Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Went through an equine phase, some of
which turned out pretty well.
          Nicknames can be a wonderful part of life, a symbol of the affection one person has for another, albeit ofttimes a bit teasingly.  My first one came from my brother and his inability to pronounce "Jennifer" when he was young, so for a while I was "Fuffer".  Kinda cute, no?  Dad is the only one who still uses it, mostly in it's shortened form "Fuff", though often he incorporates it into my name making "Jennifuffer".  I use "Fuff" to sign my artwork, but my skill is rather juvenile so you don't need to look out for it in the museums or art shows.  
Tigger with Eeyore.
Eeyore was always my favorite though.
          In my high school years, once I came out of my depressed shell (I'll write about it someday), I acquired two more nicknames:  "Psycho" and "Tigger".  "Psycho" came from my first year of basketball, having never really watched or played the game before, not really understanding what constituted a foul, and throwing my whole self into the playing of the game.  Needless to say I was a bit, um, scary on the court.  "Tigger" was the result of my energy during those years, having found friends to hang out with and grow with.  I was happy and bouncy and fun, much like the stuffed tiger himself.  Also, there was a brief time I remember the moniker "Snickerdoodle" on account of Snickers being my favorite candy bar; but that wasn't used much. 
The Blue Hen is a real breed of chicken,
and is also the Delaware State Bird.  Who knew?
          Then came college.  There were actually quite a few people there that I knew from the home school group back home, but overall we didn't end up hanging out all that much, so my old names eventually became extinct.  (Though I think "Psycho" may have been apt still...apparently I'm intense or something.)  Anyway, new nicknames invariably follow after making new friends, and that is where I got my "Blue Henn" moniker.  A couple of my friends were into pronouncing names with Spanish pronunciation, so my "Jenn" with a "j" became "Henn" because the Spanish "j" says English "h".  Add to that my favorite color, blue, and thus "Blue Henn".  It turned out to be rather fitting, as I *love* chickens and have been informed that I am a "mother hen" type person.  I'm not entirely convinced of the veracity of my "mother henness" but oh well. 
Marvin is just about the only
Martian we have pictures of...just Google it!
          The Martian got his name a bit more scientifically.  It was after the March for Life freshman year, a bunch of us went to the Air and Space Museum to gain extra credit for Astronomy, and he was one of the party.  (We were not really hanging out at this time hardly at all, though I did count him a friend.)  One of the exhibits had to do with Mars, in particular the rocks found on said planet.  According to the sign, the scientists had done tests or studies or something on the rocks in O.H. and found that said rocks greatly resembled the terrain on Mars.  So, logically, we decided that the Martian must be a Martian, seeing as he was born and raised in O.H. where the rocks are like Mars rocks.  Quite scientific and logical, wouldn't you say?  
Because it's pretty, and I like needlework.  :)
          Baby Chick quite easily followed from the "Henn", so I guess that is about it for nicknames.  Oh, by the way, I also have a theme song, thanks to one of my friends - Eye of the Tiger by Survivor.  Said friend would sing "Henn! Henn Henn Henn!" to the tune to the intro of the song, and now every time I hear it I hear her singing in my head.  Naw, I'm not crazy or nuthin'.  ;)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Red Button Complex

          How quickly things can change.  We went from "shouldn't have to work late this week" to "didn't have time for lunch and have no clue when he might get off" in a matter of 24 hours.  And the possibility of a date night seems to be disappearing much in the same way as a morning fog dissipates with the sun and wafts away on the breeze.  Goodness knows, at this rate the cream I got for the homemade alfredo sauce is going to be chunky by the time I'm able to use it.  Thankfully bacon and pasta have the decency to not spoil.  And the wine is still at the store, which means there might actually be some when an opportunity for date night does finally arrive.  
          Times like this cause me to wish I didn't have to work on that "self-control" thing, that I could just eat/drink/do something because that is the impulse I have and I don't have to want to worry about the consequences.  Like the brownie mix sitting in the closet, just begging to be made, then eaten in one sitting.  Or the booze that is tempting me mentally currently - my shopping list is 30% alcohol at the moment, though I won't be getting all of it.  Of course, it doesn't help that alcohol is now my "red button" issue, and will be until after J.B. is here.  What do I mean about red button?  Well, it is the tendency to want to do what we know/are told we are not allowed to do, like "Don't push the red button" and had we not been told, we wouldn't have even thought about it, but since we were, it is all we want to do.  Sometimes it is easy for me to ignore the "red button" calling, but man, there sure are days when I wish I could just hit the darn thing.  With a sledgehammer.  

Monday, June 18, 2012

Baby Chick Is A Boy, And Scheduling "Date Nights"

          So, for those who must be *dying* to know who is coming in October, here is your update.  Joseph Benedict will be welcomed into our arms in October!  The ultrasound was good, though I was a bit, um, stressed when we arrived because we were late, and there were dire warnings about the results of being late.  But it all turned out well in the end, though we still have no clue as to how adorable our boy is, because it turned out he was a bit camera shy.  And has no apparent clue about modesty, so the only (2) pictures we have are proof of his masculinity, but that is about it.  Hence no photographic evidence shall be posted.  I'm glad he is a boy - I have long thought that a boy as oldest would be, well, ideal.  There is something about a well-raised oldest boy, and his subsequent brothers, that makes for excellent men.  Plus it means I get to put off the dolls and princesses and "you be the mommy" and such that seem to accompany girls...  It is much more fun to play trucks and planes and army men and destroy Lego walls.  (Did I mention I am somewhat of a tomboy, and that girls scare me?)
          This will probably be the only time I use his full name on here.  I think I'll refer to the children by their first and middle initial after the official "Who's Coming" announcement, and all subsequent pregnancies will be Baby Chick.  And my dear husband shall be The Martian, which shall be explained in a later post.  :)
          Even though J.B. isn't actually here yet, and therefore doesn't interfere with much of anything, it turns out there is a necessity for us to schedule "date nights".  Yes, schedule, because the Martian does not come home at the same time every night.  There are nights he comes home after the obligatory 8 hours worked, then there are nights when he comes home after 12 hours worked, but there is no telling really which it will be on a given day.  Not cool.  *scowl*  Not that we really have had any since we've been married (or even many official dates before for that matter), but lately I have been wanting to do something nice, but this "office job" is certainly getting in the way of things.  I just want to have the house nice and clean and tidy, a glass of wine ready for him when he comes home, and a slightly more upscale meal practically ready also.  Unfortunately the few times I have tried for something like this have turned out quite disappointingly.  Cold dinner is not cool, and while I understand rationally why he needs to work late, the accompanying annoyance isn't quite so nice either.  *sigh*  It's the little things, it truly is.  
Tean Bean Bake - not fancy, but really yummy

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Omphaloskepsis = Navel Gazing

          I'm vaguely aware that I have heard the term "navel gazing" before, but more recently encountered it on one of the blogs I follow, though I can't remember which one.  It took a little while before the funniness of the phrase set in - I do it a lot!  Not because I am really all that self absorbed, but because my bellybutton is undergoing quite the change at the moment.  Actually, my whole belly is.  This whole pregnancy thing is rather new, foreign, and different for me.  I was too little to remember when Mum was expecting either of my siblings, so I haven't had much experience of it.  Anyway, watching my belly button slowly loose depth, and knowing it is eventually going to completely reverse itself is something else entirely.  I've always been and in-y, but soon enough I'm going to experience what it is like to be an out-y too.  I'm glad to see my belly getting bigger, and the number on the scale going up, too.  It means things are progressing as they should.  Plus, I'm beyond the looking fat stage and am quite firmly in the looking pregnant stage, though it may not show so well with the loose t-shirts that are still my preference.  But it does mean that I have stopped using my belly as a drum.  Having "belly fat" was a new experience for me, and somehow noting its existence translated into drum on it.  Don't know why, and even if I did I prolly wouldn't be able to articulate it.  Why not? For the same reason I've tried to put the toaster away in the fridge, and use a butter knife to eat my cereal, - I simply do not know.  There are some days I wonder how I manage to make it through without creating some huge catastrophic accident.  Overall, baby brain drain isn't so bad - I was kind of not all there anyway - but my belly button is sure starting to look funny!  

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

So, Are You Gonna Find Out?

          It seems that when one is expecting, especially with a first, one inevitable question is going to be "Are you going to find out what you're having?"  A reasonable question, in this day and age I suppose.  I personally have gone from "No" to "I wouldn't be opposed to knowing" to "I absolutely think it is a good idea to know." 
          Growing up, Mum always said that babies only come in two kinds, and don't you want to be surprised when the baby finally arrives?  Of course, there was always the "What if they are wrong?" factor that she also brought up, which made a really good argument for not having a baby shower until after the baby is born - much less likely to have a bunch of girl clothes for your little boy to wear.  And yes, they can be wrong.  A couple of years ago (or maybe a few more) a cousin of mine was informed they were having a girl, and when the day came, weren't they surprised to find a little boy instead!  Anyway, the basic gist is that my initial thoughts (when I thought about it, which was rare) were that I wouldn't really want to find out, but that if it happened (sometimes an ultrasound can be quite obvious) I wouldn't be all upset about it either.  
          Then I got to thinking more in depth about it, especially since I have been married (and it is now quite a real reality) and started volunteering at the Crisis Pregnancy Center here in town.  I want to find out, so I can stop referring to the baby as "it".  I usually end up using the plural "they/them" because it adds a bit of humanity to the situation.  My child is not an "it".  I also tire of saying baby, and would much rather use a name and the proper corresponding pronoun:  Joseph/he; Mary/she.  Finding out also means better praying for the baby:  invoking the specific saint or loved one the baby is named after.  Though I'm usually pretty good at generalizations, sometime it is nice to have specifics, and to be able to dedicate that child to the protection of a particular saint as soon as possible seems like a really good idea.  For a less lofty reason, it would be nice to know so our mothers - now grandmothers - can go shopping for baby clothes.  Yes, kind of a materialistic and utilitarian reason, but both of them are so excited about their first grandchild, and looking at baby clothes is so much fun, it would be nice if they had a specific gender to shop for.  Especially since they are 6 and 10 hours away and a little bit left out of the baby preparation process as a result.  
          I've also been wondering what, if any, impact such a thing could have in regards to how society views the unborn.  For the most part, I think people have moved beyond the "just a clump of cells/tissue" argument, and are more focused on the "right of the woman to choose".  This I find to be a good thing, because it seems to grant that the thing to be sucked out of the uterus is more than a clump of cells, that it is a baby.  By focusing on "choice" there is an implicit acknowledgement that there is another living being involved, but out of fear of what explicit acknowledgement might mean the argument is refocused elsewhere.  Basically, I think most people will agree that there is another human being, a baby, involved; yet the idea of person is still too abstract, too vague, to impersonal.  It is easier for a soldier to kill the enemy, but not so easy to kill one's brother, even if he is on the enemy side; it is easy enough to slaughter a pig or a chicken, but much more difficult to kill Wilbur or Miss Biddy.  The unborn need more than person-hood -- they need identity.  The more pro-lifers refer to the unborn as individuals and by name, I think the harder it will be for pro-choicers to deny it.  The more we expectant mothers and fathers refer to our unborn children in a similar way to how we refer to those who are born, perhaps the world will come to see how there really isn't so much of a difference after all.  I am a mother, my parents are grandparents, and have been since my child was first conceived.  The only "will be" involved was before - there is no "will be" now, now it just is. 
          After Saturday, we will know our baby's identity, we will know who we will be welcoming into our arms and home in October.  I will finally be able to refer to my child with the dignity and respect that is due them.  I will be able to call them by name, to pray for them by name, to love them by name.  And I simply cannot wait.  

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wild Horse Runner

          I was young, the first time I decided to run away, somewhere not much older than 8, I don't think.  My siblings and I were going to meet at midnight, get our packed and hidden things out of my closet, and book it for the woods somewhere.  Now, this desire didn't stem from the unbearableness of our childhood at the time, but more from a sense of adventure.  We didn't get very far - I fell asleep in my closet waiting for my brother and sister, who themselves couldn't have been much older than 5 and 4, respectively.
             The second time I was bound and determined to run away, I was somewhere around 13, and that time it was to show my parents.  I'm not sure what I was gonna be showing them, but I do remember the "that'll show 'em" feeling.  It was winter, and I was supposed to clean out the dog pen before the next day, or I wouldn't be allowed to do something, though I can't remember what, connected to my uncle/god father visiting the next day.  I was mad, because both Mum and I had a dog and it wasn't fair that I had to clean it out, especially since I think it was her dog that liked certain frozen "treats".  So I sulked for quite a bit, on the porch, because I wasn't allowed in 'til it was done.  Then I came up with the brilliant idea to rebel by leaving, so I left.  Just up and walked in the neighbors woods for a while, wondering if Mum would notice I was gone, what her reaction would be, and how much trouble I would get in when I got home.  Then, to waste more time, I quite happily imagined that the woods were still full of Indians and what I would do if I were captured, etc., 'til I kinda started to freak myself out - it was getting dark - then I headed back home.  And, to my chagrin and minor relief, Mum hadn't even noticed I had been gone.  
          For the most part, though, my desire to run flows from a major wanderlust, a desire to go and find something exciting and new, somewhere I haven't been before.  Guess I read too many adventures growing up.  I still suffer from this wanderlust, though now I mostly have it under control.  Except when I see the horses.  Horses in movies, horses in pictures, horses in real life, horses in my dreams - I fall apart.  I can't handle it.  I'm left an emotional wreck, my soul yearning for the wilderness, freedom, excitement of a life somewhere else.  And I want to run, run as fast as I can from the comfortable familiarity, monotony, and tepidity of my life and enter into an adventure.  Six out of the past seven nights, horses have been in my dreams, their presence growing stronger with each consequent night, passing from random background imagery to becoming the prominent focus directing my dreams.   I cannot tame them, these wild horses; perhaps because deep down I do not want to resist their siren call....
On The Autobahn

Friday, June 1, 2012

But... I Can Do It Myself...

          So, the car is in need of an oil change, and since I'm the one who isn't terribly busy with like, work, during the day, it has fallen to me to find someplace to get it done.  Now, I'm not really looking forward to this because 1) it will involve talking to strangers about a service needed, 2) which quite possibly could lead to me looking ignorant and vulnerable, and most irksome, 3) changing the oil is something I am capable of doing myself.  For the most part, I try to avoid situations which involve 1 & 2 as much as I can - email works wonders for that, most of the time.  I just love the impersonalness of it; sure, I might still look the fool, but at least I can't prove it.  When email fails, the next best thing is to get as personal as we can, and actually talk in person.  Quite a jump, I know, and I totally forgot the phone, right?  Not really - it has been my experience that talking on the phone is less reliable than both email and meeting in person, for the chances of misunderstanding seem to multiply by 100 when conversing over the phone.  Hence I try to use it as little as possible, and why I haven't scheduled an appointment for an ultrasound yet.  
          As for 3, I can change the oil myself!  Why pay someone else to do what you can do?  Besides, I enjoy playing car.  And it's cheaper!  Though it does leave one with the sticky problem of what to do with the used oil...  We already have about 2 gallons of used oil kinda just sitting around somewhere...  But alas, having someone else do it is a necessary evil.  We do not have the means to change the oil as efficiently and cleanly as Joe Mechanic can.  Our jack is too small, and to do it ourselves it is a two person job, which has come with its own set of frustrations each time we have done it by ourselves.  Then there is the problem of  having to dispose of waste oil.  *sigh*  I dream of the day when we will have the means to do such easy car maintenance ourselves!
          Why is it so important to me, you ask?  Because that is what I grew up with.  Dad was pretty great at tinkering on cars, which was good because the ones we seemed to be able to afford quite often needed some tinkering every so often.  Sure, there were many times where it would have been more convenient and less time consuming to just take the car to the shop, but you can imagine the money we saved from only having to pay for parts, and not labor!  At $80 an hour, and your brakes need replaced, that is quite the savings - replacing brakes is not like changing the oil.    Our vehicles were taken care of on our time; we didn't have to make appointments; had no need to figure out rides to and from the shop because the one car not in use had to be fixed...  It was nice.  God willing, our growing family will have a chance to be more self-sufficient as well, someday.  But now I suppose I should gear myself up, and actually go find someone to change the oil for us.  Yuck.  
Because a train is sorta like a car...