Mixed trio

Sep. 15th, 2009 12:05 am
juthwara: (Default)
1. So the amended budget relief bill has passed the House, with most of the amendments the Senate added stripped out. Now it falls to the Senate to pass or punt it. They have four days before layoff notices go out and three weeks before the city shuts down. I hope they can pull their heads out of their asses and compromise before then.

Meanwhile, I've realized a problem with the move back to Michigan plan is that if we haul all of our stuff back to Michigan, then [livejournal.com profile] longstrider gets called the next week to get offered his job back, he'll get kicked off of unemployment if he turns it down. Yet at the same time, our lease is up at the end of November, and I certainly don't want to get to February or so and run out of money only to be stuck with another 9 months of lease. So it's going to be a weird timing act balancing the likelihood of the crisis being resolved versus needing to move. Assuming it's necessary.

Sigh. I don't do limbo well.

2. We went to a church picnic Sunday and had a lovely time. There were four babies in church today and we had a good time talking with two of the other sets of parents. One of the babies was a day older than Alec and K had a great time playing with his 2 1/2 year old brother, so I'm hoping we might be able to get together with them.

We've had the worst time trying to meet people since we moved here. It's been a combination of weird work schedules that prevent us from going to the places where we could meet people, having a small child and bad luck. We perhaps haven't been as proactive as we could have been in following up on continuing to get together with people after having an initial social contact, but, well, our phone receives calls too, so it's not like it should all be on us. This is the first time in a long time that I've had multiple good, long conversations with people I'm not related to or have known for 15 years. It makes me hopeful.

3. Alec and I had a productive thirty minute nursing session tonight. It wasn't enough to fill him up - I eventually ended it because he was getting frantic and handed him off to his father for a bottle top-up. But I had pumped less than two hours previously and got only two ounces when I pumped again after feeding him when I would have expected at least four, and he drank only two ounces out of the bottle when a typical feeding for him is 5 1/2, so he clearly got quite a bit of milk from me.

It took a while to get up the will to try again. First I had thrush, then he developed painful reflux. And as it turns out, I felt so defeated after his one months appointment where he was only half a pound over his birth weight despite bottle feeding on demand that it took a while to get up the courage to trust that he would get any real nourishment. But as it turns out, I really hate bottlefeeding in the middle of the night and would give quite a lot to be able to breastfeed him in bed, especially when I find myself dropping the bottle on his face as I accidentally drift off and lose my grip. I also have the pressing dealine of wanting to be able to breastfeed him on the plane when we fly to California next month. Even if we have to give him formula as well, I really don't want to have to figure out how to pump on the plane and there's no way I won't have to relieve the pressure somehow on a six-hour flight. I don't feel the need to work towards exclusive breastfeeding; I like being able to hand him off to [livejournal.com profile] longstrider so he can do a late-night feeding or nudge him to get up with the baby in the morning. But the ability to breastfeed when it isn't convenient to pump would be the best of both worlds.

It seems like as I had hoped, getting older has increased his strength. I was reflecting today that it should have been a hint to me that when I was in the hospital, I was marvelling at the fact that my nipples weren't hurting at all despite all of the breastfeeding. I suppose they wouldn't if your infant isn't sucking on them with any real suction.


Aug. 23rd, 2009 10:10 pm
juthwara: (Default)
1. Since we're in the rare position this summer of nobody having to work on the weekend, we've been trying to get back in the habit of going to church. A large part of why we drifted away from our last church was the lack of childcare, since for some reason I find it difficult to develop my spiritual life when a bored toddler decides to play Edmund Hillary with me as her personal Mt. Everest. While K is now old enough for Sunday School, Alec is going to be starting up the pew wrestling matches soon enough so we decided to look farther afield. I found a nearby church that just recently declared itself Open and Affirming, offers a nursery and seems like a nice compromise of being large enough to offer good religious education and programs, yet not so large that you feel lost in the crowd, and we've successfully gone there three times in the past six weeks, which isn't bad given that we have two pint-size insomniacs who live to keep us up at night.

This Sunday was the first where we heard the minister preach, since she was on vacation the first two times we came. The sermon favorably impressed me in two ways. The first is that she was preaching on the armor of God, a topic heavily favored by Evangelical types* and nervously avoided by we hippy-dippy liberal progressive types because the literal interpretation of that particular scripture is that the armor is protection against Satan. However, this minister delivered a quite excellent interpretation for a progressive liberal Christian context. And she did it by referencing Star Wars, the Mirror Mirror episode of Star Trek, The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, and specifically enough that it was clear that she was very personally acquainted with all of these things, not just drawing from popular culture.

A challenge we've had in finding churches is that while everyone is always very nice, we never seem to find anyone we have anything in common with. A church with a minister geeky enough to be able to preach in detail on the opening scenes of book 7 of Harry Potter seems very promising on that front. Another good sign is that even though it was August and therefore sparsely attended, there were two other families there with babies - not having young families is another issue we've encountered while church-shopping.

So I'm hopeful we'll be able to keep up with attending as we move into the fall and I start working again.

2. We went to see Ponyo this afternoon. Oh my, it was a cute movie. The animation was gorgeous, as usual. The plot didn't bear close examination, but it was enjoyable and didn't even hit us with the 2 x 4 of environmental awareness. It was K's first Miyazaki in the theatre ex utero, since we saw Howl's Moving Castle when I was a week overdue with her. She absolutely loved it, and while she said it was scary afterwards, she didn't need to leave the theatre, which we've had to do in the past. So if you're the parent of a very sensitive small child that you would like to take to the movies, while it's not completely free of scariness, it's pretty mild and a good movie for the young scaredy-cat.

3. After months of frustration trying to figure out how to take good pictures on my camera without using the flash, I discovered quite accidentally last month that my camera has a specific setting for that right there in a place that should be obvious for anyone to see. The combination of discovering that, the fact that Alec's changing table is one of the few places that gets natural light in the house and Alec starting to smile has meant that I now have a lot of portrait shots of him on his changing table. But it's hard not to keep taking pictures when you have a model like this:


* Here's the story of how I became acquainted with the theology of the armor of God: when I was a teenager, the church I grew up in decided to purchase a Sunday School curriculum that consisted of a scripted series of shows using puppets and humans in a combination of skits and singing to teach concepts. It was called Caraway Street, and any slight resemblance to certain shows on PBS is a COMPLETE coincidence. I always felt it was kind of outrageous how concerned the creator of Caraway Street was with protecting his copyright considering that he was stretching the concept of fair use until it was practically doughnut-shaped.

Anyway, the creator of Caraway Street was some sort of Evangelical Baptist-type, and my church was UCC, which made for some incompatible theology issues. This particular church was not at all liberal**, but we still didn't traffic much in Devil talk or go in for heavy evangelism. So when the creator came to train us and showed us the pamphlet we could give the children so they could convert all of their friends on the playground,*** we nodded politely and somehow never remembered to pass them out after he left. And initially the scripts seemed fine. The emphasis on memorizing the books of the Bible seemed a bit inane, but harmless.

But through a complicated series of events, I wound up in charge of the program****, which meant I was in charge of making up cue cards, and found myself progressively editing the lines more heavily every week as more fire and brimstone kept creeping into the skits. And this is when I first encountered the armor of God: the week I had to start completely eliminating skits because Satan was starting to take on a speaking role. And the damn thing kept coming up again and again. I suppose I can understand why, since it lends itself to easy slogan-y chanting (the breastplate of righteousness! The sword of demon slaying! The tinfoil hat of alien-mindray repelling!). But I started to hate it very quickly, as I kept having to make the singing portions longer and longer to cover the fact that the scripts were starting to get quite anemic after I was done editing for hellfire.

** In fact, I believe they later left the UCC. The fact that many people didn't have nearly as many issues with the scripts as I did is a good indicator of why my family left the church later that year.

*** This being a heavily religious area (my home town had literally a church per every square mile, and a common question was "What church do you go to?" not, "Do you attend church?"), I think they would have been forced to convert the local squirrels due to a general lack of young heathens among their classmates.

**** The fact that a 16-year-old was in charge of the church's Sunday School program for a good six months is an excellent indicator of why we left the church later that year.


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