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The benefits of small town living:

“Hi, I need to get an extra copy of my daughter’s birth certificate, can you direct my call?”
“I can help you with that. She was born in Potsdam?”
“Yes, at the hospital.”
“Great. You can come in any day between 8 and 4. You know where we are?”
“Next to the library?”
“Yes. Just bring your drivers license and ten dollars.”
“Wonderful, thank you!”

And, done.

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this has been sitting in my drafts folder for a month. I was going to flesh out each bit. But I think it stands just fine like this.

Took Gwyn for her first swim.

Stood and rocked her in my arms as a downpour rolled in.

Watched Malcolm romp in the woods, off leash.

Shucked corn in the main camp kitchen as rain pattered on the roof.

Watched Justin strip down to shorts and sneakers, with a pencil, measuring tape, and lumber, in the boathouse, and tipped my beer to my father.

Bats in main camp.

Sunrise on the mountain at morning feeding time.

Getting the food planned just right.

Wool sleep sacks for camping babies.

56 squats.

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People keep asking me how parenting is going. I don’t really know what to say; she’s a baby. She does baby things. Our life is different now, but only sort of, and it doesn’t surprise me. We’re really happy, and we are doing okay. Gwyneth is awesome. And this is hard as hell.

For me, the hard parts are very self-oriented: I’m tired. I hurt. I’m struggling to manage my time. This morning I wrote, on twitter,

Today it is easier to identify what doesn’t hurt. So far, I’ve come up with “the toes on my right foot”. #ow #musclespasms #hypermobility

And

Baby monitor running on iPhone. Reached to plug it in, thought “no, shouldn’t jostle the baby”. #tired

And, in reply to another working mom who said it was going to be a long day of working after an early wakeup,

@janeschmidt had similar thoughts re: today’s 5:15 wakeup, and my afternoon of conference calls. *solidarity*

I’m sort of on the edge of idiocy, here, between sleep dep, pain, and obligation. But at the same time, I spent 4 hours with Gwyn last night, chilling on the couch while I binge-watched Arrow and she ate her hands. We played Airplane, and played with her feet, and she sucked on her taggy blanket, and she grinned those giant dimpled grins at me, and Oliver Quinn saved his city in the background. It was awesome, screaming headache, exhaustion, and messy house notwithstanding.

So… Parenthood is pretty much what I expected. Amazing, exhausting, joyous, and painful. The learning curve is steep and super-fun. My baby is awesome. Justin is the spectacular father I knew he would be.

Now I’m going to go make some coffee.

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Just woke up to a quiet gray morning. Last night we slept in our tent in the rain – under a lean-to, dry and warm and happy. The perfect vacation for us. Steak and zucchini for dinner, cider for Justin, endless water for me. Lovely woods.

we also saw the specialist OB in Burlington yesterday. Learned a lot; a woman’s pre-eclampsia risk ‘is what it is’ and nothing we do changes that, so they’ll just monitor my (well-controlled) blood pressure regularly. No reason to worry, says Dr. McLean. My doc in Potsdam is doing it all right, and I seem healthy. And then we ran into Kelly at the grocery store in Manchester and she said it looks like a baby bump, not just fat. That was nice to hear. 🙂 (because my pants surely don’t fit.)

So, all in all, a nice day. Lets get married, or something.

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A couple of years ago I either heard or read a study that talked about how people with “bad ankles” don’t have flawed ankle joints, they have poor balance. It made sense to me: If you improve your balance, you’re improving overall stability… so i worked harder at my yoga balance poses. And I stopped turning my ankles nearly so much. I’ve had two bad sprains in 15 years, and the number of “dropped” ankles (as I think of them — where I roll out onto the side of my foot and tweak my ankle without an official sprain) dropped radically. Of course, in the intervening years I’ve learned that I do, in fact, have “bad ankles”, just like I have bad everything-else-thats-a-joint. Stretchy collagen for the win! Or something. But staying strong and balanced is the core of how I keep myself healthy, stretchy joints or no stretchy joints, so whatever.

Then in July I dropped a kitchen knife and slashed open my ankle, right across the top. 5 stitches, and damage to the tendon that runs to the big toe. My foot swelled monstrously when I walked any distance for about 2 months, and my toe was feeble and not very agile for three. I’d lift my big toe independently of the other toes, and on the left, it’d pop up. On the right, it’d… do this thing where the back joint lifted but the first knuckle (so to speak) just hung there. Very sad looking. It’s been four months now, and I can still see the difference in how my foot moves when I wiggle everything about. My right big toe is not at 100%. (Data point 1.) But it’s closer, and there’s no pain or swelling when I walk, run, or do general exercise-y things.

But if my big toe is clearly not at 100%, neither is my ankle. Yesterday, to combat what I flippantly refer to as my leg cancer (really just a recalcitrant strained hamspring that I want to cut out with a dagger so it will stop hurting), I did an hour of yoga instead of the treadmill or a strength workout. And holy wow, could I tell how bad my right ankle is right now. I had to do a thousand little compensations with my foot muscles and my lower leg to hold even the easiest balance poses. On the left, easy. On the right… not so much. And painful, too — I stopped several holds in poses that were causing my right foot and ankle to ache in a not-good way. (Data point 2.)

And this morning, walking into the co-op to buy emergency dark chocolate (this is a thing. it exists in my world.) I dropped my right ankle. Unfortunately, I’m wearing Dansko clogs, so it was a sizeable drop. Fortunately, I caught myself, didn’t fall, and didn’t sprain it. But… Data point 3.

Three strikes says that I guess I know where my ankle rehab needs to go next. Back to strength and balance, baby.

Also, worst dropped knife EVER.

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We’re at home this weekend, after a few hectic weeks for both of us, and it feel so very nice…

I forget, when I’m stressed or busy or traveling, how much downtime matters to my overall mental health. And then I take some, and I remember. Today’s realization is that it isn’t about how much I get done or don’t get done, it’s about how many details I feel like I’m in charge of remembering and how much choice I feel like I have in what I choose to do or not do. When I’m hyper-scheduled, or trying to manage things for other people as well as myself, I feel like I’m out of choices and have too much to manage. When I can make choices about what I want to do, managing details for others isn’t as onerous. When I have to do a particular collection of things, the lack of choice isn’t bothersome if I know I’m doing it all for myself.

One or the other. I need choice, or I need self-priority. When I have neither, my life sucks and I’m really unpleasant to be around.

Today I had a bit of both. I slept for 12 hours (we’ll not discuss what time I got out of bed). I did an hour of yoga. The throw rugs are all in the washer, and I’m about to vacuum the kitchen floor. I cleaned out the freezer, and reorganized some of the frozen goods between our three frozen locations. There are banana nut muffins cooling on the counter, and containers of cooked bacon and sausage in the fridge to feed us for the week. I retrieved and sorted the mail, and dinner is halfway prepped. The sinks are empty and clean dishes are drying in the drainer. Once I’m done vacuuming, I’m going to put away the mountain of clean laundry in the bedroom, change the sheets, and sit down to mine through Sock Mountain until we both feel like we actually own socks. (Hint: WE DO.) Most of that was powered by Science Friday podcasts, so I learned some stuff while I was at it…

And mostly it just feels like a good productive Sunday, but it has the balance of doing for me and doing for others that matters to me, and I was able to choose when I do things and which things I do in a way that has meaning. There’s a giant pile of stuff still to do: Tidy the living room, clean out the travel detritus in my car, sort through the messy mountain of stuff on the kitchen table and my desk, clean up the den, organize the bills and do some filing… but I feel like I moved through some of the things that matter to me.

Small victories in understanding ourselves. I’ll take ’em.

Also, farm fresh eggs forever:

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I need to get this all out of my head before I go crazy trying to keep it all in order:

  • Return the five pairs of shoes to Zappos.
  • Return that dress to ModCloth.
  • Finish unpacking and putting away suitcases.
  • Pick out dates for Australia and buy tickets.
  • Edit and upload Deb and Marty’s wedding pictures.
  • Sort, wash, fold, and put away about 8 loads of laundry. (Delegated to Justin, who is a Very Nice Man)
  • Go buy Justin’s last birthday gift and wrap ’em.
  • Make sure we have ingredients for Lemon Birthday Cake.
  • Pay the medical bills from the last two months.
  • Reorganize my loan payment due dates so that I’m not cash-less for two weeks of every month and cash-full the rest.
  • Spray paint the second shutter red for the kitchen catbox wall.
  • Spray paint the second bedroom lamp blue to match the first one.
  • Do a bunch of KoN tasks.
  • Make appointments with an allergist and a dermatologist.
  • Make sure my annual with my GP is scheduled.
  • Go grocery shopping.
  • Clean out the indoor and outdoor fridges.
  • Get the car inspected.
  • Check on Baby Rexroat’s arrival.
  • Knit Justin’s slippers as promised.
  • Write three separate blog posts for AE.
  • Finish the .epub of Killing Fear.
  • Connect with folks re: NYLA panel.
  • Update 2nd NYLA presentation from ALA slides.
  • Assess state of joint checking account and my direct deposit schedule and make adjustments.
  • Order contacts for me (and Justin?).
  • Acquire new yoga pants.
  • Schedule a dentist appointment.
  • Clean the master bathroom.
  • Swap out fall and winter coats.
  • Winterize car.
  • Buy AppleCare for iPhone.
  • Stop at Walgreens for Excedrin.
  • Restock snack drawer in office.

Mostly I just need to get up and take a shower now.

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I’m now the proud owner of an iPhone 5, in an unintentionally 80’s colored Otterbox case. The iPhone 5 is because my iPhone 3G was 4 years old, slowing down, unable to upgrade its OS, and beginning to go glitchy. The Otterbox is because while my iPhone 3G was 4 years old and still worked, that was not because I was so very careful with it… it’s because I was damn lucky. I dropped it on the floor (accidentally), I flung it across the car (accidentally), I threw it on the floor (accidentally), I tucked it into my bodice straps while larping, I dunked it in a puddle of dishsoap (accidentally), I threw it in my purse and just hoped for the best. And it lived. Forever.

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Apple detractors complain at times about the rapid product cycle, with a Big! New! Thing! coming out every year or 8 months or 6 months or whatever. They complain that we live in a constant upgrade economy.

Some days, I don’t argue. I think we’ve become amazingly disposable in our perspectives. But other days… Other days I look at my 4 year old iPhone 3G, still chugging along, a little less willing to load the Twitter app but perfectly capable of running MyFitnessPal, and wonder when I’ll see this disposable culture I’m supposed to be living in.

In any case, I like my new phone. I’m having fun. Let’s see how many years I can get out of this one.

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Forwardfold

Original image here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenica26/2108744379/in/photostream/

I paused in the double door arch between the kitchen and living room. “I had an annoying stiffness in my left thigh when we started our walk. I just walked through it, figuring it’d loosen up. It did.” I folded into a forward bend, trying to get a pull on my hamstring. “Except now it’s really tight.”

“She says as she puts her hands flat on the floor,” Justin observed.

Well, yeah. But we all know that’s my joints, not my muscles. That’s my hips extending in ways other peoples’ don’t, my spine curving more easily than anyone else’s, my knees allowing straightness where muscles would pull my legs into an angle. The ease with which I can put my hands flat on the floor actually makes it harder to stretch — the joints open right up, and so I can’t get to the muscle to stretch it. Move my arm across my chest, and I don’t feel a pull in my shoulder muscles until you’re pulling it dangerously far — the joint stretches first. Fold forward, and my hands go flat on the floor before my hamstrings ever feel a pull. Super stretchy joints do that to you.

I’m in less pain that I was at this time last year. I’m stronger, and have more muscle endurance, than I ever have before. I can do more pushups, squats, leg lifts, and lunges than I ever have in my life. I can walk today’s four miles and be hot and tired at the end, but always energized, too. I can lift, and carry, and walk… and bend.

Trust me, I can bend.

My hamstring’s still tight, though. And that’s my normal. I struggle with muscle tension in ways that aren’t normal for other people. That’s just a different kind of normal. One where my hands always reach flat on the floor. Now, to figure out how to get at my hamstring…