There Is No Narrative Construct To This Blog Post But I Hit Publish So I'm Calling It A Victory

Hello! I just got back from a week in a cabin in Northern Michigan—actually, I kept calling it a cabin but it was really just a condo decorated very rusticly and located in a woodsy setting—with a small portion of my family. My parents got lots of grandkid time, my kid got lots of grandparent time, and I got lots of "sleeping til 10am because someone else is looking after the baby" time, so basically it was a win-win for all. 

When I first started writing this—four days ago, when I was still at the cabin-slash-rusticly-decorated-condo—I was typing it on an iPad keyboard with spotty wifi, which made me want to poke both my eyes out with a sharp twig (score one for the woodsy setting!), but since having a baby I seem only to be able to write things in the ten-minute increments when he's asleep and I've already procrastinated in every other way possible (hey, those pumpkin recipes aren't going to PIN THEMSELVES), so I had to put it in a drafts folder, along with all the other posts I've started and never finished in the last three months.

But now here I am at home again, using the hour Sean takes the baby in the morning before he leaves for work—an hour I normally use to sleep, by the way, which should illustrate the urgency of the situation—to check in and say hello. So hello! Here I am, alive and well and already covered in a thin veneer of spitup. Hopefully your day is beginning just a little more glamorously. 

First up, I wanted to thank you for all the kind and lovely comments on my last post and for understanding that I don't want to write a whole lot about Hugo on my blog. I mean, it's not as though I'm going to, like, cut him out of my life or anything—baby? what baby? I don't have a baby!—because that would be a little fake and weird, but I think most of the more personal writing I do about him will be in a good old-fashioned paper journal, which his peers will not be able to find in 2025, but which he, of course, will be able to read any time he likes. This may well leave me with a dearth of stories for my blog, I guess, since I've never really aspired to do much more than just write about my life, and hello, he is now the biggest part of it, but that's something I'm just going to have to figure out, and hopefully you'll be patient with me while I do. I think there is probably a way to write about motherhood, if the urge strikes, without writing too much about my kid himself—that's to say, to make it more about me than him—but also maybe just to keep writing about other things that don't have a whole lot to do with him, in a way that doesn't make me feel like I'm censoring myself or leaving inauthentic gaps in what has so far been a fun little record of my life. 

(This, of course, assumes that I will ever write anything ever again—writing, in general, has sort of fallen to the bottom of the priority list since I've had a small child to keep alive, along with dusting and any makeup application that takes more than five minutes—but presumably there will come a point where I'm able to make a little more time for it again. Before Hugo goes to kindergarten, I mean. Okay, before Hugo goes to college.) 

Wow, that was a whole lot of navel-gazing for a Tuesday morning. Did you want to hear about my Michigan trip quickly? We saw a nice big chunk of the state, I think—including Detroit, Ypsilanti, Dexter, Ann Arbor, Petoskey, Harbor Springs, everything between Ann Arbor and Harbor Springs, and a nice swathe of the UP (shout out if any of this means anything to you!)—and we visited all my parents' old stomping grounds from the 70s, including the two apartments they lived in together, the apartment my dad lived in when he first arrived in the states, both of their offices in downtown Detroit, and various assorted locales that feature heavily in family lore. (If you saw an enthusiastic group of people taking pictures of a shuttered Dairy Queen on Packard last week, that was us.) 

We also spent a lot of time sitting in front of fireplaces, encouraging the baby in his continued efforts at tummy time, admiring the fall foliage, drinking hot beverages, and pottering around inside antique shops. We saw the sunset over Mackinac Bridge, the ivy-covered buildings of U of M, three of the five Great Lakes, and the inside of many Meijer supermarkets, but it wasn't until I happened across this sign on a vending machine at the northernmost tip of the state that I realized how far from home I actually was. 

 

Hey, I'm not making fun—where I'm from, we call soda "fizzy," or at least we do in my family. But I felt pleasingly validated to see a real Midwestern colloquialism in the wild, the way I imagine tourists in London must do when they hear the tube driver warning them to mind the gap. Isn't it funny, the things we want to see when we travel, the things that matter the most? Damn, I'd like to expound on that but it's my turn to take the baby back. See you in December, I guess. Of 2017. 

1
Priscilla
Nov 05, 2013

Funny thing is, I saw the photo before I read what you had written, and it didn't even dawn on me that it said pop, because I grew up saying it. Now that I don't live in the northern USA, I realize how funny it actually sounds and usually say soda. But now I realize that I haven't gone as far away from my childhood as I had thought two minutes ago. :)

2
Kate
Nov 05, 2013

I am truly impressed that you ventured that far from home with a new baby. Well done!

3
Ceci Bean
Nov 05, 2013

I attended a wedding in the UP last summer and thought it was really lovely. I couldn't get over the size of the lakes. I mean, how could they be so vast and not be oceans??

I hope you'll find time to write now and then. I miss your blog!

4
Michelle
Nov 05, 2013

Welcome back!

I used to make fun of my Iowan relatives for saying pop, though of course I should have been laughing at myself, seeing as I grew up in Texas and used "coke" as a generic term. As in "I want a coke!" "What kind of coke do you want?" "Dr Pepper!"

5
Khiz
Nov 05, 2013

You were up in my neighborhood :) well close to it, at least, since my family and I live in a small town an hour away from Detroit. However, I did go to school in Detroit near DIA (Detroit Institute of Arts). I can't wait to be back home in Michigan this December!!!

You know, saying anything OTHER than "pop" just sounds/feels weird to me!

Meijer!!! It's so funny when you leave the state of Michigan and mention grabbing things from Meijer, but then realize no one knows what you are talking about so you have to add, "You know, like Walmart" except it's totally different. ;)

6
Leigh
Nov 05, 2013

I have truly missed your posts, and am so delighted to see that you are doing well. I know that babies are all-consuming, but dang, I'm sure glad you made a bit of time for your admiring public. I will do my best to patiently await future posts. (Patience is not my strong suit, however...)

7
Sabrina
Nov 05, 2013

We say "Pop" in Minnesota. Although when I lived on the East Coast I was made fun of so often for saying this, I stopped saying it. Until I moved back to MN. POP POP POP. What a funny name for it!

8
Daisy
Nov 05, 2013

We spent a week in Harbor Springs this summer...hope you had a chance to catch a meal at the Pier or perhaps Turkeys!

9
Grey Favorite
Nov 06, 2013

I was excited to see this in my feed this morning! Glad you are doing so well.

Oh, and I grew up in Ohio saying pop. After five years of east coast living, I say soda, but I have to make myself say it every time.

10
shelly@ohshellsbells
Nov 06, 2013

I split my childhood between Texas where it's called Coke, Florida was soda, and Ohio was pop. I have an existential crisis everytime I have to pick the word for carbonated sugar water. WHO AM I?

Glad to hear from you!

11
Anne
Nov 06, 2013

I spent almost my entire life (all but the past year and a half) in Michigan, primarily in the UP and then a few years in Ann Arbor. I grew up quite literally on the shores of Lake Superior and I really miss the vastness of the water. And pasties - every time I go home I eat them as much as possible. MI really is a big and spread out state. When I lived in Ann Arbor, it was a 10 hour drive to go "home"! In any case, it sounds like you had a lovely trip. And, grandparent time is great. :)

12
Jen
Nov 06, 2013

It's interesting, being a new mom, isn't it? Right now as I type this, I have a Dohm sound machine, a trickling water sound playing on her swing and a lullaby rendition of Yellow Submarine playing on my laptop so Miriam will sleep for 45 minutes. I feel like I'm working in a wind tunnel.

Sounds like a wonderful time in Michigan, I was hoping to have a similar story to share about our ventures with a young baby but work got in the way and vacation plans were postponed until January. You know, when she'll be squirmy and loud on a cross-country flight. Fun times.

And yes, the more time I spend with this little human I grew, the less I want to share her with the online world. I totally get it.

13
Julie
Nov 06, 2013

I have really missed your writing! Odd that I feel that way about a complete stranger, but I've enjoyed reading about your life - trips, work, house, etc. Glad to see that you ventured across country with your little guy! That can be so fun :-) Anyway - good to hear from you again!

14
Ashley
Nov 06, 2013

As someone from Wisconsin, I knew exactly what you were going to comment on before I read it. Oh my people.

15
Julia
Nov 06, 2013

My sister lives a block away from that DQ! I used to live about a mile away, and we would go all the time when I was pregnant with my daughter. It's hopping in the summer! How awesome that it plays a role in your family lore!

16
Tifany
Nov 06, 2013

Having grown up in MI and living in CT for the past 10 years, it's always funny when I take my kids there and they have no idea what pop means lol.

I'm glad you had a nice trip, there's nothing like the Great Lakes!

17
Jan Ross
Nov 06, 2013

We discovered the Great Lakes as well last winter when we visited Chicago for the first time, then Door County, Wisconsin. How is it possible for a lake to be that huge? Astonishing! We are headed back to Michigan in January so we can research some articles about winter getaways and are very interested to learn more about that part of the country. And we will also be staying in several cabins which are actually condos. Even if they are not authentic cabins, there will be authentic snow and we are very excited!

18
Carley
Nov 06, 2013

Having grown up in Michigan, it was weirdly thrilling to see your Instagram pics of your travels there! I don't know, it's just fun to see my home state from a tourist's perspective, I guess. And boy did you travel Michigan. Detroit to the UP - that's FAR! I think the only thing you missed out on is Mackinac Island which is most definitely worth going back for. But, maybe in the summer. Glad you had a fun family trip. And glad to see a new post from you!

19
bessie.viola
Nov 06, 2013

Hi! Glad you enjoyed your time in Michigan - that's my state and it's lovely in the fall. Sounds like you saw quite a bit while you were here!

20
Jana
Nov 06, 2013

Yippee for Yoopers! I was born in Manistique, MI (it's on the Lake Michigan side of the UP) and I go there every year to visit my grandparents. They're 94 and 96. They still live in their own house and my grandma still bakes for us (pies, cakes, cookies, cinnamon bread, and occasionally povitica--a traditional Croatian bread). It's a 14-hour or so drive from Nebraska but it's always worth it. Glad you got to see it.

21
Tara
Nov 06, 2013

Life does get easier as babies grow. My "babies" are 5 and 7 now and really are less time consuming, yet more frustrating. I grew up saying "pop" but lived in Louisiana for a time, and converted to "soda". My husband always corrects me with "pop".

22
Ryan
Nov 06, 2013

I had to read the text under the last photo to figure out what the "joke" was. i thought you were referencing something about the paper sign, or that there was a machine both front and back of a gift shop. I live in WA state and call it a pop machine. I will use soda sometimes in conversation but i think it's normally pop.

23
lindsay
Nov 06, 2013

Hi, I live in Dexter, MI and for the life of me can't figure out its tourist appeal?! What made you stop here?

24
mary w.
Nov 07, 2013

I have lived in Michigan all of my 50 years, and for some reason, 'pop' has begun sounding strange to me. Like when you say a familiar word over and over? I find myself calling it soda, though I rarely drink it. We spend a week every summer in the Petoskey/Harnor Springs area. Can't beat Harbor Springs July 4th...day-long art show, parade, and a great fireworks show at night.

25
Ayesha
Nov 07, 2013

So happy to read some new words from you. (And I don't live in Michigan!)

26
Pretzel Thief
Nov 07, 2013

Ugh, woman, your writing? THE BEST.

As many others have said, wonderful to see you writing, and we'll lap it all up gleefully however (in)frequently you do it - baby trumps writing, DUH. Once a month or every few months - no matter!

The woodsy Northern Michigan getaway sounds deliciously rad, rapt for you all that you got to do it!

27
Caroline
Nov 07, 2013

Pop is pop up here in Canada. One word for it across the entire nation. I don't think it's a mid-western thing. I think it's a Canadian thing that has dribbled down south. :)

Glad to hear from you again and happy you are well.

28
KD
Nov 08, 2013

That Dairy Queen on Packard was a fixture of my life two summers go, when I went through an insatiable Blizzard phase! Glad you had a good time in my home state! I lived in Ann Arbor until July, when I moved to northern England. I've seen signs for "pop" here, too, which thrills my Midwestern heart!

29
Marcheline
Nov 08, 2013

Well, hello there! My mornings are no more glamorous than yours, in that I'm usually covered in kitten milk replacement which has been spit in my face by my cat, who has kidney problems. Daily doses of medicine stirred into kitten milk and given via oral syringe... mostly swallowed, but there's always plenty that gets spit all over me. The things we do for those we love, eh?

Glad you're all doing well, and I (ADMITTEDLY SELFISHLY) hope that Hugo learns to sleep through the night soon so that you can post here more often!

30
Katie
Nov 10, 2013

I love your post! I have spent my whole life vacationing in Harbor Springs - Up North is a great place to get away and relax. We just took my friends and their 15 month old daughter up there so they could get a break (ok, we did it so we could all spend time with the baby, but still). I am glad you enjoyed your visit and I hope you got some Tom's Mom's Cookies while you were there.

31
Anna-bird
Nov 12, 2013

It did this Michigan girl good just to see the word "pop"...living on the east coast has pretty effectively converted me to "soda". And just listing those cities makes me homesick - it's hard to beat MI in the fall!

www.anna-bird.com

32
Penelope Trunk
Nov 14, 2013

I'm new to your blog. But you got me hooked when I read this title. I realized that this title could stand on it's own. It redefines how we see achievement, really. We each decide for ourselves what a good goal is to make us feel fulfilled. The title makes me think: what are my own victories that I am too shy to celebrate because they feel too small?

Penelope

33
Lesli
Nov 14, 2013

I'm impressed you're writing here at all! It's hard to do anything else besides take care of your baby and sleep, if you ask me, when they're so little. It does get easier as they get older, well, mostly. I'm a born and bred Louisiana girl and all of the soft drinks are Cokes. So come down here and you can actually hear someone say, "What kind of Coke do you want?" and they don't mean flavored Cokes, they mean, do you want Coke, Dr. Pepper, Sprite, etc. My cousins from Texas always called soft drinks "soda water." It's all good!

34
jasmine
Nov 16, 2013

we use "soft drink" in singapore..even though there really is nothing very soft about soda! lol. but congrats once again. sounds like things are going really well for your family.

35
Aerin
Nov 16, 2013

I truly hope that you do not stop keeping your blog as it is one of my favorites and my longest-read one to date.

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