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27th November 2015

How to get custody of your child back:

1. Stop fucking around. Stop drinking, smoking pot, and whatever else you're doing that is not compatible with parenting.
2. Show up. Be dependable. When there's a court date, be there early, with the paperwork. Pick up your kid on time. Take them back on time. Have your phone on, and answer it.
3. Document everything. Last time I went to court, I brought letters (signed, on letterhead) from my psychiatrist, therapist, parenting class teacher, and my employer. Having showed up to all of these appointments, for over a year, also.
4. Have a stable home. For me, not actually having had a home at all for a couple years there, this took the most doing. Once I found a place, paying the rent consistently and keeping it clean, keeping the fridge full.
5. Be employed. I'm still on disability for my, you know, grave emotional and mental disorders, but I'm working part-time at a florist. It's perfect. I made these:

6. Say "Your Honor" and "Yes, ma'am" a lot. Be humble. I missed a chunk of Clara's life for a reason. Thank everyone who helped me, because it was quite a few people and I couldn't have done it on my own. Especially my lawyer. Have a lawyer. Even broke, I applied for a free one and she was amazing.
7. Be a good parent. Don't let the stress get too bad, make sure everyone eats and sleeps well, and do the not fun things, like doctor visits and time-outs. Ask for help when needed. Find ways to have fun that are rated G.

Do the not fun things, like doctor visits and time-outs. Ask for help when needed.

I get to go to William's birthday parties, and we visit pretty often. He's 2 now, and solidly in the "No! Mine!" stage.

So things are much better this year. Happy Thanksgiving.

1st October 2014

1:37pm: 5. The Lie: Time Heals All Wounds

The Adoption Truth: The truth is there are losses you never get over. They break you to pieces and you can never go back to the original shape you once were, and so you will grieve to your own death with that of which you will never get back.

Adoption relinquishment is not a onetime loss. Yes, at first it is just a baby that is gone, but then you lose the first smile, the first tooth, the first step, the first day of school. Years go by and realize that you have often also lost the right to be called “grandma” or to see your child get married or even to be invited or told about their death.

Your grief is your love, turned inside-out. That is why it is so deep. That is why it is so consuming. When your sadness seems bottomless, it is because your love knows no bounds.

Grief teaches us about who we are, and any attempt to crush it, to bury it with the body is an act of vengeance against your own nature as a mother.

Yesterday was a good day. I stayed in the now, took care of myself, and didn't compare my life to people better or worse off than me.

Today is not. I woke up tired, went back to sleep, and now all the petty things I'm feeling down about (weight, shoes that hurt, the hear, rude people) have teamed up with the grief and loss I feel whenever I see babies, children with loving parents, hear things about how Clara and William are doing, and I just feel so lost.

I have to take care of myself if I want to be part of their lives, or spend time with anyone else I care about. Experiencing grief, accepting it, and then doing the next right thing, is all I can do.

30th September 2014

9:39am: gratitude, wish lists
For every item on my wish list, I make sure there's something I already have that I'm grateful for. Helps keep things in perspective.

1. Bike. (~$100)
* Thankful I have physical health and freedom to ride one, living somewhere bikeable.

2. Piano/Keyboard (~$200)
* Musical ability, 5 years of free piano lessons at a magnet school.

3. Cookware (~$?)
* Place and ability to cook things, fresh produce from community garden.

4. More time with my babies (priceless)
* Two beautiful, healthy children who are happy and well cared for.

5. To go back to school ($at least hundreds if not thousands)
* About as excellent a elementary and high school education as a lack of money can buy, and 3.5 years at a top college, 2 months of Spanish in Guatemala. Ability and freedom to go to the library, read, take free classes on Coursera, etc.

19th August 2014

3:53pm: addiction
As a followup to my last post, I give you my other recovery programs:

Hokey Pokey Anonymous-- where you go to get your whole self turned around.
Bookaholics Anonymous-- on the road to recovery from reading too much. JUST KIDDING! On the road to the library.
Caffeine Anonymous-- coffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffee!!!!! Never surrender the coffee! Also, tea and chocolate.

9th August 2014

10:59am: Advice from cats-- hilarious and true.
Take It From Cats
By Helen Ellis | July 28, 2014

If someone moves to make room for you, take up more room.

If someone is looking over there, there's something to see.

If somebody sneezes, run.

If someone brings a bag into your home, look inside it.

If you don't want someone to leave, sit on his suitcase.

Clean between your toes.

Flaunt your full figure.
Read more...Collapse )
If you're not interested, don't look interested.

You don't have to chase every bird that you see.
Helen Ellis is the author of the novel, Eating the Cheshire Cat. She lives with her husband and two life coaches, Big Boy and Tang Tang.
Current Mood: silly
12:20am: still alive
Hi everybody,
I dropped out of college after 3.5 years at UChicago, so now I just have a lot of student loans and no degree.
I did learn Spanish that last year, which with my Latin background in high school should help me eventually become a good doctor. Once I, you know, go back to school and finish premed. Or go to Jeff State to be a pharmacy tech. Whatever.

I went to rehab a few times. Learned that drinking is not something I'm able to do in moderation, so I had to stop. Clara stayed with my mom and now lives with baby William in a nice stable family where I don't have to worry about her while I'm off "getting my act together". I miss her terribly. Clara and "baby Billy" are doing great, he's chubby and crawling at 9 months and she's starting preschool this month. She's already basically reading. She's 4.

Staying with a friend in East Lake (not the safest part of town) and volunteering at a church, making lots of coffee and sweeping up the wreckage of my life. Taking the bus every day to hang out in Southside, with some really good friends who drive me back to the house at night. I find a girl I know, ask for a ride (offer gas money), and usually a guy or two comes along for safety purposes. Guess it takes a village to raise a... I mean, isn't it great that I have good friends who care about me?

Anyway, also writing and singing and applying for jobs that pay actual dollar$, as opposed to spammy "opportunities" to sell "shit" to "suckers" with "unlimited earning potential!"

6th September 2013

2:21pm: what is up with me
Recent activities:
1. Gardening-- flowers, herbs, strawberries...

2. Fishing for the first time. Caught nothing but yucky pond grass. Felt sorry for the worms as I impaled them.

3. Learned how to play chess, while in the hospital with some time on my hands. A one-armed guy named Terry and "Hobo Cal" played about a hundred games with me until I didn't suck quite as much. We played, prison style, for each other's desserts from the dinner tray. I'm also a lot better at poker (hold 'em), Wii tennis & bowling, puzzles, coloring, and assorted arts and crafts.

4. Clara can now count to 20, wink, stand on one foot, put her shoes on all by herself, play Go Fish and War, and consistently beats me at chess. It's hard to beat a toddler at chess-- when she captures my queen, she just reaches out and takes it and says "I win!"

She also says things like "I'm not a baby anymore, Mommy." and "You remember when I was in your tummy?" She is, of course, still the queen of the universe and cute as can be.


5. Getting back into the spiritual swing of things. After not going to church for quite a while (age 16 to 23), starting to go again because there's always free childcare, going to several different places (Lutheran, Unitarian, Methodist, non-demoninational contemporary Christian, a synagogue...) I find that I can learn a lot from religious people. There's quite a bit of valuable insight to be found, and when I start thinking, as I did when I was 16, that it's all a bunch of bullshit posturing and self-righteous circular logic, I step back and remember that I can take what I like and leave the rest. I focus on the good, the helpful, and the common ground rather than what I disagree with. It helps. Also, Jews have better music and food.

This was all after the Lutherans tried to get me to become a member, and during the membership class I asked too many questions like "Well, what about ectopic pregnancies? Are those murder too?" and ended up debating basically everything about modern Christianity with the pastor and another guy, for several hours for several weeks, in the nursery. They basically kicked me out of the class. Then I read a book on Martin Luther and found it all ironic.

6. My sister plays with fire. At Burning Man. And she has a blue mohawk.

7. Crocheting a blue baby blanket, and also making a baby quilt out of old t-shirts and a sheet, for Clara.

8. Went swimming last weekend, for the first time in forEVER. A spiral slide was involved.

Overall, life is good.

5th August 2012

4:56pm: moving from the "No!" stage into the "Why?" stage.
Clara talks in her sleep. 
At 12 months, she would say, "Mama mama mama boob boob boob," and go back to sleep.
At 18 months, she said, "Where mama?  Want other boob," and go back to sleep.
Now she tosses and turns fitfully as if dreaming of something traumatic, yell, "More popsicles!!!" ...and go back to sleep. 

She orders me around a lot.  "Stop sleeping!  No!  No close eyes!  Get up!  Get up now!  No more blankie!" rendering alarm clocks both unnecessary and redundant.  If the repetitive orders fail to elicit the desired response, she starts jumping up and down on me and/or poking me in the eye. 

On the up side, she likes to sit on me and give me big sloppy baby kisses.  With tongue.  She basically wants me to sit there and make out with her.  I'm not sure what I should feel about this. 

She also feeds me.  She shoves food into my mouth and peers at me saying, "Like it??  Like it???!" 

The lessons we are currently learning include: 
"No throw play-doh!"  (-throws play-doh)
"No hit mommy!"  (-hits mommy-)
and most importantly, "Are you the smartest, prettiest baby in the whole wide world?"  "Yes!"  "That's right."

What I have to look forward to:

29th April 2012

3:59pm: I was working here for a while: 

It sucked.  We weren't allowed to eat or use the bathrooms while there were guests present.  Imagine living in a house where there are only "guest" bathrooms and only the "good" china.  Now imagine serving delicious food and not being allowed to eat between the hours of 4pm and 11pm.  Which is, of course, illegal.  Remind me to call that in at some point, though it may seem spiteful. The standards were high, which is good training, but I got fired for setting some plates on a chair for a second. 

Now I work here: 

It's a hotel.  Prince Edward stayed here last night.   The restaurant is more of a hotel bar, and we do a lot of wedding receptions in the other rooms of the hotel.  Last night I waited on a bride and groom in a private curtained area, and on 35 teenagers dressed for Prom. 

It's a job. 

Still pretending to study for the MCATs.  Clara is still running the show.  She can count to 10 and knows her colors.  She asked for "more ice cream" 75 times on Friday.  She's nearly off the boob. 

I'm exhausted. 

But it's not a bad life.  I have a job, a baby, a garden, and health insurance.  None of which I had two years ago. 
Now all I need is a degree. 

7th February 2012

5:55pm: Still alive, 
Clara's awesome.  

She says such profound things as "I see moon," "appasauce" (applesauce), "Hi," "night night," "arms up" "all done", and so our talks have gotten a lot less one-sided.  It seems like she's learning two or three words a day now.  Vocabulary of about 50 words, can accomplish simple tasks like fetching something or putting something back where it goes.  It's amazing.  My little baby who used to just eat and sleep and poop is a little person I can have conversations with.  

She  keeps trying to help type, and so the page has refreshed several times and 
several buttons are already missing from her previous adventures in typing, before I just gave her an old keyboard to play with.  

Nursing while typing is actually easier than *not* nursing while typing, too, (apparently).  
Most frustrating thing, sometimes.  

Need to write more.  Can't turn my head off at night.  Not all of it makes sense, and writing -- just the logical flow of having to form sentences -- helps make sense of things, usually.  's why talk therapy works.  In order to tell someone something, you have to narrate it in a way that at least makes sense in terms of grammar, this happened, then that happened, because xyz.  

22nd August 2011

9:18pm: boob.
One year, one month, and one week of breastfeeding. Not exclusively, not perfectly, and not without quite a few painful moments. But literally no one I know personally, in real life (i.e. outside La Leche League meetings) has breast-fed past a few weeks. People kept asking me, at work, etc. when I was going to wean my daughter (Clara).

My goal was 6 months, and then when we hit 6 months, my goal was 1 year. Now I'm not sure I'll ever wean her. When she goes off to college, I'll just go along and stay totally out of the way, lol. Really, though, I figure I'll just keep going until she's 2 or 3, if she wants to.

I mean, they're just right there. It's so convenient. It burns calories. It's a bonding thing. And as much as I wish she'd leave me the f alone and take a bottle sometimes, it's about as often as I just get sick and tired of being a mother ENTIRELY. I try to think of nursing like I think of being a mother. It's something I've chosen to do, it's incredibly beneficial in a million ways, and while it might be extremely hard sometimes, it's not something I'd seriously ever give up.

The funny part is that she's started saying "boob." She knows 20 hand-signs, but only actually says "ball" and "mama". I've been calling it "boob" forever, only rarely saying "nursing" or "breast(feeding)". She just sort of bubbles her lips like a horse, but it unmistakeably means "boob," since she paws at my shirt front when she does it. Cutest thing ever.

Thanks for all the info and support, you guys. Three cheers for the boob crew!

6th August 2011

3:29pm: quiet life
 A wise woman once said, "If your life is boring, then you're doing most everything right."  

Took me quite a while to get that.  It's true though.  If nobody is dying, if a tornado isn't slinging trees at your house, if you aren't having to run from a burning building clutching photo albums and pets... if going to see a movie is the highlight of your week, if you eat most meals at home with your family, if your biggest stress is that you've gained a few pounds... things are really, really good in the grand scheme of things.   Explosions and break-ups and sex and drugs are exciting on TV, but in real life, boring is good.  

It takes not having these simple luxuries to understand their value.  It takes not knowing where you're going to sleep on a given night to make you feel blessed in having a stable home.  Sometimes, it takes unspeakable loneliness and grieving over lost loved ones to make you value your family the way they should be valued.  It might take years of addiction and loss to make you understand just how incredible it is to be sober for a week.  

In a country that's at war, I don't have to worry about being shot or bombed.  None of my family has TB or AIDS.  Clara won't have acid thrown in her face when she goes to school.  Odds are, we'll never go without a single meal for want of food or money.   That puts us better off than about 3/4 of the world population.  It's hard to see this, sometimes, since everything about this culture says I should try to look like Angelina Jolie and compare my lifestyle with the top 0.001% (as if this were the norm).  

I'm just battling the Mommy-in-the-kitchen syndrome.  Little things add up, and I resent the dishes and vacuuming and cleaning up after a toddler.  I get depressed and mopey and bored.  I remember nights drinking on the beach until dawn, dancing and singing, battling wits with the brightest academic minds, juggling two jobs and a full courseload of premed classes at the hardest college short of MIT.  It's the hugest lifestyle change, and it's not likely to change back anytime soon.  So I should learn to like it.  

I refer to this entry quite often:  http://shinyobject.livejournal.com/155070.html  

I comfort myself reading strangers' blogs.  A random sample gives me mostly baby pictures, birthday parties, stress over job interviews, etc.  This is what most people's lives revolve around.  This is not boring, this is the important stuff.   And I'm doing what I've chosen to do.  

23rd July 2011

4:12pm: Ball's out.
So for some reason I had this idea that behind Clara's drooling, raspberry-blowing facade she was thinking some super deep baby thoughts. Sometimes she gets this furrowed-brow look of deep contemplation, as if she had the secrets of the universe and the end of human suffering. If only she could speak, she could impart this knowledge and save mankind from ourselves.

Now that she can speak, this illusion has been shattered even more thoroughly than that bottle of soy sauce last week.

Our dialogues go along these lines:
Clara: Ball!
Me: Yes, ball!
Clara: Ball! Ball! Ball!
Me: Yes, it is a ball. Where did the ball go? Go get the ball!
Clara: Ball! Ball! Ball!

From the moment she wakes up and whacks me in the face (to show me how much she loves me and is grateful for all the boob love I give her), to the moment she falls asleep on my boob, drifting off into sweet baby dreamland...

"Ball! Ball! Ball! Ball! Ball! Ball! Ball! Ball! Ball! Ball! Boob?
Ball! Ball! Ball! Ball! Ball! Ball! Ball! Ball! Ball! Ball!"

She knows and uses the signs for Mama, Grandma, Milk, Juice, More, Cracker, Hurt, All Done, Book, Bear, Up, Down, Car, Water, Wash Hands, Bath, Shoes, Hat, Diaper and Baby. We're almost there with Light, Flower, Tree, Bus, Play... once she figured out More, the rest came super quick. Verbally though, all she has is Ba[ll], Boo[k], and every now and then she'll say something resembling Ma[ma].

But she is amazing, and is showing great promise of becoming an Olympic gymnast/Pulitzer Prize-winning, world-saving doctor/soccer player/swimmer/singer/ballerina. Of course, I may be just slightly biased. It's true, though.
This message has been brought to you by Ball.

20th May 2011

7:30pm: three guesses...
So since there's relatively little going on in my life, other than almost getting arrested again, this will be a Clara post. I.e., I will allow Clara to update what's going on in her life, since she is growing by leaps and bounds and learning new awesome skills every day. Here is what she has to say:


Perhaps I should just type what I think she means when she flails wildly at the keyboard while yelling "Aiiiiiiiiaaaaa! EEEEEEEEyaaaah ga ga GA GA GAH."

Here's my best guess:

Hello. My name is Clara. I am a baby.

My interests include Mommy. I like Mommy. She gives me milk. From her boobs.

I love Mommy's boobs. They are yummy. Also soft like pillows. She keeps them covered up most of the time. I do not understand this. Often, I go to sleep on one or both of them, and then when I wake up they are gone. I do not approve. When I go to sleep on a boob, I expect to wake up on that same boob. This is not difficult. All she has to do is never leave me ever. EVER.

I also enjoy nummy nums.

My favorite things to do are:
1. Boobtime
2. Naptime
3. Destroy things
4. Fling things
5. Whack things against other things.

Mommy talks to me a lot. I talk to her too. We don't always understand each other. But we're working on it.

Mommy always wants me to have clean pants. I make her presents in my pants, but she always throws them away. She says when I learn how to make presents with my hands, she will like them more.

I have already learned how to sit up all by myself, and to stand and walk holding on to things. I like to eat books.

That is all for now. Mommy says it is time for bathtime. I like bathtime. Splashy splash and Ducky! Ducky lives in the bucket.

5th May 2011

10:42pm: letting the perfect become the enemy of the good. Also, ppl being stoopid.
Lol, what do you get when some self-righteous extremists get all panty-bunched over the possibility of their plastic-wrapped tofu not being vegan anymore?


vegetarians are apparently getting all riled up about the idea of plastic being made from chicken feathers. This is stupid on so many levels. To paraphrase:

OMG so instead of making plastic from the remains of animals that died millions of years ago, which is then drilled out of the Gulf of Mexico (btw this hardly ever explodes killing 11 people and hundreds of dolphins and endangered baby turtles) or bought from child-labor factories in China and shipped across the ocean, where it then lasts for EVER in a landfill, now they can use a natural byproduct of chickens to produce biodegradable plastics domestically, but I'm against it because CHICKENS ARE PEOPLE TOO and they, like, totally care what happens to their feathers.

Got news for you: It never was vegan. Unless you grew the fucking soybeans yourself without using any motorized farm equipment, in your own backyard, and then processed them with a mortar and pestle, and then ate it raw, STFU. Just keep driving to the supermarket and buying tofu made from soybeans that were factory-farmed 1000 miles away, transported by refrigerated diesel trucks, wrapped in plastic and then cooked on a gas stove, and calling it vegan and green.

Eating less meat and more plants is one of the best things, in general, that you can do for your health and your wallet and the environment. But this community has so many holier-than-thou, all-or-nothing "veg*ns" it's infuriating. The idea that I can care about animals and EVER eat meat or wear leather shoes, or even use fucking wool just does not compute.

Try cutting all plastic out of your lives, never driving anywhere, and eating only locally grown raw food, and then see if you can stand there and call me a liar and a hypocrite for eating a free cheeseburger when I'm pregnant and haven't eaten all day and have exactly no money.

Fucking idiots.
If they ban me before I start cussing, I'm eating meat every day for a month.
Current Mood: unimpressed

4th May 2011

4:52pm: radical honesty
So in my various vocations, I've learned to lie quite easily. To lie easily, I mean, learning to lie was less easy.

In restaurants, I was paid based on how convincingly I acted as if I was happy to serve people, most of whom I either disliked or didn't care about. Raising money for UChicago, I acted as if I loved everything about the school. Every single interview in which I professed my heartfelt intention to stay in some craptastic job for ever and a day. At school, I played up my knowledge and downplayed my weaknesses to be competitive. Even in friendships and romantic relationships, the lies piled up. "There's nothing going on with her..." "It's okay, I forgive you..."

This is a way of life I'd gotten so used to, that the idea of massaging facts to fit an agenda didn't even seem wrong anymore. I mean, isn't that what everyone does? They flatter, politely ignore truths anyone can see, keep secrets, play dumb.

The difference between me now and me then is Clara.
I need her to trust me, or else who's she going to believe when it comes to sex and drugs and all that? Me, or her preteen friends? Me, or some idiot hormonal boy with an agenda of his own? The odds are stacked against me as it is. The last thing I need to do is start abusing her trust before she can even think about making decisions on her own.

It's hard to tell the truth, but it's probably the most important thing I can do as a parent.
To keep small promises, such as making a habit of coming back (or leaving) when I've promised to.
To avoid empty threats, even small ones like "You'll be cold if you don't wear a jacket," because I need her to build trust in me for the big things like "You can get herpes even if he wears a condom."

I remember being lied to as a child and really resenting it. Learning to mistrust everything adults said to me, since they were known to lie about such things as "If you have sex before marriage you will get AIDS and DIE and go to HELL and DIE." Or even, "I have eyes in the back of my head," and "If you get good grades, you will get a good job."

Mostly I want to be a good example, since that's about all that matters with children. Before they understand "stealing is wrong," they hear parents talking about messing with their taxes. They hear "tell the truth," and see ads that say "If you drink this you will be beautiful." And everywhere in the news, there are lies, damned lies, and statistics.

I'm still going to tell her she's the prettiest baby in the whole wide world, though. Cause she is.

4th April 2011

6:57pm: At the risk of becoming one of those women who exclusively posts news about her offspring, who (it's sad but true) are slowly beginning to regard her as obsolete, here's what's going on with Clara.

Crawling. Speeds up to 0.5 mph. Boob-seeking missile with long-range capability of almost 20 feet.

Standing. Still has to hold onto something. Falls down a lot. Still immeasurably proud every time she attains verticality.

Pride is expressed in a velociraptor-like shriek of happiness. She has also mastered the "fake cough" wherein she coughs very ladylikely: "Cough-cough-cough. Cough-cough-cough." As in, "Excuse me, I'm not sure you've noticed that I am *standing*. All shall love me and despair."

Walking with assistance. Bouncing. Dancing. The baby boogie.

Teeth. Plural. Just the bottom front ones. Still I am afraid. She hurts me in my special places. I am afraid of her in ways I am ashamed of. Remember that scene in Jurassic Park?

"You keep still, because you think
maybe her visual acuity's based on movement, like a T-
rex, and she'll lose you if you don't move. But no. Not
baby. You stare at her, and she just stares right back."

Other than the whole she's-still-eating-me-alive thing, the only immediate danger I see is that 17 years from now when she moves out I think I will still be finding cheerios in the couch cushions. Also, baby socks. I bought several dozen pairs, and now she has like 7 socks. Where did they go?!?

9th March 2011

11:20am: Mike Huckabee making an ass of himself. Again.
My comment: As a single mom, I find his comments highly offensive. I might not be making millions of dollars, but I AM educated and my daughter is NOT about to “starve to death” without government assistance.

Also, being married doesn't mean being wealthy, or even off welfare. I grew up raised by married parents, on food stamps. A husband who is abusive, can't keep a job, and spends what money he does earn on himself-- how is that better than no husband at all? WTF, Mike, how about giving some props to the thousands (millions?) of single moms around the world who are supporting their children by working their asses off, not criticizing Natalie Portman (an example of an intelligent, independent, beautiful woman) because she also happens to be not yet married to her fiancee.

This guy knows nothing about single parenthood. All he’s doing is taking shots at an enormously successful and popular actress who is choosing to live her life in a way he disapproves of.
Huckabee is making himself look ignorant and old-fashioned. And he just lost the vote of every single mom in the country.

Natalie Portman Criticized by Mike Huckabee,
Caroline Lorraine
Mar 4, 2011, 12:58

Natalie Portman, the 29-year-old Oscar winning pregnant actress, was criticized by former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee for giving a "distorted" image of parenthood due to having the baby out of wedlock.

In an interview with radio host Michael Medved, Huckabee said: "One of the things that's troubling is that people see a Natalie Portman or some other Hollywood starlet who boasts of, 'Hey look, you know, we're having children, we're not married, but we're having these children,' and they're doing just fine.

"But there aren't really a lot of single moms out there who are making millions of dollars every year for being in a movie. And I think it gives a distorted image that yes, not everybody hires nannies, and caretakers, and nurses. Most single moms are very poor, uneducated, can't get a job, and if it weren't for government assistance, their kids would be starving to death and never have health care."

In her Oscar acceptance speech, Portman thanked her fiance for giving her "my most important role of my life."

A source said: "They've only told a very small group of family members and friends that they're expecting a son. They are so excited. Benjamin cannot wait to be a father."

Huckabee is said to be considering a run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012.

7th February 2011

10:55pm: Book learnin.
 I like to read.  I get lost in novels, absorbed in biographies, etc.  

But especially I love newspapers.  You get so much information for 50 cents or whatever.  And then there are puzzles, obituaries, weather... I get excited about the weather.  I'm a geek.  

Clara seems to be well on her way towards following in my wandering footsteps.  Although at this moment she is sitting happily in the armchair, voraciously tearing through the local current events reader.  Literally, tearing.  Ripping, grabbing and flinging, occasionally tasting... mmm, yummy yummy corruption trials.  Occasionally she offers her unique insight and commentary:  "Laaa waaa oooh.  Aaaawwwaaaaa gaaaaaaa.   BaaaaaagaAAA."  Which I interpret as:  "A bit presumptuous, but eminently palatable," which (oddly enough) is also her take on banana mush, applesauce, sweet potato, pillows, her toes, and my face. 
And now she's stuffing the "weird news" section into her diaper.  She is definitely her mother's child.  

24th December 2010

7:00am: christmas is magic
 I've eaten pizza for breakfast every day for the last week, averaged about 7 christmas cookies per day, gone to an all-you-can-eat barbecue place, and been driven everywhere in a minivan.  Yet I have lost two pounds since I've been here.  

Being a mom is the best workout program ever.  Breastfeeding is the best weight-loss secret ever.  

And my boobs are bigger than they've ever been.  

Merry Christmas, everybody!  

9th November 2010

7:55am: jobby mcjob job
Brisket. Fried chicken. Mashed potatoes, whole wheat mac n cheese, ribs that take 5 hours to cook...
Goose Island on tap. The servers do the drinks, so I'm gonna learn mad bartending skillz. I finally learned what's in a cosmopolitan. So it's Southern, comfort food but done really really well, and served to the Lincoln Park crowd who don't mind paying $5 for a beer.

Also, everything is not too expensive but we're still talking $12 burgers. 20% of a $50 check is $10, times 10 tables is $100. Not that I'm counting my chickens or anything.

and I'm on the schedule for Friday and Saturday nights. Anyone who's ever waited tables knows that these are the mad money shifts.

So, now I have a job where I have to iron things, wear a tie, and if I call in sick I'm fired... but they're ok with me taking a 10 minute break to pump breastmilk! The owner even hooked me up with an extension cord!
And the earliest I have to go into work is 11:30am. I could get back into school, as soon as I get caught up on the other things I need to spend money on (phone bill, contact lenses, my own place). Childcare is working out, my neighbors can watch Clara for the first few days. Lizz can watch her Friday and Saturday nights. And then when she's 6 months old I can get her into the DCFS-licensed daycare that's *right freaking next to* the restaurant.

Oh I'm so glad I don't have to move back to Alabama. Hopefully I will get to go home for a week or so around Christmas... so my mom can see her grandbaby...

things are working out.

3rd November 2010

8:57am: You know what would really be nice right now?

Someone paying me to write. Or just type, transcribe, etc. Or do anything on a computer.

Because I can type 80 words per minute, accurately, while nursing. Then I could telecommute and earn cash money dollars while my baby sleeps happily on my lap.

I'm having trouble because I think we've bonded very well, so well in fact that it's physically painful for me to leave Clara. The first fifteen minutes are great, I feel light and free as long as she's with someone who's trustworthy and capable. And then I feel like there's something missing. My arms feel empty, my lap feels unoccupied, and I find myself talking in the Mommy voice when it's not really appropriate because I'm so used to Clara always being right there. When you spend all day every day saying things like,

"Okay! We're going to have bathtime now! yaaaaaaaaay bathtime! Widdle rubber ducky goo goo who's the prettiest baby in the whole wide world?? You are! You are!"

it's sometimes hard to transition instantly back to talking with adults.

And then there's the leaking boobs. To quote Anne Lamott, I look like I'm wearing a wet bikini top under my clothes. I guess just a more convenient way to carry the breast pump would be the answer... though I did learn how to milk myself one afternoon when Clara slept for 4 hours straight.
I'll just leave you with that image.

28th October 2010

12:13pm: on my relationship with my daughter.
I love my daughter with all my heart and soul.  I love her with more love than I ever thought I possessed. 
But imagine, if you will:

Dear Abby:

     Man, this girl... she's totally taken over my life.  First of all, she just shows up one day without a word and moves in with me.  Doesn't pay a dollar towards rent, food, nothing.  She doesn't even clean up after herself!  And I mean, I know she's not that good with English yet, but does she have to literally scream at me whenever I do something she finds annoying? 
     And she's so emotional.  I never wanted to live with a girl, they're so... it's like, one minute she's totally in love with me and can't bear it when I freaking leave the room for one minute-- and then all of a sudden she's crying like her heart will never heal! Of course, the nxt minute she's asleep (loudly, like a little drunken angel [Anne Lamott]).  She's like, so codependent.  I don't know what to do. 
     We've talked about her getting her own place, but she's like, "I NEED you, don't leave me!"  And she's, like, the cutest and most wonderful person I've ever met, and so sweet when she's in a good mood... At some point though, I start feeling really used and unappreciated.  Also, she punches me all the time!  It's not like it hurts, and I've never retaliated (I just have to leave the room for a minute and count to ten sometimes), but this is not ok.  -sigh-  What should i do?!

LJ in Chicago

Since it's cold, cloudy, and windy as a C-list politician today, here's a picture of Clara looking cute and me looking proud and happy on a fun, sunny day.

16th October 2010

5:28pm: I don't even want to *know* what this company does.
best of craigslist > new york > WE NEED A SMART PERSON
Originally Posted: Thu, 11 Feb 13:10 EST

Date: 2010-02-11, 1:10PM EST

We need a smart or more person to help un with our Company.

it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
PostingID: 1596308401
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