Sunday, November 18, 2012

Nap time

Last night I dreamt that a semi-truck rolled on top of me and while I was happy that I was not crushed, I remember thinking, "It's going to take them a long time to get me out of here...I might actually be able to get a nap in." My life is horribly out of balance. I have known this in some capacity for awhile but I am becoming acutely aware of it as my body is unable to keep up. Aches and pains, exhaustion, stress, sleepless nights (even when Ellis is sleeping which is the ultimate rub), snapping at Aaron, snapping at my coworkers, markedly diminished capacity to deal with E's new found toddler antics. Whenever I get to this place, the place of knowing that something needs to change I arrive at two conclusions: 1. I need more time for myself (particularly to exercise as that is my mental health plan and always has been) and 2. I need to train E to sleep on her own. Enter the reason nothing has changed thus far. If I have the choice of hanging out with me and hanging out with E, I will choose E. And if I work full time and I feel as though I never get to see E then I will let her sleep with us for as long as she wants to so we at least have that time together. The sad truth though is this is not working anymore.

As you know I have diagnosed myself with post-traumatic stress disorder after the accident. One of the symptoms of PTSD is a sense of foreshortened future or a sense that you won't be around for very much longer. While I don't feel that way about myself, I do, and I am horrified to admit this, feel a sense of foreshortened future with E. it's my greatest fear, as it is any parent's, that you will have the gut wrenching task of outliving your child. E is a happy, vibrant and healthy child. My neuroses are not based in reality, this I know, but it is something that I still contend with daily. So the idea of taking time for myself or having her sleep on her own is nauseating to me. I want every second I can get with her. I can only remind myself over and over again that she will be by my side when I am 90 and I will watch her walk and run, make friends and have sleep overs, have a broken heart and do poorly on a history quiz (god forbid!), and we will visit colleges together and we will travel to other worlds together and I will watch her marry and have babies and get promotions at work. I will be the person she calls for the next 60 + years when she needs a reminder of how special she is. Remind her how more than any other child at her daycare she would show astounding empathy towards others at a very young age. We have time. We have time. We have time.

The god honest truth though is that E learns what she sees. She has to learn to care for herself above anyone else and that starts with me doing the same and so I will make a public proclamation:
1. I will work out three times a week, without Ellis and without the dogs. Just me and the road/treadmill/yoga mat.
2. I will begin to look at how good parenting is quality time not quantity of time. When I am with Ellis, I will be with Ellis. If that means I need to budget for someone else to clean my house, so be it.
3. I will explore sleep training options that feel good to me. I will take my time with this though so E does not sense my ambiguity.
4. I will rest more. When I can, I will. The dishes are no longer my priority.

Happy Sunday. I'm going to take a nap now.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Mom works

I told myself for as long as I can remember that when I have kids I will not work for the first five years of their lives, which, recounting now I see that I would have taken off a lot more than five years unless I planned on having back to back children. At any rate, it was a rude awakening to have to put my child into daycare at 4.5 months old. Luckily, my child is highly social and very easily bored so daycare, particularly the one she attends, is a great fit for her. On the weeks when I do keep her home, either because she is under the weather or daycare is taking a break, she seems to find the humdrum of our daily lives rather unsatisfactory. She seems to prefer when the action knob is turned up, the visitors are coming in and out frequently and the scenery is changing often. While I try to control my child's external stimuli a little bit, fact of the matter is, the girl likes action. The apple once again falling close to the tree.

Believe me, I recite the latter paragraph to myself on a near daily basis. Because no matter how content she is at daycare, I feel an unrelenting guilt about not being able to keep her home. The story I tell myself more often than I care to is that I have failed as a mother, right out the gate, by not being able to observe her every moment of development.

The next monologue that goes through my riddled with guilt mind is that its good for her to see her mommy succeed. The world is a different place. When she is grown, chances are she will be the primary breadwinner. Rates of depression for women have drastically decreased and they hypothesize that this is partly due to much better psychotropics but also because women are doing what actually makes them happy, which by in large, isn't staying at home. The guilt though, which I will continue to go back to, is formidable. I suppose it helps that we don't really have a choice. We could technically live off of one salary but in all honesty, I'm not willing to be that poor. I went to school for 20 years. I love what I do. When E asks me what it is I do everyday, I can't wait to show her.

Friday, November 9, 2012


Let me preface this by saying that I have not yet calmed down. I am writing in a close to limbic state here so please do not contact the police or the local mental institution to do a home safety check. For the record, Ellis is asleep, thank Jesus and I am settling down to watch back-to-back Gossip Girl as soon as I finish this. Now, that being said, this has been one of the worst EFFING weeks of my life (the fact that I didn't use the F word just then is a.) not at all satisfying and b.) a good sign.). Aaron is hunting, which is something I promised him I would never begrudge him if we ended up together. After this week however, I rather eat pink sludge for the rest of my life if that means I don't ever have to single-parent a teething infant again. Let me clarify: teething, croupy, has the rhino virus (common cold) infant. She nearly bit both my nipples off more times than I care to keep track of this week, she hit me with her EFFING baby Einstein boom-box ON MY HEAD, while I WAS LOOKING THE OTHER EFFING WAY. I saw stars, nearly passed out, etc. The house is a disaster. I won't even let her crawl on the floor for fear she will contract Hepatitis. I have been to the pediatrician three times this week and they keep giving her prescriptions and I'm wondering when they're going to catch on and give me an EFFING prescription. Xanax sounds nice. Shit, I will take a trank shot in between the eyes at this point.

I should also add that I chose this week to do a detox. Why? I DON'T EFFING KNOW!!! Bad idea, really bad idea. Some folks suggested that detoxing should be a pleasurable experience, but some people also suggested giving birth was pleasurable so to each their own I guess. I am not an "unhealthy" person. Relatively speaking, I'm healthier than most so a detox for me is just adding insult to injury. I should have seen the signs that this week was going to lead me to contemplating creative ways of killing myself, but I didn't and I kept on with the detox. Again, bad idea.

Last night I caved and ate almost a half of a box of Cheez-its. I NEVER eat cheez-its, I don't even know how they ended up in my cabinet. Low and behold, snack food! I couldn't stop. They tasted like a dream. I kept thinking, mouth stuffed, "Why would I do a thtupid thing like detothing anyway. Simple carbths make me tho happy. Nom, nom, nom." Well, I woke up with a wicked creak in my neck. We're talking about 25% mobility. I'm not blaming the cheez its but the timing is oddly suspicious.

This afternoon I called Aaron and cried. I'm glad he's not an alarmist because we sounded bad. Ellis was barking like a seal and crying because I'm too afraid to nurse her and I'm crying because my neck hurts and Ellis weights 100 pounds and I can't pick her up without mind numbing pain and so crying seemed like my best option. This of course, made Ellis cry harder because she's never seen her mommy cry. It's not pretty and she's probably thinking to herself, "Yikes, is that how I look when I cry? That is so unattractive."

Oh and I'm going to either kill or give away the dogs. I might kill them so we can eat them that way Aaron doesn't have to go hunting anymore. Jaco tacos.

Well, this has helped a lot. As will the brimming glass of wine I will enjoy after my chiropractor fixes my neck.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

DIY frenzy

I just ate a gluten free cookie, which by the way, does not count as an actual cookie so I'm ready to move onto topic #2 of the evening:  NEW HOUSE.

We are under contract and we've had an inspection. We are waiting for the appraisal and then we will hopefully be good to go. I love this house. It's new, immaculate, the design is simple, efficient and will be fun to decorate, which is what I want to talk about right now. The following is a list of my upcoming projects, which I will complete in my over-abundance of free time (ha!):

1. Refurbish our dining room table and chairs, i.e., paint them a color other than the color they are right now. Preferably white because I love white.

2. Make an ottoman. This one is going to be a bitch I already know. My mom claims that she knows what she's doing but I can already hear her saying, "Hmm...I don't know. I want pizza."

3. PILLOWS! I plan on making a lot of adorable pillows with the phantom adorable fabric I have yet to find. I went to my fav fabric store in town but the lady that was working was asking me some strange questions about someone I don't know very well and I kept saying, "I don't know that person well enough to speculate," and that was apparently not a good enough answer for her as she stalked me right out the door. I didn't manage to purchase any fabric that day.

4. Ellis' room is going to require MAJOR assistance from Grandma Anne. I'm thinking a beautiful mural, maybe chalkboard paint all along the wall so she can color at all times, and well, to tell you the truth I have thought the least about Ellis' room. Sort of hoping mom is going to be project lead on this one.

5. Aaron is obsessed with the shed he's going to build. I'm excited that there will be a place to put his duck decoys and his big foot hunting shrub lookalike outfit.  That thing scares the shit out of me every time I see it. Once he hung it up on the porch to dry and I thought it was a 10-foot serial killer with extreme amounts of body hair. Not cool.

6. The dogs will need a fence. Boring. Hoping Aaron will take care of that one.

7. Someday I am going to find a rug that blows my mind. I'm hoping that day will come directly after payday.

8. Big Yard Sale at my bestie's house on Valverde this Saturday. I'm selling all of Aaron's things. Kidding. I'm only selling the stuff that he clearly bought when he thought he would never live with a woman. I have his permission, I'm not that rude.

Projects galore!!!


Today I went to a grief training. Grief and loss is perhaps my least favorite subject to be trained on, but I do it every so often to refresh my clinical prowess and to stir up my own grief pot, which invariably happens e v e r y single time. I didn't actually know I was going to be trained on grief today, which is what I get for being an hour late to my meeting. So I walk in and there's a man reading from what looks like a novel. He welcomes me, I apologize for my tardiness and he reads on. I quickly realize that he's reading from a book that he has written. A book that he has written about his deceased daughter. A book that he has written about the six year major depressive episode/grieving process that ensued after he lost his daughter to terminal illness. I stepped in at the wrong time. I felt instantly panicked. "Can't I just leave?" "No! That is so rude Dorothy!" "I can't listen to this right now. Not today." "Dorothy, sit down. Relax. Just listen to the guy." "I can't listen to anything about children dying. I just can't bare it. It's too terrifying." Yes, I talk to myself a lot. So the cordial Dorothy won and I ended up staying for the training. I was uncomfortable throughout most of it and I realized that the speaker was just so raw, brilliantly raw really and the longer he spoke, the more naked I felt and I started to think about Aaron's accident and how tragically traumatic that was and continues to be when I allow myself to think of it. And when I think of it, which I often try hard not to do, I realize that I don't think the trauma in my life has made me stronger. I think its made me weaker, like a boxer who can't take another punch. 

And so I was stripped naked today at work, unsuspecting, but I learned some things too and there is something so healing about being in the near proximity of someone who has survived hell and has found a way to go on and even laugh and make jokes and talk about what kind of tacos he's going to eat for lunch. There is something magical and divine about our ability to go on. I remember after I first learned of Aaron being hit I could barely get a sense of him. It was like he had either left this world or he was on his way out. On the drive down to Albuquerque, before his helicopter had landed, I talked to him and told him to stay. Go back to your body. Stay with us. Please. I talked to him for hours and imagined him as I had seen him only hours before. So full of life. I remember the exact moment he came back. His energy suddenly surrounded me and I knew he was back. The doctors say that is when he started seizing, which was an improvement over comatose.

The thing about grief is that we are in relation to it all the time. Some days we simply observe it from afar, other days we dance with it closely.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Clarity = Divine Intervetion

I can say that I have had three profoundly spiritual experiences in my life. One, while sitting in the hot tub at the Northside Gym in Taos, NM. I know, it sounds  ridiculous but it's true. I was living in Los Angeles at the time, had wonderful friends, was dating a brilliant screenwriter, was about to move in with one of my best friends but there was something nagging at me. So I was home visiting my family, was enjoying my post-workout soak and asked myself, "what if?" What if I did what was best for me? What kinds of decisions would I make then? Just then, the tree I had been staring at became so brilliantly clear. I could see every branch, every weave of wood, every knot, and the moon made the bark shine silver. I don't know what happened in that moment but I experienced absolute clarity. I knew I needed to come home. Home to the place I had vowed NEVER to live again. I knew with 100% certainty. And so it was.

The second most profound spiritual experience in my life was when I left the man I thought I was going to be with forever. He was as far as I could see. I loved him more than I thought possible and the worst conceivable possibility was that we wouldn't be together. Ours was a dark love though. We brought out the most wounded parts of each other. So even though I couldn't imagine letting him go, when it became painfully obvious that I had to, my life that had become a skeletal version of what it was before I met him, suddenly, in just days, blossomed! Despite the pain I was in, I again had been blessed with 100% certainty that I was moving in the right direction.

Third most profound spiritual experience was Aaron's accident. Well, to be specific, it was all of you. My life had shattered and you all, collectively, put it back together. I had never been so terrified and  so loved in my life. And I knew (somewhere inside) that we would be okay.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


I have always liked my life. Well, except for 10-15. Those were hard years and I was a total idiot in my early twenties as well and I basically shouldn't be alive because I was so idiotic but I did have a lot of fun. At any rate, I've pretty much always liked my life but I have had this weird nagging for as long as I can remember. The nagging has been about wondering when my life will actually start. No matter how hard I tried to "be present" "live in the now" "carpe diem" this shit up, I have just sort of wondered what I was doing for most of my life. I liked college, A LOT and I loved graduate school. LOVED IT. I loved falling in love for the first time, even though I thought I had been in love before but then when it happened I knew that this was a first, the love that everyone had been talking about. So there were periods of my life where I wasn't bouncing around a padded room of existential crises, but by in large I have still wondered...what is it that I'm doing exactly...?

I bring this up because I don't feel that way anymore! I totally know what I'm doing and every decision I make is for a specific purpose. It's effing fantastic! I hate to say that buying a house has made me a more grounded person but it has. I spend at least several hours a day thinking about making this house our home and raising our sweet girl for a few years in this home. I think about what flowers and vegetables we will choose to plant, which fruit bearing tree we will grow with my placenta so when friends come over we can ask, "You want a placenta apple?" I wonder if I will actually be able to refurbish our ottoman or if pinterest really does make everything look easier than it is. That was certainly the case with the cinnamon bread I made last weekend, Jesus! Never making that shit again.

Maybe this career driven girl just wanted a family this whole time...maybe it was just that simple. You know, no, its not just that. I feel like I met a true partner. He gets me, we want to throttle each other sometimes, but he gets me. Whatever our chemical reaction is, its a good one, a peaceful one, one that burns strong and slow. I didn't know it was possible but I have searched my whole life for it.

Also, I'm really excited that Ellis decided to go to bed early so I can eat leftovers, have a glass of vino and watch Grey's Anatomy. Hells yes. xoxo

Sunday, September 30, 2012

A few things

A few things:

First, I have a fresh jar of goat cheese from farmer's market and I just ran out of nut-thins. God dangit. I love having a glass of wine and some nut-thins with goat cheese. I'm not above eating goat cheese by the spoonful but it's rather undignified so I will refrain.

Secondly, I can't stop thinking about this house. SO much has to happen before I can move all of our new furniture into it (I kid) but I will know more tomorrow after our mortgage broker runs some numbers...still, I have BIG ideas. BIG, HUGE, and it's so much fun to think about.

Third, my tire blew out today and by the grace of god, we were about 100 feet from our front door and we were traveling at about 7 miles per hour. Thank you, thank you, thank you for keeping us safe. Thank you.

Fourth, Aaron come home Tuesday and fire season is officially over...I think. At any rate, reentry is always interesting, especially with two bull headed folks like us.

Fifth, work is CRAZY busy, or my new favorite, cray-cray busy. Ha, hilarious. Anyway, my intention for this week is to stay calm, focused and productive. CFP baby!

That's it for tonight folks. I know, this is not my most brilliant work. Whevs.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Purgy Purgy

I haven't diagnosed myself in awhile so here goes: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. This is not manifesting mind you, in having to wash my hands until they crack open, or count to 14 before I step into the front door, no, no, for me it's all about the purge. I just have this unshakable desire to throw away all of our crap. When I see our house in my mind I see something completely different than the reality of the situation, which is chaos and over-consumption. So every now and then, like tonight for example, I gather the troops, i.e., trash bags, and I start going through my clothes because really it's my clothes that are the biggest issue. I toss a shirt into the "give-away" bag, and then pass by ten articles of clothing, throw the eleventh in the "give-away" bag, and so on and so forth. This is not working! At the end of my every-tenth-article-of-clothing-must-go I still have way too many f-ing clothes. Someone once told me that if I haven't worn something in six months, get rid of it. That does not work for someone who was recently-ish pregnant. I haven't worn any of the clothes I love so much in almost two years, so essentially I have two wardrobes, the one I can fit into now and the one I used to fit into but will NEVER get rid of because then I've conceded to never fitting into them again and that ain't gon' happen people. So the two wardrobes stay and so do the duck decoys (that is ALL Aaron). I may just be a moderate hoarder. No, it can't be. I throw stuff away weekly, but the big purge, the one I'm really needing, has yet to happen.

So, where is this coming from? Well, Aaron and I have been house hunting. I know, exciting! The first house that I was interested in was big and roomy and I had a lot of fantasies about how much space Ellis would have to strut her stuff. I also had a lot of fantasies about how much closet space there was and how I wouldn't have to get rid of anything ever again! Alas, this house was a shit show. I equated it to Aaron, as he is gone on a fire, to a really hot girl who's all screwed up. It looks pretty but it's all messed up inside. The heating system was, excuse the expression, retarded, the septic system would have been a pain in the ass, the windows don't open without beating them, and the roof leaks, like everywhere. We found this out before the inspection so I who knows what else was wrong with it. I can't stomach spending as much money as they were asking to have that big of a to-do list when we moved in so I canned it. I'm not one to sit around a mope, so the very same day I found house #2, which is considerably smaller but was constructed beautifully, efficiently and is immaculate inside. So immaculate that I instantly thought, "We are too messy to move in here! We will have start all over! IKEA here we come!" Aaron doesn't know this by the way and its all his furniture that we would be getting rid of so I hope he doesn't mind. Anyway, we haven't even made an offer and I'm already wanting to purge our stuff so we don't mar the beauty that is this house.

So this is my game plan. I need a girlfriend or two and a bottle of wine or two to sit with me and help purge  my clothes. If you ask me I won't get rid of anything, I love every piece! My friends, they won't care, they'll be brutal and I will argue but I will let them win. This new house, should it become ours, deserves only the best.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Phone apps and other news

I just want everyone to know that I have an app on my phone called the "Offender Locator," which, as the name connotes, locates all sexual perpetrators within a 50 mile radius of wherever you might be in the United States. These are the kind of apps I have been inclined to download since becoming a mother. I also have the "Family Doctor" app, which helps me determine what life-threatening illness me or my loved ones might be dying from at any given time.

Aaron, Ellis and I are in Colorado celebrating a cousin's wedding, so naturally after tucking Ellis into bed last night, I tapped into the Offender Locator and was pleased to see that there are only 4 sexual perpetrators within a 50 mile radius of us. This only helps to confirm that I live in one of the most depraved states in the Union. Whenever I run the Offender Locator in New Mexico, I get pages and pages of offenders, some I actually know or recognize from the post office. This is highly disturbing to me but at least I know what they look like, who they're related to, where they live and what their post office box number is. This way Ellis will never, ever come into contact with them.

In other news, I successfully fought off a cold. Also since becoming a mother, colds and other annoying ailments are out of the question. I have no time to sit around and wish I was feeling better. No time to watch Legally Blonde and feel sorry for myself. No time to call my mom and convince her to brave the germ infested air in my house to bring me green chili stew. NO TIME. I have shit to do, a child to raise, money to make. This is serious business. So, I was pleased, to say the least, that I was able to fight off the cold before even the first drop of snot appeared. Who's kidding who here, mostly I'm pleased because they have good beer in Colorado and I'm well enough to imbibe.

And finally, one of Aaron's family members made a rude comment about him and I not being married and it annoyed the crap out of me. I don't see how our nuptialness is any one's business but our own and if everyone hasn't noticed, there is really no reason for a professional, educated woman to get married anymore. Whatever, Aaron and I will wed someday, someday when he learns to stop arguing with me, just kidding, and that day will be grand and well worth the wait. Bollocks to anyone who doesn't understand.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My Little Homie

I don't know if I'm supposed to say this, you know because you're not supposed to be friends with your kids but the world is a significantly less lonely place now that Ellis is in it. Everything means something now. Even the most insignificant things mean something because they're not insignificant to her.

Before Ellis came I was subject to multiple existential crises a year, wherein I would lay on my bed, stare at the ceiling, avoid all my obligations because I couldn't remember why I was obligated to them, drink a lot of wine and smoke cigarettes because cigarettes and existential crises go well together. I have to say that ever since I met Ellis, I have been existentially sound. It's not that I'm living for her, it's just that I really want to hang out with her for as long as possible. Hopefully she'll be changing my diaper when I'm 105. Seriously though, if she needed to hire someone to change my diaper, I would totally understand. At any rate, even on the most dismal of days, when she has flung poo at my face I still find very substantial reasons to exist. It's like through her, I'm rediscovering the entire universe again, thinking about things that I haven't thought about in decades (mostly because I thought I had everything figured out). What am I going to tell her when she asks me, "Mommy, what is God?" Or "Mommy, how do faxes work?" I have no friggin' idea!

I think we choose our parents. I have no scientific data to back this up so don't ask me for details, I just think we do. Our parents really determine so much of our trajectory, so I freak out a little when I think that Ellis chose me. It seems odd considering I wasn't thinking about having a baby at all. I always wanted children, but there was nothing about my behavior that was edging me toward that reality. I just sort of assumed it would happen someday. Low and behold.

The hardest part for me is that my reality doesn't at all resemble the picture I had in my head all these years. What I'm learning though, from all the parents who have embarked on this crazy odyssey before or alongside me is that nothing works out the way we think it will. Children are such brilliant teachers of this. I know "shit-show" is a relative term but that's what I am. I have no idea what I'm doing, 97% of time I'm shooting from the hip and hoping I'm not causing permanent psychological complications (it would be great if she didn't have to attend therapy until her 30s when she finds herself staring at the ceiling wondering what she's doing with her life). One of my favorite psychologists, when asked what her advice to new parents would be, said, "Keep them alive until they're 25." (p.s. 25 is significant because we now know that our frontal lobes, the parts of our brains that give us the ability to make sound decisions, does not actually finish developing until about the age 25.) While I plan on doing a hell of lot more than just keeping Ellis alive, this does take the pressure off a bit.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Oh Anxiety, you pesky thing you.

I feel like I'm constantly walking the line between faith and fear. Yesterday I found out about a high school friend who was murdered on a beach in the Caribbean. I tell you, every time I think I'm getting a handle on my post-partum/post-accident anxiety, I find out about an innocent girl getting stabbed in the neck while on vacation. It's hard not to stay up until midnight tossing scenario after scenario around in my head, especially with a beautiful, completely innocent and vulnerable child sleeping next to me. How can I send her into this world knowing what horrific things can happen and at the same time how can I not wake up everyday and greet this world with the enthusiasm that is a part of my every cell? I don't want my daughter to be afraid of the night. I don't want her to watch her back every time she steps out of her home. I want her to be brave and confident, strong and outspoken. I want her to see the world and love deeply and all the while stay safe and sound and untouched by hands of anger.

I never thought much about death until I had a child. Now I cling to this life with tremendous fervency. I don't want to miss a single second with her and it brings me to my knees to think of anything happening to her. Every parent feels this way and every person who has been through something like Aaron's accident knows that our rational minds do not dwell in the aftermath of trauma.

I have worked with trauma survivors since before I knew I was working with trauma survivors and it has helped to know what I know, to have the training I do, to at least recognize what's happening with me but it doesn't make it any easier to pull myself out of the quickly spinning drain of panicky thinking. How do we reconcile that the world is a dangerous and dark place but also a wonderful and amazing place? How is that battle won? Maybe we all live in a nice bubble of denial that is burst every so often and then carefully constructed again. My sister-in-law told me after Ellis was born, and I'm going to butcher this quote but the gist was, "When we have children, our hearts forever roam this world outside of us." I can not allow the fear to shadow the joy of being a parent. What a terminally intense ride this is.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Ode to my A cups

It's unfortunate that my brother just starting following this blog as this post is all about how much I miss my small boobs. Sorry.

Reason #1 I miss my A cups: Big boobs make me look fat. We're approaching a year since I gave birth for 36 hours. The midwives by the way will argue that I was only in labor for 12 hours but they only consider "active" labor, the part where you are considering killing yourself, as actual "labor." The layperson counts labor as the the moment when you realize that all the bitching you did for the last 9 months pales in comparison to the pain you are feeling right now and you would do anything to go back to being fat, hot and bloated. So, for the record I was in labor for 36 hours and it's almost been a year since that 36 hours commenced and I have about 15 pounds left to lose. So, my big boobs and my extra 15 pounds make me look fat but from my vantage point it's my boobs not everything else that appear stout. I'm sure the guy walking behind would beg to differ but his opinion doesn't matter.

Reason #2 I miss my A cups: I have to wear a bra. Bra's in my opinion are for the unlucky women whose breasts actually move when they walk. Before I got pregnant, my boobs stuck nicely to my chest. They got a little out of hand near Aunt Flo's visit but besides that I could usually get away with wearing a tank top, Brazilian stylie. Now, I'm so inundated with fabric on my chest I feel like I'm being buried alive. I have taken to wearing tank tops with shelf bras, is that what they call these things, which is slightly better but I do sometimes look down and think, shit, I need to be making some scrambled eggs with a cigarette hanging out of my mouth in my single-wide with faux palm trees on my faux lawn.

Reason #3 I miss my A cups: There is yet another reason for me not to work out. What is that reason you may ask? Another layer of clothing, that's what. Before I could take off in a sprint and barely notice, now any physical activity outside of watering my bougainvillea requires an actual sports bra, not the training bra I used to wear, but an actual sports bra, which is essentially a one-inch thick tarp wrapped tightly around my chest cavity. Highly uncomfortable and a bitch to get on and off.

Reason #4 I miss my A cups: Children grab at my breasts. Notice how I said "children" and not Ellis. Yes, children, strange children who I don't know want me to nurse them and I find that highly disturbing. Sometimes they will walk up to me, put their little dirty hands into my white-trash shelf-bra tank top and pull down as if to free my large milky breasts from their minimum security prison. While I appreciate their unbridled survival tactics, I do not appreciate the looks their mothers give me. Hey, whatever, I can't help it if your kid can smell my milk from a quarter mile away. Control your child.

The good news is that whatever delusional fantasies I was harboring about getting a boob job when I'm rich and famous have officially been put to rest. Paying for this burden is just plain idiotic. I'll have my eyes lasered instead.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

New Car Seat

Oh my dear god, seriously how do people that are not very smart figure things like car seat installation out?! I am not a genius, well sometimes I am, but mostly I'm not and yet I am smarter than your average Jane and YET this new car seat of Ellis' may be proof that I'm actually a nitwit. In the past I have never read instruction manuals. B O R I N G. And dumb! And B O R I N G and usually more confusing than just getting in there and figuring it out. This has worked for me 85% of the time. I can't really do that this time though because this isn't a universal remote control I'm trying to figure out here, it's my child's only protection from my unbridled road rage. This is serious! I have already opened a beer because this manual is fucking rocket surgery and where are the ADD meds when you need them? So again, it begs the question, how in the hell does anyone with an average to below average IQ and/or a 15 year old mom-to-be figure stuff like this out? Maybe I'm a big dummy and everyone has just been being nice this whole time because I am so clearly a dummy and you all feel sorry for me, "Oh look, how cute, she's writing a blog." Whatever the case may be, I'm hoping Aaron in all of his obtuse, male, spatial awareness, thing-ama-jiggy brilliance will be able to figure it out. I'll keep you posted. Side note: the car seat is bad ass! It looks like a Indy-500 driver's seat. Ellis is big pimpin' now!

Let's Be Friends

I was talking to Aaron the other night and I admitted to him that I think I have a hard time making friends. I didn't used to or maybe it was just easier when you're younger because it's sort of like sink or swim. School is ripe full of friendship possibilities, from K to Master's program. Undergraduate is particularly fertile ground because you're drunk for three quarters of it, inhibitions down, "Hi, I'm Dorothy, let's be friends," check. I'm horrible at it now and I partly blame my craptastic choice in careers, social work, i.e., traumatize the shit out of myself everyday work. It doesn't make for a very bubbly personality.

And what am I supposed to talk about with my new friends? Can't talk about work, for legal reasons and also because it's pretty much the biggest buzz kill on the planet. I talk a lot about my kid, I used to talk a lot about my dogs before I had a kid. I also used to talk a lot about boys but once you decide on one, the conversation lacks a certain amount of luster, "Oh, me and Aaron? Yeah, we're good. You know, whatever."

So, I think I have low friend self-esteem and I'm so fucking busy the idea of having a beer with someone new literally scares the crap out of me. What if I resort to writing a to-do list in the middle of our first conversation? What if I drink too many beers because I'm away from my child for the first time in 20 months (including pregnancy mind you). What if I have nothing at all to say except, "I'm tired."

I did make one new friend fairly recently. It's a great story really. She dated my ex-boyfriend and then dated his best friend who happened to be friends with Aaron and they happen to be skiing on the day that I met Aaron so I was introduced to Aaron by my ex-boyfriend's best friend and ex-girlfriend, who is now my home girl. See, that's the kind of friend making that makes sense to me. It's serendipitous. It's fate. Shit, we had people telling us that we shouldn't be friends because we dated the same guy, which by the way makes zero fucking sense but whatevs. So against all odds we have come together and we both happen to enjoy hoppy beers, white wine in the summer and she loves my baby. Soon she will be adopting a baby and that will be awesome because then Ellis won't be the only baby in the bar. Bar/restaurants OKAY! Don't freak out.

So Aaron told me that I need to get over my shit and start making friends. Which I will do, as soon as I figure out how to juggle being a full-time mom, a full-time executive and a full-time scaredy cat.


When I got home yesterday afternoon the house was about 85 degrees. Why? Because I left the frigging burner on ALL DAY. I really hope my dad doesn't read this because we are living in a house that he owns and he would be so pissed to hear that I nearly burned the place down. This would not have been the first fire I started. When I was 10 I started my dad's other house on fire and then at 16 I started my mom's house on fire. Thank god I ended up with a fire fighter. Are you kidding me?! Just to be clear, I did not start a fire yesterday but I could tell by the heat in the house that it was close and so all night long and into the morning I have been thanking the universe for this get out of jail free card. I don't even want to think about what could have happened. My head is clearly not screwed on correctly. Dad, if you're reading this, there are now strategically placed post-its around the house reminding me not to burn the house down. Cheers.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Bread and Cheese

For as long as I can remember I have talked incredible amounts of shit about women who "accidentally" get pregnant. I thought on several occasions, actually more times than I can count, "Okay, some teenagers might not know where babies come from so they have an excuse (I guess) but by the time you're in your mid to late twenties and certainly by the time you're in your thirties it can't be too big of a surprise that unprotected sex causes a baby." Yes, I was that person and for being a bleeding heart liberal I am pretty darn traditional when it comes to baby making. I promised myself up and down, for exactly 32 years that I would never put the carriage before the marriage. Well, I am that thirty something woman who accidentally got pregnant. I found out on December 19, 2010 in my boyfriend's parent's bathroom. They had met me once. It was kind of awkward. I kept looking at the pee stick. First I laughed, then I cried for about four days. And yes, I was SHOCKED. And yes, I know where babies come from.

As soon as I found out I was pregnant I wanted the baby more than I could fathom. I didn't understand why but from a place that I didn't know existed I loved this being inside me more than I had loved anything before. When I told Aaron he hugged me instantly and said out loud three times, "It's going to be great!" I was relieved that he didn't put me on a plane back to New Mexico, pee stick in hand.

My pregnancy did not go as planned. I had envisioned lots of prenatal yoga, a cute belly to compliment by toned legs and arms, and that glow that people so often lie about. I was sick for 15 weeks and the only thing that assuaged my nausea was bread and cheese. I'm serious, I wasn't just using pregnancy as an excuse to eat a bread only diet. If I had it my way I would have had a martini only diet but I settled for bread. I think I enjoyed a two week window during my second trimester where I wasn't sick, bloated or exhausted. I vaguely recall going to the gym once or twice during that time. It didn't take long though before my body fully rejected the experience and my blood pressure shot up, my feet took on Hobit like characteristics, my vision went haywire and I was in out of the doc's office every other day. Don't get me wrong, I am absolutely an over-utilizer of the health care system, hey, I have insurance and I'm paying out the wazoo so I'm going to the doctor whenever I damn well please. So, all the attention I recieved during my ridiculous pregnancy was a slight comfort. Still, pregnancy remains my top three worst experiences of my life. Sorry, no hearts and stars here. It fucking sucked.

I mention all this because Ellis is soon to be one and I'm feeling a little nostalgic. I honestly can not believe we made it to this point. There were so many times when I was sure I would die or Aaron would kill me or we would both die in a freak diaper changing accident. We ended up doing a bang up job. Turns out love and instinct really do save the day.


My sister-in-law is in town, or my sister-not-law as Aaron and I have yet to wed, more on that later. I always wanted a sister, except when friends have tried to borrow clothes, then I've been really happy that I don't have sisters and that none of my brothers are cross dressers. Get your own clothes. These are mine and I don't want someone thinking you had taste good enough to buy something that is actually mine. I know, I'm horrible at sharing and I'm 33 so that probably won't change.

At any rate, when it comes to sister-not-laws, I hit the goldmine. This is shocking for two reasons: 1. I have been a heinous capital B capital I capital TCH to many of my brother's girlfriends. I thought for sure I had some bad karma coming my way, and 2. As much as I love women and support women and want us all to be happy and do well and stick together and take over the world, I have not had the best nor easiest experience with women as a whole. I can count on one hand the women I trust completely. We women folk are hard on each other and by far my most painful heartaches have come from a girlfriend's betrayal. We cut the deepest.
So, imagine my surprise when I met his sisters, who by the way, make me feel comfortable just by walking in the room as they, like me, are 6 foot and blond (this is apparently not rare in the Midwest). They're beautiful, smart, terribly witty, and they roam this planet with an unwavering moral compass that is woefully askew in so many of the women I have met in my life. Like I said, goldmine. This week I am getting drunk on sisterly love.

The Accident

There is so much more to Aaron than what happened on December 11, 2011, but to know Aaron now you need to know about the accident.

In the early morning hours of December 11, 2011, Aaron was hit by a car. The person who hit him slowed down, rolled down her window and asked, "Is he breathing?" When the witness, who by all accounts saved Aaron's life said, "Yes," the driver sped away. I don't waste time thinking about the person who hit him. I imagine her as a mother, kids at home, a lot to lose. She didn't mean to hurt him. He had a collapsed lung, and he had hit his head, he was unconscious and his body was systematically shutting down. When the ambulance arrived, he had begun to die. His stay was short at our local hospital. They knew quickly that he needed to go to Albuquerque. There was some doubt that he would survive the flight.

The phone rang around 2 am. It was Aaron. I answered, slightly annoyed that he wasn't home yet. Ellis was asleep next to me. She was 3 months old. "Hello?" "Miss Forbes?" My heart sunk. This isn't Aaron I thought. Shit. Shit. No. My voice was shaking, "Yeah?" "This is Under-Sheriff Romero. Aaron has been in an accident." All the air left my lungs. I gasped for something, no oxygen came. "No. Um. No. What? No. This isn't happening. We just had a baby." "Yes Ma'am. I'm sorry. Aaron was just flown to UNM Hospital in Albuquerque." I knew what that meant. If they send you to Albuquerque you're in bad shape. "What?" I responded, my entire body was shaking so violently I woke Ellis. She cried. She was startled. I held her and attempted to steady my voice "What? No. Is he okay? What happened? Is he okay?" "Um, Ma'am, I am not a medical professional but you need to get to Albuquerque as soon as possible. It's not good."

The drive from Taos to Albuquerque is about two and a half hours. We drove fast. I sat in the back next to Ellis' car seat. I watched her sleep and I prayed. I prayed and I begged. I cried and I sat up straight and told myself, "Ok, ok. I'm OK. It's going to be OK." Then I cried and I begged. I stared at Ellis and I thought, "How will I tell her about her dad. What can I possibly say that will make her understand how good of a man he is." I talked to Aaron's mom, dad and sister. We cried together. Somewhere near Santa Fe something shifted and I sat up and I announced, "I think he's going to be ok." Soon after, I got a call from his uncle. He was with Aaron. He was holding his hand. At the very least, if Aaron left us, he was not alone.

A million questions bombarded my mind. Will he live? Will he walk? Will he know who I am? Will he be able to wipe his own ass? Will he be able to fight fire? Will he be brain dead? Will he be angry and impulsive and a drunk like so many traumatic brain injury survivors? Will he remember Ellis? Will he be Aaron? Uncle Paul wrote me a text, "He squeezed my hand and wiggled his toes." He was coming to, he was not brain dead and he was not a paraplegic.

When we got to the hospital I prepared myself for the worst. Maybe he would be missing half his face. I didn't care. His room was all glass. He had many doctors and nurses tending to him. He was seizing. His heart rate would spike and then drop. Spike, drop. He was in restraints. He was fighting. This was good. He's fighting. I went to him. I held his hand. He was bloody and swollen. I said his name. He squeezed my hand. My knees collapsed.

Aaron was on full life support for four days. When he came to he asked for a pen and paper. He scribbled, "I'm sorry." Then he proceeded to tell us about the house he was building, the fish he caught, and the big buck that got away. It didn't make much sense but he could talk and swallow and ask for more Gatorade.

He moved to a lower level of care and then eventually to a neurological rehab. He was away from us for a couple months and when he came home he was still in a lot of pain, he couldn't do much, and he was clearly not himself yet. Every week though, he made pronounced improvements. Sometimes I catch myself forgetting that the accident ever happened but then some days the accident dances so close to me its hard to catch my breath.

There is a lot more to say about what happened in those months. A lot of grace fell upon our family and I have been forever changed by the tragedy of it as well as the miraculousness. There was life before "the accident" and now there is this life.


I can't focus my thoughts. Ellis has a fever, Aaron is freshly home from a fire, my annual report is due for work on Friday and today I was tasked with laying off three employees. I've never laid anyone off before. Never looked at someone and said, "Sorry, the economy is in the shitter and you're the collateral damage. Hope you got some savings." As it turns out I'm not a good ax woman. I cry maybe just a little bit more than the person I'm laying off.

When I was younger my favorite movie was Big Business, you know, Lily Tomlin, Bette Midler. I liked Bette Midler's character, the non-hick version of her. The one everyone was terrified of. As a child I would walk around the house in my plastic high heals with a stack of construction paper practicing her lines, "The most fiscally prudent action at this point is to take an aggressive posture and divest ourselves of Hollow-o-Made..." I know, my parents were concerned too. I liked the power suits, the excessive use of elevators, the limos that drove them from high rise to high rise. Maybe on some unconscious level I admired the power. I was just a kid.

I know layoffs are a reality right now. These layoffs though, are too close to home. These are my friends losing their jobs and they're in their 50's and 60's. No retirement. Not a lot of savings. It's not right and it's not okay but it's big business. My heart is heavy tonight.


The path outside of our house is so laden with gravel every time I push Ellis in her stroller I feel like I'm competing in the stroller X-games. It doesn't help that Ellis is, as a stranger at the park described her yesterday, "a tank." Who knew 10 months of breast milk and some fruit puree could produce such substantial thighs. I like to count the sections of her appendages by the way. It's a source of pride for me.

The primary reasons for walking Ellis in her stroller are to get her to sleep, which works five out of ten times, to get my ass to fit in my jeans again, so far I'm squeezing into my fat jeans, and to walk our two hounds, Nina and Jaco. Our HOA does not allow dogs to be without a leash and unfortunately my flagrant non-compliance does not allow for them to be on a leash so every walk we takes provides for a rather substantial adrenaline rush. Our HOA manager is sneaky. I could take him if I had to but he is at least 75 so I figure a fistfight is out of the question. He drives a golf-cart and smokes like brush fire. My heart races like a crack-addict every time I hear the squish of the gravel around the corner. "Is it Frank?" I think nervously. Or worse yet, is it a small child on their bike who my dogs will scare the cheerios out of. Or worst still, is it that angry lesbian lady who was bit by a dog in 1975 and who has clearly not recovered emotionally from the incident. She, by the way, stages quite the scene when we do cross paths. Luckily I have become adept at recognizing her particular form of gravel squishing. She runs, which pretty much distinguishes her from the golf cart and every other neighbor who runs only if something is chasing them.

In Northern New Mexico, there is something known as the "Mi Jito" complex, wherein, your Mi Jito, aka, your baby/child/grandchild, or in my case dogs, can do no wrong. They'll bark at you, they'll chase you and should the stars align, they'll also poop in your yard. It's not personal and in my opinion its what dogs do, and mine in particular do it quite well.


I don't actually have a lot of respect for therapists who rely heavily on a person's diagnosis. I attended a meeting on Friday with a bunch of therapists and one of them referred to one of their client's as "my borderline." Gross. I gave her a dirty look, don't worry. I don't think any of us can be boiled down to some code in a book. It can be a helpful tool for us mental health practitioners but if it's all you see in a person, it's time to take a break. That being said, I completely and whole heartily participate in self-diagnosis. Whatever ethical qualms I might reserve for diagnosing other people, I completely disregard for myself. I am my diagnosis of the day. Today: I am OCD. I contemplated putting half of our belongings on the street with a big "free" sign. I refrained. I did loan one of our couches to my brother, which transformed our living room space and appeased my inner serial killer long enough to cook a half-ass dinner for myself and Ellis. Scratch that, Ellis ate string cheese and an apricot. I ate shrimp with cocktail sauce. And I lied about "cooking." Nothing we ate actually required heat. Anyway, I suppose its good that I have a little OCD going on, as I do have a crawling infant (Ellis) who, like the bazillion children before her, feels more comfortable if she can put everything in her mouth. If I'm going to be totally honest, the OCD thing isn't particular to today. I have to admit that having a child has turned me into somewhat of a neat freak. Or to be more specific, a freak. I'm obsessed with organizing. I buy a lot of bins. I contemplated buying a microscope so I could assess our germ population. I disinfect the house a lot. I spray things with Lysol, which side note, I didn't even know Lysol existed. It is very handy for people with my condition. Alright, let it be known that if someone who really had OCD came into my house they would probably request a hazmat suit, but by my usual standards this place has never been so clean. Sometimes I wonder if I will always maintain a certain level of chaos in my environment. Sort of like how people who really want to lose weight always manage to sabotage themselves so they keep those last 10 pounds. Those last 10 pounds that have become a friend, an antagonistic friend, but a friend nonetheless. And sort of like those people who keep dating the same asshole or assholette because the idea of a functional relationship seems so unbearably bland. If I could just accept that I have no clue what I'm doing when it comes to organizing my shit into bins I could move on, let my angst go and just be like all those other moms who have accepted that their immaculate apartments of their 20's are a thing of the past. It's the diaper decade now honey. Own it.