Introducing the Pop Culture Kitchen

So I haven’t blogged much in the past few months. I realize this, and there are a few reasons for my inactivity. The beginning of this pregnancy was intense, to say the least, and I fell into a bit of a depression. I got my medications pretty well straightened out almost immediately, but I had some lingering icky feelings for quite a while. I essentially quit feeling like I had anything worth writing about, or if I came up with an idea, I just didn’t feel like sitting down and writing about it because where in the hell was I supposed to get any extra energy or brain power from?

As I gradually came out of this slump, I found myself busier and busier with work (teaching at a nearby community college) and simultaneously chasing around an increasingly mobile toddler who no longer naps all day. Added to this was the pleasant surprise that a book that I had written a chapter for a while ago, which had subsequently been shelved for various reasons, was suddenly going to be published again, and I needed to update my chapter before the end of the year. It was a busy, busy time, and I loved having so much to do. I think this really helped get me back to my happy place where I feel almost confident about stuff like, ya know, having a skill set. Oh, and my new therapist is probably helping a bit, too (that is, a LOT).

In any case, I finished teaching the fall semester and won’t be able to take on a class in the spring (because there’s essentially no provision for maternity leave when you’re an adjunct instructor), so I’m on a leave of sorts until next fall. And I finished revising that book chapter. And I can’t really take on copyediting work since I’ve got two months before I’ll have a newborn and my life is thrown into chaos. So I looked around one day over the holidays and realized I needed something to do when the holidays were over. Also, my therapist told me to find a new project, since I’m happiest when I’m busy with something that engages my brain. Go figure.

I knew I had this blog hanging around in the background, but I just couldn’t keep it going with the disorganized I’ll-post-when-I-think-of-a-topic manner that I started with. I needed a specific theme that I could base a publishing calendar on so that I can give myself specific assignments and deadlines. Otherwise I’ll never get anything done, except maybe beat a shitload of levels on Candy Crush, which I’m awesome at, but it isn’t really all that satisfying.

Inspiration struck when I read the book A Life from Scratch by blogger Sasha Martin. She set out to cook a meal from every country in the world, which gave her a specific goal and laid out a lot of assignments for her to fulfill. I decided that I needed that kind of structure and long-term planning. (By the way, Martin’s book is very good, but definitely not the light food-blogger book I expected it to be. She lived through some serious shit, y’all.)

I decided a cooking challenge was my best bet, since I really enjoy cooking and do it pretty much every day. Although I’m no pro, I can generally find my way around a saucepan. And my only other ideas were for projects that I’m just not in any way willing to commit to on a long-term schedule: DIY projects or a diet/exercise program. I mean, come on. I’ve had a half-painted armoire sitting in the middle of our guest room for about a year, and I’m seven-ish months pregnant, which is a fabulous excuse to avoid working out and eating healthy.

The pop culture cooking idea came to me as I was digging through my cookbook shelf. I noticed that I own several cookbooks based on books or authors. Pop culture and popular literature are absolutely my chosen areas of study (That book chapter I wrote? Yeah, that’s about The Walking Dead), so friends and family have given me these cookbooks as gifts over the years. That’s right, I personally own cookbooks based on the Song of Ice and Fire series and Jane Austen’s books, as well as a book by author Marian Keyes. And I’ve also read through several Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and Fifty Shades of Gray cookbooks at the book store (from what I can tell, the Fifty Shades cookbook is much better than the novels). Why do these things exist? Because of nerds like me. That’s why.

But I’m not into recipe development; I’m just a humble recipe follower. I like to watch cooking shows and pretend I have more skills than I actually possess and try out new things that I read about on other blogs. So I’m going to take this opportunity to work my way through these recipes and write about my experiences. This isn’t an ambitious quest; it’s merely a project to keep me from going crazy while I’m staying home with my kid(s). I’m sure I’ll still work in some life updates and gif posts along the way, but the cooking format gives me a basic outline to stick to.

So here’s the plan. I’m going to start with The Hunger Games, making one meal per week from recipes in The Unofficial Recipes of the Hunger Games (Rockridge University Press, 2012). After that, I’ll move into A Feast of Ice and Fire (Monroe-Cassel and Lehrer, Bantam, 2012) and so on, until I run out of steam or cookbooks. Interspersed with these, I’m going to have a burger night every week based on the Bob’s Burgers specials board (if you haven’t watched Bob’s Burgers, go do it now). I’ll document my successes and failures and talk about how each meal turns out, and I’ll probably also do a bit of discussion of the book/show as well. I may also develop the blog further along the way (perhaps switching to private hosting and changing the domain name), but that is yet to be seen because I have just oh so much to learn.

And, of course, if you have any recommendations on cookbooks or want to discuss books and TV shows, by all means, comment away. I look forward to seeing how this goes.

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The Semi-Working Mom: You Pay for the Luxury, but It’s So Worth It

The past few weeks I’ve gotten a taste of the working-mom life. And it is sweet. But I get the feeling that it’s one of those treats that is most appreciated in small bites.

This is literally my first pumpkin spice latte ever. I grabbed it on my way to work on the first day of autumn while wearing a cozy sweater and felt compelled to shoot a sassy selfie to show my husband what a basic bitch I was being. I rocked it.

This is literally my first pumpkin spice latte ever. I grabbed it on my way to work on the first day of autumn while wearing a cozy sweater and felt compelled to shoot a sassy selfie to show my husband what a basic bitch I was being. I rocked it.

I can easily see how many moms would get overwhelmed by everything it takes to get to work while someone else keeps your kid alive. This is no small feat. And it’s not something you can really understand until you try it. I was freelance editing for most of Tommy’s life before I started teaching again, but I had no idea what all was involved in actually going somewhere else to work.

Using a sitter or daycare is an interesting experience. At first you sort of freak out because you’ve got your kid’s napping schedule and feeding methods down to a science that nobody else could possibly replicate. But after typing up schedules and instruction sheets and having long conversations with the caregiver, you realize that you’re totally being a control freak, and your kid will survive if his nap or meal experience isn’t exactly perfect. Because every experience at home was perfect, right? Yeah.

And then there’s the inevitable freak-out when your darling baby realizes you’ll be abandoning him with these strangers. Tommy absolutely loses his shit whenever I’m dropping him off or picking him up, but the caretakers assure me (with photographic evidence) that he is fairly happy in the meantime. I’m fairly sure he’s just putting on a show to prove to me that he needs me, and (fingers crossed) he’ll get over it eventually. I sort of just drop his stuff and run out the door with an “I love you” flung over my shoulder on the way out in an effort to minimize the scene. It’s probably exacerbated by the fact that we only do three days a week, so his routine is changed up damn near every day.

The biggest challenge by far is finding childcare that doesn’t bankrupt you. Infants are the hardest to find care for because they can’t do anything for themselves, the little freeloaders. Compared to older kids, there has to be a greater number of caretakers in a room with fewer kids because all of the little monsters need to be fed and entertained, and all of their little tushies and noses need to be wiped (not in that order). Thank the gods for childcare providers, seriously. I don’t want to do what you do. This is why every daycare has a waiting list. And if you don’t get on the ball really early (like me) you might only get into daycare one day a week when you really need three.

What I’ve had to do is find a babysitter for the other two days a week. And really, the sitter is way cheaper than the daycare. Did I mention that childcare is really fucking expensive? Because it is. I didn’t get to teach as many classes as I’d hoped for this semester (that’s what happens when you’re the new instructor), and adjuncts don’t make very much money to begin with. So I’m literally paying more in childcare than I’m earning this semester. That’s right, I’m actually paying for the privilege to go out into the world and work. It’s like my unpaid internship in Berkeley all over again.

But, people, it is so worth it. I’m using my brain, keeping myself sane, and feeling good about myself. Even though I do have to grade things, I’m absolutely happy with this deal. Not only do I get a legitimate reason to talk about literature and writing for a few hours a week, I have a reason to wear work clothes, and do my makeup, and fix my hair. And, AND, I get to go to the gym once a week! What?!

I know, I know, many of you are all like, what’s the big deal? If you want to go to the gym, just go to the gym. But guys, it isn’t that easy. The gym where we live (on post) doesn’t have daycare, just a co-op where you have to go certain hours and watch other kids every once in a while, which is way too complicated and scary for me (other peoples’ kids? how do I even?). If I wait for Robin to get home so I can fling the baby at him and go to the gym, I won’t be able to hang out with both of them together before bedtime, and I like hanging out with the dudes. And the nearest off-post gym with childcare is still kind of far away and too expensive. But now, on days when I’ve got Tommy in daycare, I can take an extra hour (because I’m paying for it anyways, dammit) and go to the gym near the college. Hooray!

So the working-mom thing is amazing. But in addition to the big childcare question, it comes with so many little challenges, and some of them are weird and small, and you don’t expect them until you are dealing with them head-on. For instance, I can’t just use the baby as my alarm clock anymore. Yes, he tends to wake up around 6 or 6:30 every morning, which ought to be enough time, but he’s not reliable; every so often there’s a glorious morning when he decides to sleep in past 7. And also, if I want to do my hair and makeup without a little monster crawling up my legs and whining the whole time because he MUST BE HELD, I have to do that stuff before he wakes up.

And getting out the door is a bit of an ordeal. I have at least two giant bags (briefcase and diaper bag), sometimes three (gym bag), plus a baby on my hip. And god knows where my wallet is on any given day, because it gets rotated around so often, and I’ve gotten stuck off-post without my ID (horrors!) on at least one occasion so far.

I guess the key is getting organized up front. The people who do this well (not me) get the daycare set up while the baby is still in utero, work enough hours to pay for the childcare but not so many that they never see the kid (I have no idea what the magic formula for this is, does anyone?), and either wake up really freakin’ early or have some ability to get shit done at night that eludes me. I salute you, Wonder-Moms.

I figure I’ve got a pretty sweet deal going, even if it is in my own fumbling fashion. I may spend more money than I’m earning for the privilege, but I get to use my brain for what I trained it to do, I get a few hours to myself, and I still get to spend a ton of time at home with the baby. Of course, I went and screwed up my system, because after this semester I’ll be adding another baby to the mix and probably won’t be able to do this again. Meh, here’s to the present.

I’m Pregnant and Hormonal, and I’m Somehow Surviving

Okay, so it has been one hell of a month, and I know I haven’t written anything in a long time, and I’m sorry, so let’s get going.

First off, I’m pregnant. Remember that? I sure as hell can’t forget. And the first trimester of this pregnancy has been SO MUCH HARDER than my last one. I’ve been much more nauseous than last time, but more than that, I was just completely exhausted the past few months. Like going to bed at 8:00 after putting the baby down. Like letting the house get fairly icky because, oh my god, I just can’t face doing anything right now. Like WHY IN THE HELL ISN’T THE BABY NAPPING because I can’t do anything but lie face-down on the couch. Luckily, I seem to have turned the corner into the second trimester. The nausea has abated most of the way, and I feel almost human again.

The 14-week baby bump. It's a-growin'.

The 14-week baby bump. It’s a-growin’.

Another reason I was feeling so crappy was that my brain chemistry seems to have gotten all messed up recently. Some mixture of the hormones from my last pregnancy and my current one combined to attack the stability that I’ve had going for the past few years, and I started to get depressed. I guess the medication I’ve been on for the past several years encountered all of those baby hormones and just gave up. That is a lot of shit going on in one brain, after all. The good thing is that I recognized what was happening. The tiredness was more than just tiredness. I didn’t want to go anywhere outside my little world of home and the grocery store. Every task was overwhelming. I wasn’t excited at all to start teaching, I just dreaded the thought of having to do everything associated with it. Faced with an opportunity to work a bit more, thinking about the phone calls and arrangements I would have to make to get it done, I had a panic attack and just said no. So I went to the doctor and got on a different medication, and I’m starting to feel better.

And just in time. Everything went crazy last week, and I was able to deal with it.

On Wednesday the college called and told me the Tuesday/Thursday class I was scheduled to teach (a remedial reading course) didn’t have enough enrollment and was being dropped. Would I be able to teach a literature/writing class on Monday/Wednesday/Fridays? Um, yes please. But I only got into the daycare two afternoons, and now I had to switch everything around. Within the one afternoon I had to figure things out and give them my answer, I was able to secure a babysitter and daycare. And I didn’t freak out. That right there is a testament to the new pills working. Praise be the gods of pharmacology.

So now I’m teaching a much more interesting class, and I don’t have to do it with a screaming baby strapped to my back. There’s a very nice woman watching him two days a week, and he’ll be in daycare the other morning. Huzzah! I spent the weekend trying to scrape together a syllabus, and I started teaching this morning. Syllabus day, in and out. So far, so good.

Robin also started a new job this morning. He got transferred to a new department, but it’s here on the same post. He received word well over a month ago that he might maybe be switching, but the definitive word didn’t come to him until late last week. I won’t get into the details, but he says his new job is essentially like being a non-resident RA for the cadets. His hours will be a bit weirder, and he’ll be on-call more, but that’s about all I know about it for now.

Robin Hat

This guy. He’s the adult in charge of the youths. Watch out, cadets.

And now for the important stuff: Tommy’s birthday.

Birthday TieTommy turned one yesterday! To celebrate the event, we drove down to Philly to have a little family party with Robin’s parents. There was cake and swimming, and fun was had by all. Even though I was working through quite a lot of the weekend. Shout out to my mother-in-law for getting everything together. I’m not a great party planner. If I was in charge, Tommy might have gotten cake. Maybe. And everyone else would have eaten whatever was in their own homes because I would have forgotten to invite them.

Tommy birthday cakeI am really impressed that Robin and I have successfully made it a full year as parents. It seems like at least three years have passed. In any case, Tommy’s doing great. The little bugger is crawling everywhere. He can stand unassisted really well, but he can’t walk yet. He loves grabbing a toy in each hand and clomping around the house with them. And he babbles all the time, with the occasional “mamamamama” or “dadada,” but no actual words that we can understand.

Tommy Duplos

Dude. This afternoon he put two Duplos together. Then pulled them apart. All on his own. The kid’s a genius.

In case anyone is interested, the overwhelming winner of the advice I asked for in my last post is to sit on the floor while changing a diaper and sling a leg over the baby’s chest. It’s firm enough to keep him in place, but it won’t hurt him. Tommy doesn’t like it much, but his vote doesn’t matter on this issue.

So that’s what’s been happening here. Lots and lots going on, and I’m able to handle at least most of it now.

Life Update: July 2015

I realize I’ve been a bit off the grid lately. Unless you are directly related to me or live within 100 feet of me, you probably haven’t seen or heard from me in a while. That happen sometimes. This time it’s because there has been so much happening that I’m just trying to exist.

First off, the really great news is that after his whirlwind 9-month battle, my dad finally kicked his cancer to the curb and my parents got to head back to Japan. Hurray! I just wish I was able to be there when they ate their celebratory cake. It looked magnificent.

Ass Cake

YASSSS

Tommy and I packed up and headed for the lake at the beginning of the month. He got to spend some quality time with his grandmother and great-grandmother, and I got to relax a bit and look at the lake while I got some work done. Tommy loves splashing in the lake, and while I don’t love cleaning the sand out of his diaper, I do love seeing him discover the awesomeness of the beach.

We got to see the Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, Fourth of July parade, which Chris Christie and Marco Rubio marched in. It was really bizarre, but I guess fairly predictable with the number of local wealthy republicans and the fact that it’s an early primary state. The bulk of the parade was your typical small-town fare with trucks and floats from local businesses and clubs, small bands and youth dance groups, and the obligatory choreographed lawn-chair routine. Then it seemed like the parade was over. But no, there were people pointing up the street saying something else was coming. And along came the Christie group, creeping along, super slowly, so that the candidate could pose for selfies with some of the many, many local republicans. And then there was a loooong gap, and Rubio’s group came creeping along, doing the same deal. Apparently Mitt Romney, who has a house nearby, hosted what Jezebel called a “deeply weird sleepover.” Fairly hilarious and totally worth watching.

Unfortunately we had to leave Robin at home. He’s been working really long hours lately. He hasn’t been home during daylight hours much in several weeks. In fact, he’s at the office right now, on a Saturday afternoon. He hates it, I hate it, but what you gonna do? We know it’s temporary but necessary.

Luckily, I was able to use much of the down-time at the lake to get ahead on my editing project and finished it up earlier this week. So I don’t have that stress to worry about, and I can take the occasional nap when I feel like it. Which is very important to this pregnant lady.

I also got to go to Ikea to get a new coffee table (Tommy smashed the glass top on our old one) and a new dining set. Sorry Mom, but I sold the fabulous 1980s wicker set you passed down to me. It was time. And I really didn’t need Tommy smashing the glass top on it. I love Ikea. Coming from Oklahoma, I didn’t have the opportunity to go there until fairly recently, but now I’m addicted. I love wandering through the store, eating in the cafeteria, and putting stuff together. Unfortunately, the dining set didn’t come with any of the required hardware, so I had to pack up Tommy and drive all the way to freakin’ Paramus, New Jersey, twice in one week. Less than ideal. But meatballs, chicken fingers, and the play area went a long way toward soothing us.

This Gem Served Us for 30 Years

This gem served us for about 30 years

I realized last week that the BlogHer2015 conference would be going on in New York City this week, and I spent a lovely few moments imagining how I could get myself there. But in reality, there’s no way I could have gone. Maybe if I had realized it was going on before last week and planned ahead. I love conferences. And a lady-blogging conference where I might run into one of my favorite writers in real life? Yes please. But I didn’t budget for the fees (hello, Ikea) or set up a babysitter, and this is NOT somewhere I’d want to go with a potentially cranky baby. Besides, I’m simply not a serious enough blogger for it to be terribly important right now. Maybe next year, if it’s somewhere I can travel to, or if I decide to do anything with this blog beyond simply communicating with a handful of people. We’ll see.

I’ve been using much of my free time this week getting ready for my new job teaching a couple of classes at a local community college this fall. I interviewed for the job well before I found out I was pregnant, but I figure I might as well go ahead and teach a semester, then I might be able to only take off one semester and teach again next fall. We’ll see how well this works. The class is the most remedial of remedial English classes, meaning I’ll probably have an interesting mix of young and older students who haven’t seen a decent classroom in quite a while and need to figure out how college works. Quite frankly, editing pays better than teaching, and this isn’t exactly the ideal course, but I’m dying to work outside the house, if only for two afternoons a week. I’m working on getting Tommy into daycare, but the facilities on the campus and here on post both have full infant rooms. I’ll probably end up paying most of my paycheck to have a sitter while I linger on their waiting lists. But, guys, I get to GO SOMEWHERE to WORK! I might even get to GO TO THE GYM!

Who knows what my life will be like when baby #2 comes along. I may not get to work for a few years, or I may fling the kids in the general direction of the nearest daycare every chance I get. I love working, but I know this might just not be the right time for me to work outside the house beyond the classes this fall. And I can deal with that. I’m just really lucky to be able to have choices about it.

Tommy is growing and growing. He shoves solid foods into his mouth by the fistful. He’s crawling everywhere and trying to climb things, but so far with very little success. The dog’s water bowl seems to be a favorite destination. He babbles and whines a lot but has yet to say any actual words on purpose. While in New Hampshire he figured out clapping, and he’d clap for his great-grandmother every time she entered the room. We’re working on waving, but quite frankly, I’m a terribly lazy teacher when it comes to baby tricks. I’ve almost completely crapped out on baby sign language. As cute as he is, It can be exhausting hanging out with Tommy all day (I know, I know, this is paradise compared to what I’ll face with multiple children, just let me whine. IT’S MY WEBSITE). He’s not napping well right now and tends to get really tired and whiny during a good portion of the day. Ugh, and the pinching! Don’t let that little boy’s fingers anywhere near the soft flesh of your upper arm. But he does love hanging out on the front porch with our neighbors, watching the bigger boys play. And when all else fails, Sesame Street can captivate him pretty well.

Stella gets so nervous. Those ears.

Stella gets so nervous. Those ears.

As for baby #2, I’m roughly 8 or 9 weeks pregnant, which according to babycenter.com, means the kid is the size of a kidney bean. But my stomach isn’t aware of that fact, because the instant pregnancy hormones hit my system, my tummy pooched out as if my abs decided they were going on vacation early this time. Such assholes, those abs. And the nausea hit harder this time, but a combination of vitamin B6 and (weirdly) antihistamine seem to be keeping me from being completely miserable. Tired but not completely miserable.

7 Weeks

The maternity suit (yes, already) masks the 7-week belly pretty well.

So that’s what’s happening with me. I’ll try to keep the blog updated more, now that I don’t have to work every single moment the baby’s sleeping. In the meantime, happy summer.

That Feeling When . . . As Told by Winnie the Pooh

We were staying at my in-laws’ place down in Philly last weekend—after I had dropped the dog off with them, and then we had flown into Oklahoma on the flight from hell, and then flown back on the two other flights from hell, and then we had gone back down to retrieve the dog (let’s just say I’m not leaving home for a while and possibly never flying again)—and for some reason decided to watch some classic Winnie the Pooh.* About halfway into the movie I decided that despite the often overly sentimental vibe they give off, Pooh and the other residents in the Hundred Acre Wood represent my feelings in so very many situations.

And so here, as represented by Pooh and company**, is how I feel when . . .

When a paragraph I’m attempting to edit just seems completely beyond my grasp.

Pooh editing

When I’m trying to remember why the hell I came into the kitchen. Am I getting food for someone? Was I going to write something on the grocery list that I will forget otherwise, because as we can all see, I have a FANTASTIC memory.

Pooh Think

When I’m thinking maybe I shouldn’t be wearing a bikini this year. Nah. I’ll just rock the mombod like a motherfucker.

Pooh Belly

 

Because

Pooh Haters

When I’m at a restaurant and thinking about the delicious, delicious food that I ordered, which I didn’t cook. And I have a glass of wine. And there’s a possibility of brownies later. And everything is perfect in the world.

Pooh Food Dance

When the dog has been under my feet every time I turn around, the baby won’t nap for more than 45 minutes despite being exhausted, I haven’t gotten anything productive done, and I just can’t face making dinner. And then I go outside and talk to my neighbor who has TWO kids. And we’re just kinda like YEP, but somehow that makes us feel better.

Pooh bad day

 

When Robin and I are both kind of acting like weirdos, but that’s okay, because we’re weirdos who get each other. And would you like to be a weirdo with us, please?

Pooh and Piglet are weird

 

When it’s Saturday and I poke Robin to go get the baby so I can sleep for another hour. Because he’s very nice.

Pooh sleepy

*That is one doozy of a sentence, if I do say so myself.
**As the images render obvious, I am referring to the Disney incarnation of the characters with which I grew up. I did not encounter the original A. A. Milne version until adulthood, and it always seems a bit odd and sad to me for some reason.

All .gifs from giphy.com. 

The Anxiety Beast

I have anxiety problems. Have I told you that?

It’s just a part of my personality, so it’s not usually a big deal. I don’t do crowds or talking to strangers or god forbid talking on the phone if I don’t have to, especially to a stranger. It’s part of my life. I manage it. I’ve even gotten to the point where I can stand in front of a classroom three days a week and not panic.

I’ve been having some trouble lately, though.

It built really slowly. It sometimes does. Over the summer and part of the fall I was almost ridiculously relaxed. I was pregnant and mostly unemployed and bored. And then I had a baby and had to adjust, and then I got a little work, but I was still at least half unemployed and bored. The only anxiety problems I had were of the social sort—I have a really hard time meeting new people—and nothing that actually gives me much trouble.

But today was hard. It’s been adding up all week. I’ve got a book that I’m copyediting, so I’ve got to get a certain amount of work done each day to meet my deadline. And I knew that I was going to be coming to Oklahoma this week for my cousin’s wedding; I’ve known for a year. And I built time into my schedule to accommodate this. But somehow I just can’t let myself let go of the work while I’m on this trip. When I’m not working, when I’m doing stuff with my family—which I’m supposed to be doing on this trip—it always feels like it’s looming. It feels like an oppressive weight.

And then there’s this other freelance job writing copy. It’s a really small job; I really only have to work a few hours on it every couple of weeks. But the problem is I don’t feel like I’m getting it right. I’m supposed to write in a certain voice to fit the image of this company, and I know I’m not doing it well enough. This isn’t just my usual self-deprecating I’m-not-doing-good-enough-but-really-I’m-doing-just-fine deal. I know for sure I’m not doing good because my supervisor has scheduled a TALK later this week. And that makes my heart hurt; it literally squeezes something in my chest. And it messes with my head. It activates the shame spiral that medication is supposed to help me get away from.

Today, though. Today there was a breaking point.

We were scheduled to fly out of Oklahoma and head back to our normal lives. Even better, really, than our normal lives, because my husband is still on leave for the rest of the week and I’ve got an interview for an adjunct position at a local community college.

But our flight got delayed. And then, when we had finally gotten on board, after I had realized that my husband wasn’t sitting with me and I would therefore have to sit with the baby on my own, after my careful plan to feed the baby as the plane was ascending fell to pieces and the baby demanded to be fed while we were hanging out on the runway, after I had dutifully tried my very best to keep the baby from kicking the seat in front of me and the nice man sitting next to me, after all of that, we were still sitting on the plane, on the ground, for an hour.

And the baby kept squirming. And I kept thinking about all of the stuff I had to do this week and the ways I felt like I wasn’t quite holding it together. And a chubby little fist grabbed the earbud out of my ear. And I wanted to hurt that little chubby fist for taking away the one thing that was comforting me. I wanted to squeeze the little body in my lap to keep it from moving. And I broke. Luckily for everyone involved, I had the soundness of mind to calmly ask the nice man sitting next to me to switch seats with my husband (he fled to the seat where there was no baby) and hand that baby over.

I did the right thing. But the thoughts were still there, and the guilt for thinking them was there, and my heart was still being squeezed, and although I could still breathe, I was definitely at a breaking point. I took a damn pill, watched my husband perform some sort of witchcraft to entrance our child, and cried.

Plane Ride from HellThe flight was cancelled.

So I’m still in Oklahoma. And I’m thinking about what happened.

Although I had a bad time, and although I’m still hurting, still being squeezed by my anxiety, I know I’m going to be okay. That’s sort of the beauty of a long history of depression and anxiety (ya know, as opposed to being new to it, not in relation to being without it, which would be SO MUCH BETTER). Once you’ve been through the shit and gotten better, you know that you can get better. You know that with the right combination of medication and coping mechanisms you can get through the hard shit and that you will get back to feeling good again.

So there’s that.

The May 2015 Photo Motherlode

The other day I thought to myself, You know, Tommy is at a really funny point in development right now, so I should try to capture a little of it in pictures. Little did I know that such a thought would lead me to take more than 300 photos. It isn’t so much that I’m one of those Instagram-obsessed moms who documents her precious child’s every moment. It’s more like I’m a chimp trying to work a really nice camera. The little that I know about photography was learned in an online video course that I only had time to watch about 2/3 of. And I still can’t for the life of me figure out how to shift what the camera is focusing on. Hence the mindset of I’ll just take ALL THE PICTURES. Also, I’m using the few days in between freelance assignments to play around with some basic editing software, which I only pretend to know how to use.

Oh, and I just realized that I’m not in a single photo. Because I’m the one taking the pictures and I’m not even going to try to figure out how to do a selfie with a DSLR. Nope.

So here, broken up into categories for your viewing pleasure, is the result.

The Body

TommyFace

Figuring Out How to Move

Playing

The Fam

Cloth Diapers

My Less-Pathetic-than-Last-Year Garden