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See the Egress Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "See the Egress" journal:

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October 31st, 2010
11:38 am


Just posted something to my new journal here. If you want to keep reading me on LJ, mollpeartree set up an rss feed here (yay!).

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October 20th, 2010
03:35 pm


Hey, look! I have a new blog, and the new blog has an intro post! I'll post links to it here for a few months and then switch to just posting over there, unless anyone particularly wants to see my writing via LJ.

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July 25th, 2010
04:27 pm


Remembering Tiamat
Sometimes with Rebecca I feel like I'm a place as much as a person. My body is her habitat: arms, a heartbeat, and two breasts. It makes me feel cozy. What can a place do wrong? All a place needs to do is be present and be itself, and that's enough. That's exactly the right thing for a place to do. Read more...Collapse )

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March 31st, 2010
08:21 pm


They're Made of Meat
About when Littlest was 4 months old, i.e. February 2010.

When she wakes me at night, she's not staccato like an alarm clock. She squiggles against my belly, kicking my legs, quietly groping for a breast with her eyes closed, until I'm awake enough to do something about it. I roll onto my side, lift up my pajama top, and help nipple find mouth by the light of the clock radio. She pulls my stripey Dr. Seussian pjs back down around her nose and they smell rich with spilled milk. I usually fall asleep before she's done. Sometimes she does, too, which may be why she's back in an hour or two wanting more. A couple times per week she wakes up hardcore, because of gas or needing to pee (most nights she holds it till morning, then fills a couple diapers back to back, or if I have my act together, pees in the sink). Then I may spend an hour rocking and swaying and bouncing her back to sleep. I wrap my mom's scarf around us and think about how she enjoyed rocking me when I was small. Not so bad. Read more...Collapse )

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February 6th, 2010
02:52 pm


Half Empty, Half Full
Written at the beginning of January. I have trouble deciding an entry's done until it starts to become untrue, in this case partly because discussing an earlier version of it with Ted helped both of us.

When we were pregnant, I didn't grok the asymmetry of fatherhood and motherhood. I knew I had the boobs and would be doing the nursing; I hadn't expected the corollary that Milky would then spend her first two months sacking out in my lap in full-bellied bliss. Usually I enjoyed it; sometimes I didn't, but not enough to move her; either way I became default baby-holder. That means I needed to make arrangements to take a shower or go to the bathroom or get a snack, whereas Ted was still in the world where he could simply announce that he's taking a shower or even just get up and grab the Doritos, like a normal person would.

I resented that, and then because resentment was uncomfortable, I embraced the role instead. I reminded myself that taking care of Littlest is my choice and I could've made other choices. Good as far as it goes, but I'm afraid that our experiences with a newborn will teach us who we are as mother and father, that we'll keep this uneven model of parenthood even when the initial reason for the pattern has disappeared. If I happily stay home with our baby during the day and curl around her at night, then how do I avoid having a disproportionate sense of responsibility for Rebecca when Ted and I are both awake and at home?

Read more...Collapse )

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January 12th, 2010
10:17 am


Written at the beginning of December.

The word I use most frequently to describe new parenthood is idyllic. I can hang out in bed whenever I want, snuggling Littlest and studying her movements and swapping bodily fluids. There's no reason not to Irish up my coffee most days, and I'm doing more pleasure reading now than I have since college. I don't need to worry that I'm wasting time reading junk fiction while I hold her. Holding her is after all my job, and if I put her down she'll wake up and start fussing. For most of my student years, I kept jealous account of my time: I knew what work I needed to pursue every hour of the day and if I felt like I wasn't getting enough done, I started keeping track of where each hour went. Now there are no deadlines--Rebecca's birth was the last major one--and my plans are so subject to interruption that I've replaced them with more fluid intentions. Compared to grad school, new parenthood is less all-consuming, less anxiety-inducing, less sleep-depriving, and less isolating. (The last because friends and strangers both bafflingly find my baby more engaging than my dissertation.)

Still, there's something not quite honest in calling it idyllic, even though it's got all the trappings. I almost never manage to finish the spiked coffee, certainly not while it's warm, and some days I don't manage to eat lunch until two or three in the afternoon, either. Time escaped us so thoroughly that our fish died; presumably we forgot to change their water once too often, or maybe they missed meals sometimes, too.

Having a baby feels like the year I lived in Berlin, when suddenly a variety of mundane tasks became five times harder, but the day-to-day possibilities for enjoying life increased correspondingly--not because the possibilities hadn't been there before, but because whatever levees I'd imagined to keep those temptations out, now were flooded away.

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August 3rd, 2009
03:02 pm


Hey, is this thing still on? Cool.

I wrote this post a couple weeks ago for a different forum (Knife Fight), since they had a late July theme of writing about things you collect. Ted pointed out that I should post it to LJ, too.

My Stuffed Animals Are Still Smarter Than MeCollapse )

Tags: , ,

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August 29th, 2007
03:28 pm


Self-Excavation Tour 2007: The elephant in the room
If you're in my family, I'm very curious whether this assessment seems right to you, but don't go forwarding it to anyone else without talking to me first.

Three years ago, I couldn't talk about my religious life. I mean, literally, I couldn't. I'd try to open my mouth, and a lot of times I wouldn't even be able to get words out.

We didn't really talk about religion in the first person when I was a kid. What I knew was that my dad was a flaming atheist. He left home at fifteen or sixteen, heading off to college without graduating from high school in order to get away from his father, who was a Methodist minister. Mom said he didn't like the role of preacher's kid, but the older I got, the more I suspected that it was more complicated than that. So while I was in Detroit in July, I screwed up my pluck and asked my dad's sister what religion was like in their house growing up.

Aunt Joyce's answer told me something more about what makes religion complicated in our family, but just as interestingly, it turns out to be part of another puzzle that I hadn't realized I was still missing pieces for, the one about why I have trouble talking comfortably about religion.

I. This is the story of my familyCollapse )
II. And my father'sCollapse )

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July 31st, 2007
02:28 pm


Curry Recipe
For renaissancegame: Here's my current version of the quasi-Bengali curry.

For the rest of you, I'll say that the combination of goat cheese and coconut is neat and not something I've consciously run into anywhere else. If you monkey with the spice proportions before you start cooking the curry, you can actually feel how each of them makes you taste the chevre and coconut differently in different parts of your mouth. It's completely intriguing, but also adds half an hour to the cooking time.
RecipeCollapse )

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July 7th, 2007
09:29 pm


I'm home in Detroit for the week. Mom and I seem to be talking non-stop about cooking and Top Chef. She wants to know what she can make for me that Ted wouldn't like, but the only things I can think of are soups. My brother Si and I are mocking each other, which has been our favorite pastime since forever. But the highlight so far is that my sister -- still a serious Buddhist, no longer a crazy ascetic -- is back from Vietnam, where she spent a couple months traveling as part of Thich Nhat Hanh's delegation doing requiem services for the Vietnam War dead. Aunt Joyce and Uncle Jerrell are here from New Orleans -- if you've ever heard me talk about how my aunt and uncle spent most of their careers as medical missionaries in Nigeria and thus consistently outclass me on Boggle words, it's the same people. But Uncle Jerrell was also a doctor in the Army during the Vietnam War. So I've been listening to my sister tell stories about Vietnam, and then my uncle'll break in and tell a story about how things were there during the sixties, and I'm sipping stupid-weak coffee and just trying to come up with the best questions I can. This is completely awesome. I just wish Ted got to be here, too.

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