In January I....

.... got sad. Got angry. Went numb. Watched protests, wishing I was there. Still feel pretty numb.

... started a new budget plan with Mr. PW to get us out of debt and working towards a home loan and a new master suite.

... also discovered a crumbled ceiling tile in the basement, which led to that room being sealed off with garbage bags and tape until we can have the tile tested for asbestos.

... saw little girl through a terrible rotavirus that took us to the ER on a Saturday night for some Zofran.

... also got that virus, as did Mr. PW. That was equally not fun, though we did not require ER trips.

... also saw her through two new teeth and language leaps. No real words yet but she's close.

.... also saw her through a phase of screaming in terror whenever her father touched her. That was rough, mostly on her poor, rejected father. As of now, she's back to her usual loving self.  *shrug* Kids are weird.

.... got a raise at work. This is notable because it was a merit raise, and no one else is getting raises right now, not even for cost of living. I have made myself Worth It, and I'm pretty pleased about that.

... Managed to not make much progress on anything else. My New Year's Resolution is Take Up Space. I do no one any favors by making myself small, least of all me. It was eating me alive. I'm already feeling better, though in practice I'm inconsistent. Mostly I need more sleep.

Hi, folks. Have courage.

I Put A Spell on You

Mr. PW takes Little Girl trick or treating at a total of three houses.

What fun it was to see Halloween afresh this year. We chose a tiger outfit for Little Girl because she went through a excited growling phase (pretty much the funniest thing ever) and managed to keep it on her long enough for a few photos and some trick or treating before she decided she was D-O-N-E with the hood and threw a fit.  Despite the look of the photo above, our neighborhood crawled with kids and we got a fair amount. We handed out little toys again this year and the kids loved them.

I feel like Halloween is the last fun each year before the abject misery that is the holiday season. ... Too dark? Maybe it'll be more fun this year with a baby. Then again, considering how much travel we do, I'm not holding my breath. 


A few weeks ago Mr. PW and I went kayaking on Lake Wingra. It was a gorgeous day, not too hot, with a good breeze and calm waters.

Mr. PW relaxes mid-lake.

Mr. PW relaxes mid-lake.

Lake Wingra's pretty small. It's very calm, and I think at its deepest point only 15 feet deep. But as the rental attendant pushed my kayak backwards out into the lake, I experienced a moment of deep, stomach churning, lizard-brain terror.

You know that feeling? When your brain is fairly sure you're about to get eaten? It's rarely rational. As far as I know, there are no sabre-toothed tigers in Wisconsin. And I'm about 75% sure there are no kraken in Lake Wingra.

So what was my brain reacting to?


It's been a hard few months for me. Becoming a mother is something you can't prepare for. Rocking Little Girl to sleep the other day I realized it was, in reality, a grief process.

1. Denial - Denial started while I was pregnant. "Nothing will change! She'll have to fit into our life, not the other way around!" I'll give you a moment to finish up laughing. This is still actually the goal. We've just made allowances for the fact that she's a little need machine. Many, many allowances. 

2. Anger - Anger at the squalling potato. Anger at the husband, seemingly not doing his fair share and living his life just as he had before. Anger at yourself, for being dense and slow and unable to do everything flawlessly the first time. Anger at bottlecaps that won't come off and a phone that keeps jumping out of your hand and doors that creak when you're trying to sneak out of the nursery. Never mind what reality is. Just pure, white-hot rage at everyone and everything around you.

3. Bargaining - Okay, we're stuck with this new life.  How do I make it work? Let's see... if I feed the kid and dress her in the morning, can she hang out with her dad while I get dressed? Okay, that only leaves me ten minutes to get dressed and I haven't showered for four days. Time to renegotiate.....

4. Depression - That saying about mothers coming last? It's not true. We're not even in the lineup.  I will never shower again. I will never wear pants that fit again. I will never read another book. It will always be this way. (Again, may not reflect reality.)

5. Acceptance - ...I have no clue what acceptance looks like. I haven't hit it yet. Sometimes I feel like I might be close; obviously I'm in love with my kid and my husband. But to be honest, these days I'm still bouncing between 2, 3, and 4.

But grief is not a linear process. Note that acceptance does not imply peace, or having everything fixed. It simply means that the grief finds a place inside you, nestling down I to your center. It may hide for weeks and then pop out at a moment's notice, just as raw as the first day.

They say when a woman gives birth, two are born: the child and the mother, reborn from her former self. But that creates the expectation that the process is over when the umbilical cord is snipped. In reality, it's a whirlpool swirling just behind your kayak, and being able to paddle yourself out of it means jettisoning all the baggage of who you thought you were and who you used to be.

So what was I scared of as my kayak slipped into the water?

I think it was the loss of control. I was moving, and I hadn't done it; someone I'd never met before was pushing me. To get myself turned around, I was going to have to work hard, and who knows what would greet me when I righted myself. And once I began paddling, I didn't know if I'd make it all the way around the lake.

I still don't know.


This week

Listening to....  mento. No, I didn't know what mento was either, until this morning. it's a form of Jamaican music, more folk (and less religious) than reggae, and more accoustic. It's a ton of fun to listen to! If you're like me and didn't know there was more than reggae to Jamaican music, try calypso, rock steady, lover's rock, or ska.

Learning... This Greek lullaby. I've been singing the chorus to Baby Girl for a while now, but learning the verse phonetically is taking a bit. For the millionth time I regret letting the other girls at Greek School bully me into quitting. 

Planning... Mr. PW and I are starting to talk seriously about either moving or building an addition onto our house for long-term living. It was (mostly) fine when it was just the two of us but there's not a single usable closet and sharing one single bathroom with the kid(s) just is not happening in the mornings when everyone has to be out the door. If we were going to move, we'd be able to afford almost nothing right now (Madison's housing market is insane) so I'm thinking about pushing out the wall of the back bedroom to create a master suite with a walk-in closet and our own bathroom. Then, in the L created by that room and the back wall of the kitchen etc, we'd get rid of the tiny crappy deck and put in a big patio. Then I feel like maybe we could spend many years there. But that'll take a home loan, which means we need to get our financial house in order, which means we are....

Budgeting... to pay off our credit card debt in two years. The first step to a home loan is not having any crushing debt, you know? So we've decided to get even more aggressive. We were doing very well until Baby Girl and all of her attendant Stuff arrived, and it spiked a little. I've set up a payoff plan in Mint to address it. The plan in there is great - it gives me a schedule and amounts to pay and tracks if I'm ahead or behind. I've been reviewing our expenses much more often and identifying where we could use a little more discipline. Although... there's quality of life, too. Like tonight, I thought there would be leftovers for dinner, but there are no leftovers. So we'll probably get $2 tacos from the taqueria down the street. Is it money spent? Yes. But is it good for our sanity? Yes.

Wishing... i had a few new clothes. Being a new mother is hard on your identity and sense of self. There's a feeling of not knowing who you are and how you want to present yourself to the world. Add to it extra pounds and a post-baby belly, and I've got very few clothes that fit or flatter. But buying a new wardrobe doesn't mesh with our plans at the moment. I've put my StitchFix on hold and I think it's going to stay that way for a while, and I'll just wear the same stuff over and over again and try hard to lose this weight.

Procrastinating on... writing the latest round of thank you notes for gifts people have sent to Little Girl. I'm so touched by the huge, loving tribe she has, but I have trouble carving out time to sit down and write notes by hand. Maybe this weekend.

Using... Runkeeper, Pacer, and iHydrate. In the quest to drop an even 20 post-baby pounds, I'm counting steps and trying to drink water instead of snack. I like each of these apps because they show me my progress throughout the day. It almost turns it into a game. Runkeeper even sends me congratulatory emails!

I hope your week is going well, friends.

First Day of Daycare, and Neither Of Us Cried.

And by "us", I mean Mr. PW and I. Little Girl was fine. Which is good? I think? I'm glad to see her without separation anxiety (though I know that stage is coming) but part of me is like WHY DON'T YOU NEED ME LIKE I NEED YOU.

Ahem. I tell you what, we had this morning choreographed down to the second. We had her awake, changed, fed, and dressed in the last fifteen minutes before we needed to leave and without any tears! Of course, as I was buckling her into her carseat, she spit up all down her front, but one can't have everything.

Most of me is fine with her in daycare. Truly. We would be on a very, very tight budget if I were to stay home and I would be 400 pounds and lose all conversational skills. And I'm confident in the woman we chose - it's in her home, she has years of experience, and there will only be two other babes. She's cheerful and flexible and chill. But there's a part of my lizard brain that's screaming at me that I left my helpless babe alone on the savannah and any moment a cheetah's going to carry her off into oblivion.

And bless her perceptive heart, our daycare provider sent us a photo before we even got off the bus to work. Little Girl was playing on a playmat, happily swatting at dangling toys. She's fine. We're fine.

We're all fine.


I had a baby. Three months ago.

Exactly three months ago, as a matter of fact. Though with my publishing history, it'll probably be a few days before this gets up.

It's been an experience, I tell you what.

Tummy time gone awry. Oh my God, I fixed her after I took the picture, don't get your undies in a twist. #worldsokayestmom

Tummy time gone awry. Oh my God, I fixed her after I took the picture, don't get your undies in a twist. #worldsokayestmom

She's been fun! I never thought I'd say that. She's been frustrating to the point of screaming, too. But she's been fun. Nine things other moms were right about, in no particular order:

1. It's hard. It is so fucking hard, you guys. There's no way to explain it, no way to prepare for it. Everyone finds it hard for a different reason.

2. It's different when it's your own kid. Before this kid I was amused but indifferent to kids, with the exception of a few beloved kids of friends. With her, everything she does is interesting/adorable/hilarious/fascinating.

3. It hurts you more than it hurts them. When she's overtired and sad I feel so bad for her. I can't take her suffering, even on the minuscule scale that is a tired afternoon. I want to just fix it. On the other hand, her two month shots made me burst out laughing, because I'm terrible and found her outrage funny.

4. You can get by on much less sleep than you thought you could. I don't think there are adequate words to describe the head-cloggingly bone-deep fatigue that accompanies a newborn. I've nodded off while feeding her more times than I care to admit. But each day I somehow manage to pull it together. This is partially due to Mr. PW holding up his end of the late-night feedings.

5. It all goes way too fast. She's already out of all her newborn clothes and she's almost out of her 3 month clothes and before I know it I'm going to have to buy her a prom dress.

6. You worry about twice as much as you used to. I definitely still do the thing where you watch the chest to make sure they're still breathing. I don't think I'll ever stop doing that.

7. Babies are boring. Sorry, they kinda are. I actually like it when she's sleeping. I can watch her be angelic for a while and then go wash dishes. When she's awake, after a while, I run out of ways to keep her occupied. I hear they get super fun as toddlers. And by fun I mean exhausting.

8. Your empathy changes. I was already burdened with far too much empathy. I worry all spring when the ducklings and goslings start to appear near roads. Now I can't read any stories about children suffering, either. Humans of New York has been tearful torture this week. My work's Big Read is Evicted and I'm going to have to hard pass because homeless children will haunt my sleepless nights. 

9. You fall in love with your husband all over again. This time as a father, which has been the sweetest damn thing to witness. He's in love with her and it's so special. 


I'll try to get a brief post about her birth up before we move on with our lives.

Well, okay then.

I feel like when you're pregnant every minor problem takes on the sheen of emergency. Today's fun: 

I called our vet this morning to check in about getting mood altering drugs for Sam this morning and was sheepishly informed that she had "left to pursue other opportunities". While this would be a bummer under any circumstances, it's suddenly super obnoxious because we were supposed to get a scrip from her for Prozac for our anxious old man. Now we have to start all over with a new vet, and quickly. So I spent part of my workday getting recommendations from friends (their awesome house-call vet isn't taking new patients) and arranging an appointment for Saturday morning with an alternative and arranging for records to be faxed over.

While we loved our old vet (she was a Cat Lady through and through) she had been dragging her feet on getting Sam settled into this drug, and I was getting frustrated. His bloodwork was all clean - there was really no reason to wait, and it the meantime he was getting more and more unstable. Like I told the receptionist on the phone today. he's at about a 72, and we need him at a 4. The other good thing is that now instead of having to haul ass halfway across town to take our guys in, the new vet is only a couple of neighborhoods over, in a new facility, and she has 38 years of experience. And evening hours Mondays and Wednesdays!

So maybe it was time. But maybe this could have happened six weeks ago, huh?



One the list of things I wish I was doing right now:

  • taking a shower
  • sleeping
  • not wearing pants
  • mopping my basement floor
  • grocery shopping
  • binding my current quilt
  • taking a load of junk to the recycling center
  • taking a load of stuff to St. Vinny's
  • Christmas shopping (online, of course - what am I, a savage?)
  • 100 other things that need my energy

What I am currently doing:

  • none of these. Thanks, work week.
(Thank you, Tody. I KNOW.) 

(Thank you, Tody. I KNOW.) 


  • Cold. So cold. Fleece-lined leggings are being shipped as we speak from A Pea in the Pod but not fast enough. I keep joking that I'm waiting for the preggo warmth to kick in but dude, this is not funny.
  • Regressing to ten years old and eating all the cereal everywhere.  Cheerios and Kix are my absolute jam right now. I am rationalizing this by a) watching my sugar intake and b) eating it with whole milk, because yay calcium?
  • Nesting in the form of THROWING SHIT OUT. I have a goal of taking a full Subaru-load to St. Vinny's this Saturday, and I bet I could do it, easily. But beyond that, there's crap everywhere! Example: We have a dozen plain blue mugs that came with our everyday tableware that we have never once in our seven plus years of marriage used. We're either using mugs we've collected from various spots or breaking out the fancy china. IT'S ALL GOTTA GO. I have a feeling I will be pushing Mr. PW past his limits of comfort with this. He hangs on to every single keepsake from every moment in his life, which is sweet... until it's not. December first, that crib will be up, come hell or high water. And there's a lot of clearing out to do before then.  
  • Writing thank you notes until my arm falls off.
  • Trying to finish the baby quilt I started months ago for the niece that was born Saturday morning. I only have the binding left! Why can't I finish??
  • Mulling over this glorious advice from my friend Allison, The Best Pediatrician In The World (tm): (best imagined with lots of hand waving) "This is my spiel: newborns are calm for about 24 hours until they realize they're on the outside... And then they are PANTS ON FIRE. It's just who they are and what they do! If they were mellow, you wouldn't take care of them and they wouldn't get fed! 'Ahem, excuse me, I do believe I might be a bit peckish' doesn't get the same response as SCRRREEEEEAAAAAMMM. So, just understand that, it's just a part of it. So when they're sleeping, you sleep, and make sure the sleep you get adds up to an amount that makes the day survivable. It's not about productivity or getting ahead in the first few weeks, it is about surviving. If you can take shifts, that helps too - 'I have the baby for the next four hours, you go sleep or pretend to sleep or shower or... whatever'.  Just do what you have to do to stay sane." Let me tell you, I'd rather get advice from her than old women who've never had kids. She also said The Happiest Baby On the Block was indispensable, and to splurge on the DVD. I already have the book, so go me. I watched my sister in law use the methods on her inconsolable nephew a couple of weeks back and it was magical.
(In the pink: sister in law swinging and shushing. In her arms: her nephew, who did not take kindly to his first flight and being passed around at his shower and the longest day he'd ever had. On the floor: other sister in law, new mother of about two weeks, ready to lose her damn mind at her child, grateful for two minutes of quiet.)

(In the pink: sister in law swinging and shushing. In her arms: her nephew, who did not take kindly to his first flight and being passed around at his shower and the longest day he'd ever had. On the floor: other sister in law, new mother of about two weeks, ready to lose her damn mind at her child, grateful for two minutes of quiet.)


  • I have a growth scan and my glucose test today. I was going to document more of this pregnancy but people have been so rude and invasive, or have not respected my wishes concerning my privacy, so I find myself curling in and not sharing anything with anyone, if I can help it. I'm not sure when pregnancy became such a public event, but if I won't talk to you about my weekend, what makes you think I'm going to talk to you about my body's most intimate functions? SMDH.
  • Oh hey, know what's awesome? My boss ambushing me on my way into the office, reprimanding me for sending through a report with all the wrong funding. Once I get get settled and look at the report, the notes clearly state that at the time she approved said funding. Not sure how to handle this in a way that doesn't come across as bitchy. 
  • You owe it to yourself to give Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles French Onion Soup a try. We made it on Halloween when I had time to let those onions cook down and down and down into a brown, gooey, sweet mess.  
  • Also! Halloween! I LOVE TRICK OR TREATERS. I even love the teenagers. As long as you shout "trick or treat!" you're getting a prize from me.* Our best costumes of the night, hands down: a pair of seven year olds dressed as Abraham Lincoln and Ben Franklin. I MEAN COME ON. We participated in the Teal Pumpkin project this year and offered glow sticks, pens and pencils, temporary tattoos, and other non-food items alongside our candy. I was super surprised to find that almost all of the kids chose a non-candy item over the sugar! I don't think I'm even going to offer candy next year.
    * I stared at one little girl until she said it, followed quickly by ".. even though I DON'T like SAYING IT!". I just about turned her over my knee. Stay home then, little diva.
Resting after our traumatic visit to The Bad Place Where They Take Your Temperature.

Resting after our traumatic visit to The Bad Place Where They Take Your Temperature.

  • And then the truly scary part of the weekend: Saturday morning I couldn't find a piece of yarn I'd left on the kitchen table. This would have been less of a big deal if it hadn't had a giant needle threaded on it. I turned the kitchen and every likely spot in the house upside down to no avail. Commence freaking out that one of the cats had swallowed it, because cats don't always think logically. A $300 trip to the emergency vet for X-rays later, everyone's in the clear and I'm baffled. Last night I found it wrapped up in the Velcro of a lunchbag, sitting on the counter waiting to be washed. I'm just relieved that my incredibly stupid moment didn't hurt any of my babies. Mr. PW was pissed that I essentially "lit $300 on fire", and I can't say that I blame him, but apparently it was a lesson I had to learn the hard way. On this weekend's task list is cleaning up and organizing my sewing space so I'm more aware of where everything is.  
The offender. That sucker's like three inches long. You wouldn't think a housecat could swallow that, but we all know cats don't follow the laws of physics.  

The offender. That sucker's like three inches long. You wouldn't think a housecat could swallow that, but we all know cats don't follow the laws of physics.  

Five for Friday

(NOTE: Squarespace decided to give this an original publish date of 12/31/1969. While hilarious, that meant it got buried. It was supposed to publish 10/16/2015. Sorry.)

1. We found out last week that we are having a girl. We were both in awe of the level of detail we could see in the ultrasound - we could see all four chambers of the heart, y'all! Our parents never had that level of information with us. We spent the whole hour plus going "ooooh! Look at that! Hey, is that the bladder?" And also waiting for her to quit doing somersaults! Child would not stop moving. She seemed annoyed at being poked and prodded. By the end I admit I was sore and ready to stop being punched in the gut, too.

It's going to be an adjustment to expect a daughter. I was so sure it was a boy. Maybe that was wishful thinking. But my brain will slowly come around, I'm sure.

2. My workplace is starting a "Wellness Initiative", where, among other things, if you complete a checkup and enroll in a weight loss program or meditation or whatever, they'll pay you $150. One, that's a drop in the bucket of normal medical costs. That doesn't even buy you a pair of glasses. But more importantly, this sounds like a shady as fuck way to invade our privacy, find ways to rule conditions pre existing and not pay for them, and lean unfairly on those of us that are stuck sick for the rest of our lives. I pushed back to our HR and got soothing pablum in response. Not a fan.

3.  I'm out sick with a fever today and still working from home. Wondering how to find that balance between paticipating wholeheartedly in my job, which I love, and firmly establishing boundaries. My boss answers her cellphone for the faculty at all hours, which I am mostly definitely not going to do. 

4. Tomorrow we have a baby shower, combined with a sip n' see for BIL's new babe. Most of the attendees will be there for BIL et al, which is fine by me, because they're all church crazies. Bluntly. 

5. A group of girlfriends and I are doing a mug exchange and look at the "adorable kitten mug" I got:

The best, or the absolute best? I had a ten minute laughing fit. 

The best, or the absolute best? I had a ten minute laughing fit. 

16 weeks

I honestly wasn't planning on documenting very much of this pregnancy, but this week I've been thinking about how much I don't know about my mother's and grandmother's pregnancies, and what if my kid wants to know what I was feeling? And while what I'm feeling isn't always flattering to the kid, and I can't whitewash it, it still might be a good idea to check in once in a while. And nobody reads this anyway, so it's mostly between me and the kid.

Time elapsed: 16 weeks, 4 days, according to my Ovia app. Depending on who you ask, fetus is the size of a dill pickle, avocado, action figure, or Philippine tarsier.

Sex: Dunno yet. We find out on 10/8, assuming the baby cooperates. We're doing the anatomy scan at the perinatal unit, aka. High Risk City, so it should in theory be pretty detailed. 

Feeling: Better than I expected, in some ways. The whole first trimester, I had almost no Crohn's symptoms, which was pretty damned fantastic, but they're starting to return a bit now, which is disappointing. I don't even get nine months off to make up for the misery that's sure to come? What I did manage to avoid was any and all nausea, minus one evening after far too much delicious ramen bar dinner. Yes, I realize how lucky I am on that front. Sleeping on my side sucks, and is painful, and I've given up on sleeping through the night, and my sciatica is a constant presence. but as I tell people, I've been bloated, achy, and exhausted for 18 years - there's nothing different about now.  

I also may or may not have felt kiddo move last night. I can't tell.

Cravings and Aversions: Give me all the fruits, please. The other night Mr. PW made me a smoothie and I'm pretty sure I might have died of happiness. Frosted Flakes are also my jam. This doesn't bode well for the glucose test. On the other hand, get spicy things the f away from me. 

I miss cocktails! Summer is cocktail sipping season and mocktails are no substitute. I have been having a sample sip of Mr. PW's beers here and there. I'm skeptical of the AVOID EVERYTHING stance. Our grandmothers smoked and drank and ate lunchmeat and underdone steaks all through their pregnancies and miraculously everything turned out fine. Although we did get the Baby Boomers out of that...

Fears and Worries: I have to admit I'm disappointed in the experience so far. I know that's pretty verboten for expectant mothers to say. There's a lot that I'm already having to give up - like it's been pretty much decided that I'm having a scheduled c-section, thanks to the internal scarring and damage I have from past surgeries. And after the birth, I'll most likely be put on a cocktail of medications to try to prevent a massive Crohn's flare. While I understand the long-term need for it, I'm disappointed that even the possibility of a normal birth and recovery is going to be taken away from me. There's so little to excite me about this already, and the tiny things I had to look forward to are being taken from me too. On the other hand, I'm more used to major abdominal surgery than other women, so maybe it'll be less of a big deal?

And, vainly, the scars cris-crossing my belly are preventing a cute little round belly. The one time in my life that I'm allowed to be all rotund and cute, and I just look fat and lumpy.

Is there anything fun about this at all?: There have been fun things. Anticipation of anything is fun. Gathering little baby clothes has been hella fun. Seeing how excited the grandparents are and our friends are has been so fun. And I can't pretend like putting together our registry and deciding on a nursery scheme hasn't been very fun too. And yo, I'm wearing jeans with no waistband right now. Someone tell me why I wouldn't wear maternity pants for the rest of my natural life?

What else is going on in our life: Mr. PW have apparently decided to Buy All The Things before our income is eaten up by day care, so we've gotten a new recliner, a new kitchen table (Room and Board scratch and dent for the win) and we're looking for a new camera and new bedside stands. We also need new phones, a new desktop computer, a new front door, a new light fixture for the hall, repair work on a wall in the kitchen, a new door leading to the garage, shelving over the washer and dryer, and about 800 other little things that will probably not happen for years.

Mr. PW's sister is throwing us a shower, which is very sweet, but I only agreed to it because it will also be a sip n' see for Mr. PW's brother's new baby, and is going to take place roughly ten days before Sister PW's own due date. Yep, for a time, I, Sister PW, and Sis in Law PW were all concurrently pregnant. Insert Catholic jokes here. I haaaaaate showers, but I don't think I can get out of this one. I think it's mostly for MR. PW's aunt, who is unreasonably excited that he's going to be a father, and has already dubbed herself Grauntie. I'm hoping there will be enough happening to take a lot of the attention away from me.

Around all of this is the start of a new school year, which means 18 hour work days and total chaos for the both of us.

Could you maybe not complain for a little while?   I know, I'm sorry. I hate when other people complain non-stop. I'm aware of the luck I have in my life - Mr. PW and I both have stable, supportive jobs, and I'm not on my feet all day for mine. We'll be able to survive on just his income while I'm off recovering. Our families are supportive and excited. I'm not bedridden or puking every ten minutes or swollen beyond recognition. Mr. PW is over the moon for our impending astronaut. This will be good.

Bonus photo:

Me at 12 months. Was I cute or WHAT?

Me at 12 months. Was I cute or WHAT?


Late Summer in Wisconsin is....

Eating Black Krim tomatoes from the garden, drowned in balsamic vinegar.

Wrapping up summer orientation activities, looking forward to the first week in September when the Baby Badgers are here for real. Getting ready to greet my new grad students, and all the attendant challenges that come with that.

Cramming in just one more visit from friends, one more weekend to go see family.

Catching a late-season Twins game in honor of my late father in law. Catching my first glimpse of Miguel Sano' in action.

Accepting delivery (from my brother) of my childhood piano (that's been hanging out at my grandfather's house for years). Not yet having said piano tuned. Experiencing waves of nostalgia sorting through all the sheet music in the bench.

Our lower level looks straight out of 1965.

Hauling home as much free (local, organic) sweet corn from my boss as I can fit on the bus seat next to me. Spending evenings blanching and freezing said corn for enjoyment in December.

Losing our minds over spotting a hummingbird in the backyard. Losing our minds again when we realize the goldfinch pair we've seen for the past three years is back.

Beginning the task of sorting through all the equipment and clothing and tasks that go with a new baby, because I'm expecting our first in February.

Hand me downs are the best, yo.

Spending more time resting than I have available to spend, because growing a human is hard.

Wandering across the perfect new kitchen table for our growing family. Not being able to agree on chairs to go with it.

Wearing a coat to work in late August, because WTF, Wisconsin.

Bracing ourselves for the influx of students, and the end of quiet Madison summers.

Northern Spark

Mr. PW and I went to Minneapolis this weekend to celebrate a cousin graduating from high school and since it was our 8 year engageaversary we decided to make a nice weekend of it. We grabbed a room Saturday night in the Hotel Ivy, which was much swankier than we expected it to be. Mr. PW took me for dessert and drinks at a restaurant he used to sous chef at, and we went for brunch at Victor's 1959 Cafe in the morning, with visits to Kitchen Window and Magers & Quinn before we got on the road to home. 

Mr. PW. plotzes over a cortadito.

We enjoyed ourselves immensely, but there was a serious discussion that evolved over the weekend. You may or may not be aware that the political climate's been a bit tense here in Madison; well, it really has been for years, but lately it's gotten pretty bad for us higher-education folks. So Mr. PW and I have been discussing contingency plans - where we would go if we were forced to leave. Neither of us want to go back to our hometowns, and we'd both want to continue working in higher ed; the U of M and Minneapolis would be a serious contender. I even found a bungalow on Zillow that'd be perfect. 

I mean COME ON.

But in the end we'd both be devastated if we had the leave Madison. We have such close friends here, a few who are of advancing age, that we'd grieve over; we're so settled into the town and our life here that it feels like the place we want to be forever. And starting over somewhere would be too hard.

So cross your fingers for us that cooler heads prevail and we don't have to Make It Work.

Thursday, 7:45 am

Lately I've been having dreams of terrible things: fighting a demon uprising in the Nevada desert; all of my gardens and my food turning to slick, rotting messes in my hands; losing loved ones in crowds and panicking. 

I couldn't tell you why. I don't really believe that dreams represent things; more like they're random messes that the brain has to expel in order to rest. I don't think there's actually going to be a rebellion from Hell in the Las Vegas area.

Maybe it's because I'm surrounded by so much beauty right now, that my subconscious won't accept it for what it is; maybe somewhere in my head I'm sure that there's supposed to be sorrow and tragedy in my life to balance it all out, so it's giving me nightmares.

There's stresses and troubles in my life right now, as I'm sure there are in yours. I wish I could take care of everyone around me, and fix their problems. And I can't.

But it's that most ephemeral of paradises, peony season. I was walking past Allen Centennial Gardens early yesterday morning and made myself a few minutes late to work by stopping to take pictures of almost every one.

I hope you have time to find beauty this weekend, readers.