Monday, June 30, 2008
I thought I’d check with my good friend Go*gle on this, and surprisingly there is little to be found on the internet. I did however find a study done in Europe that talked about “Abrasion resistance” in the context of how to properly help disabled and elderly people dress.
In part it said:
Abrasion resistance describes the ability of a material to withstand rubbing against another material, e.g. fabric, seams, skin, prosthesis, furniture, floor. As a result of abrasion the fabric surface changes visually and physically depending on the properties of the raw material: fibre ends raise from the surface of the fabric and cling to each other (pilling), fluff comes off, colours fade, the mechanical tenacity decreases and yarns snap causing holes to form in the fabric. Disabled and elderly people using a prosthesis or moving by crawling on all fours, or leaning their elbows on a table, face this abrasion problem when their clothing is exposed to strong rubbing especially in joints (knees, elbows)
Okay. I’m not disabled nor elderly (I don’t think) and yet even as I sit in my chair typing this I can feel a definite posture thing going on where I’m shifted left. I can feel my lower left back pressing against the chair. Of course at this very moment while I'm thinking about it, I’m sitting up with perfect posture, but, let’s be real here, in the normal course of my day I’m on my behind doing computer stuff. So. What have I learned?
One. I clearly buy very high quality clothes. (This is called "Facetiousness").
Two. I am going to become a hunch-back or hunch-hip if I don’t make some changes now.
Three. Maybe I should get me to a chiropractor?
So…am I the only one out there with this annoying problem? Oh…maybe next time I’ll post about the odd way I wear out shoes. Nah…I like my readers too much to put you through that! Have a great day! -Monica
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Yes, I felt a "pop", but really needed to get to where I was going so I made sure the zipper was up as high as possible and started off down the streets of Washington, DC. I found that I soon needed to put both hands in my pockets and sort of saunter along lest the zipper take another dive and leave me feeling a bit, eh, exposed. At Pennsylvania Avenue, I spied a CVS where they would surely have safety pins and they did!
Now clutching the ($3.80!) variety snack pack of pins I scurried along already late. I considered trying to stop on the street and try and pin them there but that seemed weird. I could have ducked into a building but then I'd probably be questioned by security guards and also not be allowed to use their bathrooms. And I was now getting seriously late.
So I did what seemed like a smart idea at the time. I tried to put the pin in while walking. I sort of forgot how thick the material is where the button hole is on pants, so I very quickly surmised this wasn't going to work. So I went back to plan A which was to again put both hands in my pockets to keep the darn things up. And then a light was changing. So I ran.
In my defense, I was late, as I've mentioned more than one. But note to self. Running across that street was a VERY BAD IDEA. I lived to tell this tale as you can see so all's well that ends well.
But perhaps the worst part of the whole ordeal was later back home when Susanne spied a button I'd carefully placed on our dresser to sew back on she asked me if this were the one that had popped.
"Well, it didn't just pop off, the area around the little holes is broken."
Oooohhh... Weight Watchers here I come. Again.
Friday, June 27, 2008
I love reading JMG every day because he is just so insightful and witty, and always seems to have his finger on the pulse of the gay community.
Joe wrote that “His was a life that burned brightly and I am illuminated still. Daniel Johnson, 1957-1997”.
I Will Hold You Ten Times
1. I will hold you, Daniel
2. The lesions don't bother me. I will hold you.
3. I will pretend nothing is wrong when you want me to pretend and when you want me to hold you, I will hold you.
4. I will make plans with you to go to your favorite places that we both know you can no longer go and I will sit with you and look at your pictures of these places and I will hold you.
5. I will ride with you on the train to your doctor's office and when you get sick in the station, I will hold you.
6. I will see the Post-It notes you put all over the house reminding yourself to do everyday things like "Turn off stove" and "Lock front door", and I'll pretend the disease isn't robbing your mind and when you tell me something for the third time in ten minutes, I won't let you know, I will hold you.
7. I will go to Safeway with you because you need to get out into the world, and when the diarrhea overwhelms you and you shit your pants in the middle of the store, I will call us a cab and in the cab, I will hold you.
8. I will make you mix-tapes of our favorite songs from last summer, just like you asked me to, and when the memories make you sad instead of happy and you throw the tapes in the trash, I won't get angry, I will hold you.
9. I will sit up all night with you because the fevers and night sweats won't let you sleep. In the morning, I'll change your drenched sheets and help your out of the shower and when you weep from the sight of your withered body in the mirror on the bathroom door, I will hold you.
10. I will hold you, Daniel.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
So...I know you're now dying to know what my least favorite chore is. No contest. Getting our two kitty cats into their spacious basement playland every night. You see, if we let our lovely critters be "free range" it's horrible. They are nocturnal by nature. So all night long they race around, scratch at our doors and get up to all kinds of mischief. So they go into the basement where they have food, water, kitty litter and the run of the place.
So why is it that every night they both head for the hills? Harley can usually be coaxed downstairs with the shake of a bag of treats, but CJ! For the love of God, CJ will hide under beds, burrow into the bedroom closet and literally go limp when I try to drag her out from wherever she has hidden herself.
I repeat, they have a wonderland downstairs. I think she does it to play with my mind. And why you may wonder can't Susanne get them sometimes. Well, she is actually rather allergic to the cats. If she accidently touches her eyes after petting one of them she is miserable. Which means that I am then miserable.
So every night. The game begins. Again.
So? What's your least favorite chore? -M
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Poor baby. I scooped him up in a gentle hug and sat down in the rocker with his head nestled right under my collar bone. He was already asleep again I’m pretty sure, but I rocked him for a while and my mind wandered. Then it dawned on me how wonderful it felt to sense the little breaths he’d take—his stomach against mine. So sweet and peaceful.
As I held him I remembered back to a time when I was watching TV with my dad. I was maybe 3 or 4 years old—certainly old enough to bother him with never ending questions like “what’s going to happen next dad?” or “why did he go in that room dad?” (I don’t know how he put up with me in retrospect.)
But the point of my story is that I remember sitting on his lap and deciding to try to breathe at the same rate as he was. Of course as an adult he naturally breathed much more slowly than a child would, but there I was, trying to inhale and exhale in unison with him. I think I soon realized that this was a none to easy thing to do and gave up, but I clearly remember feeling so happy to be sitting with my dad.
So, last night while my one year old and I rocked, I didn’t try to breathe in unison with him. But I felt that same sense of happiness I remembered from that day long ago. Funny how my son often stirs up for me what I like to think of as primordial memories. And I think that's a really cool thing. -Monica
Monday, June 23, 2008
Well Susanne is back and I’m just so happy. Life is definitely much better when she’s around. She’s glad she went but very glad to be back with us as you can imagine. Danny and I did just fine all week and I worked things out so we also accomplished a lot (a walk to the post office to mail thank you cards, time on the swing for him while I washed the car, stuff like that.)
But I have to tell you, it’s hard being the sole caregiver of anybody. And I think I was even a bit hyper-vigilant with him while Su was gone. “Not on my watch” I remember thinking more than once. Having her back last night made me realize how I could finally relax again.
She thinks his new haircut makes him look very handsome too. We’d actually talked about it the weekend before when we were in Dupont Circle waiting outside for our brunch reservations. We were right next to a place called Spalon where I’d gone for years when I lived in that part of DC, and a woman who worked there named Rachel came out and was just chatting with us on her break, commenting on how cute Danny was but that his hair was “so long for such a little boy”. She of course also told us that she cut children’s hair. I asked her what she charged and thought that her reply of $15 actually seemed very reasonable for this area.
Anyway, he sort of got familiar with her that weekend, and when I brought him back a week later (Saturday) she was so great with him. She played with him while he sat on my lap and touched his face and tousled and rubbed his little head while playing which he loved for about 15 minutes. Then she had me take him back to her barber chair and hold him on my lap facing me (so he couldn’t see the mirror.) Then she just kept playing with his hair-sort of tousling and gently pulling it like she had before, but this time she was snipping away. He didn’t even notice at first! By the time she got to his bangs he knew something was up and was a bit crabby, but she managed to clip them too. It was a brilliant performance I think! Bravo!
Anyway, Danny is just growing up so fast. His comprehension is pretty amazing. I ask him where just about anything is (mostly in English but even in my very rudimentary German) and he either looks at or goes right to it. I can also sing any song of any of his battery operated toys and he'll go to that toy too. It's a great redirect.
His favorite word is “Cat” (or is it “Dat”?) and that pretty much means everything including:
The vaccum cleaner (AKA his best friend ;-)
All his toys
Oh…you get the picture. He’s just so darn cute when he “Cats” us.
Alrighty then, back to work. Did I mention how happy I am today? -Monica
Saturday, June 21, 2008
We're getting balloons tomorrow for when we pick up mama!!!! Yeah!!! Balloons AND mama. Tomorrow's gonna be the best day ever. -Dan
Friday, June 20, 2008
Hallo Mama. Wie gehts? Wo ist Deutschland irgendwie? Ich verfehle Dich! (Mein Deutch ist nicht gut nah?)Yes, I've been a very good little boy while you've been away. And I promise that I haven't taken my first steps or said any new words or anything while you've been gone. So far.
Come home soon mama okay? Mommy keeps saying you'll be back Sunday. That means right now right? I love you! -Danny
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Well, I have some good news and some bad news.
First the good news. I put in new batteries and now I’m Danny’s HERO!
The bad news is that I put in new batteries. Oh no………….
And for you viewing edification here is a pic of the clever boy figuring out how to stack things up to climb on top of. Next thing you know he'll be hopping right over. NOT! The pack and play has been retired. -Monica
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
We are glad that she is finally in peace now. And that as sad as her death has been for her husband of 60+ years, in reality his life will now become less complicated and stressful. Sounds so logical right? I'm sure it doesn't feel less complicated nor stressful now though as he says goodbye to his beloved wife. He visited her practically every single day in the nursing home she entered over a year ago—and it wasn’t always easy to do so. She was Susanne’s paternal grandmother, so Su will join her father and other family members in Germany this week to pay her respects. Danny and I will take her out the airport this afternoon.
We both have a jumble of feelings about the days ahead. Danny will stay here with me, so it’s going to be hard for Su to be apart from him. She has never been apart from him.
I’ve encouraged her to relax and try to enjoy this “time off”, but I know she’d rather not leave us. Our original thought was that she’d take Danny with her since her dad would be able to help on the flights, but as it turned out, her grandfather would prefer that we bring the baby at another time—when things are not so sad. I completely respect his decision. He’s got to mourn the way he needs to. Having a baby there could have added a bit of energy and life, but again, this time is about him and his grief.
As for me, I’m definitely not myself (and she hasn’t even flown out yet!). I don’t really know what it’s like any more to live my life without Susanne. She’s never gone away before, so this is all new terrain for me. So I’m going to miss her terribly, and also of course be in charge of Danny. It’s hard to tell how he’ll respond to her absence. He loves her so much, and literally lights up at the sight of her or the sound of her voice. (Okay, figuratively, but you know what I mean!)
I’m not sure at a year how he’ll process this. As they say, I guess we’ll just have to see. I’m pretty confident in my ability to take care of all the logistics and to shower our boy with lots of love, but it won’t be the same. How could it? I’m just going to say now, that come next weekend, there will be 3 very, very happy people at the airport. Me, Susanne and the little short guy squawking his little head off! ;-)
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Friday, June 13, 2008
This is a scratching post
This is MOST DEFINITELY NOT a scratching post
He does love to chase after the two cats (they usually run like heck) but this time he apparently caught Harley off guard. We'll keep trimming the cats claws and teaching our Bubby not to go after them with such zeal. That ought to be easy right? Have a great weekend everyone. -Monica
Thursday, June 12, 2008
You see those bubbles, you’re totally blown
Now your mind is not your own
Your heart sweats, your body shakes
Another bubble is what it takes
You can't sleep (nooo), you can't eat
There's no doubt, you're in deep
Your throat is tight, you can't breathe
Another bubble is all you need
Whoa, you like to think that you're immune to the stuff, oh yeah
It's closer to the truth to say you can't get enough, you know you're gonna have to face it, you're addicted to bubbles
Might as well face it, you're addicted to bubbles
Might as well face it, you're addicted to bubbles
Might as well face it, you're addicted to bubbles
Might as well face it, you're addicted to bubbles
Might as well face it, you're addicted to bubbles
Oh well. There are worse addictions right? ;-)
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
And it's not really like you're making a child play with cat toys when you wave the kitty wand around and your one year old tears after it and, just like the cats, gets up on his hind quarters to swat at the feathers?
Oh and might I add that our son is far better at both of these games than any animals we know ;-)
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Until we have full marriage rights there are lots of instances where it’s not okay for health care providers to talk to me. Even though we have tons of legal paperwork including medical powers of attorney etc, HIPPA waivers (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) the people on the other end of the phone don’t know that.
So I briefly considered being Susanne but I didn’t even have her health insurance numbers with me and I figured I’d sound like an idiot so I took a chance and when asked for my name, gave my own.
“But you won’t find me in your system” I warned the customer service agent. “I’m calling about my son”.
Before he was legally my son saying “my son” always made me feel slightly nervous. As if someone could challenge it. But not any more. That legal adoption decree helped me make that shift. I guess that’s why I feel so strongly that legal marriage for gay couples is so critical. I like the feeling of protection from perceived or real challenges to the validity of my marriage.
Anyway, to make my long story short, the customer service agent, put me on hold, got back on the line, and then addressing me by name gave me all the information Su and I need to get Danny’s name changed. Sometimes it’s the littlest things that make me happy. Have a great day everyone! –M
Monday, June 09, 2008
You see, I believe that words are really powerful. The convey tons of meaning and help all of us make sense of our world. Let’s face it. This term was a put down. The "kings" were “playing like girls” "queens" and somehow that’s okay to say? Females are inferior?
A few years ago I read a great book by Mariah Burton Nelson called “The Stronger Women Get, the More Men Love Football”. As writer Tiffany Routon wrote:
“All men are not stronger or faster than all women. There is a great overlap in the strength and speed of men and women. Because women on average have greater flexibility, a greater percentage of body fat (useful for long-distance running), and smaller body sizes, we tend to be as good or better as men in some sports: marathon swimming, very long-distance running, gymnastics, synchronized swimming, and horse racing. Nevertheless, many men take great comfort in the fact that most women are not big enough, strong enough or fast enough to play such sports as football or rugby. Of course the majority of men are not either. “Because women could never play football, (men imply), men are physically and naturally superior,” says Mariah Burton Nelson, author of The Stronger Women Get, the More Men Love Football. “When women demonstrate excellence in sports like running, tennis, and golf, men take great pains to describe that excellence as less important, and less worthy of an achievement than male excellence. These same people would never dare to compare Sugar Ray Leonard and Muhammad Ali. One weighed 60 more pounds than the other. Clearly they deserve to box in different classes. Yet the top female tennis player is often compared to the top male tennis player…..who usually outweighs her by 60 pounds!!!”
Think about that? Sugar Ray Leonard and Muhammad Ali are both undisputed champions because they excel in their weight class, but a woman who excels is deemed second class. Why is that?
I think as a society we are improving. I don’t hear college women athletes referred to as girls nearly as much as I used to (the men were never called boys once they reached college age). But if a professional woman golfer stepped out on a driving range and hit a ball longer then every man there, the response would still be to vilify her. She must be an amazon/lesbian/she-man/transgender/freak..you get the picture. Oh and believe me, these are all pejoratives in our society.
So in closing, I’m always going to get defensive when I hear names that to me seem to denigrate women or any group of people that are marginalized. There is too much power in words.
Thus ends my sermon for the day. –Monica
Sunday, June 08, 2008
Which means it's a perfect day to finally finish and post Danny's 12th Month Slide Show. Special thanks to our neighbor Adam who put on his professional photographer cap in early May to snap a few pics of our boy (like the one above). Thanks Adam. We owe you you one. Here, it appears Danny is trying to give Adam a high five. Or maybe snatch that figurative photographer's cap off his head ;-)
Friday, June 06, 2008
Thursday, June 05, 2008
Anyway, our friend Jenni wrote an interesting post today about her fearful reaction to a bad storm, and it got me thinking about fear. For instance…
Our sweet Danny LOVES the opportunity to crawl up steps any chance we’ll give him. He is absolutely gleeful at the prospect, and will chortle and giggle the whole way up. He does turn around periodically to give whoever is following him a quizzical look, but hey, he’s just happy to have us around.
He has no fear of falling. I know this because this morning he headed toward the staircase from the upstairs part of the house and happily launched himself downward. I caught him before he went anywhere, but my point is that he was absolutely fearless! (This was a controlled experiment by the way—baby gates are our friends.)
So, back to my original question. Where does fear come from? Are we born without any? When do the hard knocks of life begin to chip away at our blissful ignorance? I don’t know. Maybe some babies are born naturally fearful. Are there some evolutionary things at play here?
As a new mom I find that I have to manage my own anxiety fairly regularly so that I am not a blithering ball of stress. Case in point. Sleeping temperatures. Yes, if you read back through old posts you will note that this topic has come up before in regard to Danny. You see, a baby can’t do what we adults do. He can’t just pull a sheet or blanket over himself when he wakes up at 3 am, a bit chilly because a fan is blowing on him. But it’s so darn hot at night that we put him to bed in his onsie with the fan on medium just so he can be comfortable (and he likes the hum of the ceiling fan too.)
But I wake up in the night—practically bolt upright sometimes—just certain that he is shivering uncontrollably in the darkness of his room. Just for the record, this is ridiculous. I will admit that I often do creep down the hall and put the fan on a lower speed but I really don’t have to in this warm weather. I have to remind myself that if he is cold he will cry.
So when did this fear come for me? Was I so cold as a child? Probably not. This may remain an unsolved mystery for the ages.
But just to show that I am coping with my fears, this weekend we will put an AC unit in Danny’s window. I’m hoping that having the remote control thermostat in my sweaty little palm will work out for me ;-)
Take that fear!!! -Monica
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
I will do you all the favor of sparing you the gory details here, but let’s just say our washing machine has had quite a workout the last day or two.
And in an unfortunate coincidence Jenni has not been feeling well so Danny did not spend yesterday frolicking with his good friend Oscar. No, he spent it trapped in our living room with me, his dramatically sick mommy, who kept really annoying him by periodically crawling off the couch to use the bathroom. On the bright side, he did acquiesce to a 2.5 hour nap mid day that I needed more than he will ever know.
Oh, and by the way, for all two parent families out there, I’d like to propose a new rule. Only one sick adult at a time. This is the second time in the past year that I’ve felt really awful and Su was even sicker. She even had a FEVER. Rats. How can I compete with that?
On a brighter note we are all feeling better today. All’s well that ends well. Which reminds me of a favorite quote by Tom Stoppard:
"Eternity is a terrible thought. I mean, where’s it going to end?"
Monday, June 02, 2008
My wife Susanne and I have a beautiful one year old son named Danny. He doesn’t really understand that he has two moms. He does understand that when he’s cranky or fussy or excited or happy, there are only two faces he searches for. Yes, our faces.
He doesn’t understand yet that most of his little friends have a mom and a dad which is different than our family. But he does know that when he wakes squawking in the morning and cranes his neck out the door to see who is coming, he’s looking for only 2 people in the world. Yes, mama or mommy. And apparently he finds that all others pale in comparison when it comes to hugging him or rocking him back to sleep.
Danny doesn’t know that there is hatred and bigotry so we are going to have to to help him learn to navigate this world. He doesn’t know that there are people who think that gay people raising a child are “committing violence” against that child. (Thank you Catholic Church.) He doesn’t know that there are those who shake their head at our decision to bring him into the world because “he’s going to have such a hard life” because of our “lifestyle”. Right. Perhaps said people should think about the role they play in creating this "hard life" because of their actions and words.
We’ll have to teach him that he word prejudice comes from the two words “pre” and “judge”. And teach him how stupid and lazy it is to automatically prejudge anyone.
So our job is clear. We’re here to teach him how love conquers hate. Being members of a gay affirming Lutheran Church instead of my once beloved Catholic Church is a good start.
But I guess the thing that makes us happiest is that we are blessed to be surrounded by a community of friends and family and co-workers who are truly accepting of our family. I can't imagine what it would be like to not have that. Oh...and we'll want to teach him gratefulness. There's just so much to do. We'd better get cracking! –Monica (and Susanne and Danny)