Sunday, June 29, 2008

Recipe

I like mint juleps best in a Ball jar, though I suppose I wouldn't turn one down in a silver julep cup, provided I was wearing the right hat. I tend to let the mint leaves steep in the bourbon for a while, just stir in superfine sugar and take little sips off the spoon I'm using to mix it. The early ones you make aren't going to be the best, it takes a little while for the mint and the sugar and the bourbon to become one sort-of spicy, sort-of sweet, sharp flavor. Go easy on the bourbon mix in the first round, just fill the glass with lots of ice, splash in a little of the booze and then fill the rest with soda. It's okay if it's a little weak, you're saving room for the second and third ones, when everything is all muddled and complicated. That's what makes it good.

Simple is also good, and that's where the water balloons come in. Just fill, and toss.

I've been doing a pretty good job with summer so far, I think. Out on a boat last weekend, the ferry to Whidbey Island this weekend. Soft serve ice cream cones, fresh apricots, sweet corn, singing in the car with girlfriends, letting the guys grill, lazing about in the hammock, on the grass, on the porch, at the beach. Wearing sandals and sundresses and eyeliner the color of the sky. Hope your weekend was just as good, only maybe with a little more sleep.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hmmm... Something Looks Familiar

Max


Thomas


Heather

I thought the boys looked so much like Eugene, but I think it's the bald heads that have us all fooled. Look at those smiles! Look at those cheeks!

Heeheeheehee!

A Meditation on Binkies

video

It is stupid how the littlest things the boys do will crack me up.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Twelve Would Be a Lot of Babies


When people see the boys, or comment on the fact that they're twins, their comments tend to fall into one of two categories.

Oh-I'm-So-Sorry-Better-You-Than-Me!

or

That's-So-Cool!

Obviously, I prefer the latter.

I can understand the first sentiment though, and that is due to my guilty pleasure. John and Kate Plus Eight.

Now, there are plenty of shows about large families. The Duggars come to mind. Eighteen children? That's car-azy! All those quiver-full, fundamentalist families who run their homes like boot camps are entertaining and all, but John and Kate are different.

First of all, they only had two pregnancies. And Kate has PCOS, like me, and had to undergo fertility treatments (though the boys are identical so their twin-ness is natural in some way.) So I feel their... ummm... pain about getting more than you bargained for (and loving it!)

They keep it real. They don't have kids marching off in two by two pairs... they don't gaze adoringly into each others eyes like they've drunk the xanax-ed kool-aid. They show how hard it really is. They show that you can argue and bicker and still have a strong marriage, still be partners, still raise good kids, still love each other.

Even if you come off as a controlling bee-yotch and he comes off as a slacker. We're all just people, trying to make a challenging situation work.

I love the boys, they are endlessly amusing and adorable and they fill my heart to the brim. I love Eugene, but marriage is tough. Parenting is tough. Parenting twins is tough. Not too tough, but tough enough.

So, when I feel that it's a bit overwhelming, I watch John and Kate Plus Eight. It makes me laugh, it makes me feel better. It makes me feel like twins are a breeze.

My favorite? When they had all the babies lined up at the table to feed and John said to Kate, "Six babies aren't that many."

She said, "What?"

He said, "twelve... twelve would be a lot of babies, but six isn't that bad!"

And I think that says it all about why I like that show.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Friday night, Saturday all day


It was summer here last night, and it hasn't left us yet. The wind has picked up and the windows I've had open all day are closed now. I don't know what it's going to be like tomorrow, but that doesn't seem important. Sunday's used to be my worst day, but after my time off, that had changed. I'm happier at home these days than I've ever been, and of course that helps the Sunday night problem.

All evening, I've been happy at home, watching the DVD that comes with Sky Blue Sky, on repeat. It's a beautiful little thing. It opens with these beautiful winter scenes, ice-gray skies, dark trees, leafless, dogs playing in the snow, park benches, Tweedy talking abut making things simple.

I guess I should say I've mostly been listening to it, letting it light the apartment. I put it in while I sat talking with Bobby, after a long day of sunshine, coffee, breakfast out, a walk to Fremont and back. After he left, I went out for a while, had some dinner, then came home and put it back on.

I've been listening to things on repeat a lot lately. This is true about music, the drive to work, but it brings us back to the Sunday thing too. Coffee, farmer's market, King's. The good things repeat. Somewhere in the weekend, Susan, Jessica, Courtney, often Kate, Bobby. Sunday nights at the Hen. And around those little cycles, there's the orbit of my writing group, the long days before deadlines, the short ones working on manuscripts for return. That makes this count as a happy time, puts us part of the way into summer even without much sun. Because here's how I think of summer - as a shortening of the distance between what you want and what you have. That's what knowing who and what you love will do for you. You get to be satisfied.




Wednesday, June 18, 2008

What ARE the boys up to while I'm at work?*

They are learning how to dress identically... though not necessarily loving it.

They are getting bathed regularly (more regularly than I was managing)...
ignore the knives in the background...

Thomas is learning how to eat... I mean use... a bib.
Argh! Look at that belly!

They are wearing funny hats...

And making lots of buddies in the park... when they are awake, that is...

And they are learning to play nice with each other... mmm tasty!

Obviously, they are having loads more fun than I am at the office. But I'm enjoying having conversations with people who can actually respond to me. And I like being able to go to the bathroom or eat whenever I want. So I guess we are all getting something out of this working thing.

* Photos by super nanny Claudia. Love her!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Outside



Still finishing up manuscript comments (this is getting embarrassing) and when I'm not, outside outside outside! Writing done over the last seven days = none. Whatsoever. I'm starting to feel it though. Little stories welling up. In my head this phrase keeps happening - "spreading like secrets".

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hi ho, hi ho....

Sadly, I am not a monkey wrangler like Thomas...
that would be fun, right?

So, I survived my first day back. I can't say that it was overly productive... my biggest concern - honestly - was making sure that I pumped enough milk for the boys - but I got a warm welcome and the day passed more quickly than expected.

I think Monday may actually be the harder day - novelty having worn off and all that. But the boys were here, safe and sound, when I got home. They hadn't forgotten me and gave me sweet smiles and kisses before starting to yawn and rub their eyes.

Tomorrow after work there are drinks at Johnny Utah's after work and I am sure that the mechanical bull will be in full effect.

I think it's a bit early for that for me, though. The only wranglers I'm interested in are my boys... The monkey and Snuffalupagus.
I think I should mention, though, that their nanny had them dressed in matching polo outfits when I got home. Not cool. Not cool at all.

Well, This Is New. In a Way.

Those of you who think you don't like karaoke... you do! Come on. You think you don't, but I'm telling you... It's like that song "Islands In The Stream". You think you don't know the words, but you do -  oh, you do!

Happy Birthday, Jenn. I can't think of too many people in the world with whom I have had as much fun as I've had with you. And given the amount of fun I have, in my opinion, that is saying alot. 

xoxo H

Monday, June 09, 2008

We've Done This Before

I'm up to eyeballs in excellent manuscripts from my writing group, so not a lot of blog activity right now. Did manage to get out for the Sunday morning ritual, though - Fiore coffee, crepes at the farmer's market Bloody Mary at King's and two lovely ladies.



Saturday, June 07, 2008

My little men

Heaven

So, the boys are three months old and this week I go back to work.

The past thirteen weeks with them have been so fantastic for me. Seeing them change on a daily basis, watching every little 'first', having them give me their milky smiles and giggles and little cat cries has opened my heart to the point of collapse.

To me, they are the most fascinating creatures and when I am away from them, even for a little while, it feels like I am missing a limb. I can hardly imagine what it will be like to be away from them for the majority of the day starting Wednesday.

I'm lucky, we've found someone to care for them who treats them with love and tenderness and attentiveness that I barely dared hope for. She also does for them things that I just haven't had the energy too - baths first thing in the morning? Every day? Not after the midnight, 3AM, 6AM, and 8AM feedings! Mommy needs a nap!

But that's also part of the difficulty of leaving them with her. They give her those milky smiles. They giggle for her too. She gets to spend all day bathing in their untutored adoration, and it breaks my heart a bit to think about it.

I know that I am their mommy, and she can't replace me. I know that I will have experiences with them that she won't, but still it is pulling at my heartstrings and I expect the next few weeks to be a bit teary-eyed around these parts.

I remember Dad telling me once that having children was like letting your heart walk around outside of your body. Now I really know what he meant.

I'll be leaving my heart(s) in somebody else's hands.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

What We Knew Going Into It

Flight home Saturday

It was profoundly rainy here in Seattle tonight. The whole city was soaked in the smell of fall pavement, wet wool and clogged gutters. My drive to work this morning was a relentless clutch-killer, and the windows fought fog the whole way. All day, I was happy anyhow.

I love the new job. I've been thinking about how to describe this, because there is something deeply familiar about the sense of well-being I have about it.

When I was in New York, I kept a pretty low profile, didn't really call anyone because I knew my time would be dedicated to Max and Thomas. One night was an exception. I stayed downtown, walked back and forth from my favorite shoe store to KidRobot, found the best new coffee place, ate a fancy salad at Cafe Gitane, and, of course, had dinner at Freemans. As I was paying my bill and finishing the last sips of the sparkling wine they serve in the champagne glasses I love (the ones alleged modeled on the breast of Marie Antoinette) one of my favorite ex-boyfriends called me. He was having a drink in our old neighborhood, so I wandered off into the summer twilight to meet him. I adore D. He's smart and funny as hell, tough and tender and so loyal. I think we both like thinking about how young we were when we met, how he was set on making something of himself, how I thought just being there made me someone already. We were so different. Still, there was something to us, something that has lasted much longer than I thought it would. We sat at the bar for a few hours, talking, drinking a lot more slowly than we used to, talking more. Towards the end of our time there, he looked at me and said "I remember the first time I met you. You walked into my apartment, and you just lit up the room." Then he paused a minute and said "And you still do."

You can see why he's one of my favorite ex-boyfriends. D's comment made me feel like I was just the right person, to him. That's a deep feeling to have, the feeling that you are just right. It keeps coming back to me now, more than a week later. I'm holding on to it.

And the thing about work now is that it's the same feeling. I'm the right person for this job, and even on day two, I can feel it. It was the same way for five years at SGEN, when I worked with Kirsten and we told each other every other day how lucky we were to work together, with such smart people, at such a good time in the company's history.

There's more to the rest of my night with D. We walked around in the dark, like we used to, and talked more, and smiled a lot. I was so happy to see him. I'm used to living without him, but still, I miss him again now. Being with him brought me back to my 23 year old self, someone much more tender, shy in certain ways, more raw and fearful, maybe more wounded than the person I am today. It was a little tough, being that girl again. I don't think I loved her as much as I should have back then. That's part of why I'm so grateful for D, because that was the girl he knew and cared about, and for the past 13 years he's been good to me in her honor. When I first moved away from New York, he was one of the people whose absence in my life I felt the most acutely. I sure loved him. And I still do.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

A Scene from Heather's Visit...


Heather (referring to my freshly-pumped breast milk sitting on the console): How long can you leave your breastmilk out?

Me: Oh, for hours. I'm going to top off that bottle in a little while.

Eugene (to Heather): Have you tasted it? It's sweet!

Heather (look of semi-grossed-outness on her face): You've tasted it?

Me: Of course, just a little... I mean I'm giving it to the babies...

Eugene (to Heather): I dare you to taste it...

Grabs bottle, unscrews pump... tries to hand it to Heather who shrinks away from it like it's radioactive...

Heather: What do I get?

Me: NO!!! Milk is for the babies! You're going to contaminate it! At least use a spoon!

Eugene: I'll give you fifty bucks if you drink it!

Me: No! For the babies!

Heather: Not enough... take tomorrow off and watch the boys so that I can take Ali for a pedicure and I'll taste it...

Eugene: Done! But you have to drink the whole thing!

Me: No! The babies!!!!

Heather: Fifty bucks, you take the day off and I will drink the whole thing!

Eugene: Okay!

Me: No! The babies!

Eugene gets a glass from the kitchen, pours the milk into the bottle... Heather starts to drink... plugging her nose as she goes...

Me: No! The babies! Ewwwww!

Heather finishes the glass.... I look to Eugene...

ME: Okay, you have to take tomorrow off now...

Heather and Eugene: Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaahahahahahahaha

They pranked me! The breast milk was just milk.

Well played... well played....