37 weeks pregnant: maybe the last tmi pregnancy blah blah before the baby

I’ve reached the end days phase. The bit of being pregnant where I’m constantly thinking “well this could be the last time I wear this T-shirt before I have a baby.” Or “this could be my last shower without a baby.” Or even, “Maybe the next time I light the wood stove I’ll have a baby.” And on and on and on. It’s all very exciting. I can’t wait to have my body back to myself again, and I can’t wait to find out what giving birth feels like.

Looking back its been a pretty pleasant pregnancy. There was that uncomfortable four months of puking, but it’s far enough in the past now that I’ve already begun to repress the memories—or better put, my brain has started to take the kick out of them. Then there was the fun part when I first started to show but had yet to begin the gradual descent into gestational-crippledom and general exhaustion. Which, I might add, culminated last night in me carrying a large bowl of salad for twenty meters, and it destroying my back to the point that I was no longer able to remove clothing or leave the bed without help. My walk went from penguin waddle to shuffling, malfunctioning robot in seconds. After the Beard rubbed some magical herbal stuff on it I was eventually able to manage a shimmy/crawl down the mattress though, so at least I didn’t have to wake him up to carry me to the chamber pot for my 340 nightly trips to the toilet.

But for the most part I’ve had a really easy time health-wise, and I am so glad that so far (knock on wood people, there is still time for the demons to find me and try to drive me into the hospital) I haven’t had any serious health issues. Here here. Ladies who have had health issues during pregnancy: I salute you. I think of you all the time and how strong you must be to get through that shit. I haven’t had to deal with anything serious, and it’s been a pain in the ass, so I can only imagine what some of you have made it through. Good job.

I’ve never been much of a belly talker—though I sometimes like to imagine that maybe she can pick up images if I concentrate on them just right—but lately I’ve started giving Mount Peanut motivational speeches about how great it is out in the world, you know, in case she thinks she might be ready to pack up and leave the water cave. At this point she’s safe, physically, to come, and if labor started at the end of this sentence I’d be euphoric. All the sappy feelings about being excited to meet her aside, I can’t wait to be alone in my own skin again. I have never looked forward to jogging so much in my life. Not to mention the little things I miss, like walking fast and carrying stuff and not getting winded by a walk to the bathroom Wagen. And oh my god, laying on my stomach! And on my back! And sitting close to a table! Now those were the days.

Oh my cod and the birth! That is going to be amazing! The miracle of life! My body doing crazy ass shit I never thought possible! A fully formed human being emerging from my innards! A brain built by my body on autopilot! Eyes that can look and a mouth that makes noises! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this is the stuff of magic. I’m prepared for everything and for nothing, for magic and pain and tears and to come out of a trance to find myself on all fours on my bed mooing like an agitated cow. Wish us luck…

We’re running a little guessing pool for our friends to bet on the date of Peanut’s arrival. I’d include you in it, but I think it’s probably illegal to run random internet gambling circles. Either way, if you feel like putting in your psychic ten cents, leave us your guess in the comments. The gyno says February 20th and the midwife says February 19th. I say “get this thing out of me as soon as possible,” so I’m just assuming that she’ll wait until the last possible second, ie 14 days later. If you get it right, maybe I’ll even send you a little present.

Want to read more about my gorilla pregnancy? Check out these posts… (Or check out the entire gorilla prego category here.)

singing during pregnancy (wherein I lament having to vomit onstage at 37 weeks)

38 weeks pregnant: acupuncture and the labor dance

diy pregnancy: the fold-down changing table

birth, pregnancy, and everyday magic

what i read while i was pregnant

why disney women suck

midwives and home births in germany

Friday February 03rd 2012, 9:30 am 20 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies,everyday magic,gorilla parent (pregnancy)

making feet for children’s shoes

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about magic. Everyday magic—that is, the tiny miracles so intrinsic to our lives that we barely notice them. I don’t believe in Gandalf abra cadabra hocus pocus Harry Potter something-out-of-nothing magic. But I do think that cooking can be magic. Or gardening. Or the way a shot of garlic, lemon juice, and chili powder can cure a mild cold and the way positive (or negative) thinking can dramatically change our grasp on a situation. It may not be magic by your definition, but it is by mine, and calling it so is an important part of my personal celebration of the beauty I find in the cracks of this fucked up world.

Everything about baby building feels surreal, like the realization of the impossible. (Build a nervous system at home in nine months with no training! Call today!) And the more I read about babies and baby making, the more I am sure that it is one of the few realms in which we—particularly mothers—have not entirely forgotten how to practice magic.

Take for example the fact that a laboring woman’s progress will often stall, slow, or stop until the moment when the partner she had so hoped to have at the birth walks in the door. There are a lot of examples of this kind of magic, though she doesn’t call it that, in Ina May Gaskin’s books about midwifery and birthing, so if you’d like to read more I will quietly defer to her own reports.

Take for another example the way that breastfeeding mothers will feel their milk coming in and/or wake up just before their babies begin crying for a meal. (Or the way that the contents of breast milk change according to the current needs of the baby drinking it. Dude. How fucking magical can you get?) It seems proof that humans are capable of interacting with each other, communicating with each other, on a hormonal level that we tend to scoff at out in the modern world. But if a mother can communicate with her baby in this way, what’s to say that we can’t all communicate with each other in similar ways? That there aren’t levels of human connection and communication that we have either forgotten how to read or forgotten completely as we bury ourselves beneath scientific skepticism and the exter-cerebral communication channels that technology has popularized?

You could call these things magic or telepathy, but if those are words that make you twitch then, shit, call them something else. No matter what any of you decide to call them, today I’m calling them everyday magic and staring at the universe in awe through their lens.

PS Ten points if you can name the song the title is stolen from without googling…

Monday January 09th 2012, 9:00 am 9 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies,everyday magic,gorilla parent (pregnancy)

root, rise, rebel

Gorillas unite! If 2012 is really the end of the world then all bets are off! Throw caution to the wind! Live like you died yesterday! Root in muddy inspiration! Do something that the civilized world would consider insane!

As I was plodding through the internet yesterday, I came across the lovely image above, a brain and hand child of fellow artist gorilla Rima Staines. An image and words with a poetic current that pulled me right in. And because Rima created this image to be shared and spread and celebrated, I wanted to share it with you. I won’t attempt to recreate her poetry in my own description of the whys behind it, but will leave that up to her. Consider it a sort of guest post—at first I attempted to create a post based only a few quotes from her description, but it just didn’t live up to her own. (You can read the original here.) So in Rima’s words:

“I had a dream a few weeks ago in which several symbols appeared before me. They had no context, just were there. One of them remained with me upon waking, and I became determined to discover its meaning. It was a rune-like sign, made of straight sections, and looked like this: (CCG note: couldn’t get this image up, so you’ll have to visit Rima’s original post to see it…sorry about that, but her site is worth a look around anyway, so off with you!)

“I’ve been paying more attention to my dreams recently, and this sign seemed to need deciphering. I went first to the runes for a meaning, but though my symbol was very like a rune, I found none like mine. Then I searched amongst the Ogham alphabet. At first I thought it must be the Ogham cipher for birch which is made up of a vertical straight line, a shorter horizontal heading out to the right from the centre and at the base (as begins or ends all Ogham letters when written alone) an inverted V, making two legs. This was the symbol most like mine I could find, though it wasn’t quite satisfactory – my symbol had three legs and a diagonal stroke to the right.

“For a while I sat with birch trees and wondered, until one day I found the answer in my sketchbook. I was drawing ideas for an image I’ve had sitting on my shoulder for a while; as the imagery came out of my pencil in rough scribbles of ideas, I spotted the symbol hiding in amongst the sketching, and it gave me impetus to carry the idea through to a finished design.

“For some time I have wanted to make an image with which to start a quiet revolution on the backs of service station toilet doors, on the billboards behind carparks, over the screens of insidious train-journey advertising. In deep hatred for the feeling I get when I am forced to enter motorway service station cafes, shopping malls or toilets, I wanted to rail against all that is bland and homogeneous and commercial and life-suckingly chrome-and-concrete and spreading un-refuted like a disease across our land. I imagined planting little seeds of hope and solidarity in the form of a beautiful and rousing image which I would stick between the scrawlings of desperation and ugliness in the perfumed, disinfected cubicles made for us to shit in whilst we are not at home. The backs of public toilet doors are a fascinating melting pot of honest expression, dissent and advertising; it feels like there’s a communication between strangers played out there in this, the most private of rooms, and this is the way I wanted to communicate: liminally.

“I suppose I wanted to plant my revolution-seed in the dirt in the cracks of the pavements, in the dirt between the formica and polyester, in the dirt pushed to the edges of millions of touchscreens, in the dirt underneath escalator rails and hygienic hand-dryers. Like the gargoyles and marginal grotesques of the middle ages, I wanted to coax beauty in once more like a stranger to the citadels of public ugliness we all have become so used to. I wanted to surprise and unnerve and delight and disedge all the lovely human beings who have grown so unseeing in the unbeautiful subway of their daily rush through these places. I wanted ivy to grow over all the chrome and adverts, its clinging rootlets ruining the L’Oréal shine with their ancient, living patination, and its roots grinding escalators to a twisted halt. I wanted green silence to toll through the noisy claustrophobia of shopping malls and for the shoppers to break their ankles on huge ancient roots, which had crept in past the security guards (notwithstanding hoodies and ASBOs) to smash up the shops. I wanted to grab them by the hand, and run with them (limping) to the dark woods and remind them that they are powerful.

“And so I made this drawing for you – Rise & Root – a symbol perhaps, a waymarker for the Zapatistas of suburbia. As I drew the rooted tree-people raising their fists, I realised that they were the embodiment and representation of my dream-rune: raised fists to the fight, and roots in the earth. I give you this image to do with what you wish: download it, reblog it, print it, photocopy it, make it into stickers and take them with you in your bag to stick on the backs of public toilet doors, on supermarket conveyor belts or over underground advertising screens; make it into a poster, a projection, print it on bags and T-shirts, paint it large on the sides of petrol stations, pavements, parliaments.

“Or take the rune as a symbol we’ll all recognise when it’s chalked on our doorsteps, and tattooed on our foreheads. I want this image not to be for sale – take it freely and use it, let’s make it spread unrelenting from the edges, appearing everywhere, but not obviously authored. I will not make a website about it. It is rough, and black-and-white as a badly photocopied pamphlet. It is yours. A gift to our revolution for Two Thousand And Twelve. Take it and run.”

Tuesday January 03rd 2012, 2:20 pm 2 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies,everyday magic

dragon slayer season begins again

Every winter I write about Dragon Slayers. And every winter they keep me from getting sick at least a couple of times (or help me get better asap). When it comes to curing and preventing colds, you could take vitamin C in a tablet made of who knows what from who knows where, or you could take advantage of the magical healing powers of lemon juice, garlic, and chili powder. I promise that it doesn’t taste as gross as it probably sounds.

You can read last year’s post about Dragon Slayers here. Or you can just check out the recipe below, and tell me all about your own diy home remedies in the comments—I’m always looking to expand my arsenal. Here’s to not getting sick this winter.

The Dragon Slayer

1/2 fresh lemon
1 medium-sized clove garlic, minced
a dash of chili powder

Squeeze out the lemon and place juice in a small cup. Sprinkle in minced garlic and top with chili powder. Down in one go and marvel at the force of nature that is vitamin c mixed with garlic and sweet, sweet (spicey) chili.

This post was featured on Wildcrafting Wednesday on Mind, Body, and Sole.

Tuesday December 06th 2011, 9:00 am 11 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies,diy,everyday magic,food

mary mary quite contrary

How does my garden grow? Not well, not well. I started out the year with humble goals and reaped even humbler benefits. My very first garden in Mainz was a raging success. Beginners luck? Must have been because every year since some disaster has come between me and a decent harvest. I mean, damn, look at these pictures from the garden I threw together in 2009. We were up to our chins in tomatoes! I ate spinach salads every day! The sage plants I started from seed that year are still alive today!

Alas, the following year things did not bode nearly as well. I bought seeds from the flea market and none of them came up. 2010 was not a Click Clack Garden year.

This year I planned small. I would grow spaghetti squash (which I don’t see around here often, and I miss terribly), nasturtium, arugula, spinach, savoy cabbage, and red beets. Mama Beard gave us lettuce and garlic (both of which died very tragic deaths early in the season), strawberries (still kicking but non-producing), and chives (also still kicking). I decided against planting tomatoes, but got almost 30 volunteers from the unfinished compost that I used to fill most of the garden. But you all know what happened to them.

A week after the tomatoes went, the spaghetti squash plants followed. The arugula was lovely, the red beets were smaller than my pinky nail, and the savoy cabbage and spinach made brief, un-noteworthy appearances just before the nasturtium took over the rest of the garden in a brilliant show of orange and red that made me feel a little better about the loss of almost everything else. The herbs all came back on their own and did well (sage, lemon melissa, mint, oregano). Plants I don’t have to attend to always do come out on top.

RIP, garden, RIP. This week I’ve been working on getting the bed ready for winter—ripping out all of the weeds, mixing in compost, and collecting fallen leaves to cover the bed. The garden might have been a failure, but I did get five spaghetti squash, a basket full of beautiful purple beans (that someone else planted and placed next to my bed), and the red beets and lettuce from a friend’s garden who has been away all summer. In loving memory, a short photo stretch of Click Clack Garden 2011…

In the beginning there was a layer of cardboard, a long battle with a role of chicken wire, and far too many wheelbarrows of compost:

This year I decided against an early start in the greenhouse and went right for the seeds-in-the-ground approach (dumpster dived that little red watering can too):

And now it’s crossed over to jungle, the nasturtium the only surviver in the battle of the best-at-strangulation:

The harvest has been miniscule, but at least it’s been pretty:

New to Click Clack Gorilla? Try one of these on for size…

Wagenplatz FAQ – Find out more about the intentional caravan community where I live

Check out some sweet diy pallet furniture

Read a story about hitch hiking in Germany

Discover the euphoria that is dumpster diving

Imagine a life without electricity

Having a non-consumer pregnancy

This post was a part of the Garden Life Series at No Ordinary Homestead.

Friday October 07th 2011, 8:12 am 3 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies,daily life,diy,everyday magic

buns, ovens

Watch enough science fiction movies and you’ll become too practiced in the suspension of disbelief to accept anything you see on a screen as part of reality. So the fact that we have seen the Peanut on screen doing backflips in his/her little water cave hasn’t managed to make being pregnant any more concrete. Sure, my belly is growing; sure, I spent three and a half months puking daily. But it remains too surreal to really fathom. Though I’m sure giving birth will probably clear up most of the surreality, it is possible that I will never really wrap my head around it, even when the Peanut is 18 and standing right next to me. Sometimes I can’t even fathom that I have hands or eyes or lungs—it all (our bodies, life, etc) just seems so beautifully, magically, perfectly improbable.

Making a kid. It feels impossible, like a miracle. It is strange and fascinating and exciting and insane. And yet it is the most common of events. Every single person you know was once an unfathomable bump on someone’s belly, and if you start to pay attention, you’ll notice that there are pregnant women everywhere.

The excitment, the surreality, and the sheer impossibility of the event lend themselves to smugness, to a feeling of having accomplished something. And yet what have you really accomplished? You’re a human, doing what humans do. Your pipes happen to function (which is always worth being thankful for if you want children), and you now have proof that you’ve gotten laid at least once in your life. This baby will be one of the biggest events of your existence, but its creation will only ever matter as much to a small handful of others. Like cooking it belongs in the realm of everyday magic: beautiful, sacred, life-giving, banal, everday, and completely, utterly normal.

Photo: Click Clack Gorilla at 15 weeks round, Peanut at 13. Please note the gorgeous sage plant that I have raised from seed in the background.

Tuesday September 06th 2011, 2:54 pm 11 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies,everyday magic,gorilla parent (pregnancy)

dragon slayers

Once upon a time on an Amtrak in Amieland, I got wasted sick on acrtic air conditioning and “no we don’t have any vegan food in the dining car” during the 18-hour ride to Greensboro, North Carolina. That’s when Helena taught me how to make Dragon Slayers. And I thought, you knowing so much about my life and all, that I should give you the recipe. It might sound a little gross at first, but these’ll keep you from getting sick, cure you if you already are, and wake you up quicker than a cup of joe.

1/2 fresh lemon
1 medium-sized clove garlic, minced
a dash of chili powder

Squeeze out the lemon and place juice in a small cup. Sprinkle in minced garlic and top with chili powder. Down in one go and marvel at the force of nature that is vitamin c mixed with garlic and sweet, sweet (spicey) chili.

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Tuesday February 03rd 2009, 7:19 pm 2 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies,everyday magic,food,recipes