Thursday, December 08, 2011

The angel makers

If you are looking for something good to read, try The Angel Makers. It's about the women in a remote Hungarian village, based on a true story (I won't give anything else away), and it's riveting.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

The sleep situation

So....I've been trying not to obsess over sleep since I did with E, and obsessing generally gets you nowhere. I did come across one good piece of advice: don't be a jumpy parent; avoid running to your child the instant she cries; see if the baby can soothe herself first. Apparently if your baby can learn to self-soothe in the first two months, you stand a good chance of avoiding a big, ugly "cry it out" night in your future.

So today I was taking a shower and put Z in her bassinet first. As I was drying off, I heard little cries from the living room. When I got there, she was asleep. I figure this is promising. She has also fallen asleep a few times so far without nursing or motion.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The hairdresser chronicles

So I went to the hairdresser today for the first time since I encountered the neck-injuring woman. It went well. I brought Z with me and she slept through most of it. She did raise a little Cain toward the end.

The neck woman wasn't there today. She is only there on Friday mornings now. Apparently I am not the only person who felt her style was too...strong. There is a guy with hair implants that are "very sensitive." He felt they were in some danger.

I just finished What Came First by Carol Snow. She went to my college, but ten years ahead of me. It was a really fun book. Not sure what I'll read next.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hello

I always get sad when a good book ends. This one was The Vault by Ruth Rendell. So I have a new mystery series to delve into. British, low-key.

How is it with two kids? you ask. Sometimes it's easy, sometimes it's a struggle. The new baby is more slender than E was, though her birth weight was higher. She's not gaining weight as fast as E did, but the doctor, when she saw her last week, said she wasn't worried. She nurses pretty frequently, but not as long as E did. Sometimes he would nurse for 2 hours, which made me wonder when the baby books cheerfully said, Your child might nurse up to 20 minutes!

My friend at E's school baked us a batch of pumpkin muffins yesterday, accompanied by a welcome-to-the-world card for Z. They smelled and tasted delicious.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ok...I am bored out of my gourd! Stuck in the hospital with no more books. I finished Intuition by Allegra Goodman (ok), and before that I read Kaaterskill Falls (preferred that despite slow pace), though Cookbook Collector is still my favorite by AG. Can't think of anything else to read, and I'm not sure my wi-fi-only Kindle will work here to buy a new book. Fortunately, Crossed (next book in the YA sci-fi trilogy) comes out Nov. 1. I'm not usually into sci fi, but that series is a lot of fun.

I am digging the hospital food. D visited for a while today and the snack lady came by. She offered us coffee, tea or cookies. I got oatmeal raisin and they were absolutely delicious.

I don't know why but the pain is not that bad this time (um, "down there"). I don't know if it's because labor was shorter or the episiotomy was smaller (it was). Whatever the cause, it's like a mildly irritating soreness instead of the gigantic pain I remember from last time.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

So I gave birth this morning to little Z, or not so little...she is 8 lbs, 11 oz...at 5:01 am. Labor was really fast this time...I started having contractions around 3:30 am, then we started timing them, and the interval between contractions shrank from 10 minutes to 3 minutes very quickly. So we took a cab to the hospital after calling D's sister to stay with E. Once we got there, I was dismayed to find I was already 9 cm and it was too late for an epidural. But there was nothing to do but accept it. And I only pushed for 15 minutes. So, it was very painful...but FAST.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Waiting

Right now, I am waiting. I'm not as dilated as I was with E at this stage. So we'll see what happens. The doctor said, "The baby's head is so nice and low - she's on deck, like in baseball." The doctor is predicting that I will have 20 minutes to an hour of pushing, not the three hours of torment like before. We'll see. She also told me she is "on" Thursday and Friday but doesn't know who will be on this weekend.

I finished Matched, a YA dystopian futuristic novel (with hints of Orwell) about a young girl resisting the laws of society. Kind of a mix of brain candy and science fiction. The sequel comes out in November. Apparently there will be a trilogy.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Here are some mittens I just made. They are magically soft! I used Malabrigo merino worsted in Tigerlily. The pattern is here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Went to the ob/gyn today...now I'm 3 centimeters. She's convinced labor will be easy for me this time. I am taking it all with a grain of salt. I would love for her to be right. But who knows? She says the pushing will probably take 20 minutes to an hour this time (instead of 3 hours). That would be nice.

At the supermarket, the cashiers went beyond asking about twins (this is now to be expected) and started predicting the weight of the baby...I am not even kidding. They settled on 9 lbs, 7 oz. The doctor says 8 or 9 lbs. I guess the whole thing is teaching me patience. I have been dealing with these remarks since July.

Right now I have nothing fantastic to read. I loved Jeffrey Eugenides' The Marriage Plot. Better than Middlesex, if you ask me. Just so funny and real. I also liked Falling Together, Nightwoods and, although it was flawed, The Taste of Salt.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

So I went to the doctor today. I had all these noble goals of not gaining as much weight in this pregnancy as I did with E, but I'm only 5 lbs behind my maximum weight with him. Oh well. The baby is moving around like a champ and I am 2 cm dilated, but the doctor said, "Your cervix is way the hell back" so she doesn't see me going into labor anytime soon. She said I could go slightly earlier than with E, because second babies are like that.

My replacement Kindle arrived. It didn't cost much (it's not the fancy new Kindle Fire, I have no desire to watch TV on it anyway) and it's 30% lighter than the other one. I am grateful for my reading glasses, though, because electronics break down! A friend brought up the possibility that the need for reading glasses is related to my pregnancy. I forgot to ask the doctor. It will be interesting to see if I no longer need them after I give birth.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

So today my Kindle bought the farm...it's an example of no good deed going unpunished. I was taking E to his playgroup via cab and he handed me the remains of his mushy apple bar. There was a little pocket in the door of the cab that would have been perfect for these remains, but it always irritates me when people leave food there, so I thought, no! I won't be barbaric. I'll put the apple bar in my pocketbook even though it will mess up the interior.

When we got to the playgroup I found that my Kindle was a sticky mess. I dabbed some water on a paper towel and cleaned it. A couple of hours later, the top of the screen turned into stripes (kind of like that public broadcasting test they used to do on TV late at night) and was no longer readable. D had a laptop that met a similar fate, so I know that once those stripes appear, an electronic device is unfixable.

So I ordered a new one, but realized I would go crazy without books in the meantime. I got a paper edition of the book I was reading on the Kindle, and caved and got a pair of reading glasses. I use a fairly large font on the Kindle, not quite as big as a large-print book, but larger than what you'd find in an ordinary paper book. I find the font in a paper book now strains my eyes. I got a pair of 1.50 reading glasses and they seem to do the trick. I do miss the Kindle, though. But it is scheduled to arrive on Monday. And it is 18% smaller and 30% lighter than its predecessor (less than 6 ounces)!

Friday, September 30, 2011


I made this hat for Z (the new baby, who has not yet arrived) today. You can find the pattern here. It took less than an hour to make.

I'm reading Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks. I don't like it quite as much as The Year of Wonders, by the same author, but it's good enough. I'm looking forward to The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman (coming out October 4).

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I just started reading Birds of Paradise by Diana Abu-Jaber. So far, I love it. It's set in Miami, where I haven't been since 2010, and it really evokes the beach, the whole community, for me. It was a relief to find this book, because I was trying to read another novel before that just wasn't working for me. You know how it feels when you're slogging through something?

I also discovered some great cookies. They're made by Divvies and sold at Whole Foods. I bought 2 small bags, molasses ginger and oatmeal raisin. Usually oatmeal is my favorite, but I love the ginger.

E still seems to be enjoying preschool. He was scared of gym class for a while; there was a "rolling activity" that scared him. Now he goes to gym without crying, and when he got home, he typed "gym" on my computer and smiled.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Hair

I'm so mad at this hair-washing woman right now.

I went to the salon I usually go to today, but the regular hair-washing girl was gone. In her place was this woman who handles your head like she's scrubbing a cabinet. My whole head was shaken vigorously like it was in a spin cycle. To top it off, she says, "I like to get hair really clean, I'm just being gentle because of the baby."

WTF????

Eventually I said something like, could you be gentler please, because you're making me nauseous. She calmed it down a bit. Finally, mercifully, it was over. I've never hated getting my hair washed before, it's usually my favorite part, but she managed to make it a miserable experience.

When the washer was out of earshot, I told my hairdresser (whom I like, and have been seeing for 3 years) that the washer is a little, um, ROUGH. She said she would say something.

I thought that was that, but the nausea stuck around all day. The appointment was 10:15 am and I'm still nauseous. At the school pickup, I talked to some of the other moms about it. One of them turned out to be a physical therapist and said that when you are pregnant, your ligaments are loose and if someone shakes your neck, they can injure your spine, and that will make you feel nauseated. She said if I'm still nauseous on Monday, she will do a couple of tests to see how my neck is.

I know this will sound awful, but I really really want her (the hair-washer, not the physical therapist) to be fired. I don't want her to wash my hair again and I don't want to have to switch salons.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Now that the baby is almost here (well, a month and a half away), she seems more and more real to me. The comments are driving me crazy. I literally can't leave my apartment without this conversation happening:

"When are you due?"
"November 4."
"Really? It looks like you're going to blow/pop/burst/go into labor right now."
"Nope."
"Are you having twins?"
"Nope."

Some people stop there; others say, "Cause you're really big!"

It's a good thing I don't have a gun.

On a more serious note, I wonder what it will be like to have two small children. I feel like I've hit my stride with E. I'm not saying it's easy. But I can handle it. Going back to breastfeeding, sleep deprivation, etc...will I be able to handle that? I guess I will "just do." I do have a fond, perhaps foolish hope that I will have one of those babies that sleep through the night at 6 weeks (or even shortly after coming home from the hospital...I read about a baby like that, in a blog). Because for me, it's the sleep that kicks your ass. I can deal with diapers, crying, etc. But I need sleep to do it.

It's definitely fun buying clothes for a girl, if a bit intimidating at first (so many choices!). I have now bought a complete layette, including a pink bear suit to keep her warm in the winter.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Well, E seems to be making a smooth transition to preschool. Yesterday I got freaked out because he was so exhausted after school and he took a 3-hour nap. Today, we all woke up at 8:24 and hustled over to the school. He went off willingly enough to his classroom and when the day was over, he came bounding out to greet me with a big smile. The co-teacher said he had an "awesome day." They played with shaving cream on a table, and he kept talking about it and how they cleaned it up afterward.

It turns out a woman who lives near me (in the same group of buildings) has a child at the school too, and we walk home together. I put E in the stroller in case he needed a nap today, but he didn't. He had fun being pushed by the woman and her child. It's kind of funny, she and I have a lot in common - both vegetarian, from small towns in Massachusetts, and a year apart in age.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

E's first day of school went very well, at least the drop-off. We all slept till 8:14 so we had to rush to get everything together. I was running around with a Sharpie and making lunch. Finally we got out the door, only to be the first people to get to his class! The students were still arriving gradually when we left. We stayed half an hour, and E seemed to be doing fine and barely noticed our departure, though we said goodbye. He and the other children were having a grand old time making dinosaurs with Play-Doh.

Just saw some photos of the flooding in Vermont and fires in Texas. It really does seem like the end of days sometimes. I hope this crazy weather passes, and my thoughts are with the people in those areas.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

First day of school (almost)

So E's first day of school is tomorrow. I'm a little stressed out about it. I'm about as prepared as I can be; I've made a list of what we need to bring tomorrow and I've marked his lunchbox, diaper/underwear bag and bumblebee backpack with his name. We're also supposed to write his name in his clothes, but I'm going to do it on an outfit-by-outfit basis.

In other news, I can no longer read non-Kindle books. I tried buying some books 70% off at the nearly defunct Borders (I always liked Barnes & Noble better anyway), but the print was too small. I'm used to the larger font on the Kindle. So I gave in and purchased the book on the Kindle so I could continue reading it without straining my eyes.

My mother visited this weekend and cut E's hair. In the past, she's been able to do it so he doesn't notice, but this time he said immediately, "This is a haircut."

Pregnancy-wise, I'm about as big and uncomfortable as can be...and I have slightly less than 2 months to go. I have a feeling she will be an October baby, though.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Irene

So, as you probably know, the east coast is supposed to get hit by this epic storm tomorrow and Sunday. I'm skeptical. The weather channel is famous for making much ado about nothing. But the MTA (subways, buses, Long Island railroad) is shutting down at noon today so none of the cashiers at the grocery stores will be able to make it to work (or get home if they took a subway before the shutdown). So I and a few million other New Yorkers were stocking up at the grocery store today. I personally feel we are just going to get some rain tomorrow and some wind on Sunday, but we'll see.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

So I just saw Crazy, Stupid, Love...much better than I expected! I am always cautious going into movies because a lot of them are bad. But this one was definitely good. I realized I almost always like Steve Carell movies...I didn't see Date Night, but I liked Dan in Real Life and Little Miss Sunshine. I think he is a more subtle and interesting actor on the big screen (not that I have anything against The Office, but he definitely has a broad, hammy role there. Oh, I guess he left. We don't have a TV, can you tell?)

The other actors: Julianne Moore was good, although it was not always a sympathetic role for her. Her face looks a bit like Madonna's in some shots. Emma Stone reminds me a bit of Michael Jackson, her face. She is likable enough though. Ryan Gosling was very funny.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Just had the best grilled cheese sandwich ever (I made it!). Proof that good, simple ingredients can really make something special.

2 slices whole wheat bread
1 August tomato, bursting with juiciness
3 slices of Havarti
1/2 tablespoon sweet cream butter

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Just a note to say...I love the bus! I never bothered to figure it out before, I always took the subway or walked. But now when I'm big and pregnant, the air conditioning/lack of stairs on the bus are welcome. The crosstown bus is slow as molasses, but the uptown/downtown one is fairly quick and endearingly social. A woman showed me a cowl she was knitting for her son-in-law with British-style increases.

Speaking of the British, I'm reading the Agatha Raisin mystery series by M.C. Beaton. It's a lot of fun. Agatha is kind of a curmudgeon, but also very likable.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

In the morning I often take a walk, and I always pass by a bakery in my neighborhood. It's really good; it rivals Magnolia, but it's less of a mob scene, with a charming retro atmosphere. Anyway, my walk is too early for the bakery to be open, but there is always a guy out back cleaning the coffee machine and taking the muffins out of the oven. They have a full array of cupcakes: vanilla and chocolate, carrot cake and banana, lemon (spring/summer) and pumpkin (fall/winter). Now I am craving one, but will have to wait until they are open. Or maybe it will pass :)

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Just a note to say that E is doing so much better with the toilet training! Proof that if you stick with something, you can succeed.

Other than that, not much going on. E is starting preschool in September. Although it seems to be a very nice place, I'm a little bit in denial. I'm afraid I'm going to miss him terribly. So I plan to keep myself busy. I have a lot of knitting projects queued, including a blanket for the new baby, and I will finally move some of our things into storage.

Friday, July 29, 2011

So toilet training is an exhausting business. But it is also a learning experience for me. I think things were too easy for me for many years. School, except for math sometimes, was pretty easy and so I didn't face real challenges until I was in the work world. I am learning from toilet training that it is possible, and even good, to keep persevering with something even if it doesn't seem to be working at all.

So far we have moved through the following stages:

"Run and scream." This was a few months ago, when I figured out when E was about to poop and put him on his Sesame Street potty. The poop landed in the potty, but E ran off screaming.

"The potty is a fun place, but not necessarily to pee in."

We're kind of locked in that stage, but he did pee in it tonight. Some people suggest putting him in underwear when he gets off the potty, that this will work faster than using a pull-up. The downside: accidents. So I'm thinking I will use underwear at home, and a pull-up in public. Now I just have to buy him some big-boy underwear. I believe they will have it at Kmart.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I got my first "Twins?" comment today. Oh well. I seem to be fated to hear these things in pregnancy. There is no point in getting annoyed....the people who are most annoying seem to have no clue that they are.

I definitely have baby brain this time around. I forgot to tip my hairdresser, then went back to tip her. I left again, intending to get an Italian ice. Then I realized I left a bag of groceries there. So I had to go back again.

I finished my purple hat, but put the picture up on Facebook, so you all have seen it. Now I am working on a pair of striped wristwarmers for a friend.

Friday, July 22, 2011

So I had a wonderful birthday today. Lots of people on Facebook, including some from the distant past, wished me a happy birthday. Then I took E to an appointment and because of the stinking heat, I took a car service (as my babysitter had recommended). It felt very luxurious and put a fun spin on the appointment. And E's eating has really improved. It used to be that he preferred soy milk to food, but today he ate cantaloupe, watermelon, grapes, veggie burger, Cheerios, pancake, carrots and goldfish. So I was excited about that.

We all had lunch at one of my favorite (veggie) burger joints and I took a swim in the afternoon. The pool was crowded beyond belief. Some people were just lounging around the lap lanes, not swimming. I went around them.

I'm really looking forward to seeing Crazy Stupid Love.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

So I've been knitting again. I'm working on a cables and lace cap in a pretty muted purple. When it's done, I'll try to put up a picture of it. A friend of mine from high school asked me to knit her a pair of fingerless gloves based on an Etsy picture. They're striped. Her preferred color palette is green, grey and blue. It's funny, a lot of friends of mine like those colors, but I usually knit in pink and purple, so it's an interesting switch.

Went swimming today. For some reason I only like swimming when I'm pregnant. It can be a bit depressing, though, to see people with normal figures and wonder if I'll ever have one again. When I took my bathing suit off in the changing room, a woman rushed over and asked, "Is it coming out tomorrow?" (You can't make this stuff up.) I do wish people would keep their observations to themselves.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Perhaps it's unpatriotic of me to admit this, but I hate fireworks. I like the holiday itself; it was a nice relaxed day. But the fireworks are on the Hudson River this year (a few blocks away) as opposed to the East River (all the way across town) and it feels like the apartment is under siege. I'm waiting for it to be over.

I'm reading Emily, Alone by Stewart O'Nan. For whatever reason, I don't usually like male authors, but I'm digging this book.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

So I was relieved that my placenta moved...but I did get a bit of a weight lecture. My weight in itself is not horrifying (I now weigh 2 lbs more than my niece, who is the same height) but the doctor was un-thrilled that I gained 7 lbs in a month. (I didn't clue her in that I gained 10 lbs in a week, fairly late in the pregnancy with E). My last doc, who now lives in California, didn't care that I gained 47 lbs with E. "I gained 50 lbs and I'm 5 feet tall! You're 5'7"! I am not worried," she declared. This one said she wouldn't yell at me about weight gain, but it could lead to a difficult labor. Hitting me where I live. So I have cut out onion rings, potato chips and milkshakes. I am still eating chocolate granola bars and sometimes, sweet potato fries. I am only human, after all.

I'm reading Groundswell, written by Billy Joel's (estranged) wife Katie Lee. It's fun. Before that I was reading To Be Sung Underwater, which was well-written but I realized I didn't like the protagonist at all.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

So I went today for an ultrasound and...my placenta has moved. Completely. They're not worried about it anymore. And the technician told me, "It's still a girl." Good to know...

She also told me she weighs 13 ounces (the fetus, not the technician). When I got home, I looked up "20 weeks" on babycenter.com and learned that the average weight at this age is 10 1/2 ounces. So, I think she may be a biggie. E was 8 pounds.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Introducing...the Kindle

So my Kindle arrived today. It was very exciting. So did the pink cover, which actually came with its own set of instructions. I kid you not.

I've read a bunch of a book (Claire Cook's first novel, if you are curious; I've read all her others) on it and I've concluded as follows:

PROS
  • I like not having to go to the bookstore or wait for an online shipment to get new books.
  • Reading from a "device" feels surprisingly natural, probably because we all spend so much time online anyway.
  • It's easy to navigate.
  • The e-books are cheaper than their paper equivalents.

CON
  • I wish it were backlit. This is ironic because Amazon is very proud of it not being backlit. They say this will reduce eyestrain. And yet, I found myself developing a bit of eyestrain/headache. I'm sure there is a way around this. It's probably best to read it with strong natural light or lots of indoor light. It is actually *darker* than a book. I think they wanted to avoid "glare" and overcompensated.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Today I got a pedicure. I think I've mentioned how much I love this. First you pick the color. I got "dim sum plum." It was a little lighter and brighter than it looked in the bottle, but I like it. It can be fun to make a change. There were 3 other people getting pedicures - all of them men! Two of them were gay, and probably a couple. The other seemed to be straight. I wonder why men get pedicures. They all seemed to be getting clear nail polish, which takes away most of the fun if you ask me.

While I had my feet in the bubbling bath I saw a truck go by. Written on the side were the words, "The details are not details. They are what makes up the product." I might be paraphrasing the second sentence, but you get the gist. I like this sentiment. I've traditionally been a big picture person (an "N" for "intuitive" on the Myers-Briggs test), but as I get older, I am realizing the importance of care, with regard to details. They really do make all the difference. I still don't believe in exhaustive, anal attention to them; but keeping an eye on them never hurts. I also believe in the importance of the Italian fa niente - in Italy, they devote a certain amount of time each day to "doing nothing". I think this is important for mental health.

Anyway, the point of this rather rambling post is - I think it's good to take some time and pamper yourself. Whether it's a pedicure, or getting your hair cut and colored, or wearing a nice dress (doesn't need to be super fancy, just pleasing to the eye), it can make a big difference in the way you feel.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

I'm reading a little book called 13, rue Therese. Very strange and delightful story. I really do love most things French, though I haven't been there since 1996. I am glad I studied French instead of Spanish.

I am heading to Massachusetts tomorrow, because my oldest nephew is graduating from high school. I can hardly believe it. My family will also celebrate E's birthday, which falls on June 4. He is turning 3, which is also hard to believe. Last night we celebrated his birthday with the in-laws, and he actually blew out his candle! They got him some balloons which he proudly carried out of the restaurant. But, they didn't make it outside. He let them go and they got caught in the ceiling fan. The staff was working to extricate them when we left. I felt bad about it but they were good-humored.

Anyway, there was a tornado in Massachusetts, so I wonder if our visit is ill-timed. However, it happened in the western part of the state, which is not where I am going, and the forecast for the next few days looks good. I think only property was damaged.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

So I went to the doctor today. My ultrasounds (at an imaging center) and ob/gyn visits (at the doctor's office) always fall on the same week. My doctor was completely unconcerned about the whole placenta thing. She says not to worry about it until 28 weeks, because most low placentas will spontaneously resolve by then. They will just keep checking every 4 weeks until then to see if it has moved up. (I'm currently 16 1/2 weeks.) If it stays low through 28 weeks, it will mean a c-section, but it would be given at 39 weeks, not 36 weeks as I had feared from my online reading. (Note to self: do not google medical information!) And no bed rest unless there was bleeding. You might think, "Bed rest sounds good," but I am sure I would go out of my !#%*^ mind. A friend of mine was on bed rest once. She had moved to Texas years before and although we stayed in touch via email, we seldom talked on the phone (I'm not really a phone person and perhaps neither is she). During her bed rest, she called me about 8 times. I would have to watch TV and I hate TV. Anyway.

A confession here. I am really psyched that it is a girl! I would have been happy for a boy too, but with a girl, I will get to experience some things I never experienced before. Such as: a pink Barbie cruise ship! I know, I know. But there's one in the playroom and I've secretly coveted it for ages.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

So...I found out that it's a girl. At first I giggled in disbelief. A lot of the parents I know have 2 boys or 2 girls, so even though a lot of people were saying it was a girl, I wasn't sure. It will be nice to have variety, although I would have loved a little boy too. I think they are huggable teddy bears and it would have been a nice buddy for E. Hopefully he will like having a sister too.

The one downside is that my placenta is low. It's like this in 15-20% of women at this stage. 95% of the time, it resolves itself as the uterus grows. But if it doesn't resolve, I will need to get a C-section.

Monday, May 23, 2011

So I'm reading Summer and the City by Candace Bushnell. I like it a lot. I didn't love her other books (except maybe One Fifth Avenue), but this one reminds me of why I enjoyed SATC so much and why I liked the characters from the show. It's about Carrie Bradshaw, but she's 18 and just getting started in the city. It focuses a bit on her relationship with an older man, but it's mostly about her ambition to be a writer, a play she writes, and her growing friendship with Samantha and Miranda (Charlotte hasn't surfaced yet).

And tomorrow...maybe I'll find out the gender!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The suspense

I can't take it anymore! I need to find out. I don't know how anyone waits 9 months to find out her baby's gender. So far, everyone is still saying it's a girl except for a homeless man who offered his unsolicited opinion that it's a boy. I really would be happy with either. BUT I WANT TO KNOW.

We went to a gathering in Brooklyn today, outdoors, and a woman asked me, "When are you due? What sign will it be?" and a guy nearby (whom I'd never met before) burst out laughing and said it was the girliest conversation he'd ever heard.

I'm going to see Bridesmaids with a friend tomorrow. Hopefully it will be good. The last movie I saw in the theater was Barney's Version and it kinda scarred me for life (like The Book of Mormon on stage). I need to see the new Woody Allen play when it comes out to wash the vile flavor of Mormon out of my mouth.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

So...I noticed Blogger ate a few of the comments on my last post. It happened to another blogger I know, too. Hmm.

It's raining out and I think it's going to be a week of the same. Oh well. No drought here.

I'm reading If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This...I avoided this for a while because of the bleak title and I don't usually like short stories, with a few exceptions (Lorrie Moore, Alice Munro). But it's quite good. Last night I finished Sarah Dessen's new novel, What Happened to Goodbye, which I liked a lot.

This morning I woke up feeling strange, in a good way, and noticed that most of the nausea is gone. I don't know whether this is the promise of 2nd trimester, being fulfilled a week late; or if roughhousing a bit with E last night hurt things somehow. I mostly know that this fear is irrational.

Monday, May 09, 2011

So yesterday was Mother's Day. I got to be a (somewhat) lazy daisy. It was cool. For dinner we went to this place near the river, very casual. The waitress balked at our ordering 2 quesadillas. She told us they were huge and we should really share. She threatened to make us stay and finish them. They were huge, but we ate most of them out of pride.

I've been going to bed early and waking up when it's dark.

Yesterday I finished The Bride's House by Sandra Dallas. It was the first book I've loved in a while. Other books I've liked recently are Attachments by Rainbow Rowell and The Uncoupling by Meg Wolitzer.

And I'm still a bit nauseous, even though I'm 14 weeks now (as of Saturday). I have my anti-nausea meds and a bunch of "preggie drops." Hopefully I won't be low-level queasy for the next six months.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

I'm feeling really impatient. I want to know the baby's gender! People keep telling me it's a girl (based on my belly, I guess) but I kind of feel like it's a boy. I'd be happy with either but it will be easier to name the girl. I may or may not find out on May 24th. I have a feeling it's going to cross its legs or something...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

So, um. I'm pregnant. Just letting you know. I don't know the gender yet, but random people are telling me it's a girl. And they were right last time (when they told me E was a boy, before I found out for sure).

And the pregnancy is different. With E I had nausea but not much vomiting. With "Sossie" (temporary, not real name) the nausea was so extreme that the doctor prescribed meds. Although I think my body has gotten used to them because they are no longer working quite as well. They do take the edge off, so to speak.

So I am hanging on till 12 weeks (this Saturday) and hopefully the nausea will end then. I had the nuchal translucency ultrasound (everything looked good, apparently) and in one shot I could make out the five curled digits on one tiny hand.

Sunday, April 17, 2011



So we went to a birthday party in Brooklyn today. After everybody met in a corner of the park (it's a big park), the boy's father instructed us to go to another area of the park for soccer. I dragged behind a bit, eating a cupcake and then heading out. We found a group of toddlers playing soccer and wondered where the birthday boy was. But we knew they had to pick up pizza and a cake, so we thought maybe they took their son with them. We didn't recognize any of the parents in the group, though.

After a while I got bored with the soccer and went back to the area where we started out. The boy's mom (a friend of ours) and her mom were there. I headed back to the soccer area with my friend. But when we approached the soccer area, she kept on going. We came to a smaller group of children with two soccer teachers in orange, instead of the large, athletic teachers wearing blue in the other group. That's when I realized we had gone to the wrong soccer group. OOPS.

E had a great time anyway.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

So today I got a pedicure, which is one of my guilty pleasures. I've never had a manicure, but I like having my toes done. I was a little startled to see that the pedicurist was a man, a 40-something Asian fellow with a shaved head. He seemed like a nice guy. I also thought he did a good job with the pedicure. BUT. At one point in the proceedings, they put a hot towel on your feet. It was a white towel.

After he had already started rubbing my feet with the towel, I noticed what looked like a tiny red spot of blood. I would have said something but I was stunned. Then I saw that he was careful not to let the spot make contact with my skin. So he must have seen the spot too.

Weird, huh? If it happened again, I would just say, "Could I have a new towel, please?" But I was too surprised.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Peanut butter

I've always had a bit of a love affair with peanut butter. As a child, my favorite sandwiches were peanut butter and jelly (but not marshmallow so much) and tuna fish (primarily for the Miracle Whip that's mixed in - I guess it's loaded with mercury though). Plus I don't eat fish anymore anyway. But peanut butter, I still eat.

For a while I dutifully bought those organic peanut butters that separate. You have to mix in the gross-looking oil. Then they got the hang of preventing separation. Still missing something, somehow. Then I discovered Peanut Butter & Co.'s peanut butter with sweet white chocolate mixed in. Actually, a neighbor left it on our doorstep. I think she meant it for E, but what the hey. It was delish. And that was my go-to peanut butter until today, when I wanted something...different.

Enter Peter Pan crunchy peanut butter. It has no HFCS and it is fabulous.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ha...that didn't last long, did it? I guess I am not good at the not-blogging thing. In time I can talk about some things that are going on in real life. For now, I just wanted to mention that I am reading Major Pettigrew's Last Stand and really enjoying it. Gentle British comedy. I picked it up a while back and couldn't get into it, but I'm glad I gave it another try. Sometimes you have to be in the right mood for something.

I can't wait for spring.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hiatus

I've been thinking about it and it's probably time for me to take a break from blogging. I might be back in a month or two, who knows. But right now there is too much going on in real life, and it just feels forced to come over here and crank out posts. I'll still be reading your blogs. See you on the flip side :)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

It's kind of embarrassing, but I think I'm running out of things to say on this blog. It makes sense if you think about it, because I've been blogging since 2005, every month, and in the beginning I wrote much more frequently. But I'm not ready to throw in the towel just yet.

I saw the movie Barney's Version recently. I wrote a post about it, then deleted it, because I didn't want to give the plot away in case someone wants to see it. But suffice it to say, it was bad. I did read a review of Limitless that made it sound intriguing. I'm kind of burned by Barney's Version, though; I may wait for the video. I canceled Netflix and now watch movies on Amazon for $3.99 a pop. It makes more sense fiscally because I don't watch that many movies. Netflix requires volume.

I haven't started a new book since I finished Orange is the New Black. I realized it is more restful to wait for a good book to come out rather than scramble to find a mediocre novel just so you can be reading something. On Monday, a new Kate Atkinson book comes out, followed by a new Alexander McCall Smith on Tuesday. So one of those will be my next pick.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Whew! I am trying to keep my head together because I'm busier right now than I've been in my entire life. Makes law school and taking the bar look like a picnic. Good thing we gals can multitask.

But I wanted to tell you I am reading a good book - Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison. It's about a Smith grad who smuggles drug money into O'Hare and ends up in federal prison ten years later. Surprisingly, she's a really sympathetic narrator and it's a glimpse into a world I (hopefully) will never see. It's worth checking out.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

So I'm reading 3 books right now - The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman, Hissy Fit by Mary Kay Andrews, and The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen. I usually only read one book at a time, but this is kind of fun. I avoided The Imperfectionists for a long time - it's about an English-language paper in Rome, and the beginning of the first section just didn't grab me. But I persevered and it really improves. It's a clever story.

Hissy Fit is basically mindless fun (which I enjoy). The Peach Keeper is an advance reviewer copy that came in the mail today. I loved her previous book, The Sugar Queen. Today we are taking E to a birthday party where there will be Cuban food and a magician. I've never been to a birthday party with a magician before.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum

So we got 2 preschool letters. The place where they seemed very nice, but didn't like E's summer birthday (because it meant he would be the oldest in the 2/3 group or the youngest in the 3 group) wait-listed him. The place where they were evil and had a stress playdate said no. They can bite me :)

I'm reading Minding Frankie by Maeve Binchy. It was a little slow getting going, but she is the master of the Irish saga. Love it.

We're waiting to hear from one other school. If he doesn't get in there, a few people have recently recommended some programs. Apparently the Y has one - it wasn't in the preschool book where I got my information, but maybe word of mouth is a better source anyway. I'm beginning to think that's true of life in general. It pays to be plugged in to the community.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Just finished The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag, the second in the Flavia de Luce mystery series, by Alan Bradley. It's interesting, I tried to read the first one, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, a few years ago, and couldn't get into it. Then the third one, A Red Herring Without Mustard, came out recently and pulled me in right away. The beginning was arresting: Flavia goes to a Gypsy's tent to get her fortune told, and it's suitably ominous; then the tent bursts into flames. So having finished the third, I went back and read the first two, and now I'm a bit in mourning that they're over. Flavia, at 11, is a cross between Harriet the Spy and Lemony Snicket: sardonic and brilliant. She also reminds me of Janie from Harriet the Spy, because they both love chemistry.

Monday, February 21, 2011

French Milk

I just finished such a great book - French Milk. It took me a few pages to get into - the mix of traditional narrative and sketches took some getting used to. But the author's enthusiasm was infectious. It's the story of the 6 weeks she spent in Paris with her mother, as a 22nd birthday present, and this is her illustrated journal. It made me want to go back to Paris. I haven't been since 1996, on a student budget, and all I really remember is the Louvre (which was fantastic).

Friday, February 18, 2011

Gratitude list

I haven't done one of these in a while...so here goes.

My friend TN, from college. A gentle soul and excellent listener.
My friend B, also from college. A free-spirited artist.
The full moon. There is one tonight, and there was also one when I was born. (I learned this in my astrology phase; when you look up your moon sign, you also find out the phase the moon was in.)
Magic. Not the magician kind, but life's capacity to delight and surprise.
New York City. It has its flaws, but has a special energy all its own.
Cupcakes! I don't have one every day, but I love 'em. And the city has enough cupcakeries to provide lots of variety.
Books.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The little things

It's amazing how small things can make a difference. For the past few days, I've been on a quest for the perfect pair of sneakers. Finally, I realized that I was in denial about my foot width. My feet have gotten wider and there's just no getting round it. So I'm wearing a pair of wide New Balance shoes, and my feet are happy.

Another good thing is the spectacular weather. The sun showed its almost-forgotten face and the snow seems to be behind us (although there is a rumor of a dusting next week, which I will just choose to ignore).

The decision letters from E's preschool will be mailed on March 1st. I think he will get into at least one. If not, we will come up with creative solutions. The main benefit of getting into preschool is that we wouldn't have to go through this rigmarole again for kindergarten. But, whatever. We'll survive.

And I'm reading a very good book, The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown. It's about the three daughters of a Shakespeare scholar, and the meaning of "weird" is taken from Macbeth - slightly supernatural, linked to the notion of fate. Each sister is struggling with her destiny in some way. It's interesting.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Philly pictures

As requested, here are the pictures from my Philly trip.


This was a street near our hotel...I thought it looked rather French.


This red taxi surprised me...every cab is yellow in New York.

E at Little Pete's Diner with his new stacking, numbered cups (a gift from the hotel). He loves chanting the numbers and making towers...not sure why he looks so serious.

The museum! As you can see, the stairs are no joke.

Buddha, viewed from the side.

A Monet I've never seen before.

A Monet I've seen before. Pretty, isn't it?

A statue of an elephant and its child at the Philadelphia Zoo (which is apparently the oldest zoo in the country).

A tiger taking a nap. Just like a big, fluffy kitten.

A peacock, strolling freely through the grounds. It did sport a white tag on its ankle.

A polar bear heading toward an apple. He's about to eat it.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

City of brotherly love

So D and I decided to come to Philly this morning and leave tomorrow afternoon. We planned the trip a while ago and it turned out we couldn't cancel it without paying the full price for the hotel. I am glad we went through with it, because I am mostly feeling better, and it's really cool to be in a new place. We've spent some time in the suburbs of Philly, but never in the city proper, which is much nicer.

After we got here, we went to Little Pete's Diner for lunch. It was basic but enjoyable. Then we went to the Philly art museum which definitely exceeded my expectations. I think we are the only people who have ever walked there. The sidewalk actually ended en route so we were walking in the breakdown lane. It wasn't a real highway, but still. E was on D's shoulders. Then we had to walk up the famous Rocky steps (D estimated that there were 99 of them). So we definitely got our exercise for the day.

I liked how the museum was a little more relaxed than the Met. People smiled at our little puffin running around. He stared at the Hindu statue of Ganesh and said "Oooh!" when he saw a two-headed lion nearby. He wasn't so interested in the Impressionists, but I thought they were lovely. I took a picture of a Monet I hadn't seen before and one that I had. If I remember later, I'll put some pictures up.

Then for dinner, we were planning to go someplace casual, maybe Mexican, but everywhere was booked up because it's Valentine's Day weekend. So we went to Smith & Wollensky, which happened to have a spot, and was convenient. I always forget that steakhouses have great vegetarian sides. This place was no exception. I had a delicious chopped salad and then we shared some truffled macaroni and cheese and broccoli florets. The mac and cheese was divine. Tomorrow we are going to try to go to the zoo, after some challah French toast.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hazy shade of winter

So E and I are sick at the same time. Serves us right for being social :( We took him to a birthday party on Saturday, and I accompanied him to a music class on Monday. Both occasions were chock-full of sick little kids. At the music class, one child went up to the guitarist and fiddled with the knobs on her guitar. The guitarist sang, "Please don't do that, it will make my guitar sound funny; oh well, too late." I found out that she is an opera singer. She doesn't have an imposing presence, though; very down-to-earth and sweet.

I'm finishing up The Swan Thieves and I'm a little sad about it. It was a nice, long book to get immersed in. The rest of the books in my pile are: Drinking Closer to Home by Jessica Anya Blau, The Red Garden (Alice Hoffman's newest), and The God of the Hive (the most recent entry in the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series).

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

So E has decided that he doesn't like the stroller anymore. This means we have to walk super slowly everywhere we go (though it is very cute to watch him walk), and I have to restrain him from crossing the street when we don't have the light. He doesn't seem to like limits of any kind.

I wouldn't mind going so slowly if it weren't so cold. Is it spring yet?

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

A lark

So I just took the Jeopardy online test, for fun. My mom took it too. She recommended it to me - she has always said I am good at it when we watch together. There were 50 questions on the online quiz. I think I got all the literature ones. I found myself guessing on some of the other categories. One clue was, "The order of Leopold is the highest honor in this country." I guessed Austria. My favorite clue: "A deluge of borzois and tabbies." Raining cats and dogs :)

I'm reading The Swan Thieves and enjoying it very much. This comes as a surprise because I could not get into The Historian (Elizabeth Kostova's previous novel) AT ALL. On the other hand, I guess it's not a surprise because I do find art more interesting than vampires.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

So the last of E's playdates was today. It will be interesting to see what happens. Each playdate was very different. The first one was actually called a "family meeting" and just involved us walking through the school with E and the head of admissions, then meeting the director of the school.

The second one was a "stress playdate," where the head of admissions and some other stone-faced woman frowned and took notes the whole time as the children were basically expected to perform like show ponies.

The third one (today) was somewhere in between; there seemed to be some observation and assessment, with the director commenting on how quickly E completed his puzzles. It seems like E is smart, but not a joiner. He does his own thing and does it fast and well, but doesn't seem terribly interested in following the crowd. It didn't seem to bother this director. At school #2, they really like lemmings, I think.

Anyway, it's over. And I for one am very grateful.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

So I saw the Iron & Wine concert tonight. It was one of the best concerts I've been to. The music was lovely, and the singer was, well, *different* (in a fun way). Apparently he has a Ph.D. and was a music professor before his singing/guitar career took off. At one point he was singing, paused and said, "Oh, shit" (I guess he forgot the words, or fumbled them) and then picked up where he left off. Everyone cheered supportively.

One of the things I liked about the concert was, they didn't confuse "loud" with "good." They had interesting, poetic lyrics and beautiful melodies (only one dud in 2 hours).

Friday, January 28, 2011

It feels like a Saturday to me, maybe because both boys are still sleeping. We've gotten an unbelievable amount of snow this winter. Yesterday, the sidewalks were a mess...not stroller-friendly at all. However, they were plowed down to a certain street, so we took E to a diner on that corner. He has been feeling a little under the weather, though the fever and cough seem to have passed, and at this stage he just seems to need a lot of rest. Poor little cub.

When we were eating, a mom from my building showed up with her two daughters. The younger girl will be turning one next weekend and she invited us to her birthday party. She perched on her mama's lap and ate avocado and noodles.

On Facebook, I mentioned that I like Iron & Wine (a mellow, folk-ish group, if you haven't heard of them) and D's cousin's wife said she wished she had known, because she has tickets to see them this weekend. Then the next day she emailed me and invited me to the concert. So that should be fun. I'm a recent convert but I like a lot of their songs, particularly from their second CD, Our Endless Numbered Days.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The pile



E and I went to Barnes & Noble today. He had great fun tearing up and down the aisles. I'm currently reading The Love Goddess's Cooking School by Melissa Senate. It's about a woman who takes over her grandmother's cooking school in Maine and learns to cook in the process. I'm enjoying it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

So...I've been trying not to dwell on this too much, but it's what's on my mind, so I'll write a brief post about it. As you may know, the nursery school admission process in New York is insane...there is even a documentary about it, called Nursery University. I actually had fun (or an okay time, anyway) filling out his applications, but now I'm in the thick of interviews/playdates, and it's not so much fun. So that's why I might not be blogging too much.

We applied to 4 schools - we initially chose 2, but then learned that one of them had 16 seats available and 90 applicants (actually less than 16, because some slots are reserved for siblings). So far, E didn't beat the lottery at 1 school. He did beat it at another school, and the remaining 2 didn't have lotteries. So we're going through the interview/playdate nonsense for those 3 schools. 1 school is completely finished, another will be done tomorrow and the last in February. Decision letters will go out in March. (Yes, it really is like college.)

If he doesn't get in anywhere, I'm sure we'll work something out. Still, it's stressful. I feel envious of people who live in other parts of the country, can just walk into a school, and sign their kids up for a program. At the same time, I realize this will not matter AT ALL in five years, and in the scheme of things, this problem is small.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Leek quiche

I had a nice surprise with my cooking today. I've heard that the best cooking arises from mistakes, but I've always been a by-the-book cook so I never had the chance to find out. Well, today I started cooking a quiche and realized I only had 2 eggs. (The recipe called for 4, but I'd been planning to use 3.) I decided to make it anyway, since I'd already chopped up the leeks.

I awaited the results with some trepidation, but I think it's one of my favorite quiches so far. Here's the way I made it:

2 cups leeks, rinsed, chopped
1-2 tbsp butter
1 9-inch frozen pie crust
2 eggs
1/3 c heavy cream
1/3-1/2 c grated Swiss cheese
1/2-1 tbsp flour
sprinkling of Parmesan
1 sliced fresh tomato
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400. Saute the leeks in butter until tender, then spread evenly over the pie crust. Combine the Swiss, Parmesan and flour; sprinkle onto the pie. Beat together the eggs and cream, and pour over all. Press the tomato slices on the top of the pie and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a knife in the center comes out clean.

(Adapted from allrecipes.com)

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

So I just saw Blue Valentine, which I have really mixed feelings about. The acting was excellent. I was particularly impressed with Ryan Gosling. He seems to be able to play a wide variety of roles and do it convincingly. My favorite movie of his is Lars and the Real Girl. But...the movie was a real downer. Bleak. It was probably wise to release it in the winter. So...the next thing I see, I would like it to be light and happy. (You know, I'm going to get my wish, because the next movie I watch will probably be Secret Admirer, an '80s flick I just got from Netflix.)

I also started reading The Beekeeper's Apprentice, a sort of re-telling of the Sherlock Holmes story where he is a retired beekeeper in the English countryside and has a female sidekick, Mary Russell. I like it so far.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

I just finished a book that I really enjoyed reading - The Lake Shore Limited by Sue Miller. I usually like her books, but I avoided this one because I thought it was about 9/11. Turns out I wasn't entirely correct - it's more like a whisper of 9/11, and in a fairly original way. I recommend it if you've liked her other books, or if you just like a quiet, thoughtful, contemplative book with interesting characters.

I tried a new restaurant today, the Tipsy Parson. For dessert I had a bourbon pecan sundae. I was grateful to be sharing it with D and our friend - it was enormous - but it was quite good. It tasted like they poured a shot of bourbon into it, but the waitress told us afterward, it was part of the gelato.