I'm back! Did you miss me?
First off, big, slobbery kisses to Plimco, Lauri, Liza, and Estelle for keeping my seat warm while I was gone. You all did wonderful jobs, in fact, I think you did better than I have ever done over here and I'm considering just turning the whole blog over to y'all and letting you continue doing the magnificent job you started.
But in the meantime...
There's a new theme over at Scheherazade, so go check it out, let youself be inspired, and start writing! Oh, and while you’re at it, you can look at the old theme and read the stories that sprang from it.
Also, I've got about half the vacation pictures I'm going to share with everyone up on Flickr. We have some film to develop and then I can get the rest up. I'll keep everyone posted.
Now that the business is taken care of, on with the real (long, of course, what else?) post...
Notes from the Road
1) Our baby is so perfect for us. Absolutely perfect. When she woke up at 2:30 AM during the drive to Portland, and looked around and realized that she was in the car, she laughed. She laughed with delight. “I’m sleeping in the car! Cool!” And then she drank a bottle and went back to sleep. When her eyes popped open at 6 AM and she looked around and discovered that she was still in the car, she laughed. With delight. Again. “I’m still sleeping in the car! Cool!” And then when we pulled into a greasy diner for breakfast, and she was surrounded by old truckers and even older waitresses, who all had to come over and touch her head and offer her crackers, she just flashed them her cheesiest, two-toothed grin, and gave them a chipper “Hi!” before going to back to banging her spoon and trying to figure out if Mama was being serious when she said that if the spoon hit the floor there would be no picking it back up.
2) When you’re as sleep deprived as we were after 6 months of TTC plus 9 months of worry plus 9 months of baby plus 11.5 hours of driving overnight plus 1 hour of being lost in Portland trying to find N & A’s house (my cell phone died while N was giving us directions) 5 hours of solid, non-baby-interrupted sleep can feel like a week at a spa in itself.
3) When I’m happy I eat in tiny tastes and small snacks. Life is dessert, no sugar necessary.
4) When you’re happy, it doesn’t matter if it rains every day of your vacation. You can find joy in between the raindrops, in the space between the cloudbursts, in the color of a stormy sky melting into a stormy sea, in the sound of waterdrops bulleting an immaculately raked Zen garden, in the taste of salt and sand blown into your hair and mouth and eyes, in a kite flapping (string taught) 2 feet above your head, in wet shoes and wet socks and wet pant hems, in a blister on the instep of your (wouldn’t you have guessed it?) left foot…
5) Well, maybe not in the blister. But in the fact that you got said blister while walking around a waterlogged and dripping and glowing Japanese garden while NOT AT WORK.
6) A difficult part about living in a desert is that when you’re not in said desert, the humidity in the air makes you feel as if you’re sweaty and clammy all the time. It makes you feel like you’re hotter than you are and that you need to take a shower twice a day. And then it rains. And a shower is provided you. And everything is beneficent. And you realize that places other than desert are beautiful, too, even if the air is thicker than it should be.
7) The Most Un-Fun Thing Ever™: Changing a dirty diaper on a baby on a wind-swept and rainy beach. If you put the towel and the baby on the packed (i.e., wet) sand, the baby will get uncomfortably wet. If you put her on the dry (i.e., easily blown into eyes) sand, the wind will blow the sand everywhere. And it will stick to various sticky, baby surfaces including, but not limited to, the surface you were trying to clean, the various orifices of a baby’s face, and every moist piece of skin, which, thanks to the humid air and the rain, is EVERY exposed piece of skin. Oh, yeah, and all her clothes. Super fun, that!
8) The Tree House was so enjoyable. Being able to unpack and knowing we were staying put for 7 days (we normally vacation in a rather footloose and wandering way) was heavenly. The beach house was wonderfully provisioned with more than ample amounts of linins and towels. It was light and comfortable and clean. It was walking distance to the beach, but not right on it. It was walking distance to the main street and its row of shops, but not right next to it. It was secluded but not isolated. It was heaven.
9) Manzanita is simply the cutest town on the northern Oregon coast. We heard that Manzanita is what Cannon Beach was like 20 years ago. Let’s pray that 20 years from now they can’t say the same thing.
10) I’ve talked before about how Julia is a very schedule resistant child. And while it’s mostly true, we can’t get her on a reliable schedule to save your life, we did discover on this trip that she is on a schedule of sorts: no matter when she went to bed the night before, or how many naps she had, her eyes pop open at exactly 6 AM every morning. When you’re vacationing on the Pacific coast, this means that her eyes open at exactly 5 AM. Every. Morning. Thank goodness she is amenable to going back to sleep a mere two hours later.
11) A true friend is one who, when you stumble bleary-eyed out of your bedroom holding a chipper, jabbering macaw, will say, “you wanna go back to bed?” while her partner (also a true friend) practically bounces out of their bedroom to relieve you of said macaw allowing you to go back and snuggle and sleep with your wife until an unheard of 11 AM.*
12) There really is such a thing as too much soup. You should not make a big pot of chili on the same night that you make a big pot of corn chowder. 6 people (especially when one of them is existing on tiny tastes and small snacks and happiness alone) simply cannot eat that much. You will end up eating soup for every meal the rest of the week.
13) Before your child has cut all of his or her teeth never leave home without teethers. NEVER. Julia popped out 3 teeth on this trip. Complete surprise to us that they were coming. Even the doctor she saw for her 9 month well baby check-up (just two days before we left for Oregon) remarked that it didn’t look like she was going to get more teeth any time soon. Thank god we brought her baby Tylenol and her homeopathic teething tablets.
14) It doesn’t matter if everyone else thinks that your baby is the most easy going and happy baby on the planet. YOU know when your baby is unbelievably cranky; even if you can’t yet determine the cause (see number 13).
15) Other things Julia accomplished on this trip:
a. Learning to pick her nose
b. Saying “mama”
c. Saying “Hi Mama” (Ha ha! FIRST SENTENCE at 9 MONTHS!!)
d. Saying “dog”
e. Pulling up on furniture
f. Not crawling (we really thought she’d do this, but she seems content just scooting around on her butt)
g. Charming the pants off every person who got to meet her
h. Feeding goats
i. Eating goat food
j. Eating Spicy Tofu off mama’s chopsticks
k. Figuring out how to hold three plastic piglets all at the same time. (This took some concentration as her hands are only big enough for one piglet at a time)
l. Giving kisses (so cute her little “mwah”s!)
m. Giving kisses when asked. (I asked her for kisses one day and she looked at me quizzically for a moment and then comprehension lit her eyes and she leaned forward and give me a big smack on the cheek and then laughed and did it again and again)
n. Just being a big ole’ cutie. Even when she was being a grouchy teething grumps.
16) If you get a chance to meet Sasha and M., take it! They are a lot of fun.
17) Afternoon naps are the bomb!
18) Though the fact that many stores are closed or have very limited hours can be inconvenient, vacationing off season is so much more peaceful and enjoyable than vacationing with the masses. We had the beach and town to ourselves most of the time.
19) I have seen the Nadir of Unfairness and it is this: There Is No Trader Joe’s In Utah. They promise that they’re coming here soon, but I’m sure they lie. They won’t be able to sell liquor or wine here.
20) If you walk into Trader Joe’s like you’ve just been touched by God (blissful face, arms outstretched, exclamations of ecstasy on your lips) and then proceed to walk reverently around the store, touching things gently and showing them to your partner in wonder, people don’t seem to give you a second look. It must be a common occurrence.
21) Now that I’ve seen all the Big Loves currently out (we watched a lot of TV on this trip – a treat, since we don’t have TV at home) I can tell everyone that Big Love is to Mormon Polygamy in Utah as that popular TV show about the White House is to the current US Administration.
22) When you’ve been stuck in a tiny apartment in Portland watching TV all day because it’s raining so hard you’re afraid the deluge will sweep you away, there’s nothing better than escaping to take a night-time driving tour of the city. You won’t see much, but the bridges are pretty, and you’ll still see more than if you’d stayed holed up in the apartment.
23) If you stop at a Shari’s at Midnight, and order pancakes, fries, and a side salad all for yourself, the young waiter will, when he comes to clear your dishes, exclaim in surprise that you managed to eat so much food (I guess he didn’t see everyone sharing N’s fries and me stealing one of her pancakes) and suggest that you might really enjoy the Mongolian BBQ around the corner because the one time he went there he ate so much his stomach hurt for 3 hours. After you leave your stomach will hurt for 3 hours because you and your friends laughed so hard.
24) If a young waiter who just expressed surprise at how much food you and your friends just managed to eat in one sitting offers to bring your baby a free cookie, do not be surprised if the cookie is as big as her head and stuck on a Popsicle stick.
25) If you have a really cute baby, restaurant people will bring you all kinds of free food (it happened over and over on vacation, people bringing free food for our baby).
26) You really should pay attention to the instructions on how to fill out a lottery ticket. Kristin didn’t do this when she filled out the Win For Life ticket. Instead of buying one 12 dollar ticket, she bought SIX 12 dollar tickets (in addition to the $10 powerball ticket and the $6 Megabucks ticket). Apparently, the look on my face when I realized that the man was telling us that we owed him 88 DOLLARS was priceless. So far, we’ve won $2 back. Wahoo!!
27) The most expensive thing on our trip (besides the house rental) wasn’t the gas, it was the fact that our littlest dog, Oliver, got deathly ill while we were gone, resulting in a $250 vet bill. And the bill was only that small because Kristin got on the phone to the vet, told them that it had to be that he had gotten into the compost pile and they needed just to give him antibiotics and stop running all the expensive tests on him. The Vet (under duress) gave him the antibiotics (along with an IV bag of fluids and a heap of other medications) and sent him home without running any more tests. Oliver had, of course, gotten sick AFTER our normal vet was closed for the Memorial Day weekend…
28) It is extremely unpleasant to come home to a house that has had a sick dog in it. Even though the house-and-dog-sitter did her best to clean the carpets, she couldn’t get ALL of the mess out of our sisal rug, and there are depressingly large stains on our new basement carpet.
29) The better the vacation, the deeper the post-vacation depression when you get home. This was possibly the best vacation we’ve ever had; can you imagine how deep the depression today is?
30) I need to change my life. Like the frog that didn’t jump out of the pot of boiling water because it heated up so slowly, I have allowed myself to be miserable for too long. I just couldn’t see it until I was out of it. But, people, I was doing running pirouettes on the beach, breaking into song, laughing in rain, nothing phased me, nothing threw me, for DAYS I was blissful and easy-going, and at peace. Able to enjoy my partner and my baby and my friends and just being in the world. It’s been so long. Now if I could just hold to that certainty and reclaim the power that I have within me to affect great change within my life and create something beautiful and livable…
*Lauri and Benji have also done very similar things in the past, just to give them props, too.