maarmie's musings

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I'm eating my words for Christmas dinner

I'm having to take back all the nasty things I said about my parents in the previous two posts after receiving a cute little "1st Christmas" card for her with a $100 check tucked inside, a very sweet gesture. OK? I said something nice! I take it back! All that stuff I said! OK?

I took that $100 check and the other Christmas cash Elliot got and opened a bank account for her yesterday. The child's savings account came with a change sorter/paper money bank so little Elliot can save her money to add to the account. I plan on teaching her that she's got to work for money and that she's got to save for the things she wants. I don't want her to grow up not knowing how to be responsible with money and how to care for the things she owns by working for them and buying them herself.

But enough about that! Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ho ho hum

So much spending and effort has been put into this whole Christmas thing already, and I doubt the day itself will actually match all the hype.

I just get more and more mad every time I think about my parents not getting Elliot anything for Christmas, especially since gifts keep rolling in for her from Chris' family and friends. Nothing at all from my family for her, and, in fact, not one Christmas card from anyone in my family except my parents.

They say Christmas is about giving, not receiving, but - screw that! I don't want to feel like I'm thinking of and appreciating the special people in my life and not being remembered and appreciated in return.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A happy little Christmas "fuck you!"

The tree is assembled. The decorations are hung. The presents are stacking up. It's almost Christmas, my favorite holiday of the year - behind Thanksgiving.

The greeting cards are rolling in as well. Yesterday, I received the obligatory card from my parents and opened it anticipating the yearly $200 check, the only way they have shown any sort of kindness or giving since I turned 18 and their poor substitute for any actual love or good feelings.

No check. Just a generic card signed with love from dad and mom that not only contained no check but made no mention of Elliot at all. No check for us. Nothing for Elliot. You know, their granddaughter? The one they've never met? The one they were supposed to meet this summer but now aren't going to meet because they cancelled their trip and didn't tell me but told my brother who then told me?

So. To recap: no check for maarmie. No gift for or even mention of Elliot.

I called my brother yesterday to see if he got a check. To find out if this "no check" thing is universal and not just a happy little Christmas "fuck you" from them to me. I left a message and haven't heard back.

I know I've mentioned before that the annual check is pretty meaningless to me, and, don't get me wrong, I don't really care about its absence. What I DO care about is that they can't even see past their greed enough to send their new granddaughter a stupid little trinket for her first goddamn Christmas! They so totally suck.

Update: My brother didn't get a check, either. He guesses they're too strapped for cash right now. Too strapped that they couldn't get their granddaughter a stuffed animal for her first Christmas, I suppose, but not strapped enough to forgo that gambling vacation for my dad's birthday. Bloody hell!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Facebook pretty much sucks

I've spent the last month ignoring my dear old friend Blogspot in favor of the new and shiny Facebook only to discover that Facebook is only as good as your strongest "friend" on it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Obligatory post

It's been awhile, and friends are starting to complain about my lack of posts. There's not much to say other than that I've been cheating on Blogspot with Facebook, entertaining one mother-in-law for the past week (not easy), trying in vain to keep a clean house, playing with an adorable baby and, most recently, stressing about buying a new winter coat.

Being from Florida, I didn't have to worry about winter coats growing up. During my stint in New York City, I bought my first real winter coat on holiday in Montreal. That thing kept me warm through New York City winter, sledding in Rochester and playing in feet and feet of snow in Montana. It even kept me warmish last winter in Inverness. Sadly, this supercoat was recently felled by mold that set up home in our bedroom closet, mold that also claimed the life of my shoe organizer. C* and I bought a dehumidifier for the closet this past weekend and are lamenting the fact that we don't have any radiators upstairs to keep dampness at bay.

So.......yesterday I bought a winter coat at Next while C* sat with baby at Starbucks. I bought the first thing that fit and seemed like it would be warm because, really, I have no idea what the hell to do. Got it home and modelled it for hubby who told me it looked c-h-e-a-p. I've got to admit it now - it does. And it's not even that warm. So, today, back it goes. I will try again.

Nothing else going on. Just getting ready for baby's first Christmas. I've already gotten her three books: The Way Back Home by Oliver Jeffers, The Snow Queen retold by Lucy M. George, and The Smelly Sprout by Allan Plenderleith. I've also recently gotten her Emily Brown and the Thing by Cressida Cowell. These books are a bit advanced for Elliot right now, but the illustrations are to die for.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Autumnal blues

Summer has pretty well faded here, and it's cold, cold, cold at night and during the early morning. I was walking Elliot around the islands the other morning, and the stroller told me it was in the upper 40s. I don't know whether our tomatoes, all 30 or so of them, are going to ripen or if they're just going to remain there, green and hard on the vine.

Our blackberries have ripened and we've gone picking by the canal, and I made a delicious apple/blackberry crumble the other day. Once the last berry has been picked from our vines, we're going to rip out the lot of them and lay more paving stones to fashion some sort of all-American patio and grilling area right outside the back door for next summer, all two weeks of it.

Elliot is doing fine. She's not sitting on her own or crawling yet, but she's eating like a trooper and is a happy little sprite. No signs of any teeth yet, either, but if it goes near her it ends up in her mouth. She likes the taste of books, magazines and newspapers the best.

C* has graduated from nursing school and is now a staff nurse at the local psychiatric hospital. Hopefully, this will eliminate some of the money worries we've been having since I moved here. With me not working and with C* having been a student until now, C* has been getting further and further in debt and I've had to use all my savings in the states to pay off debts there. I still owe a bunch in student loans, though, and have enough money to cover a dozen or so months of loan payments.

I'm depressed.

Depressed? No.

Not really D-E-P-R-E-S-S-E-D as such. Just down. Down? Lonely? Yes. Lonely. My life is all about baby and has been for the last eight months. I haven't worked. I haven't played tennis. I haven't done volunteer work. I haven't made friends. It's hard to make friends here. I reach out. I try. But it hasn't worked. Have I just come across the wrong women? I don't know, but it feels like excluding me has made them happy for whatever reason, and my experiences have reaffirmed for me that cliques exist outside of high school.


I need some mental stimulation. I need to have fun. I need to pursue an interest outside of baby. But doing any of that requires me to a) have money to spend in the pursuit of fun and b) allow some stranger to come in and be alone with my baby! C*'s work schedule is so random that it's hard to plan anything around when he'll likely be home on any given day, and, of course, when he does have time off, I'm wanting to spend it with him...and with Elliot.

How do I balance all this? How do I trust someone enough to leave my precious Elliot in their care? I fear that level of trust just doesn't exist.

In other news, David Foster Wallace died. The coward hung himself. Oh, and, even though I would still desperately like to see Ralph Nader claim the White House someday, I voted for Obama. You should, too.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Update (finally)

We've been so busy the past month, setting up a new home and spending a lot of money in the process. But we now have a house full of furniture and kitchen appliances and we are all comfortable and relatively happy.

The four of us spent a week in Great Malvern, England, last month visiting the in-laws. They all met Elliot for the first time, and, of course, were entranced by her. Who wouldn't be?

While we were there, we asked C*'s brother and sister-in-law to be Elliot's godparents, and they wholeheartedly accepted. That's a huge weight off my shoulders, because I've been thinking more and more about my own death since Elliot came into this world and I've been obsessing ever since about who would care for her if something happened to the both of us.

On the Elliot front: She can roll from her back to her front but not the other way around, so I've been spending a lot of time rolling her back over when she's had enough tummytime. She's eating lots of solid foods now (mostly veggies; she doesn't seem to like apples or bananas too much) and scaling back on the formula. Soon to come are dairy foods and meat. I'm always super excited when she finds a new food she loves and sits there with her maw gaping open like a baby bird for more, more, more!

She is able to put more weight on her legs for longer, but standing is still a long way off. Sitting will come within a couple of months, I'm sure, and noone will be happier than me when that happens.

I've taken her swimming two Saturdays in a row now. The first time, she just sat there, suspended in the water by me, unmoving. This last time, she was kicking her feet like mad. I think she's a waterbaby for sure.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

In print once again

The Courier printed my letter yesterday. The original letter can be found in the previous post. As you can see, the editor chopped to a third its original length. What? They couldn't give me a half a page? Cretins!

It feels good to be in print again, I must admit. I miss being a journalist sometimes, but it's such hard, thankless work I don't think I'd ever actually attempt it again.

Being a reporter sapped all my strength every day and took quite an emotional toll after a while. Given that I view newspapers as vehicles to keep those who would harm others on the straight and narrow and that I view reporters as watchdogs against bad people who take advantage of those less fortunate/powerful, etc., I got really wrapped up in "exposing the bad guy" and hoping that the exposure would in some way bring justice. It never did, though, and I ended up feeling like I was writing all those articles and creating all those enemies for no reason at all.

Sucks to be on the sidelines all the time, writing about lives that other people were actually living as well. I hope, now, that I will get on and do lots of things that are newsworthy. Maybe someone will end up wanting to write about my life, instead.

By the way, I have only gotten one e-mail so far from someone who hates littering as much as I do. Hopefully that one can turn into several or many.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Littering is for losers

The subject of littering has been hotly debated in the Inverness Courier lately. There's tons of litter on the ground here, and, where others are just whining, I decided I wanted to be the one to do something about it. So I sent this letter to the Courier in the hopes of getting it printed and reacted to. Here's hoping.



Letter writer Stephen Connah (Battle against litter is everyone's responsibility, published 25 April 2008) is on the money regarding litter in the beautiful city of Inverness.

An American expatriate, I moved to Inverness in October 2007. Since then, I have become increasingly alarmed at the sheer volume of litter in the streets and on the sidewalks in and around the city centre and in other parts of the city. It's mostly children and teens who do the dropping, too - candy and crisp wrappers and fast food bags, cups and containers - and they do it without a second thought. More than once, I have wanted to shout at a youngster to pick up his or her garbage. But it's not just Invernesian youth I want to shout at: it's parents, too. Are parents teaching their children to put their rubbish where it belongs? I'd wager that, in too many instances, the answer is no. At Whin Park the other week, for example, a young boy and girl were eating crisps and playing near some slides. Both children dropped the empty crisp bags behind a slide when they were done. Their parents, of course, looked the other way.

My daughter is only three months old but will be taught from the time she can understand my words that littering just isn't okay. In many parts of the United States, too, littering is such a thing of the past. Where is this garbage dump attitude coming from? Is it a continuation of the "give everything to me now and I'll throw it all away in two minutes but I'm not worried because there will be more tomorrow" attitude that many people, not just youngsters, have these days? As global warming is showing us, Mother Nature isn't always so forgiving.

Keeping Inverness clean is everyone's responsibility. It's up to individuals to not litter, of course, but parents and teachers can increase littering awareness among youngsters. Fines for littering and strict enforcement of littering laws can be a deterrent to litterers, too, as can good old-fashioned peer pressure. If youngsters and adults alike would spread the message to their littering friends that littering is for losers - and if fellow citizens would stand up against littering when they catch someone in the act - the city might just get a little greener.

I'm willing to put these words into action by organizing litter clean-up days for volunteers, but I need the help of others. If you want to lend a hand - or if you're a parent or teacher who wants to educate your children or students about the importance of a clean environment by asking them to roll up their sleeves as well - write me at It's the least we can do for a city that continually gives us so much natural beauty.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Best present ever

C* received the best present ever yesterday, a present so dandy that, if said present had been in my possession, I would never have parted with it. Ever. What is this present, you ask? And who was so selfless to just give it away?

The "who" is quite complicated. The mother of C*'s son has an older daughter with another man. Through the mother, C* is friends with this other man who gives C* gifts every year for his birthday, usually a bottle of quality single malt whiskey he pinches from his job. This year, though, C* got the stolen whiskey AND a toy, a doll, to be more precise, wrapped in a bag upon which this message is written:

It says:
(I found this and thought of you. I added the badge myself)
(This bag does not contain a big box of reds. It contains a police officer who will act as your conscience) Destroy power, not people! Fuck the fucking Olympics! Free Tibet and Darfur NOW!

Chop up, bury or burn
Here's a photo of Elliot holding the bobby doll, likely a one-of-a-kind doll hand crocheted by some granny long ago for an adoring grandchild. In a 1984ish kinda way, there's a pin attached to the doll that says "Do not question authority."

Appropriately, Elliot is cuddling the doll while giving the camera the finger. She flips a bird so often that I bet she's doing it intentionally. That's one less thing I need to teach her!

Yesterday, the doll was C*'s. Today, I gave it to Elliot, who has already marked it all over with her saliva. I saw in her eyes that she thinks it's the best doll ever, too. Great minds think alike.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Feb. 10, 2 pm

The following post was cobbled together from memory, from fragments previously written and saved and from e-mails sent to friends. Please excuse the clumsy writing. It's been a while, and I'm out of practice.

C* and I had this birthing thing all planned out. I had read the books, gone to the classes. I knew what to expect, what to pack, what to wear, what to bring.

Comfy jammies. Check. Two CD cases filled with music. Check. A deck of cards. Check. Snacks. Yep. All in a bag in the corner of the birthing room along with a TENS machine, a newborn diaper and baby's first onesie and socks. This birth thing was going to be a piece of cake, I thought. C* and I were going to play games and pig and rock out during the 12 or so hours I was expecting to be in labor.

Wrong. Wrong. Double wrong.

After nearly a week of contractions that led nowhere, the midwives did their blood pressure and baby heart rate checks and I was taken to the labor suite at 2 pm on Sunday, February 10, a mere 10 hours before Elliot's original due date. My cervix was only 2 cm dilated, but the doctor was determined to break my water, determined that I would give birth within 24 hours.

I had previously been told that I had excess locum (amniotic fluid) because of the gestational diabetes, so much so that the baby's head had failed to engage in my pelvis because she was literally floating in my uterus.

Doctor: OK. Here I go.

maarmie inhales and exhales deeply about a million times to get the full effect of the gas and air, the main pain management method she had chosen for the delivery. What a joke.

Doctor reaches through maarmie's cervix and uses a sterile plastic hook to tear through the amniotic sac.

maarmie: Puff puff puff puff puff puff puff puff


More liquid poured out of me than I ever thought imaginable. The midwife had to change my bed several times and mop the floor more times than that in an attempt manage the flow of the gallons of fluid that poured out of me. I was disgusted and confused. I had no idea it would all be this........wet.

During the initial gush, when the effects of the gas and air were at their peak, I had a vision. I remember thinking that I all of a sudden realized what was REALLY going on. I remember thinking that I had figured out that this was some kind of plot cooked up by C*, the midwife and the doctor, that, in reality, I was on my deathbed, that I was dying and that my soul was going to be exiting the world to make way for the baby's soul to enter it, that the liquid draining from my body was my life force and that I was being sacrificed so the baby could be born. I remember being horrified that I had been tricked so easily, that C* had tricked me so easily, but I wasn't upset about giving my life up for my daughter's.

I asked C* about it when the doctor and midwife left the room, though, and made him promise several times that what I was envisioning wasn't really happening.

After my uterus had drained a while, I was told to get upright and walk around for a bit in the hopes that the baby's head would push down on my cervix and get the dilation ball rolling. After more than an hour, it was obvious my body was going to need additional help, so the midwife hooked me up to an IV filled with oxytocin. Nine hours later, the contractions were coming and I was puffing on the gas and air like crazy, but, again, the contractions hadn't been strong enough to get me past 3 cm. Just when we were thinking I'd need an emergency C section, my cervix popped open all the way, and we were in business once again.

About labor: If women knew what labor was REALLY like before they went into it, I'm firmly convinced they'd never get pregnant in the first place. Perhaps mine was worse because of the several failed inductions, five days of internal exams, on and off contractions and general psychological mind-fuck, but labor, as I remember it, was a nightmare at the time.

Just like they tell you, contractions are like a wave. You know it's coming, because it builds and builds and you can feel it's getting ready to plateau and then it's excrutiating and then a bit more excrutiating and you don't think you'll survive it and you're yelling and then it tapers off and disappears. Then you have about a minute break until you can feel the next one building. Just when you think it's never going to end, on and on and on with no headway, you get the worst contractions of all, ones that make every cell in your body pray for death. During these contractions, you have no choice but to push. That's all your body wants to do and you find yourself having these horribly painful contractions WHILE your body is also pushing this huge object out your vagina. Contractions and burning, that is all you feel. All the while you've got people standing over you telling you what to do, to push your chin into your chest, grab under your thighs with your legs bent in the air and push, push, push. One push is bad enough, but each contraction makes you push at least three times. After the second time, you just want to die.

I never cursed during the third stage of labor, just yelled "I can't! I can't!" over and over - for about an hour. Of course C* was standing to my left side cheering me on telling me how good I was doing and I was just looking at him like "Whatever! I'm not doing good! Leave me alone!" I never said that to him of course (even though I wanted to) and he told me later that he knew what I was thinking because it was written all over my face. But once the head was out, the body quickly and easily followed as did the placenta, the largest the midwife said she had ever seen. Enter Elliot at 2:34 am on Feb. 11 after exactly 40 weeks of pregnancy and a little more than 12 hours of labor.

All the waiting, all the fear, all the pain. It was all worth it, in the end, for my wonderful Elliot. Everything in my past - the guys I thought I loved, the jobs and careers I thought I wanted, the possessions I thought I needed - are nothing, mean nothing, compared to my lovely baby girl, my precious Boppy, my beautiful Bopbop. Until I married C* and became a mommy, I wondered why my life felt so empty. Now I know. Thank you, C*. Thank you, Elliot. You have both made my life so full.

Friday, April 25, 2008

And she's not even a teenager yet

When Elliot is cranky and/or doesn't get what she wants IMMEDIATELY and/or is being sooooo mistreated by being made to actually lie in her crib, she has taken to enjoying a little face gouging. Yes, I'm being literal. She actually claws at her own face with her own little pugdy hands in fitful, rageful acts of self harm.

Because of this, and because she likes to take a swing or two in our direction occasionally, we try to keep her fingernails short. But, even though we use teeny tiny baby nail clippers, she usually comes away from the ordeal with one or two bloody stumps where fingers once were.

The claw marks have healed now, but no one would tell us how beautiful our baby is if they saw her from certain angles when her hair is arranged a certain way. You see, our baby is experiencing a bit of hair loss, making her look like a geriatric resident of Comboverville:

Combine that with formula drool, tiny, beady, tired eyes and yellow scaly cradle cap on her head and eyebrows and you've got a baby who looks something like this. Isn't she delightful?

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Baby in love

She can stare in her cotside mirror for hours, chattering away and batting at her reflection with the little, spastic arm that sometimes jerkily punches her square in the face. Captured in this photo is the ever-fabulous Elliot and the object of her affection.

Friday, March 28, 2008

She smiles!

Our sensitive and drop-dead serious little one has been perfecting the art of crying ever since the day after she was born. But, about a week or so ago, she has begun to deliberately smile.

I read that from about six weeks, babies start to socially smile and that the smiling grows more frequent with age. I hope that's true and that the crying lessens in frequency and strength as well because it's starting to do my head in - especially when she's just been fed, burped, changed, cuddled and held this way and that way and that other way and jiggled and lain down and picked up and put down again and propped up and shown a toy and given a pacifier and she's still crying and we have no idea on earth what the fuck to do.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

No, really, I can't stop

Am I really one of those mothers who takes photos of her child every day and forces them on unsuspecting victims? This photo was taken yesterday on our way back from a waterfall we didn't get to see because the walkway to it was closed. Notice how she's registering her displeasure.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The many faces of baby

I can't really write about Elliot's personality at this time or funny things she has said and/or done because, as far as I can tell, she hasn't yet revealed a personality to me and she definitely hasn't said anything or done much more than sleep, shit and cry.

Since I can't write about much more than how many ounces of formula/breastmilk she drinks on an average day, how many times she has peed and pooed today, how great she smells or how I love to hold her, I'll just post some of the hundreds of photos I've taken recently. Isn't she precious?

Maybe we should have named her Precious Cookiepants like I suggested? Click on individual photos for greater detail.

Sleepy baby:

Stretching baby:

Sweet baby:

Waking baby:

Hungry baby:

Precious baby:

Sceptical baby:

Silly baby:

Baby possessed:

Confused baby:

Cute baby:

P.S. I keep meaning to finish the final blog entry about my hospital stay and Elliot's birth, but I can't seem to find the time (go figure!) and my deteriorated writing skills aren't doing justice to the experience of childbirth.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Introducing Elliot Grace Smith

I tried

Bureaucrat: Registration office

maarmie: Hi. I gave birth three weeks ago on Monday. My husband and I are having a hard time coming up with a name for our baby, and I was wondering if you give any extensions on that three-week time limit.

B: It depends. How long do you think you'll need to come up with a name.

m: Um. I really don't know.

B: Well, we can offer an extension but only a couple of days. It would have to be a good reason to give an extension.

m: Isn't not having a name a good reason?

B: No. Not really.

m: Oh. OK. Thanks.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Feb. 8, 10 p.m.

Thought I would have a day off but didn't. Had a tablet at about 9:45 a.m. Kept me in serious contractions all day that dilated me 2 cm and caused fluid to leak. Waters still not broken. Registrar did a sweep of the membranes but I freaked out, so she didn't do everything she had wanted to. Very painful. I'm sitting on my bed in the six-bed room, curtains pulled. Need privacy.

Scott Walker documentary on TV. Never heard of him, but he seems like a dark, tortured, twisted individual who takes himself way too seriously while having lots of fun. Talk about an outlet for your demons.

Hope that contractions continue even though they hurt. They're going to hook me up to oxytocin tomorrow and most likely break my waters.

Feb. 7, 4 p.m.

Thought I was in labor at 10:30 p.m. last night. Contractions off the Richter Scale - then nothing. Gave me inducement this morning. Stronger contractions today than yesterday, but cervix still posterior and closed. I hate internal examinations and contractions and walking the halls of this dingy hospital to keep upright and moving. When will it end? All around me, women are having their babies. My body is cooperating only to the extent that I don't get a second inducement on any given day. I am 39 weeks plus 3 days and in the owie zone.

Feb. 6, 6 a.m.

Midwife came in at 6 a.m. doing more temperatures, blood pressure, fetal heart monitoring then did internal examination before putting the (inducing) tablet in. Breakfast of Rice Krispies and dry wheat roll. C* having breakfast now. Registrar bugging me about medical cards and passport/visa. Hm. Twinges in uterus like period cramps. "That's something, anyway," says midwife.

1:15 p.m.

Not giving me a second dose of the hormone. Contractions small but pretty regular with pain in back. See how it progresses. Hopefully, I'm underway.

Feb. 5, 9:45 p.m.

Bed 22 at Raigmore Hospital in Ward 10. It's a full house. C* just left 10 minutes ago. I'm scared. It's hot. Midwife has done fetal monitor and taken urine and blood pressure. Just changed channel from whale dissection on TV. Couldn't stand watching them pull out intestines. C* beat me at three games of backgammon before he left. Now I'm trying to entertain myself. I'll eat and watch TV.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Sunday, February 17, 2008

On the sixth day, she brought forth new life

The 12 days I just spent in the hospital had its ups and downs. The biggest "up" was that I got to go home with her:

But, before I could do that, I had to pay the price: five days of medically-generated on-and-off contractions, a 12-hour labor that was painful beyond belief and almost ended in a caesarian section and an incredible amount of sleep deprivation both before and, especially, after, the birth.

Miss no-name-as-of-yet baby had a rough and fitful first night at home last night. I'm assuming her tantrums were due to the strange surroundings she's found herself in as of late. After all, she was warm and cozy in my womb her entire life but was a week ago cruelly squeezed into this harsh world, bound by clothing, made to feel hunger and feed on her own, thrust into an incubator blindfolded under blue lights

and has now been brought into the entirely alien environment that is our home. I'm hoping her mood will level off with a bit of consistency.

I'll write more about the days leading up to the birth and the birth itself in future posts. I'm tired just now, though, and will leave you tonight with this photo I call "Love Feeding Love":

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Ooh baby, baby

I check into the hospital tonight, and labor will be induced around 6 a.m. tomorrow. I am terrified on so many levels. What will the pain be like? What if something goes wrong? What if something bad happens to the baby? To me? What if I need an emergency C-section?

Beyond all the labor stuff, there's also the fear surrounding the baby itself. Will I be a good mother? Will I enjoy being a mother? Or will I quickly come to realize that I never should have had a child? That this is all some horrible mistake?

C* and I talked about all these things last night, me in tears for hours. All in all, what I was most sad about last night is that C* and I never got to have a traditional relationship. We haven't really had any significant time alone together. We haven't been able to travel, to go out and have fun. Overall, our relationship has been filled with really stressful situations that would tax even veteran couples. I'm constantly amazed that we're still together at all.

But together we are. And, soon, we will be three.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Too cute

The Boy: Are you positive the baby is a girl?

maarmie: No.

The Boy: So it could still be a boy?

maarmie: Yes.

The Boy: Well, what if the baby is born bald? Then how will you know if it's a boy or a girl?

maarmie: You don't tell if it's a boy or a girl by how much hair it has.

The Boy: How do you tell?

C*: What's the difference between boys and girls?

The Boy: Girls have long hair?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Names, names, names

How does anyone come up with a name for their child? I mean, this decision is going to likely stick with the kid for its whole life. I believe it will influence how the child is perceived and who the child ultimately becomes. That belief in mind, this is a huge decision to be made, and quick. We have to pick a name within three weeks of the baby's birth.

Because we've been told by two different ultrasound technicians that it's a girl, we've only really talked about girl names. For a long time, we were stuck on the name Hunter - after Hunter S. Thompson, the gonzo journalist who loved drugs and guns and died by making a new hole in his head with a bullet. Hm.....perhaps not the best start to give a kid?

Still, we love everything written by the guy, and we love the name. Loved the name? The charm is kind of wearing off. So, we've come up with a few more, some liked by both of us, some just by me.

Caitlin (both)
Camden (me)
Bronwyn (both)
Hunter (both)
Keegan (me)
Ainsley (me)
Bryn (me)
Dylan (both)
Rhys (me)
Elliot/Eliot (both)
Nieve (both)

Personally, I'd like to go with Caitlin Elliot Hunter Dylan Smith. Then, she can go by any of several kick-ass names, the one she favors the most. Is it considered child abuse to give a child so many?

We don't need no water

Click on any photo to get a better look

Last weekend, C*, The Boy and I tried to get some snowy mountain views on Cairngorm Mountain, but - because of the temperate winter weather this year - flooding closed the main road to the peak forcing us to turn back toward home.

In Inverness, the Ness River near our apartment has also seen some flooding. The islands, where C* and I like to walk and where Woody used to roam as well, have been closed for days. Once, the islands looked like this:

walking paths lit at night and dotted with benches and trash cans, just like a regular park. As far as I can tell, this is the main place people who live around here go to walk their dogs and to get some fresh air with their families or some exercise. Many of the walking paths are underwater right now, however, making the area look like this:

The banks of the river are spilling over as well, a somewhat regular occurrence, according to C*.

Perhaps the city should do something about this? Nah! City officials would rather spend a quarter of a million pounds on a 12-minute firework display in the middle of January than to, say, do anything that will actually benefit the city in any way.

That being said, here are a few other views near our home. This first one is the foot bridge we walk over to get to the grocery store. The cables that hold it in place are massive, but it still bounces up and down when a few people are crossing it at once. I have felt nauseous crossing this bridge more than once.

Here's a modern-day castle situated on a hill overlooking Inverness. I think the courthouse and police station are housed here. After every celebration in town, the whole side of this hill is littered with beer cans and alcohol bottles. People here litter like it's going out of style. Wait. It already did. A long time ago.

Here's the view looking toward the bridge that crosses through the center of town. See the snow-capped mountains in the far background? Nice.

And here's THE number one hotspot in Inverness, that business on the right with the lovely golden arches. Oddly enough (but not really) most of the litter you see on the streets and sidewalks is in the form of cups and wrappers from this shithole, the only business that regularly gets vandalized. Still, business here is always brisk. What can I say? They want their food, and they want it fast.