Monday, December 29, 2008

Fight or Flight: I'll Kill You, and Your Little Dog, Too

In my sister's little one street neighborhood in Mississippi, the neighbors all let their dogs run loose. If I go out walking or jogging, there are usually 4 or 5 dogs wandering around. They might bark at me from afar, but I think it's just to say "Hey, who are you?" Some of the dogs are big, but over the 2 or so years I've visited here, they've proven themselves to be harmless. They rarely come up to me.

Every few months, a new dog seems to appear. Today, a scraggly brown dog I hadn't seen before skulked near me as I was starting my 30 minute brisk walk. Strange dogs can be a little scary, but I wasn't too worried. I was fairly certain that if the dog bothered me, I would destroy it. I could completely see myself kicking it in the ribs, gauging its eyes out, and strangling it with my bare hands. That seemed completely feasible.

I attribute my ease of violence to the fact that pregnancy activates something where you are very defensive of your personal space. In the fight or flight, your flight is impaired by oh, 20, 30, 40 extra pounds, so you're ready for a fight. I truly think I am jacked up on some hormone. I feel ready to punch anyone in the face who bothers me or gets near my stomach.

I hope I never have the need to do that, but I'm just saying to the world in general, I will $&*@ing kill you if you threaten my physical safety.

Here's a pic of my sister's hood. Lots of open space between the houses, a cotton field at one end of the street, and a cow pasture behind the house on the other end. It's a little annoying and dull to walk up and down the road 5 times to get in my 30-40 minutes, but there is hardly any traffic. It's much safer and more pleasant than my neighborhood in CT.
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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Random Pregnancy Stories: I Amuse Myself

1. Me to ladies at fancy maternity store: "Yeah, only one of the 3 pairs of jeans I bought here really fits perfectly, so I pretty much wear them every day."
Lady: "Oh! Do you want us to order you another pair of the same one?"
Me: "Oh, god no. I just wear them dirty. It's no biggie."
Looks of horror of both ladies' faces.
Me, trying to make her feel better: "I mean, I alternate them every other day."

It's sort of true, I don't usually wear them to work two days in a row. Only if I'm really lazy, or, if on the previous day, I wore a longer shirt that hid the identifying pockets. I do put them on almost every day, though. Even if I don't wear them to work, I'll wear them out to dinner. They are so comfy and, unlike the other 2 pairs I bought, actually stay up. This is the only full body shot I have of my fave jeans; I'm putting my hair in a pony tail here. 

2. My new favorite song, David Archuleta's "Crush," came on our radio in the living room.
Me to husband: "Dance with me."
Husband runs away.
Me: Fine. I'll just dance with the other man in my life.
I dance around holding my stomach.

Click here to see the video on youtube. Actually, I recommend not watching the teeny bopper video. Just listen to the music. The video imagery is cheesy and nauseating; my husband says the actual song is cheesy, generic and overproduced, but I like it.
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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Mystery of Superior Earth Mothers Revealed

I find myself doing things that I found vaguely annoying when I saw pregnant ladies doing them.

1. Resting one hand on your stomach. That always looked fake maternal to me. Like, "Ooh I'm pregnant, i'm resting my hand on my unborn baby because I'm an earth mother."
No.
Pregnant people are doing that because they feel the baby kicking. Or, the baby is moving and they're trying to figure out what he's doing, and that's probably more interesting to them than the boring conversation of the people around them.

2. Holding stomach wtih both hands. That looked obnoxious to me, like they were putting their belly on display. Now I realize the mom is thinking, "Holy shit, there's actually an almost full grown baby in there." Or, "What the %#$@ happened to my flat stomach?" Or, "Good god, is that hard structure in my abdomen a head or a butt?"

That's really all I can think of. But in general, pregnant people always seemed to act superior. Now I realize they were just:
-completely distracted
-thinking about how weird they feel
-thinking about how they have so much to do to get ready for a new person in the house and they are just too tired to do it
-uninterested in what I was saying because they had so much else on their mind.
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Friday, December 19, 2008

Thoughts on My Other Blog

1. That I love posting about my husband. He is such a funny person, but so much more private and reserved than me, so I am always so gleeful when I mention him on a site that over 200 people read every day. For example, in today's post, I mention that he implied I burned down his favorite restaurant.

2. That it makes me tougher. My readers tend to be really positive (I have no idea why I get that lucky- I think I just happen to have cool readers), but occasionally, someone will say something rude. For example, the other day someone called me a sellout for considering buying a Mercedes crossover wagon (used!!! it's used!!! OK!!!). For an instant, I felt bad, then that was washed away by a "Whatever." Followed by "It's kind of funny to be called a sellout." I mean, to receive attention of any sort is pretty flattering!
Also, I like that other people have opinions.  I love expressing my opinions, and people read me because I have strong opinions. Why shouldn't they express theirs?

3. That I'm born to blog. I have a constant stream of words in my head. I'm always thinking, talking to myself in my head, thinking about what I'm doing and seeing and what I can do with that info. I've always done that, at least since college, and probably before.  I used to put all that in my journal, and it rarely ended up turning into any sort of writing piece. I would not call most of my blog post "pieces," but I've turned a couple posts into columns for a local paper, and I do think a few of my posts are well written. Now I only journal to get my feelings out. I miss journalling a little, but I tell my husband most of what I think, so I need my journal less now. Before the husband and blog, I had a LOT of thoughts floating around that I needed to capture and put into a semblance of order.

I could think of a lot more, but it's 3 am, and I should get back to bed because I am not really sure school will actually be cancelled tomorrow due to snow. Cough woke me up, plus, when I go to bed before 10, I tend not to sleep through I've been up since 12:30 or so, blogging, reading my google reader, etc.
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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hyper Fetus?

I'm getting ridiculous movement in my stomach the past few days. Not only can I see my stomach moving through my clothes, the movements are much more than kicks. They're like, rolls, and palpitations, and super-fast tapdancing, and pushing on my ab muscles. It's fun, but it's a little freaky because it's impossible to ignore. I can't not say, "Whoa!" when I feel a totally new type of movement. What will he think of next?

My husband keeps telling me he was a hyper child. I can't help but wonder if this baby is going to be hyper. I have a little ADD going on, so I hope this kid is not a total space cadet. I mean, I don't mind if he is, but his life will be easier if he's not head in the clouds hyperactive.

That's a photo of my stomach while I was doing this blog post.
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Coughing, Blogging, Not Sleeping, Rectal Kicks

Why lie in bed coughing at 3am, clutching your right boob, when you can be out in the living room blogging and eating a bowl of your favorite cereal with 2% milk?

That's what I say. I'm trying to remain positive despite coughing for close to 6 weeks now. Oh, the boob thing. Yes. I appear to have pulled a pec muscle from coughing, so now when I cough, my right chestal area has sharp pains. If I put pressure on the area, it feels better. Unless I'm holding a pillow, I can only apply pressure with my arms, resulting in boob clutching. I'm sure my students are wondering what the hell I'm doing, but at least I'm at work. You have to give me that.

Two weeks ago, I had a pulled side muscle. Just as that got better, the pec started hurting! Huh? I guess coughing a lot yesterday started it. Darn it, I thought I was better. I am feeling better, but I'm still coughing, and it's just getting OLD. I'll ask the pulmonologist about this tomorrow, since he only appears to work on Wednesdays.

Me to my stomach just now: "What are you doing?" Because I can see my stomach jumping around in the 3:20 am light of my laptop.
I've been getting some impressive kicks, and repeated nudges in low-lying areas, that make me say, "Yikes!" I really did not know the baby was going to kick me in the rectum and the cervix, but uh, I guess that makes sense. I'm sorry to have used the word rectum, but it had to be said.
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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Discussing Pregnancy (and My Butt) with Students

Last week, at 27 weeks (close to 7 months), I told my students I was pregnant. Turns out 11 year olds are pretty funny to discuss pregnancy with.

Me, pointing to my stomach: Hey, have you guys noticed this?
They stare at me blankly: Huh?
Me, turning sideways and poking my stomach: This. Have you noticed this?
Kids are silent.
Me: There's a baby in there!
They start shouting at me. "You're pregnant? Is is a boy or a girl? How far along are you? What are you going to name him?"
I let them shout at me for a while, then we got back to work. (Note: In this photo, you can see I look pretty thick around the middle, rather than hugely pregnant. You can see why people would not assume I'm pregnant, but rather, just porking up.)

When I told my other class, they also started shouting things at me, but they shouted funnier things than the other class.
Two of the boys said, "I did notice, but I didn't want to say anything in case you weren't."
One girl said, "When did you find out you were pregnant?"
Me: "Uh, July 1st." (Did she really want specific dates? I was surprised by the question so I answered honestly.)
Another girl: "Are you tired? My mom said she was really tired when she was pregnant with me."
Another girl: "Why do people gain weight when they're pregnant?"
Me: "Oh, well, there's more than just the baby in there. There's more fluid, and there's more blood in your body, and... there's other stuff." (I was not prepared for that question, and other kids were shouting things, so I gave sort of a bad answer.  I guess I also wasn't sure if I felt like teaching them what a placenta is, either.)

Then, I told my study hall, which is only 3 kids, and one was absent, so it was just one boy and one girl. We were doing some work, and I said, "So, guys, my stomach is getting bigger. I'm pregnant."
Kids: "Oh cool, is it a boy or a girl, when are you due, etc."  We chatted a bit, then I got up to go get something from my desk.
Boy: "No offense, but your butt's getting bigger too."

No kids ever say stuff like that to me, and I never let kids do that, but you know what, I brought up my stomach size, so I can't really fault him for commenting on my body size. Anyway, my butt's not getting bigger, so his comment didn't bug me. I thought it was funny, but all I said was, "You are ridiculous." I don't want to give his antics any encouragement. This is the same kid who asked me if he could call me by my first name. He's a great kid, but a bit fresh!

The next time I saw my study hall, the third student, another boy, was there.  I pulled out my cold medicine with codeine, because I was feeling like crap from my cough.
Boy, alarmed: "I thought you couldn't take medicine when you were pregnant!" (How do they know all this?)
Me: "Nah, that's just your first trimester."
Boy: "What? Your what?"
Me: "Trimester- first three months."
Boy: "What the- how many months are you?"
Me: "Almost seven!"
Boy: "Really? You don't look it. How long have you been pregnant?"
Me: "Um, since June?"
Fresh boy: "What day? What day in June?"
Me: "Um, June 11th?"
Fresh boy: "Oh my god my birthday is the 13th!"
Me, trying to get over the fact that I'm somehow discussing, with preteen boys, the date I conceived my child: "Uh... cool!"

I took some photos of my butt the other day,
a) because I like these jeans but they are too small and I don't think they ever actually fit me- they're medium and I should have gotten large
b) because I am pretty sure my butt's not really getting bigger. I'm putting on a layer of fat from my knees to my shoulders, but the butt is not getting disproportionately larger.
c) and because I just sort of wanted to get a look at my butt.

Turns out it's pretty challenging to photograph your own butt.





Here's a pic of my stomach, actually looking pregnant, but my stomach rarely looks like this. The way I was turning made my stomach stick out more. Usually, I look sorta normal, and I can still get away with just looking like I've gained weight. For real, I can.
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28 Weeks: 3 Months to Go

I find it hard to believe that this is actually what's in my stomach. I feel so good, except for this cough, that it's hard to believe I'm pregnant. If it weren't for the kicking, I'd just think I was plumping up. I probably am plumping up, because I have not exercised in oh, 6 weeks, because of my cough and icky feeling. And I ate a lot of sugar cookies this weekend. And a lot of Mexican food yesterday. And two cookies from the school cafeteria yesterday. And one today. Plus mac and cheese. My arms are looking fat for the first time in years. That's OK. I don't care too much. As long as my maternity jeans keep fitting.

I passed my glucose test, so I don't have pregnancy-induced diabetes. COOL!
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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Napping: Difficult But Worth It

"A cup of strong coffee might make you feel wide awake, but a small study suggests that for improved physical and mental performance, an afternoon nap works better." OK, but then the short article goes on to say the subjects napped from 1-3pm. That's not a NAP, that's a full on siesta. Of course you're going to rock out on cognitive tests after going through a full REM cycle, but how is that going to be applied practically? Who's gonna nap for two hours on anything but a weekend?

The weekday is when you need a nap to get all the annoying money-earning cognition done. But in a weekday, you're lucky if you can find a way to close your eyes for 20 minutes. You have to have an office door you can lock- or, if you are really desperate, be the type who can recline the driver's seat of the car and sleep.

Luckily, I can do both, and I always have a free period in the afternoon. (Well, a period with no students where I'm supposed to get actual work done.) I used to get sinus infections a lot, and I had to nap to make it through the day. I need that less, but I still keep all my napping supplies handy. Sometimes, to survive that last hour of work with 26 energetic and/or lethargic pre-teens, I just have to lie down and let my brain rest.
Here's how I do it:

1. I always put a rug in my classroom so I have a good napping surface- I kid you not.
2. At 1:05 pm, I lock my classroom door, shut the shades, and get out my napping pad and pillow. The napping pad is a superthick exercise mat.
3. I set my phone alarm, cover myself with my jacket, and curl up and try to fall asleep. My closet is a little too small to keep a blanket and a pillow, so the coat works fine.

Sometimes I don't actually fall asleep, but the full-on body relaxation helps me feel better, and at least I know I tried. And, even if I wake up feeling groggy, I know I got a little rest, and I take solace in that and muddle through.

Occasionally a co-worker will ask to borrow my napping pad and/or just lie on my rug, because for some reason, teachers insist on going to work when we're sick, or maybe we're just sick a lot. I'm freaking sick right now. I managed to sleep for two hours tonight before my coughing took over. That's why I'm writing this at 1:33 am. I couldn't stop coughing and I felt bad for keeping my husband up, so I might as well enjoy myself out in the living room. My friend/co-worker is sleeping in our guest bed, because even though I'm still sick, I feel better than I have the past few weeks, so we did our weekly Tuesday "Biggest Loser" girls' TV and gossip night.

If I go to work tomorrow, which I think I will, I can guarantee you I'll use that napping pad. Just knowing I have it makes me able to go in to work, because I know there are two parts of the day where I can try to nap for 30 minutes. It involves skipping meetings and/or not getting work done, but it means I can make it through the day- and maybe even be a good teacher while I'm at it.

I love napping. I have always been very good at it, and have even been known to set my alarm and get into bed for just 5 minutes at a time in my life when I really needed some extra sleep (counselor at an amazing writing camp for high schoolers). Even those few minutes of eye closure refreshed me, and then I was off to teach my Irish dancing or video magazine elective- two things I knew almost nothing about, but learned enough to teach. 

I can nap anywhere- Starbucks, outdoors, my car, the couch, in front of people- I don't care.

Shoot! I Just saw this napping kit, and got excited, then I realized it's for a BABY! Adults need napping kits too, and that's why I keep my napping arsenal at work.


Related article:
"Some Respect, Please, for the Afternoon Nap" by Lisa Belkin about napping at work.
Click here to read full entry.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Using Obama to Cheer Myself Up

I was driving home from work Wednesday, feeling very blah and icky. I've had a nasty cough for a month, and I wasn't feeling well. Then the thought crossed my mind, "We elected Obama. We elected a black president." And I felt happy, or at least happier than I had felt a second ago. I'm getting pretty down from having this cough- I coughed so hard Monday that I pulled a muscle in my side, so now, not only am I coughing, the coughing really hurts, and it hurts to sit up, and even if I start feeling better, I'm not going to be able to do full-body workouts. I'm pissed off.

I found a site that has some great pics of Obama. I have always loved photographs, and this series by Callie Shell at Digital Journalist is particularly good. She has followed Barack for a couple of years for Time, so the photos evolve from Obama doing tiny appearances two years ago, to speaking in front of hundreds of thousands. Pretty cool. Make sure you get all the way to the photo of him doing pullups before a speech. I'm sorry, but the man is a riot.
Click here to read full entry.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Batch Cooking: Healthy Eating for the Lazy

I first discovered batch-cooking with the book Diet Simple, and I've been doing it for years now. You make a bunch of soup/stew, then freeze it in containers so you have a couple weeks of healthy lunch or dinners. Since my husband will go nowhere near my vegetable-laden stews, I eat mine at lunch. My current batch is eliciting a lot of oohs, ahhs, and "What's in that? It looks so good"s from my co-workers, so I thought I'd share. Basically, it's zucchini, (pre-cut) squash, white bean, bulgur, spinach, cans of diced tomatoes and chicken broth. The only hard part of this non-recipe is chopping the onion and slicing the zucchini. Other than that, get out your biggest pot, open the cans, and cut open the bags of organic veggies. The recipe is impossible to mess up. Note: the squash made this a bit too sweet. I'd use less next time or use carrots instead.

The nice thing about this recipe is that you can vary it easily. Make it more Italian by using tomatoes with Italian flavor and elbow noodles. Make it chili-like by using tomatoes with chili peppers, black beans, and chili powder and cumin. In fact, that's the batch I'm snacking on right now as I write this post: my tofu chili batch with black and kidney beans that I made a month ago. It's only 9 am and I'm already getting nutrients and phytochemicals. I added Mexican cheese and it's out of control good.

Basic recipe:
1. Chop onion, slice a few zucchini (anywhere from 2-5).
2. Saute onion a minute or two, toss in zucchini, stir, saute a few minutes.
3. Dump in a can or two of flavored diced tomatoes, flavor of your choice.
4. Dump in as much chicken broth as you want. If you're using potatoes or squash, let it boil lightly on medium for 20 minutes. Or 30, whatever works.
5. When you have like ten minutes left of cooking, add the bulgur wheat. This grain is super-high in protein and cooks as easily as pasta. Boil it lightly for a minute or two, then turn it to simmer for 10 minutes. Or 20 if you get distracted.
6. Throw in a block of frozen organic spinach. Simmer for 5 minutes or until melted.
7. Turn off burner, remove pot from heat, let cool for 30 minutes or an hour or whatever.
8. Put into containers and freeze. Should make 8 or more 2 cup portions.

Another nice thing about this recipe is that you need very few fresh ingredients, so you can kind of make it whenever, without much planning. The zucchini, though, is pretty key for me, and I never make these soups without it. If organic red peppers were not $9 a pound, I'd include those. I've been going organic on red peppers, apples, spinach and strawberries since those are among the highest in pesticide.

I used to include more meat in these, but I've been feeling grossed out by reheated meats in the past year or so, so I no longer include turkey burger in my chili or diced turkey in my white bean soup. It's not worth the skeevy factor to me.
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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Celebrity Pregnancy Move

I'm cracking myself up at work. My students don't know I'm pregnant yet, and I figure I have at least 2-3 more weeks before it gets more obvious to them. But it's not them I'm worried about. It's their parents. For them, I've got a new move that I've learned from celebrities.
Whenever I see a mom volunteering in the library or main office, I shift whatever I am carrying in front of my stomach. Thursday I used a manila folder, and Tuesday at a parent meeting, my purse. One day, I wore a scarf long down my front. I'm sure they have not noticed a thing.

I'm not telling my students yet because... well, I don't want to break the illusion that they're stuck with me all year. There's a power in that. The classroom is based on the fact that they are under my control all year, and they know that. They know that they are my little captives. When I say read, they read. If I say close your eyes, they close their eyes. When I say do the hokey-pokey, they do it. But when they know I'll be leaving them in March, I'm afraid something will change, and my undisputed rule will be shaken somehow.

Also, it's just fun to have a secret, and go around with a large stomach, and pretend like it's not there.
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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ladies in Khakis: I've Had It!

As I've been borrowing people's maternity clothes, a fair number of khakis have come my way. I put on a pair and noted that I look like I'm manning a ride at an amusement park. (Emphasis on the verb "man.") Today at work, I was walking behind two coworkers wearing khakis. I knew then that I needed to make a public statement: khakis, I'm sorry, do not look good on anyone.

The khakis to the right look OK. But she's slim, these are more cream than khaki, and she's wearing yellow heels. That's called "stylish." Most people I catch wearing khakis don't have modelesque figures, and they are wearing true khaki-colored khakis. Khaki = ugly brown. The khakis are slightly baggy, making their figures look droopy. Those kinds of khakis are called "dumpy."

To all you readers who are wearing khakis, I need you to either
a) not care that you are wearing ugly pants, because you are married and OK with looking bad
or
b) take a good look at yourself in the mirror and ask if the pants are really the best for your figure. Pretty soon, you're going to be old, and your butt is not going to look as good as it does now. Do you really want to clothe your ass, in its last good ten years, in unstylish khakis from the GAP?

If you under age 23, and very slim, and wearing flip flops, you may wear khakis without question. If either of these is an issue for you, though, you need to consider the two options above. Chances are, you, like me, should not be wearing khakis, unless they cost $300 and are from say, Theory, or some other fancy designer most of us can't afford. If you are a khaki devotee, you should sincerely consider shelling out the cash.
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tupelo--> Memphis--> LaGuardia!

God I love the Tupelo airport. The same people who check you in are the ones who flag your plane in, drive your luggage to the plane, and do the final boarding. I got some good small talk with the security lady about how much weight her friend gained when she was pregnant, and the guy at the counter/luggage driver (who is actually right now flagging my plane over in the rainy dusk) got my boarding pass for me. My little prop jet is pulling in right now. Better run.

Had a great visit with my family and got to make fancy pancakes yesterday!
Oh, and Tupelo airport has free wi-fi!
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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama!


Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes! This is what I wanted to see!
There are so many great photos at the New York Times site. Really, it's a moment that needs to be documented. One of my favorite pics is of Jesse Jackson in tears. I loved Obama's acceptance speech- the fact that he tells his kids they can get a puppy.

I don't feel good, but one reason I'm going in to work is so I can be around people because I want to hear what they have to say about this!

I never thought I'd see a black President this soon. I'm a little annoyed that we're labeling him black, since he's also white, but whatever.

Augh they are such a good looking Presidential family!!!
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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Baby Countdown: 4 1/2 Months to Go

My husband and I have been unusually social in the past couple months. Every Monday, his coworkers come over for poker. Every Tuesday, my coworker/friend comes over, we watch Biggest Loser (usually while eating ice cream and cookies), and she stays over in our guest room. She lives in the city, so not having a 2 hour commute 5 days in a row is nice for her. Plus, it's just nice to have girl time. You know, catch up on work gossip and husband/boyfriend analysis.

From what I've seen, most people with young children (under age 1 or 2) don't do this kind of regular weekly hosting. I definitely feel like we're trying to work this whole childless thing while we can. (Oh, if I could drink.) I can't drink, so instead, I'm visiting friends a lot, and, rather than sitting on my couch, I'm getting out a little more.

I don't mind that this cuts into my TV time. From what I can tell, people with kids watch a lot of TV because they're stuck at home in the evening, at least if they want to be with their spouse. I'll have time in the future to watch TV.
Click here to read full entry.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Dumb Question

Student to me: Can I call you by your first name?
Me: Excuse me? (giving him a chance to say "just kidding")
Student: Can I call you by your first name?
Me: That is a dumb question.
Student: What, why?
Other students piping up: I thought there was no such thing as a dumb question!
Me: That's true for most questions. But that is a dumb question.
This student had been slacking in the past few weeks, so the chance to legitimately insult him was satisfying. Plus, his question wasn't serious.

I called his parents later that week and kept him for detention because I was tired of him wasting my time, and can I tell you, this week, he has been a work machine. I'm calling another parent today, and I hope that works out just as smoothly.
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Monday, October 20, 2008

Monday: So Far, So Good! Maternity Jeans Rock

"Oh my god I'm so happy I don't know why it's because I'm pregnant!!!" - me to self while making my allotted 1.5 cups of coffee. I'm allowed two, but you know, I'm so good at moderation.

"Oh my god this has made my day. Yes, yes, YEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSS!" - me out loud sort of to self but also to husband after I found out Colin Powell endorsed Obama.

I'm already in a great mood and it's only 6:51 am. I hope this lasts. Also, I bought two more pairs of $ 120 maternity jeans. I'm wearing a pair today, and am really excited because I am going to look so good. We got a clean bill of health at the 5 month ultrasound so I am going to tell the rest of my co-workers today if my 15 pound weight gain has not made them suspicious. Baby is 11 oz. and like 10-11 inches tall.

If that sounds like a lot for jeans, YOU just try wearing pants that don't fit you. And sitting down in them. I tried on the $30 pairs, and I just cannot appear in public like that. I also tried on the $ 80 pairs. No luck. All I ever wear is jeans, so this investment makes sense. I was wearing my one pair of maternity jeans every other day, and one time, two days in a row, and that's just silly. After you've been wearing too tight pants, and you put on a pair that look good and don't squeeze your stomach... ain't no feeling like it. You just can't put a price on that.
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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Choosing Baby Names

Me, last week: I found some great baby names.
C: Oh yeah, do you have any good ones?
Me: Yeah, but I’m not willing to share them yet and have my hopes dashed. I want to cling to my names a little longer.

I held onto the name I really liked for maybe 20 more minutes, then I said it, and it basically got dashed. After that little exchange, we spent an hour looking at baby name sites, and we now have a short list. C has a name that he likes a lot. We were discussing that name a couple days ago.

Me: That name is pretentious!
C: I'm a pretentious person! I think it fits! We've got to get away from all those Southern sounding names that you like.
Me: The South is pretentious in its own way. You're just not nuanced enough to appreciate it.

Rejected Names:
Merlin
Stone
Steel
Baby X
Alpha
Snake

Other rejected names:
Cosmo
King Arthur
Stewie
Barack
Hussein
Obama
Orion
Jupiter
Raiden (Japanese God of Thunder)
Rocket

C, just now, because I sent him another baby name site: "Evo. No, that's bad.
Cosmo. What's wrong with Cosmo?
Cosimo. Lucius. That sounds good.
Siris. Romulus. Now that's a name everyone likes.
Tiberius. Tiberius needs to be in the kid's name somewhere, just so you know. I like Tiberius. Tiberius, the name of an important Roman emperor. OK, so Tiberius it is.
Primus. Oh, there we go, Primus. Are you writing that down?

...You know, Cabbage Patch Kids come with a name, how come this one doesn't?"
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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fiiiiiiiiive Months Today!

Zippedee doo dah! Yeah! Five sounds like a lot! It's closer to 9 than 4!

We get the 20 week ultrasound tomorrow. I can't wait to see what somersaults and kickbox moves the baby has in store. The dude is a kicker for sure. It's fun to be teaching, or watching TV, and feel kicks, even though he is only ten inches tall. But today at work I felt a kick in a weird place.

I sat down for lunch, then all of a sudden, I felt a thump on my cervix, from the inside. OK, that was weird, just ignore it, maybe you just imagined it, because that was disturbing. Then it happened again.  "Whoa! Um, guys, can a baby kick you in the cervix?"
"Oh yeah," a few of my coworkers assured me. "It's only going to get worse."

Corey tells me he was hyper kid. Great.

Oh, and also, all of a sudden, yesterday, I started looking pregnant. I'm too lazy to take my picture though.
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Feel Me Up in the Right Spot

So, a couple friends have put their hands on my tummy. That's fine (I have it worked out in my head, though, that if a stranger tries, probably in a couple of months when I actually look pregnant, that I'll slap their hand- do you dare me? Do you so dare me?), but people keep putting their hand in the wrong place. They put it on my belly button, but the top of the uterus is not quite there yet (actually, today it is, but I wrote this last week). So, their hand is on my, like, intestines.
It's a little awkward that their hand is on my pretty much flat stomach (ok my stomach got a little less flat in the past few days), so I make it even more awkward- yet anatomically accurate- by moving their hand below my belly button, where the baby actually is. I can tell that makes them a little nervous, because they're not sure how far I'm pulling their hand down, but too bad. Then, I hold their hand there and make conversation about my favorite topic: me and my pregnancy.
Isn't that sort of funny, and sick of me?

Being pregnant is literally all I think about. I guess when I'm teaching I think about the kids, but I'm mostly thinking, I'm pregnant, and there's a boy in here, and you guys don't know it yet, and I am so ditching you in March.
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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ouch, Pregnancy, Ouch.

So, there's this thing called "round ligament pain" that pregnant people might get around 18-22 weeks. A ligament attached to your uterus stretches and irritates a nerve. Here's what books/websites say about it: As a result, you may notice some achiness in your lower abdomen or even an occasional brief, stabbing pain on one or both sides — especially when you shift position or at the end of an active day. The ligaments that support your uterus are stretching to accommodate its increasing weight. This is nothing to be alarmed about, but call your practitioner if the pain continues even when you're resting or becomes severe.
Well, what the websites and books don't say is that it can double you over in gasping pain that lasts a lot longer than a few seconds. This happened to me last Saturday night while in the NYC subway and last Sunday on and off through dinner. After dinner we called my doc because what I was feeling didn't match the descriptions of RLP. The pain lasted even when I was still and struck out of nowhere when I was sitting. I was worried it was contractions or that the placenta had separated. The doc said it was probably fine, but to come to the hospital to get checked out.

Everything looked good at the emergency room, and we even got to find out the baby's gender. It wasn't hard to miss on the ultrasound.

The doctors at the ER said it was probably round ligament pain. Fine, but why was it so bad? I told myself it hurt worse and longer because my stomach is tight so the uterus had to work really hard to stretch. Even though I feel dumb for going to the emergency room for something normal, I'm glad I did, because I also read that "The sharp, jabbing type of round ligament pain shouldn't last longer than the few seconds in which you're changing position or getting up. Don't hesitate to call your caregiver any time abdominal aches or pains continue after a short rest or are accompanied by:
• Severe pain or cramping, or more than four contractions in an hour (even if they don't hurt)"
I was sitting in the car on the way to the emergency room writhing in pain, so I think it's ok that I went.

I went to work Monday and had no problems. Moved around all day, no pain. Tuesday I stayed home because my voice was tired. I sat around all day, then out of nowhere, as I was sitting innocently on the couch, I felt my stomach start to cramp. "Oh no," I thought. Then the pain struck. "Ow, OW!" I shrieked, trying the "raise knees to make pain stop" technique I read about online. The pain came again. "Ow ow ow!" I moved to the floor and curled up (that helps normal stomach cramps) but it kept hurting. The pain was so bad I felt like I was going to throw up. Then, 20 seconds later, it stopped.

I gingerly got ready to leave for a meeting, got in the car and started driving... then the pain struck again! What the HELL? I was driving through spasms, panting and squirming in my seat. A few minutes later, it stopped. I felt one little twinge during my meeting, then nothing for the rest of the day. I called the doctor and made an appointment for the next day. At the appointment, she checked me out and assured me that, "Oh yes, the pain can be so bad that it can drop you to your knees."
Me: "Well then why don't the books tell you that?"

Since then, my stomach has felt a little crampy occasionally, and I felt a sharp pain or two that quickly went away. Nothing of note, except after the doctor I went to Target and it happened there. I scared the crap out of another shopper. I'm hoping that my body has gotten used to the pain and senses it less. Also, I think the ligament got a good stretch because my stomach finally grew a little bit this week. I still don't really look pregnant, which is A-OK with me.
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Thursday, October 9, 2008

I Sorta Hate Broadway But Mostly Like Idina

This is kind of random, but it lets me announce that I generally hate Broadway shows, so I'll go for it.

I just saw that Idina Menzel is performing at a local theatre company to promote her new CD. Idina played Elphaba, future Wicked Witch of the West, in the original Broadway cast of Wicked. I saw the show by chance and am very glad I did. A coworker had to sell her ticket, and it was my b-day week, so I justified the $120 purchase. This was just after the show opened on Broadway. I'm not the sort of organized go-getter who manages to get tickets like that, which is maybe why I hate Broadway shows. I see all the bad ones you're able to get tickets to (Victor Victoria, Miss Saigon, Gypsy, Phantom of the Opera).

Wicked is the one Broadway show (besides Les Mis) I have ever enjoyed. The story line was interesting (the origins of The Wizard of Oz's witches, Tin Man, Lion, etc.) and the two main actresses, Idina and Kristen Chenowith, were absolutely incredible. If you've heard the Wicked CD, that's them singing. Idina Menzel's voice was so powerful. This is why I am so disappointed by the clips I heard of her new CD (I Stand) on iTunes.

The songs are cheesy ("Better To Have Loved," "Don't Let Me Down," "My Own Worst Enemy"), and her voice is just too big to be contained on a dinky CD. It sounds constrained and out of place amidst the controlled, fake pop background. Anyone can sing pop, so why waste her voice? OK, if that CD were her vision and what she believed in, fine, but it seems like she went for the easy, harmless sell. Why not showcase her voice, like that amazing Josh Groban does? That guy is good, and it's all about his voice. His voice is made for soaring arias, and so is Idina's, even if her arias are more the Broadway solo type.

On Idina's official youtube channel, there's a nice acoustic version of one song, "I Stand" (see clip below), but as far as I can tell, it's the only acceptable song. Since it's acoustic, it sounds more musical-y than poppy.



The woman is made for live singing, and if you're going to put her on a CD, it just needs to be better than the one she's putting forth.

I also found a clip of Idina singing a song from the Beowulf movie, and that is also musical-y. Really pretty, actually: A Hero Comes Home. Here's a clip:



About hating Broadway: the slow songs are always terrible, and I always fall asleep in them. Broadway humor is hokey. I always get the bad seats. Most of the music stinks. Half of the shows are 20 years old and outdated. I do hear that Avenue Q is good. (Hint, hint, husband.)
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Saturday, October 4, 2008

I'm Gonna Find Out the Gender, So Get Over It

I hear I'm supposed to get used to people saying annoying things to pregnant people.

Whenever I say I'm pregnant, people say, "Ooh, are you going to find out what it is?"
I say, "Yeah."
Then, 75% of the time, the person says, "Oh, but it's so much fun to wait!"

Dudes, I know it can be fun to wait. I was there when my sister's 3 kids were born, and each time the gender was a surprise. It was exciting when the 3rd one was a girl. I screamed at the top of my lungs.

I am therefore quite familiar with the concept, and the reality, of surprise gender, so people informing me it's a surprise is not news to me. I've taken that idea into consideration and have decided that it's more exciting for me to find out now.

I am sure people have good intentions and just want to let me know how exciting it was for them to be surprised, but it sounds like they're suggesting to me that I should wait.

I am the oldest sibling. I do not like being bossed around. Being a teacher for 10 years has also increased my resistance to being bossed around.

However, now, when people ask me if I'm going to find out the gender, I find myself saying, "Yeah, probably," even though I definitely am, because people seem so disappointed when I say yes.  I just don't feel like hearing another person say, "Oh, but it's so much fun to be surprised!"
I'm trying not to find people's comments too annoying, because I'm sure I am an extremely annoying person a lot of the time.

Sometimes when I say "Yes, I'm going to find out," people say, "Yeah, some people are like that, they need to know, you know, to get things organized."

That's not why I'm going to find out. I don't need to know. I'm not organized enough to do anything like paint a nursery or buy a bunch a stuff in pink or blue.  I just want to know. I don't have to know.  It's just that if I can know, I want to know.  I want to know what is inside me.  I don't feel the need to keep myself in the dark for the reason of future excitement.  I want excitement now, and I'm sure I'll be equally and even more excited to actaully have a living baby in my hands when the time comes.

If people don't want to know what my baby is, I won't tell them. Actually, a lady at work, after she said, "Ooh, are you going to find out what it is?" and I said, "Yeah," she said, "Don't tell me!"

I'm totally cool with that. If she wants to be surprised, I will be happy to keep the surprise for her. I like that she acknowledged that it was more about her wanting to be surprised. I personally don't give a crap about being surprised, and that's why I am gonna find out the baby's gender on October 16, if, in fact, there really is a living baby inside me, which I still find pretty unbelievable.
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Sonogram From Last Month

Here's little baby's 2nd sonogram from 5 weeks ago. We get to see him or her again in two weeks at the 20 week ultrasound. I'm pretty excited to see how he/she has changed.

If you've had a sonogram, you know that this picture is crap compared to the clarity of the video image screen. The tech lady was moving the sensor thingy really  hard against my stomach, and it was pissing the baby off.  It was punching her like it was kickboxing.  It was really cool.

It was shocking to see arms, legs, hands, feet, a nose, and a perfect profile, after only seeing a gummi-bear-like blob just a month earlier.   It's unreal to know it's moving around that much but that I can't feel it. (I attribute that to my rock-hard abs. No for real, I have pretty good abs.)

As far as gender, I'm thinking boy.  I don't know why.  Probably because my sister's first two were boys and I'm used to the idea. Maybe because I've had no sickness or moodiness, and those are two things I associate with girls, or at least the kind of girl I am! Whatever.  I am totally okay with boy or girl.
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Friday, October 3, 2008

I Don't Have Actual Plans to Kill Anyone, FYI

I was reading this depressing magazine I regret subscribing to (The Sun) and there was an article written by a guy whose dad was sexually abused. I stared off into space for a few minutes and decided I could definitely shoot someone dead who I knew was a threat to children.

Is that bad? That I'm fairly certain I could kill someone and feel OK about doing it?

Juuuuuuust a thought.

Actually, I had a dream that made me realize I could probably kill someone.

Several months ago, I saw a movie in which a character suddenly raises their arm and shoots someone dead. A couple nights later, I dreamt there was a man who was going to hurt my husband. The person was an acquaintance, but once I realized he might want to hurt C, I knew what had to be done. The man walked into the room, and without even looking, I raised my arm and shot him dead. Then, I walked calmly into the next room. I plopped onto the couch beside my husband, who didn't know about any of these problems, and started a chit chatty conversation, feeling a little bad that I had this secret I couldn't share-- I knew C wouldn't approve of murder--, but knowing I had to do it.

It was a pretty vivid dream.
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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Oh My Lord, Hallelujah!

Have you ever noticed that when you hang around people you know are really religious, you catch yourself taking the Lord's name in vain a lot?

I work with a woman whose husband is the assistant pastor at a big church here in town. Yesterday, she goes, "At least it's not raining!"
I go, "Hallelujuah!"

Argh! I had been reining myself in recently, because I noticed that when I talk to her, I say things like, "Oh my god!", "Good Lord!" and "Thank God!" I'm like a broken record. I'm now trying to switch over to "Good Golly!" and "Oh, geez." I had been doing so well.

I happened to be hanging out with a priest during Labor Day weekend, and even though the priest is totally cool, I really tried to rein in my loose language. I did really well, no noticeable slips. I know it's not a huge deal, but it's good to notice your language patterns, in any case, and try to mix them up when you hear yourself saying the same tired phrases over and over.
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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

17 Weeks: Kicks? Gas? Liver Spasms? Boy? Girl?

I'm 17 weeks today. Par-tay! Four months, one week.

Kicks?
I really think I felt a couple of kicks on Monday. I watched Gossip Girl, and then a murder show about the town my sister lives in in Mississippi. (Creeeeeeeeeeeepy!) Anyway, I felt a bump harder than the little jump you feel when you have gas. Ordinarily I might just think it's one of those weird things your body does, like when your knee really hurts for a few minutes, out of nowhere, then just goes away. But, earlier in the day, I was watching TV on the couch (I didn't feel good, OK?) and was trying to nap, when all of a sudden I felt a quick sharp spasm under my rib cage. It was like a firm, sharp, kick. If I weren't pregnant, and had never felt that sensation before in my life, I wouldn't have thought too much of it. The baby isn't that high up yet, but I was sort of curled up at the time, so...

yeah, I have no clue.

Gender?
I think this baby's a boy.
Here's why:
I'm not having sweet cravings, at least any worse than usual.
I've had no nausea at all.
When the doc heard the heartbeat last week, it was in the range that wives' tales say is a boy...

yeah, I have no clue.

We have to wait 3 more weeks to find out. I totally don't care what the gender is. I love girls- am one myself- and love boys, too.   

Oh, sigh, I have to go to work.
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Monday, September 22, 2008

Sippy Cups For All

Last summer on a visit to Mississippi, I was playing with my 4 year old nephew. I was thirsty, so to be silly, I used a sippy cup. A sippy cup has a hole in the top, but a plastic stopper only allows you to get water out when you turn it upside down and drink. I was surprised how convenient it was. For someone who works with a laptop, a spill-proof cup is important. I used a sippy cup for the rest of my vist, keeping it on my nightstand and leaving it on the coffee table as we were playing, so I could get my 8 glasses of water.

One morning near the end of my trip, I stumbled out of bed with my sippy cup and staggered into the kitchen at 7am where my nephew J was contentedly drawing. He glanced up at me.

J, matter-of-factly: Kris, you can't take that sippy cup with you.
(Oddly, I HAD been thinking I was going to ask to take one with me.)
Me, trying to act innocent: How do you know I wanted to take this one?
J, still drawing: You can't, Kris, it's mine.  You have to buy your OWN sippy cup, in Connecticut.

Sigh.  He has always been one smart little boy. 


Don't knock the sippy cup until you try it. If you have access to one, check it out.  It's really great in the summer because you can fit ice into the wide top, so it keeps your water nice and cold.
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Sunday, July 13, 2008

On Why I'll Always Need My Own Room

Manager Mom has a blogapalooza up that asks her readers to share their workspaces- or rather, their intellectual sanctuaries. She asks, What's your intellectual sanctuary? Where do you go to do your thinking, working, and writing?

This is my office. It’s the before/messy version, but the clean version looks pretty much the same. Sometimes I sit at the desk, but usually I get under a blanket on the couch, even in the summer. I wake up, stumble to get coffee, then plop on the couch, read my RSS, start the day’s blog post, do emails, check my daily websites, etc. It’s hard to get to work on time, but I do my best work in the morning; I always have.

The tall bookshelf holds thinking/artsy things: creative books, old journals, my old college writing and books about poetry and linguistics, colored pencils. That's a purple yoga mat, but I never do yoga; I was just doing sit-ups where no one could see me.

This room is definitely less office and more sanctuary. Almost everything that is purely mine in this world is in this room. Ever since high school, I have always needed a place to be alone and think and read and write. I’m social, but I also need time to decompress, which consists of this routine: sit on my bed, stare at my bookshelf, think, maybe write a little in my journal, stare some more, pick up a book and read, sleep a little, then go back out and be social. I need at least one day a month to recharge like this. If I don’t get it, the whole show breaks down.

I still have time in my life to do this, although I rarely read because I blog so much. (These little posts actually can take a lot of time. The Bartlett Farmers' Market post took almost an hour and a half because I had to put up pics on flickr, find links, etc.)

Now that I’m married, I can’t make my bedroom my intellectual haven, but we have an extra room I turned into an office. It has a little couch, a big desk, a bookshelf, 2 short bookshelves, and, unfortunately... a dresser and clothes rack full of clothes. There’s not enough space in our bedroom to store both of our clothes, so mine are in my workspace; that's why you see sunscreen and a razor to the left; this office is also a closet. That’s a bother because the office is prone to clothing explosions, but that’s OK. I’ve said before on Manager Mom’s site (when we had to list random things about ourself) that I like to have all my things in one place where I can see them, because if I don’t, I forget about them.

I do have one bookshelf of photo albums and favorite books in our bedroom, which is fine, because that falls into the “old sentimental stuff” category. That does not overlap with the “stuff to do” category that all the office stuff relates to: blog, pay bills, read cookbooks, ponder life.

Speaking of stuff in categories: my brain is somewhat... busy, so my physical space needs to be organized. Things have to be with related stuff so my brain can keep track. On the 2 short bookshelves pictured to the right, I have a shelf of blog stuff, a shelf of workout/cookbooks, a shelf of teacher books, a shelf of writing books. Those 4 things are very separate for me, and having them on separate shelves reflects the way I think. The bulletin boards above the shelves also reflect categories of my brain; to the left are scraps of colors I like, plus a practical article about how to achieve goals. On the right are pictures of my niece, nephews and husband, along with the kookier drawings my nephews have done. Basically, this office/sanctuary is the physical representation of my brain.

And that’s why I’ll always need my own room. I don’t like my stuff spread out all over the house because I forget it exists; then, what’s the point of having it? I like it all where I can see it and use it. If I don’t use it, it’s in the way, so I throw it away. That’s good management, if you ask me. For so many reasons, it’s best for all the people in my house (me, husband, dog) if all my crap stays in one place. That year we lived in Norwalk, my stuff was in the basement room we never used... and my life was terrible. I couldn’t function without all my writing materials in one place. Not just writing materials, but all the thinking and organizing materials that you now see in this office.

This is the first time I’ve ever had an “office,” but in a way, it’s like all of my old dorm rooms and post-college apartments. Even if you have a common room, all your stuff stays in your room. I often nap on this little couch, so it feels a lot like I have my own “room,” not just office.

I’m actually not satisfied with my workspace right now; even after I cleaned up all the clothes and yoga mat you see in this pic, it still feels cluttered; this place is going to get a major purge sometime this month, but it will take time... most of this stuff I do use, and what I don’t, I’ve kept for years, so I’ll have to think hard about what to get rid of. I like doing that, because it's a way to stop and reevaluate my life. I have to think about what I realistically do nowadays (tutor the SAT) vs. what I'll probably never do again (knit). I have to ask myself, Should I keep all this old choral music? Will I ever sing Bach and Faure again? (Maybe.) Will I ever read the book Procrastination that I've had for years? (Probably not... but I'll probably keep that one anyway, because it just feels right.) Dealing with this room is really a way of dealing with myself, and I adore myself, so it's a lot of fun for me.
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Monday, July 7, 2008

Fancy Pancakes of Summer 2008

I made fancy pancakes twice on my Mississippi trip; these pancakes on right make up for the crappy ones I made a few days earlier. Can you identify the six figures in these fancy pancakes? (Answers at end of post. Hint: top left 2 are from a children's book.)

The crappy pancakes were made with my 10 month old niece on my hip and my nephews bickering nearby. Even after I turned on Nickelodeon for them, it was tough to create American flags, trees, horses and airplanes while carrying my niece. I didn't take a picture of the bad pancakes because I was trying to fairly distribute the pancakes while monitoring the baby playing on the kitchen floor. Plus, I was flustered at my poor baby-sitting skills.

Read below for 7 fancy pancake-making tips:

  • A tablespoon is the best tool for pancake art.
  • You have to have confidence to make fancy pancakes. When the batter starts dropping, you have to go for it. Have the image of Clifford the Big Red Dog in your head so you can make the front half, then quickly dip the tablespoon in for batter to make his back half. Save just enough for his tail.
  • You've also got to keep your designs fresh. Think outdoors, think TV, think holidays, think letters, think shapes, think astronomy.
  • The batter can neither be too think nor too runny. Skim milk is fine to use.
  • I prefer a higher-heated griddle, close to 400 degrees. The griddle is essential; its large size keeps the pancakes flowing in copious amounts..
  • For fun, add food coloring to batter.
  • Blueberries and chocolate don't work well for the complex shapes, but you could puree blueberries and mix them in.


Answers: Back, L-R: Max and Ruby (bunnies from a book with the same title), Clifford
Front, L-R: Dinosaur head, star, monkey Click here to read full entry.

My Friend's Husband: Not a Scottish Folk Singer

I'm not sure if you have to know my friend's husband to find this funny, but I smiled when I saw on her facebook page that she was "now laughing that the local paper thinks Pete is 'Scottish'. It's the persistantly red beard. Well, and he did perform Scottish songs this weekend." Her husband is British.

Do you find that funny? I do. I think if you know any Brits, you know how they might react to being called Scottish. Are you laughing now?

The line in the local paper says, "Music was provided by Scottish folk singer (and Ashland University professor) Peter Slade and the Mansfield Dulcimer Players." I actually covered my mouth and laughed when I read that. Scottish folk singer!

I love thinking of people having a hard time with Pete's accent. Pete is not exactly what I'd call easy going, so I giggle when I imagine how irritating it must be to have no one be able to properly identify him.

Another case of misidentification: At church, Pete said, "Hi, I'm Peter." (Phonetically: Pitah.) A woman shook his hand and kindly said in a Southern accent, "Nice to meet you, Pizza."

Hahahaahhaa!

I swear, an English accent wreaks havoc in non-cosmopolitan areas.
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Monday, June 30, 2008

Pete Seeger: A Great Musician:: Me: Funny

Orig. post date: Jan 08.  You know, I like my alone time, but I'm so funny that it's a real shame no one is around to appreciate all of the cinematic moments that I generate on a regular basis. For example, tonight, as I waiting for a Pete Seeger documentary to start, I was eating Sour Patch Kids while reading Eating Well magazine. Oh, the irony! I can only hope the people behind me noticed and had a chuckle at my expense.

I don't only use my friends as an audience, I use them as inspiration. If a friend had been at the movie with me, I would have had the moral support to shout something silly in the post-film discussion with the director.

When the director said, "We did a limited theater release so we could get it out on DVD, and get it viewed as much as possible before the election," my interest antennae went up. Before the election? Why? Was Pete's antiwar message going to encourage folks to vote for... Obama? I felt my face turn warm, and the urge grew to shout, "Who's Pete voting for?"

Earlier, someone asked the director if Pete is religious, so surely his political affiliation is fair game! If a friend had been with me, I would have yelled my question and gotten some laughs, and perhaps even an answer. I doubt Pete will vote, though, because I don't see which candidate would appeal to such an environmentalist.

My friends inspire me to make bold, confident choices. If I'd had a friend with me at lunch today, I would have had the courage to order a second bowl of soup. But you know, we all have our travails in life, and I guess going to movies and cute French bistros alone is my cross to bear.

FYI Pete is a total badass. Like me, you probably didn't know that. It's too complicated for me to go into, so see the glowing New York Times review for a description of the movie that does Seeger justice.
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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Live Blogging from Superbowl 42

Orig. post date, Feb 2008!  This might be one of those posts that I find hilarious that no one else does.  I personally find myself hysterical, and I love football, so I think this post is one that can endure.  
Live Blogging is the latest hot thing (I have no idea why). I see the NY Times Sports blogger doing it, and a guy on TMZ does a live blog during Lost. I'm going to try my hand at live blogging- I'm not doing it every minute like my Lost guy, but maybe a couple times an hour between cleaning, eating chips, and drinking rum and Cokes.

5:39 pm. Pre-game show continues with inane interview by Terri Bradshaw with Tom Brady about how cute he is. Whatever. Downstairs, Family Guy is on, and we've broken out the Doritos.

6:01pm. That was a really confusing Declarataion of Independence interlude. I will say, it kept my attention. I was trying to figure out where they were going with the Dec of Ind reenactment. I got hooked when they showed Warrick Dunn in front of a very small house; that's when it occurred to me- hey. These fat, jolly, colonial white guys put this ball in motion, and here's where we are now. The point is to show how far this country has come. I don't think the segment overall made that very clear; overall, it was a collection of rah-rah, bland, formal images of coaches at the Jefferson monument, or Strahan at Ground Zero... at the end they dedicated it to the men and women in the armed forces. OK, fine. A confusing interlude, and in the end, like our country, it has good intentions, comes off a little weird, but we care about each other.

7:10 pm. Good first quarter. Each team only had the ball once, which to me shows how experienced these 2 teams are and how well they've played. Ummmm... not much else to say... I watched three episodes of Friday Night Lights today and I liked it.

7:11- Oh, Giants! Delay of game??? To add insult to injury, the replay just showed Payton giving Eli the "hurry up" hand motion. Let's score, Giants!

7:13. That did not just happen. That interception did not just happen.
OK, the Clydesdales will calm me down.

Husband: "By the way, anyone who would be interested in reading your live blogging would probably be watching the game right now."

Well, this is my first time liveblogging, so it's probably good I have a small audience this time.

7:24, Um, a heart just popped out of that woman's boob on the careerbuilder.com ad.
7:25. Those thriller Geckos for that vitamin water? That might as well have been a GEICO commercial, because now, everyone knows gecko=GEICO.

7:28: Be careful with Brady! I almost screamed that when they just sacked him. (6:23 left in 2nd quarter) I've seen TB interviewed so many times, and seen him on people.com with Gisele, that I feel like Tom's a friend. Be careful with him!

7:34- I just checked out the NY Times guy's liveblogging. BORING!!!  I quote:

2Q, 8:49:The Patriots totally had that fumble, and lost it in the pile. …Manning wants to try a screen pass on third down, and it’s a bust. Manning just throws the ball into the turf. Punt time.

2Q, 9:41:Manning is sacked on first down. He tried to find some room, but ran out of it. …Second and 13, out of the gun. Manning tries an inside handoff, and it’s a fumble. …A scrum for the ball. …Giants keep it.
You call that blogging? That's just little summaries.

Husband: "So, you're liveblogging for other antisocial people who are ignoring other people?"
Me: "You don't understand liveblogging!"
Actually, maybe I don't understand it. 'Cause really, who WOULD read this? I should be in a chat room.

7:37- ELI??????? What the HELL are you doing??? "Steve Smith slipped down" the announcer just said. No way, that was just a crazy pass. Well, you're more dramatic than Tom Brady, I'll give ya that, Eli.

7:58- Liveblogging is boring!

8:35- Tom Petty was good. My half-time pizza was OK. The game... going OK.

8:38- I'm unhappy with the lack of interesting plays in this game. Giants just got a 12 players on the field penalty. I wish I were watching Friday Night Lights.

9:09- Giants on the Pat's 12. Now Bradshaw on the 5. Giants, let's deliver. I'm laughing at the Shadowy figure of Payton Manning in the booth, hiding behind a column.

HOLY SISODOSIDO TOUCHDOWN. Let's not celebrate, game's not over. Peyton in stands looking proud and relieved.

9:12- any commervial with James Carville in it is funny!

9:58- OK Manning just threw a touchdown. 29 seconds to go.
Impressions: I love how Coughlin's face hides nothing.

Earlier, when Brady missed a passed in the endzone, the camera caught a shot of the Patriot mascot banging his own head.

Alford just nailed Brady. 19 seconds left. I can't believe the Giants are almost going to win this

Cory Webster just saved the game by knocking down that nice pass from Brady, to Moss.

OK, 10 more seconds.

10:21- Terri Bradshaw is crazy. He just ordered Mike Strahan to go around the stadium and show the fans the Lombardi trophy. Strahan said, "yeah!" and acted lke he was leaving, but sort of just went to the back of the area of the stage, probably to get away from Terri. Terri doesn't get the idea of personal space. He was right in Coughlin's face, and almost knocking the old ladies out of the way to try to get closer to Eli Manning. "Congratulations, young man!" My GOD, Terri!

Here's why I'm funny: because I knew Plaxico Burress was going to cry in his post-game interview. Well, I guess the reporter did too, bc she chose to interview him, but I'm not a professional football commentator, although, if I were immersed in the field, I'd probably do VERY well.
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Welcome to Mississippi!

Mississippi, Day 1:

Me: “I can’t believe we’re driving with styrofoam food trays on our laps.”  We laugh.
Sis: “Welcome to Mississippi.”

Mostly, MS has not lived up to all my stereotypical images and dramatic expectations. When you hear "Mississippi," you picture shacks by cotton fields. While there is a cotton field at the end of my sister’s road, this northeast corner of MS looks like any other sorta rural place: there are two lane roads, neighborhoods, a downtown, a few trailer parks... kind of like where I grew up in VA.

However, Mississippi does have some quirks.

Yesterday, I had only been in the state for 3 hours, but already my nephew had found a pinecone with a black widow in it, and I had gotten bitten by a tiny, translucent, red creature. I have no idea what it was. (Mini-scorpion?) I know for a fact it wasn’t a fire ant, because my nephew got attacked by a swarm of those last summer, and my bite, while itchy, did not form into a pustule/welt like he had all over his legs and hands.

What fire ants can do was a revelation to me.

The one thing about Mississippi that meets the dramatic expectations- not the accent, not the poverty, not the obesity- is the fire ants. Read my previous post “Fire Ants: Giving Regular Ants a Bad Name” for further info.

Mississippi has other quirks that I’ll try to capture on camera this week. This is my 7th or 8th trip out here over the past 2 years (my niece and nephews are my obsessions, besides my blogs), and I’ve never captured the area on film as much as I want. You can see some of what I have gotten on my flickr gallery.

About the eating while driving thing: my sis was behind the wheel with a cheeseburger and tater tots, I had a grilled chicken and bacon wrap, and the boys had grilled cheese. We had to eat like that because it was past bedtime and the boys hadn’t eaten yet because we had to go straight to T-ball from picking me up at the tiny Tupelo, MS airport. My husband does not let me eat in his car very often, so even though I could have waited to eat my wrap, I was hungry, and getting to eat while driving felt like a luxury.

Day 2: Had the nephew’s birthday!
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Sunday, June 22, 2008

My Celebrity Crushes (Might Surprise You)

I want to get this out in the open:

Crush 1, on leftJosh Hollowell: actor from my fave TV Show Lost-- He's just pretty, and I like his Southern accent.

Crush 2, on right: Chris Brown: R and B singer-- I like his songs, and he is so cute. Plus, he is from Virginia, like me. I know he's only 19, but don't worry, these are just abstract crushes... sure. See and hear him in full gorgeousness at youtube.





My crush 3: James Hetfield (shaved version): lead singer of Metallica--
I like musicians, OK? He's a talented singer and songwriter. My husband was a very talented trombonist in high school, for real. See, I fell for a musician... yeah.

Oh- I almost forgot my crush on Dale Earnhardt, Jr., NASCAR driver.

Oh shoot, I also forgot Tom Petty; mostly the Tom Petty of 20 years ago. Tom Petty would not be called a traditional sex symbol, and some people might call him skinny and gross. I can only send you to this YouTube video of the making of the Traveling Wilburys album. It's a great movie, and Petty is so young and cool and just as good of a musician as the guys he's playing with: Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, and George Harrison. I adore Petty's voice, especially his speaking voice. I do like musicians...
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Favorites: Laptop, Manicure, Traveling Wilburys

Orig post date: Feb 2008. I'm writing something about diamond rings and jealousy, but it's still very nebulous. One thing I can tell you is that my ring* looks spectacular next to my watermelon-colored nails. I made 200 bucks this week tutoring, so I treated myself to the manicure I've been wanting for 6 months.

I also wanted to show off my decorated laptop. I read an article about how Apple's success has created a clone-like atmosphere at Starbucks- rows of white laptops. Not me! I thought. Any hesitation I felt about plastering the name of my other website on my pristine laptop disappeared, and I added a Traveling Wilburys sticker for good measure. It's one of those quality fabric-y stickers, so it won't peel off. If you have any high-quality, durable stickers, please send them to me.

The only other person I've seen with a decorated laptop was an NYU student with a lot of stickers on hers. The white surface of my MacBook is also making me want to doodle on it with permanent marker.  But I won't, because that would be impulsive, and I'm not even sure what I'd want to doodle.  

*100 year old diamond, belonged to my husband's great- grandmother. Pretty, and, not to be gauche.... free.

I'll leave you with one of my favorite Traveling Wilbury songs:



Ah! that reminds me to add Tom Petty to my list of celebrity crushes!
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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Where the Hell is Matt?

Original post date: Spring 2008
I stumbled across this joyful video when I was looking for other blogs in the area. This guy is from Fairfield, CT, and his videos are so ridiculous and happy. Basically, he travels around the world and does a goofy dance in front of various monuments. I first watched the outtakes/bloopers, and was laughing my head off-- just me, by myself, laughing loudly. The final product is more artistic, but still great fun.

I'm not exactly a big crier, but I get emotional when I see image after image of stunning landscapes. I'll probably never see them, but I'm happy they are out there-- just sitting out there, while I'm here, at my desk. I'm not sad, I'm amazed, in a "hard to get my head around that" way.

Oh Lord, don't even let me watch the part where he dances with the kids in Rwanda. Don't ever read any books about the genocide in Rwanda, because they will destroy you. However, if you're interested, I recommend We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda by Philip Gourevitch and Problem from Hell: America in the Age of Genocide by Samantha Powers. That one covers all the genocides of the 20th century won the Pulitzer for Non-fiction.

To end on an upbeat note, here's a cute spoof by a guy in London. The guy is lovably dorky, and it looks like he enjoys life in London.

I ADORE youtube. Current fave: "Sweetest Thing (Dollar Bill)" by Wyclef Jean.
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Chew, Bite, Crash: That's a Lotta Dog

Original post date: Dec. 2008 I have to post this picture of the dog we're hosting for two weeks. He's sweet, but he is a handful! He chews any small item not tied down (socks and shoes are obviously favorites) and today I caught him gnawing at our oriental rug. So far he's destroyed my husband's iPhone earpiece and ripped down our curtains. I actually think it's hilarious. I have to admire his spunk.
This picture is one of the rare moments he stopped wandering around looking for things to chew on. At first, when he leapt up into the bay window, we told him, "No! Get down!" But when he kept getting up there, and staying still... well, we let it go. At least he's lying down; at first, he'd just stand there and look at us, like, "See me? See me? Yeah. I'm in the window." (Say that in a Stewie voice, from Family Guy.)

I obviously can't leave him unattended, which is a problem. Everything I do, every second of the day, has to take into account where he is. It limits my movement in the house, so it's taking me longer to get things done. And, having to keep all the bedroom doors shut is causing a heat imbalance.

He has a lot of energy, which he takes out on my dog. He chews on her ears, bites her ears, puts his jaws around her entire head, and leaps on her and bites her neck. I think he's just playing, and when he first got here, she barked and snarled and bit him back pretty impressively, but at this point, she is just defeated. She's older than him and can't match his athletic attacks; he's taken to flinging all 65 pounds of him at her, full force. She's 50 pounds, but she's mellow. She can't fight him off all day. We have to keep them separated because he won't leave her alone.

He's strong. He ran into me full force once, when we were chasing him down to retrieve something, and whoa. That's a lotta dog. I think it was by accident.

Oh- he also starts whining and yapping as soon as the sun comes up, so forget about sleeping in. Point in his favor: his energy makes it necessary to walk him at least once a day, so I'm getting exercise. I'll miss that when he's gone... in 8 days.
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Saturday, June 14, 2008

My Obsessions

Now, these boys are beautiful! These are my movie star-esque nephews. This pic is about 9 months old, so they're are even more handsome now.

They, and now my 9 month old niece, and my total life obsessions. I was there when each one was born. Yup, I've been stalking them since they were born, and even before. It's the horror of my life that they live in Mississippi, but we are hoping they'll get back to the East Coast in a few years. HINT, HINT.

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