Monday, March 29, 2010

Reflections at Thirty-Five: Deyanu.

This will probably be an ongoing post throughout the day.  I am officially thirty-five years old today!  Or, as I will say for the rest of my life, I am finally thirty-five years old today.  Well, I won't say the thirty-five least I hope I won't.  I think there's something sad about lying about one's age, unless that person is fifteen and wants to get into an R-rated movie.

Tonight is also the first night of Passover.  Though I would no longer consider myself Jewish, there's something about being a part of Jewry that will occasionally inspire me on holidays to take stock of where I am and from whence I came.  Deyanu is a traditional Passover song; the meaning of the word itself is, "It would have been enough." As in, if this one good thing had happened to me, it would have been enough; but then, this other good thing happened, and that would have been enough; but then, this other good thing get the idea.

I'm feeling pretty blessed that this is the thought upon which I feel called to meditate on my birthday, a day that many women dread.  Particularly thirty-five.  Yesterday, I had a proper bra fitting with the lactation consultant at the hospital--because my girls have grown a good three cup sizes since we began this pregnancy journey seven months ago, and probably aren't done yet.  As I completed the purchase of my very first nursing bra, I remarked that tomorrow would be my big 3-5.  The LC moaned sympathetically and told me that it was a difficult birthday for her.  It struck me as a sad moment.  And a grateful one:  I'm really glad this isn't hard for me, at least this year.  I have so much good in my life right now:  I'm healthy and happy.  That would have been enough, but I finally married the guy I fell in love with seventeen years ago, who happens to be my best friend.  That would have been enough, but I have a remarkably fortunate and full life with my best friend.  That would have been enough, but now, we're expecting our first child in eight-ish weeks.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Saturday Round-Up

It's been a low-key week round these here parts. Health Care (err...Insurance, rather) Reform passed, and then it passed again. Duke is in the Elite Eight (about which I care not a lick, but DH does, and there's just that much less swearing, which keeps things pleasant for everyone involved). I had a ridiculous consultation with a pediatrician--He was terrible. I will write about it when I have my next consultation with a different pediatrician later this week. The house is tidy and clean. The weather is gorgeous. And I am interviewing a doula in about an hour.

No trip to Disney this past week to ride the Haunted Mansion infinity times--DH worked and is still working today. First day off is tomorrow, and with so many schools around the country hitting Spring Break this weekend, I can assure you we will be no where near the theme parks for at least a couple of weeks. It looks like we'll go to The Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens for the big 3-5 instead, provided the weather cooperates.

And speaking of my birthday, DH has been singing Steve Martin's "The Thermos Song," from The Jerk for the last few days. It's become something of an ear worm, and I feel compelled to share. You're welcome.

What I'm reading this morning:

Friday, March 26, 2010

Follow Friday

Taking a cue from Twitter, I'd like to thank Laura from Thoughts of a Career Woman for giving me such a sweet blog award earlier this week! I'm rounding out the first couple of weeks of a re-dedication to writing on a (mostly) daily basis, and I have to say, Laura, it really made me feel warm and fuzzy to receive recognition for my effort thus far. Thank you so much.

Here are the rules I'm to follow in passing the award along:
1) Put the logo within your blog or post.
2) Pass the award onto 12 fellow bloggers.
3) Link the nominees within your post.
4) Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5) Share the love and link to the person whom you received this award from.

Now, I'm not even sure I read enough blogs to pass along the award to twelve recipients! But there are several that I've read for quite some time, some are written by folks I know, and some "new" journals I've only just discovered and enjoy thoroughly. I pass the "Sunshine Award" to:

::Happy Mama::
Loving Life
Beans Mama
Finding Myself

Aaannnddd, number twelve shall be my exercise in irony award, to Stank. I'm braced for the flack.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Baby's First Book.

Mister Seahorse, by Eric Carle
DH's mom is visiting the Sunshine State this week; she flew in the night before last and stayed with us for one evening. A girl friend picked her up yesterday afternoon in her sporty little convertible Mini Cooper for a few days of gallivanting around Florida. I am more than just a shade jealous, but in a good way. We anticipate that MIL will come back to spend a couple more days with us before she heads home--she's going to do a little bit of mural painting on the nursery wall.

As it would turn out, MIL's friend is the wife of children's book author Eric Carle (The Very Hungry Caterpillar is perhaps his best known work). And she brought Pokey a present: an autographed copy of Mister Seahorse, which, of course, is perfectly apropos for a child who will spend a good deal of her pupae-hood on the beach, no doubt.

I think what's most charming about this book, which was not a part of my childhood book collection, is its true-to-life subject matter: rare instances of parenting in the oceanic animal kingdom. Even more unique, it is paternal parenting. It brought tears to my eyes when I thought about DH reading to Pokey.

What a lovely, surprising gift. And what a way to start her library, don't you think?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Thirty One Weeks!

Photo credit: NASA
This pregnancy is rolling the crawler to the launch pad. One mile an hour with an enormous effing payload. Why so slow? So the gears don't grind down and overheat under the strain.

Yeah. This is pretty much what I feel like this morning. Good news: I gained two pounds last week. Bad news: Lower back pain has me cranky. Good thing I won't have to lie about that persnickety pre-existing condition, a skiing injury from the age of twelve, any longer! Whew. That's a big load off my...err...back.

So. Thirty-one weeks down, who knows how many to go. I thought I'd do something cute to commemorate the final weeks or days remaining in the pregnancy...and since I don't really know for certain how many days remain, I'll stick with counting up, measuring my progression in the T-plus, time-elapsed sense. Since I'm a space geek, and feeling pretty geeky this morning, I'll stick with the space flight history theme. Doesn't mean I'll pick space every week, but since space flight educator and NASA historian are two hats I've worn in the past, I'll stick with what I know today. Makes me sound smarter than I feel lately; my pregnant brain is probably made of swiss cheese, just like the Moon.

Bruce McCandless. Photo credit: NASA
Ah, the ill-fated Hubble Space Telescope deploy mission. Not that the mission itself was ill-fated, but Hubble was. Launched twenty years ago, in April of 1990 on Space Shuttle Orbiter Discovery, soon after becoming operational on orbit, Hubble Space Telescope was discovered to have a flaw on its mirror. The crew roster of STS-31 is filled with names in the history books: Charles Bolden, Pilot--now the present-day NASA Administrator; Kathryn Sullivan, Mission Specialist--the first American woman to perform a space walk; Bruce McCandless, Mission Specialist--the first fellow to have used a free-floating space craft that attached to his space suit, called the Manned-Maneuvering Unit. The technology was abandoned as 'too dangerous.' Should there be a system failure and the astronaut float away from the shuttle orbiter, there would be no rescue. You've seen images of his test flights of the equipment. It's one of the most iconic astronaut images there are. In fact, if you type "astronaut" into Google search, this is the image you'll retrieve first.

Back to this mission: There was a great to-do about the gaff in Hubble's optical mirror, the butt of many late night television jokes and the subject of conjecture about 'wasteful spending' on programs like NASA in a time of recession (ah, yes, that's the ring of history repeating). That's not to say Hubble was completely blind. In fact, on my first day of college in August 1993, in my very first class--Astronomy for Majors--my professor strode into the classroom at the University of Texas at Austin and announced that the first two extra-solar system planets had been discovered the night before at the university's observatory, McDonald Observatory, located in West Texas. McDonald controlled all observation time on the Hubble. In December of that year, the 'rescue' mission was launched to correct Hubble's optics package.
Hubble Space Telescope. Photo credit: NASA
Hubble Space Telescope has become one of the most beloved pieces of technology ever produced by NASA. Just this past year, the final servicing mission was sent to Hubble, after both the scientific community and the general public protested NASA's decision to let Hubble fall silent; the cost of a servicing mission deemed too steep by government bean counters. The public and scientific community didn't think so, and a massive campaign to Save Hubble successfully resurrected at least a few more good years of observation time for a unique observatory that allows for study of the cosmos above the interference of the Earth's atmosphere.

Don't you feel smarter? You can thank me when you get this answer correct on Jeopardy.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Let's lighten the mood...

Look at these scrumptious linen baby shoes from LaLaShoes at $42 might be a little rich for my blood...but I am very, very tempted. Especially if I can find a matching outfit. May be perfect for portraits, or homecoming, or both.

Do you hear that? That's the sound of rationalization. It's a dangerous tune, and it's one of my favorites.

I'll tell you what I want, what I really really want...

Photo credit: Tony Ramao. Source: The Huffington Post
As a former, world-weary political organizer, I've strenuously avoided politics for the last year. Call it burn out. Call it fatigue. I finally worked on a successful campaign, and I could no longer tolerate the emotional, empty, patently false constructs of the inflammatory rhetoric--particularly from the now representational minority and their puppet news syndicates, but also from news organizations I used to consider reliable and fairly independent. I can't watch cable news. I'm tired of being yelled at. I'm tired of quick zoom, diagonal camera angles on news anchors. I'm tired of news anchors with no credentials whatsoever editorializing on issues they have barely a baseline vocabulary to describe, conjecturing with ill-conceived logic and a complete lack of freshman English argumentation skills. I want to shake the bottle blondes and high-powered, bleached teeth power suits and scream into their empty skulls, "Keep your lip-glossed, insipid incredulity to yourself!"

And that says nothing of how I feel about politicians and other fellow citizens guilty of that same lip-glossed, insipid incredulity and empty, emotional rhetoric, but I'll get to that.

My disenchantment goes deeper: I no longer watch Sunday morning political news shows such as Meet the Press and Face the Nation. I deleted all political sections of the nation's newspaper headlines from my iGoogle front page. If I want news, I'll watch PBS, BBC, or listen to NPR. I follow a few decent, professional journalists assigned to the White House on Twitter. I listen to "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me," but watch "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report," far more rarely than I used to, mostly because if I don't laugh, I'll cry...or storm out of the room in a huff. I tune in, mostly in passing, to the current political struggles of the administration, Congress, and Supreme Court.

That is...until this last week.

For the last few days, I've been cautiously lifting my head out of the sand to monitor these last stages of the Health Care Reform bill passage. While DH is watching basketball, I may watch C-SPAN upstairs as the vote is cast in the House of Representatives.

I'll tell you what I want, what I really, really want: I want for HCR to pass, and deliver a decisive STFU to the bigoted mouthbreathers in the 'Tea Party' and noise-machine news syndicates who've taken their disgusting rhetoric to new, offensive heights. Here's what I'm reading this morning, with a focus on incivility in political rhetoric and discourse:
Dear God. Listen to your nuns and not your bishops. Amen.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Saturday Round-Up

I enjoyed a tradition at T is for Teacher every Saturday when I would post all sorts of goodies non-work related that made my Big Day Off most enjoyable, whether it be podcasts to which I listened during the day, articles I'd read, activities in which I'd participated, travel destinations to which I aspired, or things I loved and wanted to share. I'd like to reinstate that tradition here, even though my days blend together more homogeneously than they had when I was working.

  • I listened to Episode 402 of This American Life: Save the Day. It's a good one.
  • Aveda's Foot Relief was a spendy indulgence I bought a few weeks ago, when the relaxin hormone kicked in and made my non-existent arches ache like they hadn't ached since I was a ten-year old gymnast pounding the hell out of the floor with my handsprings and tucks. My feet are tingling as I type.
  • I read this article from this morning: Unsettled: Why Israel and liberal American Jews are drifting apart.
  • I posted this link to on my Facebook page: Top 10 facts to know about health care reform. It does a nice, summative, non-partisan job of breaking down the what Health Care Reform will and won't do. I doubt many who fall Right of Center really cares to know the true details of reform--far better to deliver a staggering defeat to Speaker Pelosi and President Obama than impress stewardship for health and happiness upon The American People.
  • If you send a gift for Pokey, chances are you will receive an adorable thank you note card from a great stationery designer I found on Perideau Designs. She's changed her shop name since I first found her as well as her business model, but her stuff just keeps getting better. I'm all for promoting handmade. And I'm a stationery addict.
  • I will ride the Haunted Mansion, my favorite of all Disney rides, as many times as I want in honor of my 35th birthday. It looks as if we may visit the Magic Kingdom sometime this upcoming week since my birthday falls on a blackout day...which, as former cast member, I can tell you pretty much guarantees crowds I won't want to be anywhere near. I will also eat a giant turkey leg, buy a giant lollipop, and generally act like I'm 34 going on 5. I want a balloon, too. And Mickey Ears with my name embroidered on the back.
  • And finally, for now, I am researching Honolulu. Not for vacation, though. We may move. It would be a massive undertaking at a time when we have an infant in tow; when the housing market guarantees a substantial loss on our investment; but I can't help but be really excited at the prospect of living in Hawaii. What an adventure. More to come on that topic, I'm sure.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Thirty Week Check-Up

Some more updates from the land of Pregtasia.

I met with a new midwife this visit whom I really like. This is a big development. I struggled with the fact that my OB didn't exactly meet my expectations in my pregnancy care for a few months before I decided to switch practitioners, the last of which suggested I try the midwives because his wife delivered with them and they were wonderful. That's the best recommendation I could have heard. I'll write more about this decision at another time. Fortunately, there are three Certified Nurse Midwives in my OB practice for women with low-risk pregnancies, so I will return to this CNM exclusively for the remainder of my pregnancy and keep my fingers crossed that she will be the CNM on duty during my delivery. There's just no way to tell, unfortunately.

Pokey was *head down* for the visit, though I suspect she was just being "good" for the appointment. Exciting to think that she's finding a position she likes, though!

I am not gaining enough weight, and more than likely, Pokey isn't either. The CNM estimates Pokey has not gained much weight since my last visit four weeks ago, either, based on the measurement of my belly she took. Obviously, this is just an estimate; but my weight gain has been modest at best. So, I'm now on a rigorous EATING schedule that has me eating as soon as I awaken at 4 or 5am...a big meal...with five more meals throughout the day. Focus on protein. So far, I'm feeling exhausted and heartburn-y.

The fatigue has returned like gangbusters. I swear I've slept at least 16 hours a day for the last two days. Could be I'm just busy growing another human and need my rest. But combined with the loss of lung-capacity from Pokey's expansion, it doesn't make me feel all too effective as a person just trying to accomplish simple tasks, like walking to my car, getting out of the bathtub, and making the bed. I'm easily winded, and I need a lot of rest. It's frustrating.

Mentally, though, I feel good. I've begun talking to Pokey a good deal during the day, especially when she's moving around. She seems to respond to the sound of my voice. I don't sing much, but I suspect I may begin to subject my poor captive audience to Momma's favorite tunes...something I might be able to use to soothe her if and when she has unsootheable moments. Hope she likes Depeche Mode and David Bowie!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Importance of Communication in Marriage

"Mmm...unexplained bacon." -Homer Simpson

DH works hard, especially in March when his schedule fills to FAA limits. On some mornings, I'll get up with him to make a hot breakfast, particularly when he has to be up painfully early. I'll admit, the reveille schedule I'm on this trimester makes it a whole lot easier. Because this morning was one of those mornings, I made some real, center cut bacon (as opposed to our usual turkey bacon) to go with his spinach, onion and provolone omelet (is there anything better than cooking spinach and onions in bacon fat? I think not. Just wish we had some mushrooms to throw in there, too).

Now, I am a fan of the cremated bacon. Always have been. Chewy, greasy bacon makes me gag a little. So I cook it 'til it's just-this-side-of-Hell-burnt. We don't eat actual pork bacon often, so I never knew that my husband of seven months, whom I've dated since high school fkdawewrfej years ago, prefers his bacon chewy until this very morning. And what's worse? He was willing to suffer my scorched bacon. I had to ask him right out,

Me: I know the bacon is cremated--that's the way I like it. Is that ok with you?

DH: (pregnant pause) This marriage is doomed.

Me: What? Why didn't you say something?

DH: I don't feel right telling someone cooking for me how to cook.

Lesson: Let's have improved communication in marriage and avoid years of resentment. He could have carried around a bacon grudge for years to come. Bacon, sweet sweet bacon.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


So, about seven months ago, I began a half-assed attempt at a blog I envisioned as being an homage to my newlywed-dom.

Obviously, it didn't take.

Rather than toss out the baby with the bathwater for the umpteenth-time, I've decided that the warts do me credit. Everybody poops.

I miss my old blogs--T is for Teacher from the old MSN Spaces days, most especially. Finding a way to shift both life narrative and blog theme has proven a ridiculous and futile exercise. Instead, I choose poop.

I anticipate that as I transition from very pregnant lady to new-mom, I will have a lot to say about poop. But then, poop always happens. Everyone has an opinion about poop. And I miss writing, even if most of it is self-congratulatory navel gazing...or, bathroom-reading, if we're sticking with a theme.

So. Welcome to the Poop.

Thoughts at Thirty Weeks

Some observations at this milestone:

I've gained one inch in my waist since last week: now nearly 39" at the widest belly bend. In the last two weeks, I've gained two inches. The skin is itchy, but as of yet, no stretch marks.

The faintest of faint linea nigra has appeared in the last couple of days.

According to my home scale, I've gained a pound in the last month. How I've only gained a pound, I don't know. That puts me at a net gain of 13 pounds since conception; and 18 pounds since my lowest weight during this pregnancy towards the end of the first trimester when I was hideously nauseated. Though I never vomited, I simply could not eat very much and was repulsed by most foods and all cooking odors. Publix fruit salads and Stouffer's frozen macaroni and cheese were my saving graces.

As of about three days ago, I've begun to notice some swelling in my hands. I'm unable to remove my rings, and writing with my right hand has become awkward. The first night I noticed the swelling, I swore they were so gigantic they didn't appear to belong to me...Lou Ferrigno comes to mind.

My bellybutton is still winning the innie battle, but I suspect it will lose the war.

Gloriously, my worst and most persistent symptom, constipation, has begun to abate. Yeah, yeah, ew poop gross. But, if YOU'D been constipated every damn day for the better part of seven months, you'd talk about it, too. I'm not sure if it's because of all the additional calcium I'm ingesting from Tums to alleviate my heartburn (which usually arrives like clockwork at 3pm), but I'm not going to question it or think about it too much. I'm so relieved my body has remembered how to poop, I could dance a jig. I think I will.

I'm unable to sleep much later than 5am, regardless of the time I go to bed. I wake up hungry or deep in organization mode, as if I'm planning for a imminent famine that will never come. I really wish I could sleep later. I feel like I know my days of sleep-opportunity are numbered and I need to store away those hours like mad squirrels store nuts. But I already know the nuts are long gone.

Pokey is really jabby these days (hence the new improved nickname--she was formerly referred to more often as 'Peanut'). She's wrigglin' around quite a bit, seemingly more often than she had been, but I suspect her size has made her motions easier to feel as well as see. She finds ways of hurting me more often, too: I'm not sure how the movement is managed, but she finds a way to grind her head or a limb against the front exterior or very bottom edge of my rib cage. This is often achieved when I'm trying to eat at the table and must lean forward, or when I attempt to pick something up off the floor quickly, bending from the waist. The skin there is super taut, and the bulbous head or little limb poke queasily around the ribcage. I often shake the area to agitate her into shifting position--she really likes to hover up high, though she spends quite a bit of time transverse across my lower abdomen, too, and gives my bladder and other organs down there a good elbow or jab. The best part of all this, of course, is that DH can watch or feel my belly shift without much effort or concentration. When she kicks, I move with her.

I crave milkshakes at least twice a week. Also: Chicken McNuggets. Prior to this pregnancy, I hadn't eaten Chicken McNuggets since college...more than ten years ago.

Mood-wise, I'm less patient than I have been in the last couple of months, and I'm not afraid to let people know it. I'm also really sensitive to DH's cynical, dry sense of humor which I normally share. These days, I take smart-assery about the pregnancy, upcoming birth, and change in family status a little too personally when it comes from him.

Other than some moodiness and a return of fatigue, I'm feeling pretty good. I have fleeting moments of "OH SHIT I'M GOING TO BE A PARENT," too, but no real freak-outs. Mostly, I worry that I'm going to be rested enough to be patient, objective enough to make good decisions, and dedicated enough to be consistent. There's this gaping "unknown" around how the pieces of this puzzle will come together, and it's very hard for me to take it on faith that it just will, somehow. Her pending arrival is still very ephemeral. I said to DH in the kitchen yesterday afternoon that it blows my mind we'll soon have a flesh-and-blood common relative, and I began to cry. Good tears. It's only real because of him.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Watch out, Disney.

File this under: WTF? This is a onesie intended for a 6-12M old.

I can feel the feminist, political organizer, educator bitch mojo rising.

Photo from @PigtailPals on Twitter.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

News from the Front: The Registry didn't kill me...but it was close.

...Aaaaaaaaand, after several hours staring at the glow of my computer screen on a gorgeous, sunny day I can safely say we've registered for far too much stuff for Pokey. I included a funny note for visitors to our page:


I'm not at all kidding. I wonder how many other women wish they'd registered for a big fat jumbo book of deluxe carwashes after the bajillionth Cheerio is crushed into the carpet. Thanks to Get Born Magazine for the ideas.