Archive for the 'Autobio' Category


Saturday, October 11th, 2008

So Sarah’s over the ear infection that I last blogged about.  But who knew – the antibiotics caused her to have a ‘yeast rash’ on her bottom!  I’d never seen that before, but Sarah broke out in the worst-imaginable-looking red, almost blistery, diaper rash, and I figured out, thanks to some Googling, what the problem was.  A lot of lotramin and a Dr. visit later, and she’s fine again.

But that seems like a minor happening in light of all the other things that have been going on around here.

It’s going to be a Christmas letter for the record books.  Almost everything about our lives has changed since the last holiday season.

New house, new daycare, new bi-weekly housecleaner, new tenants in the old house, new status as long-distance-landlords with respect to the old house, new baby, new degree (Paul graduated from law school), and now, new job for Kelly(!) and, as of today, new (well, used) minivan for Kelly, too.

That’s right, I said new job for Kelly.  Life is full of surprises, and this was a good opportunity. 

So now I’m a newly initiated member of a subculture of Milwaukee people (when I show up at the station in the early morning, I tend to think of us as ‘the bedraggled masses’) who travel on the 6:15 a.m. Hiawatha Service Amtrack train to Chicago (I come back on the 3:15 p.m.) occasionally for work.  (My new firm has a large office in Chicago that need to visit sometimes).  It’s a new situation for us, but a good one.

All the changes are good, even if they all require some adjustments.

I think I’ll be fine if we don’t have too many other changes this year, though.  We may just be up to our quota for the year!!

Note to self…

Monday, July 14th, 2008

No closet rod home fix-it project in the world is so urgent that it needs to be fixed late at night in the basement.

Oh yeah.  And never EVER try to quickly whittle down the diameter of closet rod wood with a box cutter.  (Dang).  I’m just lucky that the blade went in at the angle it did, and no tendons were hurt. 

I got six sticthes during the wee early hours of the Fourth of July.  And I get them out tomorrow. 

6 stitches on the 4th of July Oops Oops2 Oops3

Googling Bob Barker

Friday, June 27th, 2008

So part of having a baby (for all women and for some lucky men) is parental leave from work for some amount of time.  April 30 was my last day at the office, and I’ll return twelve weeks after that – on July 24.

Since Sarah’s birth was induced (four days before her due date due to concerns that she would be a large baby, and that labor was very near anyway), I was able to ‘schedule’ one free day off for myself before her May 2nd birth.  That May 1 was a quiet, neat day.  I just took it easy, decompressed a bit from the rush to wrap up/transition all of my projects at work, checked the hospital bags for all the necessaries, took myself out to lunch, and just tried to enjoy the last day as a mother of one child.

On May 2, well, we all know what happened that day.

And since then, I’ve been temporarily at home, caring for the special new little sweetheart in our lives. 

But another part of being on leave is getting to experience weekdays at home – a novelty for a full-time employed person like me.

One of the first things that struck me was that on the Soap Operas that I have loosely followed for years (going back to my high school and some college free days), most of the main characters turned up inexplicably married to different main characters than they were married to when I watched during the last maternity leave, about three years ago.  Not only that, but the children of the main characters, who were still tiny tots three years ago, have been rapidly aged by much more than three years and are, in various cases, now teenagers or young adults running businesses.  In the case of Victor Newman on the Young and the Restless (which is supposed to be set in Wisconsin, by the way), he has one whole new, adult son who’s turned up that I never knew about before.

Not only that, I have watched a little bit of the “new” Price is Right, with Drew Carey, instead of Bob Barker, as host.  As I first watched, I wondered how old Bob was doing.  Is he still alive?  Is he ill?  I thought about Googling him.  Then realized how ridiculous that would be.  But then realized that ‘Googling Bob Barker’ would make a spiffy blog post title.

The next thing that struck me was how bad daytime TV is.  One highlight is that a local independent station plays German-language Deutsche Welle for much of the day, so I can brush up on my German when the mood strikes.  Also, in the early days, I watched and got hooked on a few Lifetime Movie Network movies, but after the first few days, I’ve tried to stay away from the TV for the most part.

It’s more interesting, when I’m not doing dishes or laundry, and when I’m just hanging out with a sleeping baby on me, to simply pay attention to what goes on in the neighborhood, and even in our own house, during the day.

One of the greatest sources of amusements has been our cats, whose secret weekday daytime lives I am now privileged to observe.  Mostly they just sleep alot.  But Jim also makes a point of sleeping on, or in, every single baby-item in the house.  I’ve finally given up on removing him.  He just goes right back, anyway. 

The Secret Lives of Cats Darn that Jim... Darn that Jim!  I've given up on keeping him off the baby's things That Jim sits on ALL the baby's things!And the cats are enjoying having me home.  They get to go outside and come inside throughout the day now, which has led to a new hobbie for Minnie: sitting on the outside window ledges of the house and looking in.

Minnie - Inside Out Our cats Minnie's new hobby is to hang out on the outside window ledges

All this fun is going to come to an end of four weeks (minus one day).   

It’s almost a shame that a nice break of time like this isn’t built into the work year (or every other year or two or three) for every American.  It’s a healthy thing to do to just have the mental break and to refresh from the usual work routine.  Oh, well.  For me, four weeks is still a nice amount of time to enjoy, and that’s what I plan on doing.  Right along with the baby, the cats, the bad tv, the computer, and the errands and (decaf) Starbucks runs. 

With a baby who is reluctant to sleep anywhere else other than right on Mom, I know I’ll get in a lot of rest before this gig is up.

It’s Official!

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

BabySarah 016 

Baby Sarah has arrived!

We’re home now and all doing well.

More details soon!

Spring is Here!

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

After a record-breaking cold and snowy winter in Milwaukee, it’s now clear that Springtime has fully arrived!

The flowers are blooming, the days are warming, and the mammals are readying to give birth to their young.

Or, maybe most of the other mammals have already done it, and it’s just *me* who is readying….

Our new baby is promising to be on the larger side, and in light of that, and some other physical developments (nothing negative), my Dr. is planning to induce labor a few days ahead of the official due date, and less than one week from the time that I write this.

So we’ll be welcoming our new baby home within days.

It’s exciting.  I’m also just trying to rest as much as possible before then, and to spend some good quality time with my sweet, sweet daughter Emma.

Here are some recent pictures (taken, by the way, with our new digital camera – we have one again, yay!)


Springtime Beauties


Nine Months Pregnant


Emma on the Slide


Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

Ooooh…. three weeks since I posted anything here.

And last night, I had three big contractions that made me sure that we would be having a baby imminently.

But then they stopped – the contractions, I mean.

But I got a little reminder of what all that feels like.  (And it’s not really that good).

And a little (well, a lot) of inspiration to finish up a lot of projects at work today, since I now feel like I could ‘go’ at, really, any time. 

Luckily, I got up at 1:30 last night and mosty finished packing my hospital bag and Emma’s overnight bag, and when the time comes, we’ll all be ready to react accordingly.

With updates – and I suspect a healthy number of baby pictures – here, too, of course.

(We finally replaced our dear camera that was recently lost [let’s hear it for great deals on e-bay!], and I’ll soon be able to post real digitally-made photos to Flickr, again, and to blog them here!)

Admitting Defeat

Tuesday, January 8th, 2008

Hmmm.  In case anyone missed it, I haven’t posted here (or even had time for my old passion of frequent picture taking) for over two months!!!!

It’s finally all caught up with me – my schedule and current life situation.

I haven’t had much time for blogging while being pregnant, getting to my scheduled Dr. appointments, working full time, being a member of two non-profit boards and in a leadership position on one national American Bar Association subcommittee, mothering a precocious, feisty, sweet and earnest two year old daughter, having a husband who is both finishing up part time law school, working as a part-time law clerk, and running his own business, trying to keep my family shopped for and well-fed, and with clean laundry, or helping (ok, only a little) to pack up the house as we prepare to move to our new home…

Somehow reading even all that, it still doesn’t seem that I should feel as tired as I feel.

But I am.  I attended a lunch meeting of working moms recently and heard a speech by a “life coach”.  She talked about the fact that we all find ourselves, throughout our lives, in different “seasons.”  These seasons are affected by our obligations and choices, as well as by those of our family members.

“Until a woman’s youngest child turns 4,” she said, “she is in a very low energy season.”

Got that?

That means it will all get better… in about five years!

And I know that on the sleep-getting front, it’s only going to get worse before it gets better.  Having already had a baby once, I now have no more illusions that only other people can’t get sleep when a new baby is in the house. 

So I’m kind of mentally preparing to be fairly homebound and tired once May rolls around.

I’m probably only feeling extra anxious now just because our move to the new home is on the near horizon.

Once we get settled in there, I’m sure everything will unfold peacefully.  And once the baby comes, I’ll remember that there’s an awful lot of sweetness to brighten up those tired early days.

Plus, after having lived with a toddler (the potty training situation is getting better and better over time), it will be amazing to again have a child that actually just lays still for a diaper change instead of squirming violently away from the diaper, or, more recently, yells “I don’t WANT to sit on the potty!”

So, maybe I’ll get back to posting more frequently here.

But if I don’t, you’ll know why…

Happy 2008, everyone!

Introducing the Blast-from-the-Past Pregnancy Journal

Monday, October 15th, 2007

I have read in many places that a common side-effect, if you will, of pregancy is forgetfulness. Here’s a Q&A on a mommy website that addresses the issue:

Why have I felt so absentminded since I’ve been pregnant?
Many pregnant women say their short-term memory isn’t up to par during pregnancy, particularly during their first and third trimesters.

It certainly seems to make sense: In your first trimester, you may be distracted by thoughts about this new adventure you’re beginning or worries about your baby’s health, as well as exhausted and nauseated from the hormonal changes you’re undergoing. During your third trimester, you may be overwhelmed or just plain distracted by the huge life changes you’re about to experience and again exhausted if you’re having trouble getting a good night’s sleep.

Research on pregnancy and memory is limited, so no one knows for sure what’s really going on. While some studies have found evidence of verbal and memory deficits during pregnancy, others have shown that pregnant women actually do just as well in cognitive tests as women who aren’t pregnant.

One study found that pregnant women did experience a decline in memory, but only in the third trimester. Interestingly, in a different study, pregnant women rated themselves as having performed worse than they would have before pregnancy, even though they tested just as well as a group that wasn’t pregnant. So if you think you’re flakier than usual while you’re pregnant, it may just be your perception.

My OWN Doctor’s take on the subject is that pregnancy forgetfulness is a result of the hormones and is nature’s way of softening the edge (at least in hindsight) on some of the less pleasant aspects of pregnancy.

Nothing wrong with forgetting the downside.

And generally, I agree with this view.

I found that, after Emma was born, the details of the pregnancy, and how I felt at what stages, kind of faded from view. That was well enough from my perspective, but it is hard to explain to expecting women who come to a pregnancy-veteran for advice that you can’t answer their question about how it was for you because you just can’t remember.

Anyway, the forgetting aspect is one of the things that makes me so glad that I kept a pregnancy journal throughout those days carrying Emma.

August Journal 013

And now that I’m pregnant again – and once again have those kinds of issues on the mind – I figure this is as fine a time as any to share some of the highlights from that journal.

So I’ll be doing that – over the coming weeks. It’s already interesting to see where some of the ways I’m feeling about the new baby (and about pregnancy, generally) are the same as, and different from, they were during the first go-round.

Generally speaking, this time, there is a virtual absence of anxiety about the many unknown changes (physical, emotional, household- and work-related) that the birth of a first baby brings. There’s also a dull sense of dread mixed with determined stoicism, though, at how the physical part will get more challenging before it gets better – although I no longer have any fears about the actual birthing process.

Beyond that, my current tale is just one of hormones. Lots of hormones. Lots of emotion and more tears at trivial stories than usual. Pregnant women should not be allowed to watch Hallmark Commercials or to listen to an interview on the radio in which Benedictine Nun, Sister Joan Chittister, recounts some of her poignant childhood memories.


Thursday, August 31st, 2006

I never cease to be amazed  by the universal human propensity to believe that (only) other people speak with an accent.

Now, I happen to have what I refer to as a chameleon ear.¬† That means that I can’t help but to absorb and to speak with the type of language/dialect/accent in which I’m immersed at any given time.¬†¬†l’m convinced that this is a trait that some people have and some people don’t.¬† I find that those who are skilled in music tend much more in the chameleon-ear¬†direction than those who aren’t.¬†

In my case, my impressionability extends even to speech mannerisms and the kind of impression made on the listener.  I learned long ago, therefore, that I need to choose my surroundings carefully.  During my brief stint as a telemarketer, I always had better sales successes when sitting next to a successful seller.

I became aware of this trait in myself as a child, when I would leave the confines of Southern Indiana each year for a month-long stay with my grandparents in Bethesda, Maryland, just over the Washington D.C. city line. 

I distinctly remember being suddenly aware,¬†when calling¬†my mother from Maryland, of¬†her very southern-sounding drawl – and I knew that when I was at home, she had less of an “accent” than many fellow southern Hoosiers.¬† She would also comment on the Easternization of¬†my speaking during, and just after, my summer visits.

My ears almost fell off when, after just having arrived home from a year in Germany, some relatives at a dinner party in Kentucky asked if I wanted to “triiiiiiiiiiiiy some piiiiiiiiiiiiiie.”

All of this brings me to living now¬†in Wisconsin.¬† I vividly¬†remember that when I met Paul in D.C., I was struck by the strength of his marked and earnest Wisconsin/Minnesota accent.¬† I tried and tried, but couldn’t properly imitate it.¬† But I could hear¬†it from a mile away.¬†

And now that we live here, I must sound pretty much the same as he does.¬† When people here learn that I’m not a Milwaukee native, they express surprise.¬†

Last night – I love it -¬†while getting my hair cut by a new person at my favorite salon, the hair cutter asked, upon learning that I’m from Indiana, whether I “used to have an accent.”¬† I laughed.¬† Several different kinds of responses internally competed for expression, especially since, to my thinking, I currently have more of an accent than I did in Indiana.¬†¬†His question also presumed, in a way that I find charming, that to speak in the distinctly Wisconsin way is to speak accent free.¬†

I love that the Cheeseheads have no idea how much, to anyone outside the state, they sound unique.¬† In many conversations here, I’ve heard the assertion that Wisconsinites don’t have an accent.

And my mother, who lives here now, too, gets asked almost every day about just which part of the Deep South she is from. 

Oh, geez!¬†¬†Den dis¬†Wisconsin Dictionary mus’¬†jus’ be for hoots and hollers, next time dey’re by deir friends for a beer, hey?

Happy Anniversary to Us!

Monday, August 7th, 2006

The Happy Couple

Originally uploaded by Koog Family.


By the time anyone reads this, we’ll have left for the 49th State – Alaska – to do a little celebratin’ of our wedded state, which began seven years ago today!