Why Lemony?
(the “About Me” page)

May 27, 2004

In remembrance

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Well, I've had another trying week, but trying me in a very gentle way, really. My grandmother died on Sunday. Millie Moutrie, 92 years old and ready to go home to her father (who she says was calling her, 'Millie, it's time to come home!'). I remember her best from childhood. She had the perfect grandma house full of little closets and cozy nooks full of weird old toys that I loved, like a knitting mushroom and board games from the fifties. She always got us Lucky Charms when we visited (we were never allowed to eat that at home). Sometimes we got so enthusiatic about eating it (it does turn your milk brownish-green after all) that we'd finish a box and she would cheerfully go down to the corner store and get another one. She made us doll clothes. She was always asking if you wanted her to fix you a sandwich or if you needed anything, and always sweet and loving us up. I didn't manage to say good-bye to her before she died. In fact, I hadn't seen her in many years so I was really sad at the funeral. But I said good-bye to her there, and now I can be with her much more often and she can meet my kids and know them much more deeply than she could have in this life. It was great to see my hilarious and very kind aunts from that side of my family too, Bette, Mary Lou and Jean. They were cracking everyone up at lunch after the funeral, telling funny stories about Grandma and themselves.

I plan to love up my grandmothers that are still on this earth too, and try to make them laugh.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 09:26 PM | Comments (2)

May 23, 2004

A few flowers

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a careful shopper checking out the creeping phlox

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This iris patch had only two flowers last year because the weeds that had gotten a hold after years of neglect and out-competed them. This year, without all that competition (after a lot of picky weeding), the irises took over.

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a Georgia flower

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get well balloon bouquet (I think balloons make lovely flowers)

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post-hospital flower

Posted by Bahiyyih at 11:12 AM | Comments (3)

Georgia update

She's getting better for sure now. She had a big sweat early this morning and I think her fever has finally broken. Phew!

Posted by Bahiyyih at 10:46 AM | Comments (0)

May 22, 2004

Second hospital story

Well I'm saddened and bewildered to say that we spent the better part of the week in the hospital, this time with Georgia. She supposedly had stomach flu, but that diagnosis worried me because she was so suddenly and severely sick and who has to go the hospital for stomach flu? Well, we went in Wednsday, and after days of way too slow recovery, and some backsliding, the real bug showed itself and she was more properly (hopefully!) diagnosed with strep.

This time the number thing didn't bug me- I just omitted the phrase 'when I took her temperature' and rattled off the numbers my mom thermometer (that's my hand on her forehead) told me. It worked very well and I have a lot of confidence in that hand. I even beat the real hospital thermometer once. I had called the nurse in because I could tell that Georgia's temp had gone up, and when she checked it, it measured like 98.1 which was so wrong, and when they did the rounds taking vitals a half hour later and found her temp to be 102, I was vindicated. Maybe next time (God forbid the horrible thing) I'll be able to say, 'take it again lady. yer machine ain't workin.'

I saw this really good, REALLY SAD movie a few months ago, called Wit, about a poetry professor who dies of cancer, and she really tells it like it is but with a good sense of very dry humor and sarcasm. Anyways, she talks in one part about how quiet and boring it is to be in a hospital 99% of the time, and then there are these flurries of activity (like you see on TV) and then hours stretching out into days of just lying there, or sitting next to, in my case. I was there about forty hours total (Billy took the second night shift) but it seemed like weeks. I was desperate for distraction, but couldn't keep my mind on them when I did manage to find a magazine or get my book from home finally. And it wasn't really worth it to be caught up in a book, because when I looked up from it, the reality of Georgia lying there sleeping fitfully in a hospital bed seemed so pathetic and startling that it wasn't really worth going away mentally in the first place.

This was such a hard part of being a parent. Like caring for a newborn, it requires a lot of selflessness and lioness instincts. And it wore me out. Communicating with health professionals was like trying to speak a different language, where the information that you need is all between the lines. And I didn't want to voice the questions that I had. Like 'why is she so sick that she needs to be hospitalized', and 'why isn't she getting better' and even 'how long are we going to have to stay here' and 'how am I supposed to feel about all this'? You know, anything that would require supportiveness from a health professional I didn't want to ask because I didn't want to be vulnerable and get hurt. I just went with the flow instead and tried to stay on top of caring for Georgia and trying to think clearly about the patterns of her illness so I could report them in a way that made sense when the next person asked how she was doing. (Not that anyone really asked that, they decided for themselves, but I told them what I knew anyways because it was clear that they couldn't know a lot of how she was doing just by taking her vitals every four hours.) We had a lot of caring nurses and a good doctor, I think, but toward the end of the visit, we got some loud abrasive types and one that thought Georgia was a different patient and unhooked her IV before realizing she had made a mistake, and then the doctor started getting condescending to me and just really negative about children in general, and that really wore me down. I wonder if they were getting frustrated that she wasn't getting better like she was supposed to and I was picking up on that or what. One day they thought she had a bladder infection and so I had to spend the whole afternoon trying to convince a tearful, feverish Georgia that it was really important that she pee in this cup (she wasn't into all the procedures involved in a clean catch urine sample). But that came up negative. The doctor seemed at a loss when he reported that, maybe he gets irritated when illnesses are being mysterious. I'm sure I would. But I'm all sensitive and feel like people are mad at me that she's not getting better. He was pretty happy and even a little exultant when it started acting like strep and they could just give her a shot and done. So that's good. I was happy too. I wonder what it's like to be a doctor or a nurse on the pediatric ward. I think my heart would break every day. I definitely couldn't take it. I didn't want to know any of the other parents or kids on the ward. But we were on isolation status the whole time anyways, so it didn't matter if I did. And the sounds and smells of a hospital are so unpleasant.

Anyways, now Georgia is slowly recovering, I think. I'm still worried though because her fever isn't going away yet, and they gave her a huge dose of penicillin (in a big scary shot) yesterday. Shouldn't the fever be gone now? We're going to try to push through the weekend health care beauracracy and get an answer to that one. Does she have some new resistant strain of strep? Is there something else going on? Has anyone heard health news about this kind of thing? I'm about to go scour the internet to find out. She'll probably just recover slowly.

I'm a little dazed from the whole experience. I'm not sure how to process it all and how to make sense of it, what lessons I am supposed to be learning and what changes I could make that could make it really unlikely that this will EVER HAPPEN AGAIN.

Thanks to everyone who helped us through it. Your gifts of kindness made the way easier for us all.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 01:22 PM | Comments (3)

May 17, 2004

on a mission

There's a bare, clean desk in my house. I'm just as shocked as you are that it's mine. I haven't been able to see what the actual desk looks like in many months, but I focused and threw away a lot of papers, did a little filing, put the rest of the filing in a big pile somewhere else, and got that desk ready to have ESL work on it. There's an ESL class in the works for me at the Baha'i Center, and I'm gearing up for it. Next I will go through all my dusty boxes in the closet and find my ESL books and try to pull up all that information that I worked so hard to master in a past life.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 11:16 AM | Comments (1)

May 16, 2004


The girls and I were wasting time at the mall today since Billy had to work on a Sunday (the mall was our consolation prize) and we were playing at the soft play area when this guy walked in and started looking around at all the kids. My creep alarm went off because I could tell that this guy was not here with kids and he was watching them very intently. He caught me watching him watch Georgia and came over to me smiling, and then I recognized his outfit as being a photographer at 'The Picture People' and was very releived. He asked me if Georgia would sit for a free photo shoot because he was trying to build his portfolio. (He wanted Maya to too but she was NOT INTERESTED.) I thought it went pretty badly because they were both freaked out by the whole process and having to sit there smiling for a long time. Georgia whipped out this cheesy fake smile that I have never seen before. It was so funny it made me laugh HARD and that made her smile more naturally. (The reason it was so funny to me was that people used to tell us often that Georgia should be a model, and seeing her looking so cheesy in a real photo shoot made me happy that she knew it was all fake and acted accordingly, which also wouldn't have made her a very good model in cute kid pictures. So I feel vindicated in ignoring that suggestion.) The photographer was obviously new and not very good at getting kids to feel comfortable, but he tried his best to get Georgia to sit in different positions and with different props and actually got some good shots. Maya looked on to the whole proceedings with a look of freaked-outedness that also did me proud. We came away from what they called the 'star search' with a huge (10x13) close up of Georgia's face that I actually like because her mouth is smiling (normally) and she is looking to the side (at me in real life) and her eyes are saying 'mom, this guy is so weird, this is really ridiculous'. That's my girl!

Posted by Bahiyyih at 06:46 PM | Comments (2)

May 15, 2004

gettin with the program

I visited a new members meeting of Mothers and More (which is a support and advocacy organization for women who have left a career to stay at home with their kids, also called 'sequencing women') and I was impressed. They are for mothers in any combination of working inside and/or outside the home. I was intrigued by one of the things they do, which is cook for other members when that member has a baby or any other big life-changing event. That's some good 'village' infrastructure. And they were excited to see me as I was the only new person that showed up. (It was raining really hard which probably scared people away- they said their meetings are usually bigger than five people.) They have lots of playgroups and e-mail lists and events for moms to get out together so they don't feel so isolated. I feel like I've figured myself out as a mom a lot more than the last time I tried to get involved with this group and didn't click because I felt too overwhelmed by other people's opinions and judgements of my parenting. But I feel a lot more confident and not so easily swayed by other people's opinions of me, so i think I could get something out of it, or better yet, put something into it. I'd love to cook for new moms. And when i brought up our (Billy's and my) idea of having a panel with all the choices of schools in C-U for parents figuring out school for their 5 year olds to hear about all the possibilities- from public school to home school, etc., they jumped at it and thought it was really great and all wanted to get behind it and do it, as soon as they group was a little older (it's a young group and most kids are 0-3). And they like Faulkner Fox-esque critiques of false ideals of motherhood ( and I didn't even bring it up, but did jump right in when it was on the table). That was really a sign just for me that this would be a good group to keep in touch with and talk to.

(In Nate Davis villian voice): "Excellent. Excellent."

Posted by Bahiyyih at 12:03 AM | Comments (1)

May 13, 2004

Welcome to..

Lisa Lang who is joining the ranks of weblogging peoples on our server. See the link in the 'Community' section to the left to hear her 'voice'! Hooray!

Posted by Bahiyyih at 06:05 AM | Comments (0)

May 12, 2004

Trying to ignore...

this drippy cold made worse by a prolonged allergy attack to something I refuse to acknowledge being allergic to, namely pollen. Also trying to ignore that vague feeling that I don't know what I want to do with my life next, what direction to go. Getting pretty good results ignoring when I think about gardens and my immediate family and the good weather. But I can tell it's there because I keep procrastinating on projects I'm already working on. Hmmm... maybe I'm just scared of the weightyness of decision-making.

P.P. (post post) Just writing this down helped me feel clearer and I got a lot done today and feel more brave about the future and the tasks at hand.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 11:11 AM | Comments (1)

May 11, 2004

Jumping at the Quinlans

Here's what my family was doing while I was gardening:

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Here's a kid Billy expression

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Here's a kid Bahiyyih expression (can you tell the difference?)

Posted by Bahiyyih at 12:43 PM | Comments (1)

May 10, 2004

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all! I spent mine filling up the perennial bed with new flowers. It was very satisfying. I filled up my cart at Prairie Gardens with everything that looked lovely or fun: passion flower, lupine, hardy geranium, veronica, verbena, dragon's beard, mums, hollyhocks, mallow hollyhocks, a step-on-me plant, little rubies dianthus and some zucchini. Woo-hoo! I left room for one more plant in that bed in case I discover something else I can't do without over the course of the summer.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 01:47 PM | Comments (1)

May 05, 2004

SAHM boosting

So now I feel compelled, by guilt, fairness, and genuine happiness (all very common motivations for me as a mother), to list a few of the easy and pleasant things about working as a SAHM (stay at home mother):

1. Spending all day with two people that I love more than life itself.
2. Having the priviledge financially, as well as life-plan-y, to be there all the time for our children and so having the ability to create the the environment I want for our children down to the last detail (not that I always take advantage of that opportunity..ahem) and knowing their rhythms throughout the day.
3. Hugs and cuddle time
4. Very flexible schedule
5. During the good parts of the year, being able to take advantage of all the beautiful days outside
6. Exploring the world through the eyes of little children- it's hilarious and refreshing
7. Living in a service-to-children mode is seriously good for my soul
8. This job is great preparation for a career in ANYTHING because it stretches me so much in areas that school doesn't touch-emotional maturity, intense responsibility, heartfelt teaching skills, etc, etc.

If I had more time, this list would go on and on, but it's back to work for me.

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Maya and I doing our work

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Georgia and Maya doing their work

Posted by Bahiyyih at 10:03 AM | Comments (0)

May 03, 2004

webble boosting

The things that are hard and not pleasant about being a SAHM (stay at home mother) are:
1. It can be lonely at times
2. It can be boring at times
3. It can be intellectualy unstimulating (to put it mildly)
4. It can be repetitive
5. Lack of measurable progress and completion
6. Tantrums

And I've noticed that the good things about writing a webble are:
1. Connecting with people
2. Strange, interesting and funny links and ideas from people's comments and reading other people's webbles
3. Writing lets me think about interesting things and have an outlet for grown up thoughts and creativity
4. There's something new every day on someone's webble
5. Write a webble, and it's done; you can see the finished product
6. No tantrums. And if some disgruntled webbler did have one, it probably wouldn't be my responsibility to do anything about it.

Webbles help retain my sanity and improve the quality of my life. Improve the quality of a mother's life, and you improve the quality of her children's lives. Sweet Georgia and Maya feel the benefits of a more balanced mother that has more perspective and detachment to better appreciate them and their needs and desires. It's a good thing.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 11:06 AM | Comments (9)

May 02, 2004

so much to feel about

This weekend has been so full of emotional experiences, all positive for a change! and it opens my heart more and makes me think about things with a little more light and hope. I thought I would just get worn out this weekend, and was having a hard time thinking past it, but now it seems like a glorious beginning instead of an ending. Time to get to work.

I was telling Liz today that this weekend, and especially this morning's performance by Red Grammer singing the Tablet of Ahmad, makes me see better the potential future of the Baha'i Center and what it's like filled with happy people. He (Red) was such a great ambassador of love for Baha'u'llah and a good example of spreading love and divine principles practically to every person. That's such good energy.

And our discussions at Biaggi's last night (among four young couples, or parts thereof) made me think of this question that I've only really talked to Billy about, but I wonder what other people have experienced or figured out. I should preface it by saying that while Billy and I have a lot of important things in common, we communicate really differently from each other and while this makes our relationship exciting and creative, I often get the feeling that I'm talking to someone from another country who speaks a different language, even though we're both speaking English. As an ESL teacher, it's a little frightening to find that I can't effectively communicate with a fellow native English speaker. It throws my whole training into question, or at least shows up a whole other layer of complexity to language that I couldn't even begin to teach my students. So the question set is something like, 'How can two people from the same culture communicate as differently as Billy and I do? I can't beleive that it's all gender differences, although I'm sure it plays a part. Does that mean that personality is a more fundamental part of who you are than culture? I know it's not that simple, as there are many reciprocal relationships between them, but it makes me think- Are there double the communication differences when you are in a relationship with someone from a different culture and how would you know which aspect you are really dealing with? And yet, I don't think it plays out that way, and maybe even the opposite sometimes where two people with really similar personalities and similar societal roles in their respective cultures can communicate really easily. Am I making that up? I think I've experienced that but then I wasn't married to that person from another culture that I seemed to be communicating well with, so I never really got to the level of intimacy that I'm trying to figure out here. It's so hard to tell which variables are coming into play sometimes that I don't know how to even verbalize the whole thing. Blah blah blah. To get more specific, there's the whole issue of body language. I grew up learning to be very sensitive to people's body language when they are speaking (and especially when they are not speaking) and learned to tell when people are feeling open, and when they close or aren't comfortable, and I thought that this was relatively universal to European-American, Illinois born and bred, middle-class people. But Billy has this whole other body language that I habitually misinterpret because I didn't know there WERE different body languages within this same group. But there ARE. And he didn't learn mine either. And I don't even know what to call my body language versus Billy's body langauge. Are there words for such local details of communication?

And if this small issue is so complicated, then my question goes global: Are people from different cultures and with different languages doing a better job than I am with my same culture, same-language husband figuring out how to communicate about important things? I don't know quite how to answer that. The EU just went from fifteen countries to twenty-five. But then there are nations and groups with such huge misunderstandings that they all want to kill each other. So, on what foundation do we build from here? The only (but big) thing I've thought of is the creative power of love (personal, as well as divine) to build bridges over unfathomable distances. That's as far as I've gotten with it, but it's really fun to try to figure it out in this happy, constructive way. Very refreshing.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 10:10 PM | Comments (0)

party on

I had a great day today! Red Grammar! Angeline and family (childhood friend to the point of sisterhood)! Grand opening of the Baha'i Center where Red Grammar sang 'Blessed is the spot', and it really felt blessed. (Can't really put an exclamation point after that, being a prayer and all, but it was mighty anyways) Dinner with great friends at Biaggi's (my favorite restaurant) and lots of laughing! Wow! And tomorrow's another day full of (hopefully) great stuff. Here are some pictures of the festivities:

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Maya and Jordan (Angeline's nephew)

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Lisa and Alex from Springfield area at the grand opening

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Bill Clark and Mike Lang jammin in the kid's room (Isabella and Jordan in the foreground)

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Husayn, Scott, and Allen at the grand opening

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Carlton and granddaughters Emily and Alicia

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Ghodsi's amazing food sculpture (of which this is only a small sample)

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obligatory cutie Maya picture

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I'm getting a picture of Red Grammar! (He kind of blends in with the wall there)

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obligatory cutie Georgia (and Devyn) picture
They dressed up to go show Red Grammar their costumes. I think they wanted to perform right back at him. You perform, I perform.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 12:55 AM | Comments (1)