Wednesday, November 26, 2003

I'm very excited and happy to read this:

“Also, keep in mind you don't have to limit yourself to water. You can drink highly diluted fruit juice, herbal tea, or a well-watered-down sports drink. Sparkling water with a little fruit juice or lemon is also nice. All of these count toward your 64 ounces a day. Drinks like cola, though, work against the count, because caffeine is a diuretic and removes fluid from the body. Three cups of coffee or tea are comparable to just two cups of water."
(source: Dr. Andrew Weil, Mar. 05, 1997 issue of “Wired News,”

I've been wondering if I could drink 4 16-oz cups of decaffeinated herbal tea and 4 glasses of water and get the same nutritional benefits as 8 glasses of water!

Although, the guy does seem to have some sort of hidden agenda:

"While you're doing all this drinking, make sure you're not adding new toxins to your body. Drink high-quality bottled water or, better, get a water-purification system for your home.”

Oh come on.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

In May of 1995, I was dumped by the love of my life.

(collective groan)

Yeah, I know, everybody has their sob story. The point is, if I have my dates correct, I wrote this poem the day before it happened. Basically, I wrote this poem, went to his house, had what I remember being a lovely evening, and the next morning he rolled over and dumped me. On May 11th. Mother's Day.

I swear I didn't see it coming. But... it's kind of spooky.

Tell Me, Sappho

“It is no use, Mother,
I cannot finish my weaving.
You may blame it on Aphrodite,
for she has made me near sick
with love for that boy”

Let me ask you: how does the mind control the body?
Where is the battleground of intentions? Is it, as one
philosopher said, in the pineal gland? Or is it some
angry Goddess, whispering in our ears, moving our limbs like

marionettes? Example: I sit at my desk, working, actively
thinking and typing and correcting, and suddenly, I stop.
Some word I wrote - “sofa,” or “green,” some random idea, or
even the act of writing itself - has brought him to mind.

I fight distraction - too late. My work, my office, the
very building in which I sit, disappears, my hands become
weak, and my eyes cloud, lids drooping. Thoughts of him
break over me in waves, as I rest my chin in my hands,

steady, cool hands, very much like his. Was it “sofa?” I
see his sofa, worn and faded, where we first kissed, in his
living room, with out-of-date furniture, and the lamp with a
green bulb... Maybe it was “green.” Green like the shirt I

wore that night, green, like how he made me feel, with
newness, and energy. Green, my favorite color, which has
many meanings, growth, disease, shamrocks, M-n-M’s, and
mildew... My mind wanders farther and farther away, in his

direction, while my work sits, waiting.
So tell me: why does my mind override my
hands? It was so last night, as I went to dial his number,
but thought worse of it, and didn’t. Where is the

connection? I may not dial his number, but may not work
either? I must spend my time thinking of him, but may not
reach him? Of hands and thoughts, I often feel my hands are
wisest, more sympathetic. I should listen to my hands, work

at the office, dial his number, touch and hold things, reach
high into the sky, because it feels good, but my thoughts
drown out the cries from my hands, and so they hang, limp.
Hands don’t obey every thought, but they have no freedom

either, and my hands and I, we are not puppets, but pets.
Caged, corralled, repressed, restricted, restless, raging red
and white nails and skin, lips and teeth smiling and
smoothing when I should bite and scratch and fight -

No. We don't fight, do we, my hands and I? They wait, I lie, and
we lie in wait... Tell me, Sappho: Couldn’t you have
sweated it out? Could you have finished your weaving?
Could I have finished that report this afternoon?

Could I have dialed his phone number?
Could I have gone to him?

The Pineal Gland?
"If they believe that the purpose of my life
is to serve them, let them try to enforce their creed.
If they believe that my mind is their property --
let them come and get it...
[W]hen robbery becomes the purpose of law,
and the policeman's duty becomes, not the protection,
but the plunder of property -- then it is an outlaw
who has to become a policeman."-- Ragnar Danneskjöld

Friday, November 21, 2003

Instead of the very sad, Chekhovian post which I initially wrote for today, I have decided to blog about crunch-n-munch.

Damn I love that stuff. I am, as I may as well confess and get it over with, a closet junk-food-junkie. I say closet because I do a pretty good job of hiding this. I eat almost exclusively organic. I don't fry. I like cheese, but in moderation. I recently switched to Tofutti - but Ben & Jerry's From Russia With Buzz creeps into my fridge about twice a year. I do have dessert in the cafeteria at work quite often - bread pudding, a slice of homemade cheesecake, an occasional chocolate-chip cookie. But these things all seem to fit into what is, overall, a pretty healthy, natural diet.

It's the candy that's out of control.

I have a large stash of Hershey's in my house. Miniature candy bars, kisses, hugs, the fancy toffee-almond kisses. I have mini Reese's often as well. Chocolate is truly my worst vice. I eat astonishing amounts of it. And it's not like I eat just one piece at a time. I'll grab ten or twenty pieces and eat them in succession, eyes fluttering. Like taking a really big hit. Granted, I don't do this every day - but I do it at least once a week.

At work, I have a bag of Limited Edition Hershey's Mint Chocolate Kisses in my drawer. I don't think anyone knows I have it.

Well, now they do. Shit.

This started about Crunch-n-much because somebody put a tin of carmel-corn-and-peanuts (not Crunch-n-Munch, a designer brand version) on the filing cabinet at work for us all to help ourselves. MAN I love that stuff. I never buy it. But when I see it at a ballpark, or someone else's house, or at work, if it's just THERE - Mmmmm. Bad. Very very bad.

Now for the kicker: I have never dieted in my life. I have never needed to. I have always been one of those disgusting people that can eat constantly, whatever I want, and never get above 118 pounds, which at 5'4, is fine. I was a semi-professional dancer for years - I worked off every calorie that I took in before it ever had a chance. During especially stressful periods of my life, I was frequently underweight to due lack of appetite. I have the metabolism of a mosquito.

At least, I used to.

I developed severe aniemia about a year ago. I had no idea that I was aniemic. I thought I was just depressed. Between my job changing, my marriage disintegrating, my family being so far away, my best friend moving back to Korea... I had plenty of reasons to not want to get up in the morning. Plenty of reasons to feel too tired to do anything at all. I went to therapy, cried a lot, talked to friends and family, and kept plodding forward with the daily routine. Finally, one day, I hit a work crisis, and I fell apart emotionally. I went to the doctor. Upon describing how I'd been feeling for the previous six months, she decided to take some blood, and lo and behold, I was at around half the iron levels I should have been.

The happy ending to all this is we found the cause, removed it, and restored my iron levels with supplements. I feel far better. BUT - in the meantime, I have been practically immobile for over a year. During that time I have GAINED WEIGHT. >gasp!<

Now, don't get me wrong - I LOVE my new shape. I have CURVES! I can fill out a dress like a real healthy woman! No more twiggy here! This is awesome. But. It is starting to get a bit out of hand. Suddenly I don't look so good when I tuck my shirt in. My stomach has become quite visible. My muscle tone is practically non-existent. I didn't recognize my own thighs last summer when I put on shorts for the first time. Why is my skin all puckery? It used to be smooth!

My doc says that my body is suffering the effects of inactivity more severely than most because I used to be so highly active.

Well, Shit.

Now I have to do something. I have to LOSE a few inches. I've never had to do this before. So where do I start?

#1 - no more Crunch-n-Munch.

Most people I know go to Gyms for this sort of thing. Was I ever astonished to learn how expensive Gyms are. I can barely afford my monthly living expenses these days. The Gym is out.

I could take Yoga classes. I'll lose about a pound a year that way.

I could go back to Ballet.


Anyone willing to be my personal trainer for free?

One thing I have started doing is Yoga in my living room. I have a tape. And I do exercises that were given to me as physical therapy, to rebuild my muscle tone. I have no idea if that will help with the appearance problem. Or with the fitting-better-in-my-clothes problem.

I'm thinking of trying Weight Watcher's. Two of my closest friends have had excellent results with them. So have two of my not-so-close acquaintances. But that carries an expense as well.

Not sure what to do here. Suggestions are welcome.
Well, maybe some other time

Saturday, November 15, 2003

This is a VERY long post, but I hope that some of you will read it and like it. It's an essay I wrote a couple of years ago when one of the trees in the yard at my parent's house had to be cut down.

I have always loved trees. They are not just plants to me; they are benevolent spirits, lives that share the planet with us. Call it my Irish druidic roots. I watched a TV documentary once about the loss of the rainforests, and they showed a very graphic film of a huge rainforest tree being cut down for lumber. I shuddered and sobbed. It was traumatic.

So, when we lost the tree that lived outside my bedroom window, I wrote this.

Some of you may have noticed that my recent posts have been "pre-fab." I'm exhausted. My job is draining all the energy out of me. I keep meaning to post about my job. Part of me is terrified that my boss will surf in and read it. I think I really just don't want to feel all the emotions that will come up as I write that story. And it is a story indeed.

So, as I'm pondering the changes a person goes through in their life, some necessary, others which could have been avoided, I'm reminded of the loss of my tree. I couldn't believe that this poor tree really had to go. I couldn't accept it. How do we protect the things we love from things we can't even see?

The Life and Death of Trees

I grew up in a small, two-bedroom, one bathroom house with a finished upstairs. When I was 13 I convinced my parents to let me move up there, and I spent my adolescent years looking out the window at the life and times of the inhabitants of the mid-to-upper branches of a medium sized Silver Maple tree. This November, during a mighty thunderstorm, a 6-inch limb broke off the tree and crashed to the ground, inches from our next-door neighbor’s driveway. No property was damaged. The limb was examined. It was diseased through and through. The tree doctors came to evaluate my tree, and sure enough, it had to come down. That Sunday, the 30th, they chopped it down.

The lives intertwined with this tree were incredible. There were two nesting pairs of birds there: a pair of doves and a pair of robins. The Robins only lived there one summer, when I was about 14, but I remember admiring the pretty, fawn-colored Mother Robin sitting still in her nest for hours daily, and then one day she was gone, and I saw the tiny pale blue eggs. I watched that nest religiously, every morning and every afternoon. Finally, the chicks hatched, and a few magical times, I watched her feed them. They were so tiny I could barely see them, and Mommy bird had built the nest up protectively around them, but I could catch a glimpse from time to time. They were so tiny and helpless, they couldn’t even stand, and would fall over themselves reaching for the food. Their heads were all closed eyes and screeching beaks. I watched them grow bigger and fuzzier, and venture out of the nest. I went outside a number of times that summer to bring my cats into the house, imprisoning them until the younglings learned to fly in the yard.

The doves, however, were a different story. I never saw the Daddy Robin, but the nesting couple of doves came to court every spring for about 10 years, perched on my air conditioner, cooing. There they were, inches from me! Not even in the tree itself, but on the air conditioner, sitting a few inches from each other, cooing and cleaning each others’ feathers, and hopping from side to side, spooning. They were small, delicate, pale grey things with black pearls for eyes. The female was practically white, with greyish underfeathers that showed when she languorously stretched her wings. The male was slightly darker in color with thick, muscular legs, and he hopped all around her, showing off. They were avian versions of us, entrancing to me, and therapeutic to watch, as my own turbulent dating relationships came and went. They were like newlyweds, and they chose my tree as their first home together. Their large nest was too high for me to see into, but I voyeuristically watched them court, flirt, and squabble, envying their growing, dedicated relationship, their settled home in the beautiful tree, and their obvious love for one another. These birds had obviously figured out the relationship thing far better than I had.

At the base of the tree, parallel to the house, grew a peony bush, with it’s huge, pom-ponish blooms, crawling with ants and therefore unsuitable for bouquets, but perfuming the entire side yard. Also growing in the shade of the tree, facing the house wall, were tall purple irises, obviously planted by the house’s former owners, but delightfully bold and colorful, decadently thrusting their petals into view, demanding attention, and of course always getting it. Some more genteel daffodils grew in the shade of the tree, wrapping around the trunk, waving their cheery yellow trumpets just under the iris’s gaudy blooms, which the daffodils never seemed to resent. Daffodils are such community flowers; they grew all around our house, sharing soil with trees, lilacs, shrubs, dandelions, violets, anything, and always just happy to be alive. Squirrels dashed up and down the tree daily, some leaping acrobatically to the TV antenna on the side of the house, a silver triangular ladder covered in milkweed vines. The squirrels would dash blindingly fast up the tree, leap to the TV tower, climb down it, run around the house, and back up the tree again. It must have been one of the best obstacle courses in the neighborhood. Somehow the doves never seemed to be disturbed.

This tree was just as much home to my friends as my house was to me. They were my neighbors, and we respected each other’s space, even if I did peep from my window. However, if my house got termites, we could call the exterminator. When the tree got sick, we had no idea at all.

It had a virus. There is some insidious virus that is particularly voracious to “soft-wood” trees, like Silver Maples, and the Tulip Tree that used to inhabit our front yard. It attacks the roots and goes directly to the center of the tree, eating away the inner root and nutrient transport system, invisible from the outside. Unlike Cancer, it affords virtually no early detection opportunities.
Some years ago, the Tulip Tree in our front yard had to be removed, stump rooted out and all, because of this horrible disease. My mother and I were devastated. “Removed?! You mean killed! We can’t just destroy it! It’s a living thing, older than all of us! We’ve got to heal it, not just euthanize it!” We could not believe we would lose our 50-foot friend with its wide, waxy leaves as large as your hand and delicate yellow blooms. We refused to acknowledge it for months, even when whole limbs began to lose leaves, until half of the tree was yellow and desiccated, and several tree experts had diagnosed the same sickness, shaking their heads sadly at my mother’s wrath. One day, Mom and I finally stood together in the yard, looking at the pathetic thing which had once been so proud, and held each other while Daddy called the tree removers. It was gone by the following week, stump and all, the soil treated with anti-viral and anti-fungal chemicals. All that remained was a 3-foot bare spot in the lawn. We cried.

Of course we planted a new tree in its place. Mom and Dad waited a sufficient amount of time, a respectful mourning period, and then they went tree shopping. Mom had always wanted a dogwood, so that’s what they got. It turns out Dogwoods are not susceptible to the type of rot that had felled our Tulip tree. I was away at college, but Mom called me the day they brought home a tiny, 5 ½ foot tree and planted it carefully in the spot where the Tulip had been. She was thrilled. I sent her a pink greeting card that said “Congratulations on the New Arrival,” and when I arrived home for that weekend’s visit, I saw it, bright and new and sweet, a vivacious baby girl tree, limbs already starting to show the characteristic gnarly quality of Dogwoods, and little buds at the ends of the branches. She won’t get her first blooms for a number of years yet, but that’s ok. These early years are magical in their own way.

My Maple is a different story though. There was no extended diagnoses, no multiple opinions sought, no long-drawn out suffering, watching it waste away. We know this disease now. When the tree couldn’t save its own limb from being torn off in the high winds of that thunderstorm, its condition was clear to all. We knew what must be done, and my parents wasted no time. One day we took it for granted; the next, we knew we had to say goodbye. My mother, despite her grief, knew it had to be, given not only the tree’s disease progression as evidenced by examination of the severed limb, but also the proximity to the neighbor’s house and ours. If another limb fell, it could destroy a car, cave in a roof, part of a wall, or even seriously injure or kill a person. I know that tree. It had nurtured life all the years I’d known it. We could never allow such things to happen. We acted quickly.

My father took photographs while the tree was being removed. The tree specialists removed the minor limbs first, with a chain saw. The major limbs came next, cracking away from the trunk and hitting the earth with mighty thuds. Finally they felled the great trunk. The men chopped away at one side of the tree, exposing the diseased insides, then moved around to the other side and resumed chopping, so they could control the fall. Daddy photographed everything. They chipped the wood to be used as mulch, returning it to the earth, completing the circle of life, so to speak. They left some chips of clean, uninfected wood in a small pile in the spot where the tree stood. I can’t decide if this is poignant or macabre. I do not know if they dug up the flowers before they began work on the tree or not. I am sure, however, that they too are now gone. I pray fervently that they forgive us, and forgive my tree, who could no longer care for them, or protect them from the workmen’s spade.

I will be flying home for Christmas in a few weeks. I know there will be a wide, sunny space between our house and the neighbors’ house, where my tree used to live. My Silver Maple was easily 50 or 60 years old, likely much more. I remember it was just big enough that I couldn’t get my arms around it. I also know the peony bush will be gone, as well as the arrogant irises and perky daffodils. Thankfully, I know my doves haven’t nested there for a number of years, so wherever they are living, they are safe, and didn’t have to witness the destruction of their newlywed home. I doubt very much if squirrels care for one tree any more than another, and anyway they still have 3 others around my house to play in, and the TV tower is still there.

I will feel the emptiness like a cold spot in my chest. I will stand in bright, unobstructed sunbeams in the very spot where my tree lived for all those years, and cry. My Mother will probably join me there. Our neighbor will probably come out on the porch and ask us what in Heaven’s name is the matter, did something happen, drying her hands on a kitchen towel. We’ll all laugh at our seemingly inappropriate emotional attachment to a plant, and let the neighbor in on the joke, and maybe all have a cup of tea together and talk about what kind of cookies we’ll all bake for Christmas this year. But Mom and I understand. It wasn’t just a plant. It was a very large, old, respected, loving, generous, hospitable, vibrant life form, cut down in life by a sickness that nobody could heal. We will miss it. We already ache for it and the memories from my childhood. We will talk about it long after we plant another tree in its spot. We loved it, and we will remember it.

Friday, November 14, 2003

I realized today that I haven't applied for any jobs this week because I'm feeling unqualified for anything that doesn't have the word "assistant" in the title. I've lost faith that anyone out there will give me a chance, and I've resigned myself to not being hirable for anything more than a department assistant. Worse than that - I'm beginning to lose faith in my own ability.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

This was fun. I must agree, I love this book.

You are Psalms
You are Psalms.

Which book of the Bible are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

In reponse to some recent emails from my best friends from High School, who now live in Chicago, I was prompted to write the

10. The Mid-American Playwright's Group. You never knew what in the name of God they were going to try and pull off.
9. Washington Park. The Rose Garden, the Carillon, the memories.
8. Lincoln Memorial Gardens. The quietude, the lake, the memories.
7. People who actully read the rules of the road at some point in their life
5. The Ethnic Heritage Festival
4. Going dancing at Limey's - that raised dance floor was off the hook
3. Steve Sykes's dance auditions for Puny (er.. I mean Muni)
2. Jazz at Norb Andy's and Union Station

and the #1 Reason I miss Springfield...

1. Hangin' with my PEEPS!!!

I realized after I sent this how inaccurate it really is. Here is the updated version.


10. The Mid-American Playwright's Group. Many crappy plays, some great ones, and all the best talent that had gotten sick of casting their pearls before the swine of Muni Opera and the Theatre Guild, may it rest in Peace.
9. Washington Park. The Rose Garden, the Carillon, the memories of being in love.
8. Lincoln Memorial Gardens. The low concentrations of rollerblading hillbillies, the lake, the memories of Keith.
7. People who actully read the rules of the road at some point in their life
5. The Ethnic Heritage Festival
4. Going dancing to 80’s music at New Dimensions with David Aikman – the only man to make a fag hag of me.
3. Steve Sykes's dance auditions, and Becky doing anything at all onstage. Just stand there and smile, honey.
2. The “scene.” Jazz at Norb Andy's and Union Station. Yuppie boys at On Broadway, farm boys and bikers at the Lake Club. Mm mm mm.

and the #1 Reason I miss Springfield...

1. My Mom’s Cooking.

(Not what you expected, was it!)

Friday, November 07, 2003


Saw the Matrix Revolution last night. I'll do a review over the weekend. Today, I'm just focusing on being grateful for the things I have. It keeps my mind of my fury and rage over the crappy thing in my life.

Zenchick has the words for the day. Words to live by. Remember them.

I'm posting them on my cubicle wall. In 12-point typeface.

peace all...

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

My friend Naomi adopted a baby girl from Kazakhstan. She’s Russian, so Nay kept her name, which is Irina. She gave her the middle name Ruby. Irina Ruby. A precious, exotic gem at 10 months old.

This child is perfect. She’s gorgeous. She’s super healthy. She’s always happy, having a great time, real party baby. If you make too many weird noises at her she looks at you like “what are you, nuts?”

Now, I’m just going to be blatantly honest here. I don’t like kids much. I generally avoid them. Especially if they can move around independently and speak. I don’t mind tiny babies, because basically they’re quiet and they sit still. And when they’re really small, they are still miracles. You look at this tiny, helpless life form and think “Man. I used to be that. That thing came out of that lady’s holy place! That thing might be the CEO of something. It might be performing open heart surgery in 40 years. That wrinkly, delicate thing will be cracking rib cages and sewing aortic material in place. Or, it could just as easily be recommending a nice Chablis with my fish dinner (an equally important job).” They really are miraculous things. That are for the most part quiet, cute, and sleepy.

It’s when they get older, louder, and mobile that I don’t want to be anywhere near them. I make no apology for this. I was raised by a very strict Mom. I was a very quiet child myself who usually preferred to sit under a tree and read than play run-around-the-playground games. I was very cute – blonde curls and so on – but I was one of those quiet smart kids who got straight A’s, virtually never talked. In short, I was a nerd – but for a number of years, until peer pressure took over, I was a happy nerd. All through elementary school, I read, I wrote poems and short stories, and I drew. When I was given the chance I sang, and shocked everybody. I think the teachers resented the fact that I obviously wasn’t shy (I sang after all) but I had no interest in actively participating in class. The teachers eventually stopped defending me from the kids who were overly mobile and verbal. Those kids tended to make the teachers mad, make classes irritating, and make fun of me. In public. Brats. I didn’t like them then, and I don’t like them now.

So, when I see kids misbehave, even when they’re (as a lot of parents say) “just being kids,” I get REALLY irritated. There are restaurants I won’t go to because I know the local families frequent them and I only have to have brats weaving under my table while I’m trying to eat ONCE, thank you. The Moms (Aunts? Older siblings?) who really don’t care what the kids are doing, as long as they’re not getting themselves run over cars. (I man, a person could go to jail for child endangerment.) The Men (Dads? Who knows?) who encourage the little boys to hit each other “So they’ll grow up tough” and teach them curse words because its hysterical hearing a six-year-old say “Dat’s da shit!” I have no sense of humour for this. Sure people will say “But it’s not the kids’ fault, it’s the parents!” Yeah, ok, so what? Adults are of course the assholes, but I’ve yet to have an adult chase another adult under the table while I’m eating. I don’t blame the kids. It’s not their fault they’re not being raised and that I don’t want them around. It’s the parents, it’s the welfare system, it’s the lack of funding for inner-city after school programs. I agree. I still am not eating dinner there ever again, no matter how good the fried plantains are.

Which of course prompts the revised statement: I don’t like misbehaving kids. I know most people don’t. Well, I have FAR less patience for them than most. I tend to assume that even the most well-trained child will have it’s moments, and avoid them altogether. I prefer to attend parties and social events where there will NOT be children. I will NEVER volunteer for my church’s RE program, I’m sorry guys, you’re doing fantastic work, but I would be the “mean teacher” making everyone cry after the first 20 minutes.

Here’s another weird thing: I love teenagers. Go figure. Usually they are the nightmare creatures that everyone dreads having in the house. I love them. You see, I’ve always appreciated that teenagers make informed choices – even if they’re bad choices, or based on bad information - at a much more advanced level than 7-year olds do. They can eat and go to the loo by themselves. They don’t feel the need to be the center of attention all the time. They actually want to have intelligent conversations, be respected, etc. No really, all the ones I’ve worked with (I’ve had some experience with this) really do want to be liked and respected by adults. Music is often the pinnacle of existence for them – I’m 32 and it still is for me. Some of them test you. So pass the test. Some of them are lying, cheating, sneaky felons-in-making. But I find these to be the vast minority… and I also have seen these types get bored with lying and cheating and straighten up once they get out of high school and start escaping the age-ism of teendom. I love teenagers. They have accountability.

I would say the stupid teenagers are the only ones I don’t like, but even that’s not true. I have patience and understanding for a 15 year old who seems to have nothing between his years. If you’re 15, you haven’t been alive long enough for the damage to be irreversible yet. I have far less patience and understanding for stupid adults. There’s no excuse for allowing your brain to atrophy for over 10 years. Get out my sight.

So. Back to my perfect niece.

I told Irina’s Mommy that I was very scared of how I was going to be around this kid when she gets older. I stood there and looked Nay in the eye and said “I don’t want her to think I don’t like her anymore. I don’t want to hurt her.” Nay just looked at me, with this perfect “patient Mommy” look. I half-expected her to pat me on the head. “Dee, have you ever grown up with a child before?” “No,” I said. “It’s not going to be like that, Dee.” “I hope not. I really do.” “It won’t.”

This child reaches for me when I walk in the door to the apartment. I hold her and play with her and she laughs and smiles, and I swear to God I am a fool for that. Last week, I went over there after I had gone through some incredibly difficult emotional stuff, and the world went away when Irina laughed at me. She grabs my face with her tiny little fingers. The top of her head is covered with blonde fuzz and feels softer than my most expensive velvet dress. Her blue eyes are enormous and they don’t miss a thing. This child is incredible. I’ve never seen anything like it.

There was a time in my life when I wanted this. Another lifetime ago, I was once in love with someone, and I wanted all of this. Our kids would have looked a lot like Irina. I thought remembering this would make me sad. It doesn’t. It’s impossible to feel sad thinking of Irina. Instead I’m starting to think maybe I could have a great kid someday even without that guy.

Whoa. Wow. Did I just say that? Damn. I’m shaking here. Ok. Sip the tea. Deep breath.

Babies make us think things. That’s good. Anything that makes you really think is good.

This kid is really good.