Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligory

ew, originally uploaded by medusahead.

I've spent quite a bit of time at the Baptist Women's Hospital, visiting friends and family members who have given birth in addition to my own baby jaunt. I've walked through the lobby scores of times, never paying much mind to the antique display cabinet I would pass on the way to the elevators. As my sister was busying herself bringing Dana into the world, we were forced out of the waiting area by making the mistake of leaving our seats to eat. It was standing room only, so we reluctantly camped downstairs in the lobby, and bored and antsy, I decided to join Lindsey's father in-law Jim who was staring into the cabinet with a mixture of fascination and horror.

The cabinet looks like an antique that would be kept in a formal dining room, except instead of fine china and crystal, it would house terrfying rods of steel and clamps and shiny metal protuberances that look like artifacts from a Cronenberg film. But they aren't for a movie. They are for your vagina. At least, they were. I'm hoping because they are encased in glass, these "various retractors" and the Bros. Sharp and Pointy have been retired from duty and replaced by hoo-ha stretchers that maybe aren't quite In addition to the slice and dicers , the cabinet holds a tattered copy of Grey's Anatomy from 1914 and a bloated, spinecracked copy of Woman and Her Gynocology from 18somethingornuther. I'm assuming this was used to bludgeon the patient into compliance once she got a look at the doctor's toolkit. I honestly can't think of things less creepy to help facilitate the birth of a child, and yet, here is a whole cabinet of them, proudly on display for every laboring mother to see as she heads for the elevators. Who says hospital administration doesn't have a sense of humor?

And the kicker? A sign taped to the cabinet announces that the tools are on loan... from the doctor that delivered me.

My poor mama. Happy Birthday, by the way!


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

16 Months

I'm not exactly sure when the switch happened, but I experienced it today, the smidgen of baby left in Harlow stomped on by the toddler she has become. Sweet, cuddly she still is, but not so much with the compliant. Don't get me wrong, I love seeing her personality emerge, but when it clamps down on my arm and bites the holy hell out of it, I'm not so psyched.

She wants THAT water bottle and NO I am not supposed to help her drink it and I will BITE you, woman. How did I end up with a biter? More importantly, how do I get rid of her so we don't get kicked out of every school?

Besides the biting and hitting and NO!!!s, she's a joy, and I mean that. She just loves her family and animals and giving kisses and being (out)"side" and watermelon agua fresca from Deli Mexicana. Holy crap that stuff is insane. And yes, Senor Dreamy and I had a lovely reunion as we hugged across the counter to the long line's annoyance.

You know what else is insane? Ole MacGuyver has been toiling away on a children's playhouse for the past couple of weeks. Outside. Outside is the equivalent of standing in front my car's exhaust, and the poor guy has been doing this for days and days, 8 hrs at a time. Once I get permission to post work in progress pics I will, because that little playhouse and my hursband are badass.

Monday, July 28, 2008

She's Here!

The gorgeous Miss Dana McNeil Suber arrived this afternoon at 1:09 PM. 19 1/2 inches long. 7 lbs 8 ozs.

Apparently the section hurt like a big ole beeyotch but mama's got her meds and all are fine.

Pics from Papa's brand new Nikon D3 to come...

She's Almost Here!

My sister's newest daughter Carmen Suzanne will be making her debut on the planet any minute now.

Or Violet Potter.

Or Isabella Anastasia.

Or whatever Avery has decided will be a fitting name for her little sister.

Whatever her name will be, she's almost here!!!

Friday, July 25, 2008

We're famous, y'all

lamplighter, originally uploaded by medusahead. least for another couple of days before the next issue oh the Lamplighter comes out.

Check out July's sexy cover models (that would be Joe and Virginia Murphy of Music for Aardvarks fame with their Munchkins) at wherever the Lamplighter is given away for free. You can also read my monthly column "Green by Proxy" about the trials of going green when married to the Greenest Husband on Earth Except for Ed Begley Jr. Well, you could read it except I lamed out and didn't make the deadline last month.

But next month, just you wait.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Giant City

Giant City, originally uploaded by medusahead.

Where I grew up, the forest behind my subdivision was our playground. And by forest, I mean a paltry grouping of trees and shrubs that hadn't yet been earmarked for destruction. We built forts and caught crawdads in the stream. I saw a snake once when I was sampling honeysuckle. I came home at dusk smelling of wild onions and dirt, and in my memory, my childhood was spent in an magical, enchanted forest.

And then I went to Giant City.

Every July we make the trek up to Southern Illinois for the annual Sweazy family reunion. We cozy up in cabins at Giant City and spend our days swimming, gorging ourselves on the lodge's famous fried chicken and playing intense rounds of bacci ball or the new favorite, baggo.

There had been hikes in the past but never on the famed Giant City trail.

I had no idea what I had been missing.

This was my husband's playground when he was a child. Situated in the middle of the Shawnee National Forest, Giant City was carved out of glaciers as they inexorably pushed their way to the sea thousands of years ago. It is a fortress of stone and black, chilly caves. Emerald green moss grows inside graffiti carved into its walls before the civil war. It is hushed and mysterious and heartstoppingly beautiful.

And it will be my daughter's playground every summer.

giant city
giant city
Giant City
Giant City
Giant City
Giant City

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Thank you for making the first day of my being 33 so, so nice.

My belly is full of fried chicken and milkduds. My toenails are finally painted. My hair is straight-ish. My head is full of sweet phone calls and emails and shoutouts thanks to the heads up birthday calendar that is Facebook. Oh yeah. And Heath Ledger. My head is full of late show Heath Ledger Joker goodness. Or badness. Very good badness.

Not so good badness? Drinking coke and eating milkduds at the late show and still buzzing at 2 AM...

Monday, July 21, 2008

A question

I'm having some technical difficulties uploading pics from the weekend and actually getting some paid work done, so why don't I leave you with this thought, brought to you by four pretty men in lip gloss:

The reflex is an only child, he's waiting by the park
The reflex is in charge of finding treasure in the dark
And watching over lucky clover isnt that bizarre
Every little thing the reflex does is an answer with a
Question mark!

It's strangely satisfying to know that this question is still being bandied about on the airwaves of smalltown America.

So. What, exactly, is the reflex?

(There's a prize for the best answer.)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bedtime story

Bedtime story, originally uploaded by medusahead.

We're getting close to something that smacks of routine in our house, where Harlow grabs a book, does her orangatan walk to wherever you may be, turns around and backs her little snugly body into your lap for storytime. Of course this is usually when you are trying to cook dinner or check email, but the payoff is getting to nuzzle her sweet little noggin while you try to make monkeys wearing jewelry and playing drums sound exciting. (Now that I think about it, cross dressing monkey musicians are pretty exciting.

So tonight she comes toddling over with her new favorite bedtime story - the tale of hapless airline passengers who make a successful emergency ocean landing and clutch their seat/flotation devices while they wait for rescue. I'm not exactly sure when she smuggled the flight safety instructions into her bag, but my budding klepto is transfixed by the oxygen masks, the inflatable slides, and the Mona Lisa smile of the woman clutching 15B to her chest.


We are down to about 1 carton of moldy blueberries as we are leaving town again for a very Sweazy family reunion, so baby girl and I had a date at Cafe 1912. I had a hankering for a nice glass of wine and a healthy salad, and my sweet baby does so nicely when we go out that I thought it would be a fun treat.

I think it was when she started to choke on the 10 pieces of bread she'd stored in her cheek that I realized that the night was quickly headed south. And I'm not kidding. She suddenly got very still, her eyes bugged out in panic, and I had the realization that the moment I had been fearing since she took her first slurp of rice cereal was happening now - at the same restaurant where I nearly choked on a fish bone a year before. I'm thinking for karma's sake I need to cut 1912 from my list.

Fortunately I got a nice tube of partially eaten bread vomited into my hand just as the waiter deposited our caprese at the table. I took a big gulp of my pinot grigio and tried to interest her in some buffalo mozzerella. Rather than lunging for her favorite food groups - cheese and more cheese - she suddenly let out a piercing scream, and because these are the things that happen when you take your toddler to a fancy restaurant for dinner, took a gigantic, painful crap in her pants.

I'm going to spare you details.

I drained half of my wine and signaled for the check. I barely had the words To Go out of my mouth when our dinner appeared wrapped up and ready for our stinky selves to leave. Of course, now she didn't want to leave. To the couple in the corner's bemusement, she decided that she needed to have the portable restaurant phone.


When not running over to the hostess table to knock the phone out of her chubby little hand, I was trying to round up raisins and sign the check and keep my odiferous child from getting downwind. I threw her over my shoulder, walked in our door, and she was down 15 minutes later.

A note here to the folks interested in hemp milk. I'm thinking I have not found the cure for the dairy sensitivity problem. The fact that she daily passes material about the size and texture of Mt. Kilimanjaro is my first clue. It is pretty yummy though, and full of dairy-like fat. You can get it at your local, overpriced health food store.

Um. Hemp milk, that is. Milk. Not poop. Because if I have started eating poop, I'm not gonna just slide it into this post all nonchalantly. That kind of crazy is getting an agent and starting its own blog.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Family Photo Shoot

The light was nice. The baby was in a good mood. This was just before he pulled the electric guitar out of his hat.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Gramma Sue

Happy Birthday, Bama!

You are a ray of sunshine and enviably smooth skin and I thank you for passing down both to Miss Harlow. We can't wait to see you for a belated celebration!


These hormones are kicking my ass.

They make me want to kick your ass.

Ok. Honestly? Smurfette could challenge me to a rumble and I would curl up in a ball and sob like the whiny baby I am. Days away from turning 33 and I am suddenly 15 again, hating my body, imagining slights, picking fights and writing really bad love poetry. Ok, not the last part. But seriously. I'm here to tell you that if you have stumbled here after googling weaning/worst.pms.ever/4 day headache/moodswings/gut-punching guilt you are not alone. I cannot begin to tell you how I relieved I feel after stumbling around on my favorite help site - The Berkeley Parents Forum - and reading post after post written by women who cut their babies off from the tap and suddenly thought they were losing their fucking minds.

To my sweet husband, who when making the mistake of pointing out today that I "seemed really edgy" and I replied with "HAVE YOU NOT BEEN PAYING ATTENTION OF COURSE I AM EDGY. I HAVE JUST HAD MY ALL OF MY HORMONES REPLACED WITH THOSE OF THE YOUNGEST JONAS BROTHER," there is happily a medical explanation. Fortunately I also chose as my best friend a conveniently located acupuncturist who is using her Chinese voodoo to help keep the beasts at bay. From what I can see from my online research, the worst of it should pass in about a month, when I will hopefully still be married and permitted to handle the kitchen knives.

They should totally make a pill for this. Oh wait. They do. I take them. Hmmm. Maybe take more?

Another fallout of the hormonal onslaught is a return to pre-Zoloft levels of zero concentration. Somehow I have managed to get the Veiled manuscript finished, and submissions are going out shortly. But I now spend every second of my free time spinning the Which Stupid Story Am I'm Supposed To Be Working On Wheel and then getting pissed off that I can't commit to one, and somewhere in Arizona there is a stupid Mormon housewife who is juggling three kids and vaccuming and writing, on average, about a novel a day.

Not that I am jealous.

Just hormonal.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


You know those vocation tests they made you take in elementary school? This is the reason to wad them up and toss it right back in teach's face.

This is a guy dancing around the world. The New York Times wrote about him yesterday. He said the only thing he was good at was traveling. His own father dissuaded him from going to college because he didn't think his son showed any aptitude.

Well, screw you, buddy. Watch your son bringing the world together through a weird little shuffle.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

She puts the WEEEE in weaning.

You know what is amazing?

The sensation of putting on a dress and walking out the door knowing that at no point during my time in that dress will I have to create access for anyone under the age of 37. That I could down a bottle of wine or tear through a combo #1 at Chick Fil A knowing that the only damage I'm inflicting is on myself.

We're on day 4 of Total Weaning 2008, and I have to say that having my body back to myself is pretty spectacular.

Early Saturday morning Caleb brought Harlow into our bed. After some confusion over whether or not I had already nursed her - apparently I had already done so in my dreams - I blearily accepted her warm little body and fell back asleep. It wasn't until later that afternoon when it dawned on me that our morning session had been the very last time. I knew that if I waited and made some big fuss about The Very Last Time I'd be a big ole sobby mess and she would be confused, and it just made sense for me that Saturday was the way it played out. A chapter in our story has finished, and I have a memory of warmth and closeness and family and sleep.

Harlow still on occasion pulls on my shirt but happily drinks down some crunchy munchy hemp milk with a smile. (That's right. My baby drinks hemp.)

I love that holding her is just me holding her. I get lots of hugs and snuggling and kisses where usually I was just smacked until I gave up the boob.

And then there was the magic that was yesterday. Harlow had her first ever sleepover at Nana and Papa's, and it couldn't have gone better. She barely batted one of those mile long eyelashes at me when I left, and she had a blast playing with her grandparents. She stirred just once, put herself back down and was up at 6:30 to start the day, a fact I was blissfully unaware of as I was busy sleeping off dinner, the Allison Krauss concert and a late movie. (Concerned that Nana might never ever offer to babysit again, we crammed as many activities into out night as Sweazily possible.

By the way, Allison Krauss? Goddess.

The assholes in Section B Row 34? It must have required serious dedication to your craft to become the biggest fuckwads on the planet. Did you get confused and think you were at a Zeppelin concert? Was it necessary to scream every 5 seconds through every song? Did you wake up this morning in a haze of corn dog and Bud breath with the slightest inkling that last night, during Killing the Blues, about 43 people hoped the song was referring to you?


So a question to those who have gone before me. In my worry over gently easing Harlow through this process, I didn't stop to think about what was going to be happening to me. I just figured there would be some lumps and some discomfort and the milk would go away. But then the sore throat started. And the exhaustion. And the achiness. Could it be the dreaded mastitis? I am sipping on some raw apple cider vinegar as I type this. Any other suggestions?

More Florida

For those of you about to head to the beach, here are some pics to get you through the week.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Monday, July 07, 2008


family, originally uploaded by medusahead.

These boots are made for stomping, tripping, giggling and most definitely not walking anywhere.

Sunday, July 06, 2008


Frisbee, originally uploaded by medusahead.

So there was the original plan, that we would spend the weekend together in Florida for the family reunion. Then we would return to Memphis, some of us staying put, others getting the hell out and cooling off in Colorado.

And it just can't be a trip to Florida without my dad deciding to stay an extra day. And can you blame him? Do you see the view? There we were with an hour before the shuttle was to pick us up. Neil and I are were still in disbelief that we were actually leaving when it was suddenly revealed we weren't. We were going to stay for the week, welcoming our newly married uncle and his family for a joint 4th celebration.

Good times.

Then the night of the 3rd arrived as did a phone call from my uncle. Turns out there was a bit of a communication breakdown, where the headcount that sounded like 4 was actually 10 and they were a couple of hours away.

The morning of the 4th we found ourselves unexpectedly packing up and headed back to Memphis. It was only fair to relinquish the house as it had been promised to my uncle, and we tried hard not to cry over the gorgeous beach fireworks display we would be missing. My uncle's homemade pancakes helped sop up the bitter.

It was hot and humid but that ocean breeze made for some oh so lovely nights on the balcony. I powered through books 2 and 3 of the Stephenie Meyer Twilight trilogy and spent the rest of the week unconvinced that I wasn't 14. Harlow and Avery hugged and mugged and fought and snoozed away on island time. We played in the sand, ran from the water, kinda sorta dug the pool, fell in love with our first snow cone and wondered why mom suddenly slipped into the collective "we." Mama found some cute dresses, some wonderful relations (Bon voyage, cousin Matthew!) some killer BBQ (thanks cousin Charlie) and about 10 extra pounds (thanks Donut Hole!)

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Gone fishin

Gone fishin, originally uploaded by medusahead.

So what was supposed to be a quick weekend trip has turned into a much longer affair.

I guess I'll just have to deal with being in paradise just a bit longer...