Thursday, August 28, 2008

Listening to Pandora

My life, ca. 1992 (if only they'd ask my name):

There's a girl who sits under the bleachers, just another day eating alone
And though she smiles, there is something just hiding
And she can't find a way to relate
She just goes unnoticed as the crowd passes by
And she'll pretend to be busy, when inside she just wants to cry
She'll say...

Take a little look at the life of Miss Always Invisible
Look a little harder
I really really want you to put yourself in her shoes
Take another look at the face of Miss Always Invisible
Look a little closer, and maybe then you will see
Why she waits for the day when you'll ask her name

The the first weeks of class
She did everything to try and fit in
But the others they couldn't seem to get past all the things that mismatched on the surface
And she would close her eyes when they laughed and she fell down the stairs
And the more that they joked, and the more that they screamed
She retreated to where she is now...and she'll sing...

And one day just the same as the last, just the days spent in counting the time
Came a boy that sat under the bleachers, just a little bit further behind...

-- Miss Invisible, Marie Digby

My life, ca. 2008 (if only I would believe):

"I don't know why you don't go back to college and get your degree," he said
"You could be anything you want to be if you'd only believe that you're worthy, beautiful, you don't need their approval, And I'll be the rock that you can lean on..."

"I've watched you work the room - people hanging on every word, you build it, then kill it, leaving a mystery everybody needs, You're broken, beautiful, you fascinate them all, And they'll be the wind that you will lean on..."

"And why are you everybody's girl? Why (do) you throw your arms around the world? When I am all you need to see you through, I don't believe it, no, I don't believe it, no, I don't know, know about you..."

"I don't know why you don't give up the wild life and come be with me, you know, 'Cause I feel you, and I'm real, you've gotta believe that I never would leave you, 'cause I'm strong, dependable, and I could give you the world, Why can't I be the one you lean on?"

"And why are you everybody's girl? Why (do) you throw your arms around the world? When I am all you need to see you through, I don't believe it, no I don't believe it, no, I don't know, know about you..."

Because I always fell short, because they always wanted more
Because he left and shut the door before you came along
I couldn't feel anybody's love, so everybody's love was not enough
But I know one day, it's going to fill me up
And that's why I am everybody's girl

That's why I throw my arms around the world 'Cause I cannot believe it could be true I don't believe it, no I don't believe it, no, I don't know, know about
Why I am everybody's girl That's why I throw my arms around the world
'Cause I cannot believe it could be true...

-- Everybody's Girl, Jen Foster

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ultrasound, v 2.0

This is what I did yesterday morning.

The ultrasound experience is nothing new to me -- I did it at least 3-4 times with the Girl and this is the second one for the Bean. I was a bit disappointed with this one- the monitor was faced directly away from the exam table so I wasn't able to see most of the exam itself. Eventually the tech turned the monitor toward me and I got to see the Bean in motion. I will say that what I saw was just as cool as every other time I've seen a fetus of mine up on the screen. As you can see, she's become less bean than baby.

And yes, the use of the female pronoun here is indicative that there is a very strong chance that this bean is also a girl.

I've mentioned it before, but the confirmation of gender brings me to a weird place -- essentially it means I have emulated my family of origin. (My sister and I are approximately six years apart -- roughly the same as my girls will be.) I don't think I did this on purpose -- matter of fact, there's really no way that I did it on purpose. It really threw me for a loop -- last night the boy and I went to bed and he asked me how I was feeling about having another girl. It really threw me for a bit of an anxiety bender, and it brought up a lot of things I hadn't thought through -- I think I was getting used to the idea of having a boy (this pregnancy has been so drastically different than my first...and I'm in a better position to know how to handle an infant).

I don't know that I would want a third child at this point -- and I don't know that I would want to go for another baby just to try for a son. I don't know if it's selfish that I wouldn't want to give up another triathlon season, or that if we had another baby, I'd want to do it almost right away (seriously, at this point, an eighteen month delay wouldn't be a bad thing.)

I'm not disappointed that the bean is a girl -- not by a long shot. Having a sister is an amazing blessing for any girl. If we had a third child, I'd be fine with it...the boy and I have talked about two or three from the get-go. I think the worst part of this whole thing is that I feel like I should be happy and excited, and all I feel is confused and just...weird. There's absolutely no pressure from his family to "carry on the family name" and the Boy told me last night he likes the idea of being surrounded by "his girls."

I just wish I knew better how I felt...I wish I could pinpoint it. I know I'm happy that the Bean is, by all accounts healthy and growing, and I'm happy that the girl is excited to have a baby sister. For now, that's what I have to rely on.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Summer of 1994, Redux

It's funny how sometimes you return to music you've known for ages, and is so ingrained in your psyche so as to be second nature. I haven't listened to Dulcinea in eons, and quite frankly, I don't know where my copy of that CD is at the moment. However, I was Youtubing this evening and it struck me that I haven't heard the album in forever.

It will forever remain one of those seminal albums of my adolescence -- it came out around 1993-94 or so, when all was well, I earned $4.75 an hour folding sweaters at the mall, and my left elbow was getting sunburnt for the second summer in a row as it hung out the driver's side window of my non-airconditioned compact coupe. Seventeen is such a magical age -- a crossroads, no doubt -- but there is just something about the world being your oyster, and taking ownership of the possibilities.

Perhaps that's the point of adulthood: we spend our lives trying to recapture those heady days of carefree worldliness, days when we owned up to our loss of innocence and rather enjoyed ourselves in the process. Dulcinea was part of my soundtrack for that time in my life, and I will forever be able to pick up that album and sing every single song, line by line, note by note, no matter how much time passes between listenings. I actually had a thought -- I've heard a bootleg of JM and Glenn Phillips doing a cover of Walk on the Ocean, and it struck me that maybe during that summer when I was just a kid folding sweaters somewhere in the Midwest, he was just a kid, with a sunburnt left elbow, doing whatever it was he did for $4.75 an hour somewhere in Connecticut. In any case, Toad the Wet Sprocket will always be ingrained in my musical psyche, and there will always be a spot in my collection for Dulcinea (even if it's currently in a black hole somewhere).

another day, I call and never speak
and you would say, "nothing's changed at all"
and I can't feel much hope for anything
if I won't be there to catch you if you fall

--Something's Always Wrong

Nothings so cold
As closing the heart when all we need is to free the soul
But we wouldnt be that brave I know
And the air outside so soft, confessing everything...everything

And it wont matter now whatever happens to me
Though the air speaks of all well never be it wont trouble me

-- All I Want

There's something that you wont show
Waiting where the light goes
Take the darkest hour-break it open
Water to repair what we have broken

There's something that you wont show
Waiting where the light goes
And anyway the wind blows
Its all worth waiting for

-- Windmills

She said I'm fine, I'm okay cover up your trembling hands
There's indecision when you know you ain't got nothing left
For the last time conscience calls, for a good friend I was never there at all
When will we fall...when will we fall down

--Fall Down

Friday, August 22, 2008

Half Baked

Had my 20 week OB appointment this morning, and according to the doc, all is well for another four weeks. Ultrasound is next week and we are going to find out the gender of the baby. I don't mind knowing this time around -- the novelty wore off after the first one, and I have a need to plan due to limited space and limited planning time. The boy is in agreement, and I think the family is quite thrilled. If, however, I receive oodles of pink and frilly madness upon the news of a female, I shall scream.

We have preliminarily decided upon names, which of course will not be broadcasted here, in continuation of my privacy policy. They are very nice names.

BP: 122/68
Weight: +3 since the last appointment, -5 total.
Fundal Height: 20/21 cm (right on track)
Fetal HR: 150

The thing that was most remarkable about this visit was the utter difficulty in finding the baby's heartrate. The doc chased around my belly for a good couple minutes and ended up using a second dollop of gel before she finally found the baby. I was almost to the point of worry, especially since I haven't felt much in the way of real movement yet, but we finally caught the little stinker and the heart sounded normal and strong. It seems my body has a talent for making babies, and this one seems to be no exception.

I'm halfway done with this pregnancy, and that seems hard to believe. In four weeks, the baby would be potentially viable if I were to go into pre-term labor. In six weeks, the baby would have a better than average chance of survival, and I will officially be in my third trimester. In eight weeks, I will be staring down midterms and outlines. It will be fall in Minnesota, and I will be wearing maternity jeans with my autumn sweaters.

And now, I must finish the Property reading I avoided yesterday, and get going on Family Law, before my 2:30 class this afternoon. Ah, the joys of law school...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Cowboy Music

So I'm sitting in the basement student lounge at school, blatantly ignoring my Property homework, and listening to Pandora.

I've got the classical station on, because it's usually good to have as background music whilst delving into legal minutiae. The lounge is filling up with freshly minted 1L's, still hopelessly optimistic and just released from their 9:30 classes.

I am drawn from my Mozart-induced coma by a loud, brash combination of winds and strings, and am immediately drawn to the Old West. It's Copland, sending me to the land of Clint Eastwood, spaghetti Westerns and tumbleweed-infested saloons in a way only he can. I don't know how one composer can embody a spirit, a time, an imagery the way Copland does with the Western spirit, but if there is a quintessential American composer, one that brings forth barn-raisings, Conestoga wagons and Stetson hats in the mind of the listerner, it's him. (Horrible runon sentence, that. Sorry.)

Most people would know the particular piece as the "Beef! It's what's for dinner!" song, but I know it by its given name (Ballet Rodeo) and specifically by movement (#3: Hoedown).

Copland goes beyond "Rodeo" for me though. Appalachian Spring is a favorite, and its "Variations on a Shaker Hymn" (Simple Gifts) is a three minute journey to the ever-possible.

My dad loves Copland. I think I was inculcated by the time I was five. It hasn't left me. It's probably one of those things I don't mind having in common with him.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

First Week of School

First week of school is officially over, and in and amongst the readings and classes, I'm finding a bit more joy in school. Partially because I get to choose some of my classes this term, and also because the professors seem less like intellectual gods and more like scholars with something to share.

Okay, maybe they are simply demi-gods. One can always hope they retained some of their humanity.

Choice quotes and phrases from this week:

"wily quadruped"
"saucy interloper"
"corporate erection"

I'll just let those speak for themselves. First impressions: Property will be hard but hopefully interactive and somewhat interesting, Con Law is a poli sci major's dream, except that the final is going to be regimented and (I'm assuming) incredibly difficult if the argument isn't structured just so, Negotiation will be fun and hopefully slightly argumentative, and Family Law will be just plain fun.

I love watching the conservatives in class squirm every time we talk about the "definition of marriage" and "same-sex marriage" as well as "cohabitation." Great sport. (Honestly - I was waiting for someone to pull out a KJV or NIV and hurl it with great abandon at the professor's head. No such luck. Merely a bout of silent fuming and resignation. I hope there are some RAGING debates this term.)

More on this later - but as our examination of marriage begins, I can't help but think that the state has no business in the business of marriage. Much of our issue and problem would be resolved by abolishing state sanctioned marriage altogether and adopting a civil registry system for all couples. In doing so, we leave "marriage" to the individual couple (i.e., if one wants to invite God/Vishnu/Jesus/Yahweh into their marriage, they are free to do so at the temple/synagogue/church of their choice) but in order to reap the social benefits of couplehood and union, they must go to the registry office, register in person and receive documentation thereof.

I posit that any two consenting adults, regardless of gender, should be able to present themselves, verify they are free and able to join, solemnize the union in front of a court officer, and then go about their lives as they see fit. Whether their next stop is a church and a priest, a beach and a friend, or a wooded glen and a high priestess is their choice and none of the government's concern.

I imagine most churches will insist upon a registry license or somesuch before they will marry someone, but the point is this: those who wish to register as couples may do so, and those who wish to marry in church may do so without a registry. Or couples may do both.

Surely those who both claim limitations on government and the "sanctity of marriage" could not be opposed to such a proposal -- one which not only takes the government out of the business of intereference in individual lives and liberties, but also reserves the title of "marriage" to those who wish to recognize it via religious or social means, rather than governmental ones?

See what I did there?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Has She Lost Her Mind?

Has he lost his mind?
Can he see or is he blind?
Can he walk at all, or if he moves will he fall?
Is he alive or dead? Has he thoughts within his head?

- Iron Man

Sooz just posted a new goal in her LJ blog.

I think I've created a monster!!

And I am thinking I might join her.

IMOO 2010, baby!!! (But first, a standalone marathon, a century ride, and a LOT of training.)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Moment of Beauty

This made me cry this morning, during a study break.

No Language Required

We are waiting for the notoriously slow elevators at St. Vincent’s after one of my checkups. Standing next to us is a nurse, a new baby, the new mom, and a couple of her friends. The new mom doesn’t speak English, so her friends translate what the nurse is saying. It is an exciting day; they are taking the new baby home.

When the elevator finally arrives, we all step inside, and I cannot stop looking at the little baby, fast asleep in the carseat, tiny and pink and perfect.

The mom notices me noticing her baby, so I give her a smile. Congratulations.

Her eyes flick to my belly and she smiles back. Good luck.

Eastsidegirl is due any day now. I love her writing, and so should you. Best of luck to her.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Comfort of Couplehood

Sometimes, when you are a couple, you set aside a Saturday night and make reservations, and hire a babysitter, and put on your nice clothes and your grown-up shoes, and get the car cleaned and you go out on a date to a restaurant where it is quiet enough to have a civilized conversation and the words kids menu don't exist.

Sometimes, when you are a couple, you call each other on the way home and make plans to meet somewhere for dinner, and more often than not it's a more kid-friendly place, or a chain family restaurant, where likeminded families will also congregate and your kid can be a kid. You finally get home and remember that you have a load in the dryer that needs to be folded and you notice that the kitchen floor could use a Swiffering. You send the kids up to bathe and get ready for bed, and you notice that your partner has already gone to the basement and hauled the clean clothes upstairs, and you chat quietly while he Swiffers and you fold.

Sometimes, when you are a couple, and you are expecting a baby, you spend your third trimester nights together, a half-eaten pizza on the living room floor. You change into your pajamas immediately upon coming home from work, and you get comfortable on the couch, sharing a blanket and shifting into each other's sides, the flicker of the teevee in the dark room reflecting on your partner's face as you watch the latest installment of the DVD series you are working your way through together, probably The West Wing or Band of Brothers. You give him the extra pillow, he places his hand over your distended abdomen, both of you feeling the baby kick.

Sometimes, when you are a couple, your husband brings you red roses in the middle of the winter, because he knows you like fresh flowers on the table, and he knows the surprise will make you smile.

Sometimes, when you are a couple, you let him play Rock Band louder than you ever thought possible, because you know it's how he gets his stress relief, and you know it was a difficult day at work for him.

Sometimes, when you are a couple, you fall asleep in each others' arms and wake up with the kids in the middle of the bed, and all you can do is rub each others' feet and say "good morning" in the language that is your own.

Sometimes, when you are a couple, and you hear another couple is parting, you cuddle each other extra hard, and kiss each other goodnight a few extra times, because though you share the pain of the separation and sympathize with the ones doing the breaking up, you are grateful that it isn't you.

Sometimes, when you are a couple, you don't know whether you'll last another 48 hours or 48 days or 48 years, but you make damned sure you give it your best shot, because the other person is more important than anyone or anything else in life.

And at the end of each day, when you are a couple, you give and take, and talk and listen, and decide and disagree, and punish and forgive. But mostly what you do is decide to be together, and to sacrifice for each other, and lift each other up, every day, embracing love like a soft comforter wrapped around you both on a cold winters' night and knowing that there is nowhere else you'd rather be.