Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Breaking the Bundle One Stick at a Time

My Dad loved quotes, and one of the great ones he used to repeat was "break the bundle one stick at a time".

It is a great quote, but it's not really in my nature to break the bundle one stick at a time. I'm kind of an attack until it is finished kind of person. I generally hate lingering/unfinished business hanging over my head. I want to be done with it and move onto the next thing. This sometimes leads me to "beat a dead horse" (to incorporate another great saying) for the sake of completion.

But since I have had Jack, I have come to (have had to) appreciate the value of incrementality, of doing things in small bits. When you have a newborn child, you generally can't always finish what you start, in a linear sequence. This applies to projects both large and small. For instance, it took me three days to complete a simple apple crisp recipe this week...Day 1: peeled and chopped the apples, Day 2: did nothing, Day 3: made the crispy topping and finally, baked!  Perhaps there is a market opportunity in extreme slow food for moms? But I digress...

It can be very frustrating at times when simple things (e.g. showering) become elevated to the level of projects and when our lives seem to be in a constant state of interruption (e.g. applying lotion to one's body has now become a project in and of itself and cannot, often, be completed directly after shower project). But on the flip side, there is value.

Forced interruption can be a good thing: it can remind us to give whatever we are doing a little breathing room. Sometimes things - especially things which require thought - turn out much better if you can put them down for a few hours, or sometimes a few days. Sometimes projects need a little breathing room. Other times, they are so large that you can't possibly figure them out all at once. You need to tackle one part first and see how it plays out, before you can figure out your next move.

Here's too chipping away at things in bits, one stick at a time, and living a more incremental and, perhaps, thoughtful life. Apple crisp is always worth waiting for.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Bringin' back the pack

I was both delighted and disturbed to see the recent feature in the New York Times magazine a couple of weeks back on the virtues of the fanny pack. Delighted, because the writing is hysterical, and so true. Disturbed, because I had only recently declared (to myself and to my husband, and also to my mom), that I wanted to bring back the fanny pack, for moms.

Then - boom! - this article comes out and now everyone will think that I read it and followed suit. Oh well, small price to pay. I am going with it...the fanny pack is THE ideal fashion accessory for new moms. Easy, hands free access to your keys, your $, your phone, all while hiding your slow to disappear, still-distended belly. It doesn't get better. Bam. Happy Thursday Ladies.

Ease in...

...and nearly another two months later, I am back! This is quite a pace I am setting...

In the meantime, Jack and Johnny and I moved - to Fort Greene! What a wonderful neighborhood for new moms, my goodness. Seems like such a strong, vibrant community. I loved Brooklyn Heights but the difference in energy is night and day.

After 9 years living in a 465 square foot 1 bedroom apartment, it feels so wonderful to have positive change. We are renting a light filled and spacious (relatively) 2 feels glorious. Despite the downgrade in amenities (no dishwasher, no washer/dryer), it feels more luxurious. I think/I know I was going a bit batty in my little living room...there was no where to go, I just kind of had to circle the living room. I felt like I was living that creepy short story I read in high school - The Yellow Wallpaper - only our living room is grey, and painted. I've got to reread that one sometime - in my free time!

So many topics I have collected to write about...but I keep getting stalled out and it takes some easing back in, forcing me to write ease in entries before I get to what I actually wanted to write about. I need to get much better about writing when the thinking strikes me, or else I feel the topic loses its interest (to me at least), and might feel a little forces/stale.

All for this ease in entry...hope to be back very very soon.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

57 Days Later...

So much for blogging every day!

I have a baby - little Jack was born on June 10th at 12:35pm. He was indeed little - 6 lbs 11 oz, but he is getting bigger and is over 9 lbs as of last week. He is 6 weeks and 6 days old. It has been quite a ride...

So much so that I have not been able to find time to blog. But every once in a while, I would capture my random thoughts and seeds of ideas for blog posts, to be written at a future date. I am finally pulling myself out of the brand new baby stupor, and am sort of getting into the swing of things...enough that I think I can start finding some time to write much more frequently, if not every day.

In my last post, I wrote about the extended "last minute" dash my husband and I were on to prep for baby. I think that was what ultimately pushed little Jack to be born. He was four days late and we were still at it - cleaning up the apt, throwing things away, running around town...On the day my water broke, we had just installed a new AC unit, by ourselves. It was heavy.

My sister in law had told us to order chinese food to try to induce labor - it had worked like a charm for her. Something about the MSG. Immediately after concluding my meal with my ceremonial fortune cookie, my water broke. It wasn't like the movies, so I called the hospital for clarification on what it was that had just happened. They weren't really sure, told me to wait a couple of hours and let them know if another "event" happened. Another event happened. At around 12:30am, Johnny (3 glasses into a bottle of rose) and I headed up to the hospital, him in, what I can assume was a pleasant rose stupor, me feeling like a paranoid paranoid fool. Didn't everyone tell me to wait as long as possible before going to the hospital? But alas, when we got there, they said my water had broken and I wasn't going home without a baby.

My water had broke, but my labor hadn't really started (there was only very slight cramping) and I wasn't really dilated. The hospital would take care of that for me. A few hours later (say 4:30am), I was on Pitocin, a couple of hours after that, I was hooked up to an epidural. They said I wouldn't go into labor until the evening and I couldn't imagine being that "uncomfortable" for 9 more hours. A few more hours after that I was getting a C-section as the baby's heart rate was dipping as the contractions got stronger and the Dr. did not think he would respond well to labor. While unexpected, you do what they say to do. C-section it was! I just wanted baby out, healthy, alive and kicking. And that is exactly how he did come out - and also screaming.

When they pulled him out and held him up for us, Johnny and I both looked at each other in disbelief - our little baby looked like Mick Jagger. His lips were enormous! What had we done...hah! But seriously,  they were huge. We didn't know that babies come out looking a bit swollen...things settled into place quite quickly.

I stayed in the hospital for 4 nights, which, I never thought I'd say, was amazing. The nurses were so good at Weill Cornell - they made all the difference. I do not know what I would do if I had to go home after only 1 night, so in a way the C-section had a positive side to it.

I don't need to recount every single thing that happened to me since June 10th...we did it, we named him Jack...he is as adorable as we dared to hope he would be. Figuring him out is taking some work, but I assume it will take a lifetime....all in all, he's a pretty darn good little baby.

From here, I think I will transition to the random thoughts and topics that come to me...why? who knows...because I like to write....because it makes me feel good, like I accomplished something...and because I like I just need some people to find me....

Monday, June 1, 2015

June 1: 5 days 'til Junior (the countdown)

Ok, so much for writing every day. And so long to the "everything I did today format". So boring...

It's day 25 of mat leave. I cannot believe it has almost been a month....and 5 days to go until junior is predicted to make his appearance. We will see. I think most people near and dear to me think he is going to be late. I am predicting an on-time(ish) arrival.

Everything about getting pregnant has been so scientific, so documented, so trackable (e.g. we know exact dates for when the egg was fertilized and transferred), and I just assume (perhaps incorrectly), that the due date / timing for his appearance will be just as, well, predictable and logical.

Interestingly enough, as an aside, I don't actually know what junior's true retrieval date. You see, I had 2 eggs successfully retrieved, fertilized and frozen (remind me to check). One of them was defrosted and is to become junior. Knock on wood. But the weird thing is - I don't know which one was selected. So, technically, if I was to have junior and then decide we wanted to try to have another, the 2nd fertilized/frozen embryo might in actuality be older than junior, but would be born as the 2nd child. And on top of that, if one was into astrology, who knows what month/sign is junior's actual...he was frozen for a period of time, so his birth date/month is different from what it would be had he been conceived naturally and according to a true 40 week cycle (from ovulation/conception to birth). But that ignores the fact that he most likely would never have been born without the science (IVF).

That felt like a whole lot of rambling. It feels like I haven't written in a while and am just warming back up...

In terms of life...

I am currently at a coffee shop (vineapple) in the neighborhood - just doing a little reading and internet-connecting while kicking myself out of the apt while the living room gets painted.

It was an "entense" weekend of running around, but kind of fun. Nothing like deciding to revamp the apartment in the 2 weeks left to spare pre-Junior. Johnny and I picked paint colors for the living room (Benjamin Moore Stonington Gray + Chantilly Lace). We have been "decluttering" and threw away a ton of books as well as donated a lot of clothes to Goodwill. We picked out an amazing blue vintage Norwegian lounger/rocker chair with ottoman on Etsy (hoping we get confirmation of order today...), and are in the process of picking out a new couch and coffee table. So what is happening with the massive, hulking cheese press coffee table we currently own? It is getting picked up tomorrow by Brooklyn Reclamation. Not getting too much $ for it, but it is worth it to us to just have it be gone. We loved it, but it is heavy and it has had its day in our lived. Time to lighten our load (as we gain a whole bunch of other new loads). Our next challenge (after paint job is finished) is to sell our current couch (hopefully for a good price) and pick out a new, lighter, smaller one. We are hoping these little changes will make a big difference to clean the place up and make it really livable for the next few months to a year (to two years - hah - but seriously).

That's what has been going on this past weekend/on tap for this week.

Last week I spent a few days upstate. It will likely be the last time I go up before baby is born and I wanted to spend time with my Dad while I could. It was a good trip - It was fun to hang with my mom, and I am glad to give her reasons to get out of the house and get her mind off of things, and just to talk. We saw the Olana River Crossings exhibit - my 2nd time (1st with Mad). Next I will take Johnny and be nearly qualified to give the tour.

My dad is not doing so well. I can get into this more in later posts. I am still unsure how much I want to reveal. He is weak and tired and seems very disengaged. I can't imagine what it feels like to be in his shoes - physically, mentally, emotionally - but it's not so easy being in our shoes either. I wish there was more I could do, to be of help, to be of comfort. Maybe there is. The answer has not yet revealed itself and I'm not sure if it ever will.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Today, Tuesday, is my 5th day of Mat Leave.

It was another good day. Gorgeous out - 80+ degrees and sunny for the most part.

I bagged my dreams of making homemade chocolate croissants after seeing I'd need to purchase a kitchen scale as well as a dough hook for my Cuisinart or hand mixer. There were just one too many steps on top of that…now is not the time.

SO! Instead - I used up all the brown, frozen bananas in the fridge and made 3 loaves of banana bread. 2 for us, 1 for my family - I'll bake that one tomorrow so I can bring it upstate with me on Thursday. Something funky happened with my first loaf - maybe the baking soda is too old, or maybe it is just undercooked…it's delicious but Johnny is going to kill me because it seems really underdone and he is trying to protect me from myself in terms of what I put into my belly while pregnant. I think it's ok.

Also ran some errands - finally found something at Michelle NYC on Atlantic that I think my mom will like (this is going back to store credit I had there since the old days of Stuck & Dry - Feb 2014). I also got a gift for my sis there, for her 40th bday on Sunday. The events just keep coming! I haven't even mentioned that I have my 20th high school reunion on Saturday…looking forward to with dread.