Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Happy 4th of July, Nordstrom's!

You know what's nice about Portland? Lots.

There are fancy hotels there. And it's not in the 90's with a million thousand percent humidity. And my parents live nearby and have to be nice to me now because of my delicate condition.

I'm SOOOOOOOO excited about going. And I didn't just hold down that "o" key- I exuberantly tapped out each and every perky one.

J says to me, he says, "Do you mind if we go to Nordstrom when we get there?" Guess I'll just have to suffer through- I know you'll be praying for me. After all, Nordy's is only the best department store in the whole universe outside of those ones in Japan that had groceries in the basement with vendors standing by like we have for make-up. They so know how to live. But Nordy's, it's not too shabby.

Mom's got a steak from their most recent batch of bovines thawing for us. (for J, natch.)

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Sexy & Hot.

Yesterday I got together with a group of 5 women I love. We try to do this about once a month, and B gives us prompts and we journal and then sort of chat about what we wrote. Honestly, I thought it was going to be a little too Stewart Smally (the SNL version). Despite myself by the end of each session, there's something new in my brain cells. And did I mention I love these women? Every single one is the kind you would do well to have as your closest friend.

This time our theme was Sexiness. The second prompt was the one I thought I'd kind of skip over: "Sexy. Hot. Hot & Sexy. How do these words make you feel? Do you identify with them?" Like when you look at a list of short essay answers, there's always that one that only requires a quick recitation of fact because you know what the teacher wants to hear.

But then I started writing...

J says these things all the time (God bless him) and most of the time I don't hear it much.

I look at nature and have no trouble admiring the way things have been set up, the way they look, the laws and magnitude. These are my constant entry to contemplating God in any way that approaches meaningful.

Why doesn't that apply to this closest, most direct outworking of nature in me- this body?

Becoming pregnant has so far meant a (further) loss of control. There's joy- throat constricting, heart squeezing jubilation- but this is also true. My person will change and my life will change and I wonder now if I will ever get where I thought I was going with either.

I thought I had a pretty good grasp of a proper relationship with my body.

Surrendering control has pointed out my unwarranted dependence on how it looks, not what it can do, as I had hoped.

Now, don't be sending me your leftover prozac just yet. Oddly enough, writing this did sort of help me admit how big (no pun whatsoever) pregnancy really is. So much of it right now is that I don't really know how "bad" it will get, or what it will be like to gain 25 to 50 pounds between now and 2006.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

This poem made me think about being pregnant.

Sonnet XVII
I don't love you as if you were the salt-rose, topaz
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as certain dark things are loved,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that doesn't bloom and carries
hidden within itself the light of those flowers,
and thanks to your love, darkly in my body
lives the dense fragrance that rises from the earth.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you simply, without problems or pride:
I love you in this way because I don't know any other way of loving

but this, in which there is no I or you,
so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand,
so intimate that when I fall asleep it is your eyes that close.

-Pablo Neruda

Nuts, we're nutty.

Did you know I'm a little insane in the membrane? The following Gross things force me to count until they go away. The Yum things make my world go round and round in giddy little circles.

*I don't like yellow. The color of nausea. Lemonade is nice, though.
*Escalators are evil. If you can walk and not just resign yourself to the inexorability, then they are revised up to onerous.
*Mechanized dolls/yard deer/christmas crap is hideous. I think it could be outlawed, if I get the petition going- Madison likes to ban things, right? Automatons make all my stomach muscles tense up and my neck go prickly.
*Playing Canon at weddings.
*People who call me "little lady". Makes a person feel like neither.

*Ketchup, precious shining jewel of the condiment world.
*J has a dimple. Amen.
*The viola has a C-string. To be honest, it also has a G-string, but this ain't that kind of blog.
*Hotels and travel. (Minus the bedspreads and airplane smells.)
*Clementines, when their peel practically falls off and each slice melts.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Welcome to my stream of semi-consciousness.

The grass is crunching underfoot, totally tan and brown.

The tomatoes have needed to be in the garden for a week or more. It's just too hot and I'm entirely too wussified. 50 lashes with a wet spade.

Today I crawled home, cranked up the air and dripped onto the couch. Simon was even in an all-new place; wonder why he didn't run downstairs to the cool cement floor.

I talked to an interesting woman today. She's deaf and either mute or had lost her voice, and had an interpreter with her. I wondered if I should watch her interpreter or her. I tried to speak to her normally, and not treat her like a kid or some one with dementia. My friend Mary is a stud who works as an interpreter for school-kids and other folks, and every time I talk to her I think how cool it would be to learn sign language.

Sound is such a big part of my experience of this world, I don't have much perspective on what it might actually be like to lose it. I know most deaf folks can feel some vibrations and enjoy music in a way, but man. I would imagine they want to have people communicate with them without being condescending. I wish our church had an interpreter.

Hey- did you know that they put treadmills on the roof of the gym in the summer? It seems a bit redundant, no? What with the paths and roads and track and air-conditioned machines all right there. But I have a date with my hot man there tonight, so don't scoff too loudly.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Monday, June 20, 2005

The Parable of the Talents

I have a talent for procrastination. Sheer talent, I tell you. I haven't done any of the five things I had lined up today. Looks like the only thing I'll really be getting done is napping and this class/performance thing tonight. Rachael used to say I have a talent for BS of the scholarly type. So that's two talents in one day- and I'm really hoping the chatty one holds true, since practicing was one of the five things left undone. I'll have to bob and weave.

Still haven't figured out the death-to-heaven timeline. J did point out more verses- like the thief on the cross being told he'd be with Christ in paradise immediately. Hmm. We went for a drive yesterday and in the tradition of my Gramma Johnson ended up in a beautiful little cemetary in Fitchburg. There were lots of neat old stones with dates hundreds of years back. It was a pretty spot, with shade trees and a meadow, but still- it seems to me that what happens to our physical bodies just can't be all that important. If we'll be restored to the earth when Christ comes back and fixes it up, then we must have been somewhere in between.

Maybe it's all a mix-up because of our inability to comprehend timelessness and eternity. Seems to goes hand in hand with the idea of boredom in heaven.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Zzip away, go on now.

We are partway through week 11. That means the sicko nastitude will soon disappear like magic. Aaaany second now. Yep.

Actually, today was nice. It was a two-nap day, which right off the bat gives it a big advantage over the average day. Then I got to read some Bartok duets with another violist for a class we're doing on Monday night. It's called Music in Performance- well, no, actually it's called Clap for Credit. Mostly undergrads take it for a one-credit to round out their requirements, since the only requirement is to come to class and hear performances.

Monday is a viola day for them. I'm trying to think of a title. Perhaps, "Anything you can do, viola can do better?" Since we like to steal other instrument's repertoire, see.

We also played a wedding, trios with Suzanne and Karl. Playing with her makes gigs worthwhile. Also the money helps. Today they wanted Beach Boys and the Beatles, and it was cute. I'm losing my jaded classical veneer- soon I'll be suggesting Kenny G classics and the latest from Britney Spears.

Suzanne asked me how that whole rising up from the ground when Jesus comes works what with the idea of heaven. Do we wait, do we stay here with Him? I wasn't sure exactly what the deal is there, even though between us we came up with a bunch of verses, so I'm going to look it up.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Kohei's e-mails make me smile.

I just have to share. After all, I taught Kohei English- sort of. He and his twin brother Shimpei were far and above my favorite students in Japan. On one of my Mom's visits, we went all over Japan with them and they set us up in an actual traditional hot-springs inn. (Sometimes the ones listed in magazines for foreigners aren't really all that authentic, although they're always an experience. Big surprise there, right?)

The subject of the e-mail was "Shalom"- when I lived in Japan, I was more interested in Judaism than Christianity. Kohei and Shimpei are Christians and acted like it- they were cool cats.

Hello Miriam and Jonathan,

How are you getting along these days?
I hope you are doing quite well in U.S.

I am still working at administration office in prep school.
That is located at Shinjyuku in Tokyo.
Mainly my duty is deskwork it is little bit of painful.
People have a different personality or idea and there are so many
differences of opinion about other worker and me.
We are not synchronized. I hope we make a better relationship.
Progressive ideas are important and keep on living of business.
But they do not make any progress in the business.
I feel the company will bankrupt.
Do not worry, I am enjoying!

I hope to hear form you soon.
I hope that your family is still in good health!
Take care and God bless you!

I miss you,
Kohei Na.Love Koko Na-Love (My last name "Narabu", sounds like a "Na-Love". Is not it?)
{I have to add: "Ra-bu" is the Japanglish pronunciation of "love" and his last name is Narabu, so...and he picked up the nickname Koko in Ohio at language school.}

This flower was raised on Kohei. Miriam and Jonathan! Look. Pretty rose are

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Mr. Sandman...

...brought me a dream. Can I get a refund?

First we were all (j's side of the family) in an airplane, but we had to somehow sneak out of it once it landed in this big wierd airport where I think there were aliens maybe.

Then we were all (my side of the family) in the back of a pickup truck driving around in rural Montana. Auntie Carole was closing the back door on the camper thingy and we left her behind. I noticed this and screamed and yelled until Uncle Cliff (or Papa- they both seemed to be driving) finally turned back. When we found her, she said, "oh, Miriam- I knew it would be you who made them come back for me". I'm such a self-serving dreamer.

Then I was hugely pregnant and for some reason I was visiting an elementary school with my violinist friend Kangwon to teach the kids about music- but without our instruments. We went into this one classroom and the teacher kept talking about the song they were working on. Here's where it get's a little dicey. The title of the song was, "The Pretty F-ing Penguins". I tried to argue with the teacher and told him if I was a parent I'd be pretty ticked off. He said to the kids, "see, kids- some people are just not happy dolphins."

I woke up smiling at the insanity. Does swearing count in your sleep when it's some other guy doing it and you even take him up on it?? I'm still all righteous and pure and stuff, right??? It couldn't be that my mischievous brain had some F-bombs just dying to detonate. Ahem.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Much better now...

... and hopefully that's okay. I felt much better yesterday and today. Yay! Still took an extensive and deep nap yesterday, and may again today. I mean, hey, no sense in pushing it, right?

Yesterday's sermon was good. Actually, the one sentence I remember is, "Your view of God is the most important thing about you."

Chris spoke on Psalm 18, which was cool. He talked about David's view of God and the nature of descriptive language in Jewish poetry forms. He also kept humming heroic music whenever God mounted Cherubin or rode in to save David's day.

On our sermon notes we had written funny stuff and now I can't find them. Mostly J just kept replying to my deep spiritual questions by writing, "...Uhhhhh."

We nearly had a meltdown afterward when we drove to 4 different eating establishments and each was closed. See, there was a soup requirement, which is by no means too much to ask, no? And then the one place that was still open and happy to take our money (unlike Atlanta Bread at 7:50, a FULL ten minutes pre-8pm) put... shudder...BACON on the lovely four-dollar bowl of clam chowder.

Have I mentioned that my husband is the kind of stud who will take a little styrofoam container back inside his favorite restaurant and complain that bacon (his favorite food in perhaps the entire universe) has sullied his little wifey's soup. All this despite there being sort of a pre-meltdown warmup in the car, not aimed at him so much but denting the dashboard with sheer decibel power a little just the same. Screeching can be such a release.

Friday, June 10, 2005


Today is so far, since J left for work, mostly a "meh" kind of day.

I have a headache and should do laundry and need to vacuum and students are coming and I slept TWO MORE HOURS and it didn't seem to do nothin'.

I found a site with a reading list and got all excited about reading some of the stuff on it until I realized- any reading I'm doing really ought to go toward a little slip of paper with words like Doctor and Viola Performance on it.

See what I mean? Meh.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Thump thump swoosh swoosh!

First Ultrasound! Posted by Hello

I have to say, making a pregnant person wait almost 30 minutes with an as-directed FULL bladder was a little toward the cruel end of the spectrum, but it was worth it.

The very first view was a face- on one and I think I saw little arm-buds and everything. The heart was flickering in the middle and other than that, there was indistinguishable blob-shaped goodness all over the place. In the preview (the one that required me to drink 36 ounces and then hold it for an hour before the appointment), she pointed to a huge black mass of death-star proportions and announced that THAT was my bladder. Cowering below it, almost smushed off the screen was my uterus and the tiny baby & its baggage.

How coooool, though! AND the best part was when she put the heart beat through the system's speakers, complete with one of those HAL-like squiggly sound-representation lines.

She said January 19th is the current estimate. Exactly 3 days after Tiffany (!), though these things are a ball park that encompases 2 weeks before and 2 after.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

All Hail the Little Sprocket!

Same hill, different day. I have not been this sweaty in perhaps my whole entire life. Still steep & long and slow, but God bless that third sprocket. It's 89 degrees, thankfully not much head wind.

So on Sunday we were listening to This American Life, a very cool radio show we like. Unfortunately, this week was about God and christians and evangelicals and faith. I was really disappointed in who they dragged out to represent. It was the usual; the exact wrong arguments about church-and-state, emotional pleas based on views that require faith on the part of the listener, etc. Click here to listen, but I would also advise listening to a bit of some of their other shows to get an idea of their usual level of savvitude.

The story at the end, about a woman losing her faith entirely after a run-in with some Mormons prompts her to explore the Bible (sound familiar?) has been on my mind all week. The advice and responses her priest gives her are horrific and sad. Her reasoning contains some common flaws, which I have heard intelligently debated by Ravi Zacharaius and Philip Yancey among others. (Also by... JESUS???)

Anyway, this show has really gotten stuck in my mind and I wonder about that woman. I could so easily see myself in her shoes, had I not met the people I did and read the things I found.

Monday, June 06, 2005

A Mighty Wind

Today as I rode up that last hill to home I could not figure out why it seemed that I was barely making any headway, and standing up in the pedals was not nearly as turbo-boosted as usual. It was pretty windy, and as I finally crested the hill and turned into our neighborhood I realized it really had been aimed right at me. (I just checked and it was 15-20 miles per hour.)

This is almost exactly what it's like to be pregnant. Suddenly you actually notice that it takes an effort to, say, walk the 10 feet from the couch to the kitchen. As though there is a headwind from every single direction.

It's noisy, too: I get distracted easily and have trouble remembering things. Yesterday I thought a student was coming at 11:30 and thereby stood him up at 11. Today I showed up what turned out to be 30 mintues too early on my bike at tiff's, knocking on her slider and waving like a lunatic in my bike helmet.

If only I lived in South America, where a half hour here or there is inconsequential. (J is laughing right now, since this kind of schedule would drive me beyond batty.)

Thursday, June 02, 2005

This may only be funny to me...

Here's a post from May 3rd, when I was indeed most likely pregnant.

TGI Thursday

This is my favorite kind of day for the summer. I have a lot to get done, but I can do it all in whatever order I please. That means I can nap and avoid the barf-effects of late afternoon hormones, too.

First, I HAVE to get those Hostas planted today. Don't tell Travis and Angie, but I've been torturing their lovely plants by leaving them out of the ground all week. Every time I open the sliding back door to let the dog out they get all hopeful and perky, only to have those hopes dashed when I don't even set foot in the back yard. I did water them with the hose, but they were unimpressed.

Gardening for me is like much of my life. I'm all gung-ho for a day or two, getting everything just how I like it. The next day I expect to already see sprouts and flowers and little beginnings of fruit. A few days later I realize that I've forgotten all about watering, and a few days after that I'm shocked to see a few sprouts and limp, thirsty plants.

Don't you think a nice layer of bark or cocoa mulch would look nice, though?

The other things to do today are not nearly as fun. Picking things up & dropping them off, studying the materials for my written project, trying not to get sick.

I have this nagging fear that I will not be able to get everything done for my degree. I'm hoping it's mostly irrational, but the fact that the advisor for grad students in the music department is notoriously unhelpful doesn't do anything to reassure me. Plus, I keep hearing from other students about more things I'll have to do- like present a printed program and recording of each degree recital.

This will all seem simple afterwards, right? I'll look back and think, 'Oh yeah, that degree- it was really no big deal, and each step really added to my overall academic prowess.' No hoops here.