Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Poet Inside

I used to write poetry.

I was the stereotypical teenager, filled to overflowing with angst and heartbreak and big dreams. I sat cross-legged on the porch swing, scribbling page after page on emotion heavy lines. I found neglected corners on the college campus, either propped against a regal column or letting my legs hang over a high concrete wall, pouring my heart onto paper. I would wander outdoors, often feeling like Anne Shirley reading Lady of Shalott in the woods.

There is a box in my basement filled with notebooks of my poetry.

To be honest, most of it is not very good. It is the typical writing of a young girl who often thought she felt more than she really did.

I have not written poetry in a very long time. Between all the daily events I call my real life and the hectic pull of everything, the lyrical view I held of the world gave way to a more cynical, logical, stressed newsprint outlook.

But there are still moments.

Evenings where the river is still and flat, belying the strong current underneath, perfectly reflecting the boat house, the bridge, and the black silhouette of naked trees. Afternoons at the park, with the wind in the pine boughs, the chains of the swings clinking. Mornings early enough that the trees are still heavy with birds, the sound of the car rousing them to form soft, flittering clouds around leafless branches. Moments of a head tucked under my arm, and soft blue eyes and the hint of dimple. Quiet at the bedside of a patient.

Then I think the poetry is still there. And it is just as beautiful and alive and heartbreaking as it was when I was a teenager. I want to write it all down, capture the moment, keep it alive with ink.

Then the noise and chaos and schedules and menus and deadlines swell up again and push those thoughts back into hiding. Life is too busy, too real to waste writing silly words in floral covered notebooks.

But then, maybe it's just busy enough to need to.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Just A Virus

We are now day five of Monkey being sick.

Poor thing. He's been running fevers, hardly eating anything except popcicles, and today developed a deep hacking cough. It's been exhausting. For all of us. This is the first time he has been sick this school year, but he has made up for months of perfect health with a vengeance.

I hadn't taken him to the pediatrician, because after 7 years of medical training, I feel that I'm just as good at saying "It's just a virus" as the next person. But when his fever spiked again to 103 today, instead of starting to trend down as I had hoped, I made an appointment at the acute care clinic.

Only my car wouldn't start. Out of the blue, in the car we have never had any trouble with. I've rescheduled and he will be seen first thing in the morning.

Until then, there will be another long day and night of me worrying over him. Every diagnostic possibility lurks in the back of my mind. This is what being a doctor does to you. I keep thinking Is it ear infections? Is it a UTI? Is this turning into pneumonia? His fevers are getting high and he says his leg hurts. Does he have a septic joint or osteomyelitis? Oh my gosh, what if this is the start of symptoms and my baby has leukemia?!

Obviously, it is easy for me to overreact and build myself up into a differential diagnosis frenzy.

Right now, he is sleeping in my bed, tucked under the covers, curtains drawn, and he is resting. There will be encouraging fluids when he is awake and Tylenol if he gets too uncomfortable. He'll be just fine.

I'm sure this is just a virus.

Friday, January 13, 2012


Every since October, the boys have been begging for snow. How they think I am supposed to provide this, I've never been quite sure, but it has never stopped them from asking. "I want it to snow." "Can we please have snow for a snowball fight?" "I need it to snow so we can go sledding/skiing/make snow angels." These requests have been non-stop for months. I kept reassuring them that it would indeed snow, and that they should just enjoy the good weather while it was around.

Thanksgiving came, and there was no snow.

I continued to reassure them that there would be snow. By Christmas, surely there would be snow.

Christmas came, and there was no snow.

I seriously started to lose my credibility. And the boys continued to ask for snow.

New Years came, and there was no snow.

Not only was there no snow, but it was sunny, with temperatures in the 40s and occasionally even in the 50s. The weather was still conducive to walks around the block and bike riding in the school parking lot.

There was no snow. Until yesterday.

Now there are heaps and drifts and covered sidewalks and frost covered windows.

There is plenty of snow for everyone, including the boys. They were so excited that the nanny said the moment they got home from school, they put on all their snow gear and tromped out into the backyard to make the most of accumulation...only to come back in two minutes later. Because not only is it finally snowy, it's also finally cold. Very, very cold.

So we finally have our snow. It finally feels like Christmas. And the boys finally have stopped asking for snow.

Now, we just need the temperatures to rise a little so we can make the most of this. After all, the boys can hear snowmen and snow angels and sledding hills just begging them to come out.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Currently - January

Current Book
Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese. This is the first non-young adult book I have read in a long time. It's good, but it makes me tired.

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure
80's music. I have been listening to 80s cardio on Pandora while I do dishes, and it makes my so happy!

Current Drink
Water, water, water.

Current Songs
"You're the Best" by Joe Esposito (From Karate Kid)
"I Can't Hold Back" by Survivor

Current Wish-List
New boots

Current Needs
To finish my run of night shifts and get back on a normal schedule.

Current Triumph
Starting to exercise again. It's been a very, very long time.

Current Favorite Film
Planet Earth. We have been watching these again with the boys. Even though I have seen them multiple times, I'm impressed every time.

Current TV Show
Top Chef

I'm also thinking about starting to watch Once Upon A Time. Is anyone else watching this? Is it any good?

Current Celebrity Crush

Matthew Lewis, better known as Neville Longbottom. Seriously, I can't get enough of how great he looks all grown up. If you would have told me that Neville would have grown up to be the best looking person in the Harry Potter movies, I would have laughed. Now, I just Google him when I'm having a bad day.

Current Indulgence
Cooking. I really shouldn't be cooking so much, but it makes me feel good.

Current Outfit
Work out gear.

Current Banes of My Existence
"Tebowing." Don't get me wrong, I like Tim Tebow. But having ESPN having a "Tebow Hour." This is just getting out of control.

Current Excitement
Seeing the number on the scale start getting a tiny bit smaller.

Current Mood
So sleepy!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Music To My Ears

Growing up, my parents had a requirement that all us children learned to play a musical instrument. Most of us started on the piano, but our lessons grew to include the flute, the guitar, the violin, the trumpet, the cello, and the drums.

While I'm pretty sure my dad an ulterior motive that may have included visions of a modern von Trapp Family Singers, I always appreciated the opportunity my parents gave us to learn music. It opened another side of my brain that may have otherwise been completely suffocated by all the math and biology I later stuffed in there.

Several months ago, Bug brought home a paper from his school which stated the school would be starting orchestra lessons. I felt hesitant, as my default mode is to avoid anything that may add more stress to our schedules. But I thought of my parents, and how much I appreciated the music lessons (yes, even when my mom was forcing me to play Fur Elise one more time, I still appreciated it.) I asked Bug what instrument he wanted to play.

The violin.

Less than a week later, we had rented a violin, purchased music books and a music stand and he was taking lessons.

Each day, I get to hear him play his way through "Old MacDonald" and "Twinkle Little Star" and "Good King Wenceslas," complete with squeaks and wrong notes and timing that is just a little off. It is music to my ears. When the stray thought comes up that I have had enough of the violin for one day, I think of how often my own parents listened uncomplaining to other awkward attempt at "Three Blind Mice."

Each day he improves. And he is the happiest little violinist, practicing each day without complaint and often without reminder.

His first concert is next week. This mommy is going to be bursting with pride as she listens to elementary students meticulously play through each song.

Each time I hear the metal clicking of the music stand being put together and the first squeak of the bow across the strings, I get a small flash back to my childhood, a childhood filled with music. Now there is music in my house, and I love it.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The No Parent

Hubster tells the boys "yes" a lot. Yes, you can play computer. Yes, you can eat that cookie right before dinner. Yes, you can wear those pants to school. Yes, you can stay up past bedtime.

He's the Yes Parent.

And if he's the Yes Parent, you know what that makes me.

I'm the No Parent. No, you can't play video games. No, you can't have a fruit snack right now. No, you can't wear a cape to school. No, you can't bounce on the couch.

It feels like I say "No" all the time. I know that it's not all the time. But if there is something slightly questionable, something that pushes the rules a little bit, the boys know that Hubster will say "Yes" and that I will say "No."

I hate being the No Parent. The No Parent is the less liked one. The No Parent is the mean parent. The No Parent is the one that gets to listen to the crying and the whining and the begging for just 5 more minutes of iPhone games. It's no fun being the No Parent. I want to be the nice parent, the one that gets to swoop in and say, "Oh, here you go, here a bowl of ice cream for you to snack on while I cook dinner." Unfortunately, there has to be a No Parent.

Although I always tell Hubster that if he would stop being the Yes Parent, than I wouldn't be the No Parent and we would just both be The Parents. We would be a united parental force of No. There would be no more of the children choosing which parent to ask for things.

But then I watch how much fun happens when "Yes" happens. I watch what happens when I say yes to extra stories, yes to blanket forts, yes to another round of Uno, yes to games of hide-and-seek before bedtime.

I know that there has to be a No Parent. And I'm willing to take that roll, if it keeps the kids off the computer and eating healthy. But Hubster and the boys are also making me see that it is just as important to say yes. Occasionally. Once in a while. Maybe.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

To-Do List of 2012

I love lists. I make all sorts of lists. Menus, grocery shopping lists, to-do lists for busy days, check boxes for work. Sometimes I make lists that include things I have already done, just so I can have the delicious satisfaction of crossing things off my list.

Much more ambitious than a list for a day or a trip to the grocery store is Project 52, the creation of Karen and Jennee. A list of goals for the year, Project 52 gives me the chance not only to make the list, but to have support as I go through the year, crossing things off.

I enjoyed this so much last year that I am participating again this year. I've been thinking of my list for over a month, and am so excited to finally make it real, to write it down, so that I can get on with the best part: crossing things off.

1. Find one drawer/closet/cupboard to clean out each month.
2. Get to know my neighbors.
3. Finally overcome my blogging insecurities, and submit posts for SITS (if you have any ideas for posts of mine that you have liked, let me know.)
4. Visit Chicago again.
5. Plan a great spring break vacation.
6. Get a rain barrel.
7. Start posting my menus on my blog.
8. Share some recipes.
9. Get a plant for inside my house.
10. Visit three new places.
11. Get serious about finding a job, meaning I actually have to submit my CV or talk to an actual person.
12. Break out the oil paints and put brush to canvas.
13. Cook with an ingredient I have never used before. Do this three times.
14. Do the Couch-to-5K program.
15. Make a bedtime and stick with it.
16. Make new chore charts for the boys.
17. Send a handwritten letter to 5 friends.
18. Do something special for turning 30.
19. Donate money to something.
20. Get through my anesthesia question book twice.
21. Introduce my boys to art.
22. Get my boys in the kitchen cooking with me.
23. Get a pedicure.
24. Make bread.
25. Go to a drive in movie theater.
26. Go ice skating.
27. Ride a train.
28. Read a parenting book.
29. Learn to take a compliment.
30. Do three home improvement projects.
31. Plant a garden.
32. Make maple syrup.
33. Visit two museums.
34. Volunteer at the school.
35. Start family sharing at the dinner table.
36. Get a better handle on our finances.
37. Write at least 10 blog posts a month.
38. Dance in the rain with my children.
39. Make a baking soda-vinegar volcano.
40. Work on the boys (not so) baby books.
41. Print some of my pictures.
42. Clean the garage.
43. Ride my bike to work at least 10 times.
44. Visit family.
45. Invite friends over for dinner.
46. Let go of the clothes that don't fit.
47. Buy myself flowers twice.
48. Surprise Hubster with a date night.
49. Sew something.
50. Sign the boys up for swimming lessons.
51. Go camping three times.
52. Actually, for all seriousness, get my passport.

52 items feels like a lot. But that's where Project 52 and all the support that comes with it is so wonderful. I can remember that I have an entire year to do all these things, working at them slowly a week, a month at a time. I may not get everything done. But the goal is to have something definitive to show for the year, to cross things off.