Monday, March 31, 2008


I was sitting in the waiting room at the doctor's office today when a couple came in with their little boy and brand new baby girl. It was hard not to stare: The dad was tall and handsome; the little boy had these adorable curls, and the baby - SO cute in her little yellow pj's (size 0-3 months, no doubt). The mom was very pretty, too, in a Molly Ringwald sort of way - or at least I'm sure she was underneath the massive eye bags and cloud of utter exhaustion that hung over her.

Now that my own kids are school-aged, I look upon new mothers with the compassion of someone who has been through that particular war zone and survived (even if it sometimes felt like the survival was the "just barely" kind). Because while it is obviously beyond awesome to hold that new little life in your arms and nourish it with your body, new motherhood can also (in my experience and the experience of countless women I've known) be an incredibly lonely and sometimes scary place. The sense of responsibility you feel is enormous - which would be unsettling enough if you were well-rested. Add sleeplessness and all the attendant tension and hormones into the mix, and the situation can spiral downward quickly. And while I never experienced clinical post-partum depression, my hat is absolutely off to any woman who does.

Why am I blogging about this? I don't know exactly, other than I guess I realized today that I have the sort of perspective on the care and feeding of babies that I didn't think I'd ever have when I had babies of my own. Perspective is goooood. It made me want to sit down next to that new mom in the waiting room and tell her, "It won't always be like this. It will get better. You will get your life back. It may not ever be quite the same, and it will come back in increments, but it will come back. And when it does your heart will swell in compassion at the sight of an exhausted new mother, because by that time you will proudly wear the badge of someone who has been through that particular war zone and survived."

Of course, I didn't sit down next to her and say that, because the look in her eyes told me she might bite my head off in one clean snap if I did. That's probably the same reason no one ever told me. It's okay, though. I discovered it when the time was right.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

vicarious gestation

I suppose vicarious incubation would be more accurate, since we're talking about eggs here. I actually ordered them months ago from a Silkie breeder in Florida, but then chickened out (so to speak) when I realized that - duh - I'd be trying to raise baby chicks at the coldest time of year. Fortunately, the lady was willing to put off the egg shipment until earlier this week.

You'd think I would have learned my lesson at this same time last year when we had five chicks living in the kids' bathtub, but I'm nothing if not stubborn. So, there's an incubator with 21 eggs inside set up in the master bedroom. I find myself obsessively checking the hygrometer to make sure the humidity level inside the incubator is where it's supposed to be (it never is, because - hello? I live in Arizona). How chickens were ever introduced into this climate I'll never know.

And it's not just humidity and temperature levels I'm obsessing about lately. Did you know the eggs need to be turned on a regular basis (i.e. several times per day?) In the absence of a good, broody hen who will get up off the clutch of eggs to do this instinctively (we have good hens here but not broody ones at the moment), you can buy automatic egg turners which will do this work for you. But was I going to take the easy route through this process? No, sirree. So, I've been turning the eggs several times per day by hand instead, starting first thing in the morning and ending last thing at night before bedtime. The husband found me groggily turning the little darlings right after I woke up this morning. "Aren't you supposed to do that with your beak?" he asked. Har.
Anyway, hopefully, I'll have much fluffy cuteness to share in a few weeks. Until then, I'm just hoping no disasters happen - like power surges and exploding eggs (which is possible, and what better way to become a total insomniac?).

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

nobody puts baby in a corner

It just made me incredibly sad today to read that Patrick Swayze is battling pancreatic cancer.

For one thing, I was a teeny-bopper Dirty Dancing fan, just like every other teenaged girl I knew in the late 80's.

For another, Patrick and his wife Lisa Niemi have had a tremendous impact on the Arabian horse world (note: scroll all the way down to the bottom of the site and click on the link in the lower right hand corner). Who could forget Polly Knoll's famous shot of the man and his gorgeous Egyptian stallion, Tammen?

offers comin' over the phone

Must. Remove. From. Inside. Head.

Monday, March 03, 2008

seeing the unseen

All seen things are temporary. All unseen things are eternal. Take time and know that what you seek is like music—it sweeps you along so you are moving in glory among the stars. Take time to find the unseen. ~A Wrinkle in Time

My husband recently brought home the movie version of Madeleine L'Engle's classic book. I remember reading it in grade school and feeling my grey matter stretching. I liked it, but even at that early age I must have realized that I was not going to be an avid reader of fantasy or sci-fi - genres that call so strongly to some readers and not to others. Anyway, the movie was actually pretty good, if a bit new agey woo-woo in places. Now I want to go read the book again, but it may have to wait until my current attempt to get through Antonia Fraser's Mary, Queen of Scots has been satisfied.

And continuing on a note of cerebriality (I don't think that's an actual word, but I like the way it sounds and looks, so I'm keeping it), this video and subsequent written explanation touched me deeply. Talk about seeing the unseen. I found it via Neatorama, which is always a reliable "good stuff" source.