Sunday, July 13, 2008

The post in which I discuss random Star Wars stuff, none of which has anything to do with sewing.

When we found out we were having a kid, I knew we had the announcements covered since at some point during one of my random marathon internet surfing sessions I'd bookmarked a website with the coolest announcements ever.

My husband is a huge Star Wars fan - I'm talking, 'eyes glaze over and nothing gets done for the rest of the day if any of the Star Wars movies are on TV' type of fan. Please don't ever get him started with trivia because he'll talk for hours about things like jawas and wookies and the underlying symbolic reasoning behind every minutia of each movie. Right after I found out we were expecting, I saw a photo on Flickr that set off what became 9 months of all things vintage Star Wars (including a shower complete with a Star Wars themed diaper cake). I purchased enough vintage Star Wars sheets to linen an entire hotel and created a pretty bad-ass nursery.

When I thought about announcements, I had the perfect idea of combining Rattle-N-Roll's work with the Star Wars theme. I added announcements to the list of things I to line up before Miles arrived but, in true Robin fashion, it never got done. So, I added it to the list of things to finalize in his first few weeks but there were a few other minor events that kept me from getting them done in the time-frame in which most normal people do announcements (see: dog dying, child with colic, and a severe sleep deficit). Somehow though I got my shit in gear and I finally finished sending them out a few weeks ago.

I must say, they're freaking awesome.

Each time I look at the announcements (and the movie poster-sized print we had made), I'm amazed. I was worried that the announcements might not live up to my expectations, that they wouldn't be able to capture Miles' likeness or that it wouldn't resemble the movie poster enough. Turns out I didn't need to worry at all - Ryan at Rattle-N-Roll created a finished product that we will treasure forever. The first time Mark saw the proof he was like a kid at Christmas - a tough feat for my husband who is infinitely hard to please.

On another note, I crafted a bad-ass Star Wars taggie blanket for Miles to take to daycare. He loves to hold it and suck on the edges and, while I know I'm creating a habit that I will regret one day when he's 4 years old and screaming because we left his blankie in some random, unrecoverable place, for now I think it's pretty cool...

Or at least I thought it was cool until my husband, while skimming the new Pottery Barn Kids catalog that came today, tapped my leg and held up the catalog. I shrieked in horror. My cool, original, vintage Star Wars bedding is no longer cool and original - it's in a freaking Pottery Barn catalog. Part of me wants to be honored that my idea is so cool that it's now featured in a uber-yuppy catalog but most of me is just pissed that my cool, original idea is now a mass-marketed, cookie-cutter room theme of suburban children everywhere.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

I get the point

Coltrane's necropsy results* and Miles' birth certificate both arrived in the mail yesterday, one on top of the other.

I think the universe is trying to tell me something...

*Yes, we had to call UGA to get the results even in light of the fact that they repeatedly told us they'd call when the results were available. When Mark called, he was also informed that: (a) the results came back over a week ago, (b) while Coltrane did pass away from the staph infection, they didn't test to confirm that it was a recurrence of the same infection (and tried to reason that maybe our house dog who was on limited activity because of his knee, contracted MRSA again instead of it lingering in his blood) and (c) the orthopedic who last saw Coltrane (who prescribed the prenisone and who still has yet to call and offer any condolences) knew about what happened right after it happened. So much for the teaching part of their hospital. While I'm doing my best to put this behind me, each time I try, shit like this happens and I just can't get past the anger.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Trying to Find the Silver Lining

I'm slowly beginning to move on although there are still those moments when I feel that deep, deep sadness knowing Coltrane is gone forever.

Like last night when I sat on the couch watching TV and realized I was never going to see that big guy drag his bed from the bedroom into the family room and beg for his kong to be filled with a treat as a reward for his job well done. Or tonight when I dropped a piece of bread on the floor and had to pick it up instead of having him there at my feet picking up my scraps. It's a sorrow unlike anything I've ever known.

There's also the anger. It sounds illogical but the more we learn about how and why Coltrane died, the more angry and at peace we are with his passing.

We now know that Coltrane passed away from MRSA - that nasty antibiotic resistant 'superbug' staph infection. At one point during the past year of treatment, he tested positive for it and, while we thought we'd treated it, it was still in his system (we've since learned that MRSA never really goes away - it's always in your system). Once his immune system was suppressed by the prednisone, the MRSA flared up.

While we know that, medically, UGA did the best they could with the information they had, it's the things they didn't do that bother us. They didn't have us follow-up with our local vet regularly which, given the dose of prednisone he was on and Coltrane's history, would have been prudent. They knew we had a newborn at home (he was with us during those last visits) yet, it was only after my husband called to get the test results (note: they didn't call us - we had to call them) that we learned of MRSA. The vet then added that that it was probably a good idea if we get tested. (I wonder when they would have mentioned that if my husband hadn't called to get the test results.) This week we received an itemized bill in the mail with a credit card slip stapled to it; they simply charged the final bill to the credit card we used for the deposit - no call to tell us the final total or ask us how we wanted to pay. And, what bugs us the most is that the orthopedic doctor who was handling Coltrane's case - until that last visit when we realized the severity of the infection and it was turned over to the internal medicine vets - still hasn't called. A short, 'I'm sorry to hear about Coltrane' would have gone a long way toward making us feel better about the situation.

The odd thing about this is that we have a friend who, for the past year, has had MRSA issues mirroring Coltrane's. Even odder: Coltrane injured his knee at our friend's house during the same weekend when our friend's MRSA issues began.

On each visit to UGA we mentioned our concerns about the MRSA - about how strange it was that the cases followed a parallel path, that we were worried it was still in his system and that we had concerns about the prednisone. We wish the doctors had paid closer attention to our concerns about MRSA instead of looking at us like we had horns when we told them about the similarities between Coltrane's prognosis and our friend's condition.

But, ultimately, MRSA is such a new and nasty thing that doctors barely know what to do with it in humans. Our friend has been battling it for over a year and they still don't have a grasp on how to handle it. The test that allowed them to finally find the source of the issues in our friend (an infection in his bone) is rarely done in animals. The closest facility that has the capability is at the University of Tennessee and diagnosis alone would have cost approximately $10,000; who knows what treatment would have cost - assuming it was even available.

I hope that UGA uses this as a learning experience - that they learn how to treat cases like this, that they don't make these mistakes in the future, and that Coltrane's death will help some other animal who comes in with the same symptoms. It's the only bit of peace I can find in this situation.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The End

Funny how life works sometimes. Just the other night I was looking through some posts I wrote about our dog Coltrane's knee surgery. At the time I read the posts, a little over a year had passed since the surgery and we were still dealing with the consequences - a leg that wouldn't heal, a litany of medicines, and a dog that, for the past few months, hadn't been himself.

Then the bottom fell out.

We noticed some changes in Coltrane about a week ago. Some we chalked up to the new baby in the house, others we thought were a result of the lingering surgery issues and a few we thought were caused by a recent change in his food. But we knew things weren't right a few days ago when he wouldn't eat. Then on Wednesday, when we went out for a walk, he collapsed - he did it again that night.

Yesterday we took him to the University of Georgia - where he'd been receiving treatment for the past few months. We met with the doctors in the morning and ran some errands while they ran tests - that afternoon, while in the Target parking lot, we got a call from the doctor. Coltrane had an infection - a serious infection.

When we got back to the hospital that afternoon, we met with the internal medicine doctors who kept stressing the severity of Coltrane's condition. Apparently this was more than just an infection. But, we left Coltrane in their hands, remained positive and headed back to Atlanta.

That evening we got a call from the doctors - the infection was so severe that it had caused inflammation throughout his body. While they thought they could get the infection under control, the other issues - mainly the condition of his heart - were grave. They felt we should come over the next morning to see him as he might not make it through the weekend.

A few minutes later we got a call telling us to come that night.

We drove back to the university that night and got there at 10:30 pm. The school was dark and, as they let us in, I felt as though I was someplace I shouldn't be; it was eerie and ominous. We went into one of the exam rooms and talked with the doctors who told us how Coltrane was fighting but that his prognosis was grim; after discussing options, we told them to do whatever they could to save him.

We went in to see our buddy, saying what we knew could very well be goodbye. He recognized us and I promised him Brewster's ice cream every week if he pulled through. We told him how he needed to fight for his new little brother Miles. We choked back tears as we petted him while he laid there in on the floor of the ICU with tubes attached to him everywhere.

We headed back to Atlanta in silence and hoped for the best but ultimately his little heart couldn't handle it. At 1 am, when the phone rang, we knew - we didn't need to hear the doctor say it, Coltrane had passed.

There are a million and one things I could say about how amazing Coltrane was - about how he was the kindest, gentlest dog in the world (even at 100 pounds, he'd play with the 5 pound bichon frise down the street without any of us ever worrying about him hurting her), how he was so happy (no matter how crappy my day, just hearing him run to the door to greet me would cheer me up the minute I stepped in the door), how he was loving (he never wanted to be without us and would follow us around the house - complete unconditional love)... Honestly I could go on for hours but it would never do service to what an amazing creature he was.

We loved that dog as if he were our first child and, while at the hospital after Miles' delivery, the only thing I could think about was getting home to see that furry little guy again and having him meet his new brother. I'm sad that Miles won't get to know and grow up knowing a family member who was a huge part of our life. And each time I think about never seeing that big bushy tail, that ear-to-ear grin or those cute white feet, I ache with a pain so bad that I wonder if it's capable of ever going away. Quite honestly I'm having difficulty putting it all into words - it's like being hit with continual tidal waves of grief, anger, and the type of sadness that literally makes you hurt inside.

I'm trying to focus on the good - the 6+ years of pure joy Coltrane brought into our lives and the many years of joy we have to look forward to with Miles - but it's a minute-by-minute struggle. I know that with time it will grow less painful and it may one day be something that doesn't cause me to shake and cry uncontrollably - it's just hard seeing that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.

Rest in peace little buddy - you'll be missed.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

A Second Plea

Dearest Miles,

Thank you so much for listening to Mommy - she was thrilled when you decided to start events leading up to your appearance on 4/20 but waited until 4/21 to actually show up. And what an appearance it was - you're absolutely beautiful and we couldn't be happier to see that perfect cherub-like face.

But it's about the screaming - the daily (or, in most cases, nightly) eight to twelve hours of almost uninterrupted screaming. I realize that you may think the fact that you're so adorable makes up for the fact that you're a total pill but cute only goes so far. Dad said it best this morning: you're kicking our asses. We could deal with having to get up ever few hours for feedings - your big brother Coltrane got us used to that with his 5 times a night pee breaks - but the fact that you simply won't sleep must change soon.

The doctor says you have reflux and although it kills me to give medicine to my child whose life is still measured in days, we've been loading you up with Zantac twice a day in hopes that it will help. So far it doesn't seem to be doing anything other than pissing you off when we squirt foul-tasting liquid into your mouth but your doctor insists it will take up to a week so we're trying to be patient.

We have so much we want to do with and for you. Mommy would like to have 30 minutes a day to take a shower or a 15 minute recess from the screaming fest to give you a sponge bath so people don't look at her like some horrible neglectful woman when she takes you out in public with your face covered in vomit. And Daddy wants a few quiet moments to pay bills so that mean people don't come cut off our electricity and kick us out of our house. But, we can't do any of that with you insisting on partying like rock star at all hours of the morning.

I love you so much little bean. You really are perfect and we couldn't be happier to have you here - now be a good boy, listen to Mama and show us how well you can sleep in that cute little Star Wars crib of yours.

The 'Rents

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Wishes Do Come True

After 3 years of trying, 9 months of waiting, 3 days of worrying and 1 day of begging, Miles Garrett joined us on Monday, April 21 at 1:23 am. Our hopes for 'normal' were fulfilled - in fact, perfect, seems to be the adjective that comes to mind most frequently.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Lecture #1

Dear Baby,

While I hoped I'd be writing the story of your birth by now or that, at a minimum, you'd be on your way out today, you're already refusing to listen to your mother and have decided to take your precious time in vacating my uterus.

Don't get me wrong, thus far it's been pretty darn easy carrying you around and I've actually enjoyed the freak-like nature of of my belly as little knees and feet poke out, but the doctor insists that unless you make an appearance soon, she's going to forcefully evict you and, honestly, that's no fun for either of us. So get the hell out. Seriously.

Your nursery is finally done and I must say, it's pretty bad ass. The star wars bedding is complete, your dad's vision of the perfect mobile is in place, even the little finishing touches are ready for your arrival.

While I'm not crazy about you being born on a day dubbed the 'stoner holiday' I'm quite certain I'll learn to live with it. After all, I did marry your father who plays the drums in a band for a living and travels around the country in a stinky bus and that didn't work out so badly. So what do you think? Tomorrow sound like a good day to be born? I sure hope so.

Can't wait to meet you little guy.

Your Mama

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

On Normalcy

I'm 37 weeks along today. Full term - which means the baby could be born any day.

It's odd knowing that at some point in the next 3 to 5 weeks my body will go through something over which I have no control. No matter how many books I've read or classes I've been to, I don't know how it will feel and, assuming all goes as it should, I don't know when it will happen. I can't pencil it into the calendar and I can't make a perfect plan for how it will all go down.

I watched an episode of Dexter last weekend and, at the end, as the main character sat with his girlfriend at dinner, they concurred that they wanted the same thing out of life: to be normal.

At first it struck me as rather unambitious - the desire to be normal. But this past week has been one of anything but normal. I've had friends faced with extraordinary events, seen things that I never thought could happen and even something as silly as the weather - with tornadoes one week and snow flurries the next - has been out-of-the-norm.

It's made me realize that normal is really underrated.

For a good part of my pregnancy I've wanted things to be anything but normal. At first I didn't take pictures because I thought I looked fat or because I knew I didn't have the time or tools to make the pictures look perfect. Most recently, I've put off sharing the nursery because I haven't had time to attend to the tiny finishing details. And, for almost every day over the past week, I've spent my evenings stressed out because I know the baby could arrive any day and our house isn't Martha-Stewart-style organized.

But today I realized that, even if I had all of the time in the world, I'd never get things perfect and, even if I could, I don't know if I'd want to.

There's something to be said for normal - for sitting on the couch with my husband and discussing our day while he rubs my feet instead of spending the evening running around crazy, scrubbing floors or organizing drawers. Having a normal pregnancy thus far has been a blessing and I'm lucky to still feel great. And, there's nothing I love more than my completely normal house, family and friends.

That's not to say that there aren't things that I find extraordinary about my life or that I don't have reasons for thinking that my friends and family are better than most but, on paper, I live a pretty darn normal existence and for that I'm thankful. I'm happy to be normal and I, too, want little more than to continue to be normal for a long time to come.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


My husband has been in full-on 'Babygate '08' mode. Nevermind the fact that we don't have a name picked out for the child. (Seriously. Not even a 'if they're kicking us out of the hospital and we need something for the birth certificate' name.) Instead of figuring out what we will name the bugger, my husband has moved on to his own version of nesting. He wants to have the nursery ready by March 1 (yes, this Saturday) and has been burning through child-rearing books at a pace usually reserved for Sports Illustrated or home theater magazines. He even tore open the car seat base (one of the gifts from my parents for our shower on March 15 that was delivered to our house with explicit instructions that it not be opened until the shower) and spent most of Saturday figuring out how to install it in our cars. Every five minutes he'd run back in the house with an update and a look of pride in his ability to figure out the mess of hooks, belts and fasteners.

I've been busting my butt on little one's bedding and associated nursery goods and while I doubt I'll hit the March 1 husband-imposed deadline, it's been fun planning everything. I'm excited to get it done so I can show it off but until then, sneak peeks of the planning process will have to suffice.

About a week ago, I put aside my other work and whipped out a few appliqued onesies for a friend that's having triplets. I always enjoy making gifts for multiples - finding ways to make items that are similar enough to be part of a set but different enough to avoid the dreaded matching outfit syndrome - and think these came out particularly cute. I hope nobody ever figures out how easy it is to make these onesies (I think I finished three onesies in under 45 minutes) - by far one of my favorite baby gifts to make and give.

Between childbirth classes, infant CPR training, pediatrician appointments, the every-other-week (soon to be every week) doctor's appointments, a few trips to the UGA Small Animal Teaching Hospital (another story for another time) and lunches with friends who I know I won't have time to see once the kid makes an appearance, I managed to accomplish two things off of my 101 list.

Earlier this month I visited my friend Stew's opening of his Painted Flower a Day project. I loved reading about it and seeing him give away flowers as the year progressed - the show was the proverbial icing. He did a great job of putting it all together and, at the risk of sounding patronizing, I'm damn proud of him. My flowers (the original flower he gave me in August and the new flower I cut out at the show that night) are hanging from the shelf in my studio, just waiting for the next time I need a little boost of inspiration.

Although I'm not running now (the basketball lodged in my abdomen makes it a little difficult), my husband has been enjoying his Christmas present and I plan to join him in hitting the pavement once little Tito makes his appearance and my body returns to its non-freaklike state. Although we both know we should carry identification while running outside, neither of us ever goes through the effort of pulling our license out of our wallet and finding a place to hold it that won't cause chafing of very sensitive body parts. (Plus, if you've ever been to the DMV in Atlanta, you know that the idea of losing your license and having to wait for a new one is enough to make a person lock their license in a vault and only remove it in case of an emergency.) The answer to this dilemma? Road ID. For less than the cost of a new license, I have my very own Road ID complete with vecro strap and 4 'in case of emergency' numbers. I was impressed with how quickly it arrived and how light it really is (a consideration for my husband who already has the Nike kit attached to one shoe). Good peace of mind - especially since my husband is often running by himself while traveling in towns where he doesn't know a soul.

Other than that, life is pretty darn normal. I'm still wearing my 4" heels, going to yoga twice a week and feeling great. I'm finally at peace with the fact that I'm huge and while I'm told that there will come a point when I'll want to serve the child an eviction notice, for now I'm fine with him hanging out and making his presence known every once and a while with a kick in the ribs.

Friday, February 1, 2008

I'm alive

"How long do you have to go?" a co-worker asked the other day.

I did a little math in my head and immediately freaked out. "Two and a half months," I answered. I will have a child in two and a half months. Holy shit.

I've been busy - some of it baby related, most of it not. But, I got a pretty new toy for Christmas so hopefully the posts - complete with pretty pictures - will resume in fierce action.

Anyone who knows me knows I'm a compulsive list maker - I'm of the 'if I don't write it down I'll forget it' school of thought which leads to a big purse full of notecards and notebooks full of various lists.

I've been reading Zandria's posts about her list for a while. When I swore off television for a week and thought about taking on a new challenge each week for a year, she suggested creating a list of my own; I wasn't ready then but earlier this week when I looked at my growing 'things I want to do' and 'long term projects' lists, I decided I'd give it a shot.

Although the organizers of the challenge have their own rules, I created some of my own. Each task had to be something that had a purpose - to push me outside of my comfort zone, do something I've always wanted to do but haven't made the time to do, better the community. I also had to have control over accomplishing them - while I'd love to do a ton of travel over the next 1,001 days, I know that scheduling, the baby, and finances may not permit me to take all of the trips I'd like to.

I stole a few items from Zandria and others who are taking the challenge and came up with a list of my own. I'm very excited about the results - it will take some work but it's totally attainable. It made me think about what is important to me - what I really need and want to accomplish - and has helped me cut down the amount of stuff in my purse.

My last day will be October 29, 2010 (I'll have a 2-year-old by then!) Maybe I'll plan a big Halloween party to celebrate! Wish me luck!

101 Things in 1,001 Days

My 101 things in 1,001 (February 1, 2008 - October 29, 2010) Days.

Wanna know how this started?

Wanna make your own?

1. Run a 5K in under 29 minutes
2. Run a half-marathon in under 2:30
3. Do at least one session with a personal trainer
4. Do 5 unassisted pull-ups
5. Take a spinning class
6. Do at least 1 Pilates session or class
7. Do yoga every day for one week
8. Complete all of the iTrain workouts on my iPod at least once
9. Make and drink my own vegetable juice every day for one week
10. Eat raw for 3 days in a row
11. Keep a food journal for one month

12. Organize basement
13. Finish and hang keepsake handkerchiefs frames
14. Clean windows
15. Organize spice jar and throw away any spices older than a year old
16. Organize pantry
17. Get bikes tuned-up and repaired
18. Visit pottery supply store and buy supplies to make something with kiln
19. Get grandmother’s singer sewing machine serviced
20. Get artwork framed and/or buy portfolio in which to store it
21. Get car rims repaired
22. Finish Mark’s band scrapbook
23. Create wedding scrapbook
24. Create baby scrapbook
25. Organize photos (put hard-copy photos in albums, make CDs of digital photos and order prints/albums of photos from trips)
26. Organize magazine clippings in moleskine notebooks
27. Rip all CDs to computer and transfer music from old computer to hard drive
28. Buy furniture for TV and components
29. Create landscaping plan for house

30. Learn to play ‘Have a Little Faith’ on piano
31. Learn to play one song on guitar
32. Take a photography class or workshop focusing on people, flash or technique
33. Build photography portfolio by photographing at least 3 friends’ children; send each friend at least one framed print from the session as a thank you
34. Take a photo every day for 30 days
35. Make 3 pottery gifts using kiln
36. Take a pottery class

37. Get Jigabug products featured in at least one bricks and mortar store
38. Participate in at least 2 craft shows
39. Post to my blog 4 times a week for 2 weeks in a row

40. Make t-shirt quilt
41. Finish polka dot quilt
42. Finish Asian quilt
43. Make dining chair covers
44. Finish all of the projects currently started and all of those on my ‘projects’ list

Personal Development:
45. Finish novel
46. Read 24 books in 12 months
47. Read at least 5 books off of my bookshelf
48. Read at least 4 non-fiction books
49. For at least 5 days a week for 2 weeks in a row, wake up 60 minutes early and write for at least 45 minutes
50. For at least 5 days a week for 3 weeks in a row, spend at least 30 minutes each night writing, reading or sewing
51. Spend 2 days without spending any money
52. Go 30 days without buying anything other than food or essentials
53. Learn elementary Italian (through a class or tapes)
54. Each day for one week, write down 3 things that day that made me happy or thankful
55. Identify 100 things that make me happy
56. Go 3 days without saying anything negative
57. Leave a 100% tip
58. Pay for someone behind me in the drive-through line
59. Get rid of 20 useless items
60. Get rid of 20 useless pieces of clothing
61. Learn to cook at least 2 Indian dishes
62. Make homemade pasta and tomato sauce for dinner one night
63. Go to the movies alone
64. Teach someone how to do something I know how to do
65. Find 3 ways to be greener and put them to use

66. Volunteer for at least 8 hours with an organization I believe in
67. Find two charities I support and give them each a donation
68. Sew or knit something or someone less fortunate (Project Linus, hospital gown, etc.)
69. Buy only local fruits and vegetables for one week
70. Learn to identify 10 native trees, plants or flowers
71. Go to at least 2 art, photography or other exhibits
72. Visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. Historic Site
73. Visit Oakland Cemetery
74. Visit the Atlanta Zoo
75. Go to a flea market
76. Walk or use public transportation for 2 days in a row

Friends and Family:
77. Host a wine and cheese tasting
78. Host ‘guilty pleasures’ party
79. Bake or cook something for my neighbors ‘just because’
80. Send a random ‘just because’ card to someone once per week for 4 weeks in a row
81. Do a family picnic
82. Take at least one good picture of the baby each week
83. Give Mark a 30 minute massage
84. Go support a friend at a concert, reading, race or other event Done 2/08
85. Give only handmade gifts for one occasion
86. Send 5 postcards from vacation
87. Take a trip somewhere exotic or fun for Mark’s 40th birthday
88. Ski Whistler
89. Create a will

Random Fun Things:
90. Ask for input from friends and, using feedback, compile a list of the 20 ‘essential’ albums and, if I don’t own them, buy them
91. Ask for input from friends and, using feedback, compile a list of the 100 ‘essential’ songs; if I don’t own them, buy them and create a playlist of the songs.
92. Grow a vegetable garden
93. Grow an herb garden that can be moved inside during the winter
94. Wear makeup every day for a week
95. Wear jewelry every day for a week
96. Whiten teeth
97. Get laser hair removal
98. Buy a fire extinguisher, first aid and emergency kit for home
99. Order a road IDs Done 2/08

100. Donate $5 to charity for each task not complete
101. Make a new list of 101 things before October 29, 2010