Sunday, January 20, 2013

Evan's Christmas present

It's true that I made this as a Christmas present for Evan, who's the son of my dear friend Meghan and just a few months older than my own small Kamal. But I also made it for me: it is my way of missing a friend who has walked with me, faithfully, through some of the hardest heartbreaks and happiest happinesses; it is my wistful, wishful wish that we could adventure together through a spontaneous Saturday; and it's my way of introducing two little boys that I hope will become fast, if far-away, friends.

Friday, January 18, 2013

If you could eat a kaleidoscope for dinner

As a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine, I'm not the biggest proponent of entrĂ©e salads. Every so often, though, Adam will make us this Island Pork Tenderloin Salad--and even though it's kind of ridiculously healthy, having it for dinner almost feels like a guilty pleasure.

Besides the cruciferous goodness of the cabbage and the antioxidant wallop of the citrus and spinach, the avocados bring omega-3 fatty acids, the cumin is anti-carcinogenic, the cinnamon is anti-microbial, all the fruits and veggies contribute valuable dietary fiber, and the tenderloin is, of course, a nice lean protein. Eating avocado may also help you to more effectively absorb other nutrients, and the cinnamon can help lessen the rise in your blood sugar after eating the carbohydrates in this salad. 

That's a lot of healthiness, right? All that being said, it tastes like it was put together by someone obsessed with flavor alone. 

It's also pretty quick and easy to put together. Want to make it? Here's the recipe

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

On taking the baby to work

I went back to work part-time when Kamal was 8 weeks old.  Last week I saw a patient that really needed to come back in no more than a week later--but I was booked three weeks out. I tried to figure out a way to fit her in to my existing appointments, and when that didn't work, I offered a compromise: I could see her today, but I had to bring my baby along. Would she mind?

She said she didn't. So today, full of trepidation, I prepared to bring my baby to work.

I put Kamal in his car seat and drove around till he was fast asleep. Then I parked as close as I could to my office--there's only street parking nearby, and it's pretty competitive. I slung one of those vibrating bouncy seat thingies across my back, hung a packed diaper bag on one shoulder, schlepped a bag full of work stuff on the other shoulder, hefted the car seat in my right hand and wielded my office keys in my left. I caught my reflection in a store window as I walked--I looked like the dogged, gimpy offspring of a toy store and a luggage shop.

My genius strategy for getting Kamal to nap through the appointment worked--up until I was ready to insert the needles. (You know, the actual reason people come to see an acupuncturist.) Then he woke up and completely flipped out. Screaming! Tears! I picked him up and said nice soothing things, and he quieted down. Then I put him in the vibrating bouncy seat thingy, and he looked pleased. Then I started to walk back to the patient, and he totally LOST HIS SHIT. 

So I ended up doing an entire acupuncture protocol on with a screaming baby strapped to me via Moby wrap. Holy moly, you guys. It was like working inside a hurricane.  

Fortunately my patient was remarkably, well, patient. And once all her needles were placed and I stepped outside to let her rest with them, I could give Kamal my full attention and he calmed and quieted--provided that I kept entertaining him. Gradually, my lovely, painstakingly decorated, tidily-minimalist waiting area devolved into something that looked house.

This is my reception area without a baby in it: 

This is my reception area with a baby in it: 


I apologized to the patient afterwards for all the sturm und drang, and she shrugged, cuddled Kamal for a bit, and then asked if we could do it again, with baby and all, next week.

The whole process was exhausting, but so many blessings have had to fall in my lap for this exhausting process to happen. I work in a field where I can make my own schedule; I have a partner both willing and able  to be with our baby for several hours during the week while I see patients, and I have enough wonderful patients to fill and spill out of  the hours that Adam can stay home with Kamal. And of course I have Kamal, my most miraculous of miracles, my most wonderful of wonders, my most treasured treasure, catapulting me at full speed into an unimaginably beautiful chaos.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The EMO BABY series

Kamal literally came out of the womb with emo hair. I mean, day one, total pointy black anime hair.

 Then his tear ducts started working way ahead of schedule.

And of course there are those absolutely limpid, almost farcically emotive eyes of his.

What I'm saying is, there was sort of no way NOT to do this series.

I feel like I've accomplished some pretty cool things in my life. I've performed at Carnegie Hall, I run a successful little acupuncture clinic, and I learned to drive a stick shift on the long, steep hill of Texas Street in San Diego in a 20-year-old Nissan Pulsar with a burned-out clutch. And I'm a little embarrassed to admit this, but I'm pretty sure I'm not as proud of all those things as I am of taking pictures of my crying baby and fashioning them into the images I'm sharing with you here.

I promise I didn't actually make my baby cry to get these photos. I did, however, allow him to cry for just a minute while taking them. When he's old enough to read this blog, I really hope Kamal understands, which he will if he has the same (dorky, ambiguously-ethical) sense of humor that his mama does. Currently he (is the only person on the planet who) laughs at all my jokes, so I'm optimistic.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The precipice

I have a neighbor who's an arborist. He trims trees. Where we live, that often means trimming redwoods: towering, pointy evergreens hundreds of years old and stories high. He anchors himself to the redwood with a spare-looking rope harness and, at the swaying top, watches sawn-off boughs plummet through space.

I used to think he had the most terrifying job of anyone I knew. Now, watching my baby sleep, I envy my neighbor the logical ease of his work. Loving someone this much makes no sense at all. It is the most dizzying, the most precipitous, the riskiest work possible to undertake. It is work never laid down. If we knew what we were beginning, how every breath would become a prayer, how every thought forever would be flavored with the burningly, burstingly sweet savor of this love, would we still take it up?

We would and we do because love is every person's calling. It is wonderful and horrible. It is more than any human ought to be able to bear. It is what keeps us moving forward. It is the highest height, a narrow ledge from which one might fall so far and so fast that falling is unthinkable. But the view from here is breathtaking.