Thursday, March 25, 2010


So, there's this place in the next town over called the ReStore. It used to be here in Montpelier, but their building collapsed under the weight of the snow on the roof two winters ago and they found bigger space elsewhere. Anyway, it's the kind of place where you can find fabric remnants and wooden toy pieces and recycled office supplies and whathaveyou.

Look what I found today:

I know, I know, you're all thinking, "Kind of cute 70s nostalgia piece, I guess. Whatevs." No no no no no. You people don't understand. THIS VERY PRINT hung over my bed for over a decade. Not a print like this. THIS EXACT ONE. I got chills when I saw it.

My mom has this thing about purging possessions and got rid of it at some point in the 80s. I've been slowly buying copies of all the books I loved as a kid that she saw fit to chuck, but never dreamed I'd find any of the art I once had. Well, guess what came back to find me? HA!

Ironically, I had kind of wished I still had this so I could hang it over Jane's crib once she came home (she was a Leo, too, by like five minutes). And now here it is. Cue Twilight Zone theme.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

In the Meantime

I gave in to my conscience and got to work on Sarah's Easter basket:

Sarah really likes blue, have I mentioned that? This little guy was needle felted, which is basically sculpting wool by poking it. It's excessively easy and gratifying and zen. I think his nest needs some flowers, don't you? I wonder if I can manage a daffodil.

I'm kinda feeling the sewing/needlework vibe right now. I gotta be honest, scrapbooking kinda (and I can't explain this adequately at all) scares me. Well, not scares, exactly. It just highlights how awful my memory is. Okay, and some of the embellishments freak me out. There's... there's just so much of it. All those papers and stickers and little fiddly things and the different glues and stuff. It's too much for my little brain.

I like yarn. I like wool. I like fabric. I think it's time I learned to sew.

And cross-stitch, which is kinda painting with thread. I can see that being pretty meditative, too.

First things first. I've got some needle felting to finish up. Daffodils, coming up!


Sarah was home from school sick yesterday (actually, she was perfectly fine, but she'd had a fever the day before, so the whole 24-hours fever-free thing was still in effect), so off we went to the library for storytime. STRATEGIC ERROR. Did someone make Tuesdays baby day at the library and not let me know? Holy cats, people. It was baby-central in there. And lots of them were the younger siblings of kids Sarah's age. Hello, knife! Here's a nice twisty spot in my gut for you. Have fun with that!

Jesus. And, AND, one of the stories was Mary Chapin Carpenter's Halley Came to Jackson, complete with sing-a-long, which is a very sweet song that starts with a dad taking his newborn out on the porch to see Halley's comet. I actually almost left. But I called on all my stoic Germanity and soldiered through. But good lord, people. A few unfun moments there.

Now, listen. I'm not a constant ball of anxiety over encountering infants. I have no problems with babies. I love hanging out with my friends' drooly little guys, but there was something about seeing so many together like that, especially the girls in their cute frigging outfits, doing all that normal baby stuff.

It's hitting harder today than yesterday. It's had time to stew and fester, plus Sarah's not here to distract me (which, partly bummer, partly THANK GOD because for the last 36 hours everything I've said to her has been WRONG YOU CAN'T SAY THAT TO ME I DIDN'T TALK TO YOU).


And it's snowing and it's too early to start gardening anyway. So I need a new craft. Obviously. Something I have to focus on to figure out. Something I don't need a lot of stuff to do. Hmm. Anyone want to teach me to handsew? Or embroider? Maybe I should try cross-stitch.

Thoughts, anyone?

What, I should actually use some of the stuff I've already got? Stupid conscience. Go bug someone else.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Want to see something cool? I mean, something so totally cool I am almost cool myself by association?

I give you my friend Shawn, rockin' ROLLER DERBY GIRL. (See? Told ya it was cool.) Check out her helmet:

Here's what she had to say about it:

"i skated with a blank helmet until the day that i scribbled 'jane was here' on it. it may sound silly, but she was on my mind so much and i like to think that her fighting spirit is with me when i play. people always ask me who jane is and i tell them that was the toughest little baby i ever almost knew. i hope it isn't an inappropriate tribute..."

My response? "Are you kidding? That may be the awesomest tribute ever. I mean it. I love it. A little part of my girl's out there kicking ass, and that's the best tribute a person can have."

Shawn went on to say, "i wish i could find a good shot of my knocking someone down but jane was here about to build a wall and knock this jammer out". I'm not sure what that last part means, but I'm pretty sure it's awesome.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Another Map Update and An Apology

Okay, while I still haven't solved the problem of all the map points appearing at once, EVERY SINGLE CARD except those from Vermont are IN. Including Maryland (which, um, I somehow skipped. I'M SORRY!). Oh, and two new areas represent: Montana and Nigeria. Nigeria! Can you believe it? And I'm totally psyched that Montana is on the map. I came thisclose to moving to Bozeman after college. I would have been really bummed not to have Montana on Jane's map.

View Where Jane was in a larger map

Friday, March 19, 2010

Texas In The House

Listen, Austinites, I already love your city. I've been there and it was amazing -- the food, the music, the gorgeous hill country. I didn't think I could love your town more, but then twenty-four people -- a few friends, most perfect strangers -- reached out to my family. Between you, Round Rock and San Marcos, you made up more than half of the 50 cards we got from Texas. I knew there was a reason I liked Austin so much. Dudes, you rock.

After Silent Spring

Peeps, it's all spring up in here, and I've been a cleaning fool.

Every window on the first floor of the house, inside and out (!) is sparkling. The fruit trees are carefully butchered... I mean, pruned. The front and side yards are raked and the flower beds tidied.

Those were child's play, my friends. Child's play compared to...


Those of you with dogs know exactly what I mean. The rest of you, trust me. It was bad. But I put my big girl pants on and tackled that wasteland over two days. When the wind blew I had to hold my breath and shut my eyes. But, I DID IT. I will not subject you to a before (no one needs that), but here is a mid-way:

No, that's not your computer making all wacky with the colors. That's my ghetto backyard. I do have plans for it someday -- a nice shade garden with a small stone patio and a bench or possibly a couple of chairs, and vegetable beds where I stood to take that shot. The fence, which was no great shakes when we bought the place, was partially plowed down last winter (thanks, neighbors' Plow Guy!). That's top job on the yard rehab list.

Anyway, even though I finished, I'm not done. Despite temps hitting the 60s (in Vermont! in March!), we STILL have snow. Dirty, filthy, possibly toxic snow covering more contaminated ground.

That beast there with the sheepish look on his face is Blue, co-creator of the wasteland. Audrey, the aged mutt, had the decency to make herself scarce.

But the snowless parts are toxic no more. Not ten minutes after I finished my unspeakable chore, wildlife returned to the land.

Martha. She even rolled in the grass, she was so pleased with the change.

Oh, and did I mention I've been baking?

I think I'm turning into Ma Ingalls. If you see me wearing an apron and tittering "Oh, Charles!", send help.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Wait, what? Tom threw out a number at me a few days ago and it JUST HIT ME. He apparently opened the final accounting from our insurance company for Jane's care and it was (brace yourselves. Seriously. It's a crazy figure)...


1.4 million


Holy crap. I mean, how is that even possible? Naturally, I can't find the actual piece of paper, and Tom tends to round when he talks numbers, but DUDES. That's a lotta dough. Um, health-care reform, anyone?


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Map Update

Friends and neighbors, I've entered ALL the cards I've received... for Alabama through Missouri. So if you haven't seen a pin for your locale, I probably haven't gotten to your state yet. Sorry. It's been nice out. (NB: Many cards were sent in without any return address, so I just use the postmark [if I can make it out]. For instance, there are three cards with St Louis, MO postmarks, but I don't know where they actually came from -- if you want your town represented, just let me know.)

I'm still working on it, never fear. And I've gotten some very helpful suggestions on archiving the cards, but I'm still listening if there are any other ideas. Just sayin'.

ST PATRICK'S DAY UPDATE: I've entered all the cards for Alabama through Tennessee. But Google Maps has this funny little feature where you can't see all the placemark pin thingies at once. I PROMISE they're there. I'll figure out a way for you all to see them all as soon as I'm done entering the locations.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Let's see if this works

I'm trying to get the Google Maps map in here.

View Where Jane was in a larger map

I think if you click on the link, you can go to Google Maps and see all the places I've entered on Jane's map. I think. You have to zoom waaaaay out, though -- the thing seems set by default on a very close look at the middle of the Pacific Ocean. I'm not proficient enough to do anything about it, either. Oh, well.

Ooh, wait. If you click (for a long while) on the zoom out button (the one that looks like a minus sign in the top left hand corner of the map), you can see the whole thing without leaving the page.

Friday, March 12, 2010


That should technically read "720, give or take", but it just doesn't have the same punch.

Anyway, I counted the cards, people. Well, the envelopes. 720, yo. SEVEN HUNDRED AND TWENTY. There were many envelopes with multiple cards and notes, so I don't know what the "real" number is.

So, I have completed Step 1 of the curating: physically sorting the envelopes into the states and countries of origin. Yes, I sorted them alphabetically by state, and then alphabetically by city within each state. I DO NOT HAVE OCD. I'm just thorough. Ahem.

Step 2: enter every envelope onto a map on Google Maps. Behold my skills! (Apparently I have no skills -- I'll fix this. Eventually.) I've done all the international ones, and Alabama through Maryland.

Step 3 will be sorting the notes themselves by medium: postcards, regular cards, post-its and similar, and artwork. I figure that'll make Step 4 (storage/scrapbooking/framing/what-have-you) easier for you lot to figure out. Right? I mean, one of you has a brilliant idea you're just sitting on, waiting for the right moment. Well, you have some time, my invisible friend, but it won't be for long.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


The mail came today and for the very first time... no "Jane was here". For forty days we've been getting daily (well, except for Sundays) notes and cards and paintings and even trees. (Really! We've gotten two -- well, one started out as an acorn but now is a little sprout with four leaves -- and they're still alive.) Wanna see where they've come from?

A dozen countries, five provinces and 46 states. Isn't that something? (Hawaii, Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia were no shows. Not that I'm pointing fingers. Ahem. Oh, hey, if any of you had cards returned and are up for trying again, you can address them to the Greene family [we bought the house from a family whose last name is one letter off from mine and mail is STILL being forwarded incorrectly 18 months later. Oops.].) But the map -- isn't that cool? Look at you all!

So, what do I do now? Some deserve framing, and all deserve a place somewhere. Some kind of scrapbook-y something or other? A box doesn't seem quite right. They need to be somewhere special, each in its own deserved spot. They need curating, is my point. Any and all suggestions are most welcome. MOST welcome. Please.

While you invisible readers brainstorm, I'm going to start counting and do a little rough organizing. By place of origin? Size? Medium? I mean, there are cards and canvases and postcards and Post-its. Hoo boy. I may not be German enough for this one.*

All right, everyone. Get to work! Goooooo Team Jane!

* Tom accuses me of being overly German when I get particular about things. Just because my books are shelved alphabetically by author within their subject is no call for him to mock my ancestry. It's not like I use the Library of Congress classification system. Or even Dewey Decimal. It's more like living in a used bookstore. It's TOTALLY REASONABLE. It's practically a public service. We'd never find anything around here if there weren't a system of some kind. Hmph.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Peeps, I didn't think it was possible. I didn't trust the run of sunny days. But somehow, even though it's only the beginning of March, it would seem that Spring is springing up.

Look, an early violet-y pansy-type flower in my neighbor's yard! Ain't Spring grand?

Or, as we generally call it around these parts, mud season:

Happily, that is NOT my driveway. It's my neighbors' driveway. Amazingly enough, neither our dogs nor our cat traipse through those puddles. That would be Sarah's job.

Oh, invisible readers. I don't know what to tell you. I'm having a blue day, and no amount of sunshine or Buffy is making a dent in my mood. Trust me, I tried. I tried hard. But not even one of my favorite episodes helped (that would be Once More With Feeling, and it's GENIUS, I'm telling you). And I love that one. Love. It.

Ah, well. I was due. I'm managing what needs managing. Laundry is laundered, house is upright, Sarah is clothed and fed and read to and loved, etc etc. I'm just feeling somewhat undermotivated.

I think what kicked it off was a discussion I was reading about caesarian sections. Both Sarah and Jane were born through c-sections, both unplanned, and repeat sections lead to increased risks. If, IF, we were to try for another kid I'd have to have yet another c-section because of Jane's birth (classical section with a vertical incision, which means any and all subsequent births would have to be surgical), and there could easily be complications with a pregnancy just because of the scarring that's already there, never mind the increased likelihood of having another premature baby. And all that just kind of weighed me down a bit. Stuff to deal with, but stuff to deal with later. Maybe even talk to an actual, you know, doctor.

Plus, and this has been a major bummer, Sarah's been crying over Jane when she gets scolded over... whatever. Trivial stuff. We're working on it, and I'm trying to be understanding and all like that but man does it suck. I mean, she's playing a hell of a card to get out of minor jams, you know?

Anyway. Spring! Pretty! Yay.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Sneak Attacks

You know that movie Awakenings? The one where Robin Williams plays the Oliver Sacks character who briefly reanimates Robert DeNiro's Leonard by administering L-dopa? I was watching it today and weirdly enough, I got a little heart-twinge when they were measuring out the increasing dosages. I flashed (not literally, settle down) to all of those times when the docs couldn't figure out just what to do for Jane. Fiddling, adjusting, cranking up the settings, trying to find something that would make a difference. How frustrating that must be, to know precisely the problem and not have the technology to fix it. To know that the mechanism of life support is still so crude, but to have no alternatives. To watch the balance of a life teeter and finally fall while you stand helplessly by, with knowledge but no means. In many ways, it was much easier for me just to be the parent, existing day to day without projecting beyond a given moment.

But it was just a twinge.

The thing that really got me recently? Okay, so I still make mixes (yeah, yeah, "playlists", whatevs). And some are upbeat and perfect for chores, and some are more hard and driving and perfect for angry chores, and some are a little more... wistful. Oh, you know -- college girl feeling all soulful type of music. So, I put on a mix that I hadn't listened to in a while as I tackled clearing out boxes from our move eighteen months ago (I KNOW). Fine, fine, all's perfectly fine, right? I'm barely listening. Then the Cure's Pictures of You came on, and I actually thought to myself, "I should be crying over this, but I'm not. It's too cliched. I'm totally fine. Lalalala." Next song? Beth Orton's Thinking About Tomorrow. POW. I literally put my head down and sobbed.

That's the thing of it. I never know what it's going to be that knocks me off my feet. There's no avoiding triggers, because I don't know what they're going to be. I can read Horton and smile, but finding board books I had been saving for Jane twists my gut. Ambushed.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Forced Metaphors


It's the very first flower of spring! I was all excited to see this as I went in to pick up Sarah from school, but it's only now, RIGHT now, as I type this, swear to God, that I'm noticing the chewing gum. Yeah, that pink wad so close to the snowdrop it almost looks like it's growing out of it.

I was going to try to make some elaborate metaphor about this. Something along the lines of "I only see what I need to to get by" or something, but, um, it didn't work out. So, let's just go with Ooh, pretty and YAY, SPRING. I'll deal with the gum later.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Final Milk Run

There it goes. That's the entire back of a Subaru wagon filled with the milk stash. I'm delighted to say it has found a home. My excellent friend Sue arranged it for me, and I'm thrilled that the milk is going to be used, that it's going to help another baby girl grow and thrive. For a little while, anyway. That would have lasted Jane forever; I have no idea how long it'll take a four-month-old full-term baby to go through it.

Quite a sight, all of it piled up like that. Pretty cool that it's not going to waste.

But... But.

Well, it was in a very real sense my last tangible link to Jane.


I tried to do a little advanced math here, and I think that pile represents something like 187 hours of pumping. Just take a moment to ponder that figure.

Speaking of my old friend the pump, I finally returned it to the medical supply people about two weeks ago. I still had a little manual dealie for emergencies (trust me, there ARE pumping emergencies), but I was trying to do as little as possible so I'd stop producing as quickly as possible. There was a day shortly afterward when my boobs were so sore I could hardly bear to carry towels against my chest. I had to wear TWO jog bras to minimize ouch-inducing movement. And people, I'm not exactly endowed here. In fact, on the two-bra days I looked a lot like I did in junior high, except with wrinkles and grey hair. But it worked. I've been free of the tyranny of the milk machine for most of a week now. Naturally, just this weekend I discovered some stuff from the LCs at Boston, including a cream that's supposed to help inhibit supply and ease discomfort. AHAHAHAHA. Awesome.

Gotta admit, I felt a twinge of guilt that there wasn't more milk for this other family. Silly, right? But it was so easy for me to do, and there easily could have been more in the freezer. Ah, mother guilt. The endlessly renewable resource.