Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The most interesting man in the world

This morning, Exton woke up at 3 a.m. Well, I'm not sure if he was exactly awake. Is it possible to sleep-play? I'm not sure if his eyes were fully open because mine were not. I have no idea what he was doing. Having a growth spurt? Exercising his lungs? Trying to walk?

Since we are still co-sleeping (and night-nursing! I thought we might be ready to start tapering that off, but he was sick for two weeks earlier this month, and I feel like the little guy needs fattening up; that means, if he's hungry at 12:30, 3:30 and 5:30.. I'm going to feed him), and he and I are on one side of the bed, with Patrick and Franny on the other (though the other night that cat was infiltrating our side), I get the privilege of him pouncing on me, talking to me, climbing all over me.

It sounds cute. It is cute. Well... slightly less cute at 3 o'clock in the morning.

I fed him. I got up and walked around the house with him. I cuddled him in the chair in his room. He continued to babble, point at my nose, and mostly be in a good mood. Finally I couldn't keep my eyes open anymore, so I took him back to bed, where we woke up Patrick. I felt bad, because he had to get up early to go to training in West Hollywood today, but I was sooo sleepy. And the baby was not. Patrick took him out to the chair in his room, and returned in a little while with him asleep. I mean, CONKED OUT. I don't know how he does that; I can get him to sleep during the day for naps, but at night he sometimes gets all fidgety with me. I used to be good at the nighttime bedtime routine, but I think Ex can sense when I'm sleepier than he is, and it is at those times he decides he wants to play.

Finally we all slept until 6, when Patrick had to leave (I'm sure he got up before then to get ready but I totally slept through that), and then at 6:30, I got up to start getting ready for work and to take Ex to daycare.

It was kind of fun getting him ready for daycare - we sang songs and I kept calling him things like "party animal," "playboy," and "the most interesting man in the world!" He liked all that, and laughed a lot (not so much while I was cleaning his little nose). He looked so cute in his little outfit this morning. He woke up with great hair. I, on the other hand, did not. I tried brushing it with a wet brush and slapping some product in it, but I know the back of my head is totally jacked up. Oh, well, I can't do anything about it. There are women with babies at my work who show up looking glamorous and beautiful, fully coiffed and made up, but I'm happy to be clean, relatively wrinkle free, and moisturized. It's enough.

Everything took longer this morning than I expected it to, even nursing him before we left - we got out the door 15 minutes late, me with my arms full of baby, car seat, breast pump, and his lunch bag with his bottles and food in it for the day.

I dropped him off at daycare one day last week, too. Since Patrick usually does it, I'm not as good at the "goodbye" routine as he is... Ex cried when I left then, and he cried when I left today. Patrick said he doesn't usually do that. Maybe separation anxiety only works with me? I didn't know what to do... walking out on a crying baby seems mean, but his teacher told me not to prolong it. I kissed him and left. I did hear him stop when I was out in the hall putting on my shoes, so that's good, I guess, but I felt awful.

Yesterday, knowing I had to take him to daycare, I asked for an hour off this morning from work because of the possibility of being late (though, if we had gotten up at 5:30 like we normally do, and I'd left for the daycare at 6:15, we conceivable could've made it on time); I forgot that traffic is totally different at 7:30 than it is at 6:30, so I was 15 minutes late. I got here right on time for the taco truck... I got a breakfast burrito before heading upstairs.

I do have to say, the only good part about being the one to drop him off at daycare is, I get to be the one to pick him up. I can't wait to see that little face later today, a whole hour and a half earlier than usual.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


I'm at a wellness meeting. They told us to "dress comfortably" because we're going to go on a hike (!). I'm wearing jeans and converse. Not super professional but I'm cozy.

I left Patrick at home with the baby, who still has a fever and that darn cough. His temperature was 100.4; not super high but still. I would've stayed home but I had to pay to attend this meeting. Anyway, I'm leaving early.

When I checked in, the guy remembered me from my first County job, 11 years ago. That's kind of crazy.


I heard on the radio that Jeff Goldblum will be on Glee, playing one of Lea Michelle's dads. I haven't watched Glee since the first season, but isn't Jeff Goldblum old enough to be MY father?


Eating my free muffin and juice, waiting for this thing to start.


The first speaker at my meeting was awesome. I've seen him before at other Wellness meetings. His name is Dr. Frank Meza, from Kaiser. He's a very engaging speaker. The second speaker? Not so much.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Things I do when I can't sleep.

I couldn't sleep last night. This was, I think, the second or third night in a row. JP has another cold, and last night he had a slight fever. I had a not-so tiny, hot little baby cuddled up in my arms; in the past, this has been perfect, but this time I couldn't get comfortable. He would wake up every once in awhile and cough, and when he did, he would stretch or change positions. For quite some time, he was lying on his back, in the crook of my arm, his head resting on that flabby part of my arm that I was glad to have finally found a purpose for, in a position that made us both look like we were floating on our backs down some dark and calm stream.

I tried reading (like his father, the light doesn't bother him; most noises, in fact, don't bother him while he's sleeping, though he seems to be strangely sensitive to the running feet of the cats in the other room). I tried playing endless games of "Doodle Jump" on my iPhone. My Scrabble and Words with Friends pals were all snoozing, I guess. The baby seemed most comfortable (ironically) when I was sitting in the brown chair in his room, and he was sitting on my lap, partly turned toward my body, with one arm around my waist, with the overhead light very dim, and the table light (not so dim) on, while I read. I read holding the book in one hand, and with the other one holding him. I said "ironically" because all the stuff I've read about co-sleeping (that is, sleeping with your baby in "family bed") indicates that allowing your baby to sleep on you while seated in a cozy chair (and the brown chair is extremely cozy) is more dangerous than people think. Apparently, people who think co-sleeping is dangerous, think sleeping with a baby in a chair is safe.

This is not true.

However, since I was awake, cognizant of my surroundings (i.e., not drunk), and could definitely see well enough to make sure he didn't, I don't know, smother, he was just fine.

At 1:30, Patrick came in to check on us, and to try to convince me to let him take over.

Why do I have this, what, compulsion?, when the baby is sick, to do everything myself? I have to watch that, because Patrick is just as careful and caring as I am with him. Also, when he's sick, Patrick is less serious with him than I am: he isn't afraid to make him laugh. I'm not afraid to make him laugh, I just want to make sure I don't interrupt his sleep. If he wakes, I want him to go back to sleep as soon as possible. Do babies need to laugh when they're sick as much as they need to sleep, or to nurse? Maybe they do.

Earlier in the evening, I asked Patrick to repair to the living room (sounds good, doesn't it) because I thought a quieter bedroom would help me. Usually it does but last night, it didn't. By 2, I was ready to try to sleep alone. I woke up Patrick, handed off the sleeping and slightly less-hot baby, went to the bathroom (a need I'd been ignoring), then crawled into bed.

I still didn't sleep.

I was a little uncomfortable - the baby had been nursing more frequently but only one side at at time, and I think I accidentally skipped a side, maybe more than once. My right breast (the one that I had to have surgery on when I had that disgusting abscess) was sore. My scar felt different. I should've pumped but I kept thinking we'd catch up. We never did, and now I had that to worry about (this morning, he nursed just fine; the best way to fix that problem). I didn't want to get my pump stuff all dirty when I'd just have to wash it for today. I have extra parts and can avoid washing every day, but I always feel like if I don't wash everything it's some kind of minor failure that I'd just as soon avoid. It was risky, not pumping, but I think it worked out okay.

Before I was pregnant, my favorite sleeping position was on my stomach. For one reason or another, I haven't been able to sleep that way since I was pregnant, and now apparently I was too tired but still all wired up for some reason. I bet even being on my stomach would not have helped. Before I sent him to the living room, I told Patrick that I felt anxious about something. I felt a lump in my throat, actually, but I don't know why. Well, I have an idea. Of course. It's now 12 hours later and I still have that lump for some reason. Maybe it's in my stomach now. Maybe that's why I couldn't sleep face down.

When I was a little girl, I had a couple of remedies for sleepless nights. One was to read. I used to just stay up, and read, read, read. That worked the best for the moment but the next day I'd be wasted. Now that I have to drive a car in traffic I tend to find staying up all night a poor solution. When I was a teenager, I had one friend that I could call in the middle of the night. Talking on the phone or getting on my computer would've been too disruptive to the little guy. Also, who would I call? Another solution (this one was suggested by my friend Laura Love's Nana. Nana told us once when I spent the night, before we all went to Disneyland, and we were too excited to go to sleep at a decent hour) was to lay in bed on my back and raise my arm and to concentrate on holding my arm up. Eventually you're supposed to get so exhausted from holding up your arm that you just let it fall... and then you fall asleep.

My mom used to tell me to daydream. I believe her exact suggestion was to "daydream about Christmas." Or probably it was "daydream about heaven." I must've been really little when she suggested this. I'm kind of ashamed to admit that daydreaming about Christmas is a lot of fun (heaven: not so much - sorry mom! Maybe someday I will learn!). Ashamed because it's just dreaming about having things, isn't it? Still: it works. It's now turned into "daydream about winning the lottery." This is the technique I turned to last night. I wonder what my mom would think about that? Daydream about heaven, Christmas... the lottery. Well. I never said I was deep. Did I?

It's silly, because winning the lottery is sooo materialistic. I mean, what would I do with lottery winnings? Spend it, of course. I would BUY THINGS. The number one thing now on my list is, I would like to remodel our home. We've talked about making our tiny house a bit bigger for a long time now, and I think by now we know what we want to do. I like thinking about how we would finish the rooms and what kind of sinks we would have in our bathrooms, and the style of kitchen cabinets I want, and how I would furnish our new bedrooms. I want a wooden deck in the yard. New wood floors throughout the house, bamboo maybe; possibly cork in the bathroom. I want a dining room. A laundry room. I watch all those HGTV real estate shows and people are always going on and on about "en suite" bathrooms and central air and heating, and sometimes those people annoy the hell out of me, but yes: I want those things too.

I usually fall asleep doing the house, but apparently last night was special. I stayed up, and up. So I thought, OK, I have a bunch of a million dollars (the amount is never specific, of course). What do I do with it?

Well, JP needs to go to college. Hell, I need to go to college. And I'm sure my mom and dad would like a vacation. We could all go to Hawaii! And my mother-in-law could use a condo so that she could be closer to us, and to her other grandchildren. And wow, I'd like a new Beetle or a Volvo. I bet Patrick would like a better home recording studio: how much fun that would be for him! And maybe new drums for all of us! And guitars! And lessons for the guitars, and maybe ukeleles! And flutes for everybody! It would be fun to buy my dad another 1965 Ford Econoline pickup like the one he had when I was really small. And City Garage needs money. And the flute choir could use a contrabass flute... or two. My brother needs a newer car, my other brother... doesn't really need anything, but he could probably think of something. My sister might like to live somewhere of her own one day. My niece and nephew will need to go to college. My largesse grew larger the longer I stayed up.

And then, I realized: here I am, dreaming about winning the lottery, when in the other room, my adorable, perfect, still even less-hot little baby and my husband were quietly sleeping, having achieved that thing together that I couldn't, and the truth is, I've already won something much, much better.

Yes. New plumbing and subway tiles and bamboo flooring and a Beetle or a Mini or a Crosstour or a Volvo and a contrabass flute or two would make my life fun. But it's pretty darn nice right now. I just want that baby to lose his cough and then we'll be set for quite a while.

Songs that were thought of while writing this:

1. Jive Talking, by the Bee Gees
2. Atoms for Peace, by Thom Yorke
3. The Eraser, by Thom Yorke
4. I Would Die 4 U, by Prince
5. Evil Woman, by ELO
6. This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody), by Talking Heads
7. Man or Muppet?, by the Muppets
8. You Said Something, by P.J. Harvey
9. I Put a Spell On You, by Bryan Ferry (and CCR, and the Birthday Party)

Petition for City Garage Theatre

Hi, everyone,

The theatre group that I worked with for about 6 years, City Garage theatre, has a petition on Change.org that I'd like to draw your attention to.

For many years before I joined them and until last year, they were in a funky little space behind the 3rd Street Promenade, in the alley between 4th and 3rd. They put on many top notch productions (I was a part of 14; 12 behind the scenes, in the light/sound booth, and 2 awesome experiences onstage) and get great reviews.
Don't take my word for it: head on over to citygarage.org and check it out for yourself.
In 2010, they moved out of the funky little space behind the 3rd Street Promenade, and started using a temporary space in one of the galleries at Bergamot Station. I had a baby in 2010, and so my involvement has slacked off. I don't know all the details about the space there. I do know that a permanent space is what they need. If you click on the petition above, you can help them get it.

Sick Again

(Who knew that "Sick Again," the Led Zeppelin song, is a somewhat mean dispatch to the band's "pathetic" [Jimmy Page's word] groupies? Thanks, Wikipeda... I guess!)

JP, who had a cough 2 weeks ago, got better last week, now has the cough again. Last night he had another fever. Not too high - he was his usual happy little self but he was also a little whiny at bed time. That is not usual. Anyway, once he fell asleep, he seemed to require my presence (we all are still sleeping together, but most of the time, once he falls asleep, he's cool in his own little area of the bed, which is nice). Perhaps "coughing on mommy" made him feel better? I stayed up until 2. Around 12:30 I finally gave up on falling asleep. I couldn't get comfortable, I couldn't turn off my brain. I tried reading, I tried playing games on my iPhone... I just couldn't sleep. At 2 I woke up Patrick and asked him to take over, which he quite willingly did. Even then it took me about a half hour to fall asleep. Then my alarm went off at 5:25, and somehow I got up. I even took a shower.

This morning his fever is gone and Patrick says he seems like he feels better, but I'll be checking on them frequently today.

Oh, so this is what parenting is! I'm probably being simplistic here but I like it better when the baby isn't sick.


Another reason I probably couldn't sleep... my mom starts chemotherapy again today. She was off for quite some time, because she had a really, really bad reaction to the last round. She spent a week in the hospital at Thanksgiving. I worry that she's going to be knocked out again. I really like seeing her more active and more like herself.

Oh, so this is what growing up is! Well. I have 24 more days of my reckless 30s to enjoy. Then I guess it's time to take my emotions and my hormones by the hand and... and... and do what? Enjoy my responsibilites? Buy a minivan (I kid. I'm a kidder)?

This could be another reason I'm not sleeping.

Wish me luck today, I'm probably going to need it.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Me & you, remembering

I think I've mentioned before that I was not very cool in High School... but one of the funnest* and (to me anyway) coolest things I did was go see the band fIREHOSE. I saw them at least 3 times, at the Palomino and McCabe's Guitar Shop (where I met the man who could write with both hands at the same time; I believe his name was Jeff!), and the shows, especially the one at McCabe's, were kind of magical to me at the time (George Hurley, a great drummer and fun to watch always, was particularly insanely talented that night, and had what seemed like a thousand cymbals all going at once, including the cutest and tiniest splash cymbal I'd ever seen).

The funny thing about this was that of course I was totally unfamiliar with the Minutemen until about 5 years ago. I don't know how that happened. I'm glad I get it now but it took me a while to circle back. (For the record, I think I've always been a fan of Creedence.)

I heard Mike, Ed, and George are reuniting at the Coachella music festival. I've never been to Coachella; actually, it's always kind of intimidated me with it's massive list of bands and the huge crowds. I might have a touch of agoraphobia (which could explain why I often have coughing attacks in places like baseball stadiums or, even worse, on stage) or maybe I'm just shy (ha. "maybe"). Anyway, we're not going to Coachella this year.

I was just looking at the list of shows fIREHOSE is doing before they head to Coachella, and unfortunately none of them is close enough for us to get a babysitter and go to. I guess the Palomino is closed.

It would be kind of fun to go to Santa Cruz, wouldn't it.

*I can't explain why I enjoy using this word, either.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Singing Janitor Strikes Again!

Yesterday (or was it the day before yesterday? What day is it now?) I wrote about overhearing the kindly janitor (I think I stole this from John Irving) who was crooning to himself while sweeping up the leaves in the parking lot. I ran into him again (sort of) in the afternoon.
I think I've mentioned that the room I use to pump is right next to the ladies' room. Right now it's just a closet-sized, recently painted room with a hundred year old vinyl chaise lounge (in pieces; I can't figure out how those cushions are supposed to go together) and a chair in it. Supposedly there are plans in the works to transform it into a bona fide Lactation Room but aside from painting it and repairing the acoustical tiles in the ceiling, that room looks pretty much the same as it did in 2008 when I first started working here. Since all that's required to make it "lactation ready" is to remove the ratty chaise, install a table, and change the signage, I'm not sure why this is taking so long, but as it is, it works.

When I was pregnant, I used to take some killer naps in there. Some of our Financial Services staff do too (occasionally this is an issue). I think there's one other woman who uses it to pump; sometimes we overlap our times. She only pumps once, though: I can't figure that out. I'd be leaking from here until tomorrow if I did that. Since I pump three times a day, my breaks are dedicated (no more naps, or walks). And, as you might guess, sleeping while pumping isn't recommended.

Anyway, the room is right next to the ladies' room. Close. As in, you can hear things. Including, it seems, anybody who happens to be singing while in there.

The janitor (I really have to learn his name, because, as I also mentioned yesterday, or whenever it was, he's a good guy) was in the ladies' room while I was pumping. The little closet-like room doesn't have a lock on the door, but it does have a "occupied/not occupied" sign, and I sit on the chair, which I move in front of the door. Someone would have to push against all my weight if they were trying to get in, and believe me, sometimes people (people who can't read the sign) do. But luckily I'm heavy enough to prevent anyone from busting in on me. Yes, I said "luckily."

Okay! So he was in there, singing to himself while he refilled the toilet paper and paper towel dispensers, and doing whatever it is that he does while he's cleaning, but it was killing me, because I could not, for the life of me, get what song it was. He was making a little noise, banging the various doors and dispensers and flushing the toilets, and of course not doing any of that in rhythm with the song, so I was having a hard time hearing the words or even the melody of what he was singing. That he was singing, yes, I could tell. What the hell song it was, no. I was disappointed. I like finding out the type of music people listen to.

The same thing just happened, but this time I really listened hard. I still couldn't figure out the melody (if there was one; seriously, the poor guy couldn't find a melody if it up and hit him; maybe that's just a side effect of singing with headphones on, because my mom does that too), but I could pick out more of the words. I heard:

"But maybe tomorrow you'll change your mind, girl."

I forgot my iPhone today, so I had to remember those words while I packed up Exton's milk, put my shirt on, and put my pump away and walked back down the hall to my office to do a Google search on those lyrics. Turns out it's a Jackson 5 song. Without my phone I'm having trouble pulling that song up in my brain or online, but my "Maybe Tomorrow" Pandora radio station just started (with "One Day in Your Life" instead), so maybe it'll play soon so I can hear the original.

Pandora "Maybe Tomorrow" Radio:
"One Day in Your Life," by Jackson 5
"Pray," by Take That (No. I did NOT listen to this song)
"Get Your Shine On," by Jesse McCartney (see above!)
"I Wanna Be Where You Are," by Jackson 5
"I'm Stone in Love With You," by the Stylistics
"Just You and Me Baby," by the Spinners
"Baby, Baby, Don't Cry," by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles

... Hmmm. This is taking forever. Maybe I'll just wait until I get home.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

And if the wind is right you can sail away

This morning as I was walking up to my office, the janitor was sweeping up the leaves in the walkway. He's a nice guy. He also cleans the ladies' rooms on my floor. He's very patient with the women who try to dash in just as he's getting started.

When he's outside, he listens to music on his iPod. He's a slightly older African American guy, and we always say good morning to each other (the room where I pump is adjacent to the ladies' room, and I see him a lot during the day). Today he was singing with the music (just, I might add, like my mom, i.e., out of tune [bless their hearts]).

The song? "Sailing," by Christopher Cross. I love that song. It goes with the yacht rock soundtrack I've had playing in my head lately.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Cool: now I want a cheeseburger.

I read a story in the New York Times today about the women who put out great performances in films in 2011 (it's ironic: all the articles I read about movies and dance performances! - yet I haven't been in a movie theater for a hundred years, and haven't seen a real ballet EVER), and there's a quote at the very end from an actess who played a teenager who comes out as a lesbian to her family. The movie is called "Pariah," and I'd like very much to see it. I'll probably get a chance, when the baby goes to college. Or maybe summercamp.

The article talked about how these actresses prepare for their roles and handle the toll of portraying their characters, and mentioned that the woman who was in "Pariah" was surprised by her own emotional reaction to something in the movie that didn't necessarily jibe with her original plans for the scene or the character.

“I’m not going to die from being too vulnerable,” she said. “I can go, when it’s all done, and get a cheeseburger.”
I love this quote. I love it so much I'm considering using it to rename my blog.

(The actress's name is Adepero Odeye, and there's a totally fluffy and charming story about her, here. And then, there's a less fluffy but still charming story, here.)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

The baby is asleep. His temperature is back to normal, though he still has that dang cough. Patrick is playing drums out in the garage. I'm curled up on the couch with the new Stephen King novel about time travel, a glass of water, a bag of pita chips, and the best dang hummus ever.

I'm picturing Jake as Bradley Whitford. Or maybe -- and this is insane -- as Luke Perry. I'm kind of leaning that way right now; Bradley, no offense, is a little older than the character is in my mind. Wouldn't all the girls swoon at seeing Luke, in whatever 2011 shaggy hairdo he's sporting now, cut it back to its "Beverly Hills, 90210" style once he goes back to 1958?

See you later. It's a thick book; I've got some reading to do.