Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A Look at Lent

I am not Catholic. Having said that, I feel perfectly comfortable exploring the vast mystery of Lent. Today, I was listening to a very interesting essay about Lent on NPR. Perhaps you heard it. I believe it was on All Things Considered.

Basically, a guy (a Catholic guy) was sitting in a bar with his Jewish college buddies several weeks before Lent. Somehow, the topic of Lent came up and he explained that you choose to give up something sort of as a representation of penance. He went on to explain that you are spiritually preparing for Easter, blah, blah, blah. His Jewish friends were fascinated by this, but they thought it was odd that folks would choose their own penance. "Wouldn't it make more sense," one of them wondered, "if someone else chose your penance for you?"

This fellow thought about it and realized... yes, that does indeed make a lot of sense. After all, if you WANT the cross to bear, it isn't much of a cross to bear, is it? So he agreed to let his buddies pick what he would sacrifice during that upcoming Lent.

His buddies went easy on him. They deliberated over many things, and threw out beer as a possibility right away, because after all, giving up beer would be impossible. Finally, they decided he should give up orange soda, which was what he subsisted on normally for those late night study sessions.

How brilliant is this? If you are going to celebrate Lent, what a great idea to have a friend choose for you! What a real challenge that would be. It worked so well for this guy, that his buddy called him every year way past college to tell him what his penance was that year. (One year, it was oregano, which must have been kind of like telling someone not to eat salt.)

Anyway, I'm not a super-religious person, but I certainly see how this sort of exercise could be spiritually rewarding. So since I don't actually observe Lent myself, let me know if you would like me to tell you what you should give up for the next six weeks. I'm happy to do it!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Skate with the Canes

Today, we attended a special event with the Carolina Hurricanes thanks to a Christmas gift from my mother-in-law. She got us tickets to this charity event that allows you to get autographs, pictures, and of course, actually skate with the members of the Carolina Hurricanes. At my current state of pregnancy, skating was out, but I did have a good time, as did both Chris and Athena. I'm sure Chris will have more to say on his blog, so I'll just leave you with this picture. Left to right: Cory Stillman (wing), The Mommy Librarian, Cam Ward (goalie), Athena, Chris, and Andrew Hutchinson (defenseman).

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Posse

You scored as Babylon 5 (Babylon 5). The universe is erupting into war and your government picks the wrong side. How much worse could things get? It doesnâ??t matter, because no matter what you have your friends and you'll do the right thing. In the end that will be all that matters. Now if only the Psi Cops would leave you alone.

Babylon 5 (Babylon 5)


Moya (Farscape)


Galactica (Battlestar: Galactica)


SG-1 (Stargate)


Deep Space Nine (Star Trek)


Millennium Falcon (Star Wars)


Serenity (Firefly)


FBI's X-Files Division (The X-Files)


Enterprise D (Star Trek)


Nebuchadnezzar (The Matrix)


Bebop (Cowboy Bebop)


Andromeda Ascendant (Andromeda)


Your Ultimate Sci-Fi Profile II: which sci-fi crew would you best fit in? (pics)
created with QuizFarm.com

Thursday, February 23, 2006

My Bad Side

Uh... if you say so...

Hairy Henry

People Iced:Fifteen
Car Bombs Planted:Sixteen
Favorite WeaponChain Saw
Arms Broken:Three
Eyes Gouged:Nine
Tongues Cut Off:Six
Biggest Enemy:Bad Boy Bart

Get Your HITMAN Name

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Compare and Contrast

So I feel bigger this pregnancy than last one. However, the measurements I get at the doctor's office every week dispute this. I am measuring almost exactly the same as I did with Athena. So I'm leaving it up to you, my adoring public, to decide. The picture in the blue shirt is from April 13, 2004 (about two weeks before Athena made her grand entrance...) so I was about 37 weeks pregnant. Picture in the green sweater is me this evening. I'm currently at 36 weeks. I think I look exactly the same... which means I am indeed a bit bigger, since I'm one week less further along. What say you?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Just Call Me Gorbachev

Pregnancy brings out some real funky bodily weirdness. Literally.

Yesterday, while eating dinner with Kathryn and John, my good friend looked at my forehead and said, "Hey, what's going on there? Is your melanin acting up? Mine did that a bit when I was pregnant."

To which I replied, "Huh?"

Sure enough, I went to look in the mirror, and there it was -- a map of Asia in a slightly darker pigment than my normal skin tone etched into my forehead just above my nose. I have no idea how long it has been there, nor do I want to know how long it plans to hang around. My hope is that people will just think I don't wash my face well until it disappears.

The irony: I often brag about how I have never developed that unsightly line of melanin going down my pregnant belly. So I suppose nature has sought her revenge by putting my mark right in the middle of my forehead instead. Nice.

Defying Gravity

I love water. I find it very soothing whether I'm in it or just looking at it. It's Mother Nature at her best and worst. It can kill you as quick as it can heal you. And when you get right down to it... it IS you. I've actually nearly drowned three times, and yet I continue to get into water every chance I get.

So I keep water around me all the time. If I could live on an island, I would. I would settle for being on a lake or a river. But alas, there is no such place around here. So when we selected this house, one of the features that drew me in was the tub. No, it's not a lake, but it is large and I can soak my body in it without feeling like I'm wedged into a clam shell.

I take baths frequently in the evenings anyway, but while pregnant, the joy of a bath is hard to describe. When I first learned I was pregnant with Athena, I was horrified to read that not too long ago, doctors advised women against soaking in baths or pools because there was a fear of infection. Fortunately, modern medicine has wised up on this issue, and now bathing and swimming are encouraged as the best form of relaxation and exercise, respectively. You still aren't allowed to soak in a jacuzzi, but that is because of body temperature regulation rather than any sort of grossness in the water.

I even considered a water birth the first time around. If you aren't familiar with this phenomenon, it basically means that you labor and deliver in a large tub of water, and the coolest part is that once the baby is born and before the cord is cut, you can actually hold the baby underwater (it will continue to breathe through the cord) so the transition into the cold, dry world is supposedly made easier on her (or him). It seemed to me to be the most relaxing and soothing of the choices for labor and delivery.

I didn't choose a water birth basically by default. When I went searching for an OB/GYN in the area, there were very few who accepted our insurance and were reasonably close by. This struck me as quite odd, considering we are very close to both Duke and UNC... two of the nation's top medical schools and teaching hospitals. Then, when I started calling the various practices that WERE listed on my insurance company's site, some didn't even answer the phone! This is NOT unusual around here, unfortunately, as there are a kajillion doctors in the area due to the large teaching hospitals, and yet none of them seem to take new patients anymore. To say it's a pain in the ass is to understate the issue grossly.

So I did find a GREAT practice, but it turns out they only practice at one hospital, Rex Hospital. It's part of the UNC family of hospitals, and it isn't the closest hospital to our house. (There are about eight hospitals within a fair drive from our house, and we could really deliver in any one of them if we wished.) However, this practice is really good, I really liked the doctor I met, and best of all, they answered the phone. Therefore, I chose them. And at this particular hospital, there are no birthing tubs. Ergo, no water birth.

Turns out this was a very fortunate turn of events for me. First of all, now that I know how messy a birth really is, I'm glad I wasn't sitting in a tub with all the goo of childbirth floating around me. Second, I actually tried to get in the tub at home when I went into labor in the hopes it would help me relax and soothe the contractions. I stayed in the tub for maybe three contractions and realized that I would rather be ANYWHERE than sitting in that tub. It was just uncomfortable and awkward. As much as I love water, I wanted nothing of it when I was delivering my baby.

That said, right up until labor begins, the tub is my best friend. I now take a bath pretty much nightly, sometimes twice a night. When you haul around 25 extra pounds jutting straight out of your abdomen all day, the feeling of floating in a tub of warm water is exquisite. Your body actually becomes weightless, and for once, you don't notice the heft of the baby pressing against your back, or pulling down on your belly, or even kicking your spleen. He goes from a kickboxer to a slow-rolling beach ball in a matter of moments. If only I could sit in a tub all day...

And the tub also helps me with the horrible insomnia that comes from pregnancy. Last night, I believe I had the worst night's sleep ever. Athena was up about six times in 2.5 hours with some sort of headache and stuffy nose, and I had a raging headache myself. After finally getting back to sleep around 2:30 am, I awoke at 3:00 just to toss and turn for another hour and a half. Finally, I got up and went for a soak in the tub. Ten minutes of relaxing and floating and my body was ready to hit the hay again. I swear, water is magic. It's the safest and easiest way I know to defy gravity.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

A Loss for Words - Well, Sort Of

I know of at least one reader who gets angry if I don't post often enough. So I felt I needed to post tonight, just to appease her. However, I find I have nothing to say.

Perhaps Chris' writer's block is contagious or perhaps the whole circumcision discussion has just drained me... but I really feel a bit empty and devoid of any useful information or even humorous stories. And this is very odd for me. After all, my favorite hobby is talking about myself!

Speaking of hobbies, perhaps that is something I can talk about. I have picked up my cross stitch again and I am very happy about this. I think my brain is finally settled well enough into my job and motherhood that I have a little creative energy when I get home.

Unfortunately, I started so many projects back when I was a religious cross stitcher back in 2000 through 2003 that I've sort of lost track of which baggies of floss go with which project. However, I'm figuring it out. Currently, I'm focusing on one large piece and one small one. The large one is downstairs and I work on it when I'm watching DVDs (lately mostly Sex and the City). It's called Stroke of Midnight by Teresa Wentzler. If you are not familiar with her work, it's VERY complex, with MANY different colors (often over 100). The end result is quite stunning however. Here is a pic of a finished piece... obviously not mine. I am a little less than half finished with it, which means you can see the top left doorway avec the Prince and the bottom left floral arrangements, plus the left side of Cinderella's dress. The dress is a total bitch to sew due to the massive detail work. (For those of you who stitch, all those bands in her dress are done over one. Fortunately, my eyesight is still with me, but I'm not sure it will be when I'm done!)

Upstairs, I have May's Emerald Fairy by Mirabilia. I started this one because I thought I would stitch it for a friend who was born in May. But I never finished it before we drifted apart. So now I'm torn between giving it to one of the millions of other people in my life who were born in May. Lately, I have been thinking I'd like to give it to little Jubilee, my friend's daughter whom I have never met but who I feel is like my neice. Anyway, no promises (especially to Staci)... I have to finish the thing first. It's stitched on linen and has lots of beads and sparkly things. It's daintier than what I usually like, but it is quite pretty. I am actually almost done with this. I just have the two right-most flowers on the bottom and all the beadwork to do. If I stitch an hour each night, I imagine it will be done by the end of the month if not earlier.

So I suppose I came up with something to talk about after all. Not so exciting for those of you who don't stitch, although I always find it interesting to see what people's hobbies are. I like stitching because it looks much more impressive than it is. Honestly, as long as you pick a nice pattern, it's going to come out looking impressive. And all I have to do is basically color by number. If I put the right colors where the artist tells me to... voila! I have a masterpiece. It's very rewarding for those of us who have no sense of color and no ability to actually draw or paint. I stitch therefore I am creative.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Snip Snip

There are many decisions to be made when you are having a baby: breastmilk or formula, cloth or disposable diapers, what to name the little booger... but with a boy, there is one other decision to be made... and it's not a fun one.

As if not being able to settle on a name weren't bad enough, we are also currently struggling with the "circumcision decision." (Cue all men to cross legs). When I say "we," I mean Chris. I actually declared early on in my first pregnancy before we knew whether I was gestating a boy or a girl that this would be a decision I would lay squarely on the shoulders of my husband. After all... I don't have the body part, I don't have to deal with it every day, and I don't stand around in locker rooms comparing mine to others. So really, this one is all on him.

That said, I am still reading up on it and trying to educate myself as to why folks do or don't go through with the minor (yet heart-wrenching) procedure. Turns out, there are just as many pros and cons to either side. It all comes down to what you WANT to do. I suddenly wish that we had religious beliefs that would dictate this for us so that we could just unquestioningly make the decision. Unfortunately, we don't even have blind faith.

So now I have to be sensitive to Chris when asking about it or even writing about it. (For example, he has asked me not to refer to it as "snip, snip," yet I continue to do so. But that's only because as much as I try to be sensitive and caring, I'm really just interested in making Chris squirm). I've asked others to weigh in -- men and women -- and although people often have an opinion, they don't always know WHY they have that opinion. I really think this is going to be the hardest decision for us (well, Chris) to make.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Only Five Weeks to Go

I am 35 weeks pregnant today. Normal term is 40 weeks. We're going to have another baby in five weeks. Holy crap.

Want to know how I'm feeling? Too bad, cause I'm going to tell you anyway... Here is a little excerpt from the babycenter.com newsletter I receive weekly:

Your baby doesn't have much room to maneuver now that she's over 18 inches long and weighs over 5 pounds. In fact, most of her development is complete. From here on, she's mostly concentrating on fattening up. You don't have a lot of room to grow either — your uterus is now about 15 times its normal size.

Once again, I say, "Holy crap!" Both my husband and my coworkers have been marvelling at my profile. People look at me from the front and think, oh, she's a little pregnant. Then I turn to the side and you hear the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey in the background. I am huge. And the baby supposedly gains a half pound per week from here on out. Words fail me here... oh wait, I know what to say... "Holy Crap!"

I am popping Tums as if they were mints because my stomach has been pushed up so far in my chest that is it working on digesting my left lung. All those Tums are not good for the old GI system either. I think they settle your stomach by pushing all its contents out the other side.

The sad thing is, this is my last pregnancy and I shall miss it, I know. I really do enjoy being pregnant. As much as I complain about it, I marvel every day at the fact that I am growing a little life inside of me. Even better, a little life that is part me and part Chris. Not to get too sappy here, but that is really way cool when you stop to think about it. Watching him dance and roll around in my tummy is really something to behold, and although they are wonderful outside the womb as well, you just can't get that same sensation back.

So in the next five weeks, I plan to enjoy this as much as possible.

Poor Puppy

A lost dog showed up at the doors of the library this morning looking for help. She had a bad infection on her rear, and she was dragging her backend. We were concerned she may have been hit by a car. She was a full-bred poodle (not a standard... the next size down. Miniature?)

Anyway, I wished my friend Susan had been close by, as she is the Queen of "what to do when you find an animal in distress," but we called Animal Control and they came VERY quickly. The woman who picked her up told us she was a girl and that it looked like the infection was a flea allergy that she had been chewing on. She also thought that the "injury" was actually the beginnings of a blown disc or hip problems... very common in this breed. She said it's hard to tell how old poodles are by their teeth, but she estimated this is an older dog who seems to have good teeth (that is, she is well taken care of).

So they said they would try to locate an owner, and they would treat the infection. If no owner is to be found, she said the dog would go to poodle rescue and would have no problem finding a home.

Quite a dramatic start to our day here!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Why February Rocks the House

Yes, it's the month of the evil V-Day. But it's also the month that Girl Scout cookies arrive at your door. Chris and I just polished off a half a box of Thin Mints. And I don't feel guilty a bit. It's good to be pregnant in February.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Walk Softly and Carry a Big Stick

Athena recently attended the second birthday party of her friend Aiden. Personally, I was alarmed at how quickly she took to the pinata idea.

Aiden got a playhouse for his birthday. We went to visit him yesterday, and here is a shot of them "playing house" together. Very cute, these two. (And no, the house isn't THAT big. Aiden's mom took this picture through the window.)

Valentine Schmalentine

I know it's totally unoriginal to hate Valentine's Day. Many people do. After all, it's a crappy little Hallmark holiday that has COMPLETELY lost it's attachment to the Saint for which it is named. Sure, he gets a cursory mention in most elementary school classes, but no one ever really remembers the story. They just remember "flowers," "chocolate," and "romance."

Now, I have nothing at all against flowers, chocolate and romance. I'll take any of those things anytime anywhere. EXCEPT on Valentine's Day. To me, romance is spontaneous (although often planned) and heartfelt. How on EARTH can anything be romantic on a day where everyone is EXPECTED... nay FORCED to be romantic? There is no logic here, people. And flowers and chocolate cost twice as much this time of year to boot. Bah, humbug.

So I have adamantly declared a ban on V-Day in my home for years. In fact, the results of this ban have only proven how unromantic a holiday it is. The guy I dated just before I met Chris gave me flowers on Valentine's Day even after I told him not to and explained, in detail, why I don't celebrate it. When I asked him why he got me flowers when I told him not to, he told me that he thought I was just testing him. *sigh* And honestly, he was probably smart to do that, because I am sure there are several thousand women who would have really tested him in that way. I, however, broke up with him instead.

But now I ask you... I have a daughter. My dad always gave us candy hearts and stuffed animals on Valentine's Day when I was growing up... and I did appreciate it. Because anything coming from my dad was wonderful and heartfelt and meaningful, even if it was on a cheesy day of the year. It always brightened my day when he did that. So I wonder, should I ease up on the V-Day ban next year? Or maybe even this year? Should I encourage Chris to get his daughter a little something so she won't ever doubt herself on V-Day? Part of the reason I hate it so much is because it is so horrible on folks who don't have a sweetheart. Why should someone who is already lonely be made to feel even more so? So is my ban actually selfish? Should I be more open to the holiday for my daughter's sake?

What do you think? Help me out here.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Parenting Reassurance

I have a horribly quick temper. That's not to say I really lash out... actually, I get sulky. And, for the record, I hate myself when I get that way... but nevertheless, it happens. I do yell sometimes... especially if someone is yelling at me.

Why do I share this? Because once in a while I feel that my parenting techniques are less than sound. We laugh at Athena's temper tantrums (which only pisses her off more... but hey... they are FUNNY!). We allow her to meander around downstairs and try things that might hurt her. We do stop short of letting her put her finger in a socket, but generally we feel that exploration is good. So of course, like any parent worth a damn, I often wonder if we're doing it right.

This is when it's good to work in a public place. Especially a place where people bring children. To date, I have witnessed the following:
  • A boy waited for his mom to come get him for 4 hours (from 5pm to 9pm). When we closed at nine, he alerted me that he had been unable to reach his mom and didn't know where she was. I called the police (our standard policy) and when they arrived, they knew his name. Apparently, his mom reported him missing several hours ago. She had made no attempts to call the library and she was not answering her home phone as her son was trying to call her.
  • A mother was browsing for books and letting her young girls (maybe 5 and 9) roam freely about the library. The youngest wasn't feeling well and sat down in one of our comfy chairs. She threw up in it. Her older sister came to tell me, then went to get her mother. Her mother said, "Okay, I'm almost done..." finished pulling books from the shelf, then checked out and LEFT. No apologies, and no apparent concern for the fact that her daughter had vomited or that we would have to clean it up. (I came down with a nasty stomach virus about 4 hours after cleaning it up).
  • A man came in and asked Jen (one of my loyal commenters) where he could leave his child so he could "get some work done." Apparently, he expected us to have a daycare service like his gym.
  • A woman came in with three kids (at least I think they were all hers... it was really hard to tell), one of whom had a project to do. The girl with the project asked for my assistance with the computer while the mother roamed aimlessly about with a baby who was absolutely screaming. From time to time, she popped the baby and told him to shut up. Her toddler was sucking on a lollipop and indicating he wanted me to pick him up. She was popping him regularly as well, telling him not to be a pain (he wasn't even old enough to be talking yet). When the daughter sat at her computer, her toddler brother came up and started playing with the mouse. She hit him twice... quite hard... and told him to quit it. He then turned off her computer. I almost hugged him. Unfortunately, she hit him on the head first.
  • I have spoken to several parents on Sunday afternoons who are at the library to gather materials for their child's report (due Monday) while their child is at work or otherwise occupied. Often these parents do not have the assignment sheet and only have what the kid said. These inquiries frequently sound like "I need everything you have on Chemistry." When I discover that they are actually gathering materials for their son or daughter, I ask if they can be reached to get more details. I am told "Oh, they can't be bothered. They are at work." I have twice been told, "just give me a few books and we'll make something up." I have to take a shower when I get home after situations like that.
  • A 13-year-old boy brought his 3-year-old sister to the libary one day before noon. He promptly got on a computer and started playing Runescape. He provided no food or beverage for his sister and left her talking with strangers (one of whom actually went out and got her a sandwich -- this is a regular patron we know well who homeschools her kids). Twice, a librarian had to take her into the bathroom to help her potty. He stayed on the computers all day. We asked him several times about his sister and where his mother was. "At work." He told us she was coming to get him at 5:30. At 5:45 I called the police. When they arrived, he was on his cell phone (which he had not produced all day) talking to his mom, and he told the police she was on her way. When she arrived, she berated me for calling the police. After all, "He is old enough to take care of his sister, and I was just down the street. He could have called me anytime."

So, in case you are wondering, I am Parent of the Year, my friends.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Stream of Consciousness

I haven't got much to say, but I don't want to leave that depressing, moody crap from yesterday as the only thing for you to look at, so here are some little tidbits from the lint traps of my brain.

  • Harris Teeter sells yellow cake with chocolate frosting by the SLICE. Good thing I only discovered this today.
  • When pregnant, a woman can produce enough snot to fill the salt lakes. Not kidding.
  • The F word is most impressive when issued from an almost five foot tall ex-cheerleader, soon to be a librarian.
  • My mother had a root canal Monday. The best part is, she said it was more pleasant than getting a crown. Apparently, my mother is part iron, part steel, and part enamel (albeit a bit damaged).
  • If one more person tells me how horrible labor induction is, I shall scream.
  • If a friend goes to Hawaii for ten days and doesn't even offer to take you along, is she really a friend?
  • There is an ancient (read: prehistoric) tribe of people on an island in the Indian Ocean somewhere who have completely refused to talk to anyone from the outside world and will kill you with arrows if you try to go there. They even survived the Tsunami. And you thought Lost was fiction...
  • Teen Jeopardy tonight had a category that required you to alphebetize stuff, and I got all but one question wrong. Perhaps I WAS supposed to learn something in library school.
  • When you wonder where all your Tupperware (R) went, it's time to clean out the fridge.
  • Hearing Jim Henson (as Kermit) sing "It's Not Easy Being Green" can still make me cry. This really baffles a 21-month-old child.
  • When people see your entire stomach move as your son shifts his position, it really freaks them out.
  • Not a single person I know outside the library has asked me what I thought about the James Frey controversy. So I'll tell you. There is a place in any library for James Frey's book. And no, it's not the Fiction section OR the Nonfiction section. It's called "The circular file."
  • Where are the Barenaked Ladies? I miss them.
  • President Bush thinks that it's a good idea to cut funding to Smart Start programs because technically, no one can prove they are working. I think it's a good idea to cut funding to the White House because technically, ...

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


It is a well-known fact that pregnancy leads to moodiness. How can it not, really? You are bringing another human being into the world and you will be expected to shape and mold it and turn it into a fine citizen. Or at the very least, The President of the United States. No pressure, folks.

It is also a well-known fact that women are generally moody. It's those hormones of ours. They do weird things to the brain. Some of us are worse than others, but few women can claim that they have never experienced a random, unexplainable mood swing.

And finally, it's a well-known fact that only women can be pregnant. Is this a recipe for disaster or what?! Take a person who is by nature moody, and throw a parasitic creature into her abdomen. Then tell her she has no more than nine months to prepare for its arrival and then she will need to become the perfect mother (while remaining the perfect partner in many cases). How is it that we don't simply explode from the hormonal mood swings while pregnant?!

So I have now entered moody hell. I am less than two months away from what I am sure will be beyond life-changing, and I am not really ready to welcome it. Just in the past 24 hours, I have come to realize that I may miss a huge opportunity at work (the kind of opportunity that only knocks once and could actually ensure your entire future success) because I would have to commit to a three-day workshop starting March 28. With a due date of March 21... I simply cannot make that commitment. This makes me angry, and then guilty that I'm angry.

I have also learned that I may well have to interview for a job I really want while in labor and delivery, due to the timing of when the job will probably post and close. Another topper is that there is another job opportunity kind of knocking around my front door that offers a much higher compensation, but will once again put me back in the position of making $15K or more less than a peer. I did that once, and although this peer will actually be competent... I just can't degrade myself like that again. So what might have offered us at least a year or so of financial stability may fall apart just because of my pesky principles. (I only say a year or so because the company I would work for is doomed. Literally. The writing is on the wall. I would be boarding a sinking ship).

As if all this weren't overwhelming enough, I've learned that my husband has been making assumptions about how I feel about something that is important to both of us, and now that I know how he thinks I feel, he doesn't even really want to talk about it. This is his right, of course, but it makes me wonder how many assumptions I've made about his feelings that may be wrong. And that, folks, is just depressing.

For instance, I may be just assuming he doesn't want to talk about it. I asked him if we could, but he didn't answer. Perhaps he didn't even hear me. I suppose that will get cleared up when he reads this, anyway.

If there is one thing I hate about people... it's that we assume way too frequently because, quite honestly, it's easier, and we are totally wrong about 90% of the time. I pride myself on checking assumptions and trying to be sure I am using valid information rather than guesses, and yet I rarely seem to ACTUALLY check assumptions. I sort of assume that I have made the right assumptions. The word "ass" isn't prominent in "assumption" for nothing, people. I am living proof.

Don't let this post get you down. After all, that's the great thing about moodiness... if you don't like the current mood here, just wait 20 minutes... it will change.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Technical Difficulties

Since Friday, I have been unable to post successfully. I tried to post "Say Hello to my Little Friend" like a dozen times. It woud post, and then disappear. We soon discovered that one thing that made it disappear was comments.

So... if you have commented on that post and now don't see your comment, please feel free to repost your comment. I haven't seen any of the comments that were posted until I reposted this morning. This one seems to be sticking...

My apologies for the technical difficulties. Seems moving text from Word to Blogger is bad. Of course, moving text from Word to most things is bad... I should have known.

Say 'ello To My Leetle Friend

Pregnancy, with its many drawbacks, also has one nice advantage. It is fairly free of accoutrements. This is very different from most other rights of passage in a woman's life. It is especially different from motherhood, which brings a whole houseful of accoutrements with it. However, occasionally, a pregnant woman does need to buy something or other to make herself more comfortable. Sometimes it's a pregnancy girdle to help alleviate the lower back pain that comes from carrying a watermelon around your waist. Sometimes it's support stockings to hide varicose veins. And sometimes it's hemorrhoid pads. Fortunately, I have needed none of these things. And I'm sure you, dear reader, are especially glad that I haven't needed the latter, because you can be sure that you would be reading all about it here on this blog. And no one really wants that, do they?

However, when I first learned I was "in the club" once again last July, I decided to buy a body pillow. Now, you can certainly make do without a body pillow when you are pregnant. But before I tell you how... let me first explain why one would need a body pillow to begin with.
When you reach a certain degree of pregnancy (usually by about half-way through the ordeal), "they" recommend that you sleep only on your left side. For many of us, to say this is limiting and a bit uncomfortable is like saying that the Sahara desert is a bit warm and dry. However, "they" do have good reasons for making this recommendation.

For instance, sleeping on your stomach would be simply out of the question. Even if you weren't simply afraid of crushing the little baby inside of you, it would be like lying over a large watermelon that kicks you all night. Not much sleep to be had in that scenario. Sleeping on your back is also obviously wrong, as anyone who has had a heavy cat or dog try to sleep on your tummy all night long can attest. Besides, when I do lie on my back for a few minutes to try to stretch it out, He Who Must Not Be Named ALWAYS starts kicking me. It's almost as if he feels my spine poking at him and it's uncomfortable for him. Then, if you really need a medical reason not to do it, there are a couple of major arteries that run down your back and if you lie on your back, the baby naturally rests on those arteries, creating sort of a "car running over a garden hose" effect. Personally, I prefer to allow blood to continue to circulate through my body, thank you very much.

You are permitted to lie on your right side if you would like, however, there is also a major vein or artery that runs down that side of your body, so once again, you risk some circulation problems. So left side is the winner, like it or not.

Now, when you lie on your side, if you don't have some support for your knees and your belly, you will find yourself with some major back pain in a short period of time. Hence the "need" for a body pillow. I put "need" in "quotes" because the same effect CAN be achieved simply by using other pillows that you probably have already spread around your house on various beds and in various closets. This is what I did the first time I was pregnant, and it worked quite well, all things considered.

There were a few drawbacks, however. The first was that all the pillows in the house were in our room. When I was pregnant with Athena, most of our friends still lived close by and my mother-in-law was not able to visit us quite as often from Texas. There was also no one else living in the house (for instance, Athena) that needed a pillow. So I could happily keep them all in the master bedroom and not be worried about it. Now, we have visitors far more frequently and I do get the impression that they like to sleep with pillows on the bed. Athena also has a pillow. This really depleted my supply.

Also, The Nest O' Pillows was a bit of a problem for my poor husband. I basically encircled myself with them to the point that he couldn't even really tell if I was in the bed or not... it just looked like a mound of fluff to his left. That is, if he could even get into the bed. We do have a king size bed, but pillows take up a lot of room, and the poor man was frequently teetering on the edge of the bed hoping not to tumble to the floor.

So for his sake, this time I forked over the $30 and got a body pillow. If you are unfamiliar with a body pillow, it's basically a pillow that is almost as tall as you are. And actually, for some of you, it probably IS as tall as you are... perhaps taller. The idea is that you rest your head on it at one end, and it runs down your body to support your belly, and then you tuck the bottom between your knees. There are also body pillows designed especially for pregnancy, that then run up your back again, and although this would be nice, they run about $70 to $80 and they are even harder to deal with than a normal body pillow.

Vicki Iovine (author of The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy) named her body pillow. So I felt a name was in order for mine. After all, you sleep with it every night... you should at least know its name, right? So mine is named Chuck. Chuck has been very good to me this pregnancy. However, Chuck -- like so many men -- does have his faults.

First of all, no human being can really sleep in one position all night long. Okay, maybe some of you can, but I certainly cannot. So I like to alternate between the right and left side. So far, I haven't lost all the blood flow to my feet, so I think whatever artery runs down my right side is successfully staying out of the way. However, to roll from one side to the other, I must also, in theory, take Chuck with me.

I sleep on the left side of the bed. So when I sleep on my left side, I can just tuck Chuck right under the sheets and we're all good. However, if I want Chuck to be on my right, I have to either:

A) Throw all the sheets off of me (and probably Chris), swing Chuck over my body, and then retuck all the sheets (easy way)


B) Wiggle around enough to make Chris believe he is living over the San Andreas fault as I try to drag Chuck under the sheets over to my right (hard way, but far more likely when I'm sleepy and not thinking about what is easiest.)

And let's not forget that the simple act of rolling from one side to the other when you are pregnant is just this side of impossible. Chris has frequently compared me to a turtle on its back when I try to attempt this daring maneuver. And I honestly have to say that I FEEL like a turtle on its back, or at the very least, a beetle. There is sometimes much kicking and twisting and there is always a fair amount of grunting and cursing... and the whole things ends when I finally say, "Can you stop laughing at me, you jackass, and help me up?!" Fortunately for our marriage, both of us are laughing hysterically at this point.

That said; imagine rolling over in bed while pregnant WITH darling Chuck along for the ride. I've successfully done this twice during the whole pregnancy, and if I woke Chris up in the process, he was very good about not letting on. Any other time, I have given up and I either try to sleep without the support or more often, I use Chuck as back support and I sort of sleep tilted TOWARD my back, but not on it.

Needless to say, this is where we see Mother Nature at the high point of her stand-up comedy routine. Pregnant women (especially those in their last trimester), don't sleep well... Chuck or no Chuck. And this is presumably to prepare us for the months of no sleep ahead of us when the baby actually arrives. Isn't good old Mama Nature a RIOT?!

*sigh* Chuck is calling... I suppose it's off to bed soon... perchance to sleep, perchance just to violently toss my swelling belly around the bed.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Some Cuteness

Since many of my recent blog posts have been of the grosser nature, I thought I might share something cute with you.

We have been playing "This Little Piggy" with Athena lately, and she loves it. She giggles every time. So now, she wants to play with us. She grabs my big toe and says "PIDDIE" and then she wiggles her hands up my leg and says "WEE WEE WEE" and looks at me to be sure I giggle.

Much cuteness.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


You may have read on Chris' blog about our recent bout with the Rotavirus. For those of you who have not had the pleasure, I will not resort to my normal gross-you-out-with-body-functions post. However, let us just say that between 10am and 11pm yesterday, Chris and I involuntarily completely cleansed our bodies of all toxins, food, and perhaps some G.I. linings.

I've had stomach bugs before. In fact, almost exactly a year ago, I came down with one at work and Chris had to come pick me up and drive me home. I literally couldn't function well enough to drive. However, even then, by midnight that night when HE had developed the same bug, I was able to at least function well enough to take care of Athena when she woke up in the wee hours of the morning, and I was able to eat within 24 hours of my first "episode." However, pregnancy seems to make everything worse...

Yesterday, I got home (I was able to drive myself, but just barely) and after a few more "episodes" I crashed. I had put in calls to the doctor for advice on what I could take and what I should watch out for. They called me around 1pm and recommended Immodium. We, of course, had none in the house. Neither Chris nor I could chance a journey out to the drugstore, so we rolled over and tried to sleep more off.

By 4pm, Chris was able to get up to go collect Athena at daycare. Just before he did, I took a turn for the worse. So I called the doctor again, and they called in a prescription for an anti-nausea drug. (And incidentally, hooray for insurance. Eight tablets -- of which I will probably only need the one I already took -- would have set us back $233 and some change. With insurance -- $30.)

So not only did Chris have to stop at the store for ginger ale and Immodium, he also had to go by the drugstore and get my prescription. And folks, if he even felt HALF as bad as I did, he must have literally crawled in there with Athena tethered to his ankle.

So the medicine worked well for the nausea, but the Immodium was a bit slower to take effect. Unfortunately, at about 7pm, we both developed a fever. Mine was 99.8, his was 100. (He wins). However, I was still way more knocked out than he was, and he managed to get Athena in the bath and get her to bed. I called the doctor again, because they told me I should go to the hospital if my fever got to be 101. Since it seemed to be going up, I wanted advice on whether or not I could take Tylenol to try to bring it down. I also started calling friends to see if someone could watch Athena in the event we did have to go to the hospital.

They told me I could take Tylenol. Unfortunately, no one told my stomach that and it sent me a message loud and clear... REJECTED! So I gave up on trying to stop the fever through drugs and just lay back down in the hopes it would break before getting too high. The doctor DID say that I could wait for the fever to hit 103, so I wasn't worried that it was really going to get that high.

By 10:30, I took my last Immodium and fortunately it worked... as I'd hit the maximum dose. By midnight, both of our fevers broke. We really did seem to enjoy a simulataneous sickness. And you know what they say, they family that's sick together... well, if you're lucky, you don't kill each other.

So today, our task was to rehydrate. I took Athena to school and I nearly passed out from having an empty stomach. So I had some crackers and they actually stayed put. It was a very exciting moment. The rest of the day was spent in bed sipping water and ginger ale, eating crackers and a peanut butter sandwich, sleeping, watching four episodes of Sex and the City so I could send the disc back to Netflix and sleeping. Normally, this would sound like a day in paradise. However, the underlying nausea and the unsurity of whether anything would actually stay down made it less than perfect.

I am pleased to report that all seems to be staying put... even the hotdogs we had for dinner. I still feel extraordinarily weak, but I'm hoping that I can regain a fair amount of strength before I have to be at work at noon tomorrow.