Thursday, April 29, 2010

National Poem in Your Pocket Day

Love Sonnet XVII by Pablo Neruda

I do not love you as if you were a salt rose, or topaz
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
So I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

This is how I'd really love to see Denali:

Wouldn't this be the most amazing trip ever? Biking along, taking your time, stopping to camp where you wanted. Traffic would be considerably reduced (and much less dangerous) because motorists aren't allowed in the park, so shuttle buses would be your only traffic. Plus, you could pull a trailer with your camping stuff and save your back. I'll pull a trailer with the kid, hubby can pull our tent, etc. A nice, long, slow tour of the most incredible place on earth. Sounds like heaven.

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Monday, April 26, 2010

My daughter loves her daddy!

My little 'laide Muse was having trouble going to sleep. She was exhausted but not able to slip over the edge into dreamland, so like any good mom I popped her in our Moby wrap. I got her settled in and then pulled open the shoulder/chest pieces so she could snuggle in. Which she did. She loves her Moby. I covered her up and we walked around the house. Here would be a good time to mention that I have an attention span similar to that of most toddlers. Which is why I get along with most toddlers. Anyway, I had only walked around wearing her for about .2 seconds before I was bored. So I figured I would walk toward campus and meet my husband walking home from class. I'd be putting the baby to sleep, getting some exercise, and doing something nice for my hubby. Win-win-win. I walked out our door, through the woods, and before I got to the sidewalk, my daughter was settled in and dozing lightly. As soon as I met up with my husband, he said something along the lines of "Hi honey! I love walking home with you!" And my little girl jerked her head out of the wrap, looked up at her daddy, and started smiling and kicking her legs and bouncing up and down. She went from cuddled, tired, and dozing to excited, happy and wide awake just from hearing her daddy's voice.

She is incredible.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sweet Victory

My daughter's crib is pushed up next to our bed. It has only three sides, so she can be with us, but in her own space. This is especially good, because we have a full size bed, and that bed is full enough with just the two of us.

Usually at night, the baby wakes up hungry, I pull her into bed with me, feed her, then wiggle her back to her bed. Wednesday night, she finished nursing, then thrashed and tossed and turned for a while. I sat up and tried to clear my eyes, and to my amazement saw my sweet baby crawl sleepily to her own bed, then crash into a deep sleep. I blinked at her, then covered her up and went back to sleep myself.

I couldn't believe it! I hadn't been trying to teach her that she MUST sleep in that bed (it's not required, just preferred), but somehow she'd decided she'd rather sleep there. Allelujah.

Anyway, I decided not to expect it, but to just be grateful to have witnessed such a miracle.

Then it happened again last night. Though, this time she fell asleep before she got all the way into her bed. Seriously, people, I love my life. That little girl of mine amazes me. As a matter of fact, I'm so amazed that I think I might go cuddle up with her *right* now.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Dinner x2!

A friend gave me the first half of the recipe, I made the second. Enjoy:

Ingredients for 2 people:
2 chicken breasts
3 cups chicken broth
2 tomatoes
sour cream
shredded cheese (mozz. and cheddar work equally well)
1 can pinto beans
1 can corn
whatever rice is leftover some other meal

Put the chicken breasts and broth in a crockpot with 1 cup of salsa. If you're using chicken on the bone, add an extra cup of water. If you're using boneless chicken, add an extra cup of broth. Let it cook on low for 4-5 hours, and check to make sure the chicken is done.

Pull the chicken out, shred it, and make chicken tacos. YUM.

After dinner, take whatever chicken is left (doesn't need to be much) and add it back to the broth/salsa mixture, stick it in the fridge. The next day, add the beans, corn, rice, and a diced tomato (or can of diced tomato, whatever) and heat it up with whatever spices you have in the cupboard. I am heavy handed with cumin, cayenne, chili, pepper, and salt. Once the soup is heated through, ladle it into your bowls and add a little sour cream and shredded cheese to each. Then, serve it with tortillas or tortilla chip crumbs.

I've been doing this every other week for a couple of months, and we are still loving these meals. I'm terrible at thinking up side dishes, but I'm sure something yummy could be paired with these. Since I'm usually cooking for two adults, we rarely even finish the main dish. Anyway, enjoy!

Friday, April 23, 2010

runners, runners everywhere

I'm suddenly aware that the fittest people I know are all runners. All of them.

I guess it's time to take my running more seriously. I practice Get Off Your Butt parenting, it might be time to try Get Off Your Butt exercise.

hmm, interesting concept.


WHY do you insist on telling me about the bridal shower you threw for my brother's fiancee when you KNOW that you refused to even HELP me have a shower when I got married? Why do you think that's ok? Why do you insist on telling me how much fun you're having planning her wedding when you refused to even come to mine?

Why do I torture myself by looking at her pictures?

I'm glad that my future sister in law gets along with her soon to be mother in law. I'm glad that my little brother isn't experiencing the pain and frustration that I did. But part of me wants to warn her. You two aren't going to be nice forever. You aren't going to maintain this facade.

Yes, people can change. Sometimes they do. It's possible you have. But the best indicator of future behavior is past behavior and with the exception of the last 7 months, you've been horrible for the last 20 years. That's a lot of history and habit to overcome.

All my cousins and family should have come to celebrate with me, the ladies at church should have come to my bridal shower. They were my friends. Instead, I gave up any semblance of normal celebration and eloped. You wouldn't let me have even a wedding day.

I knew once Mimi was gone life was going to change. I knew without my mediator, my ally, that I could never have a happy wedding day or birth a baby without your narcissism. I don't believe that I'm being selfish by wanting those things. Those things and feelings are normal. Being wretched to your daughter is not.

I miss my Mimi. Happy birthday Mimi! If you were alive, I would never forget your birthday. I'd be sending you postcards and pictures from Alaska. Judging by how excited you were to come see me graduate from AmeriCorps in Colorado, I bet you'd have come to see me have a baby in Alaska. I bet you'd have come to my wedding and helped me celebrate my engagement. I know you'd have continued to love me the way my mother never will.

Oh Mimi, I miss you. You'd love my sweet Adelaide. She's beautiful and sweet and busy! and passionate. She's going to be somebody who lives life in a big way. You'd be so proud of how much she's learned and how big and fast she's growing. She'd love playing with your rings and necklaces. She'd love your sweatshirts and brightly colored fingernails. She might even love being held by you as much as I always did.

I miss you Mimi. Happy birthday.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Our Alaskan To Do List

I'm making this official. Y'all can keep me accountable if I let us leave the Last Frontier without finishing my list.

Here it is, in all its glory:

  1. See the Arctic Ocean
  2. Enter the Arctic Circle
  3. Watch the Northern Lights - DONE!
  4. Experience Iditarod start in Anchorage
  5. Take the Denali Bus Tour
  6. Kenai Fjords National Park
  7. Glacier Bay National Park
  8. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park
  9. Hike a volcano
  10. Go to the Midnight Sun Baseball Game
  11. See the Yukon Quest (start or finish)
  12. Ice Park
  13. Walk on a glacier
  14. Winter Solstice Festival
  15. Wildlife/Glacier Cruise
  16. Outhouse Races - DONE!
  17. Anchorage
  18. Anchorage Zoo
  19. Polar Bear in the wild? (Completing this depends on whether or not we can find a way to do this safely)
  20. Chena Hot Springs
  21. Less Developed Hot Springs (Tolovana)
  22. Permafrost Tunnel
  23. Alaskan Railroad
  24. Tour the super computer
  25. Touch a musk ox
  26. Visit Santa at North Pole - DONE!
  27. Get a PFD!
  28. Play with the super cold - water disappearing, bananas shattering, whatever.
  29. Museum of the North
  30. Alaskaland! (Pioneer Park) - DONE!
  31. Salmon Bake (mmmm)
  32. I'd like to see the salmon run at one point. Anyone know where I can see a river so full of fish that I could just reach in there and grab one? Or are those rivers all claimed by bears?
  33. Ice Museum
  34. Gold Mine (any one of the cheesy tourist attractions will suffice)

What an amazing place I live in.

Alaska is Awesome

Two license plates I've seen in Fairbanks this week:

Oh Alaska, how I love you.

I could not get enough of Alaska today. Yesterday we went to Family Reading Time @ the Library and got a free book for the baby, then we went to the Literacy Council and found the cheapest used books in Fairbanks, hung out in Pioneer Park and enjoyed the weather, went to Home Grown Market for local food, and tucked my daughter into bed at 9:30 before sunset. Today, baby and I walked to the lake, checked out the musk ox farm, and enjoyed the sunset around 10.

Another reason Alaska is the best state of all time: people pass on their stuff. I went to say hi to my neighbors tonight (and bring them banana bread) and they offered me 2 grills, a patio set, and flower boxes for my porch! Sweet! I've been scouting the transfer sites for all of those things! I have also prayed for each of those things in the last week. Ask, and it shall be given to you. (Matthew 7:7) [That verse is NOT saying you'll get anything you want just by praying or asking for it. Intentionally misrepresenting bible verses might be a sin. Oh well, it's already typed; no way to fix it now.]

Alaskans are fantastic.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Personal revelation this morning.

The answer to the question about when a life begins may not be a fixed point in time. In other words, sperm + egg, blastocyst, zygote, fetus, breathing baby, these terms are shades on the gradient of the transition from not life to life. Maybe a person isn't instantly a life or not a life.

Can't we die slowly? Medicine has created specific criteria to determine whether or not someone is alive, and we may pass from 'passing' to 'failing' instantly, but that doesn't mean that our life didn't end sooner or will end later. For years, life was determined by the presence of breath or a heartbeat, but as it turns out those criteria weren't good indicators of life. Maybe in ten years we'll feel the same about the presence or absence of brain activity. Maybe these principles apply to the beginning of life as well.

Could the question about life be answered by something that isn't life vs. not life? Could life begin slowly? Or simply be outside our capacity to define?

A friend raised this issue with me while I was debating the morality of birth control. She's a smart woman.

The conversation went like this:
Me:So if abortion is wrong because it takes away a potential life (or a present life, depending on your definition), wouldn't birth control be wrong because it takes away the potential for life? If God has a plan for sperm+egg, who's to say He didn't have a plan for the sperm, or the egg? Who am I to decide that God's plans start when the two meet and not when they implant in the uterus or when the neurons begin firing or at any other arbitrarily appointed time? How can I take birth control when I have these thoughts bouncing around in there?
Her: You're missing the point. It's not about life vs. not life. It's about using ALL of the body God gave you to do what glorifies Him. Including your brain to manage your uterus. Disregarding birth control completely isn't evidence of faith, it's just naive. [I'm not sure I paraphrased that very well. Somebody remind me to message her on Monday and get the text of our conversation.]
Me: Touche. Just because I am capable of eating all day every day does not mean it's God's plan for me. Just because I can continue to walk does not mean I keep walking until God sits me down. I can and should make judicious decisions about how (and when) to use what I've been given.

So there's that. I guess I'm less open to QF, and more confident about using birth control. No hormonal options, because I'm still breastfeeding (and even the mini-pill creeps me out while I'm breastfeeding), we have condoms but don't use them because they SUCK, IUD's weird me out because they're stuck in there for so long (plus we plan on another one soon - why bother with getting it put in, etc.) so I guess a diaphragm would be the way to go. But, that too would require me to go in and be fitted and pay for it, plus get spermicide, plus put it in every time.

I've been spoiled with sex without consequence. And blessed with the revelation that my husband and I have been trusted with our fertility, and we wouldn't have been trusted with it if we weren't capable of handling it. I'm not saying our (my) conclusions are absolutely right, or that we can't make wrong decisions, only that it's ok for me to keep thinking and be acting while I think.

Monday, April 12, 2010


No wins. I really have no reason to expect to win every internet giveaway I see, especially since I'm not convinced that they all actually give things away. Still, a girl can dream. And I did. And I was let down. So far.

This is my next dream:

One day my friends, I too will have a Zigo and be pulling a kiddo along behind me. We're talking serious thigh workout. Remember the Thighs of Steel workout tapes from the 80's? This is even better than that PLUS you get to be outside! I can't wait to live somewhere that 'outside' is an option for more than May - September.

I suppose I could be outside now. I'm supposed to be at the gym. Instead, I think I might curl up into a hole. Maybe burst into flames or implode. I think this might be a good morning for yoga. *Ohmmm. Ohmmm.*

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