Feeling human again

It's been a while since I wrote about Judah and how things have been going with him. So I guess it's time for an update. I think things were looking pretty dark last time I wrote about being a mother. After Judah was born, things were very very ugly for a while, like two months or so. Post partum hit me really hard, and I had a bad time of it because of my pride. Even though I don't generally see depression in others as weakness or anything like that, that's exactly how I saw it when it came to me. In the past I've always been on top of my feelings and I haven't let things get me down. So I was really frustrated and angry that I couldn't get on top of the depression, and I felt like I was a failure because I couldn't. I felt like I should be strong enough to handle it, and I should be able to think my way through it. Guess what? Sometimes that's not possible.

We have a friend who says, "When in doubt, medicate." I never thought I'd need it and I didn't want it, but thank the Lord for Zoloft. My wonderful, understanding doctor prescribed it for me when I went in to his office and couldn't even work up the strength to really even tell him what I was going through. So he said it all for me, better than I could have. He said, "You've been looking forward to having this baby and thinking it would be wonderful, and now he's here and you feel like it's not such a good thing and your life is over." And I started crying for about the 18th time that day. I had been going through hell, and the guilty feelings were killing me. I'd look at Judah and feel like he deserved so much better than me, like he deserved a mother who would love him more and be less selfish. Honestly, I think all the weight I lost after he was born was water weight from all the crying.

Things have gotten SO MUCH BETTER. I feel like a normal person again. I can laugh, I can be with a group of people without feeling isolated, I can be content to stay home with Judah and not feel trapped. And I can love my baby so much it hurts sometimes. I enjoy him so much more now. He's so cute! His personality is really developing, and I think he finally is getting used to being in this world. He's sleeping through the night most of the time now, and that's a huge deal. Until about a week ago he cried literally every time I put him down and wouldn't stop until I picked him up again, and he couldn't sleep on his own during the day. I had to hold him for every nap. People thought I was exagerating when I told them this, but I really wasn't. I honestly held him ALL DAY for three months. I have tendonitis in my left arm to prove it. But last week Judah passed the milestone of being able to roll from his back to his front (he's been going from front to back since he was 5 weeks old), and it's made all the difference in the world. He's content to play on the floor with his stuffed animals and books now for a while, and he's been taking LONG naps in the afternoons in his crib. Such a relief! He smiles at us a lot, and the other day he began laughing, and he talks all the time (but only in the language of vowels). We've taken him swimming several times, and he's been to the Orange County Fair twice and was an angel both times. We're having so much fun with him, finally.

I'm not sure what prompted me to share all this, rather than just giving a quick "things are fine and I'm better" update. I think it's because I've seen others around me suffer from post-partum depression and not get the treatment they need soon enough. I guess I feel like I should share my experience if there's even the slightest possibility that it will help someone else. Thanks for praying for me, those of you that have been. I appreciate it so much, more than you'll ever know.

Guilty Pleasures part 2

Everybody has those songs that they're kind of ashamed of liking, don't they? You know, something by Celine Dion or Kenny G that you really secretly love. I heard one of mine the other day, and I cranked it up and sang along while one part of me cringed in embarrassment and shame. Here are some of my songs that I'm blushing to say I like, and why I still like them.

"Something to Believe In" by Poison
Dave and I used to drive around in his Mustang convertible with the top down on cold nights and sing this song at the top of our lungs. It was especially funny when we'd hit a bump and the CD would skip and we'd both be shouting in the sudden silence. Incidentally, Dave sold that car before I was old enough to drive it. Thanks, brother.

"The End of the Innocence" by Don Henly
Another Dave story, for some reason this reminds me of his blue Oldsmobile, the 442. Another car I never got to drive....

"Man in the Mirror" by Michael Jackson
It seems like this song was always on when I was on my way to my piano lessons when I was ten. This was one of those songs that you could find on the radio at any time if you tried enough stations. There's a part where the lyrics go, "And no message could have been any clearer." Until I told him differently several months ago, Nathan thought this part was, "And no mustache is gonna bend any clipper." What?!?!

"Ice Ice Baby" by Vanilla Ice
My freshman year of highschool. Seemed like everyone was singing this song, and I still hear people saying, "Rollin' in my 5.0 with my ragtop down so my hair can blow." Okay, I'm the only one that says that. Sadly, this is one of those songs that you'll never hear on the radio since it got eclipsed by the song it ripped the hook off from, "Under Pressure" by Queen (with David Bowie).

"Blame It on the Rain" by Milli Vanilli
Rob and Fab. How could you NOT love them? They got a Grammy for being fakes!

"If It Isn't Love" by New Edition
I actually still love almost anything by these guys, including "Candy Girl" and "Can You Stand the Rain." So much fun. Laugh at them if you will, but this group spawned so many big names it's unreal.

"One More Try" by George Michael
When I was in junior high I thought this was the saddest song around. I think I maybe used to cry while I listened to it. Sheesh.

Alright, I think that's quite enough for tonight. Oh, one more. I really like the theme from "In a Summer Place" by Percy Faith. I feel like I'm 60 years old when I admit that. See, I told you these were embarrassing! Stay tuned for more confessions of a pop culture victim....


Beware of SPOILERS!!

If you haven't yet read Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and don't want to know what happens, stop reading this post right now. It is full of spoilers and speculation on the last book. Consider yourself warned!

So yes, I'm entirely too into Harry Potter for someone my age. But I have to admit, I love the books. Took me a long time to get around to reading the first one, but when I finally did I got addicted. So last Friday night I was at the SAVI Ranch Borders with Barbara, waiting for midnight and the release of book six. Unfortunately, we didn't get there until after 11, and the number I was issued was 355. We hung around until almost one, but didn't think they'd get to my number within the next hour or so, so we left. I went back the next morning and picked up my copy, and began reading almost immediately. I finished it earlier today, which is no small feat considering I've got a four month old baby who demands almost constant attention. In some ways the things in this book were a complete surprise, in other ways they were expected... so here are my observations and speculations for the seventh book. Last chance to stop reading if you don't want to know....

1. Least surprising: Dumbledore's death. I saw it coming before I'd even seen the book. Rowling said a major character was going to die, and it stands to reason that it wouldn't be Ron or Hermione. Their talents work together with Harry's, and he couldn't continue to be victorious without both of them.

2. Most surprising: Snape killed Dumbledore! I always hated Snape, but since Dumbledore trusted him I figured he was okay. However, I think he only did it because he made the unbreakable vow to Narcissa, Draco's mother, saying he'd fulfill Draco's task (killing Dumbledore) if Draco couldn't do it. Snape may still turn out to be a reliable member of the Order, but no one will ever trust him again. I think he might redeem himself in some spectacular way in book seven, maybe by dying to save Harry. He wouldn't allow Harry to be killed at the end of book six, and wouldn't kill him even when he had the chance.

3. Draco's a death eater. Not too surprising, but I don't think it'll last. Harry finds him crying in a bathroom and saying that he can't do "it," which is killing Dumbledore. He is only carrying out Voldemort's instructions under the threat of death, and when he faces Dumbledore and has the chance to kill him he can't do it, even though he knows it's Dumbledore's life or his. Dumbledore tells Draco he's not a killer, and Dumbledore is usually right about people. I think Draco's another person who will redeem himself in the end. Interestingly enough, this twist was predicted in a lot of fan fictions. However, Rowling has said that Draco and Hermione will never be together, so there goes my pet theory.

4. Somewhere in the last couple of chapters, after Dumbledore dies, Harry goes back to his office, which is now McGonagall's office. He sees that Dumbledore's portrait is now among the other portraits of past headmasters. In other books, we've seen the portraits talk and move and be aware of current events. They travel between locations, and carry messages, and even give advice to the current headmaster. So, does this mean that Harry will still be able to communicate with Dumbledore? It'll almost be like he's not even gone, if that's the case. I read someone else's theory that Harry will eventually get Dean Thomas (who has artistic talent) to draw portraits of Sirius and his parents so that he can talk to them. This makes sense to me, and seems like Harry should've thought of it earlier.

5. Hogwarts closing? No seventh year? Even if it stays open, Harry says at the end of the book that he won't be returning. Ron and Hermione are determined to stick with him, so I guess we won't be seeing much of Hogwarts in the seventh book.

6. Lily. She keeps coming up, and Rowling has said that her past is hugely important in understanding the whole story. What's the deal with her? I have no idea. She was from a muggle family, so I would think that Harry's dad's past would be the one to look at. There's such an emphasis on how Harry looks like Tom Riddle. Were his dad and the Riddles related? But there's also something important about Harry having Lily's eyes. Weird.

7. And last. Who took the Horcrux that Harry and Dumbledore went to find? His initials are RAB. If this person is someone who's already been mentioned, and it probably is, the only person I can come up with is Regulus Black, Sirius's brother. He's mentioned in book five when they're looking at the Black family tree. He was a Death Eater at one time, but then changed his mind and was killed by Voldemort or someone acting under his orders. I think he was trying to hunt down Horcruxes before he was killed. Regulus is a star in the lion constellation, and lions symbolize the pure of heart. Incidentally, what was Dumbledore seeing in his head when he was drinking whatever it was that was in that stone basin?

Okay, that's enough for one night. I know I'm a big Harry Potter nerd. Good book, but it raises so many questions! I can't wait to see the seventh book, and see how Rowling ties everything together. I think there's going to be a lot going on in the seventh book. And she hasn't even started writing it yet! We may have to wait for a long time. I almost wish I hadn't started reading the books until they were all written...


Seeing things through new eyes

The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays of the year. It's hot, families get together, there are barbecued hot dogs and lots of potato salad and olives and watermelon. Everybody celebrates, and there's a shared feeling of patriotism and home pride. And "God Bless America" gets blared really loudly at some point during the day. On the Fourth I'm a country fan, I love those big patriotic anthems, the ones that manipulate your emotions shamelessly. On the Fourth I like to braid my hair into two braids and wear sparkly eye makeup.

This year the barbecue part of the day was pretty quiet. We were at my parents' house and it was just my dad and mom, Nathan, me, and Judah, and my grandma. But it was fun, and later in the evening, as we have for the past four years, we headed over to a big park in Yorba Linda for the fireworks show. Our party grew there to include Nathan's parents, his brother Jeff, my brother Dave and his wife Becky and their girls, Morgan and Lindsay, and our friends Brent and Danielle and their son Joshua. There was more food and party poppers and good conversation and thousands of people around.

While we waited for the show to start we sat and talked, and Nathan's dad held Judah, who finally fell asleep. I had wondered all day how Judah would handle the fireworks. He was still asleep when they started, but of course he woke up at the first boom and started screaming. Ken had him faced into his shoulder and was covering his ears, but he turned him around after a minute. Judah saw the fireworks and immediately stopped screaming. He was wrapped up in a blanket, and Judah spent the whole show sitting quietly, his eyes wide over the edge of the blanket as he watched. He was totally entranced. I don't think he looked away even once. I love fireworks a lot, but it was very hard for me to tear my eyes away from Judah to watch them. It was so awesome to watch him experiencing them for the first time, seeing the wonder in his eyes. I can't wait to discover the world all over again with him as he grows up.

City of my dreams

"I love the rhythm of London. I love how the city just feels like one big heartbeat. I love how I can never feel lost here. I love knowing my way around, and I love how I always feel safe. I'm just completely, head-over-heels in love with London. I'll always dream about this city..."
~From my journal, July 8 1995

Ten years ago today I was in London, busy falling in love with the city. I was only there for two weeks, but they were the most intense weeks of my life. They were challenging and fun and crazy and stretching and scary and eye-opening. I would still count London as my favorite city in the world. I have such good memories of the places and the people. I woke up this morning to Nathan's radio alarm, and the news of the London bombings was the first thing I heard today. I still can't quite believe it. There aren't adequate words to express my sadness and anger. Pray for the people of London, the families of the dead and injured, and for the leaders. I fear that there are harder times ahead.


Lucky 13

Currently listening to: Ivy's "In the Clear" album

Stole this little gem of an idea from Barbara. Thanks Babs! Here are thirteen of my favorite song quotes, in no particular order. This was harder to do than I thought it would be!

If only I'd known all the right words
I could've held onto your heart,
If only I'd known all the right words
I wouldn't be breaking apart...
~The Cure, "Pictures of You"

It's not always easy and sometimes life can be deceiving,
I'll tell you one thing, it's always better when we're together.
~Jack Johnson, "Better Together"

And if we can never see the sun,
There's still light with you
~Siouxsie and the Banshees, "Rhapsody"

The more skin you shed,
the more that the air in your throat will linger
when you call him your friend
~Toad the Wet Sprocket, "Crowing"

The sanest days are mad
~Morrissey, "Why Don't You Find Out for Yourself"

We'll shine like stars in the summer night
We'll shine like stars in the winter night
One heart, one hope, one love...
~U2, "With or Without You" (Rattle and Hum recording)

How can I tell you of life's sweet carress
Without showing you scars?
~Robert Deeble, "Rock a bye"

It seems reality destroys our dreams
~The Cure, "Strange Attraction

My nerves are all jangled
But I'm pulling through,
I hope I can handle
What I have to do
~Pet Shop Boys, "Only the Wind"

Tear out the pages with all the bad news
~The Cure, "Doing the Unstuck"

And I must be
An acrobat
To talk like this
And act like that
And you can dream
So dream out loud
...don't let the bastards grind you down
~U2, "Acrobat"

I don't know if we could get lost
in a city like this
if we wanted to,
And I don't know if I could survive
without seeing you,
And every time I see your face
I feel out of place
~Electronic, "Some Distant Memory"

We're too young to reason,
Too grown up to dream
~Bryan Ferry, "Slave to Love"

Phew! Done. That was tough. There are so many more that I love. Here's one more:
Every jumbled pile of person has a thinking part that wonders what the part that isn't thinking isn't thinking of.
~They Might Be Giants, "Where your Eyes Don't Go"