Monday, December 31, 2007

Is it bad that I sometimes want the holidays to be over? I'm looking forward to January 2 with eagerness bordering on lust.

I hate the pressure to do something interesting, SPECIAL AND FESTIVE on New Year's Eve. I'm pregnant, for crying out loud. I want to sit in my pajamas, eat fattening food and watch something mindless that I've seen before.

But, as the Rolling Stones say, you can't always get what you want. It is a central paradox of my marriage that, although I test as an extrovert, I am more of a homebody; while D tests as an introvert, he loves to go out. And keeping D in on NYE would be an act of cruelty.

And I'll probably have a better time than I expect. But for now, I'm kind of hating the holidays.

It felt good to admit that.

Friday, December 28, 2007

So I went to Motherhood today (part of Destination Maternity, kind of a little mall filled with maternity clothes). I really enjoyed it. They pampered me a bunch, offering me water and juice for the road (after I made my purchases). Prices were reasonable and oddly enough, I like my maternity clothes better than my regular wardrobe! They seem to fit well and look flattering.

I also saw a possible onesie for E -- light blue, and it said "chick magnet" -- but it was a bit too saucy! We want to keep him innocent :) I bought him some onesies at Old Navy recently. There was a turtle theme, and one of them featured a teddy bear, under the words "unbearably cute."

Probably because I'm reading Easy Labor, I'm preoccupied with the birthing process. One of the central messages of the book is to be flexible, since the unexpected usually happens, but I've noticed people write up birth plans anyway. I guess the idea is not to be rigid and have a number of alternatives in place. I like the idea of:

  • Birthing pools -- not for the actual birth, but for the labor. These are said to be relaxing.
  • Birthing balls -- these are kind of like Pilates balls; you sit on them and "walk" around the room, and this can help the baby descend, as can any sitting or standing pose.
  • Self-hypnosis -- there's a 70% success rate in eliminating pain without medication. How it works: you learn a number of scripts, which your partner/doula reads at the childbirth, and there are cues that send you into a state of deep relaxation. Basically, you program your mind to believe that you are not feeling any pain, and that you are "hypno-anesthetizing" yourself. There were a bunch of testimonials in the book from women who had no real pain with this method, just a little discomfort. You have to do "homework" beforehand, listening to the scripts on CD. The results are supposed to be amazing, so I figure, why not give it a try?
  • A doula -- everyone says it's nice to have someone who is there, exclusively for you, the whole time.
  • An epidural -- as a backup, though if the hypnosis and birthing pool worked, that would be great.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Holiday weekend

So here are some highlights or just noteworthy events from the holidays, '07:

Sunday. D and I took Amtrak to get to Boston, and the ride was uneventful. However, the drive home from the Alewife T station was not. Mom has a penchant for getting lost on the way home (and blaming me for it!) So I micromanaged her driving from then on. She also collided with a snowbank and started heading to Providence at one point (though I averted that disaster). The high speed on the highway also made me nauseous. So, let's just say - I'm happy not to have to drive in New York! I'm a walking kind of gal.

Mom told us a story about my aunt (on my father's side) and her cat. One night Mom went to check on my aunt, who is 91, and found her anxious about her cat, Sophia.

Aunt: I'm going to stay up with Sophia. She's having a problem with her leg and she can hardly walk.

[Sophia strolls by, without effort.]

Mom: She looks fine to me.

[Sophia sprints up the stairs.]

Mom: I think you're being a worrywart about Sophia. [This is where I get it!]

Aunt: I'm surprised she would mislead me that way. She's always been such an honest and straightforward cat.

Sophia, by the way, is beautiful - white with artfully placed gray markings - but she hides under the bed whenever I go over there (or anybody else who's "new"). It's a bummer.

Monday. D did some last-minute Christmas shopping, using one of my mother's cars, and I called his cell because everyone was getting ready to go to mass and he wasn't home yet. It turned out he was in the parking lot of the North Shore Mall, which isn't pretty on Christmas Eve. "What color is your mother's car? What's the license plate?" he wanted to know. Fortunately, he was able to identify it by the college sticker on the rear windshield. That same night, I'm pretty sure the baby kicked for the first time. His feet aren't very big yet, so I feel little thumps and twinges. But I'm pretty sure that's what it is.

Tuesday. I see my sister's dog Biscuit about twice a year, but she remembers me as the one who always walks her. So she started following me around and "talking" to me as soon as I got there. I relented and walked her (or rather, she walked me). She also took a puffy red ornament off the Christmas tree and ran around with it in her mouth. She has large, placid brown eyes like a deer. A very pretty dog.

Wednesday. We're about to head back. I'm reading Easy Labor, which is making me calmer about delivery. Though whether it will be "easy" is anyone's guess. I'm not counting on it, but I am hoping on a relatively calm and well-informed delivery. I've queried numerous people about their labor experience and I think baby size does correlate with pain.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

My favorite books of '07

Since I'm up freakishly early (the bebe is an early riser), I've decided to compile a list of my favorite books of 2007 (titles only, since that is how All Consuming does it). I've added the author if I remembered his/her name.

Liars and Saints by Maile Meloy
Getting Rid of Matthew
A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers (a novel)
Hack: How I Stopped Worrying About What To Do With My Life and Started Driving a Yellow Cab by Melissa Plaut
The New Yorkers by Cathleen Schine
About My Sisters by Debra Ginsberg (you can't go wrong with anything by her).
Still Life with Husband by Lauren Fox
Tiare in Bloom by Celestine Vaite
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Because She Can by Bridie Clark
Momzillas by Jill Kargman
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Love is a Mix Tape (sad. But good.)
The Return of Jonah Gray (I think this one squeezed in on the basis of quirk. By "return," they mean "tax return".)
Secrets of the Model Dorm (soapy. But very fun.)
The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz
Shopaholic and Baby by Sophie Kinsella
The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
China Dolls
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian (not really about tractors).
Fly Me to the Moon by Alyson Noel

Thursday, December 20, 2007

So I had a doctor's appointment today. I know - 2 appointments in 2 days -- one with the ultrasound people, one with the ob/gyn. The ultrasound office has better magazines. You know, the super-trashy kind where they talk about Jamie Lynn. I like the doctor's office, too, but they have more highbrow stuff, like In Style.

Anyhow, I'm gaining weight like a runaway train or something else that's fast. If I continue to gain weight at this rate, I think I will gain 45 lbs (total, including what I've already gained) by the end of the pregnancy.

Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh...

On the plus side, my vegetarian eating has not made me iron-deficient. In fact, I have the highest hematocrit, or something like that, of all my doctor's pregnant patients. So she said, "You're not remotely anemic." Cool, huh?

The kid's heartbeat is still pumping away, I'm contemplating buying blue onesies, and kind of wishing I could see an ultrasound every day -- they are that fun :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

It's a boy!

So we can't name the baby Ginger, after all. But that's fine. I'm so happy that he's healthy and everything looks good.

A couple of pictures of the little guy:





His head is on the left :)

Monday, December 17, 2007

To pop or not to pop.

My belly button has always been super-deep. As in, it was kind of a pain because it would collect lint and dirt. Sorry, I'm making myself sound very attractive here ;) Now it's getting progessively shallower. Soon it will be watching reality shows and gossiping about Paris Hilton.

I know this might sound weird, but I kind of want it to pop out! It doesn't happen to everyone, but I just think it would be cute. Apparently it can be irritating because it rubs against your clothes. Right now, though, it's still an innie -- just a much shallower one.
Last post was my 800th! Yay.

If you are pregnant, secretly or otherwise, I recommend the baby book I'm reading (see sidebar). It tells you about all these amazing bargains and places to buy things on the cheap. Whenever I sit down to read it, I'm armed with a pen and I keep dog-earing pages.

My SIL gave me a gift card for a little spa place! Very exciting. The only problem is, they have this huge smorgasbord of options. I've pretty much decided on the foot massage. If you've had one, please tell me how awesome it was :) Or if there is a reason NOT to get one, let me know. Otherwise, I am looking forward to 20 minutes of having my feet rubbed.

It's the kind of thing that, as a (relatively) thrifty former New Englander, it would never occur to me to do. I've never even paid to have my nails done. But it's probably pretty relaxing!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

If you live in Seattle, can you please adopt Cornelius? Thank you. Doesn't he look dapper in his bow tie?

Today D and I had lunch, and a couple of women at a nearby table offered us their bottle of wine. They couldn't finish it. We had to refuse, seeing as I'm preggers and all, and D is taking some meds for his hands (sometimes they tingle), but we ended up chatting with them. I asked them where they were from and resisted the urge to add, "Texas?" in case they weren't. Then they said, "Dallas." Am I smart or what? ;) I could tell because of the accent and it's a particular brand of friendliness.

After a while of being too nauseous to knit, I picked up my needles again to finish a scarf for a family friend. It will take me a few days to complete, but I'm over the hump, so to speak.

I met a new cat friend. She is very close to the pool where I swim. She lives in a deli. Her name is Nina. Her legs are a little too long for her body (I suspect she has not grown into them yet) and she likes to gallop around the deli. She also likes to nibble on my mittens.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Karma and other stories

I just started Karma and Other Stories by Rishi Reddi. Some readers have criticized her for being too similar to Jhumpa Lahiri, but I think she is good in her own right.

The first short story is about a man who orders a bean-and-cheese burrito at a fast-food establishment, and they bring him a beef-and-cheese burrito instead. He feels the cashier was rude to him, as well as violating his vegetarian preferences, and decides to sue!

That sort of thing happens to us fairly often - D will order penne a la vodka and ask them to leave out the prosciutto at this one place, and sometimes they'll include it anyway. Or we'll ask for split pea soup, the waiter will assure us it's vegetarian, and it'll arrive with chunks of ham floating in it! Of course I wouldn't sue them (and it never occurred to me that someone would). I want to see how the lawyers handle that, in the story.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I never thought I'd get nostalgic for the 90s. My heart was always firmly rooted in the 80s (after all, I was only around for five years before that). But tonight D and I were eating at an Irish pub and every single song they were playing was from the 90s. It must have been some kind of conspiracy because we heard "Sex and Candy" by Marcy Playground earlier, and now we were hearing Alanis Morissette, etc.

In college I got so sick of "Linger" by the Cranberries that I used to say the Cranberries should be sent to their own private island, with all the amenities, not as a punishment but just so we wouldn't hear them anymore. Now I miss that song and was even briefly thinking of buying it on iTunes.

I want to bring back lo-fi. There was something refreshing and bare about it all.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Wow...

...I am the least sci-fi-ish/fantasy person I know (or one of them), but I got sucked in because a friend did this.

There's a site linked to the, um, movie Golden Compass where you can find out your "daemon" (animal form). Your friends can also take the quiz and see if they agree with your assessment. If they disagree, your animal will change!



You can also find out your own "daemon"...

Oy...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Gah. I got sickish, maybe allergies, maybe a cold, and my Claritin just wasn't cutting it. So I took a Benadryl. They are both Category B* drugs, but I got nervous because I had taken Claritin 9 hours before. D reassured me that it was okay, and it seems to be. Moreover, the Benadryl actually worked. Of course, Nyquil would have really vanquished the cold, but it's Category C and hence out of the question.

Am enjoying The Abstinence Theory Teacher by Tom Perrotta, though he definitely switched from writing about more personal things to Ideas at some point. I don't mind the change entirely, though it can make his characters cartoonish, or at least a little caricature-y. It's like they're symbols rather than real people. The Wishbones is my favorite book of his, written when he was younger, but I guess people run out of that fund of personal stuff to write about and he has settled into a nice groove. The book also has plenty of comedic scenes that you know are going to play well on the big screen. I'm trying to figure out who will play Tim, the born-again Christian with a (kind of) sex addiction and greasy ponytail. Johnny Depp?

*Drugs are categorized based on their safety or lack thereof for pregnant women. Category A (definitely safe) is pretty much vitamins. Category B is the home of most drugs you can take. Categories C, D and X are a no-no.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Santa Con

So D and I went to a par-tay tonight in Brooklyn, which involved a somewhat lengthy subway ride, and the cars were filled with Santas! At first we thought they were Salvation Army folk, but some of them were in full drag, complete with red stilettos, and others were in "blueface" (like Blue Man Group). Apparently, some of them were chanting, "Ho Ho Ho" at one station, and it was described as "amusing and intimidating."

The party was fun; the dogs were a little over-excited, and a stray paw on my stomach made me nervous, but nothing happened. The food was yummy. I tried a date/semolina/rosewater concoction that was like an upscale Fig Newton.

Anyway, it turns out the Santas were part of a convention, called Santa Con, and they have a parade. Around Halloween, there was Zombie Con.

Friday, December 07, 2007

The lioness

Thanks for the food suggestions so far! I went grocery shopping today (pre-suggestions, but I plan to implement them next time) and stocked up on what I planned to get, plus Reese's peanut butter cups (I am only human), cheddar rice cakes (cute bite-sized ones), Ritz crackers, sharp cheddar cheese, natural crunchy peanut butter (I found a generic brand that was a steal, and contained only roasted peanuts and salt!), canned pineapple chunks in pineapple juice, etc.

While I was shopping, I heard 2 clerks talking enthusiastically in the cracker aisle. "The lioness wants to be admired," said the female clerk. "That's why she has a mane. She wants to feel beautiful."

"Thanks!" said the male clerk in a really heartfelt way, and I wondered: why does he care? Is he going on safari?

The female clerk nodded sagely. "Yup. You just need to stroke her ego. That's all you need to do."

That's when I realized the male clerk's girlfriend was being compared to a lioness :)

Food inspiration, please

I have learned something weird. If you are obsessed with chocolate chip cookies for a while, you *will* get sick of them. I have a bag of them sitting totally unmolested in the kitchen cabinet. The same goes for ice cream. I have a nice pint of B&J in the fridge but it just doesn't call out to me the way it once did. (Okay, I had a few spoonfuls yesterday. But I didn't attack it as I would have previously.)

My current thing is dairy: skim milk with my cereal every morning, lowfat yogurt, and CHEESE, glorious cheese...I ate a whole big chunk of Muenster yesterday and the day before. Just by itself. And it was awesome.

But I am need of inspiration. Before I was pregnant, I would eat oatmeal for breakfast, something fairly healthy for lunch and dinner, a couple of pieces of fruit, and a nonfat yogurt. That's it. That was my daily intake.

Now I need to sate G's* ravenous appetite, and I'm not as into sweets as I was. I'm putting together a grocery list and have thought of baby carrots, Cracklin' Oat Bran**, apples, watermelon, Muenster cheese, lowfat yogurt, and I'm not sure what else to get. What do you like to snack on that is at least somewhat healthy (cheese*** counts in my book), preferably nutritious and definitely satisfying? All (vegetarian) ideas are welcome, and thanks in advance!

*I may reveal the baby's planned name later. For now, she (I'm hoping it's a girl!) will be G.
**You'll want this when you're pregnant. Trust me.
***Feta, goat, brie and anything blue are out. And cottage cheese...I believe it's safe, but it's too cold and squishy.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

So I just made an appointment for an initial anatomy ultrasound in 2 weeks! That will put me at 15 weeks, and the doctor said I could find out the baby's sex with an ultrasound at 15 weeks...so yup. If all goes well, on Dec. 19, I will find out the baby's sex (or as Liz sassily* put it, "the sex reveal").

What else has been going on? I've been putting on weight apace. I read in my pregnancy book that some women put on most of their weight in first trimester (the ones who don't throw up too much), so I'm hoping the pace will slow down. It actually has, a bit...but the amount I eat would still shock my pre-pregnancy self. I'm planning to close my eyes the next time I get weighed at the doctor's so I don't see the little metal blocks sliding into place. (Yes, I'm kind of serious.) Of course, the nurse always announces the number in a voice that would carry to Nevada.

Also, D and I saw Enchanted recently. It was, well...enchanting! (Sorry, couldn't resist.) Amy Adams, who was so endearing in Junebug (she was, in fact, the only likeable character in the whole thing), is a princess here, and this role might make her a star. Yes indeedy. Patrick Dempsey was fun too, and Susan Sarandon camped it up as a wicked queen. I would recommend it for anyone, except one scene near the end was a little scary (for young children, and me).

In a totally different vein, I saw Brokeback Mountain on DVD. You all probably saw this already, but I hadn't, and I liked it much better than I was expecting to. Maybe that's a common reaction because a friend felt the same way. I really like Ang Lee as a director - he has a kind of spare, elegant sensibility. And the scenery was beautiful. Although it turned out to be Alberta, not Wyoming - it was cheaper to film there and Canada had a nice attitude and the mountains were "broadly similar" to Wyoming's. According to Wikipedia.

I was psyched to have the first snow the other day, though it was all gone by the next day. I hope we get some again. I think the sight of snow falling is one of the prettiest things in the world. I always used to take my Cairn terrier (my dog from 1983-2001) for a walk during the first snow. She was a wee creature, but she would jump from snowdrift to snowdrift. The fact that she sometimes fell in didn't daunt her.

*Or saucily. I couldn't decide. Saucily does make me think of marinara, though.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

There's something disgusting but very satisfying about pregnant eating. Here's what's gone down my gullet today:

1) Blue cornmeal pancakes with bananas. I had brunch with a friend. It's one of the places where we go a lot. I used to feel the pancakes were mountainous, intimidating; now I thought, I'm not sure if it's enough. (Oh, and I had an apple and a teacup of lemonade BEFORE the brunch, because I woke up a couple of hours before we were supposed to meet.)

2) Another apple. Not bad.

3) Homemade mac and cheese. It's a somewhat lighter version...no eggs or butter, with skim milk, low-fat silken tofu and nonfat yogurt subbing in for some of the cheese. But it still had almost 2 cups of cheddar. I had, um...3 bowls.

4) A few spoonfuls of Ben & Jerry's chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. This is now one of the great loves of my life. I regard it with the same rosy glow with which, in June, I will hopefully greet the epidural man...