Sunday, April 29, 2007

Little Light

I want to say how beautiful the flowers were. How uplifting the deacon's words were. How much comfort and reassurance there is in prayer, and down as people can be on the ritualism of Catholicism, there is comfort in a highly ritualistic prayer like the rosary, because of the strength of community, the sense of family even beyond blood.

I want to talk about how the deacon pointed out that Luke or Lucas means light, and how in the twelve days he was with us, little Luke became a light to us, in his fight and in our loss. To me it has no more meaning than what we give it, but the meaning we give it can be a light to guide us as long as we live.

I want to talk about how it seems significant to me that he lived twelve days and that the Epiphany was on the twelfth day of Jesus' life. I don't know the significance, but it strikes me.

I want to talk about... about Baby Luke himself. How... how beautiful he was laying there, swathed in soft white cloths, without tubes, without machines. He was so tiny, his hands only an inch across. But... weak and undeveloped as he was, he was perfect. A tiny perfect human being who could have been so many things. Who can be so many things still, if only we let him.

I want to bring all of these things forward, and weave from them some fabric to warm me and shield me from this sort of pain. I can think of them, but I can't... I can't really feel them yet.

All I can feel is that...
Damn it, they shouldn't have to make caskets that small.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Calm before the not calm

Today I was going to get a lot done. Now I'm only going to get a little done, and spend the rest of the time being a bit of a bum. Because tomorrow is going to be incredibly busy.

I will be playing in a concert.

I will be driving to New Branfels.

I will be attending a prayer service for baby Luke.

I will be driving back, because I have too much to get done at work on Monday before I take my time off.

That's okay. I really don't feel like doing anything today anyways.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers

Baby Luke passed away last night. It's easy enough to say that life would always have been difficult. But life is a blessing and a gift, and it's hard to let it go in ourselves and in the people we love. Especially the very little people who we don't get to keep with us for long.

He was born on the same day as the Virginia Tech shootings. Maybe this sorrow isn't played out on the national stage, but this hits much closer to home for me and my family.

If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less... any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.... ~ John Donne

What though the sea with waues continuall
Doe eate the earth, it is no more at all:
Ne is the earth the lesse, or loseth ought,
For whatsoeuer from one place doth fall,
Is with the tide vnto an other brought:
For there is nothing lost, that may be found, if sought. ~ Edmund Spenser

John Donne got it wrong, or was at least looking at it too narrowly. We are not diminished, but we are transformed. There's hope in that, if I can accept the change with grace. But it's hard, and it does feel more like loss right now.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


Baby Luke's lung has collapsed (again, from what I understand). I'm afraid, but I have faith. I just can't see the future, or always understand the present. Please pray, or hope with me, that this little soul is sheltered gently through this storm.

Monday, April 23, 2007

My Favorite Bob

I just found my favorite Bob dead. She's the one who laid eggs last week. She's the first one I could tell apart from the others, and she was the biggest one and the one with the most energy.

She's the one I was nursing just last week, and she got better! She was doing fine. And then I think I must have killed her.

I've been aerating the water by blowing bubbles into it using the aqua-leash, but that always worries me, because if I'm not careful, the little sea-monkeys get all jostled around against the bubbles, and I'm afraid they'll get shoved against the side of the tank too hard. Well, the websites all say you can aerate the water also by pouring it from the tank into another container and back. This isn't supposed to hurt the sea-monkeys at all.

But I think it's because of the pirate ship. It has holes so they can swim inside, and this Bob must have been inside of it, or maybe just slammed against it while I was pouring. But I was being so careful! She must have been inside of it and got stuck, and all the back and forth and water and no water...

It wouldn't be so bad if it was one of the ones that look all alike. And it wouldn't be so bad if she'd died when she was sick. But I feel so terrible because my first momma Bob is dead, and it's because of something I did. I guess I know not to do that any more, but I was already having a bit of a bad day. Now I just feel terrible.

I'm going to bed before this gets any worse.

P.S. I just went to check the tank one last time, because I figured if I was going to have to eat those words, I may as well know the worst at once. I found a brand new baby Bob, though, so that's a happy thing. I feel somewhat better now.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

This is your OCD. This is your OCD on legos.

Today has not been a creative day. It's been an order and organization day. Too bad I didn't have any intensive editing to do when I went in to work. Just analysis and synthesis. I couldn't really get my brain to do it very well. I've been trying to write a blog for a few days now. That's not going to happen just yet.

But, I had legos all over the place. And X-Files on TV. And time on my hands.

So, now every piece that has a like piece is now stuck to that like piece. Sigh.

That's Bob in the background of the first photo. Bob is doing well. Still pulling wisps of bacteria out every few days. Lost a squizzlet. But the others are doing well, and another of the females is getting close to laying eggs.

And speaking of X-Files, I blew my tax refund over at Amazon. I found out that the Slim Sets of the X-Files seasons are less than half the cost of the regular editions. For some reason. Whatever. I bought them all.

Because I felt like it. :-P

They'll be coming in on Wednesday. Only I'll be out of town. So a friend's going to come check my doorstep, because the last couple of times UPS has come after apartment office hours and left things on my doorstep when I wasn't home.

Hmm. The load of laundry I have in the wash has been done for a few hours now, I guess. I'll go take care of that.

Not really ready to face a new week. Ready or not...

Saturday, April 21, 2007


The baby is still hanging in there!

Mom called this morning, and from the fall of her voice as she said, "I just thought I should tell you..." I was pretty much prepared for the news to not be good. But it is!

His name is Luke Michael. He was actually born some time last Sunday, it appears, so those critical first seven days are almost won through. If the little guy makes it, life still won't be easy, I'm sure. So many things could go wrong short of passing.

But this new little person is a fighter!

Friday, April 20, 2007

No News

I've heard nothing new about my cousin's baby. All I have to report is a little drama with Bob.

My biggest female laid her eggs, and they're hatching. Four new squizzlets at least, as far as I can count. Which isn't well, since the baby Bobs don't stay still for long.

But I've been worried about their mother. She seemed to be spending way too much time butting her head against the tank floor, instead of darting around all over the tank like she normally does. So I sequestered her last night in a little dish that has apparently become the sea-monkey infirmary. I aerated the water as much as I could, and sprinkled a little extra food for her.

This morning she was skimming along the top of the water, which I think was a good sign. I opened the blinds and put the tank and the dish on the table where they could get a little indirect sunlight all day. When I came home from work she was much more lively, and I've put her back into the tank with the others.

I'm still worried. She beats her little leg-fin-gills with a sort of labored lethargy, and moves around more than she was, but is still at the bottom a lot. What bothers me most, though, is her color. She was flushed and somewhat pinky, but now she's almost completely colorless. Also, the gold-brown stripe she had along her back, like the others, has changed.

This worries me most, because this stripe is their digestive track, and while the others look healthy and well fed, the stripe she has is very dark and stops about a quarter of the way down her body. This seems to me like she's having trouble digesting her food, and that it's not passing through her right, but is instead possibly rotting inside of her! I am trying not to be paranoid, but I'm new at this sea-monkey thing.

I guess this seems like much ado about nothing, and I've taken some ribbing for being so attached to my Bobs. But this is what's going on these days, in lieue of more significant news.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Baby Update

I don't really have any news, just more information from the birth than I had before.

My cousin's baby boy was born at 22 weeks. Kerri points out that a very slightly younger baby has survived such an early birth, but a neonatal ICU nurse of my acquaintance is not optimistic.

He weighs 1 lb and 9 oz and is 12" long. My aunt Debbie told Mom that the first seven days are the most critical, and that he was in critical condition, but was stable.

I don't know his name yet.

I guess we're all just still waiting.

Thanks for the thoughts and prayers. Keep'em coming!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Prayers, Please

My cousin Erica just had her baby this morning. It's a little boy. But she wasn't due until August. They were flown to San Antonio, and I called Mom for an update, but she hasn't heard anything.

No news is good news at this point. Please pray for my cousin and her family, and keep them in your thoughts.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Bobday: The Morning After

Heh, yeah, right. Like I saw any of the morning side of today. I guess I woke up and saw daylight at some point and pulled the covers over my head.

There's something unhealthy in my during-the-week sleeping habits, I think. I never used to be able to sleep more than 10 hours at a stretch, but then, I did that a lot more often.

Now it's more like 6-7 hours a night during the week, then some sort of marathon on Saturday, where I can easily sleep 12-13 hours if I let myself. And I've been letting myself in the interest of NOT GETTING FRIGGIN' SICK ANYMORE.

So I skipped mass this morning, and now, it's like, 6:30 in the evening. Jeez. So much for evening mass, which I thought I'd make it to.

Anywho. Bobday was great. I made a sign, and there's Bob wearing some silver Mardi Gras beads and the hat I made for him! :-P

We had sparkling wit, brilliant conversation, and of course legos and NES. And crepes. And the best damned whip cream ever. I'll have to quadruple the recipe next time, instead of doubling it.

But I realized something somewhat disturbing yesterday. I couldn't find any squizzlets. No baby Bobs. Absolutely zero Bob Jrs. This is not happy. There were at least 3, and now there aren't any. And they can't have grown that quick. And no, sea-monkeys do not eat their young.

And then this evening we had a somewhat terrifying moment. My biggest, prettiest sea-monkey, the large female who should be laying eggs any day now, was down at the bottom of the tank, apparently struggling as some trailing strands of gunk were caught all around her little legs, and keeping her from swimming away! Eep! This has never happened before, but I think the bacteria in the tank took off a bit, and that a fluffy mass of it just sort of engulphed her.

That decided it. I immediately moved the Bobs to a separate glass and began straining their water through a coffee filter. I know I've lost some dormant eggs, and they really seem to miss the algae at the bottom, but I think this was the best thing to do. I made sure to use my aqua-leash to squirt the water around the bottom of the tank and the ship to make sure I got all the gunk stuck down to stuff up and floating. I got all the water filtered, and everybody back into the tank.

Oh, and for folks who have asked, I now know that I have 9 adult Bobs. I counted them as I moved them one by one. I also found another little black Bob body, so hopefully cleaning that out will reduce the bacteria growth, and also hopefully the stuff I ordered to get rid of the bacteria comes sooner rather than later.

Meanwhile everyone seems happier, and I've given them an extra feeding, since I took away what was in the water from Friday. Here's hoping things go more smoothly for a while. I'm still upset about the baby Bobs being gone. :-/

Updates as details warrant!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Good bye, two little sick Bobs

The two little sick Bobs did not make it.

Bobday will still be a fun celebration of the Bobs I still have, but today, I miss the little ones I cared for as well as I could in the last 24 hours.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Good news/Bad news

It's been that sort of day. Good news first. I learned something new about sea-monkeys!

I've been pretty darn sure that my biggest, most energetic sea-monkey is female. She developed some black patches near the base of her tail which I decided must be egg pouches.

I was wondering a couple of days ago if one of my other sea-monkeys had picked up something or had something stuck on his head. There was this sort of saucer shaped whisker sort of formation. Sort of like Jamie from Mythbusters' mustache. Well, I think the sea-monkeys with those are male.

Because he's used those whiskers to clamp onto the female sea-monkey and now she's having to haul him all over the tank. I think she tried to knock him off by ramming him into the mast of the pirate ship. I was amused. :-P

So my sea-monkeys are definitely getting all grown up, and it's exciting!

But I'm also sad and a bit worried.

Two Bobs are sort of laying on their backs at the bottom of the tank, weakly waving their legs, and sluggishly scooting around every so often. They don't look so good. I feel really helpless about it too.

I'm worried that the bacteria that I think might be forming in the tank is NOT helping their health. The sea-monkey folk make an additive to combat bacterial growth, and I actually ordered some over the weekend, but it won't be here for weeks.

All I can do is try to find something to isolate them in and make sure to squirt them with aerated water so they don't have such a hard time breathing. I hope they'll be better in time for Bobday. :-/

Keep your fingers crossed.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Reasons to Love Google

Got this from Stefi:

--Go to

--Click on Maps.

--Click on get Directions.

--From New York,New York

--To Paris,France.

--And read line # 23.

Then read this page and explore any of the links you like:

That is all.

Friday, April 06, 2007

All In, All Out

So I’ve been trying to get into the dating scene, off and on, since my divorce. A particular metaphor keeps recurring when I try to understand just what it is I’m doing there, and I think this metaphor helps explain a lot of what I’m feeling just now.

It seems to me that dating is a lot like playing poker. You come to the table with a certain amount to bet with. You can play conservatively, and only put a little of yourself on the line, or you can lay it all out there and play for the highest stakes. Some people just enjoy the game, and some people are playing to win. It’s not a perfect metaphor, by any means. For example, each table has somewhat different rules, you can have several hands going at once, and of course, ideally, there are two winners in the end, but you can lose without someone else necessarily winning. All the same, everyone has their tells, and a lot depends on chance, though some people do stack the deck to get exactly what they want without being in danger of giving up any of themselves.

So that’s my extended metaphor and here’s how it applies to me, something of a roman à clef, for those of you who have put up with my rambling en route. (You are wonderful, patient, loving, and supportive people. You know who you are, and I owe you so much.)

Since my divorce, I’ve tried to date casually. Wander around a few tables, put a reasonable amount down, and play a hand or two to see where it goes. But I find I don’t really enjoy playing that way. I don’t have much love for the game itself. I’m so shy that when I’m betting conservatively, my bids probably aren’t enough to really profit me any. I don’t really lose. If things don’t really seem likely to go anywhere, I’ll just fold and move on. A very few times I’ve won modestly and made a friend. Even one good friend that I never would have if I hadn’t wandered into the game.

But like I said, I don’t really enjoy playing this way. I’ve done it, and it feels like losing bits of myself in dribs and drabs without much enjoyment. I’m the sort of person that likes to find a game that seems right, and then play for high stakes. I’m the sort of person who plays to win, and will bet it all when I think my hand is strong, because I’m a believer, an optimist, and maybe a little bit arrogant. But I know what I want when I see it, and I know that what I bring to the table is incredibly valuable.

There have been a number of times now that I’ve taken some big risks. I’ve put a lot out there in hopes of winning a lot in return. And so far I’ve lost every time. I’m not really sure why. Things just aren’t in the cards, I suppose. I’m apparently really bad at judging tells, though, because so many times I was so sure I could win.

Each time, it takes a certain amount of rebuilding before I can really get back in the game. Losing is hard for me, because I risk so much of myself, but I know I won’t win what I want by playing it safe. I’ve been lucky not to lose more. I’m still really good friends with many of them. Disappointing but still positive.

There was one game, though, that I played for quite a while. It seemed promising when I sat down, but I’m not sure I wasn’t being hustled. Looking back, it seems like at the very beginning, I was dealt an amazing hand. I mean, it’s like I was dealt a royal flush in spades. No way to lose. And after, being the sort of person I am, I’d staked almost everything I had, only then did I learn that there were jokers in the deck.

I probably should have walked away at that point, but I felt like I had to keep fighting and hang in there. To play the game on it’s own terms instead of mine, at least for just long enough to walk away with something. I’m not really sure when that game actually ended. Or if any real game ever started. I might have just been pouring myself into a black hole. At some point I’ll probably be able to really assess things, and find that I did win something, just not what I was playing for. But right now it feels like I put my entire self out on that table. And I lost.

At first I tried to scrape some things together, maybe take a little on credit, and find a safer game to play. One seemed like it had potential, but I promptly went bust there too, and now I feel like I have nothing left.

So I’m officially completely on break from this dating thing. It’s not that I don’t have faith in my ability to play and win. I’m just completely out of anything to wager. I feel completely spent. It will just take time to recoup from my losses. It takes so much energy, optimism, confidence, and giving for me to play any game worth playing, and right now, those things are exactly what I don’t have. They’ve all been used up.

I don’t know how long it will take. I don’t know when I’ll be ready again. I feel very empty and very tired. So I’ve told myself, just as an arbitrary milestone, that maybe it would be a good idea to wait until my annulment goes through. The divorce marked one sort of freedom. If the Catholic Church grants us this annulment, it will be for me a freedom of a less tangible, subtler sort (since I’m not anticipating marriage any time soon). The effects might not be immediately visible, but I know that in some way, a weight will be off my shoulders.

Annulments take a long time, and don’t move to any predetermined schedule. So I don’t really see this working as a hard fast goal. It just gives me a sense of having plenty of wonderful time to rest. If I feel ready sooner, that’s fine. If I suddenly find buried treasure, fantastic. I definitely won’t lose any promising opportunity that my heart leads me to pursue.

But for now, I feel like I’ve gone all in, and I’m finally just all out.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Near Death

Someone else's life flashed before my eyes today. But for the grace of God, I could have killed a man.

And it's no merit to me that I didn't. I wasn't driving particularly carefully. I don't know how fast I was going. Probably around 70mph. I was pretty far behind the folks in front of me, but that was just chance, really.

As it was, three guys on motorcycles had just passed me a few minutes before, and moved into my lane. My eyes were on the road, but I was just sort of hypnotized by the highway. I was coming over a rise, and really couldn't see the vehicles on the road ahead. I had just noticed a smell of smoke. Not exhaust, but something really burning. Suddenly I was brought completely back to the road be a flash up ahead, and a cloud of smoke and sparks.

I began to break, and as I topped the rise, I saw one of the motorcycles up ahead skidding sideways along the pavement, and a man's body stretched across the lane, rolling over and over and over with the wreckage of the bike scraping and sparking and tumbling along around him.

If I'd been even a reasonably safe distance behind him, instead of yards and yards back as I happened to be, There's a chance I could have run him over, even doing everything I could have to avoid it.

I drew closer and closer, coming as quickly as I could to a stop without losing control myself. As I pulled off onto the shoulder, I *thankfully* saw the man scramble to his feet and hurry off the road. Parts of the bike were strewn along the shoulder; most of it has also come off the road.

I sat on the shoulder for a bit, getting back my breath and collecting myself. I saw that the guy's two friends had both stopped, and several other vehicles too, so since I had my wits back together, the guy seemed to have the use of all of his limbs (miraculous considering how like a rag doll he looked bouncing and skidding along), there seemed to be no sense in adding to the roadside congestion, so I took the opportunity of a decent break in traffic to pull back onto the highway, get up to speed, and continue home.

Now that I'm here, safe at home, I just thank God it wasn't what it could have been. He was looking after that poor guy on the bike. I'm so glad.


A squizzlet!!! I saw him, I saw him! Bob Jr. has arrived, and with impeccable timing. Today is Bobday! Exactly one month since Bob began to hatch, and today,

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

a new Bob is born!