Sunday, December 23, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Hello from the third floor of Saint Joseph's Medical Center located here in beautiful, historic Saint Charles. Yes, that's right. Gretchen, Sydney and Leon are living the life here in Labor and Delivery ~ and no, Sydney is not "here" yet.
But, please allow us to tell you how we GOT here.
On Tuesday, we went (once more) for just a simple, routine obstetrics visit. We are starting to be really suspicious of "routine" visits, given how they seem to turn out for us these days! Leading up to this week's appointment, Gret had been having fun with the stomach flu, which got all sorts of things "going" in terms of the baby (contractions, etc.). Of course, we didn't realize this until our exam. Blithely arriving to Dr. Keisler's office, we were curious to know how things were progressing. After all, at 34.5 weeks, we recognize that "any time" really is ANY TIME, which alternately thrills and terrifys us!
In a matter of moments, Dr. Keisler was able to discern that Gret's body had progressed farther towards real labor. Added to this, Sydney is hanging out breech, with her little feet neatly poised to make an entrance into the world with very little encouragement! Dr. Keisler immediately sent us to a place we are starting to know well, Labor and Delivery.
We arrived. Gret was attached to the monitors (which Sydney really has come to loathe; she kicks at them with impressive strength!), and before we knew it ~ Gret was back on an IV of magnesium to stop what was progressing to a very active labor! (For those of you who haven't had the joy of magnesium, let's just say it would never be considered a "recreational" drug. It's absolutely nasty stuff and they had poor Gret on quite a dosage.) The specialist Gret and Leon have seen each week came in, and after an amniocentesis shared that the steroids little Sydney received all those weeks back did NOT help her lungs. In otherwords, Syd was not at all ready to be born. After another day on the magnesium, the contractions slowed and today (Thursday), Gret was put back on a lesser treatment of medication, but we have learned that the hospital is where she will stay until it's time to deliver Sydney Grace. Another amnio next Tuesday will let us know if the additional steroids received yesterday worked (and the doctor feels they will), at which time (next Friday) and at 36-weeks, we will potentially have a scheduled c-section to bring Syd into the world.
Of course, in the way of hospitals ~ all of that could (and doubtless will!) change in an absolute heartbeat.
In the meantime, Gret is getting into the groove of life here on Labor and Delivery. Leon has already spoiled the nurses station with daily cookies and treats and we are receiving just splendid care (and would be cookies aside, I am sure!). Gret graduated from a clear liquid diet, to a full liquid diet (she was all about the pudding) to REAL food earlier today and is learning the joy of being content with what is placed in front of you. (Truly, some of her best meals in New Orleans don't hold a candle to how she loved her beef broth and toast yesterday after 48 hours of little food ... and that's not a joke!)
In all, we continue to learn what it means to be Mom and Dad. Right now, our job is to keep Sydney safe. While the uncertainty is tough; and the tests and pokes and prods hardly ideal; and the hospital stay potentially over Christmas difficult to consider; and all the other "unknowns" make life a challenge, we remain convinced of God's promises. When we start to worry, try to own and dictate the situation, or rebel against the circumstances before us, we need to quiet our hearts and minds and remember that Sydney is God's precious child. He alone knows the plan for her and her tiny body and her life. While we won't lie and wish we "knew" how this would turn out, we are trusting in God. We beg you to pray for that understanding to continue to "surpass" our hearts and minds, while so many other worries and woes try to claim our focus.
More on hospital life, food and bed rest to come :) But the dinner hour is coming, and Gret needs to start reviewing her menu!
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~Elizabeth Stone
Just this morning, I was contemplating change.
I was thinking about how for the past 8 months, the constant mantra I have heard from well-intentioned friends and family has been, “Your life is going to change in ways you can’t imagine.” Some people share this [fairly] obvious insight with a gentle smile, others with a knowing grin; a few deliver it with a devious snicker, and still others with a grimace of impending doom. The result has been that in my over-emotional, physically tapped mind I have started to fear change … which is definitely not my style. I have started to worry about change and to wonder if I am up for the task of facing (not just parenthood) but this whole notion of CHANGE that seems to be so paramount in the language of so many well-meant “advisors.”
I have also started to notice that some people say my LIFE will change, while others say I (my SELF) will change. Is there a difference? Me VS. My daily grind? Me VS. My priorities?
In preparation for Sydney’s birth, I have been talking to loads of people. I have been reading loads of magazines. I am subscribed to far too many blogs, Web chats and e-newsletters. Overall, source after source assures me that upon the birth of my child, my life will be forever stripped from me. That my own sense of self, my interests and my cares will be “lost” in the mad scramble of parenthood.
Lately, I have been reading these pieces of wisdom out loud to Leon with disdain in my voice. I then usually hurl the offending resource against the wall (laptop excluded). Where is this emerging anger coming from, I wonder (besides the obvious pregnancy hormones!) … Are Leon and I selfish people that we balk so adamantly against the suggestion that we will be ourselves no more because of Sydney? Shouldn’t we be “okay” with this? What kind of people are we to not willingly surrender our entire selves for the good of our baby?
Well ~ maybe we are awful people, but Leon and I are absolutely bored with hearing how we won’t have any time for our own thoughts; that we won’t have any sense of our “old life”, and that even our marriage will be forever stripped of what it once was by the presence of our baby. We are bored of it and we refuse to believe it!
Interestingly, while I think the point of most of these articles and blogs and ballsy advice givers is to suggest that a baby will be more than worth such sacrifices, the speakers never really get around to saying that as convincingly as they warn us of all we are about to lose forever in a vast abyss of toys, dance lessons, Mommy and Me classes, piano recitals and baby gear. I have been more and more troubled by the attitude expressed by so many that children stamp out, destroy, and even strangle personal hopes, dreams and wishes … the idea I hear and read and absorb from so many is that a child replaces any sense of personal or marital identity.
I think I am going to boldly suggest that can’t possibly be true. (And yes, I can already picture which of you dear readers is laughing into your morning coffee at my next thoughts, which will probably seem either endearingly naïve or innocently just plain stupid, but bear with me) …
Leon and I are walking toward parenthood with the idea that, after 10 years of married life, Sydney is adding to, not replacing our hopes and dreams and goals; that the change that everyone “warns” us to expect is a welcome change that we do actually understand more than folks might realize.
Do I understand the “realities” of day-to-day care for our baby? Of course not. But do I “get” that life is changing in ways I can’t anticipate ~ definitely; after 32 years of living I have rather figured out that life provides lots of stages where things change completely and this prepares us for the next stage …
Sydney is an added piece of our life; not our entire existence. She is a gift from God; entrusted to us for care and parenting. She is His and we have the opportunity to love and nurture her; and to provide her with opportunities for growth and joy and learning and faith.
Now, this doesn’t mean we won’t be guilty as charged when we behave like typical Gen X parents and hold forth about every little burp our baby makes. But we’ll try really hard not to obsess that way too often. And I am also not suggesting that we will be like sitcom parents (think Ross and Rachel on FRIENDS for example), whose baby never enters conversation and who is largely forgotten except for at “milestone” events ;-) (I always wonder when I watch these shows, where on EARTH is their baby??) But I think what I dare to suggest is that I will be a lousy parent if I lose my identity because of Sydney. What a road to resentment and what a tremendously uninteresting mother I would be!
I don’t want to be afraid of my daughter’s arrival because it means I am at the same time committing hari kari on my own spirit. And I don’t think I am missing the point of the sacrifice of parenting and motherhood to make that statement …
Maybe Leon and I are wholly wrong. Maybe in a year or two, someone will come up to either one of us and ask us to define our selves or to express our deepest goals, and we won’t even recall what those were before life with Sydney. Maybe.
But my guess is that even if and when those things do change, when the inner person shifts and is so redefined, it won’t be a mindless slide into a person-less oblivion … but considered and connected to who I was before my child and to who I plan to be with my child and who I would like to be when my child is grown … I suppose time will tell.
It's not only children who grow. Parents do too. As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours. I can't tell my children to reach for the sun. All I can do is reach for it, myself. ~Joyce Maynard
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Saturday, November 10, 2007
You know the type ~ the poor child whose parent obsesses over every tiny detail; calls the teacher with insane worries and requests; actually watches their high school student's class-by-class attendance online via Power School and calls the teacher immediately if Junior is late to class, demanding an explanation; the early childhood parent more worried about Sally being gently disciplined (because it will most likely damage her fragile sense of emerging self) than by the fact that Sally can't recognize her alphabet letters; Helicopter Parents.
That bane of childhood who have taken all the fun out of growing up: no more home-baked birthday treats (somebody might have a peanut allergy or somebody’s parent might use fatty oils and real sugar); no more bicycles without helmets (though we still have school buses without seatbelts, go figure); no more climbing trees and playing sword fight with sticks or eating dirt or exhausting oneself playing with the neighborhood kids till all hours; no more hopping fences. We want a well-packaged childhood; after all that’s what’s safest for the children (plus, they don’t ruin their baby UGG boots and Ralph Lauren, monogrammed backpacks).
When I look at the rules and regulations of today's pre-middle school set and the obsessive tendencies of parents even on the high school level, I wonder how my generation escaped childhood alive. I mean, for crying out loud, didn't my parents love me?! They let me carry a backpack loaded with books and didn't give me a wheeled suitcase to haul my things! I could be crippled or maimed! Are they going to pay my chiropractic bills? They didn't feed me organic everything ~ I actually ate Mac and Cheese made with (gulp) powdered cheese PRODUCT! I ate cookie dough batter made with (brace yourselves here) RAW EGGS! I could have high cholesterol or worse! Dangerous hoydens.
Lest you think we intend to raise Sydney with no rules or sense of safety ~ let me be clear to say that Leon and I fully own that the world is a "dangerous" place. We also appreciate the opportunity to make smart choices and protect our child in a world that largely feigns deep care for the young, but consistently creates systems that threaten them. (And I do love baby UGG boots … come on, seriously cute!) The point is not to be typically-American and pendulum swing 100% the other direction (I mean, after all we seem to live in a culture that absolutely refuses a moderate position on anything from politics to how I feed my baby) ... The point is, all this perfectionist parenting scares me just a little because I have a tendency to ... (I'm sure this will SHOCK most of you) people-please and push for perfection.
Seriously. The other day Leon and I got into a discussion about which language to introduce Syd to (in addition to English of course) from the start. I don't want a million toys, books and games with 15-different languages, so I want to pick just one. You know: Mandarin is all the rage but Spanish is so practical ... oh dear. Here we go ... Gen X parenting! STOP the madness.
I am slowly developing this theory about my generation as parents; we who graced TIME magazine as the apathetic generation; whose Boomer parents were criticized for leaving us to fend for ourselves as latchkey kids and ATARI addicts (and who, true to form really didn’t care all that much about the criticism). The result is … I think we are truly overcompensating.
You can almost hear the inner mantra: “WE won't raise our kids that way. WE will be involved parents. WE will make SURE people know how completely in tune we are with our child's every need. BE GONE peanut butter; BE GONE getting to know neighbor kids whose parents I don't know (and don't care to walk down the street to get to know ...); BE GONE childhood wildness!”
We'll see how Leon and I do once our little girl is here. Truth is; I was raised to be inventive and imaginative. Super-sized plastic Fischer Price kitchen that (as a friend recently wrote me) is larger than my living room? Who needs it! I loved building a clubhouse (and one very inventive time, a house boat!) out of large moving boxes. Crazy bike-like toy that attaches to my television so that my child can peddle like a mad gerbil in a cage and get some exercise? Go ride your bike outside! (Oh, wait … our neighborhood eschewed sidewalks for larger lawns … )
But maybe Sydney will want these things? Maybe she won't appreciate a mom and dad who tell her to play with sticks? Maybe she won’t want to lick the cake batter bowl because she learned about salmonella at school? Will we be able to provide our child with a sense of old-fashioned play and adventure and risk in a 2008 world of risk management, helmets and home-baking free classrooms?
I think we owe it to her to try ...
Then again ...
Maybe I am just inviting disaster. How does one say, "It's all fun and games ..." in Madarin anyway?
For more on this topic, check out Chris Mercogliano’s new book, In Defense of Childhood: Protecting Kids' Inner Wildness. [Click here] to read an interview.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
The long and short is that we spend loads of time looking at, deciphering and enjoying our baby girl via ultrasound.
Yesterday, she met all of her indicators early in the test. So, the tech switched over the 3-D so we could enjoy those images. Here is one of the best ...
But, as you all know ~ ultrasound can be ... tricky to watch. You know the FRIENDS episode where Joey says (about Rachel's ultrasound DVD), "What is it?" to which Chandler responds, "I don't know, but I think it's about to attack the enterprise!" For all those out there who have pretended to see an arm when told it was there, who have mistaken their babies heads for their feet, and who wish we could have crystal clear imagery ~ we share this video from a recent SNL ...
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Leon is deep in nesting mode. What does this mean? Well, it means tackling projects that bring organization and structure to our home pre-Baby. Now, those of you who know us well are probably thinking, "How can Leon possibly BE more organized?"
Oh how little you know.
It is very possible.
First, Leon has completely revamped all of our major closet spaces (linen, etc.); he has totally reonovated the storage in the laundry room (something I have been hoping for for some time); today he is condensing his already uber-organized garage into even more convenient storage; and then he is starting on our basement [insert ominous music], which again many of you know has long needed organization. It's downright scary down there. I have long had a theory that we absolutely MUST bring order to the basement chaos. There is something symbolic about living a centered existence when your "lower levels" are a madhouse ~ so it will be exciting to see that space re-imagined!
This organization projecting is so important to him that he generated his own funding. He sold [gasp here] his very cool PSP with all of its games and movies.
Leon SOLD a video gaming item, which is clearly a sign of some sort of mental condition or impending fatherhood ... one of the two. Of course, he still has his super cool PS3, so life is not totally in a state of some unnatural chaos.
In general, we are pretty sure that this nesting is Leon's way to blow off steam and stress as we grapple with pregnancy challenges. For my part, I am spending time working (probably more than I ought, but for cryin' out loud ... I'm confined, with a laptop and a mind full of ideas for my work at LCMS ... it's rather exciting to be giving energy to that work right now) and in the evenings, I am cataloguing my acres of recipes ... loving to cook the way I do, I have piles of recipes and dog-eared magazines and clippings, etc. that need order. Order is a big thing for us right now. Might as well enjoy THAT while we can ;-) I've already designed the Thanksgiving menu and have planned out how I can use my allowed and alloted "stand up time" each day/week to accomplish prep for that (I love preparing for that meal; it's a completely special tradition for my Dad and I); and have started plotting Christmas presents/cards, etc. Go Jamesons!
OH, and I created a Meez (she's over in the right hand margin ...) who I can manipulate to be more active than I am allowed to be. Hehehe.
Other than that, we give thanks for a fresh week and more opportunity to pray for and "grow" our baby girl. Please continue to join us in those prayers!!
+Gret & Leon
Saturday, October 27, 2007
We had a chance to ask Sydney for an update. This latest ultrasound photo gives a clear indication that, from Syd's vantage point, "It's all good in here, Mommy and Daddy!" So we are trusting that she's comfy and growing and developing just as she needs to:
We will be seeing the obstetric specialist at St. Joseph's hospital each week for an ultrasound and to be on the monitor to gauge the level of contractions. Every other week, we will additionally visit Dr. Keisler. At this point and time, we could completely go full-term, or Syd could be here tomorrow. It's a lesson in waiting ... a lesson in letting go ... a lesson in simply enjoying each day and relying on God's total provision ... some days we really struggle with those lessons. Other days, we feel unstoppable. We suppose that's natural and are already appreciating how this experience is shaping our marriage and our relationship as we prepare for parenting together.
Now to life on the Homefront here at Hospital Camp ...
Many of you have made veiled [okay, less than veiled in most cases] comments related to Gret's ability to lay low ... remain calm and rested ... it's as if we all think Gret can't sit still.
But she can! And she will, especially once this play is over (that's right, for those who didn't know ~ this week was not only Gret and Leon's first week of modified bed rest life, but also tech week for the fall play at Lutheran High, which Gret is directing ...) Many continued thanks to Gret's parents, who jumped in along with Leon and parents of the students to manage all of the "active" details. Gret literally sits in a big comfy chair at rehearsals and (now) at performance and directs. It's been a new way to direct, but maybe she could get used to this!
The good news is that Gret is able to work from home ~ so watch out Youth Ministry Office because with all this time on her hands she has plenty of energy for new ideas, writing projects, updating, planning, etc. It's rather fun, actually! And with co-workers making time to come visit regularly, not as lonely as one might worry!
Leon continues to excel in creating soup-based dinners, yummy snacks and more. The wonderful Immanuel family is taking care of us as well, which is such a blessing. We are so thankful for our Church. And Gret is allowed to prepare small meals and move in a "low key" sort of way. She led Leon through the steps of making her infamous chocolate chip cookies yesterday afternoon, which was fun and broke up the "supine time" Gret needs to do each day.
Every day that goes by is a good thing. And honestly, it's rather exciting to think that Syd could be here "any time." We know that's true of any pregnancy, but there is something about having the doctor quite literally say, "we just don't know" that is slightly nerve-wracking. Our prayer is simply that whenever Sydney arrives, she is healthy, happy and hale.
We're sure life here at Hospital Camp will get a little dicey ;-) We'll keep you posted. And the door, phone line and Web access is always open to you! We love hearing from friends and family!
Sunday, October 21, 2007
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped.” Psalm 28:7
God is so good all the time. We give thanks to Him for his goodness, care and love, which we have felt through the words, actions and prayers from each of you over the last few days. As we wait on God’s plan for our little Sydney Grace’s arrival into the world, we are confident that He has good plans in store for our family.
We want to provide an update about where things “are” with regard to the pregnancy following the “adventures” of the last four days. Much has changed in such a short span, but the important thing is that as of now, Gretchen and Sydney are healthy and safe. Here’s a recap/update:
After what was to be a routine ultrasound this past Thursday, we found ourselves admitted to St. Joseph’s hospital before being transferred to St. Mary’s hospital in St. Louis. It turned out that Gretchen had several complicating indicators that showed her to be experiencing pre-term labor. We spent three days working with the awesome team of specialists at St. Mary’s and were able to slow Gretchen’s contractions, provide medications that would better protect Sydney should she be born early, and learn that Sydney is healthy in the womb. On Saturday afternoon, we were able to learn, through various tests that Gretchen should not be going into labor in the next two weeks. We were released to home care on the condition that Gretchen basically rest and maintain limited home-based activity (with the exception of special approved Doctor’s release for "special" occassions) for the duration of the pregnancy. In this news, we were extremely blessed. Things could have gone much differently. We give thanks for Gret’s response to the medications and the care of the doctors ~ all of which were evidence of God’s provision in this situation.
Our goal is to keep Sydney in the womb as long as possible (“Cook, Baby, cook!”). The doctor’s at St. Mary’s told us that at 27 weeks (where we currently are), they would give Sydney a “good” chance for survival, but obviously each week that passes improves those numbers and certainly reduces the complications that would accompany such a premature birth. Our goal is to make it at least to 34 weeks, which would allow us a safe delivery at St. Joseph’s here in St. Charles.
So, Leon is now “in charge” of Gretchen’s at-home rest (Gretchen calls it Nazi Hospital Camp), and of course as you all can probably assume, keeping Gret resting and content with limited activity will be something of a challenge (prayers please ;-) Gretchen will be able to maintain her work from home, but is eager for visitors and phone calls! Leon is looking forward to learning to be something of a manly Martha Stewart in the kitchen and has already started collecting recipes. Bailey is assisting Leon by following Gret everywhere and glaring at her if it seems she is too long on her feet.
In all of this, God continues to reveal His care and lasting provision in our lives. We are so thankful for the support and love you have shown to us, and we ask you to continue praying for Sydney as we progress through these next weeks. Please don’t hesitate to call or contact us ~ we are thankful for your loving connection in our lives.
With Joy-filled anticipation of all that is to come ~
Leon, Gretchen & Sydney
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
We had a prenatal visit today ~ we are at 26 weeks and counting and things are going very, very well. Some of you know that after our appointment 4-weeks ago, I was a little nervous about my doctor's comment that "Oh, you are having a big baby ..."
Sunday, September 30, 2007
As a couple, it has been completely rewarding to work on this project together. We find ourselves consulting one another about everything from trim work to the color and pattern of the quilting, etc. Leon has clear opinions about keeping it fun and childlike (and reigns in my tendency to go for the more formal and elegant ~can we say toile fabric patterns and matelasse bedding anyone! Come one, kids love that!) and weighs in on everything from discussions of wall art to the debate over gingham patterned crib skirts or solid crib skirts.
We finally received all of Sydney's furniture - thanks to Grandma and Grandpa Staude and the fine folks at JC Penneys! We also have started securing the "Daisy Garden" bedding - thanks to Grandma and Grandpa Jameson and the tasteful crew over at Pottery Barn Kids. Gotta love it!
Each day that passes we grow more and more excited for our daughter's arrival. Enjoying lunch with our good friends, Zach and Alicia Klug, whose little girl will arrive literally any day ~ we all consulted on each others worries and thrills and excitements. I am just excited that Sydney will already have a friend her own age! Alicia and I are looking forward to plenty of play-dates in the months and years to come. What a fun new direction for our lives.
I won't lie ~ we continue to be overwhelmed sometimes. Those who know us, recognize that Leon and I are planners. We've been married 9-years and have a fairly established routine. Bringing Sydney into our pattern and adjusting our living to best nurture her will take patience and creativity and patience and laughter and patience ... but at age 32, (sorry, Leon is still just 31) we really are ready for this new focus. Don't get us wrong, we love all of the activities and events and people who have absorbed our very best energy over the last years, but it's time to shift that absorption to the home front.
We just can't wait.
Saturday, September 8, 2007
Saturday, September 1, 2007
We are ready to start painting the nursery (or rather, Leon is ready to start painting the nursery ... I am not allowed, and no that's not necessarily because of fumes. I am an impatient painter. Leon is a fastidious painter ... and the end result is well-worth his patience, let me tell you!) At any rate, Sydney's eminent arrival becomes all the more real as we have selected furniture and colors ... it's sort of intimidating. I mean ... we are setting her tastes. Determining what she might like (or grow to loathe ... oh dear) with this early choices.
Of course. I was raised in a concrete-floored basement (ask my folks) and turned out okay (in my opinion at any rate). Maybe we are putting too much into this ;-)
We are going to go terribly gender-specific: pink! Yeah for pink! Hooray for pink. I love pink, which means for now ~ so does our daughter. Oh that it will always be that easy!
Originally our thought was something "gender neutral" ... but no. We are embracing Sydney's girl-ness on her behalf. The room will be pink and white, with spring green accents. (Afterall ~ green is the new pink). AND the best part is (well, not the best - but a cool perk), I will finally get to purchase the nursery bedding I have had my eye on for months. Check that. Make it years.
Check it out:
So that is our Labor Day ... labor. I was going to be making jam (how industrious and domestic, yes ... I know ... it's really tasty jam, too!), but have been informed by my vineyard-tending Dad that the deer have eaten everything I would harvest.
Oh well! Darn deer. I guess I will just have to crash on the sofa and eat bon bons whilst Leon paints the perfect room! What a tragedy.
Just how much chronicling of baby-waiting does everyone really want to hear? More? Less? I'll endeavor to make the next post about something exciting and work or grad school or fall high school play related (we are doing The Importance of Being Earnest ... which reminds me, I am supposed to email the students the cast list today and have not yet done so ~ they are all probably very nervous and stressed .... and the fact that this makes me laugh suggests I am not a very nice person!).
Enjoy the Labor Day weekend, all. And think of us and send Leon an encouraging post! "Paint good man! Paint!"
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Imagine that in several thousand years, someone is able to unearth the Internet and digs through all of the unfinished, yet-to-be-updated pages of millions of people (people that Leon and I seem too much like). They would look at our blog and think, "How sad. Some people were content to be happy only about the purchase of a new table. How tragic their circumstances. How devoid of meaning their daily lives must have been."
Yup. That's us. Doing our part to contribute to the cultural anthropology of 2007 America.
In reality ~ life is too full for blogging (there, that sounds justified!). With a summer jam packed FULL of events and vacations and Gatherings and .... BABY, where do we begin?
(And our other question is always this, "who's reading this thing?")
So ~ unlike sad promises I made to myself each January in my personal journal, I will not claim to be turning over a new blog leaf. BUT the update is that Leon and I are having a Baby Girl. Her name is Sydney Grace and we couldn't be more thrilled that she will soon be part of our daily, mundane, apparently dining room table fixated living!
There she is, peering up at us. It's like one of those puzzle art pieces a few decades back, stare at this long enough and you will see two eyes, a little nose, and the indentation of lips as Sydney's little face peers up at the ultrasound dealy. "Hey, what's going on up there?" We of course think she is gorgeous! And definitely worth writing about ~ so perhaps we will turn over that new blogging leaf.
In the meanwhile, I am off to enjoy another cup of java at my dining room table.
+Gret & Leon
Monday, April 9, 2007
Passion means first suffering. Then intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction, and finally love.
Sunday, March 4, 2007
What was this Holy Grail of ours?
To find the perfect dining room table.
Not something that would "pass" or with which we could just "make do" until, magically like manna from the sky I suppose, some other table would drop in front of us ~ but a table that was at once perfect and useable, upscale and family friendly, modern and traditional ... something we want until we are 95, something that our kids can crayon all over and our family can gather around for holidays and feasts and Tuesday night soup. The kind of table that makes you want to sit a little longer; drink another glass of wine, and never, ever say "Let's go sit on comfortable chairs, eh?"
We found it. And on Saturday it was delivered.
A dining room table (and of course matching buffet, hutch, arm chairs, etc.) is one of those pieces of furniture that can make you feel pretty elderly. Truthfully. We danced around the living room singing, "We're so old!"
I mean really, the things are so solid ~ and you never really get rid of a great dining room table. Like family at the holidays, it's there to stay and its residence can be obnoxious or endearing and beloved.
We think we've got a winner.
Now, this is not to suggest that we have eaten on the floor or at a card table for nine years. The table we have used lo' these many years belonged to the Grandmother of Jack Fish. And it has a story that illustrates the point; if a table can set a bar - Grandma Fish's table came with an excellent pedigree ~ our new table has much to live up to.
I taught with Jack at Milwaukee Lutheran. He was in his late forties when he decided to return to Seminary, and he and his wonderful wife packed up their home and headed for a small apartment in St. Louis. Grandma's table went to a pair of newlyweds (along with the Fish's washer/dryer) and the Fish's went on to a new life. We were so thrilled. It came with chairs and everything. It was enormous and in need of refinishing (who has time, I cried ~ let's paint it to match our funky earthy dining room!) and the chairs were in quite a state. But it's served us well.
I love Grandma's table. I never knew this woman, but having gathered around her family table for nines years I feel a bit of an affinity towards her. And really ~ what a table. For starters, it is absolutely enormous. It has this fantastic leaf that actually folds right into the table (a neat trick our new table doesn't do ~ and we now have a leaf in our front closet). The pedestal underneath is large enough for a toddler to sit on comfortably (and most of you know this is important because there is nothing quite as cool as a fort under a solid, fortress like dining table). There's a story with this table, it has a sense of history. Apparantly, Grandma wasn't this table's first owner, either. And the insane thing is, the table doesn't shimmy or shake, it's as solid as the day it was constructed. Amazing.
I wanted a new table that was as enduring as Grandma Fish's table. I want a table that has potential to have a story.
And now we have one. And it's extremely exciting.
I suppose this makes me ancient, or just really, really odd. Getting all jazzed about a dining room set (well, that and I just voluntarily used the word "jazzed") but it's so much bigger than a table. It's about permanence and family ties and communal times to come.
So, we'll get back with you in a few years to let you know how she's holding up. In the meantime, I'm headed for the crayons ...
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Today finds Leon and I tucked in at home enjoying an inside view of the white powder drifting down ~ and it's still coming!
It was one of those excellent days ~ 8 hours of productive time in the home office, challenging yoga practice, soothing hot chocolate ... and now, time for blogging before preparing dinner.
What am I thinking about this evening? (Aside from wondering why Katie Couric's eyes look so bizarre on tonight's evening news ...)
In my current graduate class, Media & Culture, this week is George Gerbner week. You might be familiar with Gerbner as the "media violence guy" ~ he has been tracking television violence for decades and is the creator of a theory known as the "mean world syndrome." Good stuff, provocative and worthy of chatter.
I just finished reading an article by Gerbner, Reclaiming Our Cultural Mythology (http://www.context.org/ICLIB/IC38/Gerbner.htm) in which he discusses how the systematic "homogenization" of media has caused a loss of the central story of society.
I am not entirely sure how I think about this ... just the other evening I said to Leon ~ and not in the positive way ~ "what would we be doing without the Internet?" By that I meant, would we know our neighbors better? Would we have our families over for longer, lingering meals? Would that stack of "must read" novels be conquered more rapidly? Gerbner suggests that we used to gather our sense of issues and society from many sources ~ and now he says we rely only on media that exists to sell things. He suggests that the effects on our future will be profound.
But what if the new media IS telling the cultural story? It certainly is different ~ and unlike anything that has gone before ~ but is it really that far off base?
Or is it that we are learning to share, receive, and respond in new ways? Without blogs, would I know as much as I do about my sister who lives hundreds of miles away? Would I care about the daily status of my friends if not for Facebook? Without new technologies, I would mindlessly learn about presidential candidates, whereas now Barack Obama's site asks me to create my own blog to respond to his platform ...
As with every age, we need to proceed with caution, but perhaps our cultural myth is alive and well ~ just online ... I don't know. It's a careful balance, I suppose. And there are times when I wonder about our common pulse as a people ... in my class forum I wrote,
Friday, February 2, 2007
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Why is it that, even when someone tells you that of which you are already aware (in the negative sense) it sounds so loud?
Developing opinions is part of life; and learning how best to express them is part of maturing. I think that finally, now in my "thirties", I am ever more comfortable expressing my own interpretation of things without angst. I think that in your twenties (at least from my perspective) - you're so focused on getting your thoughts out there onto the world tape that you speak as loudly and passionately as possible. Once you realize that, for the most part others are fairly open to listening (and that you perhaps don't have as much original content as you hoped) it's easier to relax and just be ... share ... communicate and reflect without such overwhelming intensity.
You save the intensity for those issues that really, truly, deeply move you.
You don't pour them out on random surveys asking benign questions about simple Web sites.
So that was the frustrating end to what was otherwise a famously productive day. People proved to be ... people.
And how do I answer this obnoxious demonstration of human nature - I am renewing myself this evening with a great glass of Merlot, a tivo-ed Frasier, take-out Chinese, and the opportunity to spew my feelings via a worldwide channel! What a world.
Onward & Upward ...