Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Do It Yourself (Have Your Partner do it) Belly Casts: Belly Casting during Pregnancy

The belly cast on the left (with the right arm attached) is of me when I was pregnant with Darah. The belly cast on the left (without arms) was created about a week ago during my second pregnancy with Elanah. I am now in my eighth month of pregnancy. The cast of my belly with Darah was made slightly earlier, during the seventh month.






Coffee Ground to Coffee Ground

A couple of weeks ago, I said goodbye to one of my oldest friends, Night Night. He is a bear and he came to live with me when I was two years old (probably when my younger sister, Melissa, was born... as some sort of comfort gift). Night Night spent almost twenty three years with me, but I let him go. His actual, official, name (I found out a couple of years ago when I actually looked at the faded letters on his chest) is Nitey Night, but I always knew him as Night Night. I'm sure he was just beautiful when I first wrapped my arms around him. He was a cream colored bear, wearing a pink pajama suit and a pink night cap with a yellow star on the end. He had sweet drooping, sleepy blue eyes, a pink button nose and a round hole for a mouth. His mouth was very entertaining because I could actually stick things (and my fingers) in there. I don't have evidence (in my recent attempts to stick a finger back into his cottony interior) that I ever put anything gross in his mouth. I'm sure I gave him "medicine" a lot through that hole.

As a child, I always made my dolls and animals suffer from ailments. They all needed my love and care. Feeling sorry for them made me feel good because feeling needed felt good. Oh, but that leads me down the road of my childhood and adult issues of needing to feel needed and special, and I just want to write a little something in honor of my bear. The point is that Night Night used to be beautiful but has worn over the years, just as we all do. The times I peed and spilled tomato sauce on him may have had something to do with it. The overlapping stitches on his back are tell-tale signs of a well-earned retirement.

Many of us have those items from our childhood that we just cannot or will let to of...I understand. If Night Night wasn't so shabby and musty, I would love to have let Darah enjoy him for some time. But she will have her own new, special animals and friends to love and enjoy. If I actually had some use for him, I would have kept him. But I am not alone or lonely, and I don't need him for comfort. He spent the last few years buried away in closets and chests anyway. He was not bringing anyone joy. It's hard not to give life to what is actually a non-living object. I still have that childhood urge to attribute emotions to him, even if I do so in jest.

So I decided to let go of Night Night. I could not donate him because he was too musty and old, so I had to throw him away. That's what we do, in the end, isn't it. Even if we put fancy stones over our bodies or pile on bunches of flowers, we are - essentially - thrown away in the end, when there is no longer a use for our bodies. Luckily, our bodies have the ability of decaying and becoming part of the new earth that grows. We can be mulch and we can be food, but mostly we pollute the air when we are cremated or take up space with wooden boxes and stone shelves. Even as ridiculous as it is to want to be preserved, we often do (I know I do). I suppose my desire to keep Night Night "alive" and "preserve" him has something to do with my desire to feed the illusion of being able to stay alive and being able to be preserved or immortalized in some way.

But I put Night Night in the trash because I didn't have a better idea of what to do with him. I hugged him and took a photo with him and let Darah hug him. We all said goodbye, and then I placed him in the garbage can in our kitchen. For the next twenty-four hours, I flinched every time I went to throw something away over his body. It was hard to think of him being in there every time I passed the garbage can. I wanted to avoid it and have it be "out of sight, out of mind" for good, but I also wanted to fill the garbage bag before taking it outside. The coffee grinds were the worst. Sandy made some coffee and had to throw the wet grinds away. She asked me if I was sure about Night Night and didn't want to save him. I said I was sure.

So his body was covered with wet coffee grinds that looked like soil. Very appropriate. I probably should have been the one to dump them over him, but I let her do it. Then, at the end of the night, I asked her to take out the trash and put me out of my misery. She did so, with compassion and love. I don't have many detailed memories of my times with Night Night, but I do have a strong emotional memory of the comfort he brought me when I was scared or sad or lonely. I can picture myself holding him in my arms in the bunk bed of my aunt's trailer at Sherkston Shores in Canada. A little piece of home. A little piece of stability. A little bear, Night Night. I'll miss him every now and then.

(On another note, Darah saw a picture in her favorite "Big Book" this morning of a man with a broom. She exclaimed, "clean up." And later, while on Skype with Grampy Bill ("Dimpy"), she sniffed in dramatically and said "ew, stinky foot." That was just after I removed her socks, upon her request!)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Pregnancy Status Updates: My Life, as Revealed by Facebook Status Updates

Jessica Mason McFadden (oldest to most recent)

is on meds for heartburn and will soon be on beta blockers for high heart rate....hmmm...

is not the owner of this land or anything else

is not wondering why

is pleading with the gods that she not wake up inhaling/choking on her acid reflux in the middle of the night...second trimester is The Golden Period, eh?

is happy grampy day

thinks it is so funny that Darah ordered Sandy to drop the television remote to read her a story this morning by saying (or commanding/ordering), "Down."

just ate a coffee ice cream in a waffle bowl with fudge sauce and chocolate chips on top and then had three chocolate covered pretzels that sandy bought her...(uhhhh, i have to eat all of my deserts in the afternoon to avoid acid reflux incidents in ...the middle of the night...so I really "do it up")

is grateful for the luxury three inch thick and extra dense memory foam that Sandy bought her as a "pregnancy gift" - it provides a bit of loving care and relief for my aching bones...

is whoa Michael Jackson - time to watch the news -

knows everything is an illusion - life, death, and every other concept we think of...everything we experience...every reality will eventually be dust.

wonders why Darah woke up crying and asking for "milk" in the middle of the night...for the first time ever...growth spurt?

is grateful to anyone who can save a Macomb Journal for her because Darah's picture is on the last page (thanks for letting us know, Paula!!!)

doesn't like it that companies like Verizon Wireless are in cahoots with scammers that fall under the category of "Premium Text Data" (or "Ringtones)...errrr.

awaits the arrival of Darah's twin bed

has one babyfetus and one sleeping toddler stacked on top of her and half a tub of Ben and Jerry's Coffee Heath Bar Crunch somewhere in the mix

wonders if you have any strong opinions about ("sippy") cups for toddlers...since I am trying to find the best thing out there and weighing all of the pros/cons

feels as though her pelvic bone is parting, as well as all of her organs...but it was so worth it to take Darah for a wagon ride in this never-quite stormy yet COOL climate

is distressed because Darah woke up crying hysterically and inconsolably in the night and would not communicate with us or give us any signs of what was wrong...

doesn't want Darah to have any more "night terrors" - more like Mummy Terrors.

is gonna enjoy the rain, the incense, the packing, the bathing with her family before she and Dar leave town to visit Buffalo with Adam

misses Sandy even though she hasn't even left town yet

is in Buffalo with Darah

is so tired but wishes she had Sandy to snuggle

is trying to plan what she will do for the next few days in Buffalo - call my cell or send a message if you'd like to try to meet up at any point (to, say, meet Darah)


just opened the door of the Mason's refrigerator and got covered in a jumbo size container of Frank's hot sauce...so did the whole kitchen...it's on nearly every surface including the ceiling...too much food for one fridge and people carelessly shoving things in...now I am hiding in the bedroom

is clean and uninjured but still neurotic and vigilant.

was afraid of the antique hatchet after seeing "Friday the 13th" when she was five years old, but Grams, she, put it on my lap and let me feel the edge to see that it wasn't sharp. She thinks she erased my kid fears by letting me feel ...it and she tells the story with pride, but little does she know I'm still afraid (I do, however, take showers with the door closed occasionally now). I find horror films disturbing.

is sick from the neck up with a sinus infection...and Dar has a baby version of it...

is so freaking sick it's really ridiculous...cut off her head, she said!
(Yeah, it sucks. But not as badly as nausea and the chills suck. It's all in my facial/head region. It was tough raspberry picking today with it. But had it not been tough because of that, then it would have because of my big belly and aching pelvic bone. And had it not been tough because of that, then it would have because of my discomfort with the insect world. :) I am glad you got to Bob's in time. Stay away from me!!!! And thank you, Alex.)

thinks it's funny that people think I am days away from giving birth when they see my belly...and I am actually months (about four) away from giving birth...

is in Buffalo for one more day...why does Macomb have to be thirteen hours away???

enjoying a lazy day home with San and Dar...and is so happy to be with SANDY!!!

hates that she let Darah fall off the stool at the sink and smack her head on the tile...errr, goose eggs...errr, injuries...

is laughing so hard because Darah picks up the cell phone (and camera) and says "Hi Sue" (Gramma Sue) every time...then she takes it over to each of her stuffed animals and plastic little people and holds it against their heads saying, "Ah Sue" and "Ish Sue."

is gonna see a tiny appendage tomorrow morning

and Sandy are going to have another "girl" baby (a vulva appeared on the screen!) - Darah is going to have a little sister!!!!

is finding it hard to decide on a name and wonders why no one makes a tuna pot pie...

had trouble sleeping last night...was itching all over and didn't know what to do!

is hungry yet hesitant to eat at restaurants in Macomb

is going to go in the other room and make Sandy go to bed...

is gonna change a dirty darah bum and then put the darah in for her nap


dreads the idea of sleeping with all of the itchiness and aches for three more months but knows that it's a lot better than being nauseous...and would love to soar through August on into September...oh no, wait, then I would be avoiding the expe...rience of pain rather than being at peace with it...argh.

is, sometimes, under the illusion that she can control things and then, sometimes, gets angry when something happens that makes it obvious that she cannot

possibly amazed that Darah seemed to say "Paula Deen" ("Pauah teen") twice in a row when we passed her show on the Food Network this morning...even though we haven't watched her in months...could it be? Must be all the fun sh...e had with her cousins from England - intellectual stimulation, for sure.

likes a one and a half foot pool with lifeguards on all sides but thinks it should also have shade trees instead of the biggest wasp she's ever seen - ouch...

has a daughter whose pretend games include a lot of phrases like "no, please" and "banana? no banana" and who unknowingly shoplifts Macomb Bombers tee-shirts from corrupt local megastores (a lesson in retail honesty was required!)...

is not sure what to do about Darah's pacifier use....and not sure what to do about her own anxiety over it...I didn't use a pacifier for too long as a kid, but look at me: I still bite my nails at 24...argh

has gained about thirty five pounds so far and three months to go...and then she just read that the baby only weighs 2.5 lbs...funny thing.

has her eyes on something lovely...now if only she could get off her bum and go to it!

's daughter, Darah, calls Mummy's belly "bobby seeter"

needs her wife to cut the pills in thirds

loves Sandy and Darah and is very, very grateful

likes cool, dark days and gentle breezes

is so impressed that Sandy can move any piece of furniture, at almost any weight, up and down flights of stairs ON HER OWN...and she just did that today...the whole family room set went down and the stuff from the lower level came up.

is now land-line free...only cell and Skype from here on out!

is finishing almost half a pound of rice crackers...mmm, seaweed.

thinks that watching Darah and Sandy dance to R&B this morning was one of the cutest things ever...Darah was grooving, she was really feeling it.

tells him that the one thing that cannot be found, given, created or taken away by any person or thing is himself.

is expanding, still.

is excited for Sandy to make her another belly cast

's daughter just pretended to call Grandma Sue and said, "Sue, how are the beagles? I love you." ("Ah Sue, how ah the beadulls, I wuv you").

looks like a little mouse...and that is all fine and good, except if someone (like my wife in a former profession) mistakes me for a mouse and removes my brain in a laboratory...then I would look like a brain or a headless mouse carcass...and I guess... it wouldn't matter would it, because I wouldn't care would I?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Whiny Pregnancy Lady : Pregancy Pains: Complaining Helps

It's been a while since I have written a post about my (pregnant) state of being. I am in my seventh month - with two months and a week until my expected due date. I did a little too much last weekend, moving small things around the house and doing a lot of bending down and picking up. We rearranged the furniture. The TV that was the center of the "family room" is now in our bedroom - that is the only television we have upstairs now. The "family room," which used to have a lot of hunter green leather furniture in it, is now a much more open sitting room. Four chairs, a wool rug and a fish tank. That pretty much sums it up. I like it very much. Sandy is very strong and good at moving large (I stress large and HEAVY) pieces of furniture. I usually try to help her, but she ends up finding it easier to work alone (my help = hindrance). I remember when she (almost) single-handedly moved all of the giant oak bedroom furniture (yes, it's big and heavy...and the drawers are cedar-lined) from the driveway into the bedroom. I'm not sure how she managed it. It seemed superhuman. But she managed it well. So it was not too difficult for her, Superwoman S, to move all of the leather furniture downstairs on her own. Still, even though I did not move the large piece of furniture, I was busy moving little things around and rearranging. I tired myself out. Then, when I was leaving the guest bathroom with Darah in my arms later that night before bed (after changing a soiled diaper), I forgot about the new furniture arrangement. I was walking straight across the room in the dark, toward the dining room window, and had forgotten about the two dining room chairs that were against the wall. I tripped over them, and I must have strained something (in my already sore pelvic/crotch region) in an effort to protect my belly and Darah from falling or crashing into the chairs. I had an awful night, tossing and turning. Or just turning from side to side, which is a monumental feat and requires much strain and effort, in an effort to get some relief.

My lower abdomen and pelvic bones were throbbing and aching all night long. Every time I had to pull myself up from the bed (or just try to dump myself over the side of the bed) to use the toilet, I was moaning and groaning. And then I started feeling, what I now believe were, Braxton Hicks contractions. My lower abdomen felt hard and I felt like I had menstrual cramps. My lower back was aching and the baby was kicking, too. It was a nightmare of a night. I started worrying that I had somehow put myself into early (preterm) labor. It didn't help that Darah wanted to spend the whole night in our bed, between us...but her calls for "mommy, mommy, mommy" usually happen every night at around two am. The next day was full of pain (of the same sort) as well. But I read about preterm labor and noticed that I never had ten contractions in one hour, so there was no major cause for concern. There isn't much that I can do about the pelvic bone pains and bed soreness at night; changing sides and emptying my bladder are the main remedies. Sleeping with a pillow between my legs has been a necessity for the past few months, but sometimes I curse the way that I was designed as a woman. The other sleep-killer has been itchiness. I itch, sometimes all over but mostly on my belly. Most of the things that are happening with my body seem terribly unnatural. My heart is troubled and stressed because it has to work harder than normal. The rest of my torso is stretched and stressed.

Why should it have to be so uniquely painful to carry a baby? Part of the problem, I realize, is that I am so short and small, but STILL. And then there are all of the pills. I am not used to this. I am taking Prilosec for heartburn. I am also on a heart medication because I was experiencing a racing heart rate (and irregular beats). I had my heart monitored for twenty-four hours on some kind of heart monitor, and the results showed that my heart rate was soaring at a dangerous level one or two times during that period. So I take a ("something-pranolol") heart pill to regulate my heart rate. The same medication is said to treat high blood pressure and anxiety. So it lowers blood pressure - but I already have low blood pressure...which means that one of the side effects of taking the medication is that my blood pressure sometimes dips and I become weak and dizzy and faint. The daily or tri-weekly episodes of weakness was already happening, so I cannot say for sure if it occurs because of the medication. The worst for me is that I have to take an iron supplement because I am anemic. It's important that I take it, but I HATE taking iron (because I HATE nausea and it causes that). I am trying my best to suck it up and take the iron. I refuse to take the pills that the nurse recommended, and am instead taking an over-the-counter, slow-release pill at a lower dose. I am supposed to take a prenatal vitamin WITH the iron, but I haven't been able to force myself to do both yet. Iron causes constipation so now I need to add "Stool Softener" to the list of pills I need to take. At least it is only for a couple more months!

Pregnancy brings on a lot of complaining in my personality - I do realize this. But it's my reality and I am just sharing it. I know that, aside from a torn, wounded and stitched vulva, my body will be feeling so much better after I deliver little baby Elanah (we're thinking one "n" rather than two now).

Darah has me talk like "Elmo" multiple times a day. She usually won't finish her breakfast cereal unless "Elmo" feeds her. So it's now Mummy ("Mommy"), Elmo ("Melmo"), Momma Sandy ("Momma Si"), and Darah...and Elanah. Darah has quite the sense of humor. She just threw a bunch of Cheerios on the floor of her playroom and I said, "no Darah, not acceptable" in a stern tone. She pointed her finger in the air at me and said "no, you" and then raised her eyebrows as if she was surprised by herself and waiting to get into trouble. She looked like she might start laughing, too. I guess that's like me: I have always smiled and laughed excessively (annoyingly, at times) when I felt nervous. When I was little my dad would look at me and make a funny face when he thought I was lying. If I laughed at the face he was making, he interpreted my laughter as an admission. I remember feeling so frustrated because I could not help but smile and laugh...even when I wasn't lying. But he wouldn't believe me if I smiled. I guess that's where I got one of the nicknames he had for me -"the bug"- (my Nana called me her "wart"). I always felt compelled to make my case and be heard and believed. I would stop at nothing if I felt I wasn't being believed or understood. It didn't work, but persistence and nagging were my ways of dealing with it. Darah is now standing, holding her babydoll, in the bathroom and hiding from me...she's trying to start the "Where's Darah, Where did Darah Go?" games.

Sometimes she is very loving with her babydoll, and at other times she struggles. She has strangled, smushed, suffocated and sat on her babydoll ("Bobby"). One time, she started hitting baby. She said, "ah hit, ah hit." Sandy said, "where did you learn to hit?" And, of course, she said: "ah mommy day." Very funny. There are times she starts to hit (babydoll or other objects), and we will be able to see her struggling. "Ah (I) heet (hit). Ah heet? No heet. No" Right now she is trying to rock her babydoll in her orange chair. And stuff babydoll into a bag (she actually said purse this morning when she was reading a book and saw a picture of some sort of bag). She really surprises us with some of the words she knows. We wonder, where the heck did she learn that? She picks up language very quickly. I am impressed. And she likes to be helpful. Yesterday morning I was showering and forgot to bring a washcloth in with me. She was playing outside the shower, so I thought it was worth a try: I asked her, "Darah can you bring me your yellow washcloth." And she did! This morning she said (her version of) "Hickory Dickory Dock" when she picked up the book we took out from the library yesterday (The Completed Hickory Dickory Dock...it's fun). We only read it once (although she has heard the rhyme at other times) and she was able to recognize a picture of a mouse on a clock as the rhyme.

I am so glad that Darah loves trees. She's been hugging the trees around our house lately. And she feels so proud when she hugs a tree, because of my praise and my beaming face. Last night we watched part of "Ratatouille" - it was really cute. I'd consider owning that one (for Darah...ahem, yes). Darah has also started trying to wash me when I take a bath with her. It's almost as if she is trying to get revenge for having to have her hair rinsed. She pours water on on my belly and each of my breasts (I say, "rinse the belly...rinse the booby"). And then she tries to dump it on my face and head. I guess it's only fair!

So I am off now to play the part of Elmo (to talk in "Melmo" voice) in order to brush Dar's teeth (she requests it when she sees the toothbrush). I was talking like Elmo at Long John Silver's the other night (to get Darah to eat another green bean) and a girl who works there who was on her break said, "Wow that's freaky how much you sound like Elmo. My dad used to pretend to be Yogi Bear for us." I'll take any compliment I can get - it's been years since I've been on the stage. Darah and Sandy are my only audience members...the only ones that would matter anyway.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Barking Beagles of Chasewood Lane: Darah meets the Beagles, Stella and Scamper!



Googled Compliation Name Profiles

Darah - DAARah - Darah is a variant of the Hebrew name, Dara, which means "pearl of wisdom" but it also has African origins. Dara has several Hebrew meanings, including "compassionate," "nugget/pearl of wisdom" and "son of the oak tree." The name "Dara" also has Cambodian origins, meaning "stars." Its aboriginal African-Hausa language of origin defines it as meaning "big and fine" and "laughing". According to its African-Efik origin (Darrah), it means "one who causes joy and rejoicing." Another African meaning for the name is "princess." In the Bible, Dara was an extremely wise male figure (a descendant of Judah); however, it is widely considered a feminine name today. According to its Islamic origins, Dara means "possessor." Darah, in Hebrew, has both the feminine and masculine meanings of "generation" and "House of the Shepherd or of the Companion." The English nickname, Dar, is actually a diminutive of Darby, meaning "place where the deer graze." The name Dara has multiple origins: in Sanskrit, Dara means maiden or virgin. In Daruk, it is a noun, meaning tooth; in Ilocano, it is a noun meaning blood. As a Hebrew name, Dara could mean pearl of wisdom or compassion and wisdom. In Modern Hebrew, though, Dara is part of the verb "to live." In Aramaic, Dara means pearl, father-of-pearl or marble. According to folklore, people with the name Darah have a deep inner desire for love and companionship, and want to work with others to achieve peace and harmony. One numerology website claims that "people with the name Darah are excited by change, adventure, and excitement. They are dynamic, visionary and versatile, able to make constructive use of freedom. They fight being restricted by rules and conventions. They tend to be optimistic, energetic, intelligent, and to make friends easily. They may be changeable, restless, untidy, and rebellious."

Sage - SEYJH - Sage's language of origin is English and it is also predominantly used in English. Derived literally from the ordinary word sage. It represents the transferred use of the vocabulary word as a given name. Sage is of English, French and Latin origins. As an English word and name, it denotes either a type of spice (an ornamental and medicinal plant in the mint family) or else a wise person. Its origin, as a healing herb and as "wisdom," is Latin. It also is known to mean "prophet." The sage plant is regarded by many to have special healing and cleansing properties. Sage leaves are burned at the beginning of many Indian ceremonies to cleanse and purify the air. In Old French, sage meant ‘learned,' ‘sensible,’ and in Latin sagus meant ‘prophetic’ (akin to sagax, or ‘sharp’ and ‘perceptive’). According to folklore, people with the name Sage have a deep inner desire for a stable, loving family or community, and a need to work with others and to be appreciated. One numerology website claims that "people with the name Sage are excited by change, adventure, and excitement. They are dynamic, visionary and versatile, able to make constructive use of freedom. They fight being restricted by rules and conventions. They tend to be optomistic, energetic, intelligent, and to make friends easily. They may be changeable, restless, untidy, and rebellious.

Elannah - IYLAAN-ah - Elannah is most widely known for its Hebrew origins, meaning "oak tree" or simply "tree;" however it also means "bright one" or "shining one" in Old Greek. It is a feminine name of Slavic, Hebrew, Greek and Celtic origins. Its Slavic meanings are "spirited" and "oak tree." Other Hebrew and Greek meanings of Elannah and its various spellings are "sun ray," "shining light, " and "tree." Elanna's aboriginal origins signify the meaning of the name as "love." Alan(n)a, which is very similar to Elannah, is a name of Old German and Hawaiian origins that means "precious" and "awakening." It (Alana) is also of Celtic origins, meaning "little child" or "dear child." If the form "Alana" is used, the meanings attached are "little rock," "harmony," and "peace (Celtic); as well as "an offering," "light," and "buoyant" (Hawaiian). "There are a number of derivations, and - therefore - a number of meanings attached to Alana and its many forms. According to folklore, it is thought that people with the name Elanna have a deep inner need for quiet, as well as a desire to understand and analyze the world they live in, and to learn the deeper truths. One numerology website claims that "people with the name Elanna tend to be quiet, cooperative, considerate, sympathetic to others, adaptable, balanced and sometimes shy. They are trustworthy, respecting the confidences of others, and make excellent diplomats, mediators and partners. They are often very intuitive. They like detail and order, and often find change worrisome. They may sometimes feel insecure or restless."

Jade - JHEYD - Jade is the English name for the precious green stone derived from the Spanish (piedra de la) ijada meaning "(stone of the) flank," relating to the belief that jade could cure renal colic (gastrointestinal distress). As a given name, it came into general use during the 1970s. Jade has been considered a precious stone for thousands of years, used in jewelery, weapons, and grave goods. "Jade" was also slang for "nag" or "prostitute", and is so used in literature up through the 19th century. Confucius believed it had properties encouraging purity, bravery, and honesty. Chinese emperors were buried in suits made of the stone because they believed it would make them live on forever. Jade has African, English and Spanish origins, signifying "green gemstone." According to folklore, people with the name Jade have a deep inner desire for a stable, loving family or community, and a need to work with others and to be appreciated. One numerology website claims that "people with the name Jade tend to be idealistic, highly imaginative, intuitive, and spiritual. They seek after spiritual truth and often find it. They tend to be visionary and may inspire others. If they fail to develop their potential, they may become dreamers, or misuse power."

Is it a girl? "Well, it does have labia."

I haven't posted in a while. I guess I've been busy or just preoccupied with other things. Darah and I traveled to Buffalo with her biological father, Adam, a couple of weeks ago. His best friend, Bob, lives twenty minutes from my parents so it worked out quite well that they would visit while I had a nice, ten day visit with my family on Chasewood Lane. We missed Sandy, of course, but she was at home working hard on a NSF (?) grant that she and a few of her colleagues were submitting. I think that grant is going through the process of being accepted right now, which is why Sandy is at her office today - making minor revisions for a second or third time and organizing paperwork. I don't like grants. You put all this work into it and if it is not funded (and is, instead, rejected), you either revise and resubmit or trash it. At least if one of my poems has been rejected (and they ALL are!), I still have the poem to stare at or put back on the shelf in the hopes that someday it might be seen by someone, somewhere. But I'd prefer not to think about the unread and rejected poems right now...how about, instead, I'll think about something else that's growing inside of me and who has nothing to do with publishing work:::my second (well, third, if you count Sandy) baby.

And we just found out that she is "a girl." Which really means that she has outer labia. We saw them. We have them in a new photo album in her honor. Of course labia, I realize, don't indicate necessarily what her chosen GENDER will be (note: differences between sex and gender), but it locks us into that GENDERIZED LANGUAGE for a while. And now I have an answer (though possibly a somewhat dishonest one?) for that questions that pops up in long and short conversations - do you know if it's a girl or a boy? Well, not really. Maybe it is not either. Maybe it is both. Maybe it is actually one or the other. She will decide. But for now I can just say, "a girl." And if she decides she is, indeed, a girl...then that's great. I love women, and I'm happy to have a whole family of women: two mothers and two daughters. If one or two decide to identify as something other than women, so be it. And if we get a puppy, I'll be happy to have a female dog. I always think of dogs, whether they are female or male, as being masculine. Isn't it funny how we attach gender to EVERYTHING, both living and non living things. We are so nuts. You and me, baby. So that's the big news: it's a girl! Ha. At least now my mother will not have to worry that we are going to put all of the feminine clothing that was given to us on our boy, because we threatened to do so as a way of encouraging gender neutral clothing when Darah was born. It didn't work. We have lots of dresses and frilly-ish things that people have given us. Oh well, we'll be able to use all of the clothes without anyone making a fuss. What does it matter whether a pink or blue cloth covers a penis?

We have been having Darah say the names on our final list of baby names. Even though we already decided on a name, Darah had a clear favorite all along. Sasha. She loves to say "Cha cha." Maybe our next goldfish or puppy or stuffed animal can be named Sasha, since we decided not to name the baby Sasha. Until a few days ago, Sasha was at the top of my list, too. But we are very happy with the name we chose for Darah's sister. Sandy dreamed it up and I found it on line, and then we came up with an adaptation of it...and we found that it compliments Darah Sage VERY well (in sound AND meaning). Choosing a name is hard, especially choosing a name for something you have hardly seen and never met. But, based on her womb personality, I think it fits. She moves around but is pretty gentle. Darah kicked and she still kicks.

Here are some lists of names we were working with for a while. I am pretty sure if the baby had a penis, we would have gone with the name Mason Gray McFadden. We both really likes the way that name sounded, but Sandy felt Mason was too harsh for a labia. So we worked with some others.

For a penis:
Mason Gray McFadden
Sam Xander McFadden
Basil Sefton McFadden
Tenn McFadden


For a clitoris:
Emma Lee McFadden
(alternatively Emma Blu/Gray McFadden)
Lillee (-?-) McFadden
(maybe Lillee J/Jae/Alana McFadden)
Nova Blu McFadden

Other ideas:

Alyx
Alexi or Ellexie or Elexi
Alana or Alanna
Lianna or Liana
Sasha
Parker
Jordynne
Zoie
Ethynne
Mayah
Norah

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(from an email Sandy sent me)

my current preferences:
Mason Gray McFadden
Basil Tenn McFadden
Sam Xander McFadden
Sasha Alyx McFadden

Emma Lee McFadden
Alexi Gray McFadden
Nova Blu McFadden
Nora Lee McFadden
Sasha Alexi McFadden

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Emma - German for whole or universal or all-containing;
Sasha - Greek for defender of mankind; Russian translation for defender and helper of mankind
Alexi - Greek for defender (helper) and protector of mankind; Russian translation; English for helper or defender of mankind;
Nova - Latin for new; in Astronomy it is a star that releases a tremendous burst of energy (temporarily becoming extraordinarily bright);
Gray - English for pleasant;
Blu(e) - English for blue;
Lee - English translation of "meadow;"
Nora - Hebrew for light; Latin for honor;
Alyx - English and Greek for helper and defender;
Vania/Vanya - Latin for "brings good news;"
Alana - Old German and Hawaiian meanings of precious and awakening;
Dilana - American for "of the light;"

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WHAT WE HAVE TO WORK WITH

Emma - German for whole or universal or all-containing;
Sasha - Greek for defender of mankind; Russian translation for defender and helper of mankind
Alexi - Greek for defender (helper) and protector of mankind; Russian translation; English for helper or defender of mankind;
Gray - English for pleasant;
Lee - English translation of "meadow;"
Alana / Alanna - Alanna is the Greek name for "light;" Old German for precious and Hawaiian for awakening, offering, light and buoyant; Gaelic for rock; Irish form of Alana means attractive and peaceful (alternative spelling: Alanah) and Celtic forms of Alana mean "little rock," harmony and peace.
Alanya - English form of Alana
Jae - American English name (based on Jaden, a derivative of Aiden); French version of the name "Jay;" Jael is the feminine Hebrew name for mountain goat and climber;
Elanna - Elan is the masculine Native American name for friendly and the masculine Hebrew name for tree; Elana is a Greek form of Eleanor - meaning "light;" Lana is Latin for "woolly" and Irish for attractive and peaceful
Elanya - Modern versions of Alana or Elan
Elania -See above
Zanya - Zan or Zander are short forms of the Greek name Alexander; the Chinese name, Zan, means support, favor and praise; Zan is also the Italian word for clown; Anya is a Russian form of Anna - which means gracious
Zaniyah - See above
Zania - See above


FULL NAMES (spelling and middle names may vary)

Emma Lee McFadden (Em, ELM)
Alexi Gray McFadden (Lex, Lexi, AGM)
Alana Jae McFadden (AJ, Lana, AJM)
Elanna Jae McFadden (EJ, E, Ela, Anna, Lanna, EJM)
Elanya Jae McFadden (EJ, E, Ela, Anya, EJM)
Zanya Gray/Jae McFadden (Zan, Z, ZJ, Anya, ZGM or ZJM)

JESSICA'S CURRENT PREFERENCES / ORDER OF PREFERENCE

1. Zanya Gray (Jae) McFadden
2. Elanya (or Alana/Alanya) Jae McFadden
3. Sasha Alexi McFadden
4. Emma Lee McFadden
5. Alexi Gray McFadden