Monday, May 14, 2012


apartment complex
It was a strange night in early February when I found out I was pregnant. I didn't think I was, I didn't feel pregnant...I felt pissed, like PMS pissed times ten. I thought I could go home and pound a few glasses of wine alone until Dave got home from work, at least to feel relaxed and ok with not being pregnant. But when I got home, I didn't feel like drinking, I felt like lying around.  Then...oh, maybe I'll just take this pregnancy test, which won't work anyway...and it'll just say negative or a line or not pregnant or whatever. So I did it. And within a few seconds....there was a faint plus sign. Ha!...faulty! Dave bring home two more boxes of pregnancy tests, digital and not digital. So he did. And I was.  Maybe.

The next morning we went to the doctor for a blood test and when they called me at 2:00 to tell me the results, "Kim, you ARE pregnant!" I was like, ok, thanks.  I had fallen so far into a pit of denial, I would not allow myself this joy. Pregnant? Pfffffft.

It wasn't until the day we had our first sonogram, a week later, when I saw the black dots (two!) that I realized I could celebrate. Not only celebrate what will undoubtedly be one of the most life-altering shifts and wonderful additions to our family, but also celebrate the fact that my body can do such amazing things.

But wait....after a hematoma and abruptly early bedrest, I have to wonder. Is my body doing amazing things and can I still celebrate this change? The heartburn boils through me at night and I can't sleep, I'm confined to my apartment in between doctor appointments, I have essentially abandoned my position as a kindergarten teacher and I was never able to say goodbye to the kids. I pee a hundred times a day, my pants stopped fitting around the time when normal people say things like "I'm not even showing yet!", my boobs will go down in the record books.  My daily companions are my cats and my body pillow, a few dozen books, my trusty ipad and a cooler filled with food to eat throughout the day so I don't need to get up.

I know that the heartburn will go away, bedrest will be a thing of the past sometime soon and I will eventually be a kindergarten teacher again. My belly is huge, the girls are rolling around more and more each day and soon I will meet them in person.  I'll get past the blood tests and strict orders, the hours spent in waiting,  the worry about health insurance and what car seats to get and we'll be able to hold those little babies.  It will be worth it, this I know.

i peed on these

Friday, December 16, 2011

mary tyler dragon tattoo

It's tricky to say why I haven't been able to write anything lately. Mainly it's laziness...there have been many, many minutes of watching the Mary Tyler Moore show on my ipad instead of updating this thing. Sidenote: MTM's hair gets so bad in season six. 1975, feathered, no cute false eyelashes, nude lipstick, and she moves out of the coveted, cathedral ceiling studio apartment into a horrible, horrible high rise. Rhoda left in season four....abruptly. Then, of course, I started watching Rhoda, the spin-off. She lives in a coveted, low ceiling, but bright Manhattan apartment with sweet 1970's oil paintings covering the walls. Double sidenote: I can't quite pull off the Rhoda head scarf without looking like a cancer patient. And I try...over and over again.

There was also the half-reading of the dragon tattoo girl series. The first book was read aloud with Dave this summer when we were in California. Sidenote: try reading this book aloud...ahem, Swedish street names...Dave made me say things again and again just to laugh at me. I had just read East of Eden and needed something a little lighter. Little did I know that dragon tattoo was so pissed and raped. Not light reading....and everyone is called the same name and everyone drinks tons of coffee and everyone eats open-faced sandwiches and everyone is so earnest and seductive. The second book was annoying, but I still had to read the third one, which started at the same time as getting back to New York, jury duty for two weeks, two special ed classes per week and the start of school, which, of course, means lots of things.

I am not a good reader during the school year. I read the weekend nytimes, I read articles online, I read my lesson plan crap, I read fb status updates, but I can't seem to get sucked into a book. So I read that damn book for, like, three months. Everytime I picked it up, I thought, god. This stupid book - what is happening? Who is this guy again? What happened before? Oh yeah, that's a good cop. that's a bad cop, spy...Sapo spy. Wait...what? So during a particularly nocturnal moment, I finally finished the third book. WHERE IS HER SISTER!?

So, I guess the point is that I have loads of free time on my hands, but most of it is at midnight, reading books I don't really like or watching ancient tv shows under the covers while Dave is snoring.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Dave and I just got a new couch. A grown-up couch with a pull out bed! Our old couch is 105" long....which is really long, and it doesn't fit out of the door. In order to get the darn thing out, I needed to completely dismantle it. Sad because we can't give the couch away. It was a good couch.

Because cats have a weird reaction to new furniture and change, my friend suggested I plug in a pheromone diffuser to keep the cats mellow. I don't know if it actually works, but the cats seem calm. I think I need a diffuser for Dave, though.

my life is like a bento box

When I first moved to New York, I knew that I would need to get rid of a lot of stuff. Before I left Chicago, I stored a bunch of things in my mom's basement - in the hopes that someday I would be able to live with those things again, in the same city, same house, apartment...whatever. I gave things away, threw things away, brought things to Brooklyn and did it all over again. In fact, I am constantly throwing things away, putting them out on the curb for other people, or piling up bags for goodwill. We have four closets, which sounds like a lot, I guess. But it isn't.

One is for my clothes. My winter and summer clothes are rotated in and out of huge plastic tubs that cover the floor of my closet. During inbetween times - cold-ish - I need to remove my ironing board, box of bags and purses, and roller skates in order to get to my warm coats, all at the bottom.

Another closet is for Dave's clothes, which naturally take up way more room than a normal-size person's clothes. His shoes are the length of my femur.

Another one is a linen/tax papers/dave's ice skates/yoga mat closet, mostly linens...extra towels, blankets for guests, sheets. I need one of those vacuum-able plastic bags that squishes everything down to a flat pancake. Then I can slide it under the bed instead! But wait...all of Dave's weird, dusty duffel bags are under the bed. I think he also has a low, plastic tub on wheels that holds a bunch of sweaters that he never wears because he is never cold.

Finally, the last closet - a hodgepodge of cookbooks, bicycle pumps, toolboxes, cans of paint, x-mas ornaments. Basically anything that a normal person would keep in, say, a GARAGE or a BASEMENT or an ATTIC, we need to keep in one closet. One closet.

Daily life in a small New York apartment with no extra storage means a lot of shifting things around, standing on chairs to reach things above the kitchen cabinets, storing clothes inside suitcases and pans inside the stove, stacking folding chairs on top of the giant bureau. Even leaving in the morning takes extra planning and clever packing. Going to the ymca? Change of clothes, shower supplies, lunch for school, wallet, umbrella, coffee in thermos, water bottle...all arranged neatly in a backpack that is easy to lug many blocks to the subway and back.

Which brings me to my lunch. I love bento boxes. My lunch is usually never leftover soup or pasta. Most of the time, I fit a lunch and snacks into a tiny a puzzle. Hardboiled eggs, celery and hummus, yogurt, babybels, crackers, napkin, spoon. No space goes unused. Like my apartment.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

arts and crap

Last weekend I made truly horrible wool-felt slippers that don't fit. And some curtains and a mediocre loaf of bread. Not too long before that I created a pattern and sewed a half-way decent, yet ill-fitting denim dress. It has been years since I have attempted knitting (scarves only) and I totally forgot how to crochet. I have tried decoupage, book binding, scrapbooking before it was scrapbooking, ceramics, painting with gouache, acrylics, and watercolors, etching and wood printing, and making miniatures. In college I made a donut-shaped beanbag chair and filled it with packing peanuts. Post college I made a complete set of wooden kitchen utensils. Each time I tried a new craft, I would buy the tools and supplies, slave over a sloppy plan for hours or days or weeks and produce a humdrum.....something.

What is the purpose? Do I need to feel more connected to fabric? Do I need to feel as though I can do it if I tried, but not actually master it? What is it about the creation process? Meditative, focused, and kinda fun?

I teach children and most of my day entails some sort of craft-making adventure. New bulletin board. Making cards for mother's day. Designing a mini-park out of grass seeds and rocks. They derive so much excitement from glitter and collage materials. A mixed bag of buttons...popsicle sticks...these are like GOLD. After a little glue blob here and a scrap of paper there, the kids are content and proud. I guess that's the key. Give the crafts away and it's more fun to make them.

Does anyone need maroon, size 8 1/2 wool-felt slippers?

Saturday, August 7, 2010


When I was in college, I never ate in the dorm cafeteria alone. If my friends weren't around, I just wouldn't eat. I thought people would look at me if I went in alone, I didn't want the attention. I preferred to scavenge in my dorm room for salsa and chips or make some gross grilled cheese on a hot plate until my friends got back. Generally, I think of myself as gregarious; I find it easy to strike up a conversation with a stranger. But years ago, even though I had plenty of friends, I was hesitant. I came to New York for an internship after college for that exact reason - to face my fear. In New York I was forced to do everything alone. Movies, museums, walking dozens of blocks to work, eating in restaurants, reading in a park. All of these things were so new to me. It was a metamorphosis. Not easy, of course, but I learned to love being alone.

As time went on, like anyone else, I learned and grew and tried new things and got other jobs and went to grad school. Each time I thought that something was a little scary, I would try it anyway. None of these things were monumental, but to me I felt the steps forward until it was easy for me to live my life full of people and activities and places and travel. City life seemed like an obvious choice.

I have been reading Cormac McCarthy books obsessively since the beginning of the summer. The Border Trilogy is a series about cowboys in the 40's along the Texas/Mexico border. There are so many passages describing long solo rides through the dusty mountain passes, horses as their only companions. In a totally strange way, I have become attached to these characters, their quest for understanding and human connection. I know that I am not a lonesome cowboy breaking wild fillies in New Mexico, but I identify with the long, uninterrupted periods alone. I feel like I have adjusted so well to being alone, now instead of avoiding social situations because I feel afraid of connecting with people, I choose to be alone because I'd rather go solo. But not only that, I desire a chance to live in a place where there are no people. I want to be surrounded by land and trees and animals, staring out into the wilderness, spitting on the ground, wiping my brow, eating all of my food in a tortilla and letting my horse drink out of my hat.

Then I go outside and there are a million people walking down the street, hovering next to me in the grocery store and taking all of the benches in the park. I have no vistas to gaze and ponder, save a crowded cityscape of huge buildings. I don't mind being alone in public anymore, but I'd like it better if I was alone with a little less population.

Friday, May 28, 2010

"you teach best what you most need to learn"

One week ago today, I was told that my position at the school was not secure. Gargantuan budget cuts are predicted and everyone hired in 2008 by the Department of Education is getting sacked. I do not yet have the pink slip in my hand, but as of June 15 I may, and it does not look good.

I have been thinking about this every second. When I hit snooze, in the shower, on my commute, while wrangling 22 children all day, sitting in my classroom surrounded by paperwork, when I come home and spend the next four hours online, and finally staring at the ceiling at night while the alarm clock stares at me.

On so many levels, this is an atrocity. I have ten years of experience, I spend weekends working, ten and twelve hour days, emails, phone calls with worried parents, projects, committees. I scrub out the sink in my classroom, gently comfort a child with a sore throat, toss bandaids at 5 papercuts a day, spend weeks in the summer working on professional development, plan with colleagues, stack report cards in my purse to work on later at barbeques or superbowl parties, think about better ways to differentiate fucking math games, celebrate small moments, cheer on the little guy, literally. Every day.

Two years ago, I moved my books and baskets and puzzles and files into this classroom. It's always an adjustment, but PS321 is a rigorous school with high expectations for students and even higher expectations for teachers. It is known that you will work until 7:00 almost every night during your first year, a fact. I learned the ropes, politely smiling and nodding and working my ass off, then realizing what I know already and making a name for myself. Now, the thought of packing up my rubber tubs, renting a u-haul and moving to another space in order to start all over again makes me want to throw up all over Michael Bloomberg.

So do I toss in the sponge and admit defeat? Can I finally have a job that doesn't involve saying the phrase "you need to use a tissue instead of your finger" or "criss-cross applesauce"?? Can I stay up past 10:30 without guilt and be cheerful during the month of September, once again? Can I go on vacation in January, just for the hell of it, and actually check email between 8:30 and 3:00? What happens if I find out that drinking coffee at my desk and talking to grown-ups and refraining from singing instructions to people is boring and unfulfilling? I may find out June 15.