A Different Sort of Bachelor Party

Drove down to Smith Rock today with my climbing bros, to kick off Bridge's Bachelor Party.  We're spending the weekend down here, getting our camp-n-climb on.  The weather reports says snow, but we're not afraid: we have puffy jackets!
Dusk Creeps Towards Morning Glory
We got in a handful of solid climbs before it got too dark and rainy- and to tell the truth, I was up on the wall while it was dark and rainy, cleaning the final route of the day.  Thank all gods for hand-warmers and headlamps, that's for sure.  And now?  To whiskey!


Giving Up Ghosts

My due date was this week.

I think I expected to be sadder than I was, more depressed- which is not to say I wasn't sad or depressed, but, to quote myself, "You can tell I'm sad because I'm so angry."

(Yes, anger.  My default emotion.)

The entire experience was complicated by the fact that I really, truly believed I'd gotten pregnant this month.  I'd been nauseated for almost two weeks, my period was late by almost a full week... The writer in me couldn't help but rapturize to herself,

Oh perfection, oh synchronicity!  To discover I'm harboring new life just when the-baby-that-wasn't would have arrived.

Except not, of course.
So much for my perfect narrative.

So that's it, then.  My ghost pregnancy has run it's course, and I will no longer be plagued by "I should be this many months pregnant by now!" realizations stabbing me in the uterus with grief.  My little ghost embryo grew into a ghost fetus, and got itself ghost born back into the ghostly aether.  Perhaps now "my baby would be this old," thoughts will start showing up instead, but somehow I doubt that.  I never knew a baby- just a pregnancy, which should have lasted nine months.  Those months have fallen off the calendar, and I'm both sad and glad to see the last of them.

The experience of being so sure this month (coupled, obviously, with being so wrong) has brought me to a place I wasn't sure I'd ever get to.  Nathan and I have been trying to breed for four years now, with only the one failed-success.  We've talked, in the past, about how far down the Infertility Treatment Rabbit Hole we'd be willing to go, but I'd never actually felt like the time was right to pursue anything beyond clinging to the belief that "It will happen if it's meant to."

Well today I got to that place.  I don't know what, exactly, makes this time different, but it is.  So there's another ghost I'm letting go of- the idea that I could have a baby naturally.

I'm not really sure yet how I feel about that- writing this is part of how I'm processing things.  Maybe I'll change my mind tomorrow, maybe I won't.  But either way, I think I'm done with ghosts for a while.


 Once upon a time, I worked in a bookstore (it is telling that when I wrote that sentence my fingers automatically typed out "lived in a bookstore").  It was a wonderful job (if only I hadn't had to live off the wages) for a number of reasons.  The first, obviously, being that spending all day being surrounded by what you love, and getting to share that passion with other people, cannot help but be wonderful.  The less obvious reason is something we called "alpha-ing".

When you were sent to go "alpha" a section, you went and (you guessed it!) put it in alphabetical order.  Sometimes.  If you were in a simple section like fiction, anyway.  Oh did I say simple?  I  meant literary fiction, because genre could be a real bitch, with all those series...  Other sections got broken down by subject and then author, or sometimes just by title.  But regardless of whatever section you were in, there was a method to the madness, and it was your job to bring it back to that ordered chaos.

I loved it.  I loved it so much.  I would (and did, on occasion) happily spend an entire eight hours putting a section to rights.  It soothed a part of my soul that craves structure and sense.

Shelf of Dreams aka Poetry and Travel (the next shelf down has Religion and Philosophy)
Given my type-A personality, it's entirely possible that, even if I'd never worked in a book store, I still would have organized my books by subject and genre- but perhaps not quite so anal retentively as I am currently prone to.



Next he will claw a hole IN YOUR SOUL



Welcome Back

Out for my daily walk, and suddenly these delicate little guys were everywhere:


In a Row

As you know, embroidering bibs is a Thing I Do when people I care about manage to Spawn.  It's been a while since I've done one (over a year, to be exact) but 2014 is looking to make up for that drought, because not one or two or three, or even four, but five, count 'em five ladies whom I love have gone and got themselves knocked up.  One after the other!

For real ladies, what is in that water?
As such, you can expect a fairly steady stream of stitchery to feature on the blog over the next few months...

(The best part is, because there's five of you fertile Myrtles, you have no way of knowing which is intended for whom.  Hah!)


Home Sweet Fries

Nathan got himself a fryer, and life has never been so delicious.
Sweet Potato Fries FTW



The Mark

"...no one will dare injure a person who has been kissed by the Witch of the North..."
Forgot that I'd put on bright red lipstick to facilitate cleaning the house... whoops...



I was out for my afternoon walk today, tracing my well-worn path, when I happened to glance at a house that I pass on a regular basis.  What caught my eye was not the For Sale sign in the yard (I noticed that later) but the new ornamental stones they'd put out in the yard.
Nicely played, sellers.  Nicely played.



Isis tore one of her claws away from the quick, so we had to have the whole thing removed.  In order to remove it, she had to be sedated, so last night was a very scary and confusing time for her as she dealt with the after-effects of the drugs.  The whole experience was made extra-miserable by the fact that I was dealing with my own illness, and couldn't comfort her.

We spent most of the day today on the couch together, being pathetic (and patiently nursed by Nathan), but we're both feeling a bit better, now.

No fun for a little pig/.



My husband has beautiful musician hands,


The Good Parts

Someone is stirring-

No, not someone.  Some pig.  Isis needs to go to the bathroom, and I need to take her.

I pull on my puffy coat, clip her into her head harness, and we stumble down the stairs and out the front door of my sister-in-law's house.  The sun is starting to come up, which is nice, and Isis seems as eager to be done with things as I am to have her be done with them, which is even nicer.  Soon the two of us are back indoors, snuggled up with Nathan in our borrowed bed, warm and cozy and content as can be.

But now someone else is stirring.  I hear the distinct noise that is Toddler-Cooing-in-the-Morning, so I creep down the hallway and peer into his room- yep, he's definitely awake and up for company.  I grab him and a bottle, and we go back to my room where we can get in some serious bed-snuggling.

Both Isis and Nathan wake a little at our arrival, giving warm sleepy greetings before inviting us to cuddle down once more.  For a moment I look at the three of them, bathed in early morning light, warm and happy, and I think to myself how sweet it is to be able to enjoy these sorts of moments, and yet not have to get up in the middle of the night to change any diapers.



Finding Out

Today is Eaglet's birthday.  I wrote this back in August of 2012, but never published it.  I'm publishing it now to say: Happy Birthday, littlest nephew.


It is a little after noon, and I have just hobbled through the door into the kitchen when I think I feel the vibration of my phone- I pull it out of my purse and sure enough, David is calling me.

"Heeeey little brother!" I say, giving it that certain inflection I picked up from a hospital sitcom.  I am pleased to hear from him, especially after the bitter disappointment of not being able to see him over the weekend.  For two people who live in the same state, we sure don't see one another as often as I'd hoped we would.

"Hey!" he says, and he's got that tone that says he didn't really expect me to pick up, which makes sense when you consider that if it weren't for the doctor's appointment, I'd be at work right now.

He needs some information about some of the details surrounding our grandmother's estate, "But not right now- I'll call you again tonight," and also wants to know some of the decisions we made with our portion of the finances.  I outline it for him, with the caveat,

"Of course, we need easy access because we'll be dropping down to one income when Nathan goes back to school.  Your situation is different- you'll probably want to put it into long-term investments..."

"Actually, about that," he breaks in.  "Chelsea and I are probably going to go down to one income in the near future, too."

"How come?" I ask, my mind whirling.  Is she giving up her job so she can follow him when he gets stationed elsewhere?

"Well," and for some reason his voice sounds like the deep silence before a water droplet hits, "We're going to have a baby,"

"Oh my god!" I shriek, and immediately I am crying.  Happy, happy tears, because "Oh my god!" I shriek again.  "I'm so happy right now!  I'm so happy!  Oh my god congratulations!"  And then I am a shriek-y broken record for a while, and my brother is laughing and possibly half deaf, and I am full full full of all the light and happiness and joy in the world, rising up from my depths and spilling out through my every pore and especially through my tear ducts.  A baby!  My brother is having a baby!

Once the happiness settles out of blinding and down into a sort of radiant glow I am able to ask questions- but not as many as I'd like, because suddenly he's got a business call and has to get back to work.  But that's alright, because Nathan and I have to get to the hospital, anyway.

LoveSick of Love

You may have noticed that it's Valentine's Day.  Probably.  And maybe you're like me, and you love this holiday- or maybe you hate it.  If you already love it, awesome; if you hate it, let's talk about that.

Every year I come up against Valentine Haters, and every year I find myself getting aggravated with them.  I hear all their excuses, and all I can think is, "Why are you crapping on my awesome day?"

But I had a realization today, Gentle Readers.  Aided in no small part by my dog.

See that disgusting ball?  That filthy, slimy object of horror?  That thing that you definitely don't want to pick up with your bare hand but you will because you're a good dog owner, damn it?  My dog loves that thing.  Loves it.  When she looks at that ball, she sees something exciting, something she can play with and carry around and generally possess.  It is a thing of great beauty to her, a piece of happiness that she can fit in her mouth, a bonding session with her humans.  It's a fundamentally different object to her than it is to me.

And Valentine's is a fundamentally different holiday to me than it is to Haters.

Valentine's is, to me, a day to celebrate love.  Just love.  Not only one kind of love.  All love.  The love you have for your parents, your siblings, your relatives, your friends, your friends with benefits, your best friends, your lover(s), your life partner(s), your children, your classmates, your animals, your climbing bros.  Your selfAll your love are belong to Valentine's Day.  It's a wonderful occasion where I get to run around expressing to people how happy I am that they're in my life, and enjoying when they express the same.  People have been all about "Galentine's" and "Palentine's" this year, but for me there's no need for those holidays, because Valentine's Day already encompasses them.

For some people, however, Valentine's is the day that a card company declares who has value as a human being and who doesn't, based on their relationship status.  Or it's a day where you're forced to spend money and time on someone you already spend a lot of money and time on, but apparently that's not enough.  And you know what?  Those do sound like pretty crappy holidays.  And I'm awfully glad that I'm not forced to participate in them.

But here's the thing.  If you're reading this, you're probably a grown up.  And if you're a grown up?  Yeah, you pretty much get to pick your own beliefs.  So why in the name of stars would you pick such a crappy, crappy definition of Valentine's Day?  Why would you ever celebrate any less-than-awesome holiday, now that you're an adult and can do what you want?  What I'm saying here, people, is that the problem is not Valentine's Day- the problem is people who cling to definitions that honestly shouldn't have any hold over them whatsoever.

"But Jenny O," you might whine.  "It's not me making the definition- it's society!"

Guess what, kiddo?  You're part of society.

So.  Make your own holidays.  Make them all awesome.  And for the love of all that's glittery, quit crapping on those of us who already do.

(and if you're one of those people who is all, "I don't need a special made-up day to express my love for someone!" I say, "Awesome.  So make it like any other day, and get with the love expressing.")


Early Valentine

Nathan and I had our own little Valentine's Day celebration this evening- he brought me flowers, and we exchanged our home-made cards, and then I got dressed up all swank and we went out to eat at Thai Orchid, where we had delicious sushi, wonderful service, and a great atmosphere.

It's KIND OF like a heart...

Then we came home and watched Dirty Dancing, which (believe it or not) I'd never actually seen before.  What a great movie!  And with a way happier ending than I thought it would have.  I feel like the reaction I had watching it as an adult (basically I spent much of the movie cooing, "The precious beebees!) is probably not the one I'd have had if I'd seen it as a girl, but hey- I also wouldn't have had the fun of exclaiming, "It's that guy!"


The Discovery

Today I discovered the gustatory pleasure that is honey mixed with Greek yogurt- and then I upped the ante by adding pecans.
And it was Good.


Good Things Come in Threes

Usually when I say to Nathan, "Which of these do you think I should use?", the one he chooses is the one I was leaning towards, anyway.  Other times... well... let's just say that sometimes he attempts to keep me in check, but it just goes against my nature.  Tonight, for instance.  He felt that this was the best-processed photo of the group:

He refused to even consider that maybe one of these totally awesome space event versions might be superior:
He even accused me of getting a little "filter happy".  Scandalous!

But I am the boss of me, so I posted all of them.



The Courier's Completion

The snow continues to gather...

...and I had a Valentine in my mailbox.


The Snow Goes On

Woke up to a pristine winter wonderland today, something I haven't seen in a very, very long time.

Not in Oz anymore.

Nathan drove me to work, where I woman'd the phone for a few hours.  I left once the markets were closed, and got home just in time for the snow to start again- and to have a little romp time in the back yard with Isis (who finds catching snowballs in her mouth to be great fun), as well as a mini snowball-fight with my husband (during which I learned that while I was packing loosely for good explosion effects, he was packing densely so as to whallop me better).  Once our hands were sufficiently frozen, we came back inside and I baked some cupcakes, because being snowy days just call for lovely smells from the kitchen, don't you think?



It started to snow today.

Not so unusual, especially this time of year, but what made it noteworthy was that it actually stuck, and began accumulating.

Pig loves Snow.

It's been snowing for about nine hours or so, and when Nathan measured it around 5pm we had two inches.  In the 45 minutes it took him to get to the store and back, we gained another inch-and-a-half.  It's dark out now, but we're supposed to get between four to eight inches while the "winter storm warning" is in effect (another nine hours, I think?).  High adventure in the PNW!

(I wish we had a fireplace to curl up in front of, but I will settle for fleecy jammies and some hot cocoa.)


Secret Keeper

Apparently scribbles make excellent cushions.


But Which Dreams?

I find it appropriate that I could not choose between the two versions I processed:

Black and White and Shades of Gray

Golden Tones


Rude Children's Parties*

*(grammar intentionally fuzzy)

My nephew Eaglet turns one very, very soon, and my sister-in-law was plotting a pirate-themed party for him.  By which I mean she was planning a pirate-themed party for us, because as we all know, one-year-olds don't particularly give a damn about party themes.  Or parties in general, really.  In fact I feel pretty secure saying that mostly one-year-olds care about food, snuggles, and getting their way.  Mostly just that last one, really, since it essentially covers all the rest.


Certain people felt that maybe raping and pillaging wasn't quite the thing for a one-year-old's party, to which I say, "Avast!" and also, "I'll blow the man down!"**  It also led to me confessing to my sister-in-law my long-nutured plan for If We Have a Kid and It Survives to One Year Old:

The "We Haven't Killed It Yet!" party!

Yes, the WHKIY party, for which I will provide plenty of alcohol and request that all my friends dress up as endangered animals.  It's going to be awesome.  And if we don't have kids I may throw it on behalf of a friend's kid.  Because seriously, I know you parents get tired of coming up with new party themes.

Speaking of awesome segues...

I recently accepted a new role at work, and that role is Event Planner.  In specific, Special Event Planner, which means my team doesn't have to plan any boring events- we get to plan the events that celebrate things!  Wheee!  And in honor of that, I've decided to share with everyone a short list of Inappropriate Children's Parties:

Cam Whore Party!
     Everyone thinks it's super sweet that you set up a photo booth to record your child's friends and family on this precious day, but we know what it's really about.  Selfies.  All the selfies.

Knotty or Nice Party!
     Fun with ropes!  Imagine the funky fashions! The creative decorations!  Better yet, imagine the practicality of corralling toddlers!
(Confession Time: this theme is listed simply to justify using today's photo)
Cowboys and Indians Party!     Look, you know it, I know it- kids are riddled with disease and prone to taking crap that's not theirs.  It's like the party plans itself.

Mobster Party!
     Pinstripes, Pearls, and Prohibition! And enough fake blood to cover the inevitable real stuff.  Bonus: you literally cannot have this party without alcohol.  (You know, in the figurative sense of "literally".)

Cookie Monster Party!
     Make all your friends bring their favorite cookies.  Except everyone knows you shouldn't let your one-year-old eat cookies.  So.  Guess you'll have to eat them all.  For the children.

Feel free to add your own party ideas in the comments!

**(while looking up various pirate phrases to impress you with, I happened to also come across "crack Jenny's tea cup" and basically it's my new favorite thing.)



So you may have missed it, but there was a minor Sporting Event today.
My team won.


Handy Man

He cooks and plays guitar, too.