Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sweet Baby James

Because I did it for her sister yesterday, and because she's always on my mind. This one's for sweet baby Elle. I'm a big believer in singing "real" songs to kids, not just lullabies and kid music. It has its place, for certain, but in the car and on the stereo at home, we listen to Mom's Music. And that is not just John Mayer, but 10,000 Maniacs, Pearl Jam, Dixie Chicks, the Cities Sampler, Sara Barielles, and yes, James Taylor. The song was written as a lullaby for JT's nephew and namesake, and it has always been a favorite of mine. When Elle responded to it, it became special on a completely different level.

This vid is nice because you get to hear the story of JT's nephew, the original "ornery little varmint" named baby James.

There is a young cowboy, he lives on the range.
His horse and his cattle are his only companions;
He works in the saddle and he sleeps in the canyons,
Waiting for summer, his pastures to change

And as the moon rises, he sits by his fire,
Thinking about women and glasses of beer;
And closing his eyes as the dogies retire,
He sings out a song which is soft but it's clear, as if maybe someone could hear.

Goodnight, you moonlight ladies; rockabye sweet baby James...
Deep greens and blues are the colors I choose;
Won't you let me go down in my dreams?
And rockabye sweet baby James.

Now the first of December was covered with snow,
And so was the turnpike from Stockbridge to Boston.
Lord, the Berkshires seemed dreamlike on account of that frosting,
With ten miles behind me and ten thousand more to go...

There's a song that they sing when they take to the highway,
A song that they sing when they take to the sea,
A song that they sing of their home in the sky—
Maybe you can believe it if it helps you to sleep,
But singing works just fine for me...

So, goodnight, you moonlight ladies; and rockabye sweet baby James
Deep greens and blues are the colors I choose;
Won't you let me go down in my dreams?
And rockabye sweet baby James.

Friday, February 27, 2009


Because I am thinking about my big girl Bea, and this song always reminds me of her.

Blossom, smile some sunshine down my way
Lately, Ive been lonesome
Blossom, its been much too long a day
Seems my dreams have frozen
Melt my cares away

Send the sunshine down my way whenever you call my name
I know what you mean to say to me, girl, its all the same

Blossom, theres an empty road behind
Sit you down beside me
Blossom, theres a sweet dream on my mind
Theres a song inside me
Take these chains away

Now, send the sunshine down my way whenever you call my name
I know what you mean to say to me, girl, its all the same

Blossom, smile some sunshine down my way
Lately, Ive been lonesome
Blossom, its been much too long a day
Seems my dreams have frozen
Melt my cares away

Thursday, February 26, 2009

In The Pain, There is Healing

I was all set to write a fun little entry about my girls; about their general adorablenesses and proclivities, a little compare and contrast of two little people who share parents and blue eyes but not much else. Even a couple of months in, I can already tell: they are two distinctly different people. They look nothing alike, they have two different temperaments, two totally different personalities. They are both feisty in their own ways: Bea is gregarious and outspoken, unapologetic and demonstrative. Elle, on the other hand, is quieter and more laid back. I remember Bea being a very shy toddler; she's grown into her extroversion. I wonder if Elle will do the same, but it wouldn't surprise me if her temperament won't sway to the "strong but quiet" side of the spectrum.

But that's not what's on my mind this morning.

I'm thinking about the fact that we're supposed to have upwards of six inches of snow on the ground starting any minute now.

Bea starts her Level 2 swimming lessons tonight; hoping the weather won't cancel them. Also thinking about the fact that I need to run to the store, and should probably do that before the snow gets bad.

And what I'm procrastinating writing about is the fact that I got an email from my dad yesterday, asking if he could come visit over spring break. He is one of the things I don't write about much. I'm sure anyone who has read my blog long enough or knows me and has talked to me for any length of time realizes what a source of conflict and hurt he's been in my life. I've been working with a counselor in the last year or so to get my head straight, and in doing that I've gained a lot of perspective on my life and capabilities. I've learned to be strong and honest, because if I am anything less, I am hurting myself, and my family in the process.

I wrote this to him (excerpted):

As for visiting... I understand that you miss us, but I need to be honest with you here: I'm not sure about it. The fact is that right now I'm not very confident in our relationship -- such as it is. As I've told you before, I've gotten through a lot of anger and resentment toward you and your actions. I don't know if you know exactly how badly your actions hurt all of us, and it's not as simple as saying "sorry, guys" and picking right back up. This is a big piece of the fallout resulting from your choices, and it is something you are going to have to live with for awhile...

I don't know if you've figured out that it's been over a year since we even talked on the phone, and June will be two years since we've seen each other. I am not sure that a visit is in my deck of cards just yet. If there's something you can tell me to change my mind, the floor's open. I've been open and honest with you regarding my feelings - brutally so, because it's the only way I can function. I need you to return that honesty, without pulling punches or using semantics or worrying about being proper or tactful. I want to find some way of having a meaningful relationship with you, but I can't do it unless I know your side of the story.

I'm listening.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday 2009

In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till thou return unto the ground, for out of it wast thou taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Genesis 3:19

So. Usually for Lent, if one observes it, one must give up something enjoyable for the 40 days of the season. It is a time of reflection and sacrifice, and the idea is to remember what Christ did for us in sacrificing his life for our salvation. It is a recognition of blessings, and a denial of self. A mechanism in humility.

Now, Holy Mother Church doesn't run my life, but I once heard a priest say that he thought Lent was more about self improvement than it was about self-sacrifice. Rather than hurting and feeling pain, he said, a better way to celebrate Lent is to pick an area of your life to improve, and work diligently at it for those 40 straight days.

I like that idea.

Since I've neglected this blog since Elle's birth, I have decided that I will write every single day during Lent. It might be a blurb, it might be a song lyric, it might be nothing at all. But I will write. Blogging means so much to me and it really does help me stay grounded, and I've let that get away in the last few months. It also gets me going; part of my routine last semester was to try and blog or write down some thoughts before I studied. It helped me focus and clear my mind, and that's something that needs to happen more often, especially with the unpredictability of having an infant in the house.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Naming Names

For the last couple of years, I've referred to my firstborn daughter on this blog as "The Girl." Easy enough, right? My husband is "The Boy", and that's also easy enough to distinguish. I do this to maintain privacy -- my name is out there, and if you know me, you know them, and that's fine. However, my husband's business is such that he does not want a social online presence, and I am a lioness when it comes to my kids. Therefore, it's in everyone's best interests to remain nameless.


We now have a second child, who is also a girl. This complicates things. (See, even at birth, women are complicated. L2Deal, men...) How would I distinguish the two? I didn't want to call her "the baby" because she won't be one for very long, and I didn't want to give her a name and not give her sister a name, or vice-versa. So I thought about it (for about ten seconds) and came up with the following.

I have a Big Girl.
I have a Little Girl.

B.G. and L.G.

B and L.

Bea and Elle!!

Therefore! Henceforth, the Girl will be known as Bea, and the baby will be known as Elle. Both are pseudonyms, but easy, namey sort-of things, which are cute in their own girly way. I could send these names to school and the teacher wouldn't look at me in a weird way.

So. There you have it. Hope it's not too confusing for anyone.

Monday, February 2, 2009

32 Days of Ketchup

Okay wow! I just broke my own non-blogging record, and in a big, big way. Of course, I have a tremendous excuse for doing so, since I did the following:

1. Gave birth (and liveblogged it, which I will likely import over here when/if time permits);

2. Recovered from said birth (and still doing so for another ten days; post-partum is officially 42 days long according to the doc);

3. Started back to school;

4. Got the Girl started back to school;

5. Survived the usual January blast of Minnesota arctic chill; and

6. Watched the Steelers win the Super Bowl!

So I've had a busy month!

The birth itself went about as well as I could have expected, considering I had a repeat c-section. I liveblogged it and will probably eventually take that blog down and import everything over here so it can be properly archived.

School (so far) is going well. There are ups and downs to my current schedule. The major plus is that I only have ONE (yes one!) written final this term, for Evidence. I am told it's a major pain, so I will likely take as much time as I need to study for it and then take it when I'm ready. Another major plus: two of my classes are done either shortly before Easter or shortly after it, and these are the classes that meet on the weekend days this term. Score! I can handle two classes on Friday if that's the only day of the week I have to sit in class.

Downside? TWO major writing projects (a motion brief and a paper) and a mock trial to run for Trial Advocacy. I suppose it could be worse -- but it just means that each week I will have a LOT of prep work, rather than pacing through 14 weeks of reading and outlining, then 3 weeks of final crunch.

And then I'm HALFWAY done with law school! How'd that happen, y'all??

I'm sure there's more... like how the baby likes it when I sing Paul Simon and James Taylor ("Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard" is a favorite) and how geeked I am that things are looking up in terms of a new JM album this year. I still wish I could have gone on MCC2, but I'll deal. After all, if there is a tour coming up this fall, then Santa will know what to leave in my stocking. And I STILL need to get my autographed copy of Continuum framed and hung in the baby's room.

Until then, it's me doing my thing: studying when the baby sleeps, typing one-handed when she doesn't, looking forward to longer, warmer days and enjoying the sunshine when we get it.

I must say -- I am jealous of my cousin's husband. He got to GO to the Superbowl this year and saw the boys bring home #6 in person. At the very least, he had the decency to take his dad with him to the big game, and he mentioned that it was a childhood fantasy come true. (After that 4th quarter comeback, I hope it was worth it!) I jest in my purported jealousy; it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy in all honesty.

And now I must return to my regularly scheduled day of baby-wrangling, kitchen-cleaning, laundry-folding and general de-cluttering. BBQ crockpot ribs for dinner tonight. Woo!