Wednesday, March 28, 2018

40. be the bad guy (and be okay with it) (40 x 40)

When I put this list of items together, I didn’t think that it would be the iPad that would make me into the Bad Guy. My mom got us the iPad, because I asked for one, before Roddy was born. I had read that it was an effective tool for entertaining, that there are all kinds of games and puzzles on it for the little one. I also had the unrealistic dream that I would use it to get reading done. Roddy and I finished three chapters of Moby Dick (which is actually a fairly humorous tome) before it basically became Jason’s music tool. He uses it for Spotify, practicing guitar, listening to ALL OF THE GRATEFUL DEAD recordings. We used it a handful of times to do yoga in our living room. We consistently use it for FaceTime with my Dad and Bonus Mom in Connecticut. When Jason started the SAHDventure, he began using the iPad when Roddy was eating, so that he could do other things around the house. It became associated with eating for Roddy and I began associating it with Jason's smoking. I have been building the worst resentment against the fucking iPad.

It all came to a head last week. I had seen our neighbors use the iPad with their daughter when she goes to the potty, as a tool to get her to sit in the same spot when she poops. It worked for them, so I thought I would try it with Roddy. First thing in the morning, I sat him on the potty with Blippi and then I proceeded to make breakfast. Trying to get him to sit down and eat pancakes and sausage became a MAJOR struggle when breakfast was ready. He wanted to continue to watch Blippi. He said he wasn’t hungry, that he needed to poop. But meal time – to me – is time when you sit with your family without distractions and break bread. It’s 30 minutes (tops!) three times a day for fucks sake when you can put away distractions and make some fucking eye contact with the people you share your home with. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to cherish this time, to set up some boundaries, to cook a meal for these stomachs that mean so much to me and share the time with them – well, the whole person – including the stomach. He had refused to eat dinner at my mom’s house the week before unless the TV was on. But he inhaled his food as soon as I caved last Thursday.

After 15 minutes of serious meltdown about the iPad, I told him that it was the last day – that I was going to let his Aunt Christy borrow it until our summer vacation to Connecticut in July. Roddy continues to remember that he wants the iPad even though it’s only been gone for three days, and whines for it. It’s harder to keep him contained and entertained. He’s started to eat the same food as I make for Jason and myself. He’s started to play with his toys more. No changes to sleeping or naptime.

Jason says that I’m punishing both of them. I’ve said that the amount of screentime that Roddy has bothers me but it’s just easier for Jason to sit him in front of the iPad so he can go outside and smoke, or “take out the trash.” He said that he would try to cut down the amount of screen time, but he didn’t. So I’m the Bad Guy because I’m setting some boundaries. It’s hard to set boundaries. It’s really difficult to be the one that says this is not okay and to consistently back it up with action. I think that the ends justifies the means here though and I can be okay with being the Bad Guy.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018 in a yurt (40 x 40)

Chronicles of Camping in a Yurt and Thunder the Deer

After Roddy's first birthday celebration at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, we drove north to Brian's Head, Utah to stay in a yurt. We went "glamping."

If you don't know what a yurt is: A traditional yurt (from the Turkic languages) or ger (Mongolian) is a portable, round tent covered with skins or felt and used as a dwelling by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia. The structure comprises an angled assembly or latticework of pieces of wood or bamboo for walls, a door frame, ribs (poles, rafters), and a wheel (crown, compression ring) possibly steam-bent. The roof structure is often self-supporting, but large yurts may have interior posts supporting the crown. The top of the wall of self-supporting yurts is prevented from spreading by means of a tension band which opposes the force of the roof ribs.

The glamping yurt we went to Summit Mountain Lodge. It was beautiful, located at the end of a winding, hilly, dirt road that requires visitors to use a high clearance vehicle in the summer and a SnowCat in the winter.  It’s tucked far from anything and is blanketed with a thick black blanket of stars at night. And it is quiet. Sitting back in the woods, both the main lodge and the yurts are sheltered from any sort of standard city sounds. We met one of the owners when we arrived, she gave us keys and told us about Thunder the Deer.

We were the only people staying there, which was a bit eerie, but meant we could walk around naked and climb on things without getting caught.
So imagine this: naked mountain praising, Thunder the Deer coming to steal food, cattle grazing, and climbing water towers. All in one day.



Monday, October 23, 2017

32x32 list

1. donate hair to Wigs for Kids (complete)
2. establish Needles to Say (complete)
3. complete a century ride (Complete)
4. close out corporate bank account, open up checking at a credit union (Complete)
5. go play seal/otter/walrus
6. dye & spin my own yarn
7. watch all the alfred hitchock movies
8. go on 3 blind dates (complete)
9. re-enact a scene from the Miracle on 34th Street (Complete)
10. vote (complete)
11. take someone hostage and love them to death
12. Be a member of the audience in a TV show
13. Send a message in a bottle (complete)
14. Run to the top of the Statue of Liberty
15. Go geocatching
16. Fold a 100 origami cranes and give them to someone special (Complete)
17. Fly in a helicopter
18. go to a silent meditation weekend retreat (Complete)
19. go on tour of the Capitol (Complete)
20. finish trunk projects
21. make garden needles, knit a blanket with +10 strands of yarn (Complete)
22. complete a half marathon (complete)
23. read something by David Foster Wallace (Complete)
24. make an anonymous donation (complete)
25. improve race time on another triathlon
26. swim across the Long Island Sound
27. make stuffed squid like at Cousin Frank's
28. go bowling in the White House (Complete)
29. knit a blanket with +10 strands of yarn (Complete)
30. blow kisses to all highway patrol cars (complete)
31. steal a choir suit and run around singing, clapping, and praising (complete)
32. sit in the gallery during a Supreme Court trial

5. buy a hOme (40 x 40)

We started looking for our home after a whirlwind romance, getting married within 10 months of meeting. We were looking for a place that we could grow into with the addition of little ones running around. My husband wanted more of a turn-key property and growing up with a carpenter father, I wanted more of a fixer-upper. We knew we wanted to live in Baltimore but we were ALL OVER THE PLACE, started in Reservoir Hill, then looked in Patterson Park, Hamden (the ubiquitous), Mattfeldt Park, Dickeysville, Lauraville.

We would send our realtor the redfin and trulia links of houses and she would patiently take us to these houses and I'd tear them up and nothing would come of it.

Pinterest was a black hole of a time-suck before those major adult (American) milestones appeared on my horizon: marriage, children, home-buying. I just didn't really understand why I would "pin" a recipe or a beautiful place or a fashionable skirt to a "board" when it was just something interesting on the internet. I would copy and paste links to things that I liked into an email and send it to myself if I wanted to remember and organize places (because fuck bookmarks).

And then came a whole new level of needing to save various corners of the internet: organizing a wedding reception, planning for a newborn, and the ultimate need of dreaming of a hOme (capital "O" for the Orioles).

Maybe I have put the cart before the horse, but I started to accumulate ideas for non-existent house on Pinterest. I definitely put the cart before the horse when I downloaded apps to my phone to start looking at houses before a) checking my credit score (because I assume it's heinous from the wreckage of student loans) and b) cleaning up my credit so that c) we could get a ball park figure for how much we could afford.

While Pinterest dreams flourished, the reality check came in early August when we met with a loan guy. Based on a 4.5% mortgage rate the Debt To Income ratio (DTI) for a 200k home is around 21% of solely my income, and a 300k home is around 32%. Jason and I are definitely not comfortable with a $2000+ monthly mortgage (which is what it would be for the 300k home). We also spoke about the 203(k) loans and about finding a house that may need renovations. Seems like there are a bunch of hoops to jump through going that route, but might be worth it.

Since then, we've been a bit busy with the arrival of the little bodhi man, but I've stayed on the lookout for a house that could be our hOme. I've also kept pinning and searching for the elements of a hOme that I would like to have.

Here's what I'd like for the kitchen:
 I love keeping old houses like they were: rehabilitation > renovation

 The green subway tiles and the white counters, gas range.
 lots of natural light

 black board and space for pictures for the little man and others (maybe...)

 open shelving with the painted pipes, I could do that. Jason never remembers if he has something unless it is visible (object relativity is real), so this might be more funcitonal than aesthetic for him.

 reclaimed and repurposed wood has a big place in our hearts, we care about not making more Things.
 this type of mural but with Orioles or Black eyed Susans

Here are some ideas for a dining room:
 to match the time of the house... if we happen to find a turn of the century home...

 for all of the mismatched china plates that we were given as gifts for our marriage

 decorating with green is always a dream... unfortunately, it's jason who always has to pick up the responsibility for my dreams... like watering said dream.

I could go on... okay, okay, I will!

ideas for a yard:

I'll stop there. Hopefully the next thing I'll be able to update this post is that we found a place and bought it.

January 2016:
Jason became a stay at home dad and we moved to Arlington, VA to save some money by living with my family so that we could have a nest egg for "getting serious" about buying a house. I put it in quotes because my husband was also following #vanlife on Twitter and I don't know if there was ever a couple who could be more ambiguous about "getting serious" about buying a house.

July 2017:
 Finally after a year with my family we were ready to put it on the good foot and we found a few houses and actually put in offers, our realtor (Kim Lally Holmes, from the the Beliveau Group of Keller Williams) made it amazingly smooth. There were a few nights when we sent her some late night text flurries - but she was professional with her boundaries and answered us reasonably the next day. She was always honest and forthcoming about pros and cons on the house that we finally bought. She's amazing, anyone would be lucky to have her representing them when going through this major life event.

And now we have a hOme! I'll post pictures as soon as all of our boxes are unpacked. It kills me that our boxes aren't unpacked yet and that there's still lingering things. Jason says we have a lifetime to make it a hOme, but I'd like to get my pictures hung and our clothes unpacked and the plants in the right rooms and the walls painted NOW. This has been a great lesson in patience and incrementalism and deferred gratification and compromise.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

5. bet on the ponies (33x33)

Finally finished this item! I actually had it on the 30x30 when I was living in Delaware and my mom and I were planning on going to Dover Downs. And then I was going to go with my best friend when I was in Elementary School, Anna Duff, to Charlestown Races. And then Dar Hamil and I were going to go to the Black Eyed Susan Races at Pimplico the day before the big races for the triple crown but her daughter's birthday was always in the way (gosh, children are so needy).

Cristina and I went to Preakness and WON this year! We didn't know the first thing about placing a bet and we only bet once. I can see now why there is gambling anonymous! It was such a rush! Watching the horses and waiting for the results and collecting free money.

Yay free money!
(forgive my terrifying resemblance to Freddy Kruger)

Saturday, December 5, 2015

10. eat placenta (40x40)

When bebe slipped out of me, the doctors told me to keep pushing so that the placenta, an organ also known as the "after birth," would follow. I could feel it, warm and soft, leave my body. They knew that I wanted to take it home with us, so they had a bucket ready to go for it. They put it in a refrigerator somewhere until we figured out how to get it home. I had already researched placenta smoothie recipes, so I knew we had to get it home and into the freezer.  Because there was meconium in the amniotic fluid when my water broke, we knew there would be some on the placenta to clean off. The nurses kept saying that it was sterile though and so it wouldn't be a problem if it was ingested.

Jason vowed to me that he would support my adventures. This one though, was a bit of a gross adventure to support. After bebe was born and we all snuggled for a while, Jason went home with the placenta to preserve it (and shower and smoke).  In the abstract, this isn't a big deal. But hearing him tell the tale of preserving it, you'd think I gave him my lower intestines to put in the freezer. When he got back to the hospital room and told us why it took him so long to return, the abstract idea of eating my placenta became operationalized and very real.
"I walked home in the hot August heat, begrudgingly, with a bucket that held my son's home for the past 41 weeks. Once home, I had to rinse the placenta off. It was fucking gross. There was meconium and multiple blood clots that clung to the placenta. It had a giant vein, veins, running through it. It was grey. It was grayish purple and extra extra extra slimy. I felt I was washing off an eel I had caught in the Cheaspeake Bay that was trying to escape. Even though it was a slippery as an eel, when I was cleaning it in the kitchen sink and had it spread out, it was dome-ish like a sting ray. It kept slipping out of my hands, and it kept trying to slide down into the garbage disposal." 
Three months after he put it into the freezer, I brought my placenta out to eat it.

To make a placenta smoothie put the following ingredients in your ninja:
1 cup Almond Milk
kale from farmers market
1 frozen banana
2 tablespoons of almond butter
1 scoop of vanilla Vega protein powder

Unwrap frozen placenta.

 Cut placenta into serving sizes.
 Cut placenta into cubes for future smoothies and store in sandwich ziplock bags. Add one serving of cubed placenta into ninja.
 Blend. Blend well. Blend until there aren't any sinewy pieces left.
 Drink. Swallow without chewing. Ignore that metallic taste in the back of your throat.

Friday, November 6, 2015

7. finish all the thank you cards (40x40)

Getting married and having a baby within the same year has made for the mother-load (see what I did there?) of thank you card duty, which is why I put it on the list. I'm not complaining, I just needed a little extra motivation to get all of these puppies done. People are too generous though and keep giving us the most amazing gifts; I'll never actually be done!

I did make my own cards at the Fab Lab for baby gifts. I think they turned out pretty well.  After sending them out after the showers, there were some leftover that I thought I could sell on etsy. I'm glad I didn't though because after Bodhi was born there was another wave of generosity for which I required them!