allow me to see my grandparents, none of us wants to spend 4 days in the car with Wild Man.

3. M's sister and her family, who will have relocated to the Midwest by then, travel to CU Land to visit us for the holidays. I also like this option. Our schedule and lives are only moderately disrupted and someone actually makes an effort to come see us. C has agreed that if my sister and her hubby actually decide to do this by mid-October (yes, he's a planner) we'll with this option.

So what do we do until we decide? We deflect the questions coming from Yetta and Pita, and we continue to discuss it amongst ourselves. I also try to figure out why I let a holiday visit stress me out so much, at C's request. But then, I already know the answer to that. It stresses me out because
  • I'm not in my environment.
  • Wild Man is not in his environment.
  • We're pulled in 18 different directions (frankly, a summer trip is just easier).
  • Yetta and Pita assume total control of Christmas, making my mother, who refuses to speak up for herself, feel marginalized. Note: all three of them irritate me equally about this.
  • We never get to see people we want to see. It still comes as a surprise to our families that we have friends in the city where we both grew up and went to college.
  • It is just a hassle, plain and simple.
But, as I said, we don't have to decide now. I just wish I could quit thinking about it. On the upside, we aren't getting any questions about Thanksgiving--at least not since C informed his mother that Canada doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving at the same time as the U.S.