I really don’t know how it’s already Friday again. But here we are.
- Remember how I said I had a litttle too much fun adding things to my PBS watchlist? Well, I’ve starte watching some of them. While Poldark is good, the show I’m really enjoying is The Crimson Field. And unlike, Poldark, The Crimson Field‘s episodes don’t expire for quite a while. So if you haven’t seen it yet, you can still start watching from the beginning. It’s M*A*S*H, only set in World War I, and minus the comedy.
- We definitely have the right staffing level at work. Finally. We’re all caught up and able to start tackling other projects. It’s glorious!
- Blueberries are in season. I don’t think I really need to say much more than that… Mmm… blueberries…
- Remember how Madge and Dorcas shrunk? You know, so they’re now smaller than they were before I got pregnant with Sofia. While this is lovely, it meant that my super nice (and expensive) bras were a tad too big in the cup. Well, my mom added a couple of darts, and now they fit again! They really are much more comfortable than the okay (and cheaper) ones I’d picked up at Kohl’s between pregnancies. I’m really happy to have them back in my wardrobe.
- Since the crazy part of my brain abhors silence, I needed more podcasts to listen to. So I told my phone to go ahead and download all unplayed episodes of Planet Money. Even though some of them are really old, it’s been both fun and interesting listening to hours of this podcast.
I really don’t know where the time has gone. Well, sort of. My mom has had this hypothesis about summer for years now. It’s lovely and lingering until the Fourth of July. But after the Fourth? After the Fourth, time compresses, and it’s suddenly the first day of school. I realize that it’s still July, but I mean to write, and I turn around, and it’s Friday again. And I really never intended this blog to just be lists of things that make me happy. That’s parenthood (and single motherhood) for you!
But there are a few things from the past two weeks that I do want to share.
- The biggest source of happiness the past few weeks have been family. My brother and his family have been in town. And it’s been lovely. The girls have enjoyed being big cousins, and Anna has enjoyed having an entertainment committee.
- I got to have a fun auntie date when I took the my nieces to the Kindleberger Festival for closing night. They were especially impressed that, when I introduced them to Lou (who played Ali Hakim), the “peddlar man” was “really nice”.
- I think I had a little too much fun adding things to my watchlist in the PBS app. Who needs a Hulu subscription when you have PBS? (Not that I have much time to watch any TV anyway…)
- Today I was once again reminded of why I rent in general and why I rent here specifically. I’ve had issues with the windows leaking on and off since I moved in. They finally seemed to have fixed my bedroom, so naturally Anna’s window started to leak. I’d called the office about a week ago. It rained last weekend, and both windows were fine. Geena from the complex’s office called today to make sure her window was no longer leaking. She was putting work orders into the computer, and since it’s supposed to rain again this weekend, she wanted to make sure it was fixed before then. I do love where I live!
Rainbow babies. That’s what people call them. They are the babies born after the storm of the loss of a child. I’m not a huge fan of this term. It seems like a lot of pressure, being a family’s rainbow. But there are times that I don’t know what other term to use. Like yesterday.
Paula is in town. We met up for dinner. All of us. And our rainbow babies got to meet each other for the first time.
I’m grateful to have Paula.
“Do you sometimes find yourself calling her Sofia?” she whispered to me, not wanting her daughter, husband, mother to hear.
“Oh, yeah. It used to happen all the time,” I said.
“Oh, thank God!” she sighed. “I’m not crazy.”
“You’re not crazy,” my mom reassured her.
I’m also grateful that Anna and Julian will have each other. I can imagine a future in which one texts the other to complain about being called by the wrong name. Again.
It was a dinner in which there was a rainbow after the storm of the past two years of our lives. We swapped babies. Our mothers held both as well. We talked babies and life.
It was a rainbow day, and our babies were rainbows without having to try.
Yesterday while I was still at work, I thought I should take a quick moment to write a blog post. And then I forgot. And then I woke up this morning and realized that I hadn’t written last night. But I do have a few things that are making me smile that I want to share.
- Anna’s favorite toy is a burp cloth. Any burp cloth. She’s not picky. I give her one when I put her down for the night and then take it out of the crib after she’s fallen asleep. But that, of course, means that she doesn’t have a burp cloth to suck on when she wakes up. So she’s taken to pulling up her sleep sack and sucking on that.
- She’s also reached the age where she’s started to anticipate some of our bedtime routine. I pick up a book that we read frequently, and she gets this great big smile that warms my heart.
- Sandra Boynton makes me happy. We have a number of her board books. They’re wonderful. Great illustrations. Delightful sense of humor. Silly and sweet in just the right combination that I don’t mind reading them aloud over and over again.
- The Capitol Steps 4th of July Politics Takes a Holiday. I really shouldn’t have to say more to convince you to listen, but I will. (Yes, I subscribe to the podcast so I don’t even have to remember it’s that time of year again.) I was listening to it at work. About halfway through, I was in tears I was laughing so hard.
- Something I posted last week made it into A Fuse #8 Production! I mean, sure Betsy (who writes it) and I have known each other since we were five, but it’s a huge blog with a huge following, and I got a shout-out.
- And speaking of this oldest friend of mine, I’m sorry for New York, but I’m happy that she’s moving to Evanston so that we might see each other more frequently than once every five years.
- And finally, friends and family. My brother and his family are currently in town, so I get to spend a lot of time with them. And I’ll see multiple friends at the Kindleberger Festival today. Life is good.
I don’t seek out fireworks on the 4th of July. Since I usually have to go to work the next day, I don’t really want to go out, get stuck in the crowd while trying to get home, and end up staying up far later than I really wanted to in the first place. Instead, I usually watch A Capitol Fourth on PBS. I didn’t last night. I was too tired. I could hardly stay awake when Anna and I got home from the family gathering. There was no way I was staying up after she went to bed.
I’m glad I did. That meant I got a couple of hours of sleep before the fireworks started.*
As I felt mini panic attacks, I found myself very jealous of the PTSD-afflicted combat vets who can get a sign asking their neighbors to be respectful when setting off fireworks. My response might not have been so bad if there hadn’t been a little boy, he sounded around three or four, shouting, “BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!” after each explosion. I’m not sure exactly where he was in relationship to the fireworks his family was setting off. I couldn’t see them. But I could hear him. “BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!” And I couldn’t keep my brain from going to the worst-case scenario.
I finally figured out that if I closed my window and turned my fan up to its “white noise” setting, I was able to dull the noise enough to fall back asleep. I don’t remember it being this bad last year. Maybe it wasn’t. Maybe it was hot enough that I already had my fan turned up. Maybe I was pregnant-exhausted enough that I slept through most of it. But next year I’ll need to remember to try to block out the sound before I go to bed. I just don’t think a sign explaining I have birth-trauma-related PTSD would be as effective as the ones combat vets receive.
P.S. No, I am not comparing my PTSD to that of combat vets. My triggers are very different from theirs. I truly hope that when people see those lawn signs that they are respectful in their selection of fireworks. I was annoyed by the noise; it was the little boy’s gleeful shouts that scared me. I need to know my neighbors are being safe, not necessarily being quiet… But quiet would be nice, too…
P.P.S. Yes, Anna slept through the whole thing. She has now slept through an earthquake, a tornado warning, and fireworks.
*Dear neighbors: No longer illegal does not equal good idea. Just because the law says you don’t have to wear a helmet doesn’t magically make you safer while riding your motorcycle without one. Just because the law now says you can buy fireworks (and someone set up their sale tent a block from where we live) doesn’t mean they’re no longer dangerous.
The beauty of the 4th of July falling on Saturday is that I get Friday off. I love it when holidays fall on the weekend. The holiday itself is almost always busy, so getting the day off on a weekday isn’t really getting a day off. But when it falls on the weekend, it’s just like having made plans to get together with friends or family on any other Saturday or Sunday. The day off work is a real day off. And since our family won’t assemble until around noon, Anna and I have a nice quiet morning. And I’ve finally gotten around to going through the backlog of articles and videos I’ve saved to look at later.
Happy Independence Day! Please enjoy a ginormous number of links to things that have been making me happy!
- I’ve often tried to explain why gelato is so much better than ice cream and that what you find in your grocer’s freezer labeled “gelato” isn’t really gelato. NPR has explained it better. And now I’m homesick for Rome and it’s gelaterie.
- And now that summer is half-way through (even though it doesn’t really feel like summer as I’m sitting her in my winter robe thinking about how my feet are getting cold — seriously, how am I not wearing enough clothing?), here’s some advice from Chaucer. Really. Sort of… Just read it.
- Heard this report on NPR about school chalkboards that have been frozen in time since 1917. The article is great because radio doesn’t have pictures.
- The historian in me loves it when listicles of old photos show up in my Facebook feed. The titles of the listicles are always a tad hyperbolic, but I love that they frequently include photos that help put history in perspective. These are pretty awesome simply because we forget how far back color photography goes. These are supposedly “haunting” (not really… but still cool). Only one of these is supposed to be “haunting”, not really, but I like the perspective this batch of photos gives.
- The man who created the plastic flamingo has died. You may be aware of the running gag in our family regarding plastic flamingos. My brother and I got our friends and family to shower our parents with flamingos on their 40th wedding anniversary. Carters makes a flamingo sleeper set. Yes, Anna has it. Yes, we’ll be a little sad when she grows out of it. He wanted to make people happy, and I think he succeeded.
- Who doesn’t love Nina Totenberg? NPR posted videos of her explaining the recent Supreme Court rulings. Here’s one on the ACA, complete with emoji! And here’s her recap of the marriage equality decision; this one might bring a tear to your eye. I had some trouble getting the videos to load. Keep trying. See if you can open them from the NPR page. They’re worth the watch.
- Irish Fest was rainy this week, but Whiskey Before Breakfast (my favorite local Irish band) shared this delightful list of the different types of rain one might encounter in Ireland. And speaking from experience, I think this applies to the rest of the British Isles. And occasionally Michigan, too.
- Funny or Die has created a trailer for the American Girls Action Movie. Because. Do I really need to say more?
- The Washington Post has this great rundown of everything that’s wrong with every state flag in the nation. Yes, there are people in Michigan! I think…
- Someone renamed paint colors. A friend claims that her living room actually was painted that color…
- I’ve dabbled in writing workshops and ultimately decided that I’m happier writing for myself and sharing with individual writer friends I trust when I’m ready for a first audience. Here’s a take on the feedback Jane Austen might have gotten if she’d workshopped Pride and Prejudice.
- And this goes back a bit, almost a month, back to the Tonys. This is the backstage view of Kelli O’Hara’s 47-second quick change with her amazing dressers. I love this because I’ve had many a quick change over the years, but my fastest was also in The King and I. And I had three dressers. And they were amazing. We had my change down to a science, but I couldn’t tell you exactly how it happened. It is still a bit of magic to me how they got me out of my Simon Legree costume (and mask!) and back into my Topsy costume (and mask!) without messing up my hair. Quick changes are stressful, but once you get the choreography worked out, they are also a tad thrilling. This one shows both the focus required and the excitement of making it happen.
Okay, I think I’m caught up on my Facebook links. Now I need to start getting caught up on reading blog posts!
There are times that I feel haunted.
After I drop Anna off, when I’m driving, I still talk to the baby in the carseat behind me. But I never feel as though I’m talking to her. It’s the same way I talked to her when I was pregnant. It’s the same way I talked to Sofia.
In The Secret Garden, Mary asks, “Does everyone who dies become a ghost?” Archie answers, “They’re only a ghost if someone alive is still holding onto them.”
I think that’s a very wise definition of a ghost. Ghosts aren’t created because the person who died is sad or lonely or vengeful. They are created by those who miss them. Is that really such a bad thing?
I keep telling myself that. Of course I feel haunted. I loved someone and lost her. Of course her ghost remains with me.
We should be grateful to have lived lives that allow us ghosts. That simply means we have lost people we want to hold onto. That means that we have had good friends, good family. That means that we have the ability to love.
Our ghosts are nothing to fear.