Wednesday, July 10, 2019


A man who appeared to be in his 70s working at a hotdog stand stared at me as a limped home from the beach today. "I thought I had it bad," he said, shaking his head. Would you like to sit down a minute?


My knee is improving day by day. My mom is amazing at helping to take care of the kids while helping to take care of food for 30 people. I do not think this knee injury will lead to my death, and so am generally just trying to lean in to the extra time to work. And trying to learn to be a little better about accepting my limits.

Monday, July 8, 2019

My Knee

I hurt my knee quite randomly. It's day 2 and I can't put any weight on it, which is super fun because, you know, babies. Anyway, we are on vacation and one of my cousins very sweetly offered me some essential oils. I am not into them, to put it mildly, and tried to be nice: "Umm, no thanks, I have ibuprofen and ice!" I have never been offered essential oils in person before, although now that I think about it I was subjected to them for a few days against my will at my son's preschool, but thankfully that didn't last too long.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

July 4th

Today while we are celebrating our freedom, I'm thinking about and saddened by the ways in which we do not live up to our ideal, most strikingly this week by our separation of families and mistreatment of and neglect of children at the border. May we take seriously our responsibility as citizens to work to make our regime the best version of itself, one that works toward the common good and respects the human dignity of all.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019


Due to some left over Christmas money earmarked for the boys, I purchased two full-price books for them, which I am thoroughly enjoying reading this summer:

I Am Hermes, which is about Chester's favorite Greek god, drawn by my favorite children's book author of the moment.

And the recently reissued (or possibly 15 years ago reissued--how is this not in paperback?) D'Aulaires' Book of Norse Myths.

The great delight of parenthood, as far as I'm concerned, is reading to my kids--and particularly the opportunity to catch some stuff that I missed the first time around, in actual childhood (hello, Winnie the Pooh). Well, I never knew anything about the Norse myths, so reading about these with Chester is just excellent. (And an education in pronunciation, that's for sure.)

Monday, July 1, 2019


Symptoms my sons have had on this vacation and, most severely, on our traveling days:

Mouth pain (barely ate for several days)

Also teething

6 days apart. Count me baffled.

Also, this is my first experience with croup and post-Anne of Green Gables honestly freaked me out, but it turned out to be a mild case.

Thursday, June 20, 2019


Mom served us four desserts tonight after dinner. Even for my mother, this is a new record. She said it was both Thursday, and we're leaving on a trip soon, so we had to clean up all the desserts. Ice cream, chocolate cake (made by Ilana), lemon bars (incredible, made by me), and strawberry shortcake (the best food ever). I forgot that in my positives list.


"The bonds of affection are not dissolved by death." --the priest, during the funeral homily (Francisco: "He must have gotten that somewhere.")

"Philosophy was a preparation for death. When death is present, the philosopher is present." --JVS, "The Death of Plato"

I lost my grandmother last week. She passed from this world pretty peacefully and quickly, after one day in the hospital, and after having attended my cousin's wedding with family only a week or so before.

The funeral was good. It's only the third Catholic funeral I've attended, the second since I've been Catholic. At the end, we see the culmination of everything we've been living for. The priest sprinkled water on the coffin, reminding us of Grandma's baptism, which itself foretells death and resurrection. Having Grandma's coffin at the mass reminds us as we receive the Eucharist that we are connected in that moment with those who have gone on before us and who are already with Christ. The funeral reminded me that all of life is a preparation for death, even though I often get distracted and forget.

Grandma was a tough Philly-esque lady--I mean, 4 of her 6 kids were boys and her husband was a character, so she had to be tough. After struggling a lot with breastfeeding herself, she helped found Le Leche League in her town. (My dad told us stories about uncomfortably walking downstairs as a boy to a living room full of nursing women.) She was proud of me and other of her grandkids for breastfeeding. (Although the truth is, Grandma was very straightforward about her thoughts. She once told me about my extended breastfeeding, "It doesn't have to be a marathon!") She made granola way before granola was a thing (both literally and metaphorically). She's a cool lady.

She and Poppop were present at each Easter Vigil when my sisters and I were received into the Catholic Church. They came to our late-night parties afterward, too, which was amazing because they weren't young (and I remember those parties ending at 4 a.m., not that they stayed until the bitter end). They came when my first son was baptized. The Catholic connection with them was a special one.

Grandma spent a lot of time giving money to organizations who sent her appeals in the mail. Poppop told her how much money she could give, and she carefully read the appeals and sent them money. She also carefully sent birthday cards to her many, many grandchildren, and always picked out a gift for them when I brought my boys to see her. I must note here, that the last one was a really, truly strange book about a guinea pig dressed up as Oliver Twist. (Picture below so you know I'm not making this up.)

I know, the guinea pig is not relevant.

Grandma spent her life in the same spot--she was invested in her church, in the school to which they sent their children, even in their nursing home--she and Poppop used to go to the nursing home some Sundays (when they themselves were in their 80s) and help push people in wheelchairs to mass. In a world in which we don't tend to stick with the same place in that way, I find my grandma's life to be a really beautiful thing.


Positives today: Got to take two boys down to the creek for the first time. Got to watch two boys play in the rain where I used to play in the rain.

Negatives: My work, the work that I was working on when I left, the work that is due in August, that I forgot in my office because I packed quickly so I could leave early for my grandmother's funeral, was promised to me as being mailed with two day shipping on Tuesday. It was in fact mailed with three day shipping on Wednesday, which means I'm leaving again and won't get the work I need in the mail for another week. I. Am. So. Angry. I have honestly no idea how to handle this anger.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Restaurant review

My husband and I tried out a new restaurant tonight. Our town is not known for its food. On the contrary, with very rare exceptions, most notably a Mexican restaurant inside a store, the food is very, very bad.

The new place is the heartland's own hipster French restaurant. I think French, although now that I type it, there was almost nothing French about it, except that the steak was served with french fries. My husband ordered steak-frites. "Oh, steak and frites," the waitress corrected. She also brought us our bill before she brought us our dessert. That was unusual.

(When I had asked my colleagues how the restaurant was, they almost always replied--what you would expect for a French restaurant in our town. That explained nothing to me. I had no expectations for such a thing. Now I fully understand what they meant.)

The most unusual part of the evening was when I asked what fish they were serving that evening (the menu said "fish/seafood"). The waitress looked confused. She flipped through the menu. Then, "trout," she declared, without much conviction. Ok, what does it come with? First it was mashed potatoes. It switched to green beans. It settled on mashed potatoes. Ok, I'll take that. She brings it out--it was a small square. I'm no connoisseur, but I thought trout was long and light. This was square and pink. I eat it; it's fine. I hear a different waitress at the next table explaining to the customers that the fish of the day is mahi-mahi. But now I'm not even sure that was right. So I have no idea what I ate. What delighted me so much about our waitress is not that she forgot what the fish was, but that she did not give a s%$* what it was (pardon my french).

All in all, we are glad this place exists in our town, and--I kid you not--we would totally go back. The food was unobjectionable.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019


There's one more thing that I want to say about the babies birth, now 10 months away. I was very nervous to give birth in a hospital after having my first baby in a birth center, which I prefer. (There was no birth center available where I was giving birth.) Because I gave birth less than thirty minutes after arriving in the hospital, there was no time for any of the stuff I feared--fetal monitoring, an IV. Really nothing--they told me to push as soon as I arrived and the baby came as quick as could be. They didn't even have time to put a hospital gown on me--I think they threw one over my shoulders later. And don't even get me started here--it wasn't even a nursing-friendly gown. What the heck?!

They even hurried things up so I could leave 24 hours after I arrived. So everything was perfectly fine, EXCEPT my sleep.

Some of this was due to me--I did not expect to have a baby in maybe two hours (especially after my first birth went on for two days) so I felt adrenaline and really was really confused about what had just happened that made it hard for me to sleep. Also, my husband was snoring. Also, the baby pooped about four times and each time woke us crying. Also, I would listen carefully to his every move and cough. So it was really hard to sleep. BUT ALSO, the nurse came in at 11 p.m. and the nurse came in at 7 a.m. and what is the absolute worse and for which I will never ever forgive them: The nurse came in at 5:30 a.m. to draw my blood to make sure I hadn't lost too much. Now because I had experienced a hemorrhage after my first baby, they weighed every bit of blood I lost to make sure it wasn't too much. It wasn't. They did not need that blood draw. The midwives don't prefer it; the OB's insist on it. All in all, I don't think I slept more than 1 hour that night and I was pretty exhausted. That was the worst night of sleep I've ever had and some of that bad night of sleep was due to the hospital's choices to draw blood at times when they had a low amount of work rather than at times that were appropriate for a mother who desperately needed sleep. I firmly believe (hope!) that in 10 years we will look back and recognize how barbaric that is.

P.S. While my prenatal care at the hospital was fine and was (thankfully) mostly with the midwives--because I hated the one condescending doctor I did encounter, I also noticed a marked difference from the birth center that I used the first time around. The birth center gave me as much information as possible in an attempt to educate me and make it possible for me to make good decisions, I had to ask constantly for that information when I was at the hospital--What was my blood pressure? What is the fundal height measurement? Etc.


We received ginger snaps from one kind new neighbor and now this from another--strawberries from their garden! What a sweet gift!

Other new neighbors include ants in our living room, a lizard on our sun porch (what?! we live in the North!), and now a bat in our basement. Sigh.