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I apologize for being so abrupt about this, but I’ve decide to suspend my blogging for the time being.  I’ve been engaged in a project of learning how to do the childcare and household stuff well enough to add my dissertation back into the fray, and one thing I’ve discovered is that I don’t have the time/energy for blogging right now.  Add to that the fact that this has devolved into mostly whining, and the time just seems right to walk away.

I anticipate coming back in some different form at some point in the future – either sooner or later – but until then I’ll be reading blogs and commenting when I can.  Thanks for reading – every comment has been more appreciated than you know.


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Clearly, I’m not posting every day about “voices.” Whoops. I do have a post somewhere in my head about MM and Christopher Walken that falls under that general rubric, but it’ll have to wait a bit.

I didn’t mention that one of the things I want to try as part of the new domesticity, although I haven’t yet, is getting a handle on the household finances. I don’t mean keeping to a budget; we do that reasonably well. I mean tracking outgoing/incoming money with software and maybe even figuring out M.’s retirement investments.

The one thing that all of my little endeavors have in common is anal attention to minutiae. It makes me happy, and it helps me to feel like I’m on top of something. These days, there’s a lot to be said for that; God knows the dissertation does neither of those things for me.

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The New Domesticity

I’m freaking June Cleaver, lately.  I decided that it was nearly impossible to “juggle” working on my dissertation and taking care of everything/one at home while I didn’t have much of a handle on the latter to begin with.  Up until about three months before C. was born, MM and I had a nice routine during the day.  The last few months were, as you all know, special, but I assumed (knowing full well the unique challenges that newborns bring!) that it was temporary.

And so it was, just not in the way I’d been thinking.  For one thing, C. is a hands-on kind of kid.  This doesn’t mean that I spend all day holding him (ha!), but he’s a bit needier than MM was at his age, and this manifests itself primarily in being unable to nap unless he’s being held.  He can do upwards of an hour in his chair (yes, the one his legs now hang out of), but otherwise someone has to hold him.  The weird thing is that he’s been sleeping fine in his bed at night – this is only a daytime issue.  Which, you know, yay; but it does make things a bit more challenging during the day.

And now MM is starting to think about giving up her nap.

Add to that my near neglect of M. since C. arrived, and we’re talking chaos.  It wasn’t “juggling” so much as “throwing everything up into the air at once and watching it splat on the pavement.”

So I’m on dissertation hiatus while I get more of a handle on home life.  This project has had a couple of interesting – and somewhat unexpected – results:

  • I decided that our walks around the block were less than riveting and went looking for any kind of playground within walking distance.  After much searching, I found one that’s about a .25 mile walk down the road.  We have to cross a relatively busy road that doesn’t have a pedestrian signal, which I don’t like, but so far so good.  We’ve only been once, though – the pollen right now is killing us (MM included), so we’ve been reduced to hiding out indoors again.  But it made for good exercise, and MM was in her element playing on all the equipment.
  • I’m now on a cooking jag.  I’m not prepared to say how long this will last, especially since I tend to burn out on new projects fairly quickly, but in the meantime I’ve learned how to make some good lunches for M. and I made some Chinese dumplings last night that were to die for.  I also made my first really good Chinese BBQ pork loin the other day, so I’m feeling very accomplished.

Those are the main two – getting out of the house a bit more (well, at least the once), and cooking.  Sounds pretty unimpressive, but I’ve been in the grip of inertia for months now, and this at least feels like a proactive change for the better.

For the record, I’m planning to get back to the dissertation after we get back from CA – which is also when I’m planning to do the potty-training stuff in earnest.  I figure it’s enough of a disruption of our normal pattern that there’s not much point in starting anything new yet.

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Keyboard crap

It was a little bitty piece of food that was stuck under the key(s) of my keyboard.  It kept moving around – hence the random sticky key.

It makes me unreasonably happy to find this out.  I really need this computer, and we certainly can’t afford another one.  I celebrated by defragmenting the hard drive.

In other news, I accidentally discovered (on Fujisan.com) that “J-Network Service” is currently doing a free trial of their online Japanese TV service.  $3,600 yen/month for all five Tokyo (or Osaka) commercial channels, plus the option of adding premium channels like Wowow or Eisei Gekijo for an additional 1,000 yen/month.  So far, I’m loving it – the picture is acceptably good, and it’s basically 24/7 streaming TV.  Not that I have loads of time to sit around and watch TV on my computer, but I’m now trying to figure out what I could give up every month in order to get this.

The Boy, who does not take naps, is presently hanging out in his crib.  This makes me very happy – he’s nice and calm, just sucking his thumb and kicking his legs around while I get some time to myself.  The Toddler is inexplicably yelling.  But she’s doing it alone and in the other room, so I don’t care.  Oops – spoke too soon; now she’s under the kitchen table, where she’s moved half of her toys.  Again, inexplicably.

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I think I’m going to give next month’s Nablopomo a try – the theme is “Voices.”  Could be fun.

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Maybe there’s a parasite living in my keyboard.  The “m” is fine now.

Not much going on, besides the usual mayhem.  Rain.  Sleeping baby (!!).  No dissertation work – I’ve decided that I’m taking time off until I get my home routine/life/persona settled.  Until I do that, I’m just spinning my wheels on work.  I did take the plunge, though, and requested permission from the department grad secretary for next Fall’s diss credits – the ones I’m planning to use the rebate on, since I burned through all six semesters of the cheap diss credits with nothing to show for it.  Now that it’ll be costing more money, I need to either cough up the work or quit once and for all.

I’m also mentally preparing for our trip to the in-laws next month.  They loved seeing MM last time, and M. says he thinks they’ll get a kick out of her and C. this time, but I worry that her love of performance (she doesn’t exist if there’s not an audience to appreciate her) will come off to them as overly precocious or something.  I love watching her do her things (actually, I tend to egg her on – the songs, in particular, are pretty funny), but maybe it won’t be “cute” to them.

I’m also trying to figure out how to be appropriately daughter-in-law-y.  I’m a crap cook – hate doing it, don’t do it especially well when I do – but one of the comments M. got from his mom two visits ago was something to the effect of “She doesn’t cook much, does she?”  I’m all about the cleaning, though – that was how I got through that visit (and M. seemed to think that helped) – so I’m trying to figure out what to clean and prepare a plan of action.  It may sound silly, but cleaning keeps me occupied, productive, and there’s usually something to show for it.  Since M. generally goes home, sits, and grows sullen when we visit (long-standing issues there), and since they’ll want to see the kids (C. is immobile – pretty low maintenance – and MM is increasingly able to do stuff on her own), I’ve got to have something to do.

And last time we visited, the kitchen/family room floor (vinyl) was very dirty and needed some love.  It’s understandable; they’re in their 70s and pretty much doing everything for themselves – M.’s sisters get there when they can, I think, but they’ve both got families of their own.  M.’s mom had a stroke about a decade ago, so she doesn’t get around well, and M.’s dad is no spring chicken himself.  So things get dirty.  Last time we were there I took a Swiffer to the floor, but it wasn’t much of a match.  If I had a scrub brush and, I’m thinking, just vinegar and water, I might be able to make a dent…

Anyway, that’s where my mind is right now.  I tend to fret about our visits there: when I was a kid, my mom had an especially bad relationship with my dad’s mother, and it culminated in one especially traumatic (to an 11 year old, anyway) evening that’s always defined in-law relationships for me, so I tend to arrive there with a hair trigger.  I’m always on the lookout for problems, and it tends to make for a stressful week.  To date, nothing bad has happened there, but you never know.  So I’m just trying to find ways of being useful and unobtrusive – at the end of the day, we’re there so they can see the kids and their own son.  I’m along for the ride, and I’m good with that.  But it doesn’t make it any less stressful.

Weirdly, we actually get more grief from – believe it or not – our dry cleaners than we do from M.’s parents.  The dry cleaner is Korean – a husband and wife – and they fell in love with MM sometime in 2006.  I always brought her in when I dropped off shirts, and we got to talking (first in very broken English, and later in much smoother Japanese when it turned out that the husband speaks it pretty well) and they learned that she’s part Korean.  That seemed to seal the matter, and she’s been their adopted granddaughter ever since – to the point that, if we don’t bring her in when we’re picking up shirts, we get chewed out.  Seriously.  We gave them a Christmas card this year with all of us – including C., who they haven’t met yet – and they framed it and hung it on the wall of the shop, near the cash register.

We’ve had M.’s shirts there for two weeks now…and haven’t had the guts to pick them up yet, because it hasn’t worked out where we could take MM with us.  We’re both a little afraid of going in without her these days…

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I think every personal blog out there has at least one entry with that title.  But I digress.

We’ve had a couple of very big changes here, all stemming from the fact that C. discovered his thumb this last week.  For the record, we’re not pacifier people.  I don’t intend to criticize anyone by saying that; it’s just that my mother has always hated them and raised me to also dislike them from the time my sister was born (when I was 12).  As it turns out, M. also doesn’t like them, so we never used them with either of the kids (well, except when we flew MM out to CA for the first time, when she was 4 months old – for the ear pressure.  We may do the same again this time).

So there hasn’t been much in the way of something for C. to suck besides, well, me since he was born.  I think that contributed to his current butterballness; BUT, that seems to have changed.  He reliably discovered his thumb sometime last week – either Wednesday or Thursday (and, by “reliably” I mean that he consciously found it and got it in his mouth – it didn’t just end up there by accident).  And ever since them he’s been a nighttime self-soother par excellence.  Last night I put him down (still a bit awake) at around 7:30, he woke up around 3:00, sucked his little thumb quietly, put himself back to sleep, and didn’t wake up until 5:11 to eat.

Best. Night. Ever.

And today, for the first time, he rolled over from front to back.

He’s getting so big so fast.  With MM, it all seemed to take forever (although even that is changing); with C., it’s all just been gaining speed, and sometimes it’s hard to keep up.

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