Monday, March 31, 2008

Did You Miss This Guy?

Yeah, me too. He's got a cute new girlfriend, so we haven't seen as much of him around here in the last month or so. We had a field trip a couple weekends ago, though, out to Bainbridge where we ate fancy ice cream, and then Bobby dragged me to the yarn store. I was pretty patient with it, I thought. Nice, right? Yeah, I'll get out of the way now and just let you enjoy the pretty pictures. Ali, it's like a little vacation for your mind... just bliss out and pretend the sweet sweet sounds of the breast pump are actually the sounds of the ferry... Puget Sound... ah!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Come back soon!!!!!

Who loves Grandma Biba? Thomas does!

So I just dropped Mom off at the airport.

It's a beautiful Saturday afternoon - the sky is clear and blue and the air is crisp and fresh. We took a walk to Fort Tryon Park this afternoon, before she left, and the earth was fertile with the promises of spring. Daffodils and bluebells were popping out their blooms.

It was a lovely, lovely walk, and then I had to take Mom to the airport.

The last two weeks have been such a rollercoaster with the babies. The exhaustion, the joy, the frustrations and stress (getting twins to a doctor's appointment on the Upper East Side? Ugh - not easy), the unadulterated love and silliness of them... and having Mom here through all of that was just fantastic.

She was here to change the diapers, sooth the crying niblet, help with the bath, wash the bottles, feed the new Mama, chatter in the most endearing possible way (Oh really? You want to talk about it? What do you want to talk about?) and she really made the whole situation more doable, more humorous and more relaxed than it would have been without her help.

Actually, I can't even fathom what it would have been like without her help.

Of course, now she's gone and I can't imagine what it is going to be like on Monday, here by myself with two 25-day old boys... but she really got me through a rough start and I can't thank her enough. I think she's given me a fair amount of confidence that no one is going to starve and no one is going to cry themselves to pieces...


Mom - you are a superstar Grandma, and we can't wait for you to come back.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Thomas... not so happy... but clean!

With babies who are sleeping 16+ hours a day, I know it must seem like I should have a bit of time to post.

Unfortunately, those hours are not consecutive - nor are they concurrent. They are 1/2 hour - hour increments punctuated by pooping, crying, feeding... and thank goodness cooing, smiling and making funny faces.

They still haven't adjusted to the idea of day and night, so a fair amount of the sleeping happens during the day and a lot of the pooping and crying happens at night.

Good thing they are super-cute!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What You Knew Would Come Again

Last year

My neighborhood is getting beautiful again. We are through the time of bare twigs and mud and my neighbors in the big old Queen Anne homes have daffodils and plum trees blooming in their yards. When this happens, you notice different things, like the silhouette of a heron weathervane on top of one house, or the way the big canopy of a magnolia tree frames a doorway of another, perfectly formed like giant bonsai.

Today’s walk was both gentle and fierce. The cold of it left my face shining and flushed, and the first thing I did at the office was put my hands around a hot mug of tea. But my ipod and I were in perfect harmony and my umbrella wasn’t up for a moment, nor did a drop of rain touch my head the whole way. I stopped and tried to take cell phone photos of the cherry trees blooming against the sky, I wanted to show you how pretty they were, tell you how they are a stubborn cliché that clings to my soul every spring, pleasing me over and over again, the reminder of them making me grateful, even while I am contrite for having forgotten.

It’s just the beauty of the world that I’m talking about, again. Pam and I are always telling each other Why we are not Buddhists, and it is because of this – we both have souls that are perpetually moved by the forces outside and around us, like tattered, wind-whipped flags. A series of grey dark days of rain can act on us like a lover taking himself away, wounding us. But then the light restores us, spring changes us, and we are our better selves again. Our souls are like favorite skirts getting caught in a bicycle chain, the love that animates the world catches us and no matter how many times we shred ourselves on it, we get back on and make that spectacle of ourselves again, beautiful and dangerous, flying.

Remember those dramatic, ridiculous skirts of girlhood? Twirling skirts, we called them. Or maybe it was a scarf for you, or a kid’s superhero cape, or the way you felt riding a horse or sailing down the middle of an empty street on your skateboard, or how you never ever wanted to wear a coat. Any way you had of flinging yourself into the world, declaring your intention to go for motion or beauty, to make a spectacle of yourself, to feel and feel and feel. That was the stuff, as a kid.

We’ve all, at one point or another, made note of how that kind of abandon is harder to risk in adulthood. Maybe now the mention of a long skirt and a bicycle together in the same sentence makes you roll your eyes a little, since that image is a little dorky, a little embarrassing, especially since you are as likely as anything to be wearing a helmet with that bicycle, and that just doesn’t go with the skirt.

Still, spring comes, and however tentative we get, however many warm jackets we wear, however we insist on having our feet steady on the ground, there is always the way the new season fills us without our asking it to, in deep breaths, one after the other, lungfuls of cut grass and new growth, all we need to survive the light rain still falling on pavement. And later, there will be lilac, and long days, and trips to Sambar in sandals. It is always again, eventually, summer.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

I've been remiss....

I may have underperformed for Susan's birthday this year. It was Thursday, the first day of spring. Such a nice day for a birthday. I still owe her a card, maybe something knitted, maybe something that smells nice. She likes nice-smelling things. I did get her out to Kingfish Cafe for dinner, where conversation was dampened by the fact that she could not stop eating fried chicken long enough to speak. This was okay, since she was still able to grin, and that is really all I require in a dinner companion. Happiness.

After dinner we scooted over to Sambar, where Jay did some of the birthday work for me. When I told him it was her birthday, he somehow managed to come up with a single elegant birthday candle, which we stuck into a cup of the most delicious chocolate mousse ever. He raised his eyebrows at Susan and said "Song? What do you think? You want the song?", ready to turn down the music and get the whole bar to join in. Susan tilted her chin down the way she does, widened her eyes and said "No!! Thank you." But we still got him to take the obligatory birthday tour photo. See above.

Happy birthday to one of the original honorary Malcolm sisters!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

All There Was

The only sad thing about my trip to LaConner was that my camera batteries died. At the Maldives show the night before, I told a couple people where I was going the next day, but no one knew anything about our favorite little town. The next day I got a text message from one of the cute bearded boys who had been at the show - "Have a great time at that place that I can't remember!"

I was hoping to come back with a camera full of photos of that place, such a different world from the High Dive, where Jason and the boys played. It was a weird night, last Friday - an "Away Game", we called it. For a while I stood next to a big doughy guy who kept throwing the goat like we were at a Slayer show or something, and when he wasn't doing that, he was calling his buds on the cell phone (yeah, while the band was playing) and hollering things like "My Space! Check them out on MYSPACE! The MALDIVES! MYSPACE!" or "Dude, I'm HAMMERED drunk!! HAMMERED!"

Awesome dude.

Of course, there were a lot of the usual good folks there, too. Kevin looking happy with his GF, a couple of nice Maldives wives, not to mention the band themselves. I heart those guys, some time I'll have to write a little thing about them. Did you know that cute young Chris the bass player is also a scientist? You know I love that.

Anyway, different world than the Skagit Valley, where there were fields colored with flocks of migrating birds, and purple husks of cabbage, and the yellow of the single field of daffodils just after that last left turn to LaConner. There were ramshackle barns with their weathered graying planks, daylight showing through, and a perfectly still Great Blue Heron isolated in a field, the bright vintage 7-up sign at the old cafe in Edison. Not to mention the cozy tables at Nell Thorn, the fireplaces that heat Mom's place and her excellent giant bathtub.

Pretty simple weekend, but good good good.

Mom's celebratory bamboo

Sunday, March 16, 2008

"Hey, I have something to tell you!"

I do, really. Probably a lot of things, but my head hasn't been in it. My head has been off in the land of short story revisions, and a couple new pieces that may or not be something, eventually.
Sometimes I walk around with a lot of blog stuff in my head, and sometimes there are a lot of entries in the Draft phase of the blog's posting menu. Thoughts collect around a photo I've taken, or a phrase, and on the long walk to work it all tumbles around in my brain like tennis shoes in the washing machine... thump thump thump... The other day as I was walking home in the rain, people looked at me as though they could hear it. Double takes and knowing grins. It was the big smile I was wearing on my face, and the way I was having to restrain myself from laughing or talking to myself out loud. I love the way our faces give us away, how that day I was telling everyone something just by having a certain look on my face.

There's a story I'm working on that started as a blog post, but keeps growing. I think 9 pages might be too long for this venue, even if they are 9 double-spaced pages. What do you think? Anyway, that's kind of in the way of everything else, why you haven't heard about my trip to Coppergate with the SGEN kids, or Tribunali with Jessica, or reading White Noise, or Super Exclusive Book Club at Sambar, or Grey Gallery with Jay, or Crow with Beyonce, or the Maldives at the High Dive or the weekend I just spent in LaConner.

But at least you know those things are all still happening, and no doubt I'll be back with more soon.

Friday, March 14, 2008

So this is what heaven is like

Thomas and a buddy, napping

Sorry for the extended absentee-ism, but I have two very good excuses (see above!)

These last eight days have been such a whirlwind of events, hormones, feedings, diapers and love that I feel like I can barely catch my breath.

I never realized how much you could love these little creatures, how hard it could be to even be in a separate room from them. They are funny, with their multitude of facial expressions, all the silly movements they make awake and in sleep... all their little sounds and just the look in their eyes when you pick them up, give them a cuddle or feed them. And their long fingers and toes are just delicious for the snacking!

Angelina had it totally wrong when she said that newborns are blobs.

My sweet boys are the most engaging creatures I have ever met and I'd much rather watch them sleep than watch any movie. I would rather nuzzle the soft fuzz on their heads than wear cashmere. And I would rather have my heart filled to bursting with my love for them than any other sort of passion.

I'm partial, I know, but I just think that they are, hands down, the most fascinating people that I have ever met. And I can't wait for you to meet them!

Now I have to go take a shower, because nobody likes a dirty, grotty Mama.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Cause It Should Really Be Your Birthday All Week

If I had to do rehab, I'd want to do it at Tami's house. Is that a weird thing to say? It's just that when I stayed with her in October, that was what I thought. She had this nice guest room for me, with this big cozy bed, and my own bathroom next door. It was sunny out, and I thought, hey, I could sit right here on the grass. So I did. I sat in the grass. Little did I know what was coming my way in the next few months. Surprises. Events. Crises. Migraines. Things to be rehabilitated from. This has given me time to think. Time to think about exactly what I would do, in rehab, at Tami's house.

I'd start, of course, with sitting on the grass.

Taylor would join me, and be my therapy dog. I would gaze into her pretty brown eyes.

... and she would gaze into mine. And I would think "Ah, this is nice!" But that wouldn't be all. Handsome Dixon would make us dinner - Tami, Taylor and me. Comfort food, like meatloaf. Delicious.

And Tami and I would make Rice Krispy Treats, with the stirry thing. Cause that's really all we can make. Tami has a burn scar to prove it. I'll spare you the burnt grass taste that would be my proof.

Sorry, this is just a totally gratuitous shot of some photos of Tami from her house. I loved them!

But the thing about rehab at Tami's house is that Tami would be there. Telling you the truth, and making you laugh until your stomach hurts. And there are a lot of things you can recover from when you're with a friend like that. Trust me, I know.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Kate Date

Kate takes care of bidness

Saturday night, Boom noodle and the Lake Washington Girls School production of "Man of La Mancha". Way more fun than I had any right to expect. But that's Kate for you.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Max After Grubbin

All Babies, All Day

First Photo

Allison's holding Thomas, Eugene is wrangling Max.
I trust most of you will be able to tell which one is Allison, and which one is Eugene.
Hint: Eugene's the one with the same hairdo as the babies.

Grandma is Bawling Her Head Off!!!

Curly blondish hair!

You heard it hear first! I am literally typing this while I'm talking to my mom on her land line while she is talking to Allison on her cell phone. I'm sure she'll be making the appropriate calls when she can. They did have to do a C-section, so ouch, but I guess the other way hurts too. Ha ha. I'm just glad they'll have round heads.

Baby A is 6 pounds 9 ounces - Thomas Dean
Baby B is 5 pounds 12 ounces - Maxwell Bailey

Thomas after Eugene's dad, Dean after our dad. And Bailey is my mother's maiden name. Max is after me, of course. Don't you think? Seriously, I'm the only sibling, so that must be where it came from. Max. That's me. Or Dakota. Right, I think Heather + Dakota= Max. You can see it, no? Dakota!! She named Baby B after us!!!! Max is totally in the spirit of Dakota plus Heather.

Grandma Beba to Heather: "Do you have a quote, Dorothy Parker?"
Heather: "I thought 12 ounces WAS a pound."

Best I could do at the time.


Two baby boys, both healthy, mom fine. Will let you know the details when I have them.


Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Allison, Please Don't Kill Me For Posting This Photo

Just got text from Allison - all checked into the hospital, gowned up, monitor on, and best of all, Baby B - head down, at last! Phew. Updates as we get 'em!
P.S. Sister in Seattle all weepy? Check!

Off to get the babies!

A preview of my little red-headed monkey babies!

So tonight, at 5PM, I check in at the hospital and the next time you hear from me it will be with the sound of wee babies screaming in the background!

Theoretically, the little niblets will be born sometime tomorrow afternoon... so please refrain from any ill behavior (swearing, spitting, shoplifting, tripping old ladies, etc.) that might detract from the perfection of the moment of their birth.

I plan to ask that all hospital staff dress head to toe in white and not utter a word during my labor and, if you want to partake please feel free to ignore the rules about Labor Day (hahaha) get out your white shoes and take a temporary vow of silence.

If everything doesn't go EXACTLY as I have planned it (the clouds part, a choir of angels sing, I have orgasmic contractions, the babies are born laughing and cooing with nary an epidural or episiotomy in sight) I will know who to blame!

Perhaps I tempt fate by trying to have a sense of humor about this but... well, that's all I've got.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

This Time Last Year

Look, babies! Look at all the nices things you can do in the world!

Put your toes in the sand!

Fly a kite!

Walk on the beach with nice dogs!


Sunday, March 02, 2008

In the absence of cute baby - or monkey - photos...

The contents of my bag for the hospital

Oh yes, those stubborn babies are thwarting the arc of our story here! The whole middle act (or is it the first act?) is draaaaaaaaagggggggging out, isn't it?

We're just sort of waiting waiting waiting here.

Enjoying the hormonal rollercoaster - you should have seen me when we arrived late for reservations at Alta on Friday and found that they had given away our table. The hostess said something like "I would really love to help you - I have a soft spot for pregnant ladies...' Oh! I was steamed! It was not pretty.

Don't condescend to the hugely pregnant and wildly hungry lady! She will get weepy AND mad!

We ended up going for sushi instead (which my OB has always said was fine - provided I stay away from high-mercury fish and eat at a reputable place... so relax!) which was nice, because our new 'hood has only one sushi restaurant and I am unwilling to try new places along this vein (see I am paying attention to my OB!) until I am no longer with bebes in mah belly...

Yesterday, I took advantage of the last Saturday morning to sleep in and I did the same this morning. I also took the time to organize paperwork, and collect all the items for my hospital bag. Well, except for the toiletries... I still have to get together shampoo and soap and a toothbrush and contact lense stuff and moisturizer and whatnot.


I suggested to someone recently that I don't particularly care what brand soap or shampoo I use and they almost fell over gasping like a fish. Outraged on my hair and skin's behalf... so I guess I have to get a little more discriminating about that, and choose something that the babies will like the smell of. Like chocolate. I know they like chocolate.

I also watched The Business of Being Born - which I thought was awesome. They featured the hospital where we will be delivering - in a good way. It has a birthing center (we know two couples who've used it) and allows midwives and has very compassionate OB's.

I thought it was interesting that there are midwives who will assist home births in apartments in New York. I can't imagine... But home birthing twins has really never been considered an option, so I watched the movie firmly comfortable with my birth plan.

My only caveat is that I think they are unfairly harsh on the subject of c-sections. They act as though, no matter what the situation (and there is an emergency c-section in the film) YOU WILL NOT BOND WITH YOUR BABY OR LOVE IT AS MUCH IF YOU HAVE NOT PUSHED IT OUT OF YOUR V_A_G_I_N_A!!!!!

And I am afraid that I just don't believe that. I've seen the photos of Mom holding you when you were a hairy little monkey baby newborn, and I am pretty sure that the look on her face is one of googly mother love for you. As googly as I have ever seen.

In the crazy coincidence vein, at the beginning of the movie where the super beautiful chick is posing nude in all of her pregnant glory - she is posing for Howard, for whom I design the books! Small world!

Back to me though... We also have the crib put together, the sheets are washed and their coming home outfits are all clean and packed (Petite Tresor jumpers and hmmm... where did those cute little hand-knitted hats come from?).

We have the car seats put together with cushy lambswool liners and the little wee head supporters that little wee babies need. Not that our babies seem to plan to be little or wee, at all.


Um, kinda. I mean, is anybody ever really totally ready for something like this?

We Haven't Had A Monkey Ordeal Like This Before

That's what animal control in Spokane said about the creepy wizened little monkey that got loose today and went on the attack, biting three people. This is the sort of thing you learn if you stay up late enough for the local news. I would not recommend this.

In the absence of babies, and baby photos (can't believe those kids are still in there, so willful!!) , we are back to lattes. This one is from Josie, of course. He always makes me my prettiest lattes. I went to the Ballard Fiore this morning, meaning to pull my tax documents together (oh my god this is riveting stuff!) but instead I got sucked into some writing. A lot of writing actually. At one point I had four different files open at the same time.

The writing has been nuts lately. Something about that last week with the writing group really shook some things loose. I know the blog hasn't exactly reflected this, but I have a feeling it will. Just give me a little time. And watch out for spider monkeys.

P.S. Josh Brown - WTF? This is not good.