Thursday, July 31, 2008

Onto More Wholesome Things

Rachel's Marigolds.
Garden-fresh carrots. From our garden.
Tiny bush beans beginning to assert themselves.
Zucchini blossoms.
Our foundering cucumber seems to have finally found some solid ground and taken root.
And now, a word about surprise gifts. I recognize and openly admit that I am a difficult person to get a gift for. I am picky, and have distinct ideas about what I like and what I don't. So add to that difficulty the element of surprise and you'd really have yourself in a pickle. But my kindly in-laws took a gamble, although they had a little help from Aaron(who is an amazing gift-giver). Back in April, we went over to Whidbey Island for Easter. Sonia, having conspired with Aaron about where I would want things, sent Tom and Tristan over to our jungle back yard where they proceeded to clear out a long strip of ground along the south side of our house. It was disgusting, having been neglected for years and containing all manor of grass, weeds, flowers, bricks, painted stones and a cornucopia of spiders and other crawly things. We came home from Whidbey and had dinner at Tom and Sonia's, where they presented me with a big basket containing seeds, a watering can, some gardening gloves, and a tiny shovel. Then they told me what I would find when we went home. I almost wish they had told me so that I could have taken "before" pictures(it really was awful), but I'm glad they didn't. I think I was speechless for a full two minutes. So thanks to Grandma, Grandpa and Uncle Tristan, we will be enjoying some lovely produce of our own making this summer.

It's Not What You Think

If this picture was an exhibit in an art gallery, it would be called "Penis Envy Voodoo Banana."
But it's not an exhibit in an art gallery, it's Jack's favorite snack. But doesn't it look like it could be something like that? Ever since that inappropriate thought popped into my head I can't make this without giggling. Again, are we a third-grader?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Some Practical Advice

Before I go to the dentist, I brush my teeth. Before I see my OB/GYN, I take a shower. What does one do before seeing the chiropractor? Well, don't wear a skirt. Especially a short one. Thankfully I didn't come to this knowledge painfully, but preemptively. For my adjustments the doctor has me lie on my stomach on a funky table and occasionally requires me to lift up one leg at a time, draw my heels up towards my bum, and a few other diagnostic manuevers that would be difficult to pull off modestly in a skirt. Also, wearing a high-necked shirt is helpful as you're getting up off the table to avoid inappropriate flashing. Also, wear non-chunky shoes. For back doctors, chiropractors touch your feet a lot. They do this to check the alignment of your hips. When I came in the first time, my right leg pulled up 1 1/2" higher than my left. Now my legs are even. Lucky for my chiropractors, I have quite the collection of cute shoes. Being straight men they have failed to remark on this fact, but I think it brightens their day. My adjustments are going well and I can finally feel some improvement in my back, but I find it hard sometimes not to giggle. My trouble spot is my sciatic nerve where it leaves my sacrum and runs out into my hip before traveling down the length of my right leg; my sacrum is crooked, putting pressure on the sciatic nerve. Correcting this necessitates adjusting my sacrum, which, if you're familiar with the location of this bone, you know is right smack dab in the middle of your bum. I have always found it difficult to maintain a clinical attitude during situations like that, and am grateful that the doctor cannot see my face during an adjustment. I just can't help thinking, "In any other situation, it would be totally inappropriate for you to have your hands there." What am I, a third-grader? Seriously...

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Any of you who have ever tried to have a phone conversation with me will no doubt be familiar with the various quirks and irritating eccentricities of our old cordless phone. The main blight on its character was that it failed to fulfill the most basic purpose of a telephone by periodically hanging up on the person I was talking to without my permission. At the Brier house it would sometimes do this every time the fridge turned on, and, during the winter months, every time the furnace came on. It would produce a series of annoying echoes depending on who I was talking to, but always without fail when I was speaking to someone on Mercer Island. I am not making this up. Its condition was not improved from the many baths Jack gave it, sometimes in the sink and more than once in my morning coffee. The final death blow was dealt by Matteas, who sent the ineffectual thing flying off the table and onto the floor. It rings now and I can hear the person on the other end, but all they hear is static. So in the spirit of taking charge, recognizing the things I have the power to change and actually doing something about them instead of just pissing and moaning, I went out and bought a new phone while Jack was at school. I'm not sure yet how it will actually perform, but it's not a hard act to follow.

It All Started When...

It's a good thing nobody can tell you, really tell you, how much motherhood hurts sometimes; my guess is there would be fewer mothers in the world as a result of such a sneak-peak. On the flip side, no one can tell you how much love motherhood brings into your life either. I've had two quotes in my head during this past week, one of those weeks that seems to last a lifetime with all the highs, lows and general mayhem parenting sometimes brings. "To become a mother is to consent to have your heart forever walking around outside your body," is a quote on the cover of the midwife handbook. The other quote is from Caitlin Flanagan's To Hell With All That; Loving and Loathing Our Inner Housewife: "Motherhood is the introduction of both an almost unbearably powerful love and also a ceaseless, grinding anxiety that often drives us to the absurd." The above picture is how it all began, one week ago today. Matteas does not digest dirt well. His little insides are still too young and can't handle the insoluble fiber, so he doesn't poop for about two days. But when he does, the osmosis effect of said insoluble fiber is severe, crampy diarrhea. He snuck into the mud pile when I wasn't looking, and although he had a great time, we both paid the price. The next day, he was whiny and clingy(a rarity for him) and didn't poop. He got whinier and clingier, and I tried every trick I know to help him poop; a warm bath, lots of fluids, a few no avail. Finally, shortly after dinner, he pooped a thick dark muddy mess and I thought we could begin celebrating, but no. Unlike the time he ate sand at the beach, he did not make in immediate recovery upon emptying his bowels. That night, and all the nights following, no one slept well. Except for Jack, who has his own room. Saturday morning our usually bright and happy Matteas was not smiling, not playing, not wanting to be anywhere but his Mama's arms and even that seemed small comfort. He didn't want to nurse much, and he felt a little warm. I was worried he might have ingested something in the dirt, so we went to the clinic. If you're thinking the above look like the materials needed for a poo-scavenger hunt, you're right. Unfortunately, Matteas had mostly diarrhea so it was a little difficult to obtain an adequate quantity for testing. Eventually we did, and two days later all the tests came back negative. There was nothing in the dirty that had made him sick, so I began suspecting a coincidence. His nose was running clear snot, but I couldn't tell if it was just because he'd been crying or if it was a legitimate symptom. He continued to be clingy, not eat, have diarrhea, and sleep awfully, thrashing about and screaming every forty-five minutes throughout the night. Then he spiked a fever, which hovered around 102.4 for three days. I was at my wits' end when he seemed to be feeling better Tuesday night. He didn't need any Motrin and seemed playful. He smiled and talked like normal, and then he latched on and nursed like he'd been starving his whole life. Wednesday morning I was changing his diaper when I noticed that his whole belly was covered in a fine dusting of tiny pink spots. Suddenly, it clicked; we'd been through this before with Jack. I Googled "Roseola:" "A virus effecting children between the ages of six months and two years beginning with an upper respiratory infection followed by a high fever that lasts for several days. May be accompanied by loss of appetite, irritability and sleeplessness. Towards the end of the illness, the fever breaks and the child is immediately covered in a fine pink rash, which disappears after a day or two." Mystery solved. The dirt was an unfortunate coincidence. We are all back to normal and sleeping well, thank God. A lot has happened during the week that I'm too mentally exhausted to remember, but I'll blog about it later. For now, while Jack is at summer school and Matteas is napping, I'm going to stain the table and chairs I got last week before all this madness began.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Historic Moment

I actually made a wearable garment. I got Jack to model them for me as I was making the pattern and placing the pocket, but he declined to be in a photo shoot for my blog. Which is a shame, because they fit him perfectly. The pocket is my favorite part. I love square pockets, especially on a little bum. I copied the idea from some pants I found in a lady's online shop. I made them out of an old pillow case, which presents several advantages: -the fabric is already pre-shrunk(assuming you use an old pillow case) -you only have to sew the rise, the seat, the inseams and the waistband. The cuffing and the outside seams are already done for you. -they're very, very inexpensive to make. -old pillow cases come in lots of prints that are back in fashion. They were originally going to be for Gabriella, but I sized them a little too generously so now I think they'll be for Talia.


When you find something at thrift store that you really love, chances are you didn't find it your first time. Or your second. Or third. You get the picture. Bargain-hunting is a game of chance, and sometimes you have to play the odds long enough to really find anything worth while. My last few forays into previously-owned merchandise turned up nothing, but yesterday I struck gold. I found this little girl's hand-sewn silk jacket in perfect condition for $3.49. Some of you may be thinking to yourself, "But Tirzah only has boys." You're very astute. But I know a lot of people with little girls, so somebody may be getting a present soon. If you happen to see this jacket and fall madly in love with it, tell me you love it and you can have it. It is very pale pink but richer than it looks in the pictures, and I would guess it would fit a girl about 12 months old. I don't think it would be terribly warm, but it would make a darling little fall coat.
The cuff.
Front closure.
Here is my other score. We found this little table and chairs for $15 and almost passed them up, but they are totally unfinished and solid wood. So we loaded them(awkardly) into our cart and hauled them up to the checkout line, where we noticed a sign that announced the special of the day was "All Furniture 50% Off." So for $7.50 we have a new art/snack table. And just wait until I stain it.
This bowl, although not a steal of a deal, is I think my favorite purchase. It is a brand-new(still had the old price tag on it and no signs of wear) Pfaltzgraff serving bowl, and it is larger and a more vivid robin's-egg than it looks. I love it and can't wait to serve something in it.

Monday, July 14, 2008


Recently, I decided to visit a chiropractor. I've had pretty bad sciatica since I was 17, and it occurred to me that if/when I am pregnant in the future I should do something about it, because towards the end with Matteas some days I couldn't walk. I have always been skeptical of chiropractors, most likely on account of my mother. She cannot stand the sound of bones being popped or cracked, and once she actually hit a friend of my sister's for cracking his knuckles in her presence(she warned him first). I am wary of anyone who does that sort of thing as a profession, and on a much larger scale than just knuckles. Plus most people I know who see a chiropractor seem to go really often, which leads me to believe that the treatment isn't working. I decided to try the place above the birth center where I delivered Matteas. They're called Health First Chiropractic, and they have a pretty different approach. They never bend, pop, twist, or crack any part of the spine. They recommend a maximum of six weeks of treatment. They use the body's natural alignment reflexes to realign the spine from the top down. I had my first adjustment today. The actual adjustment took less than a second, but I can tell that something has moved because the entire left side of my neck is really sore. I'm still a little skeptical, but I don't know what else to try at this point. A fun piece of information: I'm kind of a nerd when it comes to medical facts about my own body and have always been fascinated by my own x-rays and such. I find it really interesting to know what's going on inside of something, especially myself. So I was tickled when the doctor told me(after asking me if I'd ever been a gymnast) that despite one hip pulling higher than the other my body still manages to distribute my weight perfectly evenly. I find it incredibly fascinating that my brain knows how to tell my body to do this. Bodies are cool. This is why I love going to see the midwives(I stopped by to take them some flowers and announce that I was not pregnant); they make you feel cool just for having a body that does things a body ought to do, like grow a baby. Seriously, you walk into the birth center and you can literally feel your reproductive organs stand a little prouder because they sense they are in a place that holds them in high regard. You can't help but be a little in awe of yourself and your functions after working with the midwives. I have a uterus: I am amazing. And now I have a uterus and a chiropractor, so I'm on the verge of taking over the world. Or at least being able to load the dishwasher without sending shooting pains down my right leg, which is good too.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I Love Matteas

In his new big-boy car seat, wearing his new shoes.
Checking out his new shoes.
Making sure they taste alright.
Finding treasures on Grandma and Grandpa's deck.
He pulls himself up to standing now on anything he can reach, but Jack's train table is a favorite; there's SO much to menace once he gets up there.
Get a load of that body...