Thursday, January 31, 2008

Per Bdogg's request...

Here are some pix from my ultrasound yesterday. Both pictures show E's profile...the technician also took lots of shots of his brain, kidneys, etc., but she had to hold onto those.




As I was leaving the imaging center, there were gale-force winds...but just on that block. It was the strangest thing. I was practically blown back into the building. There were garbage bags and boxes piled by the curb, and the wind was strong enough to slam one of the (full) boxes against my leg! Fortunately, once I took a right onto another street, the weather was completely normal and the crazy wind seemed like a dream.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

So I got what will probably be my last ultrasound today. E is doing well and weighs 14 ounces. The technician said that was within normal range, but I knew that was a bit big ("Just a few days," she admitted). I keep wondering whether E will be a 7-lb baby (like D and his sister) or a 9-lb baby (like me and my bro -- my sisters were twins, so I chalk up their lighter weight to that). I think we have our answer. I always love plump babies. I just hope the day of reckoning is not too, too painful.

Anyway, everything looks good. I even got to see his manly bits. The technician and I both giggled, I don't know why. She even pointed a little arrow toward it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

So D and I had another delicious dinner tonight. The atmosphere was great too...flickering candles, a cozy space on a secluded street in the village.

I had:
white bean bruschetta (the white beans were in some kind of vinaigrette, truly awesome -- shared with D)
organic mixed greens with lemon thyme vinaigrette (the dressing was outstanding)
white bean ravioli
and...
We shared a "Po sundae": mint gelato with chocolate sauce and a dash of cinnamon. And I think some pine nuts were floating around in there.

Sadly, our favorite Barnes and Noble location is closing. I do usually go to the library, but my branch doesn't always meet a girl's needs. A moment of silence, please.

*Oddly enough, Blogger doesn't like ampersands...they wouldn't let me put one between Barnes and Noble. Who knew?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Stats

Every once in a while, I check my stats to see which cities appear and which searches people used to get here.

A while ago, I blogged about seeing some male underwear models doing a photo shoot on a roof (this was during the summer). That BY FAR is the most popular query. I can't count how many people have come to my blog by searching for "male underwear models." Oy.

But one today made me laugh. Somebody from Anchorage, Alaska visited me 14 times, and found me using this search: "Girlfriend is grossed out by cast iron pan."

These searches are like a mental snapshot, I think...a little view into other people's minds.

Unsolicited advice

So I've been cruising around reading mother blogs, and from them and my own experience, it seems like having a baby opens you up to one of my least favorite things, ever: Unsolicited Advice.

It should be noted that, like ice cream, unsolicited advice comes in many flavors, and I don't really mind it from friends.

However, friends are the least likely to give it. They sensibly wait for you to ask for it. At which point, it's not unsolicited! Yay.

I recently talked with someone who warned me not to be overwhelmed by someone else's unsolicited advice, then started telling me what to do regarding breastfeeding (I am prepared for this one. I am going to try it. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work.) AND where E should go to school. And we're not talking elementary school. High school.

I was a little taken aback. I mean, this is the fellow who's still in my womb.

It actually reminded me of an enterprising couple who wanted to get their baby (as yet unborn) into some competitive preschool or nursery school program. Anyway, they wrote in his admission essay: "Alex is a lover, not a warrior" and ascribed to him the qualities of a noble poet. People? His only mode of expression is KICKING. (I think this was in the Times a while back. It's possible the baby was one or something. But still.)

So I realized I'd better develop a strategy to deal with the AAGs (annoying advice givers). I tend to be very sensitive, and I don't want to be walking around upset all the time. So I think I'll do the old nod-and-smile, then turn around and do my own thing.

What would you do? I think it's probably better not to engage too much -- I have the sneaking suspicion that many AAGs cling to their points like a dog to a bone. (Or an abandoned bagel, by the curb - my dog used to pick those up.)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

So D and I had a fabulous dinner. I was off swimming and he called Babbo to see if they had a table available. Turns out they had a last-minute cancellation and could accommodate us at 5:30. Pregnant women like to eat early and often, so I was up for it (after a little concern about the non-vegetarian-ness of the menu. AND they broke D's "household pet" rule -- they had rabbit on the menu. But he wanted to go anyway.)

We've been there before, but tonight was our best experience there. We sat upstairs, away from the hustle and bustle. Two tall, thin bookcases filled with wine stood against the walls. The women's bathroom had a tub of pretty flowers. I ended up getting:

roasted beets with ricotta salata (though D's appetizer, a mushroom crepe with vinaigrette, was better and I need to remember to get that when we go back. Neci con funghi mista, I think it was called).
pumpkin lune (homemade pasta stuffed with pumpkin, in a moon shape, hence the name)
chocolate hazelnut cake with hazelnut gelato (the gelato tasted like the very best coffee ice cream. I forgot how much I like coffee ice cream. I shared the dessert with D).

Also, they brought us some chickpeas, also in vinaigrette, served on bruschetta, as an appetizer, and just for fun, they brought us some chocolate and vanilla meringue cookies, very cute and small, and a sliver of biscotti at the end of the meal. It was marvelous :)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

So I just saw Cassandra's Dream, Woody Allen's little-publicized but excellent new movie. It was a Greek tragedy involving 2 brothers (Colin Farrell and Ewan McGregor)/psychological thriller, set in London. One critic described it as "relentlessly dark -- not a laugh in the whole thing", but there were moments of mild humor. It was definitely a drama, though -- not a comedy. If you like Hitchcock or enjoyed Match Point, this is probably right up your alley.

Senseless fear #101 - I was eating a bar of Toblerone during the movie. Then my teeth started zinging. I thought, "I've heard of things being so sweet they make your teeth hurt -- but this can't be right." Then I realized I was chewing on tinfoil. I sheepishly removed a bit of tinfoil from my mouth. My teeth stopped zinging. I chewed the remaining chocolate and swallowed it.

Then I started worrying: What if I didn't get it all? What if this hurts E? But I reasoned that my teeth STOPPED ZINGING. And nothing sharp went down my throat. Hence, there was no tinfoil left. Right?

Seriously, if I could get a worry lobotomy, I would do it.

I think what makes me worry like this (and it is much less constant than it was in the beginning) is the vulnerability of a baby. It feels like I am entrusted with the duty of protecting him. But then I think of all the mothers (mine included) who smoked, drank and probably went bungee jumping. And we're all okay. I think ;)
So I henna'ed my hair last night. I saw my hair in a mirror earlier and thought, "This is too gray for me." It wasn't terrible as far as gray hair went, kind of silvery, but still.

In other news, I'm interviewing a little muffin! (This is how I think of 17-year-olds.) She's a student in Manhattan who's interested in going to my college.

It's funny, I recently read Acceptance by Susan Coll, which is a satire of the college admissions process. In the book, a student was caught off guard when an alumni interviewer asked him, "If you were a shoe, what kind would you be?" Now, I love that kind of question. My mind immediately responded, "I would be a sneaker...comfortable and versatile."

So I included that question in my list of 17 questions. If it causes her distress, like it did in the book, I won't pursue it. I may even give her the back story.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

So 3 things happened today so far:

1) I was walking along and saw Ethan Hawke again. He must either live in my neighborhood or have a special fondness for it. This time, he was talking with some guy (not famous) and telling what sounded like a story of frustration. "Just rack it up!" he said as I passed. He was wearing a navy blue skullcap and looked a bit gaunt. I was tempted to offer him a sandwich or switch some pregnant poundage from my body to his.

2) Before I saw Ethan (yeah, we're on a first-name basis now), I looked up at the sky and thought: If it's going to be so gray and oppressive, could it at least snow? A few minutes later, a fluffy white powder started drifting down (and no, it was not dandruff). Pretty cool, huh?

3) I've been wanting to get back to knitting. But I have enough knitted goods for an army (one with a secure sense of masculinity, since many of my hats are pink). So I decided I could make something for someone else. Then I realized it's going to be someone's birthday soon. So I bought some Wool-Ease Thick and Quick in red and a pair of size 13 needles (which I might already have, but I didn't feel like making a return trip). I thought I'd forgotten how to cast on but was relieved to find out that my hands remembered. I'll try to post a picture of the scarf when it's done.

Monday, January 21, 2008

So D and I kind of saw the Tom Stoppard play yesterday with L and his cousin -- it turned out he and his girlfriend had broken up (though possibly just temporarily) and he invited his cousin in her place. He told D the girlfriend was a "rude girl" and he'd been meeting a lot of "rude girls" in Florida. We go to Miami once a year, and the people we meet there are pretty relaxed and happy, but the idea of a state full of rude girls is kind of funny.

Anyway, the play was awful. It was the kind of awfulness that beggars description, but I'll just say it was too talky, it made awkward stabs at humor, and it was fatally boring. If you have a yen for communism, go see The Lives of Others (it might be on DVD by now) or read The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

Also, the physical seats were terrible -- really confining and uncomfortable. Think airplane seats and then make them a little smaller with less leg room. I had just gone swimming so I had all these endorphins, and then my arms and shoulders stiffened up from being stuffed into such a narrow space.

Anyway, after the intermission, L (who bought the tickets) said, "Let's get out of here." I was surprised, but not upset. So we fled.

Later, I had an interaction that left a bad taste in my mouth. I can't be specific here, but let's just say it involved someone kind of ripping her friend apart. I do know exactly what this person meant...but the ripper selected the rippee as a friend. Also, the ripper went on to engage in a specific form of behavior that the ripper criticized in the rippee.

I don't really know what to take away from this, except that we do often criticize flaws in others that we share, and maybe the ripper is more similar to the rippee than she thought!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Nips and grays

This will be a short, somewhat incoherent post b/c I'm tired, but I wanted to jot a couple of things down...

1) Went to visit Rainer (I saw him a few times recently but didn't blog about it, because while it was fun to see him, nothing unusual happened). Today he was kind of jumpy and actually nipped my hand when I was talking to DG. It may have been a bid for my full attention...but I was annoyed! He acted like he didn't do anything wrong, and stayed on my lap. I got up shortly thereafter because my legs were asleep, and honestly...I was a little mad! Then he prowled around the bookstore, lay down so I could rub his belly, and got on my lap again. He acted like nothing had happened - purring, rubbing his head against my sleeve, etc. But still....why did he nip me? It wasn't hard enough to break the skin, or leave a mark, or even hurt really...but it was bad! Now I feel like I'm in an abusive relationship. I should've said, "No, Rainer. BAD!"

2) On the subway ride home I confessed to DG (D already knows) that I stopped dying my hair (I'd been using henna to cover the grays). Since it's herbal, it's safe to use during pregnancy, but my sense of smell is heightened, and that stuff kind of reeks. Plus, it would interfere with my swimming...I might have to skip a day and I really like my swimming. (The reason it would interfere: you have to leave the henna in for a certain amount of time, then rinse it, then leave it in 24 hours, then shampoo it. I'm assuming you shouldn't douse it in chlorine during the 24-hour period). Anyway, DG had noticed the grays, but said it looked good, and D said he could only notice in the harsh subway lighting when he was looking down on the crown of my head. It's true, for some reason, the grays are all on the top of my head.

So I don't know whether to dye it or not. Honestly, it's a pain in the neck and I've become rather laissez-faire about the whole thing. But I also feel like I should dye it if it's gray enough to notice. Gah!

What would you do?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Hello

So I went to the doctor this morning. Good things are happening, I continue to inch up the scale but E is free of Down Syndrome and spina bifida, and his heart is pumping away like a good soldier. It is fun hearing it through the doctor's little Doppler device.

The doctor cheerfully told me that the next two months are the "honeymoon period" -- very little muscular/skeletal pain, I can feel the baby moving so that's reassuring, and then she dropped the bomb -- I will gain 70% of my pregnancy weight during this period. Egads. I guess I just need to "let go."

In other news, a friend of D's...well, I'll back up. This friend is fond of extravagant gifts out of nowhere. Once he bought a foosball table for D's office (D is a foosball fiend, though he kindly lets my nephew win) and once he surprised us with Billy Joel tickets.

Well, he's going to be in town on Sunday, and asked if we wanted to go to dinner. We said yes. Then he sent an email that literally said:

Before dinner, the four of us will be seeing a play! Meet me and [newest girlfriend] at [Broadway theater] at 3:00.

It turns out the play is by Tom Stoppard and probably good, based on another friend's report. And we didn't have plans for Sunday afternoon. D thanked him for the tickets and gently suggested that next time he might want to check first to make sure we were free before buying tickets. So the friend wrote back, "Oops! I forgot to mention we're going on a 7-day cruise."

I think he's kidding ;)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Ch-ch-changes

Yesterday I had organic Raisin Bran cereal with skim milk, 2 glasses of orange juice, 3 oranges, 1 nonfat yogurt, yellow split-pea soup, some healthy chickpea-potato concoction, rice noodles with broccoli and tofu, and salad. Oh, and a (vegan) pecan blondie. Which I shared with D.

Not terrible, right?

I am the size of a house.

Did I mention I walked 2-3 miles yesterday and swam for half an hour?

I'm still enormous.

I passed this corner where bums gather, on my way to the pool. Usually I cross the street to avoid them, because they hit on any woman who is (a) under 80 or (b) has some teeth.

Yesterday, I had a feeling it would be okay to pass them.

It was.

I'm mostly relieved. But still...

Monday, January 14, 2008

So I picked up 4 books at the library today:

Exit Ghost by Philip Roth. So far it seems to be primarily about incontinence, but what the heck. I generally like his books except when he's in rambling, hyper-political mode. This one seems to be in concise, pithy mode.

Intuition by Allegra Goodman. I kept seeing this book everywhere so it nudged itself into my consciousness and I put it on hold. I don't know if the science angle will grab me...but hopefully the characters will be interesting enough that it won't matter.

Acceptance by Susan Coll. I've had this one on hold for a year and a day. Not literally. But long enough.

The Birth House by Ami McKay. Historical novel about midwives...probably not as good as Bohjalian's Midwives, but then again, what is? :D

Went to the restaurant with the Justin Timberlake shrine last night. Somebody defiled the glass case with the Justin figurine inside. They scratched something in graffiti language into the glass. So management retaliated by slipping a little blue card into the case:

We appreciate your creative output, but...

LEAVE JUSTIN ALONE.

What did he ever do to you, anyway?

They have a Boy George bathroom downstairs, but no one has attacked George yet.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The perfect cookie

Today, there is a big rainstorm/thunderstorm in Manhattan; it's romantic and scary all at once. AND I had the perfect cookie.

I love the peanut butter cookies at Whole Foods, but they do not always get the texture right. I am seeking soft and chewy, but with a touch of "al dente" - i.e., Pepperidge Farm Soft-Baked are too soft for me. Whole Foods makes their p.b. cookies either perfect or hard (overcooked and brown). There is no in-between.

I test the cookies by pinching them gently with a piece of parchment covering my fingers.

Yesterday they had a perfect one, but some hooligan took a bite out of it and PUT IT BACK. I know, I know. Even grosser - my mind briefly entertained buying it, but I reasoned I had no idea what germs the transgressor left on the cookie.

But today, I found the perfect cookie. And it was bite-free.

Also, they were playing "Alone" by Heart in the store. I had forgotten this song's existence, but it brought me back to the summer of 1987 when "Bad Animals" was my favorite tape.

I'm also digging orange juice and oranges lately, and Your Vegetarian Pregnancy tells me that Vitamin C can make a baby bigger. So here's hoping I don't have a 15-pounder.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Since you asked...

Here I am. 18 weeks.



I tried putting up a side shot too, but I couldn't orient it correctly on Blogger for love or money. Even though it was rotated properly when I saved it, Blogger kept flipping it on its side. So there you have it.

Monday, January 07, 2008

So I meant to go swimming today, but I couldn't because I wasn't able to put down Towelhead by Alicia Erian. It was definitely riveting. When I originally bought it, I thought it was a memoir, and quickly saw when I got home that it was fiction. I'm glad that it was!

Anyway, the time melted away as I finished the book, and I never made it to the pool. I felt the need to do some exercise before dinner (other than the walk D and I took earlier, to a Thai place for lunch, and my walk to the library), so I popped in a yoga DVD. I've found that pregnancy is somewhat limiting with yoga...some of the poses are out, either because of discomfort or because different books advise against them. And also, I just found myself gravitating toward swimming. But I did enjoy today's yoga. I think I can embrace it in this different form, even if I like being in the water a little better. On that note, I should probably get the salsa dancing DVD, because some days I won't be able to make it to the gym to swim!

D found a zoo in Australia that lets you hold koalas, and he wants to go there. I went to the site, which I can't remember now, and found a wombat, too. The zoo has a couple of wombats, Boris and Natasha. The site explains that they have a long-term relationship like people do and occasionally have disagreements. At those times, they sleep in different logs. (It did say "in," not "on.") I wonder what they disagree about. Did he look at other wombats? Did he eat too much of her grass? Did she nag him to tidy up the log? When they're getting along (which is most of the time, I think), they sleep in the same log.

For a picture of a wombat, go here.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

My stomach is starting to precede me into a room. Or maybe it's just tonight. I have added a food baby to the regular baby.

We went to Pizzeria Uno -- partly b/c I wanted pizza, partly b/c I wanted to give D a break from my persistent Thai craving -- it was like a voice chanting in my ear, "Red curry, red curry, red curry." So I gave the curry a break and got an individual deep-dish pizza.

But that was not enough! It should have been. But it wasn't. So we got this really big, vile yet delicious dessert - a giant peanut butter cup with ice cream on top. I'm happy to say we didn't finish it. But we made more of a dent in it than we should have.

The peanut butter cup had an Oreo cookie crust on the bottom. It reminded me of what I called "dirt" in Carvel ice cream cakes when I was four -- this textured, gravelly chocolate in the middle of the cake. I think I called it dirt to illustrate my simultaneous repulsion by and attraction to it. I found myself similarly fascinated by this "dirt."

Also, they were playing an old Huey Lewis song from Sports -- "Bad is Bad." I remember when he was actually "cool" (not cheesy) and my best friend at the time adored the cleft in his chin. So I hatched a plan to buy Sports from Amazon along with a prenatal fitness DVD that has a salsa dancing segment! A fun purchase, no? But I don't know if I'll get around to it. Swimming seems to be my activity of choice these days.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Furniture and some onesies

Thanks to everyone for your comments and emails...I feel like much less of a furniture ignoramus now! In my defense, I've only bought 2 pieces of furniture in my life: a futon and a chair. At the same place in Boston or Cambridge, in 1999.

I guess my philosophy is - if you can't wear it, eat it or read it - I'm not going to buy it. Usually.

But now, armed with the advice of my expert readers, I have made some decisions! Which are open to change.

Here's the crib I'm thinking of. I love the cherry wood. It needs to be assembled, but D says we can hire someone to do it. Also, the comments say it is easy to assemble. And it's still hundreds of dollars less than the one at Buy Buy Baby (even after shipping). What's not to love?

Stacking baskets! $14.99 each instead of a $600-$800 dresser from Buy Buy Baby. Woo!

Changing pad! Instead of a changing table.

And here are some onesies I bought at Old Navy:

Thursday, January 03, 2008

So I went to Buy Buy Baby today to case the joint in terms of cribs and changing table/dresser combos (where you change the baby on top, and there are drawers down below).

Before I go further, let me explain that we have a New York City apartment. It is a very nice one for the money. We only have a deal like this because MIL put D on a waiting list when he was 12. But note that I said it's very nice for the money. It is not the size of the $6700 one we visited on New Year's Eve. As a result, E (the bebe) will be in the living room (which is very close to our bedroom, don't worry, we will hear every peep, and also have a monitor) until we get a bigger apartment. Our building has a policy that you cannot get a bigger apartment until the bebe is born. They won't tell us how long it will take after the baby is born, either. Not even an estimate. So, I'm in the market for small furniture.

I saw a crib/bassinet/toddler bed/2 chairs (I'm serious, it converts into all those things, and in its current state, it looks very cute) for a cool $900. Gulp. I don't know if D will go for it or not. It was, however, the smallest and cutest crib in the store.

Which raises the question: how do woodcutters in the Appalachians afford cribs? Answer: they build their own. Unfortunately, D and I never excelled in woodworking. In fact, we are even steering clear of Ikea because we don't trust ourselves to assemble their cribs correctly.

I didn't have any luck with changing table/dressers. I considered three:

1) One was ugly, huge and didn't even have drawers, just big spaces. Next.
2) One was ugly, huge, utilitarian-looking and cost $700.
3) One was ugly, huge, depressing-looking (really dark, lugubrious wood) and expensive.

So there is a common theme of ugly, huge and expensive with changing table/dressers. If anyone knows of a place that sells cheap, cute and small changing table/dressers, let me know!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

So last night was not that bad after all. In fact, it was much better than I expected. Maybe the key is low expectations ;) Although they say the opposite with childbirth pain - if you think you can't stand it, you can't; if you think it's manageable, you'll be okay.

We had dinner with DG at a restaurant with golden walls and a very kind owner, who said, "Can I say congratulations?" after I took my coat off. They gave us some strawberries and biscotti at the end, dusted with confectioners' sugar, just to be nice. My eyes were closing at the end, I was so tired, but DG thought a change in venue would invigorate me.

It did -- we proceeded to a party at a gorgeous apartment that costs $6700/month (sometimes the wealth floating around Manhattan freaks me out) and there was a sweet black Lab there who greeted us. This was the best-behaved dog I have ever seen. Most dogs bark, jump or freak out when there is company, but this one just wagged sedately, as if to say, "I am happy but discreet." Later they put him in one of the bathrooms -- I'm not sure why -- and he may have been a bit lonely. He was very happy to see me when I came in.

I decided I will probably get an epidural. Who am I kidding?