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October 2007
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December 2007

It's a wrap! Sort of.

Nano_participant_icon_large So I'm bleary eyed and completely wasted but I'm proud to say I uploaded my novel today and got the "You Won!" message back. Sweet.

A lot of it, and I'm not even being fake humble here, is crap. But what I'm stoked about is the metamorphosis of my novel from November 1st till now. For one thing, it's alive again. For another, it's totally transformed from the original idea. I was so stuck with what it was "supposed" to be which completely blocked the creative process. The writing contest helped me get over that hurdle big time. So as for the original goal of getting the novel completely finished and sent to an agent? Failed. But I'm going to have a better book at the end of this process than I would if I'd stuck to my original Plan. Imagine that, flexibility has its advantages.

I can't believe it's December tomorrow. November went by in a blur of baby stuff and word count obsession. I'm actually excited to be able to focus on the structure of the novel and not just how many words I'm accumulating in a day. However, I did learn what I'm capable of with a newborn. And I discovered I have a very patient and understanding little guy!

In other news, I have a little cold. Also I can't climb the stairs while holding the baby due to some sciatica issue. Yes, I feel totally sorry for myself! But Sam doesn't let me wallow too long. And hey, for the rest of the day I can feel like a winner.


Mighty Mouse

Might_mouse_baby_2 Mighty_mouse_2

Turkey_3 Sam5_mighty_mouse_2_2

Is it just me or does he look like he's doing a Mighty Mouse impression? If so, he is a very smart baby. And witty. Because all the time when we're doing his "kick, kick, kicks" I say in my pretend voice for him "I'm little but I'm mighty!"

Speaking of mice. I noticed little turds on the counter again yesterday. Sick. While I am capable, I (perhaps unfairly) put things like that in Matt's list of things to deal with in our partnership. I'll handle never running out of toilet paper. So, yesterday Matt set a trap and left it on the counter. Makes sense since that's were the obvious signs were.

Don't worry, babe. I'll get it in the morning.

Well... I went to get a cup of coffee first thing and OH MY GOD there is a DEAD mouse lying on my counter. Sick! I actually shrieked. Lucy was all "ohhh, whatchya got there??" And I am a little ashamed to admit I immediately got on the horn with Matt. And yes, I was totally aware that while I was just rolling out of bed at 8 a.m. he was already nearly in the middle of his day and in a meeting. But I did NOT care because there was a DEAD mouse on my counter.

The ultimate girl cliche, right? First, Matt had to talk me down and then gave very specific instructions starting with "take a deep breath, get the pliers out of the hazelnut bowl (we're using it as a fancy nutcracker)" and he ended with "and you might want to take the garbage out so Lucy doesn't get into it. Sorry, babe. I forgot to check it this morning."

I was too freaked out to be mad about it, I just think it's sad that the house is so messy a dead mouse on the counter didn't stand out! Maybe I'll clean. Tomorrow.


Home Sweet Home

I get excited about very stupid things. It's true. For instance, when we pulled into our driveway this evening I turned around to Sammy and said "Slava nasmu vyletu, nezmokli sme a uz sme tu." And then I was delighted that I can pass that tradition onto my little guy. It's what we Oravetz' say when we come home from a trip - I don't really get it but it's just a thing we do. And that is what traditions are, right? The things we do.

Translation: (Glory to our trip, we didn't get wet and now we're home.)

Sam is sleeping/swinging after enduring some serious withdrawals. (Or, maybe that was us?!) Lucy is crashed out on the couch, snoring, after a long ride crated in the back of the Subaru. Matt and I are wiped out and surrounded by piles of things we should unpack. But won't until one of us gets sick of complaining about all the crap in the living room. Probably on Thursday.

Our first big Family Road Trip started with the family road trip staple: an argument. It had to do with how to pack the car and what to do with Lucy Baby who is used to riding in the car. I was not willing to put a lame dog in the back of the truck when we didn't even put her back there when she was at her best. Yes, I know that normal dogs ride in the backs of trucks but this is my Lucy Baby people. Fine. We agreed to take the Subaru we're trying to sell. I'd just gotten the snow tires on it and it was good to go. But what about Lucy?

What about her?

She can't ride in the back seat with Sam!

It'll be fine. She won't bother him. Every time I've had them both in the car, she hardly paid attention to him.

Where was she?

I had Sam in the middle of the back and Lucy was in the front seat.

Honey! The front seat? And she didn't bother Sam? You don't say.

{confused face}

Of course she ignored Sam if she was in the front seat. That's where she strives to be.

Anyway, somehow the argument escalated into who is a better parent. We agreed it's a little soon in our parenting career to be making that call and moved on to arguing about whether or not I was over packing.

In the end we packed Lucy Baby and her big Kennel, Sam and all his paraphernalia, Matt, me and all our stuff into the Subaru and had a nice Thanksgiving weekend with Matt's family and are now defrosting our house.

p.s. about the over packing - totally I did. I'm playing the new mom card on that one. It had nothing to do with being a chronic overpacker. I simply wanted to make sure we had everything we needed. What's funny is that I used to tease friends who always carted around a bunch of baby stuff and now I'm the one hauling a FULL suitcase, a play mat/gym, TWO full diaper bags, a baby bjorn and I swear I would've strapped the swing on the roof-rack if I could've. And that's all to go to his Nana and Papa's who live a mile from Wal-Mart.   


Julienne Jicama

I know how weird this makes me, but I love words and I love finding new ways to work them into my writing and conversations. And I'm lucky to find people willing to play with me. Once, while hanging out with Paul and Rosie I announced I was trying to work "ergo" more into my daily vocabulary. It's so pompous, I just love it.  And then, to my utter delight it turned into a game! Here's what Rosie wrote about it:

We came up with pompous & jackass words that only pompous & jackass folk use (present company excluded, y'all).  Here are our words, in case you were wondering - Paul: heretofore; Nat: ergo; Rose: thusly; Matt: vis a vis.  Throughout the day we would spontaneously use them in group sentences. 

So I have a list of words I challenge myself to work into stories. I've done this for as long as I can remember. I was pretty proud of myself when I worked "chimichanga" into a news story for the college paper. I finally crossed this phrase off my list last week: "julienne jicama."

Writing prompt anyone? Write something working the phrase "julienne jicama" into it. Could be one sentence, a paragraph or whatever. Post them and then I'll add mine. Really, I will. 


Dear Santa

So what we're going to need around here is a maid, a chef and probably a nanny. Then, this will be a breeze. Meanwhile, I'm starting to get the hang of things on my own. We were blessed to have my mom with us for two weeks and Matt's mom for a week, so even though Sam is already SIX weeks old, I'm just now starting to get our own routine down. Routine might not be the right word. Let's go with coping. We're starting to cope on our own.

I was a little nervous that between my mom and Matt's mom here helping with dinner and household stuff, Matt would get a false impression of what a typical day with the baby is like. He came home most nights to a set table and well rounded meals. I decided to set things straight immediately. On our first night alone together, this was dinner: Oscar Meyer wieners sliced open, stuffed with thin slices of cheddar cheese, wrapped in store-bought biscuits and the vegetable? Ketchup.

So, this is dinner tonight. If you're still hungry or think it's gross, go ahead and make something else. And please make extra for me.

Luckily for me and our marriage, Matt's attitude is something to eat is better than nothing and he'd rather see me working on the book and taking care of Sam than putting together gourmet meals. But if I could figure out a way to swing all three, I'm sure he wouldn't complain! Ergo, a maid, chef and nanny would be helpful. Dear Santa ...


Best Purchase Ever

Wilco_rcpt A year ago today we headed into town to buy a few little things for our flooring project. And ended up coming home with a little surprise that would change our lives: Little Lucy Baby.

I waited in the truck while Matt ran into the store. I was tired. Or, rather, I thought I was tired. Little did I know we were about to launch one in a series of sleep deprivation exercises. I watched Matt pause at the entrance, bend down, come back up grinning and walk back toward me. Uh-oh. Puppies. I've been avoiding this since 1999. Because I am not a dog person. At all. Lucy_nat_2

Honey. He says it like it's a full sentence. You have to come see this.

No, thanks.

Babe, seriously. They are so cute!

You know I can't just look. So I'm not going to torture myself.

Please just come look.

Fine!

And then I broke all the rules mentioned in the Labradors for Dummies book that I bought after the fact. There was no research. There was no studying all of the dogs until I picked the "best" one. No. Just this one little chocolate pup picked me. Something compelled me to pick her up and she snuggled right into me. And licked my face! And I didn't hate it. In fact, I felt my heart give. I held her until she got really squirmy. I put her down and she took a few steps away to go potty in private. The other dogs were going right there in the middle of everything. So maybe the "best" dog picked me.

Danger. Danger. Danger. A woman from the parking lot was approaching us rather aggressively. She started to lean toward the little chocolate dog so I took a possessive posture and said, "Isn't she adorable?"
"Oh, is she yours?"
"Yes." Oh God. Yes?!

Matt came out of the store swinging his plastic bag containing $6.98 worth of stuff.

"Yeah. We're going to need $200 and some dog food."

A year later, she's 70 pounds of love but still cuddles with us and has been my favorite purchase ever. I always figured that one day Matt would win the dog debate and I would learn to tolerate his dog. I surprised myself, and everyone who knows me, by how much I love her. She is totally a part of our family. Proof? I have a picture I could use for Christmas cards, but she isn't in it so I have to wait till my amazing photographer sister-in-law can take one of all four of us this weekend.Lucy_on_boards Lucys_green_eyes_2 Lucyfirst_pic Lucy_meets_the_yard 


Simple Pleasures

I am writing this from my favorite coffee shop in McMinnville, Cornerstone. Matt is home alone with Sam for the first time since he was born. I'm borrowing his lap top so I can get some writing done without worrying about the baby, the laundry, the dishes or the dog. Just writing. And enjoying the hell out of feeling a little bit like my old self. Except that I miss them. When I called to check on things, Matt was on a walk. I heard him talking to Lucy. I asked how Sam was doing.

I can't really hear him, I'm up the street from the house. [pause. laugh.] Just kidding, babe.

This business of writing from a laptop is clutch. Dear Santa ...

So my big outing today? My big "go do something relaxing for yourself" thing? Getting my eyebrows waxed because I was starting to look like a Sasquatch. Also I'm planning to go the Grocery Store. By. My. Self. It's not so much that having hot wax poured on my face is relaxing, but not having to take the baby into the salon ... that's nice. And going to the grocery store alone. Wow. Who knew what a luxury that turns out to be?

At the salon, I realized I didn't have a picture to show off. Not one. Well, that's okay. I'll get it off my cell phone. I flip it open and see that Lucy Baby is still my screen saver photo. I really do love my baby. I just don't have any proof. 

 


Ladies and Gentlemen, big news from our end of the lane! Huge news for Momma Me. Sam took his first bottle tonight. It went like this.

I'm working on deadline. He was fussy enough all day that I got little done so when Matt came home, his mom made dinner and cleaned up after while he watched the baby and I came up to work. I'd pumped my first bottle last night. Actually my second but the first time was such a damn disaster it doesn't even count.

Babe, he's hungry. Did you want to be present for this or what?
Well, yeah, it's a momentous occaison. I want to take a picture.

So Matt fed his son for the first time with Lucy, me and his mom hovering over him.

Matt popped that bottle in his mouth and Sam gulped down every last drop without stopping to complain at all. What a little champ!!!


Maternity Leave

Sams_swing2Word Count: 22,690

My "maternity leave" is sort of a strange thing. I've spent most of it so far balancing taking care of my baby and meeting deadlines. And I am so grateful for both Baby Chi Chi and the fact that I have deadlines to meet.

I am trying not to worry about how we're going to make ends meet. I am trying to trust the saying "Do what you love and the money will follow." Luckily I don't have time to balance the checkbook right now. It's not just that I love writing. It's that writing is as vital to me as sleeping. Well, maybe more like eating, since I've learned I can live without sleeping.

So mostly it's a "leave" from life as I know it. And an introduction to what I hope becomes my new normal: balancing taking care of my family and writing for a living. Wish me luck. And more jobs coming in. Today would be good.

I have to be sure to put the manufacturers of this swing in my novel's credits. Sam LOVES this swing and I heart the people who made it. 

P.S. Part two ran in the Statesman Journal this Sunday. I was surprised to see my picture on the front page of that section. The sub-head near my picture had the phrase "cheating spouse."

Matt's comment after "cool babe" was "Great! People are going to think I'm some kind of asshole."

For the record: it's fiction.