Category: awake


We’re in the Baby Watch phase now. Any day could be a leisurely plod toward or beyond my due date (December 26), or it could be THE DAY. We’re not getting very helpful indicators from the baby or me, either. There have been definite signs of readiness, but nothing that has moved us into the full-on “having a baby!” stage.

On Friday night my mother and I went to see Lincoln. Oh wow, was that good. There were parts of the movie I just didn’t feel like my brain was smart enough to understand … I needed a warm-up to be able to follow some of the dialogue. It wasn’t that I felt condescended to or that the movie was trying to be too intellectual; I just felt like my brain wasn’t working as fast as the dialogue was flowing. If I were reading the screenplay, I’d have to go back and re-read a few sections a few times before moving on. I guess that’s sort of a hook for re-watching the movie, right?

So we’re sitting in there, about 40 minutes from the end, and I start having contractions. Suddenly my interest in this movie wanes a bit, and I wonder how serious they are with those threats about being escorted out for looking at my cell phone. I’m not talking about those little squeeze contractions, I’m talking full-on, close your eyes, breathe through it contractions. My impressed-ness with the movie kind of disappeared and it became the LONGEST MOVIE ON EARTH. It was still great and all, but did we need to drag out the ending like that? Okay, maybe I was biased.

Then after the movie? Nothing much. Contractions faded, baby remained in place.

That’s pretty much how the rest of the weekend has gone. I haven’t had the fully intense contractions again, but I’ve had spates of regular ones. I’m awake now, at 4 am, because I woke up so uncomfortable and crampy that I was hopeful of labor starting. Alas, it does not appear to be so …

We have my last prenatal appointment this morning, so we’ll see if there’s any news from that. Other than that, it’s wait and see …  The next guess in our baby pool is December 18, and we’d be good with that. Or, you know, whenever this baby decides to arrive. *sigh*

It started with legwarmers

Mad crafting skills, eh? When I was about 10 years old, I was obsessed with a book series called “Satin Slippers.” This was in the throes of my ballet obsession and my desire to be a ballerina even though I’d only had a year or so of dance classes, didn’t have any especial talent, and wasn’t able to continue dance lessons. I would dance in my bedroom, making up my own steps and dreams of ballet stages and futures flowing around me.

Somewhere around then, I found my mom’s Better Homes and Gardens craft books. They were a series of books you could use to self-teach various things, and one of them was about knitting. The ballerinas in my book series were always knitting their own leg warmers, and I suddenly saw a way to be even MORE like them. Never mind that I didn’t understand knitting in the round or seaming, my stitches were twisted, and gauge was WAY beyond me. I taught myself how to knit, how to purl, and I went after it. Eventually the fascination faded and my knitting, such as it was, went back in the closet.

I think I picked up the needles again to try and make baby presents or other Christmas gifts … Something like that. Maybe a dog sweater? That was at least 10 years ago, and since then I’ve become more of a real knitter. I’m not that adventurous (no steeking … I can’t even get brave enough for color work) and I’m a lazy knitter. I like seamless, I hate double pointed needles, and I even decided I’m just knitting toe-up socks because I suck at joining in the round for socks. But. I’ve made so many baby blankets, sweaters, scarves, socks, etc., that I know I CAN knit. I’m not the most amazing and definitely not the fastest, but I can create something from string. That’s amazing to me. I love making something and giving it away … The process of knitting is more soothing to me than the product, a lot of the time. I like small projects so that I can see progress and change quickly. Hats, cowl, shawlettes, baby sweaters, many socks that are destined to forever be alone out of their pair …

And just think … All of this warmth is owed to a ballet obsession and leg warmers. Mysterious ways, indeed.

A sweater for the baby: Hoot Cardigan

Cocoon Link of BFF Cowl for a swap


Elementary, Watson sock(s? … time will tell)

From Two to One

I’ve been awake since 3:30 a.m. (it’s 5:30 now). I could have been productive and done things like reply to emails that close friends and family have sent, but where’s the sense in that? Instead, I spent some time looking back at the days when I used to blog regularly (pre-Will, pre-kids) and decided it’s time to tell the end of Clive’s story.

I’ve been on this online writing/journalling/etc. thing since around 1997. Somewhere around then, my friend Chrissy and I stopped at a Chick-fil-a in Plano, Texas, for lunch. A little grey stripey kitten was playing in the median between the building and the drive-through, and I was so captivated that Chrissy kindly allowed us to spend our lunch hour sitting in the parking lot and watching this cat. (She’s a REALLY good friend.) The next day found us back at the same Chick-fil-a, trying to convince the cat to come out from under his dumpster living area. He was finally persuaded by Chrissy’s stellar performance of “Created by Clive” and accompanying dance. That’s how Clive was found, adopted, and christened. He also earned the middle name “Begbie” because he was just being such a total jerk. This was also typical of Clive.

It was fate, really. I mean, you have to have a kid or a cat or be planning a wedding or a really neat hobby to be interesting enough to write online every day, right? I didn’t have a kid and I’m really kind of boring, so God and the universe provided me with a cat who could fill that gap.

Anyway, Clive became my constant companion and cohort and source of irritation, just like a good cat should. We actually joked that he was a dog in disguise because he’d come when he was called, he’d wait for you at the door when you came home, and he’d fetch things. He even liked to go for walks. He was too smart for his own good, really. Clive moved at least nine times with me that I can count – all over Dallas and eventually to Houston. I’m not crazy enough to have actually put Clive in my wedding party, but I won’t deny that I thought about it. He knew when to comfort me, he knew when to leave me alone (mostly), and he was the best cat I’ve ever seen when it came to interacting with kids.

Clive gets cozy in a basket

He was also a total pain in the rear. Clive would sidle up to my water glasses and calmly drink from them, as if he didn’t have totally fresh water of his own. He’d steal my food, gnaw on my bamboo knitting needles so the ends were rough, stalk the kids’ yogurt (I did eventually have kids, but still wasn’t interesting enough myself to write about them), and he’d destroy newspaper any chance he got. (Thus the demise of the printed newspaper industry. Seriously.) His worst “trick” is that any time he got mad at me (and eventually Will), he’d simply find something important to us – bed, desk, knitting – and pee on it. Repeatedly. We’ve had to throw away countless Clive artifacts, including a king-sized mattress and an artificial Christmas tree.

This summer Clive turned 15 years old. He had a runaway escapade last year where he spent almost two weeks in the quiet suburban wilderness of our neighborhood, but that seemed to cure his wanderlust. We would let him go out in the fenced back yard, especially since that seemed to alleviate his random peeing issues. (We were suspecting his usual anger management issues, but also stress about all the changes this summer.) He would explore front and back, but wouldn’t leave.

One day I came home from work and noticed that our neighbor’s dog, a German Shepherd, was in our backyard. “That’s random,” I thought, and ascribed it to the house showing we’d had that day, loose boards in the fence, or just bizarreness.  After all, our dog Josie, a Black Lab/Great Dane mix (we think), frequently managed to get out through the gate or occasionally visited Max’s yard. I was busy and didn’t check, and Will was a few minutes behind me.

Will went out there to get Max out and came back in with a serious, serious look on his face. He took the glass of water out of my hands, folded me up into a tight embrace, and said, “Erin, Clive is dead.” He knows me well enough, you see, to understand how completely this would shatter me.

We don’t entirely know – and I refuse to explore it any further – whether Max was true to his nature and had a hunting dog’s altercation with an animal, whether Clive was simply finding his spot outside to pass away, or whether Clive was scared and his older body couldn’t take it. The end result was the same: my boy is gone.

Over two months later, I still can’t really handle that. It was the one thing on top of all the other planned stress that has made this fall escalate to whole new levels of stress. It may seem silly that the loss of a cat could affect someone so much, but he wasn’t just my cat … he was my buddy. Don’t underestimate the power of the Cat – there’s a reason that “Smelly Cat” and “Soft Kitty” became so popular.

I keep resisting the urge to run out and find another cat who needs to me to adopt him or her. There’s the whole new baby and moving thing, as well as the two kids, one cat, one dog, and three adults who already make up our household. And there’s the fact that no cat will ever be the same as Clive, and that’s what I really am looking for. Well, minus the whole peeing in anger thing.

All cats need scarves!

Random round-up

It’s been a random sort of day. Most of my regular meetings were cancelled or shortened because of the pre-holiday wind-down at work. I decided it’d be a good day for dropping off the kids at preschool myself instead of them going with my mom. (She teaches there.) The kids, in turn, decided they should each bring a puppy toy to school. No, I have no idea why either.

This December (all four days of it) has been one of the warmest on record. Totally unfair, in my opinion. If I’m going to have a “winter” baby, I want some winter for this last overheated part of pregnancy. Rude.

So I wore a skirt today and sandals, hoping to stay cool. It’s been in the 80s and sunshiny all week, so I felt proud of myself for planning ahead. (You see where this is going, right?) Mid-morning, the sprinkles start. Then the downpour. Then the spotty clouds, then the “large thunderstorm system” spends the rest of the day hanging out, making it dark and cool, making my shoes squish because of course I need to go out in it. I do appreciate the cooler weather, though.

Granite countertops today! My husband sent a picture that’s in decent lighting, and I think they’ll be great. Yes, I decided from a sample. I haven’t seen them in person yet (reference “large thunderstorm system” above), so I do have a small fear that our kitchen will look like an ice cream parlor. Oh well. Worse things could happen, right?

Our daughter (2) has taken to daily rearranging the nativity scene. Today’s arrangement makes it look like the shepherds and animals are either on guard for the holy family or baby Jesus has stinky pants. I’m not sure which one Nora was more likely to have in mind …


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