Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What a sitter!

Ethan finally learned (early last week) how to sit down by himself. Which means no more crying at the end of the couch, staring up at us with those big blue eyes, begging to be helped down to the ground. It also means that now he is even better at moving around the house than before, thus making his mother infintely more nervous about stepping up the babyproofing efforts. It's really unbelievable how many things you need to lock down, secure to the wall, latch, put away, lift up, or just plain get rid of when you have a crawler in the house. I guess that's why some people buy those superyards, instead; it keeps them contained in a much smaller space, so that you don't need to do a complete lock-down on the whole house. I almost wish that would work for us, but I don't see him being content in a confined space like that. And when baby's not content, ain't nobody happy.

He has also grown out of his 12-month onesies, which means I've got to stock up on 18-month clothing now. He just turned 9 months old, people! Sheesh! At least it's fun to browse through the baby clothes department in stores. Although I have noticed that the girls' options seem to outnumber boys' clothes by about 5:1. No exaggeration. And there is so much more variety, as well; boys seem to get denim, cords, and khaki, all with variations along a similar theme: vehicles, sports, monsters, or dirt. He can have all the trucks, bugs, skulls, aliens, or superheroes that he wants, but can we ever just get a basic shirt? Or one that has cool colors, but no football slogans? Why, that would be preposterous!! Girls, on the other hand, get endless options for their wardrobes. It's funny how early this gender bias starts... and it's not just all about making boys uber-masculine, either. When my niece was a baby, I sometimes searched for hours for something that wasn't pink or purple or sparkly. You know, something meant for a "kid" instead of something designed for "princess poofy giggle pants". Now, of course, I could buy something with "Tease" across the butt, or "Apple Bottom" jeans for toddlers... perfect!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Poem: Autumn

Because I can't think of anything else to write at the moment, and because I need some positive energy to flow through me, and in recognition and celebration of the recent change in seasons, and basically "just because"... here you go.

                catch my eye
    with the fire of their descent
         and my heart stops for
      a moment- just one moment-
    but it is enough to remind me
                   of the way
                        i, too
                in full color,
              joyously, even,
      leaping full-steam-ahead
   towards the firm, dark earth
                   of you.

© MSE, 30 Nov 2005

Friday, September 18, 2009

Cemetery Adventures...

For some reason, I haven't written yet about our adventure with Para-Seekers Modseto, a group we found on We had a very interesting time, and hopefully one day we'll get to investigate with them again... you know, when we can get a babysitter set up and coordinate our schedules and so on. Anyway, we did have at least one excursion with them, and the cool thing about it was that we got to visit Joel's hometown: Oakdale, California. We actually got to visit the Oakdale Cemetery after hours, and walk around taking photos, recording EVP sessions, and just getting a feel for the place. It was odd in the beginning, because the first place I was drawn to was a child's grave. Great. Right after I leave my son with a babysitter, I find myself going over to the final resting place of a little baby. Ack! But in reality, it wasn't all that creepy, just... sad, and lonely, somehow.

Later in the evening, though, we actually got our own crazy, cool, personal experience with an anomaly-- that we caught on camera.

Sometime between 9 and 10 p.m., I began taking a series of pictures with my digital camera, holding the camera still and taking the same shot over and over. After taking the third picture, I saw in the digital display that there was suddenly a bright anomaly in front of the headstone. I continued taking photographs to see if the anomaly would still re-appear, but it was only visible in one picture.

The headstone, before:
anomaly after

The anomaly:

The headstone, after:
anomaly before

The anomaly, close-up:
anomaly close-up

The headstone, close-up, to show there are no reflective surfaces:

So.... do you think we had "an experience" out there? Hmmm? WE do!

Searching for Hope

It seems like once we get on a good roll, something has to happen to change everything, forcing us to start over from scratch. I have to admit that I'm a worrier, so things like this tend to upset my world a bit. I like to have things tidy, organized, and running according to plan most of the time, though I'm not extremely rigid about the minute details. (Or so I'd like to think...) I really like to know what's going to happen next, and I know that I tend to have a difficult time just letting go and being completely spontaneous and free about things.

It was a lot easier to be like that when I had $30,000 in the bank, a good job, no debt, and no major responsibilities beyond myself. Now things are just a little bit different-- no savings whatsoever, laid off and receiving unemployment (but only until December), and caring for a 9-month old son who depends on me and his dad for everything. It makes every decision that much more heightened for me, and really puts my character flaws on display. I've seen myself become even more of a worrier, more anxious about security and stability, more concerned about income and bills... and then, of course, I take it out on those around me because it increases my tension, shortens my temper, and pulls my already tight nerves even further.

Is there a positive end in sight? It's all I can hold on to, the belief that things will get better for us, and that eventually we will be stable enough to go out and do the carefree, adventurous things we've always wanted to do-- without worrying about how that will impact our real lives, financially or otherwise. I've decided to just let go of the worries and let life flow around me for awhile. What has the worrying done for me, anyway? Just caused more stress and more problems. So I'm evicting it from my life. For now, I'm just going to enjoy the time with my family, and visualize a bright and happy future. Things will improve.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

9 months old... can you believe it?!

We met Ethan's new doctor at Kaiser today, and it was such a relief-- she's fun, sweet, smart, and seems to have a pretty healthy sense of humor. We had a great visit, and she confirmed what we already know, of course: Ethan is doing perfectly well, developmentally speaking, and (in her professional opinion) he is soooo cute! (I thought that was hilarious; aren't they supposed to say that about all babies?) He is mid-range in his weight, above average in height, and (ahem) scored a 95 on his head circumference! That is, his head is bigger around than 95% of kids his age in the USA. Well, at least there's another 5% who have bigger braincases than he does, right? Uh, right??

Anyway- the Doctor gave me some projects to work on over the next couple of months. Apparently, as he is now 9 months old (as of Tuesday), he should be waving hello and goodbye at people. She was also a bit taken aback that he isn't saying "mama" or "dada" yet. She also thought that he should also be more adept at picking up things between thumb and forefinger. Oh, and he needs to get going with the whole sippy-cup deal, because they want babies off the bottle by that time. No pressure!! As you can see, I will have my hands full running the baby through the mill in order to make sure he stays perfectly in tune with the mid-range of babies around the country/world... or maybe not. ;)

Below is a recent picture of my darling boy, enjoying the much-too-brief rain this weekend with his daddy. Aren't they gorgeous?
ethan rain 9-13-09

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Some decompression...


One of the things I regret most about our trip to Burning Man this year was what it could have been, what we could have done and seen and learned, what we missed because of where we chose to camp this year. There was so much that we weren't able to experience, yet we saw it out there and even had brief, short-lived glimpses of what could have been-- and it just makes us want to do it right next year. No more camping with a theme camp that is so disorganized, disfunctional, and negative that they suck all the fun and life out of this major adventure. No more being stuck in one spot, working our rear ends off for days at a time to set up a vehicle that isn't even fun to ride on. No more, I say! Next time, things will be different. (That is, assuming we can get another carer for Ethan next year!)

A beautiful metal sculpture, newly constructed on the Playa... she was one of our beacons and a landmark for getting home from the playa.

A lot of people end up camping out here. This year, over 43,000 burners spent time in the desert together. Here are a few of them:
bman tents

And here are some of the things we learned this year:
* Clear goggles for night-time are crucial. With them, you can enjoy the evenings without constantly digging sandhills out of your eyes.
* More underwear, more socks, and more water.
* More funky costumes for both of us, plus more playa-friendly evening wear (warm shrugs, leggings, etc.). Some days, you just need to dress up, like when you're riding a pirate ship!
* Did I mention bringing more water?
* Less hard alcohol, and more light stuff-- beer, sprite, etc-- for daytime fun.
* Belt-packs/fanny packs are a lifesaver for carrying chapstick, sunscreen, gum/mints, a map or schedule of events, flashlight, 5-hour energy drinks, and anything else you might need on the Playa. And they look pretty cool sometimes, too:
* Personal challenges: We plan on making a list of challenges to ourselves and to each other, little "dares" to make sure we are stretching our boundaries and trying to grow a little bit while we're there.
* EL wire! We want to be more lit up next time, it's easier to avoid getting run into at night, and just looks cool.
* Ice-cold Limoncello is a beautiful thing in the desert.
* Nap at dawn, walk/bike/take photos in the early morning, nap in the afternoon, and be ready to hit the road all night.
* Explore more activities and more camps: We want to really get out there and meet more people next time, because we missed out on it this year. Like the people in this pic, for instance; who came up with the human hamster-mobile?
bman vehicle

Other than that, avoid despotic tyrants and negative nancies like the plague, and you should have the most amazing adventure ever! It can be fun, exciting, challenging, and even touching or sad sometimes... Below, Joel and I share a somewhat solemn moment together on Friday. We were visiting the Temple and reading some of the very moving, intense, and personal dedications/memorials/open letters/etc. that people had added to the wooden structure. I also added some of my own. :)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

While we were gone...

My son learned how to crawl! He must have had a good trainer in his friend Miss C., who stayed with him for a whole week while we were gone. She did some great work with him, because not only did he move past the "two-step" crawl/belly flop and straight into true crawling, but he also learned how to sit himself up while on the floor. He hadn't quite figured that one out before we left, so it's really neat to see him master that skill. It comes in handy when you don't want to keep laying on your stomach anymore, and want to be part of the action again. He has also started pulling himself up onto *everything* around him, which is both cool and frightening. He absolutely loves walking around while holding onto the furniture-- I guess it's called creeping, actually-- and can get up quite a speed these days. I think he'll be walking before too long, and that means we'll have to really get down to business securing the living room area so that he doesn't accidentally brain himself or something like that. He is also vocalizing a lot more lately; it sounds like we have a baby eagle talking to a pterodactyl in here sometimes!

In other news, it's actually raining in Modesto right now, bright and early on a Saturday morning. I love it! We're going to take the baby outside with us for a walk in a little bit, to let him see the weather change, up close and personal. I think he'll enjoy it-- he loves water with a passion, and is a pretty brave soul. I mean, unless you're talking about lions or elephants, because he does get a bit twitchy when he hears them. The latest Baby Einstein video we got scared him a little when the lion came out and roared, and then the other video featured an elephant blasting off, and both times he freaked out. I can't wait to harass him with those little facts when he's about 22 years old... bwahahahahahaha!!! But really, I wonder how much of it is just startling from the loud noises, because he also flips out when his dad lets loose one of his bone-shattering sneezes. Then again, so does everyone in the vicinity, so that's not saying much. ;)

Anyway, the Burning Man revelations will have to wait for another time-- it's far too much to share right now. First, experience. Then, digest. Next, process. I'm still working on digesting it!