Thursday, April 27, 2006

a tense moment

Moving tomorrow! House in disarray. Dog and cat extremely dejected as they are aware that something VERY wrong is happening. Gabriel taking it all in stride but deciding that sleep gets in the way of fun playtime with Grandma and Grandpa.
My period has chosen this very moment to return from its year and a half hiatus, of course. Added to the anxiety-driven insomnia and explosive diarrhea, I'm just more fun than a barrel of monkeys. Whose freaking asinine idea was this anyway?

Monday, April 24, 2006


Well, the typically lengthy and witty post I wrote this morning (har) was eaten by the blog gods. I just can't bring myself to do it all again and so I give to you a moving picture. Gabriel loved the box so much. He played inside for 15 minutes and then I took him out and he batted at the flaps for 10 more.
Good fun


So I had my last yoga class on Friday. I told the teachers I was moving. We all hugged and then attempted to disjoint our hips with an extended "sleeping swan" pose. I will miss the studio and A & D, the teachers (not the ointment). They were great throughout my pregnancy, helping me out with modifications so I could continue to practice, even as I grew more and more ungainly. On the other hand, I'm kind of glad to have an excuse to quit. I had a socially awkward moment and there's nothing I prefer to practice more than avoidance. "A" became pregnant when I was about half-way through my pregnancy. We talked and shared some of the tribulations of having our bodies taken over by an alien. After Gabriel was born, I brought him by and he was much fussed over by students and teachers alike. When A's daughter was born, I gave her a sling (all right, I re-gifted a perfectly good sling that I had received and never used) and sent her a card. On the card I wrote something to the effect of, "give me a call if you ever feel like you're going crazy with a new baby," because I felt like we'd bonded to a point that we could acknowledge that babies are not all sweetness and fluff. Well, she never called, which I didn't think twice about, seeing as how with a new baby everything is crazy and you don't have time to brush your teeth some days, let alone talk to people on the phone. They had a little party to show off the baby and I went and brought Gabriel, my ambassador in social situations these days. That's actually the reason I HAD a baby. Anyway, I congratulated her and she said, "oh, I've been meaning to call you." And I said, "if you have time; you know if you ever need an outing we could take a walk with the babies or something." I felt like I was doing a nice thing -- it's what I wish someone had said to me when I was crazed and lonely and stuck in the house with a shrieking baby. The intervening months, however, during which she has NOT called me and has seemed to make an effort to avoid me during and after class has made me realize that I must have overstepped some heretofore unrevealed boundary in our student-teacher/ mother-mother relationship. I just feel kind of dumb, which is precisely why I avoid unnecessary social interaction in the first place. Also, let's be honest, I resent her speedy, though well-earned, return of abdominal muscle strength. But now I get to find a new studio, close to our new apartment and forget all about this.
It's not pretty, being petty.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

reality settles over us like soap scum

One of the things that I've noticed in the many, many moves I've made since leaving home for college is that packing up your life into boxes and sacks and bags never takes as long as you think it will. And unpacking them into your new space will take at least 5 times as long as you wish it would, and will leave you swearing never to move again. It took me about a year after our last move to stop the inner shudder whenever I glimpsed a U-haul on the freeway. "Oog," I'd think, or say if there were anyone in earshot (because I tend to beat horses long after they're dead), "at least we're not moving today." Hey, but in one week we will be! And in honor of that, I have ceremoniously packed the first box. Actually, the first 8 boxes. All filled with books. We're gonna need a lot more boxes.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

another big day

It is unreasonable for me to get angry at the neighbors who insist on using powertools in the middle of the day while my son is napping, and yet I do. I seethe. I call them foul names in the privacy of my own home. I reserve the worst names, though, and the most vitriol, for the morons who roar up and down the street on their motorcycles at all hours of the day and night. This afternoon, the assholes next door are using a circular saw over and over for some unfathomable reason. And the idiots across the way are edging their lawn with a weed wacker for, like, hours. It is mostly for selfish reasons that I am so incensed of course. I want free time, as much of it as I can wrench from the day. There are all kinds of things I should be doing, but mostly I contemplate them, and do not accomplish. I just called two daycare providers, though, left a message with one and found out the other had no openings. Whew. I am exhausted. Two down, 25 to go. I think I need a snack to recover while I read the new Vanity Fair. I sent M to work this morning with another long list of daycare folks to call. He'll wear his goofy little headset and call them all. I am SO glad I married him. I clearly needed someone to do my dirty work.
I would like to report, however, real progress on my schedule for my 4th year of school. I got the email for the office of medical education at a big community hospital and set up my sub-internship* and a couple other rotations. I'm going to give myself a transitional rotation first off, though everyone says you're supposed to jump right into your sub-I, with pulmonology. I really need to brush up on, well, just about everything, so I may as well start there. So far, my quest has only involved one phone call, to a delightful woman at Kaiser. Seriously, she couldn't have been nicer, so I have another block of rotations hopefully scheduled there. Whew.

*The "sub-internship" or "sub-I" as I understand it is the rotation where you pretend you're an intern. You get the responsibility and abuse heaped on you while not receiving a salary. This is termed a "great learning experience."

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

a new day dawning

Gabriel said "Mama."
M and I both heard it. Of course, I wasn't in the room at the time, but I'm just SURE he's got the idea.
What a smart kid.

Monday, April 17, 2006

April is Africa Awareness Month Chez Kazoo

I am not a crusader and I do my damnedest to stay out of other people's crusades. I read something in the paper yesterday, though, that called to me to say something. It's Sudan, of course. The Darfur region in flames. Here's the article. A very impassioned and articulate call to action by Paul Rusesabagina, known to the world as the stalwart hotel manager portrayed in "Hotel Rwanda". Read it. Please. Then go to Save Darfur and send a short message to the Prez. Please. With a cherry on top.
I have a second-hand version of events happening there. M spent a month in Sudan a year ago. See, before I dragged his ass out to CA so I could go to school he had a very cool job that involved sporadic travel all over Africa. He worked as a contracter for a government agency that concerns itself with happenings overseas. He gets calls from them periodically to go back over, but with a steady job here it's hard to pull off. Last year, though, Sudan called and he just went. He got a crash course in the politics of the Darfur region and I learned a bunch of new terms (Janjaweed) and acronyms (rebel groups, of which there are more than a few). Others expain it better than I, but the take-away message: it's lawless and wild and, naturally, people are dying in droves. The Sudanese government has been arming and abetting the Janjaweed raiders. Ending the slaughter will require an outside force. The African Union has a mere 7000 peacekeepers to pacify a region the size of France. A large UN force is needed to lock-down the country and force a truce. Only then can anything like a peace be worked out. The countries of the world must act. Let this be the answer for Rwanda.

and by "crap" I mean this here what you're reading

I just wrapped a bridal shower gift. Gabriel helped. And by "helped" I mean crumpled up the business section of the paper with gusto and then stuck small bits of it in his mouth. The bride in question is a the fiancee of a good Peace Corps friend. They met at fancy-pants business school back east. When I first met her she scared the crap out of me in her I'm-from-the-east-coast-and-eat-people-like-you-for-breakfast sort of way. She has this veneer of confidence that I initially mistook for arrogance. Now I am fond of her. We're not exactly friends, but I perceive she has at least as many insecurities as I, even if she would not in a million years admit it, and thus can have a conversation with her without being struck completely dumb. I can be so condescending in a sheepish sort of way. I have trouble relating to people who don't do the self-deprecating thing, all right. I mean, we all know it's just a sham and we all think we're just the shit (don't we?), but we go through the motions because it's funny to laugh at ourselves. She does not laugh at herself. So we spend a lot of time laughing at me, which is a fine, if somewhat exhausting way to spend an evening.
I was at a complete loss as to what to purchase as a bridal shower gift. I never had a shower. Bridal shower, that is, plenty of the other kind, thanks. Not that my wedding was any sort of fly-by-night, hurried-up affair, but no one ever thought of that. Does one give household goods, sex toys, gardening tools, lingerie? The "theme" of the party is no help, having something to do with famous couples, a seemingly poor choice for association with an impending marriage. From what I read in People, famous couples may not be the best model on which to base life-long happiness. I went with the safe and boring bath products, with a lavender scented eye pillow for good measure. I will ignore the theme. I may be bounced at the door, but I feel it is a statement I must make, no matter how innane and party-pooperish! Really, I'm just grumpy cause I couldn't think of anything better to get.
The groom in all of this, as mentioned, is a good friend. He was M's best man at our tawdry (I mean simple) affair. He's one of the funniest and kindest men I know and I wish them both lots and lots of happiness. Ala k'aw kan ben!

I'm a feminist, really I am

I briefly considered setting fire to my life yesterday. The quest for daycare overwhelms me. I got a stack of referrals from the handy-dandy referral service and immediately proceeded to stare dumbly at them. A slide to depressed inaction was not far behind. Looking at them, I knew that I would not be able to find someone to leave Gabriel with whom I would trust to care for him like I do.
I thought to myself, what if I did stay home with Gabriel? Could I? What would be the result? I think it would be good for G, in that his care would be loving and (somewhat) reliable. I would feel that I was doing my very best for my son. I can’t say that that would make me happy, but I might feel comfort in the way that fulfilling an obligation makes you feel all grown-up inside. I’m pretty sure my husband would leave me. Oh, and I would be $180,000 in debt with no way to pay it off.
The cons seem to weigh pretty heavily. I just can’t escape the feeling, though, that by handing my son over to another to raise, in effect, eight or nine hours out of the day, I am shirking my responsibility as a mother. I know, I know, stone me now. We have come such a long way from that antiquated line of thinking, and yet, right here, right now, I feel it welling up inside me, unbidden. That responsibility weighs heavily upon me. I felt it settle almost as soon as he was born. I staggered under its weight for weeks, months. I knew I had, in fact, destroyed that lighthearted and carefree (ha) life I had before. In its place is this, life with child at its center. It does not matter how I feel, if I am tired, or sad, or in pain, Gabriel still needs me. I brought him here and I must see him through to his independence.
If life were different or times were different, I’d be different. I’d be doing laundry by hand, married to an illiterate subsistence farmer, with six children playing around me on the dirt and think my life was pretty good. Or maybe not.
I’m not much of a thinker. I am more of a feeler who struggles vainly, gamely, to attach words to the sensations that move me. I’ve got a head for facts and all, but the important things I always trust my gut, even when I struggle to explain myself to myself. And struggle even harder to explain myself to beloved M who thinks first, and bends his emotions in the crushing grip of logic.
I’m still holding the match. It’s a powerful feeling, actually. I am obstinate where I feel that I am right. But am I?

Friday, April 14, 2006

news flash, part deux

We did it. We signed a lease. The apartment is nice-enough, sunny-enough and up three flights of stairs. Moving in should be a HOOT! So goodbye dreary suburb. Goodbye lawn and lemon tree. We're movin' to the great big city! In two weeks. Typically, I need a crisis to respond in any meaningful way, and so this should suit me just fine. My parents, lovely people, have agreed to come help with heavy lifting (of the furniture and baby-care varieties), with very little brow-beating on my part. I am so grateful I could cry.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

news flash

Angst of previous evening sorted out. Gabriel is NOT ready to give up nighttime feedings. When we proceed as before with no-questions-asked whipping out the boob, all is happy and sleepy. So we will continue to do this.
Further bulletins as events warrent...

Sunday, April 09, 2006

all right, so it's agony with a little "a"

There is nothing like a little bitching and moaning whilst feeling sorry for oneself (please see previous post). Then there are real problems, which are found the world over. This piece on Somalia blew me away. We are lucky people, and I am blessed. I do know that.

Saturday, April 08, 2006


I thought up the title for this while sitting on the floor in front of Gabriel's room last night with my head in my hands while M rocked a screaming baby. So you know this is going to be a fun read!
Gabriel has never really been a "good" sleeper. He's slept through the night exactly twice. The first time for no discernable reason on November 13th. The second time after flying to my parents house on January 15th. Each time I thought he'd died.
So he wakes up several times a night and cries and I go in, and recently M goes in, gives him his binky and a little pat and he settles right back down. It's a little draining, but pretty sustainable really, now that I've developed the skill of falling back into REM sleep in 30 seconds or less. We'd even scaled back to a single feeding a night, around 11pm. We were making progress, I tell you, progress! Until two nights ago, when instead of settling back down to sleep around 2 am, G became more agitated when I tried to give him his binky. No settling down. No sweetly gripping Mr. Blabla's ear and rolling over to sleep. He was awake and he was MAD! So I gathered him up and sat down to rock him. He fell asleep almost immediately. I put him back in bed. He arched his back and SCREAMED. LOUDER. I picked him back up and rocked him more. We did this at least a dozen times. I fed him. He woke up immediately upon hitting the crib. Finally, I put him down and let him cry. For ten minutes straight and I watched the clock. That is a LONG time to listen to your child be eviserated by wild boars, which is surely what is happening because otherwise it wouldn't sound so goddamn miserable. After 10 minutes, M went in. I was so wild with fatigue and impotent, confused rage I think he felt it would be unwise to let me try to calm him down (yeah, I'll calm you down, with a BRICK! See, that attitude just not helpful). So they rocked a long, long time. I sat in the hall and tried not to hate myself, second guess myself, wonder too much where I went so wrong. Finally, he laid the squidgy bundle back down, and he stayed asleep. We tiptoed back to bed. It was 4:30. We fell asleep. Till 5:30. I fed him. Asleep. Till 6:30. And we're up for the start of another exciting day Chez Kazoo! The exact same pattern played out last night. If this is the start of a trend, I should probably just kill myself now.
I guess that's the good thing, you really never know. You hope things will get better, so you stagger on. And pretty soon, you've cleared that obstacle and are on to the next. The lesson for today is that no matter how bad you think it is, it can always get worse.
I will probably regret saying that, or even thinking that.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

shopping cart shenanigans

To spite the rain, we left the house yesterday. We had Big Plans, consisting of getting on the freeway and driving somewhere East of here. We ended up at Trader Joe's to indulge in one of my favorite activities, recreational food shopping. Actually, I had to buy a jar of mustard for my mom. Their dijon mustard is really good, and she can't get it in CO, so I was performing a service, really, not just spending money because I was bored. I really am not a big clothes shopper. My entire wardrobe consists of Old Navy discounts mixed liberally with Target finds. A vision in drab, I am. But food, now, that is something I can really get excited about. Not in any snobbie, foodie way, but in a mass consumption sort of way. I had spent a lackluster 45 minutes at Barnes and Noble browsing at unacceptably high speeds necessitated by Gabriel's insatiable desire to be dazzled anew with every turn of his head. I had him strapped into the Ergo which is fantastic for walking, hiking, and going to Costco, but pick up a book (on baby sleep tips, for example), pause for a little read and he immediately loses interest in the scenery and starts pulling on my hair. Oddly enough, they don't talk about that on the Ergo website. Nor do they mention that you need to nearly disjoint your shoulders to put baby on back while holding him semi-securely. I'm a bendy sort, so no problem really, but I don't think that everyone would really like the Cirque du Soleil routine required.
Anyway, we cruised the bookstore and then headed for good old TJ's. I pulled into the parking lot and spied a space. I pulled in and, curses, someone had left their stupid shopping cart at the end of it. I thought, well, my car is small, and these parking spaces are designed for the suburban behemouths everyone else drives, so there's PLENTY of room. And there probably was, except I pulled forward just a mite too far and tapped, just tapped, the cart. It rolled. There must have been one of those imperceptible hills, because it picked up speed and sailed into a light green Camry. With someone sitting in it. DAMN! I was out of the car, chasing down the cart by the time I realized that. As I turned back to my car, the solid gentleman in the Camry was out inspecting for any imperceptible scratches. Instead of just apologizing, I said, "Oh, I hope that didn't do any damage." Tee hee. He looked at me very darkly and said, "You should be more careful." I said, "Yeah, I know," and walked up with the errant cart to jam it in the cart corral thingy. For a little while, I seethed, I mean, clearly, it was an accident and if someone had put their stupid cart away, this would never have happened, no need to be cranky about it because it didn't scratch your car at all, mister. Then, I felt guilty. I should have just said sorry. I plopped Gabriel into the erstwhile cart (new baby trick!) and rolled him into the store with my cheeks burning. I was pretty sure everyone was watching me, thinking, "What a bitch. That kid's going to be a delinquent, just like his mother." However, by the time we reached the frozen desserts, the feeling had dissipated, my over-active guilt complex easily assuaged by chocolate. Sweet justice!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

slumping into action

So Gabriel and I were peeking over the windowsill this morning, looking out at the rain, watching the cars drive by. It's been raining for days and days and days! I read in the paper today that there were 22 days of rain in March, and 4 already in April. I am DONE with rain! Rain means no walks and that means being stuck inside with grouchy babe staggering under his own weight at the window while trying to gnaw lead paint (I'm sure) off the sill with new bottom teeth. He's in bed now. I simply could not take him one moment more. And he'd had it with me, too, believe me.
So what else is there? There's school stuff I need to get on. This, unfortunately, involves many, many telephone calls. I go to a smallish, private medical school without a hospital to call its own. For the academic years, this mattered not at all -- perhaps was even an advantage as we got some excellent just-plain-teachers, fewer powerhouse researchers with no interest in teaching. For the last two clinical years, however, it is a major pain in the ass to organize a schedule. I hate the telephone. I avoid calling good friends if I can reasonably get away with it. I REALLY hate cold calling doctors to see if they would possibly take a student on for a month or so. Of course, I usually get no further than the office manager, and you can just hear her thinking, "You're a student? Sure, you are hon' and I'm the Duchess of York!" So, for some reason, I'm putting off the whole exercise.
I have to apply for a residency in September and I still don't know what I want to do when I grow up. It's a little trying. The options I keep coming back to: Family Med, Internal Med, and Emergency Med. That last is something of a dark horse as every last student and her cousin wants to do EM, and despite my good grades (cough), I have little else going for me. Few activities, no research, just my smiling face and winning personality. I blame "ER" for this dagblasted popularity. I'm basing these choices of the fact I enjoyed my Family Med and ER rotations the most last year. I was jazzed by the atmosphere in the ER of impending catastrophe, and when I stopped having anxiety attacks about walking in to talk to a patient I started to feel competent and wow, what a rare feeling for a med student. IM was okay too, except the patients tend to be sicker and in the hospital. IM does have an aura of being more serious medicine that FP. I don't know if I care about that or not. Not that I'll write this in my personal statement or anything. I can be impassioned at need, trust me. And full of crap. I just wish I was excited by something. And I wish I didn't dread with every ounce of my being my internship year. I think it's ludicrous that I'll spend anywhere close to 80 hours a week anywhere but home with M & G. I really want to find the program that will give me the most time off. They don't seem to rank them like that, though, oddly enough.

Monday, April 03, 2006

cuteness, in lieu of substance

Shameless, but I couldn't resist!

craigslist take me away!

I have been a rather lackadaisical blogger of late. I had this lovely long depressing entry in a mildly amusing style all typed up last week only to have it eaten by the blog formatting gods. I lacked the heart to dredge it all up again and this week cannot recall the angst properly, anyhow. Such fun with brain chemistry.
I guess I have been busy. Is that anything like a proper excuse? I mean, there are plenty of people out there with entertaining and prolific blogs who also have full time jobs, kids, the works. I've got the kiddo, true. I guess blogging seeemed to be cutting into my stare-out-the-window time, which I value very heavily. I have been doing a fair amount of driving around looking at apartments. We are now commited to moving as we have submitted our 30-day notice-to-vacate to our charming landlords. I guess we should now find somewhere to go. I have walked through a few really awful houses, the worst of which recalled in atmosphere and odor the basement of the house I lived in during my junior and senior year at college. Oh yeah, that bad, complete with a flickering florescent light overhead. I think we'll put the baby in that room and see if we can trigger a seizure to go with his mold-induced asthma after living one week in this dump (a bargain at $1500 a month!). Others are perfect but too small, or pleasant except for the groups of young men in hooded sweatshirts loitering across the street at 2pm on a Tuesday. We still have time to find the perfect one, of course, if my nerves can stand it.
What else? Gabriel had no sooner established himself as a sitter, than he decided he hates sitting and wants to stand. I blame my mother (of course!). When she came for a visit, they played and played and she held him up so he could see out the front window on his tippy toes. He was in ecstasy. Now, he wants to stand up all the time and wants me to hold him there while he wobbles back and forth. Try to set him on his can, and wails quickly begin, the little stinker. I'm trying not to obsess too much about having raised a spoiled little bean already. This is a temporary situation -- within months he'll be standing on his own and then walking, and then... my god, all this baby stuff will be done.