Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Say hello and wave goodbye

It's official: My hiatus is about to become permanent. As I was telling Kate in an email earlier, I'd set today as a mental deadline for either returning to blogging or pulling the plug permanently. Much as I miss checking in with you all, I am really appreciating the space not-blogging has created in my life. My attention span is a little longer without so many fascinating tales to read, and I'm a lot more focused since I'm not obsessively checking for comments all day.

I don't mean to elicit another outpouring of goodbyes -- though your responses to my last post were so nice to read -- but just wanted to let know what's going on over here. So before I close up shop entirely, a few updates for the sake of narrative closure:

~Jelly is still with us, although she is effectively on probation. We are half-heartedly trying to find her a new home, although I suspect she will be ours for whatever time she has left.

~Ess' nine-month checkup was yesterday, and the doctor was very pleased with all her growing. (She's now 16 lbs., 8 oz. -- still a peanut, but one with a very round belly.) Ess is being evaluated by the state child development folks on Thursday since she's still not rolling, crawling or even raising her hands over her head. The doc said we're not being too neurotic, as I'd feared, by scheduling this, but doesn't think we'll come out of it with anything more serious than some physical therapy. And after half an hour with us -- can I tell you how much I love our doctor? -- she pronounced Ess (with great affection) a "happy, sociable, lazy girl." Takes after her mother... at least when it comes to that last adjective.

~D and I continue to talk and talk and talk about work/life balance issues. I actually applied for an editing job at a consulting firm in the Bay State, hoping I could telecommute -- figuring that at least I could make a lot more $$ and quit the freelancing that encroaches on all my free time these days. Doesn't look like that's going to pan out, but at least I've got my eyes open. And it turns out that Ess' daycare has some flexibility, so I can drop her off for an occasional half-day if I'm on deadline, which helps immensely.

~I did yoga! For the first time since Ess was born! It only happened once, but boy was it nice. As was the date I had (inside the house) with my husband last night. Hoping for more of the same in weeks to come.

So there you have it: the end of Run Cook Write. I would love to keep in touch with you; if you're so inclined, you can email me at [redacted]. Just eliminate the spaces and you'll be good to go.

Happy February, everyone, and thanks for reading.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

On hiatus

The time has come for RunCookWrite to go dark for a while. I've been thinking about this for a while, and a long series of conversations with D today about our marriage, stress, money and a host of other fun things has convinced me that now is the time.

One of the things D asked me today is to take time each day to do something for myself, whether that's practicing yoga -- something I've yet to do since Ess was born -- taking a 20-minute walk or reading an actual book. I was never very good at that sort of thing before she was born, and if it's possible I've gotten even worse at it in the last eight months. The strain is starting to show, and not in a good way. (What a surprise, right?)

Time is tight as it is, and I need some way to signal this reprioritizing to myself. And, frankly, I think I need to dwell a little less on all my neuroses, my anxieties and the tyranny of little things. So I am going to take a break from blogging -- from writing and, much as I hate to say it, from reading. I appreciate the community that's sprung up in this little nook of the blogosphere so much, but I need to spend more time away from the computer for the time being. So I am going to try to go cold turkey on reading your blogs, catching up with your lives, wondering what you'll say today. (Well, the wondering will probably continue.)

I'm not deleting the blog -- yet, anyway -- but I'm not going to post anything here for at least a few weeks. Thanks so much for reading, and for offering your comments and support. You're the best, and I'll miss you.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Cashed out

What a week it's been. Ess had a fever/runny nose bug for a couple days, one of which involved her consenting only to sleep when held and rocked. This was especially nice considering that we'd watched An Inconvenient Truth before bed that night, leading me to have really weird, unsettling, apocalyptic dreams while dozing in the glider with her in my arms. A fun way to spend the hours from 3 to 7 a.m., let me tell you.

As a result of the fever, D and I had to figure out who stays home with the sick kid. His workplace is decimated by sickness and short staffing this week, and I was on deadline with a story. So we each took half a day off and cobbled together our lives that way. I was glad to have gotten the morning shift at work, since by the afternoon I was a bleary-eyed zombie.

Which is pretty much what I am tonight, since I stayed up (until the extravagant hour of 10 pm!) to watch Grey's Anatomy last night and then had the little half-pint attached to my chest from 5:30 on. Oh, and there was some middle-of-the-night Jelly barking in there, too. And on top of a full day of work and a few hours after work wrangling the mostly recovered Ess, I just spent two hours on revisions to the dreaded annuity story. For a brief moment while I was sipping my Guinness and Googling answers to my editor's questions, I was having fun, remembering how much I enjoy the quest for the right answer to a question. And then I realized the question was unanswerable and my nose was runny and my accursed canker sore hurt like hell, and that I didn't actually like hunting down unknowable facts about annuities after all.

So here I sit, carefully sipping water so as not to irritate the inflamed corner of my mouth and pumping one last time before I go to bed.* D had leftover pizza for dinner and is now watching some movie I can't identify. I had Annies Mac & Cheese and am longing for some time spent pondering the back of my eyelids. Oh, and the advice I received from my dentist today about how to prevent further canker sores? Decrease the amount of stress in my life. Ha.


*Can I tell you how much I am looking forward to quitting pumping? I've decided that I will pump until Ess turns one, and then I will nurse her before and after work and on the weekends until some point to be determined later. The rest of the time she can drink cow's milk or soy milk or, hell, Guinness if she wants, so long as it does not need to be sucked from my body with a motor. So that means just three-and-a-half more months of schlepping this stupid pump around with me, of knowing that every single frickin' night I have to get through a pumping session before I can go to bed, of calculating how long I can be away from the house without becoming one very uncomfortable (and damp) woman. Mid-May can't come soon enough.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


The annuities story is STILL not done. Nor are calls made for the next piece I need to start. So much for counting on long naps from Ess this week... usually I get at least one nap of more than an hour out of her each day. This week? Not so much. (And the productivity plummets when someone insists on blogging rather than finishing that section about index annuities.)

Jelly still lives here. And still pees like crazy. I think we have set a lifetime record for the number of days in a row the kitchen has been mopped. Next step: Attempting to train her to use pee pads. If she's going to pee indoors, at least we could get her to do it in the right place and cut down on the mopping.

The DC trip has definitively been cancelled. Bah humbug.

Canker stores are still, y'know, canker-y. Supposedly B vitamins help them from sprouting up so frequently, but the all-knowing kellymom says to beware an excess of such while nursing. Gah.

Storytime at the library this morning: Met a potential New Mom Friend! Her daughter is a few months younger than Ess and both mom and baby seemed quite nice. I told her about the Monday playgroup we do sometimes, and I'm hopeful we'll see her there or at the library again soon. We introduced ourselves and the kids, but didn't get around to phone numbers. Fingers crossed.

Cuticles: Still razor sharp.

This afternoon's post-nap activity, assuming Ess is willing: A trip to Outletport, where I hope to exchange my JJ Legume jacket whose elastic waist thingy broke for a newer and swankier one. Perhaps a little something like this? We'll see.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Random bullets of 3 degrees*

--Today's assignment: 1,900 words on annuities, a subject about which I know precisely nothing. Should be fun.

--Still no resolution on the Jelly situation. I had a long talk with the vet the other night; Jelly is possibly in the early stages of kidney disease, or she may have Cushing's disease, which if confirmed could require a surgery that we are unwilling to have performed, or she may have early liver disease. The vet outlined a series of options, none of which sound very good to us. And she did say that euthanasia would be "a valid decision." She also suggested that we would not be remiss to think of the entire family's quality of life, and not just Jelly's. D wants to try a week or two of keeping Jelly gated in the kitchen, to at least contain the accidents, and see how that affects her and us. She peed overnight again last night, which means that at some point today, in addition to writing about annuities and wrangling Ess and helping get a turkey meatloaf made, I have to mop the kitchen. Again.

--If you came near my cuticles, you might require a shield to defend yourself from their deathly sharpness, all the Burt's Bees hand salve in the world notwithstanding.

--And also the canker sores, which I seem to have in some sort of chronic form. Driving me crazy.

--D is going to his parents' tonight to watch the big game. I will be alone with the Sunday Times and the homemade hot chocolate my sister and brother-in-law gave us for Christmas. It sounds like heaven... unless the annuities need attention, in which it's a few more hours of nose to grindstone and then collapsing into bed.

--I really, really need to devote some time to myself, to something other than my job, freelancing, childcare and keeping us all fed and (marginally) clean. Thinking about taking up crocheting again, since my carpal tunnel seems to have gotten better now that Ess is not nursing all the frickin' time. But then I think of the freelance queries unwritten and the emails unanswered and the meals uncooked (not to mention the savings account unoverflowing) and say yes to another freelance assignment.

--Which is why it's such a bummer that the trip to DC we impetuously dreamed up earlier this week seems to have gone up in smoke. Our friends can't wait to see us... but the plane tix went from $99 to over $150 in the few days it took to dither and ponder and make up our minds. And now that quick, relatively cheap weekend away seems more like an unaffordable luxury given the expenses of daycare and car insurance and, oh yes, vet bills.


*With wind chill; it just doesn't seem as dramatic to say "Random bullets of 16 degrees"

Friday, January 19, 2007

Dog angst

I don't think it's any secret that I've become really frustrated with Jelly, our elderly mutt who pees in the house constantly. It's gotten worse lately -- several mornings a week of mopping the kitchen floor at 6:30 am, or of getting out the paper towels and Nature's Miracle again to swab the living room rug or dining room hardwood -- and I've sort of reached the end of my rope. I've been especially concerned about what happens when Ess finally realizes she can move... and scoots right into a puddle of dog pee. And then I've felt horrible about the fact that I would probably be in a very different frame of mind about this animal if we didn't have a baby.

So I've been yammering about it to anyone who will listen. Even our unabashed dog-lover friends have been surprisingly supportive of the idea that it may be the end for her, that perhaps the incontinence is just as upsetting to her as it is to us. D and I talked for a long time the other night and came to the conclusion that if it is not time for The Talk with the vet, we will need to find her another home, because we just can't deal with this amount of chaos in our lives. Or, rather, I am not willing to deal with it.

Somewhat fortuitously, we needed to take her in for blood work in order to get a refill on her arthritis meds. And our favorite, beloved vet tech spent a good long while with me this morning talking about Jelly and looking at the trends in her tests. And, to make a long story slightly shorter, based on all the testing in the past and this morning's blood draw, it looks as though she is in the early stages of kidney disease. They're having me bring in (yet another) urine sample just to make sure that the results weren't indicating that she's dehydrated, and then the vet will call me this evening to discuss next steps.

On the way home from the vet, before we had the results of the blood work, I was hoping that this was the answer we'd get, because it would be clear to us that Jelly's prognosis is not good (due to her age and other ailments, she's not a good candidate for treatment). But now that we've nearly got it, and it looks as though we will have a clear rationale for putting her down, I am heart sick. I have talked so cavalierly about this dog, have been so irritable when she stumbles blindly into my path or stomps on Ess while she's playing. I have literally joked about putting rat poison in her food bowl. And now I feel absolutely awful. Guilty for being so mean, for wishing death on her, for lacking in compassion. I fought to get this dog, and now I can't wait to be rid of her.

I may be getting exactly what I wanted, and it really sucks.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Yesterday, I promised you a full post on my reaction to the news that my one-time college roommate is now a hotshot -- and I mean, really a hotshot -- at a magazine for which I would very much like to write. But upon further reflection, yesterday's comment re: jealousy is really all that needs to be said. Especially since said roommate has not responded to my email of greeting and reconnection.

In other news, ye gods, is it cold here in the north country. How cold is it?

So cold that I finally got around to putting the oh-so-attractive plastic insulation on the window above the couch in our living room. The rest of the house has replacement windows, but since this window overlooks our enclosed (non-insulated) front porch it has a nice, drafty old double-hung window. It's not really worth the dough to get a replacement window put in there, but damned if I couldn't relax in front of the Golden Globes last night with about three layers on top of me to keep the chill off.

Thus the decision to finally get out the window kit, which I bought about a month ago, when I was angsting over energy use. Ess is taking short naps today, so in her second 40-minute snooze I finally got the plastic on. How drafty is my house? So drafty that as soon as I got the plastic sealed on all four sides -- yet before I even got out the hair dryer to tighten it -- it smoothed itself out and filled with air.

No wonder I've been so cold.

Still, Ess and I just got a nice walk in before the wind kicked up, which it's supposed to do in a few hours. I put her in the Bjorn, which I haven't worn in quite a while, and wandered down to the bakery for a chocolate chip cookie, then to the beach for a look at the silly dogs who think this is swimming weather, then around the block and home again. Ess' nose was runny and her cheeks are still bright red, but we had a nice walk and my back is actually in decent shape. There's a rolled-up towel under the drafty front door, I've got a full layer of long underwear on and Ess is sporting her new Babylegs, courtesy of Santa.

Finally, welcome to winter.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Freaking out

(I was planning to write about the intense envy I've been feeling ever since discovering last night that a college roommate of mine is a hotshot at a very well-known consumer magazine, but the following freakout is taking precedence. Green-eyed monster post to come at some point in the future.)

I just went to get Ess from her morning nap. She's been taking monster naps lately -- almost three hours yesterday, 2 hours 40 min. on Thursday, etc. -- so it was no big thing that she'd been down for 2.5 hours. I hadn't heard any noise from the guest bedroom where she naps in the Pack & Play, but I poked my head in to be sure she was ok.

And there she was, wide awake, smiling. And covered in vomit.

All of the morning's applesauce (or a lot of it, anyway) was covering her shoulders, her sheets and her pacifier. It was cold, so it'd been there for a while. And I never heard a sound.

That's the part that's totally freaking me out -- she sleeps on her back (see: lack of interest in rolling), and it is potentially really dangerous that she threw up and I didn't know it. The only time I was out of earshot for any length of time was right after she went down, when I hopped in the shower. I was in the bathroom with the door closed for 15 minutes tops; it's the room right next to the guest room, so if she'd been wailing I would have heard it. Quieter crying or vomiting wouldn't have carried through the wall, though.

I do know that when I left the bathroom, all was quiet, as it remained for the next 2 hours. And the poor thing was laying in there covered in puke. Granted, if she was miserable she would have cried -- believe me, she is not shy about lettting us know that she's unhappy -- but it is killing me that I didn't look in on her sooner.

I used to shower when she was awake; she'd sit in her bouncy seat and play while I showered. But she's outgrown the bouncy seat, and isn't happy in the Bumbo seat long enough for me to get a decent shower in. And I'm too chicken to shower with her. But now I'm rethinking the strategy of showering while she naps... I guess if I do so, I should bring the monitor down so I can be sure to hear her. And I should definitely check on her more than I do now... I tend to be afraid of waking her up, so I leave her alone for perhaps longer than I should.

Luckily, Ess is totally happy and full of energy now; she's chattering and playing with the pieces of her beloved shape sorter. But I am feeling like I can't catch my breath as I ponder what could have happened. Thoughts of more experienced parents would be much appreciated right now...

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Eight months old

Jan. 12, 2007
Dear Ess,

How has it been eight months already?? You're getting to be such a grown-up little baby... sitting proudly on your own, heading off confidently to daycare (well, at least not dissolving into a puddle when we hand you over), gobbling up solid food and babbling your little heart out.

As usual, it's been an eventful month, with lots of firsts: your first Christmas, your first days at daycare, your first visit to story time at the library, your first head cold, your first stomach bug, your first meat (mmm... pureed chicken. It sort of grosses us out, but you seem to like it quite a bit). And then there was a much-welcomed return to something you tried out a while ago: you slept through the night! Once, anyway, and then you got the stomach bug and there went that idea. But we're hoping it'll happen again soon (may we suggest tonight?).

We ventured out on another trip to New Jersey this month, and we have to say fantastic in the car -- you were easily entertained by your toys, and you took plenty of long that you were naps. We still need to work on the whole sleeping-away-from-home thing, but it sure was nice to have an uneventful car ride (from you, anyway; an unexpected snowstorm on the way back caused us no end of misery). All four of your grandparents, and your doting great-grandparents, were thrilled to spend time with you around Christmas, as were we, though we have to admit that the holiday season was a lot more exhausting than we remember it being in years past.

As far as Christmas goes, you were the recipient of many lovely gifts, including several books customized just for you. They were particularly apt since you're quite the little narcissist these days, loving to look at yourself and laugh. We think you're pretty funny, too, especially when you carry on long conversations with yourself and screech at your ducks in the bathtub.

We have to admit to being a little curious about when, exactly, you're going to realize that you can move. You've completely quit rolling over, and you show absolutely no interest in crawling (despite your mother's attempt to get you in the starting position). You love to sit and play with your toys, and you're also quite fond of standing (with help) and gazing at the world. Everyone assures us that we will not be rushing off to your college dorm to roll you over at night, so I guess it's just a question of when in the eighteen years between now and then you'll figure it out.

A few funny quirks we want to remember: When we carry you upstairs for bed, you grin wildly and crane your neck at the smoke detector at the top of the stairs, which is apparently a very humorous object. You've added a few consonants to your babbling, saying "da da da da" all day long (sometimes even when Dada is holding you!). You adore playing peekaboo, and you've recently begun laughing heartily when you're tickled. You continue to be infinitely more interested in the dogs than you are in us, and we wonder if that will ever change.

Although we are a bit late in posting this update -- as we suspect will happen from here on out whenever the 10th falls in the middle of our now very busy weeks -- our adoration of you has not diminished one bit. We love you so much, sweet girl!

Mom and Dadadadadada

Saturday, January 13, 2007

What not to wear while watching The Devil Wears Prada*

A black v-neck shirt

A cozy purple shawl

A pair of black, tan and red argyle socks

Baggy red flannel pajama bottoms emblazoned with snowflakes and grinning monkeys on skis

A pimple on your lower lip

A hair on your chin

*Unless you would like to feel even frumpier than you already did