All posts by Dumetella Carolinensis

About Dumetella Carolinensis

I'm serious about making my home deliberately. Making it smell good and feel solid. Fresh food and well-placed personal items. Kind words and music to fit the mood. Laughter. Genuine concern for my neighbors and a door they feel welcome to enter anytime. I'm a home maker from the inside out.

Market Baby

I’m swinging between high excitement and discouragement. I have an opportunity that thrills me when I think about it, but is also so much bigger than anything I’ve held that I fear it’s more than I can wrangle. As if I had been elected to lasso the moon (so long as I can find enough rope).

Last summer I took on the position of manager for a local farmers’ market. The market was essentially a non-entity, though there had previously been vendors selling at our intended location. The mayor desired a market to bring people to the town’s lovely new park, so he presented this to my pastor, who in turn sold me as the manager. No credentials, no experience, and no current resume (not to mention no familiarity with my new home), and yet I was gifted an opportunity that suited a million different interests of mine. The mayor doesn’t want to run it, and my pastor doesn’t want to run it, so they handed me a list of potential vendors and suggested I interpret the concept of a market any way I could imagine it.

I sat down with a couple people with a hobby-interest in my project and we carved out two six-week runs in the summer and fall. With a few facsimiles of local market paperwork I generated a very basic application, a volunteer created a gorgeous graphic for banners, and we found a line-up of musicians to play. A couple dozen vendors passed through, and in the end the folks at Town Hall helped me throw a big festival to bring it to a close. (I called it the “Market Hay Day”.) It was a whirlwind that didn’t involve much planning. Couldn’t involve it, I guess.

The new year is on us, and I’m still offered the opportunity (as a volunteer, so it’s no skin off anyone’s nose), so I’ve begun to think with long-term goals in mind. There is no board, no committee, no LLC or 501(c). I alone am the only person planning what may happen with this market in the spring. It’s like a vast, blank space for creativity and a barren, dangerous desert at the same time.

I know there are people who can share my vision with me, and I pray they will find me. One step at a time.

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My Life

As I hurried to start dinner for weekend guests, I dismissed my (3-year-old) son’s request to assist me with the chopping. Instead I suggested he clean toys up off the living room floor.

But mom, you’re just… my life.

I paused after he said this. His life! Indeed, I am. Many thoughts rushed into my head about how I facilitate all his exploration. It was like he was telling me he couldn’t do any thing without me. He couldn’t chop any vegetables without me.

You’re my life, too, son.

It didn’t take me any longer to get the meal started with him helping.

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Giving Birth a Second Time

My little “Taco Baby” was born six months ago.  Having him “on the outside” has proven to be substantially more enjoyable than being pregnant with him, too.

When I was about 25-weeks the midwives and one OB were concerned that his belly was measuring too small in relation to the rest of his growth and his fetal age, so I was placed on very close monitoring.  I had many ultrasounds, a few non-stress-tests, and weekly Doppler heart-rate monitoring.  Every possible test they could imagine before becoming invasive was administered, and the boy passed each one.  I felt helpless, though, so as an effort to “do” something, I increased my protein intake significantly, and boosted my overall calories (more tacos!).

After a month of pigging out, the doctor informed me he had grown, but his little belly had not.  In fact, his abdomen was now in a dangerously low percentile.

I left the midwife feeling dizzy with panic, and I had to pull my car over as I began to cry hysterically.  I’ve wept plenty of times in my life, but usually it’s a slow, somber, moaning cry; or an angry, burning, ugly cry.  This was a tense, amputated-limb, going into shock cry.  Otherwise, “hysterical”.  I called my husband, of course, and told him immediately we must name our son.

Spencer David

Around this time I watched a segment from More Business of Being Born, where an associate of Ina May Gaskin drew an analogy between prenatal technology as a flashlight in the darkness, and our maternal instincts as our adjusted night-vision (with moonlight).  The flashlight is brighter, obviously, and helps us focus on one object at a time with more clarity, but the natural night-vision soon gives us an ability to see many things as a whole.  I chose to trust my instincts, and I began to feel confident that Spencer was healthy.

Month after month he continued to grow, moving continuously within me.  Day and night he moved and the word I felt to describe him was playful.  There was a fun-loving aspect to his movements, and not a restlessness.  He seemed so normal to me.  My favorite was the ultrasound images, where every week he had something in his mouth — a hand, finger, foot, or the umbilical cord.  Spencer just seemed like he was enjoying himself where he was.

At last, under the deadline, his size caught up and I was taken off the “high risk” status.  Now, if only I’d been paying attention to the results of my strep-B test…

The due date came and went, and my sister and mother attended to me and my family as we waited impatiently for something to start.  At a half-past midnight on a Tuesday I awoke with the commonly-described, “dull, achy pain”.  I told my mother, and my husband, then laid back down and stared at the ceiling until I just couldn’t pretend to be going back to sleep.

My sister came from her hotel as I took a shower, then she braided my hair. My husband and mother soothed me with massages at each contraction to help me relax, and I listened to Neil Halstead music.  We got to the hospital at around five in the morning, and that’s when my serenity was dashed.

Natural childbirth in a hospital is not easily accommodated.  The natural-birth mother does not arrive to a hospital with enough lead-time to complete administrative paper-work and tests.  The natural-birth mother gets there in time to start pushing.

I don’t want to go into all the hairy details I remember, because it’ll piss me off to focus on that.  I do remember going to the bathroom just to have a contraction in peace.

The real frustration was that I needed an antibiotic for my positive strep-B status.  The line wasn’t placed properly, and I received a full dose of antibiotic, which was more painful than the late-stage labor pains I was experiencing.  I honestly felt as if my hand had been smashed with a sledge-hammer. It didn’t really matter, though.  The baby was nearly there.

At 7:20 I began pushing and Spencer was born at 7:42. The pain was less fierce than with Grayson, because I didn’t have back-labor, but I felt weak, and like my pushes were ineffectual.  There was no easy way to do that.

This is him! He’s here! This is the moment! ~ My husband kept reminding me.

For an hour we held him, I nursed him, we massaged his skin and waited for his cord to stop pulsing.  My in-laws arrived to the delivery room, and the baby was taken for some tests.  This is the other part I don’t want to remember, because they kept him for too long and I started to panic.  Mike went to get coffee, I think, so he wasn’t there, and I just wanted my baby back!  Silly hospitals.  They thought I needed to recover or something.  What I did, was go to the bathroom, and then walk down the hall to my recovery room.  Bring me my baby!

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Mike brought pizza in for an early lunch as Grayson came with my sister to meet the playful, happy guy… but he brought me a big nasty cheeseburger.  I should thank him again for also bringing the cheese-fries, and the Coca-Cola.  In a few hours he opened his eyes at last, and my friend Yoko was there to capture that.

Now, six months later, he’s fat and hungry a lot.  He loves to smile and eat, and he only fusses — never cries.  He lunges for his bed at nap times, and started sleeping through the night at five months old.

Also, he looks like me.

Tackling the Hoard

I didn’t even know there was a term for this.  Until my sister-in-law mentioned “goo hoarding” over a holiday dinner, I sort of felt like I had a personal problem.  I wasn’t ashamed of myself, but I had no idea how to describe “it”. When we moved into our home last July I became aware of a situation.  Once I recognized that this situation was an issue, I began dealing with it.  With no knowledge of my five-month-long project, my husband’s sister just mentioned this phenomena; I don’t even remember what was said to remind her of this.  Almost daily I had felt compelled to put this project into words, but something was missing: the words.  At last she said, “goo hoarding” and tiny sparks ignited in my brain and I felt honorable for combating this issue that concerned me.  I wasn’t just being frugal; I was tackling the hoard.

Continue reading Tackling the Hoard

Taco Baby

The problem is that pregnancy cravings don’t appear like normal cravings.  They are seeded deeper in the mind, and don’t feel like an opinion.  For instance, when you aren’t pregnant someone asks, “what are you craving tonight?”  You run through a list of restaurants or pantry items in your mind, and you arrive at an opinion, I had those pot-stickers last Tuesday so Asian food is out, but I’m curious about that new Moroccan restaurant… So you make a choice.  Or, in the worst cases perhaps you watch a Digorno’s pizza commercial and decide you need gluten and cheese to make you stop visualizing it.  It does happen that from time to time we get a taste for something — salty, sweet, spicy, etc — and satisfy those “cravings in a moment.  Often times the craving itself comes out of seeing the desired item (like, you can resist sweet cravings if there is no chocolate in the house…).

But when you are pregnant, this rational approach to decision-making is no longer a choice.  Suddenly as you fold laundry you fantasize about tacos.  Or cupcakes.  You need something spicy and wrapped in a tortilla with the same urgency that you need to pee, or nap, or drink water.

Continue reading Taco Baby

Strawberry Pie

Our family is coming back to life!  I received a quart of tiny, sweet, fresh strawberries from the farmer’s market, and am indulging our family in a fantastic pie to celebrate summer.  Most strawberry pies are cold, but this one is baked, and I love it! My recipe is adapted from this one found on Allrecipes.com (I just halved the thickener since my berries were so sweet), and a crust from Smittenkitchen.com (I heart that site!).

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Overwhelming Urge to Create

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Despite my Extreme Transition Lifestyle right now, I am still subject to my creative urges.  Crochet is one of my personal favorite ways to create.  It’s like organizing a skein of yarn into many perfect knots, which produce a useable, beautiful, and in this case adorable object.  In the future I’ll direct you all to my Etsy store and let you browse my bursts of creativity. Right now is not the time for that, though.  In the meantime, you can enjoy these pieces.

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This pattern was purchased from Inner Hooker, on Etsy (well, on Ravelry, actually, but you might not be a yarnie).  (I just invented that word, but you may use it).  I altered the pattern some, but not significantly.  These were made as a gift, so I don’t have to haul them around… and I cannot wait to create for my home, once again!  {soon}