Friday, November 30, 2007

You know you're pregnant when . . .

. . . you find yourself tearing up over an article on urban planning and demographic shifts.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


cash advance

When this test was first going around, I suppressed my results in embarrassment. Then I read one person who had tested a blog of C. S. Lewis' writings and found that it was at the elementary level, and one of Chesterton's was at the high school level. (Chesterton himself said that if you could not say what you meant in words of one syllable, you didn't really know what you meant. Though he did not so restrict himself in his own writings.)

So why be ashamed of being readable? Why hang my head when I have merely realized the goal of endless re-readings of The Elements of Style?

I admit with some embarrassment that the deciding factor for me to post my score was coming across a poorly-written blog proudly sporting a badge that said it was a "genius" reading level. (Indeed, there are a lot of blogs out there that would require more than a genius to decipher. This does not mean that they took a genius to write.)

So, the Duchy. Clear, direct and readable since 2003.

That or maybe my first thought was correct, and I devote too much of my content to quoting the ducklings.

Monday, November 26, 2007


This time, I knew what to do. This time, I was going to be prepared. D2's first trimester had gone better than D1's and this time I wouldn't even be nursing. I had meat and bread and cookies prepared in the freezer. For months in advance I took all the wonder vitamins and herbs that were supposed to forestall nausea. I did all my exercises.

In a worldwide deluge, I suppose having an inflatable life raft and a couple of boxes of crackers would seem helpful for awhile. But we are beginning to feel very much adrift. Apparently the illness experienced during D1's pregnancy was not a fluke caused by unpleasant living circumstances. If anything, I'm rather worse this time; only this time, instead of just having me to drag through the day, I also must supervise two very busy ducklings.

I have tried to remind myself that other women undoubtedly have it worse; that some women throw up for all nine months, or throw up so much that they must go in the hospital and get fluids through IVs. Somehow other people's misery does not diminish mine.

Besides, in the hospital, one would not have to cook food. Or smell food cooking. Or think about food. It's astonishing how much time, on average, I spend thinking about food. One meal is not done before I must think of what must be done for the next one, or two . And I have discovered that the only way for me to keep a meal down is to lie down for several hours afterwards and, with all my might, NOT think about food. (How am I writing this post, you ask? It's before a meal right now, and I find it helps to do what must be done before the meal. I don't feel any better afterward, but the muscles are often tired enough to give me a break.)

Other people are very kind and helpful and come in and do the dishes now and again or watch the ducklings for awhile, but nothing, alas, relieves me of the duty of thinking. DOB has a thorough training in most of the household arts, but he needs orders (and can only stand on his feet for so long). Even ordering out (which I am loath to do--why pay so much for something unlikely to be digested?) requires a decision.

The ducklings are doing their best to manage the house on their own. Yesterday D1 had complete Sunday outfits for both of them laid out before I arose; D2 was trying to put his Sunday pants on, upside down over his pajamas. The house has reached a sort of level of chaos where everything that can be dragged out has been dragged out, so at least it's not getting much worse.

Fortunately the ducklings seldom lack for ideas to amuse themselves; most of these involve piling all bedding, toys and clothes available onto the couch, though the name of the game may be "airplane," "hospital," or "fire engine." Then they jump on top, sometimes singing D1's Toddler Power Song: "We are toddlers, and we can jump on the couch!"

All that happy little advice for morning sickness--"crackers!" "frequent snacking!" "lemon water!" is starting to read like common cold treatments when you have double pneumonia. I try to read to keep my mind off food, but it's astonishing how often the people in books eat. And seem to enjoy it, too. Jerks.

In the interests of counting my blessings, a few notes:
  • I'm in no danger of dehydration or malnutrition. In fact, I'm gaining weight at an alarming rate.
  • We can keep the heat on here. (We couldn't at our apartment when I was pregnant with D1; it poured second-hand smoke.)
  • I never *have* been sick all nine months, and while there may be a first time for everything, I think I can still be reasonably optimistic that by New Year's I may be able to contemplate a meal before I eat it.
  • Wondergirl is coming in three weeks and two days. I hope she can get the door open when she comes.

Friday, November 23, 2007

And Baby Makes Three

And then think how long it will take to get a decent family picture . . .

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Even though we still have some luxuriously warm days, and the fall colors have lingered late this year, making up for having summer stretch into October, the shorter days have compelled us to give up our most delightful outside activity. We had thought of many ways and times to go out with the kids; we had made many resolutions. But some things must wait until they just happen.

And what happened, and happened, and happened again was that we could pack up a supper on our chiropractor night and stop by a park on the way home. Somehow if we were already out (and the chiropractor is a sacred appointment with us), stopping somewhere else was not such a burden as the thought of packing everything up when we were already comfortably at home. We tried city parks and county parks, parks with bridges, parks with forest trails and parks with teeter-totters big enough for the whole family.

When it was too hot to eat out (I tried it once at ninety-five and was ill the rest of the week) we went to United Dairy Farmers (which D1 persists in calling Nine-Ten Dairy Farmers), ate our packed supper at their tables and then split a double-scoop ice cream cone to thank them for their trouble. When it was too hot or too dark, we went to the library and played at the train table. By fall, D2's legs had grown long enough that he could handle most of a mile hike, though he persists in the fear-of-slides stage.

I was full of good resolutions this spring to keep the ducklings outside for at least three hours every day. I have fallen far short of that except on the rare occasions when a very beautiful day has coincided with me feeling unusually good. But we have had a lot of fun outside this year. Our own backyard is getting more entertaining--it has some lovely dirt piles now, and a little hole that holds a pond after rain, and increasing areas of it are being converted into vegetable garden. Although I am not fond of the concrete pad left from a torn-down garage, it does make a handy place for riding bikes and cooking imaginary meals.

I never have figured out what to do about the mosquitoes, though. They continued unabated until frost, even though there was a drought and no standing water anywhere where they could be breeding.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

D1 ponders the animal world

Last week I was recounting to D1 her prenatal adventures, and I explained to her that she lived inside me in water.

"Yes!" she said, "And I played with the ducks and the geese!"

I don't remember those. Maybe that explains the nausea.

Over the weekend we visited a history museum depicting life in early West Virginia settlements. D1 duly inspected the sheep's wool piled up for spinning and weaving. In the next building someone had left out a pile of bright pink installation.

"Look!" she cried, "It's pig's wool!"

Civics Quiz

You really should try out this civics quiz by ISI; we were quite impressed with the caliber of the questions. They ask things that are actually worth knowing. I got an embarrassingly high score, but then, it's my subject. Then if you like stressing over the degeneracy of society, you can read about how college students fare on the test. I hope my former class would have done better than average, but I am always plagued with doubt. I certainly tried.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Eight Random Things

I don't think I've actually done this one, even though *everybody* has. But now Amy has tagged me. So. Eight random things about me, plus eight people to tag (if I can come up with that many who have not just been tagged.)

1. One of my lifelong dreams is to live in a remote, quiet seaside cottage on a northern coast, taking long walks, wearing tweedy woolen sweaters, and writing Profound Things. Since I now live in a noisy house in a midwestern city, only wear cotton sweaters (and those seldom), and my writing perpetually declines in profundity, this dream seems rather hopeless right now. (I still take long walks whenever I get the chance.) But I refuse to give up hope.

2. I hate shopping. I hate spending money; I hate making decisions; I hate finding things in a big crowd of Other Things; I hate finding new places to put things. I really, really hate shopping. Even online. Every once in awhile I find a fabulous deal on something I desperately need (I usually have desperately needed things for a long time before I even go looking), and then I feel moderately tolerant of it, but I can still think of a thousand ways I'd rather spend the day. The only thing fun about shopping is mocking the things available for sale, and other people seem to frown on doing this publicly.

3. So far I've shown no sign of having wisdom teeth.

4. DOB and I are trying to further our cultural literacy by watching Star Wars for the first time, but we're finding it painful. The plot is so predictable! The dialogue sounds like it was written as a group activity by the freshman composition class! The acting is terrible! The science so irrational! The philosophy so absurd! Harrison Ford is the only thing that makes it remotely bearable. That and . . . it's fun to mock.

5. I've had two multi-year bouts of chronic fatigue/fibromyalgia type illness, but nothing in recent years. Just normal having babies and toddlers and never getting enough sleep fatigue, which doesn't count.

6. I attended "regular" school for one day in fourth grade and, though I had no particular interest in attending school before then, that certainly was enough to commit me to homeschooling for life. Sitting around waiting for some arbitrary declaration that it was time to move on, long after I had finished filling in all the right blanks, did not impress me as a good way to spend my life.

7. I love cooking if I don't have to stick to the recipe, teaching if I don't have to stick to the curriculum, and writing if I won't be graded on it.

8. I've only worn nail polish once in my life, and it was silver glitter.

And now I tag Carrie, Rose, Wendy, Melissa, Devona, Birdy, and um . . . I'm running out of untagged names here, but if you haven't done it (or you have eight MORE random things), feel free to join in.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

D1 does the math

QOC (to D2): How many mommies do you have?
D1: I have five mommies!
QOC: Oh good, then one can fix lunch and one can go get you guys changed, and this mommy can go take a nap. . . .
D1: That's only three.

Don't worry, D1, I'm sure I can come up with enough work for any number of mommies to do.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Because the Memory Card was Full

The ducklings and their two best friends. I don't know what they are playing. But it was fun.

One bad hombre and his sidekicks.