Saturday, April 18, 2009

Rewriting Childhood Songs

Lately, I've been trying to remember all the songs from my childhood. It's interesting to revisit these lyrics as adult. -- Some examples being Ring Around the Roses, Jimmy Crack Corn, or Buffalo Gals... You take a look at the history or context, and realize you just need to try to ignore the literal or implied meaning of the lyrics. Every once in awhile, I run across a song that has some golden parts to it, but some trash as well. So instead of throwing the whole thing out, I just keep what I want and make up the rest.

Example #1: Good Morning, Good Morning from Singing in the Rain.
In the movie, they're singing good morning because they've stayed up the whole night. And honestly I can't remember much more than, "Good Morning, Good Morning. It's great to stay up late. Good Morning, Good Morning to you." It's not that it's inappropriate for children, it's just that it's not very fitting. So I changed the words and added a bridge, and here's the new version I sing to Hazel every morning while changing her diaper:

Good Morning, Good Morning
I hope you're feeling great
Good Morning, Good Morning to you
Good Morning, Good Morning
I hope you're feeling great
Good Morning, This day is for you
You had a good night sleepy-time in bed
But now it's time for upsie-daisy, silly-head
Good Morning, Good Morning,
I hope you're feeling great
Good Morning, This day is for you

Example #2: Let the Sunshine In
Here's another one in need of a face lift. I love the chorus -- to me it was always a chipper anthem of the power of positive thinking. But then the other day I started singing the verse I remembered, and had to stop myself. It's all about the devil! I got online to see if there were other verses more appropriate for children, and found out that all the verses to that song are about the devil. Why anyone would craft such a delightful song with such terrible subject matter is beyond me -- like making a bouquet out of carcasses. So I took a little time to think about what I thought the song should say, and here is my new version:

My mother told me something
That a little girl should know
And it’s all about your attitude
When giving things a go
She says look for the good in things
And you will surely see
If you’re positive and confident
You can do anything

chorus:

So let the sunshine in
Face it with a grin
Smilers never lose
And frowners never win
So let the sunshine in
Face it with a grin
Open up your heart and
Let the sunshine in

While driving me to school one day
My daddy did explain
That I’m the one responsible
For having a good day
He says no matter what the day brings
You can always choose
To respond with kindness and you’ll find it
Keeps away the blues

[chorus]

And now whenever storm clouds
darken up the sky
I know just what I need to do
to get me through the night
I say a little prayer and
Remember to be brave
And a rainbow will soon appear
to chase away the gray


[chorus]

There! Much better!

The chorus always reminded me of the experience that inspired the second verse. I can remember many many mornings when my dad would be driving us kids to school, and he would ask, "Are you going to have a good day today?" The first few times we would point out that there's no way we could know that -- how could we know what would happen to us that day? And then he would start in with a little pep talk about how no matter what happens or what other people do, we always have control over our reaction and how we handle things. He would encourage, "Only you determine what kind of day you have!" After the first few speeches, anytime he would ask us "Are you going to have a good day?", we would just groan and laugh. We all remember those conversations very well, and as cheesy as it may be, it bears a lot of truth -- and is much better subject matter for a song!
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Monday, April 13, 2009

FAME!!!


My favorite stitching site invites patrons to submit their completed embroidery projects. They pick their favorites and display them in their gallery. I submitted my latest project, and guess what?!?!??? I made it! Click here to check me out.
Addendum 4/17/09: Can you believe it? They blogged about it! Thanks for letting me know, Jessica!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

I'll Fly Away

The little bird has picked up a new trick! When she gets excited she flaps her arms like she's going to fly away. Everytime she would do it, I would yell at Tory to come watch and of course she would stop. I was trying to get it recorded to show him and had to act fast to get the camera in time. -- So fast that I left a dang dirty diaper on the table and it's in the video. Gross. Bad Mama.

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More Baby Videos

Here are a few more videos -- taken by a new mom who thinks every little thing her daughter does is spectacular. (Read as, "this video will probably not interest anyone besides family".....) First up is Hazel playing with her Whoozit -- a toy my mother got her for Christmas. It's her favorite thing to play with sitting up. The second one is after her second dining experience -- she figured out she could make a sound by banging her spoon, and became obsessed with bonking and bonking. Again, sorry about the cheesy commentary.

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First Cereal Video

For those of you that want to see the event in motion, here's a video for you. Sorry about the breast pump in the background! It kind of reminds me of the "money you could be saving with geico"....if you've seen those commercials. Please pardon my SUPER cheesy commentary. I've got to learn to keep quiet in these videos! We did the first half of the meal with the other video (tape) camera. By the time we got to the second half with our digital (this one), she was starting to lose interest a bit. It'll probably be moderately interesting for grandparents and family, and super dull for the rest of you.

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Monday, April 6, 2009

House Sweet House

Because I have spent the last 6 years putting out emotional fires with rational thought, I will do a very poor job in the next few paragraphs of conveying how deeply the show House touches me. I'm simply out of practice when it comes to feeling. (But that's not the subject for this blog, so we'll move on.) I would skip the entry altogether, but I think so highly of the show that I can't not mention it.

I've been watching House for a few years now. It started because I have a thing for a) hard truths cloaked in sarcasm delivered by fearless and credible people, and b) older attractive and intelligent men, especially if they exhibit the previous quality. (Definitely helps if they are right most of the time and play piano and guitar.) Dad, if you're reading, don't get weirded out on me -- I promise this isn't oedipal.

What kept me watching (in addition to the aforementioned qualities), is the subject matter. The topics of House may be much like any other medical drama -- life, death, meaning, etc. But no other medical drama has ever appealed to me, probably because most of them are driven by hope, while House is driven by cynicism. Now that speaks to me.

I wanted to write a blog earlier this year, when the episode titled Unfaithful aired in February. A priest had a vision of Jesus and got very sick and ended up as Gregory House's patient. The two men went back and forth about faith, both trying to prove a point and convince the other while still figuring out where they stood on the subject. I need to go back and watch it, because there was so much meaty dialogue. That was the first time I watched a tv episode and needed a week to work through the cloud/clarity it left in my brain. It was fantastic.

Tory went out to watch the game (basketball, right?) with a buddy tonight, so I got to watch House with him gone, which allows me to concentrate much more. Thank goodness, because I would have needed to be alone with this episode (Simple Explanation). One of the doctor's on House's team calls in because "his dog is sick", and two other doctors on the team go to check in on him -- finding him on the floor. Self inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

I'm assuming anyone who is reading knows why I would identify: boyfriend's suicide in 2003, brother's suicide in 2008. They are both events I still deal with and work through everyday.


If I were writing a paper, I would make sure of all my sources and then start giving you all sorts of statistics. Since this is just a blog, I don't have to do that. I'm not going to remember them all accurately, and I don't feel pressure to. But here's some information for those of you unfamiliar with the subject. Suicide is common. And it's not talked about for the most part. It's a sickness. If it hasn't directly or indirectly creeped into your sphere of influence, just wait -- it most likely will. If it creeps in close, a loved one, your world will be blown open and you will find yourself in the spiral of a huge question mark. If the strike isn't so close, it may be just enough of the evil to vaccinate you from the heartache. If it sucks the life out of your heart more than once in 5 years, call me and we'll have a drink.

People don't talk about suicide because there's no happy ending. There's never even a mediocre ending -- there just isn't an ending at all. Usually we never really know why someone does it (even if they leave a note), and mainstream media needs closure. Doesn't matter if it's the news or movies or tv or magazines -- no one wants to report an unknown. It doesn't sell.Most people don't have a decent understanding of the subject. I can't blame them too much. Why would you want to investigate something so melancholy? The church seems to have its stance on suicide -- they will talk about it because it is their duty to feign impathy, though judgment is hard to conceal. Most from the older generation won't acknowledge the subject. And then there is a vast sect of society that uses the repulsive term "selfish act" with a clear and severe disrespect of the deceased and their remaining confidants. I think these people must have very simple minds and simple hearts and just have never experienced the far reaching boundaries of a tragic and beautiful soul. I want to shake them -- close them in a room with a well written book on the subject and the ghosts of suicide victims until they understand, but I'll keep my mouth shut. Sometimes I kind of envy their simplicity.

House took the subject and ran like an Olympian, creating a beautiful dance between the subjects of guilt and love. Resigning, you can't feel that much guilt with out love. Gregory House returns to Kutner's apartment repeatedly on a quest to discover the explanation, questions his friends and his parents, scouring every remaining piece of his life for clues. Brings back memories. A colleague consoles, Kutner hid from everyone. You didn't get a chance to save him; no one did -- "chance" being the operative word that makes that quip right in every way. The show ends with a funeral, and a beautifully accurate portrayal of personal paths of grief. The lonely stoic. The empty, drained faces of the parents. The friend that avoids the subject until a moment alone when it hits and brings a blubbering flood.

To whomever is responsible for making this show the soul-wrenching meaty-meal that it is, I commend you. Thank you for tackling a taboo subject and for doing it so f***ing well. A well needed heart massage, and a message needing heard.

Hazel's First Cereal


We have taken the leap!

The past week and a half, Hazel has been draining me dry and begging for more. She's said goodbye to all of her 3-6 month clothing, and is now exclusively in 6-12 month duds. I guess it's time to grow again. I feel so bad when she's rooting & rooting & rooting for more, and there's just not a drop to be found.

She can sit unassisted, has been noticing food, can drink water out of a big-girl cup (but won't take a bottle, go figure), and seems generally hungry -- so I figured it was time to introduce some cereal. She's about 5 1/2 months, so we're right on the AAP's schedule.

I've been putting it off because (sorry to get graphic) her bowels have started really spacing out. She'll go about 5 or 6 days between number two's, which makes me cringe, but I guess it's fairly normal. Currently, she's on day 9 and we're still waiting for what promises to be a monstrous explosion. It's really really uncommon for a breastfed baby to get constipated (so they say), so I just keep working her legs, massaging her tummy, and letting her eat as much as she wants. Everyone has advice on the subject, and I welcome all of it. It didn't seem right at first to think about adding in something thicker than she's used to when she's potentially plugged up, but it seems that most of the material online & from my doc's office is telling me not to worry. So I'm done worrying. Bring out the spoon!

I made about 5 tsp of rice cereal with breastmilk. SHE LOVED IT!!!!! It all went well-- like she had been eating for months! I put some on the spoon and showed it to her; she opened wide and closed down on the cereal. Easy-peasy. Not all of it went down the hatch, she sometimes would just move it around in her mouth or ooze it out, but all in all I would call it a very successful first meal. Hooray!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Breastfeeding Article

This is for all you moms out there who have successfully or unsuccessfully or apathetically breastfed your child.

Check out my friend's blog entry on the subject.

And also be sure to read the article he is referring to.

In Dan's perfect words -- It's a level-headed and refreshingly skeptical look at the hype, over-selling and judgmental posturing that attaches to contemporary breast-feeding.

Take a minute to read it -- seriously. Please do it now. Latch on and don't stop until you've finished the rich hind-milk of it. You won't be let down.

(and while you read it, note my beef with the subject: even in professional literature the presentation of the word is inconsistent -- breastfeeding, breast-feeding, breast feeding...)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Oh, I went down south for to see my gal...

We are finally almost recouperated from our trip this past weekend. My best friend from college, Timberly, got married to Josh on Saturday down at Nottoway Plantation just outside of Baton Rouge. I was a bridesmaid. It's a terrible time of year for Tory to be away for any length of time, so I asked my mother to go with me to help take care of Hazel.

Our flight left at 6am Friday morning, so Mom & I were up by 3:45 and out the door at 4:30. Quite a different process trying to fly with a baby! You've got to take so much more stuff, and going through security is a mess. But we made our flight (barely), and Hazel was perfect the whole time. We got to the plantation a little early and our room wasn't ready for us yet; since we were so so so tired, we just slept in the car for awhile like a bunch of vagabonds.

Nottoway Plantation is gorgeous! The grounds were verdant (except for some areas of construction), the buildings were amazing, and the rooms were perfect. And don't even get me started on the furnishings & linens! The property sits right behind the levee of the Mississippi, and is the largest plantation in Louisiana. There were snapdragons & pansies planted everywhere, along with a variety of palms -- and then, of course, the stately oaks. A gorgeous spot to spend a weekend.

Speaking of gorgeous -- my friend Timberly... I stopped taking pictures once the photographers got there, so I didn't really get any of her in her wedding dress, but oh--my--goodness, she was breathtaking. The wedding was very girly and pretty -- very Timberly. Her mom did all the flowers (silk), and the decorations seemed straight out of fairly land. Pretty, pretty, pretty....

It was great to see some of her friends from high school again (I was the only one from MNU), and we all had a fabulous time. She couldn't have asked for more perfect weather. Blue skies, sunshine, and always a nice little breeze. There was a restaurant and gift shop on the grounds, so we never had to leave or want for anything!

Second to the bride, Hazel was a superstar. She was passed around nonstop; I don't think her bottom touched a seat for two days. It was great for my mom to get to spend that much time with her, and I know Hazel loved it too. Everytime I looked at them they were cracking each other up or cuddling or doing something sweet together. There's no way I would have been able to enjoy the trip without bringing her along.

The only downside of the trip was that during the reception, I felt a little nauseous and went back to the room -- and came down with the stomach flu! It was awful! I was laid up until Sunday afternoon when we had to leave to catch a 4pm flight back home. Still felt pretty weak, but managed to move my legs & get myself through the airports. Sheesh... That bug sucks for sure. Luckily neither Hazel nor my mom got it from me.

Here are a few pics!
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Sit Up, Spit Up

The other night, I decided to get a pic of the brand new little sitter... and ~OOPS~ look what happened!
And then it looks like she's saying, "Well, Mom, you should have known!"
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Later that night, she had a playdate with Nellers. They are finally starting to notice and be interested in each other.