Saturday, November 15, 2008

She's here!

Lila Hilde was born at home on October 27th at 1:39am. We're all still settling in, but heading into week three, we're finding we can get along just fine without grandma (who graced us with her help for 2 weeks). A few pics until I have the energy to write a real post. Oh, and one the day before she made her appearance. I could barely get out of bed so I was so happy she decided to come out and join the world.


I think I might pop.

Her first pic of the day - a bit red and swollen still. I swear she is part German and not all Japanese.

Getting to know each other.

My favorite from day 3. She loves to sleep like this.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I'm Back!


I found fried heaven. It exists at Price’s Chicken Coop in Charlotte. We had AMAZING fried chicken there back in oh, July. The sides left a little to be desired, but the chicken was hands down, the best I’ve ever had. Pete inhaled a few pieces before we’d even made it out of Charlotte. (The goal was to take the chicken to my grandparents’ for lunch.) I think I can safely say we will make more trips there in the future.

We also had a great trip to Grand Bahama island in July. Pete’s company had a retreat there for four days, but we extended our trip to last all week. We lounged about the pool at the resort for a few days before agreeing that we are not resort people. We like a little adventure with our travel and little less of people we can see at Disneyland. My mom met us for the last part of the trip because we thought Pete would be working the whole time and I’d need a playmate (it ended up Pete skipped most of his work stuff except the required things on one day). Needless to say, it didn’t take a lot of persuading to get her to meet us in the Bahamas (and a non-stop flight from Charlotte didn’t hurt either).

After complaining about the food and annoying people for the first half of the week, we decided we needed to rent a car and explore the island – cost and driving on the opposite side of the road be damned. Thank god we did. You know when you’re a teenager and all you can think about is how much freedom you’ll have when you get a car? It’s true. We take it for granted, but the car opened up another world for us.

Luckily, in my zealous over-planning, I found a list of must-see things on the island. One, was Gold Rock Beach located in Lucaya National Park. We had to drive about 30 minutes to get to the park, which didn’t look like a park or even parking lot. I had to beg and convince Mom and Pete that it was indeed the park. After parking, we had to walk 15 minutes or more through a swamp out to the beach. It was hotter than hell, and I was 6 months pregnant carrying my little furnace with me (that is to say, I over heated in about 3 minutes). After admiring the mangroves and hermit crabs on route to the beach, we came upon the dunes. We crested the dunes and beheld the Bahamas of the ad campaigns. The beach exceeded all expectations of beautiful places.


And I thought my belly was big here... hahaha...

We spent the remainder of the week driving back to Gold Rock Beach and Banana Bay, where we could literally walk out for hundreds of yards. We found local food that was much better than the food at the resort, but still not great. The Bahamas are not known for their food especially since they are basically sandy islands with no good soil to grow crops.


Between all the travel and work and growing of a baby, I was exhausted. Plus, I read in a few blogs about how they hated their life being on display. So, I stopped writing. I’m on maternity leave now, and adjusting to a life without a schedule. I hardly know what to do with myself. Last week, I was at the farmers’ market racing from vendor to vendor when it hit me, where exactly was I racing to? It wasn’t like the apple guy was going to run out of apples or the melon guy melons. And if they did, someone else would have some. I am so used to rushing that I couldn’t slow down.

I spent last week running around at the markets buying food to cook and freeze, Babies R Us, Target, Ikea, the bookstore plus doctor’s appointments that I hardly noticed I wasn’t working. This week, with a freezer full of food and clothes washed, I am finding myself at a loss of things to do. And of course almost all of my friends work so I can’t call them to play with.

I said to Pete that it was hard to adjust to having no routine and that I needed to create one. He said it was pointless because in a few days or weeks, I’d have to create a new one. So, I am doing what I can to enjoy having no schedule, no routine and nothing other than doctor’s appointments to worry about.

In the meantime, I have time to write again so I’ll try to be diligent about posting once again. Or at least until the baby comes.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

In Search of Fried Heaven

It might not be obvious in my postings, but I am a food lover. I can’t go past a farmer’s market without a glance at what is in season. Even if there is no chance I will be able to cook anything. Some of my favorite parts of Vietnam? The markets. Of course, the food was even better. Pete and I actually swooned over a few meals, but that’s another post I’ve never written.

I read food blogs, I read cookbooks and cooking magazines. I read restaurant reviews more often than movie reviews (reminder: I work in the movie business). In the context of foodies, I am fairly mild so I don’t think of myself as hardcore, but a friend recently corrected me and declared I have a passion for food. I’ve accept that fact. I admit I am a foodie.

So, imagine my delight when I read Gourmet magazine today and I find a write-up about a Price’s Chicken Coop in Charlotte just past a lengthy article about great Thai food in Los Angeles, followed by restaurant write-ups in Culver City (an LA neighborhood close to my house). I thought I’d died and gone to…. well, you get the picture.

I flagged the article about the fried chicken thinking, one day we’ll have to eat there. Then it hit me. We are going to be in Charlotte this SATURDAY. Yes, Pete and I are headed to NC for a week of relaxing with my mom and extended family (no, that wasn’t a typo). I picked up the phone and called to see what time they open. We land at 9:30am on Saturday, and hell, I want some of the best fried chicken in the south. The phone rang and rang and rang, but no one answered it during the dinner rush. I finally found them on the internet and by god, they open at 10am! It couldn’t be more perfect. We will land, claim my bag (which I get to pay to check) and drive on over for fried heaven. We’ll most likely arrive just as the doors are opening. I am so excited, I am bursting.

You have to understand. Before I travel, I do research (generally not to NC). Lots of it. I like to know what sites we should take in, but more importantly, where I get local, authentic food. And in tourist areas, you can get burned. Frankly, nothing pisses me off more than being overcharged for subpar food. So, I research. This time, I am trusting Gourmet magazine. Let’s hope they aren’t overhyping the chicken.

**** I’m also fired up to eat at my favorite Asheville restaurant, Tupelo Honey, and try the BBQ at Twelve Bones, which I hear is phenomenal. I can’t wait to see the family, but my mouth is watering from all the food excitement. I guess I do live to eat.

If you have any secret food haunts, send them my way. I like high brow places, but I LOVE a great hole in the wall where the food is so unexpectedly good you think you could eat it every day for the rest of your life.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Dream Houses

Like most women, I dream of the perfect house one day (okay, I dream of ANY house). The one I've conceived and created with an architect with an interesting interior, gorgeous garden and beautiful furnishings. Everyone's idea of the perfect home is different. I don' think I would want to live in David Ling's home, but the video of it is stunning plus I love all of the creativity and Asian influences in it.

Click here to enjoy a little piece of art. Just watching it and hearing him gets my creativity flowing.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

About Time

Today, I am proud to be a Californian. I am happy my friends can marry whomever they want. And I can't wait to vote same-sex marriage into law in November! 'Bout time!!!

That Glow

Organic Pregnancy. Yes, it’s something I strive for, but the further along I get, the more relaxed I get. The second hand smoke we breathe from the neighbor? Hell, most moms smoked through their whole pregnancies before they figured out, hey! Smoking kills! Body lotions full of parabens? Well, I still avoid those, but occasionally I still smear on a pretty smelling one that’s not from the health food store or Dr. Hauschka.

Speaking of the good doctor, I received a face cream for Christmas by him. I started using it when my other moisturizer ran out. I’m pregnant. My skin is crazy (that’s another post). I have moles and skin tags and such all over the place. Glamorous, I know. When my face was red and splotchy, I assumed it was pregnancy.

I was lazy during the first trimester (read exhausted and ready to collapse at 8pm). I stopped washing my face every night and rolled into bed with whatever grease, dirt and make-up was on my face. It made sense I’d be red and splotchy. As winter progressed to spring, and my sensitive pregnant skin was getting sunburned, I decided enough was enough. I needed some chemical sun protection pronto. A few chemicals are better than skin cancer and chemo.

So, I returned to my old, sun block enhanced moisturizer. And guess what? Within a week I no longer had red, splotchy skin. Gone. It disappeared like that. I added back the face washing for an extra measure, and my lord, my face looks like normal again! In fact, you can even see the pregnancy glow now that the splotches are gone.

It’s nice I can look in the mirror and not want to cover my whole face in concealor. I mean, I can’t control my giant boobs or feeling sick (seems to have passed) or the skin tags and moles, but I can at least have nice, sun-protected skin. To hell with natural everything.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Fore!

The past weekend, Pete and I were lucky enough to score tickets to the US Open. Pre-Pete, I would have turned them down, but since he loves watching golf, and I’ve started to think it slightly interesting instead of boring, I accepted the tickets.

We had a great weekend. We left Saturday and headed to Laguna Beach for lunch on route to San Diego. Pete had never been, and I hadn’t been in years. We found a hotel with a roof top deck over looking the Pacific, which was gorgeous. Although we live right next to the beach and can even see the ocean from our apartment, the water in Laguna is bluer and cleaner and just plain nicer looking. We watched pelicans soar by while munching on empanadas and hummus (not together). It seemed like the perfect place to sip a mojito if I wasn’t pregnant (lots were being imbibed around us). After blissing out on the ocean and scenery, we headed back to the car for the last hour to San Diego.

Our generous hosts put us up at the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe. It was charming and cute with a king size bed that I wish were in our bedroom at home. Neither of us had ever been to Rancho Santa Fe so it was an experience. The road winds between large gates, lots of trees and flowers. If you didn’t look carefully, you probably wouldn’t even realize there were houses back there. There is a town about the size of a peanut that seemed to only have real estate brokers in it. The photos on the windows advertised houses from the low $700s to $35 million. The $700,000 house wasn’t in Rancho Santa Fe. Needless to say, we decided $35 million was a little high, but the $2.5 house was within reach. By the time we saw the one for $700,000, we thought we should just snap it up.

Sunday, we headed over to Torrey Pines to watch the US Open. What an experience! I’ve been to pro-sports events before, but never golf that lasts for 4 (now 5) days. My first thought was I should have brought a single girl with me because the place was swarming with men. The ratio had to be about 10 guys to every 2 women. And the women were almost all with husbands or boyfriends so the competition would be limited. Of course, after awhile of looking around, it became apparent I was trapped in the largest fraternity party around, and rethought the single girl scenario (at least in regards to most of my friends).

We planned on walking the course because we’d heard how gorgeous Torrey Pines is, but the crowds were massive. We stopped at the 8th hole to watch some people putt, and Pete noticed the line to the grandstand wasn’t too long. So we cued up and waited 45 minutes to get seated in the stands. It was really cool because we could see them tee off and then putt at the hole. And our timing couldn’t have been better. We were able to see the top 15 or 20 players on that hole – including Tiger Woods. And wow! That man travels with an entourage. We could see him coming long before we saw him. The press corps surrounding him is INSANE not to mention the rabid fans.

His shot went into the bunker (sand trap for novices), and in my na├»ve mind I thought it would take him a shot or two to get out. Nope, one chip and his ball landed about a foot from the hole. Note to self: Professional golfers are not like the rest of us – especially Tiger.

Since Tiger was the last one to play the hole, everyone vacated the grandstand, or tried. Every where we looked, there were seas of people moving after the man in the red shirt.

Again, we planned on walking more of the course, but after seeing the throngs of people, we decided to take it easy and watch people finish at the 18th hole. Apparently, we weren’t the only ones with this plan. People were 10 deep in the viewing area of the last green. We stood on tip toes, we veered left, crooked our heads right and still, we couldn’t see shit. After awhile of this, we accepted defeat and headed home with Tiger on the 14th.

AM radio provided us with a play by play as we zipped north from San Diego (no traffic – hooray!!). By the time we heard he’d tied it, we were north of San Clemente with LA clearly on the horizon. It would have been great to be in the stands to watch that moment, but since we knew the reality of the viewing, we enjoyed it just as much from the car knowing we’d seen one of the greatest golfers ever play earlier that day.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Glamour

Pregnancy is not glamorous. The celebrities make it look easy, fashionable and fantastic. In some ways, it is. The fashion part is much easier now that I fit into my vast maternity wardrobe compliments of my failed business. Plus, it’s true that the second trimester is like a jolt of energy. Unless you get the barfy flu – better known as the stomach flu.

Yes, last Thursday, I found myself praying to the porcelain god. That afternoon, my stomach hurt and I felt a little funny, but with pregnancy, that happens from time to time. I decided that getting home to bed would be the best cure, and my friend, who is a mom, agreed. She thought if I sipped some water and got some sleep I’d be fine. Oh how I wish she was right.

I sipped some water and finally retired to bed around 8:00. About an hour later, I ran to the bathroom, hand over my mouth. I thought, “Oh crazy pregnancy. I should feel better now that’s all out.” And I did for about a minute. Then it happened again. And again. And again. And again. Well, you get the point. I accepted defeat and made a camp in the bathroom.

Here’s the thing. I’ve had the barfy flu lots of times over the past few years (thank you, nieces). I can handle it. In some warped way, I think of it as a great ab workout and quick slim down. I mean, not eating for four days tends to take some weight off. But when you have someone riding shotgun in your belly, it takes on a whole, new terrifying identity.

First off, I was worried something would happen to the baby as she took the wild ride of being lifted up with everything else in my stomach. You know how when you throw-up your whole stomach heaves up? Well, it still does it with a baby in there. And then the baby slams down on your bladder. I don’t care how many kegels you do. The pressure is insane. So, not only was I puking my guts out, I lost control of my bladder. Humility at its best.

Luckily, Pete is a man of incredible strength and sweetness. I was sitting on the floor recovering from the first bout of retching, and I looked over at him.

“I pee-peed my pants.”

“That’s okay, Sweetie. It happens to everyone when they get old.”

“But I’m not old.”

“It’s still okay. Drink some water. You have to stay hydrated.”

I’m not sure if he was really trying to hydrate me or just make me so I’d pee my pants more, but I’m taking it as sweet not vengeful.

****************

On a positive note, I am probably closer to the textbook weight gain recommendation since last month I gained nine pounds. Oh, and I can feel the baby kicking so she seems to have made it through unscathed.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Career: Mom

I talked with a friend this morning on my way to work. Finally, things sound like they are falling into place for her success. She’s had a rough road that started with getting laid off from the company I still work for. In some ways, it’s been a blessing because it allowed her time to devote to her writing and film making, but financially, it’s been challenging. I’ve watched and listened over the years as she’s cobbled together jobs to make ends meet and networked with all kinds of interesting people to construct a creative lifestyle. In lots of ways I am jealous of her freedom and the ability to fully go for what she wants career-wise.

While I’ve been seated sedately behind my desk, cashing my bi-monthly paychecks, she’s been scrambling to make things happen. And I’ve… well, I’ve been collecting my paychecks. There was the time when I was working on the website, but that passed. The truth is, by the time I am done with work and commuting, I don’t have much energy left to do anything but eat dinner and hang out with Pete or friends.

Right now, I feel like I’m in a holding pattern. I’m not scrambling for anything but wooden baby toys and onsies. I mean, I’m GROWING A HUMAN! But it’s a rather passive thing. I mean, people in comas have brought a baby to term. I’m preparing to be a mom, which seems to involve a lot of reading, talking to moms, shopping and realizing that nothing will really prepare me for motherhood.

I remember prior to getting married thoughts I’d had about friends and their behavior (or mine) surrounding their weddings. Finally, I understood how they felt, and why certain actions of selflessness on the bridesmaid’s part are necessary. I understood after I was inducted into the Married Club.

The Mommy Club is a huge one with lots of different types of members, and I am preparing for my induction. I don’t think I am formerly a member until I am puked on, pooped on and get less than four hours of sleep in a twenty-four hour period. So looking forward to that!

Listening to my friend whose career is coming together (and has no spit-up in her near future), makes me envious (and so proud of her). I’ve always wanted a “career,” but more than that, I’ve always known I wanted to be a mom. A fast-paced, highly paid career mom isn’t the type of mom I want to be. At least not while my babies are small. I see the sacrifices executive mom’s at my company make. I see how much time they are away from their families so they can be successful. One executive that I know is regularly the only woman in a room full of men. That is a mom to be proud of. But me? I want to be around on the weekends without a blackberry buzzing me. I don’t want to be jetting off to New York for meetings. I don’t think I could go on location and produce a movie like my friend will do and also be the mom I envision myself being. (Of course she isn’t a mom yet so she’s not leaving kids behind.)

But, like my mommy friends tell me, I’ll probably eat everything I’ve ever said about parenting once I’m a parent. Maybe I’ll ride the coattails of my writer/producer friend and grab a wardrobe career on the way. Maybe you’ll see my name on the credits of a movie shot in Italy. If you do, know I did it with a baby slung on my body because after 37 years of wanting a baby, I’m not leaving her at home – career be damned.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Mother's Day Bump

 


For Mother's Day, Pete made us a great picnic, and we drove up the coast to Malibu to one of my favorite beaches. It was chilly, but still beautiful. We also took some belly photos to send to the family. I definitely have something growing in there - and this time it's not beer and burgers.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Long Weekends

Thank God that today is a short day before a long weekend. There’s something about a free day off from work that makes me giddy. In the past, I’ve crammed my trips into three day weekends, often taking an extra day off to stretch it out. With all of the traveling of last year, I’ve been grounded in Los Angeles since Christmas. I haven’t stayed in Los Angeles this long since I moved here, which is how I’ve survive in the big city.

I like to make my weekends slow-paced and local. We rarely drive on the weekend unless we are going hiking or shopping, and usually we skip both of those. We are lucky enough to live within walking distance to the beach, two great shopping/restaurant districts and the Sunday farmer’s market in Santa Monica. It isn’t the best one, but it has lots of stuff and I know who has the best strawberries. (Wednesday’s Santa Monica is amazing. The Palisades Sunday also boasts some great growers.)

I love to spend the weekend making up for all the junk I eat during the week. I usually wake up before Pete (I’m a morning person, he’s a night person – great for the baby!), so I wander out to the kitchen and dream up some concoction to make. Some mornings I make eggs with fresh peas and soft, creamy avocado. Other days, eggs with asparagus and swiss cheese, or eggs with whatever leftover I have in the fridge. I usually add a tortilla, or if we happen to have a fresh loaf of bread, I’ll toast that it put it on the side. Occasionally, I decide to make pancakes or waffles that I pour maple syrup on and Pete smears with jam or Nutella. Apparently, maple syrup is very American and slightly too sweet for my German husband.

While Pete catches up on work or sports or sleep, I mix up banana bread or try a new spread. (Barefoot Contessa has a good sun-dried tomato one. I use less mayo than she suggests.) I might marinade some chicken or form meatballs. (Lidia has the best ones, but unfortunately, looks like she took the recipe down.) Luckily, Pete is the most open and accepting person I’ve ever cooked for. I’ve had a few misses, but we take them in stride.

This weekend, I am inspired to make cornmeal waffles for breakfast tomorrow. We might have people over on Sunday for a cook-out. I think teriyaki chicken would be great with a green salad – the one I wanted to make last weekend but we didn’t have lettuce. Apricots, carrots, sunflower seeds with a light vinaigrette. I’ll have to figure out the other sides – maybe some rice or whatever other vegetables look good at the market on Sunday. I’m just excited to have time to cook and relax.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Dress Regrets

It’s so wild to think that a year ago I was gearing up for our wedding. I was perusing websites, gathering more ideas, sticking stamps to invitations and fretting over details like escort cards, which we didn’t use. Maybe because I’m a girl and slightly crazy, but occasionally I still think about what I wish I’d done differently or went differently. I loved our wedding so I have no idea why I dwell on the things that I cannot change. Like the dress I wore to the rehearsal dinner.

Sometime last spring, my cousin asked me if I was going crazy and buying new clothes for everything. I prided myself in how simple things were and how I was watching money since we paid for part of the event. I had a bright green dress that I liked a lot, and said, “Nope. I’m going to wear a dress I already have.” And I did.

Before I criticize myself any further, I will remind myself I was super sick, pumped full of antibiotics and praying I felt better for the actual wedding day (I did). All I wanted to do was to lay in bed and have my mom wait on me, but we had a town full of guests and lots of events planned so I had to rally and drag my sick ass self to get my nails done, throw a luncheon and host a pre-wedding barbeque/rehearsal dinner.

I look back on the pictures and think, “Why didn’t I have my hair done for the rehearsal dinner? A simple blow-out would have look TONS better than that frizzy pouff on my head.” Note to self: If an event centers around you (baby shower), spend the time and money on a blow-out! (Yes, I live in LA.)

In the few hours between the luncheon and the rehearsal/barbeque, I lay around on the couch, sipped hot ginger tea in 90 degree weather and wished yet again that I didn’t have to drag myself to a party filled with people I hadn’t seen in years who were coming to see me. I mean, I wanted to see them; I just wanted to feel good.

But what I really wonder is why I let my cousin’s comment stop me from buying an absolutely fabulous dress. I guess I keep thinking about this because wedding season is upon us, and I see great potential rehearsal dinner dresses everywhere. Maybe it has something to do with the fact I can’t buy them now to wear because of the bun in my oven. Maybe I’m just fantasizing because in a year, I’ll probably be covered in baby snot and baby puke and baby diapers and the idea of wearing a stunning dress will be a faint memory or a future fantasy.

We are going to a wedding a two weeks. I found a cute dress at the Gap that I can wear with these strappy silver sandals I already have, and when my pregnant self can’t handle them anymore, I can put on silver flip flops. I think I’ll look fabulous, or at least semi-fabulous.

Friday, May 16, 2008

98% Girl

Yesterday, I had an amnio. I wasn’t too excited about it. In fact, I would have been fine skipping it since out first trimester screens came back looking extremely good. My odds of having a downs baby dropped from my geriatric age of 37 to that of a 20 year old. (I blame that on my healthy lifestyle, regular exercise and love of organics.) Pete wants a guarantee we have a healthy babe growing in my womb. So, after another ultrasound where everything again looked great (normal nuchal fold, beautiful spine, five fingers on at least one hand), I agreed to let the doctor stick a huge needle into my belly and remove amniotic fluid.

It didn’t really hurt. They swabbed my belly with betadine, numbed it and stuck the huge needle in. Like the doctor said, the set-up took longer than the procedure. My tummy felt a little odd last night, and I could only lay on my left side, but today, I feel much better, although not back to my normal self yet (I think that will be in October or November or sometime later in 2009). So, I am resting and waiting for the definitive results, which we will have in a few weeks. More importantly (since I am pretty convinced we have a healthy baby), we’ll know for sure if it is a boy or a girl.

A few years ago, for some reason, I was convinced I was having only boys. I fancy myself a little psychic, and just concluded I would never have a room full of little dresses and soft pink things. I’d have trucks and blues and little man who was a momma’s boy. When we found out I was pregnant, both my mom and I thought, “We’re going to have a little boy.” I even started looking at little boy things.

“Do you see any boy parts?” I asked the doctor yesterday because I didn’t see anything even when we were looking at the butt.

“Nope, I don’t see any boy parts.”

“So it’s a girl?”

“I’d say 90%, no, 98% it’s a girl.”

I looked at Pete. “It better be a girl or our boy has a really little pecker.”

I am adjusting to the idea of a little girl. I’d envisioned myself with a little boy for so long. Caring for a little penis and making sure he didn’t pee on me. Most of my friends have little boys – some of them even have two. Of course, I have two nieces with clothes to hand down to my little one, which is awesome. I know about princesses and pink stuff. I can teach her how to put on her make-up and not look like a slut (she will most likely go against me and wear blue eyeliner like I did even though it looks like ass). I am going to have to teach her about periods and personal health and boys and sex, which scares the shit out of me.

Of course, all of that is years away. Right now, I’m just counting down to the day I get to meet her.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Cougar

I'm home recovering from an amnio, and just watched Regis and Kelly. (I always hated Kathy Lee so never watched it with Kelly - not to mention I am usually at work. But, she is really funny. I can see why people like her so much. He is still annoying, but I laughed out loud a few times this morning.) They were talking about cougars, and at what age one becomes a cougar. I've always thought the magic cougar age was 40, but apparently, according to the internet on Regis and Kelly, is it 35!! Kelly declared herself a cougar, which means I am also a cougar and so are most of my friends. HOLY SHIT! When did we become cougars??? And here I thought I had 3 more years until I was a cougar. Of course, I'm married and not prowling around, but cougar is cougar. RARRR!!!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Keeping in Touch

For whatever reason, I’ve always been good at keeping in touch with friends. Even before email, I faithfully sent letters to my friends who went to college before me. Even in college (there still was no email), I wrote long letters to my friends at different schools, filling them in on my life in Colorado. I ran up exorbitant phone bills calling my parents, my cousins and my friends scattered across the country. Even on a tight college budget, I spent about $100 a month on phone bills. This, of course, was pre-cell phones with unlimited weekend calling.

I don’t know if it’s because I was an English major and love the pure joy of a story, any story, or if it’s because I truly like people and like to stay in touch. When I lived in Boulder and had a more flexible work schedule, yet no email at the office, I would start my day by making a smoothie and sitting down at my computer to respond to my emails. I felt very Victorian, as I imagined my routine was similar to one of days past.

Now a day, everyone has email at the office, email at home and most of us sort through loads of spam in addition to the informative emails. The last thing any of us want to do is compose a long email about life. Luckily, cell phones are ridiculously cheap and allow us to catch-up without typing or putting pen to paper. (When was the last time you received a letter for the sake of a letter? Not a thank you card or invitation – just a letter. I can’t even recall and my grandmother used to be really good about it.)

I have a 45 minute commute to work each way, which leaves loads of time for phone conversations (I wear a headset). I randomly call people all the time. I keep in touch with lots of friends and family members. And I love it.

During my life, I’ve had friends who marveled at my correspondence and list of far away friends. How do you do it? They’d ask. I can barely remember to call my mom, they’d say. And I knew then that they would be the friends who I’d have to do all the work with keeping in touch.

So, when those friends don’t call back, I call again. When they don’t respond to email, I don’t take it personally. But when they don’t call me back after I’ve left eight messages over two months, I start to take it personally.

One of my best friends lives in Boulder and is horrible about keeping in touch. But over the years, she’s appreciated when I stalked her and we’d finally catch-up on the phone, which was about once a month. Whenever we’re together, we laugh our asses off and have a fantastic time.

I called her before our trip to Vietnam to wish her a happy Thanksgiving and let her know we were headed to Southeast Asia. I called her again to tell her about the trip and wish her a Merry Christmas. I called again to wish her a Happy New Year, and still no return call. Finally, I caught her on Martin Luther King day for a few minutes while she was waiting for some workers at her house. She filled me in on life, how she was moving to a new house, her Christmas vacation, but the whole time she seemed uneasy. She eventually told me she didn’t want to spend the whole day waiting for the workers and had to go call them. I was fine with that, thinking she’d call me back. She never did.

I called her again in February. Then again in March to tell her about the pregnancy. Still, no return call. Finally, I stopped calling. I know lives get busy. I know I live in California and she lives in Colorado, and I know she is horrible about keeping in touch. But it’s hard to not take it personally when someone I considered a best friend doesn’t even drop me a note or text me or leave me a voicemail saying she is overwhelmed, but can’t handle anything else right now. I understand that. But radio silence? For months. I’m baffled and my feelings are hurt.

The other day, a number from Colorado popped up on my cell phone. I didn’t recognize it, and thought it might be her from her new house. I answered with hope in my voice, so happy we’d get to catch-up. But it was the University thanking me for my donation.

I’m still hopeful the friendship will survive, but I’m done making the effort. As my friend said, even pregnant girls need their girlfriends. Thankfully, I have her and lots of other friends to share stories with.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Smoke Free CA?

One great thing about living in California is that it is very health conscience. Smoking is banned on beaches in Santa Monica. All restaurants are smoke-free unless you sit outside (and being Los Angeles, this option exists year ‘round). It’s great. I can easily go out for dinner or a drink (pre-pregnancy, of course), and come home smelling exactly as I did when I went out. Needless to say, as a non-smoker, I love it.

Unfortunately, one place you are still allowed to smoke is your home. And guess who lives below us? A smoker. Most of the time, we can’t smell it. And most of the time, we have the windows open (a bonus of living in southern California). But, there are times when he has his friends over or maybe gets depressed or creative or whatever one does when they chain smoke, and the smoke drifts into our apartment.

This happened a few times before I was pregnant, and it grossed my pristine lungs out. I would open the window, swear a few times and go back to bed. But now that I’m growing a baby, I know that the crap the asshole smokes downstairs isn’t only staining my lungs, it’s fucking with my baby.

Anyway, my whole point of writing this is that there are these ads that run on TV by tobaccofreeca.com. Some of the ads talk about second hand smoke, and how it travels through the vents to get to your neighbors. In one in particular, they show the smoke entering a kid’s room. What I don’t understand is this: clearly, the kid’s parents don’t smoke but the asshole neighbor does. If the asshole neighbor doesn’t care enough about his own health (it’s a guy in the ad), why would he stop smoking for the health of a neighbor’s kid? Who are the ads aimed at exactly?

If anything, the ads freak me out MORE about the second hand smoke. Maybe they are done in conjunction with the real estate association to get more people to buy single family homes to escape the smoke? Short of him moving out, I think the only other solution is for us to move into our own home and pray our next neighbors don’t smoke. If anyone has a more realistic solution, please let me know because the real estate market still hasn't crashed to normal yet.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Secrets

I decided I would start a section about pregnancy secrets. Of course there are a million books out there and they tell you about all of them, but when you are experiencing them, it takes on a whole new meaning.

For example, I read that flatulence was a side effect of pregnancy. I wasn't too worried about it since I generally eat a lot of veggies and well, I'm a gas machine. But lord! This baby gas - it could knock you out.

Last night, I was watching TV and a little fart popped out. It stunk. I mean, really stunk. I laughed it off by myself and continued watching TV. Then, I went to bed. Ever hear of a Dutch oven? If not, you don't have an older brother. Basically, I created my own Dutch oven and almost killed myself every time I rolled over. And this lasted all night. I mean, the stench WOKE ME UP. It was brutal. Luckily for Pete, he was in Texas for business.

When Pete and I were dating, I asked him what one of his favorite things was about me. He said, "That you fart."

I was flabbergasted (pun slightly intended). "Out of all of my great traits this is the one you focus on???"

"It means you're not one of those girls who never farts and you're comfortable being you around me."

Romantic? I'm not sure. But since I've been pregnant, I don't think he'd say that's one of my better traits as he sticks his head out the window for a breath of air.

I just wanted a glass of water...

A 69-year old woman called 911 in Florida when she found an 8 foot alligator in her kitchen. My favorite part is when the dispatcher asks the woman if it might be an iguana or lizard. Yeah, one that could eat me!

Click here to get to the CNN page with the 911 call.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The First Photos



One of the first pictures of the baby. Don't let the nice, calm demeanor fool you. That baby was moving all over the place. It's about the size of a lemon in this photo. Six more months until we meet...

PS: It has legs but those didn't show up in this photo, and man, those legs were kicking up a storm. Thankfully, I can't feel them yet.

The Selfish Mama

Even though I’ve always wanted to be a mama, sometimes I get completely freaked out. Yesterday, we had lunch with my distant cousin, his wife and their 10 month old son. They live in a nice condo in the Valley, which is why we don’t see them more often (too far away). They say it’s rather small, but they have 3 bedrooms so in my world, it’s a decent size. As with most urban families, they are creative with space and aren’t accumulating tons of toys for the baby. We took notes.

Their son is wonderful, good-natured and smiley – despite that he was sleep deprived and had a cold. I can only imagine him on a “good” day. Since most of my friends don’t have kids in LA, it’s been ages since I’ve hung out with people with kids. When I lived in Boulder, it was part of life (of course these kids are driving and swearing now – okay, maybe not quite, but you get the idea). I’d forgotten how much EVERYTHING centers around the kid. We’d start a conversation about oh, eating gourmet meals, and then the baby would crawl off to something he wasn’t supposed to and the conversation veered back to the baby. This happened over and over and over and over and over again. On one hand it was completely fine. He’s sweet and they are good parents. But my lord, will I never be able to have a full conversation again?

Okay, I know at some point, I will leave the kid with Pete and get a respite with a girlfriend. I’m sure we will talk about mundane girl stuff and dating and food and, oh yeah, the baby. Because, let’s face it, the baby will be my life. Breast milk soaked shirts, throw-up on my shoulder. Yes, this is my future.

Already I fear the loss of me. The loss of my time (snickers from the moms reading this). As one friend already told me, the birth of our child will change me – in good ways. In ways I can’t even imagine. I have no doubt about it. No more 3 hour naps on Saturday for me, no more sex whenever we want (although the first trimester has been a libido killer), no more impromptu dinners or late walks to get tacos (late being 9pm… which might still work with an infant in a front pack).

Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m selfish. I like laying around on the weekend for hours and reading a book. I like sleeping in late or having quiet time in the morning while I make a surprise breakfast for Pete (given, I can do this with a kid… I think). I’m SELFISH! MOMS CAN’T BE SELFISH!

Okay, a breath. I’m better now. I’ll admit, in between hugging and kissing their son, my cousin and his wife told us how they had no idea how much they could love someone else. She said her heart hurt with the amount of love she felt for her son. To say they gushed about their son would be an understatement. They are clearly the poster parents for parenthood. And happy? If you could can happiness and sell it, they’d be the ones to get some from.

I’m sure I’ll miss the sleep. I’m sure I’ll miss my alone time with Pete, but I’m banking on the heart swell, the overwhelming love and of course, the way my kid’s face will light up when s/he sees me. It’s the reason people keep procreating, right? It can’t just be the tax deduction.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The First Glimpse

We just spent the past 3 hours at the perinatalogists office. We had a genetic counseling appointment at noon, followed by a nuchal fold ultrasound and blood work. We didn’t quite understand why we had to meet with the genetic counselor, but we did. Basically, they scare the shit out of you by telling you all the ways the chromosomes in your kid could be messed up. They even have pictures of the chromosomes just in case you needed a visual aid. I was feeling pretty confident about the baby being healthy prior to seeing the extra chromosomes, but then I was thinking. “Oh my god. What if we have one of the kids with Klinefelts syndrome with an extra X chromosome?” They told us that the boys are thin and don’t have mental retardation, but they are infertile. Um, okay.

After being barraged by all of this information, but reassured that our chances for a non-Downs baby was 84% (I think), we were left to wait for the ultrasound, which would tell us more – like whether or not there are two babies. Pete was convinced there were, but alas, there is only one baby kicking around in my womb. (Praise Jesus!)

The ultrasound was so cool! I’ve seen the still pictures before of my nieces, but I’d never seen one moving. The baby was squirming all over the place. Kicking his/her legs, reaching arms up, flipping over. I got a good look at the ribs in one shot. But in some, the kid looked purely alien. It’s kind of freaky. Like, are you sure this one is mine? It’s not looking so cute at that angle.

The sonongrapher, who was so nice, said he thought the baby, who I am convinced is a boy, has a high probability of being a girl because of how his/her bits are angled right now. He said if it went straight, it “could” be a girl, but if it went up, it “could” be a boy. It went straight. The doctor told us at this point, it’s too hard to tell so it’s 50/50. We just have to wait either 5 more weeks for the amnio or 6 more for the major ultrasound where they check the organs. So, all ya’ll who want to get pink or blue things, you have to hold off for a little longer.

I’ll work on getting the ultrasound pictures scanned so I can post them and also send them out to all the relatives who want to see the baby. My mom told me I had to send a copy because she has my niece’s so she has to have this one, too. She’s not very excited for another grandkid. Nope, not at all. I think the blanket she and my Nana are working on is almost done. Seriously.

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Taste of Summer

Los Angeles broke heat wave records this past weekend. I was starting to think this is going to be one super long summer if this is what it feels like in 85 degrees (apparently it was 96 in Santa Monica). Saturday, Pete and I packed our beach bag and wandered out to the sand. I decided I couldn’t sit out there without an umbrella, so I procured one on the boardwalk for $30, which I thought was fair since it is MUCH better than the one I bought at Rite-Aid for $12 a few years ago and, most importantly, I didn’t have to get in a car to buy it.

Anyway, we finally set-up camp on the beach. Got the umbrella up. The blanket and towels arranged. The chair positioned just so. But you know what? It is cold in the shade at the beach – even in 95 degrees! So, I stuck my feet in the sun, then put my back in the sun – anything to keep a little warm. After about 2 hours of adjusting body parts to get warm, I decided I’d had enough and went back up to the apartment. When I left Pete sprawled on the beach, I was a comfortable temperature. By the time I reached the cool of our apartment, I felt like I was on fire I was so hot. This was about a 5 minute walk at MOST.

I gratefully opened the door to the apartment only to find it was hot inside. We don’t have AC but the ocean breezes usually keep our place comfortable if you aren’t already a million degrees. I opened every window I could, I ate ice cream. I sat on the couch panting. It took me about 30 minutes before I felt normal again.

Needless to say, I opted out of the beach yesterday. Somehow, I’m going to have to figure this out or it is going to be long, boring summer trapped in my apartment LOOKING at the beach rather than sitting on it.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Only For the Rich and Crazy

Last year, when I started reading The Complete Organic Pregnancy, I thought that I would be an organic mama. I’d only eat organic. I’d swath the baby in organic blankets. Dress the baby in cute organic clothes from Under the Nile or Kate Quinn. I’d buy a hardwood crib and an organic mattress. I changed my beauty products to chemical-free ones, which has not been an inexpensive endeavor. I was committed. Oh, the foolishness….

I’m still clinging to the idea of an organic mattress and hardwood crib, which will come in just under $1000. We plan on having two kids so the crib will get another round of use with number two. I figure the kid’s face will be smashed against the mattress a lot so that is probably important.

As far as clothes, I’m quickly jumping off the organic bandwagon. One organic onesie costs approximately $11. A pack of onesies from Old Navy? $7. The kid will wear it for a month, maybe three. We aren’t made of money. At that rate, I’ll have to potty train the baby at three months just to save on diapers so I can buy organic clothing. And yes, I’ve thought about cloth, but realistically, I know it won’t work. The washer and dryer are in the garage of our building, and I doubt I’m going to lug the baby and stinky diapers down two flights of stairs every day. Seriously. I’d have to be hard-core to do that, and clearly I’m not.

My normal, healthy, organic eating is on hiatus. Now that I am pregnant and dealing with nausea, I put whatever seems to taste good into my mouth. Today (and yesterday) this included a sausage, egg and processed cheese sandwich from my company cafeteria. I’ve eaten frozen dinners, which I hadn’t done since college (they’re disgusting). The other day, I ordered a side of fries with my chicken quesadilla. What? The 1000 calories quesadilla wasn't enough? In fact, I've renewed my friendship with French fries. Pre-pregnancy, I ate them once a month or so. Pregnant? Minimum once a week. MINIMUM. I keep telling myself my cousin lived on saltines for the first three months of her pregnancy and her daughter is a thriving 4.5 year old. My mom said she ate peanut butter crackers for three months with my brother. He’s intelligent, well-adjusted and not allergic to peanuts. As another friend said, “French fries from McDonald's made my kids, strong like bull!” So, there it is. Definitive evidence I am not screwing up my baby.

I’m doing the best I can for this little one. My roots are grey, my toes are unpolished, my beauty closet is stocked with natural, not-quite-as-good-as-chemicals-but-cost-twice-as-much products and I’m full of French fries. At this rate, my lack of looks combined with my bitchy demeanor, the kid will be lucky I’m still married by the time s/he arrives. But dammit, s/he will be healthy! The kid is thriving in my belly. I know it. It has to be, right?

Monday, March 31, 2008

Martha Knows Her Eggs

I’m not a huge Martha fan, but I love flipping through her magazine and seeing the luscious images of immaculate cupboards, perfectly iced cakes and all of the floral arrangements. So, when one of her magazines falls in my lap, I always appreciate it.

Pregnancy carries with it an obvious need for added nutrition. I’ve been told everything from 65 to 100 grams of protein a day. This, my friends, is no easy task – especially when you only crave carbs. I’ve taken a bit of a laissez-faire attitude to eating this first trimester since my mother survived on peanut butter crackers with my brother, and my brother’s really smart. I figure when I feel better, I’ll eat better. (Please let that day be soon!) In the mean time, I eat a lot of scrambled eggs.

So, when I was flipping through Martha’s Spring egg edition (don’t recall the month – maybe March?), and there was a whole section on cooking eggs, I read it. First rule, never use a non-stick pan. Um, I always use a non-stick pan (I know, chemical party, but it’s easier). Use butter to coat the pan. Hmmm… I use a little olive oil.

This weekend, when I made eggs, I decided to put the rules to the test. I buttered up our All-Clad fry pan (it’s good to get married), scrambled my eggs and poured them in. I did everything exactly the same as the non-stick pan except for using the stick pan. And wow! Those eggs were the best eggs I’ve had in a long, long time. Fluffy, light, tasty. I can’t explain it. I can’t imagine a non-stick pan makes that much of a difference, but apparently it does.

I am spreading the gospel of sticky-pan eggs. (If you use enough butter they aren’t supposed to stick. I couldn’t do that. It just seemed wrong.) After putting the eggs on my plate, I immediately soaked the pan in the sink, and you know what? It wasn’t that hard to clean. Plus, the elbow grease was worth the better tasting eggs.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Be Careful What You Wish For

For years, I’ve said, “I like my breasts, but it’d be great if they were just a little bigger.” So I thought. I was happily cruising along as a B/C (the sales people say C, but most tend to be gappy, but Bs are too tight). Now I’m a full C and growing. I think I’ll even crest into D before it’s all said and done.

At first, it was kind of cool minus the aching growing pains. They became a curiosity for Pete and me.

“Wow! Those are big boobs!”

“I know! And they just keep growing!”

And they do. I was sleeping on my side/stomach last night, but the position smashed my new big boobs so I had to move completely to my side. I thought I’d have to change my sleeping position eventually to make the belly happy, but nope, it’s the boobs.

Small boobs stay out of your way. Clothes button easily over them. Size small t-shirts cover my stomach. Not so with these knockers. My small t-shirts pull up, exposing my chubby, not-yet-pregnant-looking belly. The buttons on my blouses strain to cover the bigger girls. And reaching for things? The darn things block my arm all the time. I had to readjust my shampooing posture to accommodate these globes of growing flesh.

I admit that I am starting to get used to them. They fill out some of my tops a little nicer than the small ones, and the look of astonishment on Pete’s face when I’m standing naked after a shower? Priceless. Just wait until the milk comes in and they’re all for baby….

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Bumpy Roads

A friend of mine is having a rough patch with her boyfriend right now. I won’t go into details because they aren’t mine to share, but talking to her brought up one of my past relationships.

When I was in my twenties, I dated a guy for three years. We met at a party, went on some dates, and a month later said, “I love you” to each other. Four months into our relationship we moved in together. It was fun and adventurous since we rented our friend’s trailer in a trailer park. We laughed about how our house used to have wheels. We giggled when the washer was on spin cycle and the opposite end of the trailer shook like a carnival ride.

Eventually, we moved from Vail to Boulder. Although we’d both lived in Boulder before, my friends were long gone after graduation and his were happy he was back. Quickly, I found that the time we used to spend together in Vail was now spent with his friends or alone while he was with his friends.

About a year into the relationship, I started questioning things. Prior to this one, my longest relationship had been in college for six months. I was determined to have one that lasted at least a year. So, I ignored the questions and persevered.

That summer, I asked my cousin how she broke off her engagement, and she said, “When the voices got so loud that I couldn’t ignore them, I ended it. At first, there was a small voice saying he wasn’t the one for me, but I ignored it. Then, it got a little louder, and I told it to shut-up. Finally, it got so loud, I couldn’t ignore it anymore. That’s when I knew.”

I’d recognized the voices, but I thought, “They aren’t that loud. Maybe they’re wrong.”

In the second year, we went to a couple’s counselor to try to make it work. He even moved out so we would have to make an effort to see each other instead of taking each other for granted. We broke-up and got back together about eight times until we finally decided we would stick it out until we were sure we wanted out. That was October.

By the following spring, I was wrought with emotion. I woke up at 5am, tossing and turning, so upset as to what to do. I would wait, tormented, until 6am so I could call my mom on the east coast in tears, begging her to help it get better. I fell asleep worrying, with a knot in my stomach, not listening to all the signs around me.

I booked a trip to North Caroline to see my mom and clear my heard. I spent the week talking about the future with my boyfriend in Boulder. It was like I was trying to talk myself into a life with him. The more I talked about it, the more real it became so I kept talking. My mom, being the amazing woman that she is, just listened, biting her tongue from saying DUMP HIM.

Finally, the week ended and I was on my way back to Boulder. I remember sitting on the airplane full of hope for my relationship. He picked me up at the airport, and things were good. I was happy to see him.

Then, back at my apartment, we were snuggling on the couch when the voices screamed at me, “He’s not the one for you! You have to move on!”

I looked around to see if he heard. He kept going on about how great things were, and how much he missed me.

“YOU HAVE TO BREAK-UP WITH HIM!” the voices yelled.

I sat up. And I knew. The voices were not going to let me ignore them any longer. It took me three more days to finally break-up with him, but I did it. It was the best thing I ever did for myself, and I wondered why I waited so long to do it. It was also one of the hardest things to do. He never hit me or cheated on me, which I used to wish for because then I would have had a clear answer as to why it had to end. In hindsight, he said things that damaged me, but I probably did the same to him. I had a lot of healing to do after that relationship. Sometimes I wonder if I’d listened to the voices earlier, would it have been easier?

I don’t envy my friend right now. Trying to figure out if a relationship should continue or not is difficult. There are so many variables, and everyone who listens and gives advice is carrying their own baggage. No one can see what it is like to be in the relationship, the secret goodness (or badness). It’s hard because in my experience, being unhappy meant that I needed to move on, but for other friends, that was just a layer before their relationship deepened. I listen to her, and like my mom, I try to bite my tongue from saying anything too positive or negative, knowing she has to come to a conclusion on her own – whatever that may be.

The Big Cave-In

I did it. I caved. After a few weeks of unbearable pressure on the gut, I started wearing maternity clothes. I know, it’s completely and utterly premature, but this kid does not like ANY pressure on it. I did the rubber band trick, the bella band, the unbuttoning my pants when I sat and covertly buttoning them when I stood. Everything was unflattering and frumpy, plus uncomfortable.

So, I raided the maternity store closet and broke out some jeans. I thought those would hold me over for a little while. (They’re totally too big and falling off, but better than strangling baby.) And then to add to the collection, I got an email that Liz Lange is closing her Beverly Hills store. Everything in the store is $20. TWENTY DOLLARS!! Those are Old Navy prices! (Just in case you aren’t clear, this is the real Liz Lange, not Liz Lange for Target.)

I grabbed my purse and made a mad dash through spring break traffic to get to Beverly Hills over lunch yesterday. Beverly Hills is usually 15 to 20 minutes away during the week. Parking is generally not too difficult because there are plenty of public lots. The emphasis is on USUALLY. Add spring break, and it took me half an hour to get there only to find my favorite lot full. (Damn spring breakers!)

Finally, I found a spot and dashed over to the Queen of Maternity’s store. I was a tad disappointed, but not surprised, to find all the fun, colorful pieces gone. On the plus side, there were lots of great basics and friendly sales people to help find the pieces.

I managed to find 2 pairs of pants, a skirt, a blazer, a dress and a shirt ALL for under $100. That’s not too impressive at Old Navy, but the pants are regularly $175 and the jacket was $275!! I thought, “Do I really need a jacket?” And the sales lady pointed out, “For $20 you can’t lose.” So, I now own a maternity blazer.

Pete almost had a heart attack when I told him I spent $100 on maternity clothes until he saw me this morning. I feel pretty today. I have a cute outfit on that fits properly. The baby can breathe and so can I.

** Hopefully this will be the lasts of my posts regarding clothes because even I’m getting bored of them.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Oh the Vanity

I completely understand the fat not cute stage now – and I am barely showing. To the untrained eye, I just look like I’ve been eating too much pasta and fried chicken. As suspected, a lot of my clothes don’t fit correctly anymore. My fitted t-shirts are now too short because of the new rack I’ve got, not to mention they highlight the bulging belly. My pants don’t really button, and the ones that do, I need a rubber band to make fit comfortably. My bras are too tight – including the one I just bought in an effort to have one bra that fits. Needless to say, getting dressed for work has become something I dread.

We planned this pregnancy, so I knew last fall that I wouldn’t fit into a lot of the clothes I admired. I solved that by limiting my spending to things I knew I would wear (jeans). In fact, in the past few years I haven’t bought many clothes. I had the website so my extra money went to buy clothes for that instead of clothes for me (the payoff is weeks away). But in the meantime, this means that my selection on clothing is limited. Incredibly limited.

I went shopping last weekend in hopes of buying a few pairs of pants to hold me over until I fit into maternity pants. The websites and books say that I’ll fit into them after the baby so not to worry about spending the money. And honestly, this time, I wasn’t that worried. But all the big pants look sloppy. Generally, I like my clothes fitted and tailored. I like body skimming clothes. Since I sew, I’ve even taken in blouses so they have a more fitted look. I spend money on expensive pants because the fit is better than the basic Gap pair (although, occasionally I’ve gotten lucky). Which leads me to my current dilemma: how do I dress cute, accommodate the baby that doesn’t like any pressure on it and not look frumpy?

I have no answer. Today, I have on a pair of cute jeans, a white blouse and pale green cardigan. I thought I looked preppy-cute when I left my house this morning. A trip to the bathroom at work proved otherwise. The rubber-banded button of my jeans is completely visible when I walk and my jeans are a little too tight, if you know what I mean. Did I mention the buttons on my blouse are pulling from the gigantic ta-tas I’m sporting? So much for concealing the pregnancy. Here’s the thing: I’m over it. I am at the point where I HAVE to wear clothes that are comfortable. I’m still not saying anything about the bun in the oven, and so far, no one has been rude enough to ask. I think my boss is on to me because he didn’t say anything to me as I inhaled a breakfast burrito at my desk this morning, which I never do (did).

And I wonder why my pants are tight.

The Site

Two years ago, after paying off all of my debt and feeling incredibly free and bold, I decided to start an on-line maternity store. (Put the money in the bank instead of spend it? Are you crazy???) In my big-picture plan, I thought I could start this while working my day job since the Internet is on at all hours of the day, and then in a few years (or year in my plan), make enough to quit my day job to do it full-time. Then, when I was ready to have kids, I’d have a flexible job where I could have my kids around. (I was realistic enough to realize I would still most likely need a nanny to help, but in my mind, I was making enough to pay her, too.)

Anyway, without going into the minutia of starting the business, hiring web designers, getting decent photographs, dealing with a back-end that didn’t work right and again, the web designers who couldn’t fix it, I’ll let you know it fell flat. The inventory is languishing in the office closet (it’s a large closet) waiting for me to raid it for this pregnancy and to sell of the rest of it.

It’s kind of become like a large tumor I pretend I don’t have. “What? That thing? Oh, it’s nothing. It’ll take care of itself.” Or so I hope. I keep dreaming of coming home to an empty closet and a full bank account. Often, I forget all about it until either Pete asks me what I am going to do with it (“Stop asking me! I’ll figure it out!”) or miraculously, someone orders something.

It’s so bad I don’t even check the business email very often, but last week I did, and lo and behold! Someone made it through my unencrypted (it expired) check-out! New hope dawned! I sold a shirt! Perhaps I will revive the shop and unload this stuff at discount prices! Hallalujah! Of course, in between wanting to barf and sleep, I kept forgetting to pack her shirt. So, this morning, I finally sat down to pack up her shirt and send it off with heartfelt thanks. But the size of the shirt she ordered WAS ALREADY SOLD! Yes, I sell things to my friends straight out of the closet (there’s an idea – sell out of the trunk of my car) and I don’t always update the inventory on the site. (Well, I did, but that was on the NEW site that we had rebuilt, but no one knows exists.)

I’m starting to feel like I am always supposed to have an albatross. First, the credit card debt that I did a fine job of accruing, and now, the maternity inventory that I also did a fine job of accruing. I mean, finally, someone wanted to buy something! How, oh cruel world, can this woman want the same white t-shirt as my friend in small?! Where are the big people I keep reading about? Why does everyone want a small???

Frustration is an understatement.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Just Another Reminder to Vote

Los Angeles is a very tolerant city. One of the reasons I like living here is the diversity. For me, that includes race, religion and sexual orientation. Since I live in a blue state with representatives (all women!!) that mostly vote how I want them to, I forget about the other parts of our country

Hearing this clip from Oklahoma representative Sally Kern made me shudder.



If you want to help, click here.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Riding the Wave

No one can prepare you for morning sickness. We’ve all heard friends complain about it. Noticed when they dropped out of society until the triumphant first trimester ended. I had sympathy. I offered bland foods. I stepped out of delicious smelling coffee houses because they no longer smelled delicious to my pregnant friends. I even left a great show because the bar smelled like beer and Melissa thought she might barf. But my lord, nothing could have prepared me for the real experience.

The nausea comes and goes. Sneaks up on me and clobbers me over the head. And just as I begin to accept my fate of riding the invisible curvy road with no end, it ends. I’m still complaining internally, woe-is-me-ing myself when all of a sudden, I realize I feel fine. Then, I get excited that I beat the sickness. I start gloating and just as suddenly as it stops, it comes back. It’s worse than my brother’s most evil torture when I was a kid.

And here’s the thing: I know my morning sickness is mild. Oh, and in case none of your friends have enlightened you, morning sickness is a bunch of bullshit. The crap lasts all day, sometimes lulls you to sleep, sometimes wakes you up. It knows no boundaries.

When I found out I was pregnant, all 2.5 weeks ago (time is moving slllloooowwwwwllllyyy), I felt great. I felt great minus a few nauseous rumblings that were quickly quelled with food. I stupidly thought THAT was morning sickness. No sirree, morning sickness is turning green at your desk and wondering if you can make it to the bathroom to puke. Then looking around the copy room outside of the bathroom for a can to puke in just in case someone is in the bathroom, and in case you can't make it there, eyeing the recycle bin under your desk as a perfect puke receptacle. Yes, my friend, that is morning sickness.

I looked up “morning sickness cures” online, and found that there are a few things one can do: eat small meals regularly, eat protein, stay hydrated and rest. Okay, let’s look at this list. You want to puke. Spend just a moment thinking how much you want eat when you want to puke. Yep. Not at all. But here’s the thing: it really is salvation.

Yesterday, as I lay my head on my desk, groaning quietly, I ate a few pistachios, then an almond. I thought I would be making the run to the bathroom, but I managed to keep them down, and then about twenty minutes later, I could actually function. How novel! (And all of this while trying to keep it from the boss. Oy.)

Today, I am carefully watching the clock and eating a few nuts or peanut butter crackers every hour or so. Not a lot. Just a couple to keep the nausea at bay. I’m sipping Pellegrino, mint tea and water. And I feel…. okay. I’m not saying great, but better. If only I had a cot in my office to rest on...

I keep telling myself about all the women who have gone through this before me, and the beautiful baby I’ll get in the end, and I feel better. I feel bonded to both of them. I keep telling myself that morning sickness means there is a healthy baby growing in me. I am working on gratitude that this pregnancy came so easily to me, that I am joining the billions of women who are mothers. I’m trying to figure out how to accept it and stop fighting it. To finally cede control over to parenthood. This, I know, is just the first of many times I’ll need to let go. I just hope I don’t “let go” in the recycle bin.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Joining the Tribe

We have all heard the quote about walking a mile in someone else’s shoes before you really know them. It sucks when I find out these old quotes “hold water.” (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) When I planned our wedding, I found myself looking back on events around other peoples’ weddings, and wishing I had acted differently. I wished I’d sent a better gift or offered to help more. I understood why my friends were stressed, but also calm. Even though I think of myself as a supportive friend, like the saying goes, until you’ve been there, you can’t fully understand it.

So it goes with pregnancy. In the late 90s, I started studying to be a doula, which meant that I read lots of books about pregnancy. I quizzed friends about their pregnancies and births. I even attended a birth, which included almost every intervention except a c-section. Stupidly, I thought I knew what pregnancy was all about.

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! The joke is completely on me. My friend Lisa once told me about the “fat phase,” where you look fat not pregnant. I sort of knew what she meant, but I thought this phase happened around month three or even four before the belly popped out and looked cute. I hardly look fat now, but there is a definite bloat to my stomach. There is no holding it in anymore. And my favorite skinny jeans? Sayonara. They are history until next spring at the earliest. (Let’s be honest – summer - I’m no Heidi Klum.) Already, they push into my sweet, bloated belly, causing me to feel like utter hell and want to puke.

Last Friday, I wore them to work cleverly unbuttoned with a belly band. I sold the bella band when I had my online store, and thought how great! Wear my favorite pants longer? Of course! Brilliant! I still thought that Friday morning when I got dressed. By Friday afternoon, after indulging in a light lunch of quiche and salad, my stomach pushed out further and I swear, even further. By 6pm, I was almost in tears. When I got home, I raced to the bedroom, took off my jeans and slid the evil constrictor off. I groaned with pleasure. I moaned. I praised the heavens. Pete asked if he should come in and help me.

Today I am wearing a little black dress that is completely overkill for my casual office. After the bella band episode, I couldn’t bring myself to put on a waistband. I’m still trying to figure out how to make yoga pants look cute enough for work.

I won’t even start the tirade on my boobs yet. That’s another entry. And the nausea. I keep wondering how I can get off this ride that is making me so sick, until I realize I have to ride it to get the baby. A whole tribe of women before me knows exactly what I’m talking about. The tribe behind, be warned. It’s exciting, but nothing can prepare you for the experience. With all of that said, and a little trepidation, I am proud to be joining the Momma Tribe.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

BFP (Big Fat Positive)

On Valentine’s Day, I peed on a stick for the first time in my life. How I made it to 36 without doing it before, I have no idea. Blame it on my regular cycle combined with my "No babies, no babies" mantra. This time, I patiently left it on the bathroom sink for the allotted three minutes and laid back down with Pete while we waited. After about a minute, I sprang back up and went to the bathroom. I squinted and prayed for a second line. Faintly, a second line appeared. Pete and I looked at each other.

“Do you think that’s a line?” I asked Pete.

“I can barely see it,” he said.

“I don’t know. I think that’s a second line. I’ll do it again tomorrow morning and see what it says.”

It was all very calm and business-like. And we waited. I went to spin class with this potential secret growing inside of me, and to work where I continued to feel fine.

Friday morning I peed on a different brand of stick. A blue line appeared, but again it wasn’t dark blue like the test line.

I wasn’t as patient this time so I ran off to my friend the internet, and typed in “faint line, pregnancy test.” Sure enough, it told me that ANY second line means that you are indeed creating a child.

“Pete, I think we really are going to have a baby,” I yelled from the computer.

“Wow. That was easy.”

“Don’t jinx us for the next time!”

“Right. We should keep practicing.”

So, it’s true. We made a baby the first time we tried after preparing for it to take six months to a year. Apparently, we are in the 20% who hit the jackpot on round one. We are just now getting over the shock that we are actually going to have a baby at the end of October.

** It’s super early and we really shouldn’t tell anyone, but we did. And now I’m telling the internet because there is way too much going on not to write about it.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Mom's Weekend


Yes, February is officially Parent’s Month in Venice. And yes, both of my parents hit weekends where the weather was less than perfect. Luckily, mom stayed an extra day to celebrate her birthday. At her request, Pete and I took the day off of work, and hell if the sun didn’t get the memo. We FINALLY had a gorgeous day on Monday.

The weekend was incredibly uneventful. My mom and I have a habit of lying around the house, eating and catching-up with each other. I swear every time we are together, there is a point when we glance at the clock and say, “Holy shit! How’d it get to be noon (or 1, or 2)???” The incredulousness never fails us. It happened again on Saturday. Mom and I decided to walk to the Third Street Promenade to get her t-shirts from Zara, but by the time we changed out of our pajamas, it had started to rain.

Rain and Los Angeles don’t meet very often so when they do, I welcome the opportunity to catch-up on movies, lounge in bed reading or just plain not feel badly that I’m not experiencing the wonderful sun. So, having guests on rainy weekends leaves me flummoxed as to what to do with them. Usually, I like to walk around the area –Abbot Kinney or Main Street or one of the piers that we are sandwiched between. There is lots to see within a thirty-minute walk from our apartment. People swing from rings, hula-hoop, roller-dance, surf, or are just plain freaky. We love it. But rain?

We ended up buying yarn at this cute store I pass on my way to work, coming home and watching an Oscar movie. We chose “The Valley of Elah” over “La Vie en Rose” only because we couldn’t knit and read subtitles. We should have scrapped the knitting. I agree with the Academy that Tommy Lee Jones did a great job acting in “Valley,” but it is DEPRESSING. I don’t like being reminded how awful humans can be to each other.

After recovering from watching the movie, we headed over to El Cholo for some Mexican food. I choose it because in the past I’ve had excellent enchiladas there plus it is lively and fun. In the past, I’ve gone during the week. In the future, I will go during the week. I am never going on a Saturday again. “Lively and fun” became ear-deafeningly loud. Excellent enchiladas were mediocore at best, which I blame on the volume of food processed on a Saturday night. Wrap that one up as an experience.

Sunday was more of the same (except this time we were disappointed by the very bland, poorly written Academy Awards – and yes, Hollywood needs a hug!), so no need to elaborate other than to say we squeezed in some beach time during a brief moment of sunshine. But Monday, Mom’s birthday, dawned gloriously. She must have asked for sun because we got a gorgeous day.

For any of you who think Los Angeles is a wasteland of cement, I have news. It is ringed by mountains most people never set foot on, which means, great, empty hiking trails. After a half-hour drive, we were greeted by deep green grasses and muddy trails, and we loved it.



Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Dad's Weekend


A few weeks ago, my dad came for a quick weekend visit. My parents, unlike most, are completely fearful of over staying their welcome. I think my dad even quoted that old saying about how you want to leave before the stink of fish starts So, my dad did a Superman-like visit. He flew in from the east coast on Saturday morning, and out on the Sunday red-eye. I’m a hard-core traveler, and have been known to fly in for birthday parties and baby showers, but even I stay longer than a night (at least 2!). I think we convinced him that we truly do like him, and we would LOVE for him to stay longer. Only time will tell….

Anyway, we had a great time despite the rain, cold and grey that permeated the weekend (he planned very poorly as the following weekend LA broke heat records with temperatures soaring into the mid-80s). After a fabulous lunch of German fare at 3 Square, a favorite local eatery, I dragged him to the Japanese market to buy ingredients for sukiyaki, which he taught me how to make on Sunday.

The market excursion, for me, was incredible. I love going to the Japanese market and buying random things to try like yam noodles, but most things I have no idea how use or even what they are since most of the packaging is in Japanese. Enter Dad. Not only could he tell me what most stuff was, he could tell me what to do with it. I was picking up all kinds of things and demanding to know how I could use it.

After the exciting trip to the market, we squeezed in a walk by the beach before heading off to a Mardi Gras party where we all ate way too much gumbo (soooo good!!!). Unfortunately, we didn’t take any photos because Pete showed up in his Christmas tree costume and I ended up with a Mardi Gras thong on over my jeans. I wonder what we would have done if Dad wasn’t in town….

Sunday was an ode to food. We started the day at the farmers’ market (I swear my dad likes the markets), then headed home to figure out how to spend the rainy day. We were at a complete loss since rain isn’t very common in the Southland. Luckily, Pete decided it was a good time to make spaetzle for us with our new spaetzle maker. Just as our bellies were expanding from the spaetlze, the rain gave us a reprieve so we headed out for a walk on the beach.

The temperature wasn’t that bad, but the winds were blowing hard and the sand was whipping us in the face. Unfortunately, I left the camera at home yet again because the light was magnificent that afternoon. The stormy grey clouds had bursts of sunshine streaming through and the winds made interesting piles of sand.

After walking home INTO the wind, we were all exhausted and passed out in front of the Super Bowl. It ended just in time for my sukiyaki lesson and dinner before taking Dad back to LAX to catch the red-eye home.



He said when he retired, he wouldn’t mind coming out to cook Japanese food for us for a week (pretty please!!). His only requirement was that he have his own room, which is just a little more incentive to buy a house. If only the housing market could crash back to reality.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Old Lady

I think I’m old. I mean, when did this happen? I look at photos of myself, and there are wrinkles next to my eyes. (I prefer “crinkles” because it sounds a little less permanent.) I can handle the “crinkles,” but my idea of fun has changed. Today is Friday and I’m excited for the weekend because it means I can watch movies and exercise. I used to get excited for parties and meeting guys, but not now. I have time to cook soup and maybe even bake some cookies. Really. It’s just LAME! And pathetic and sad.

I’m not so old that I think digital things are for “the kids.” I’m on Facebook. But, other than finding friends and giving friends a cyber cupcake, I’m not really sure what I am supposed to be doing with it, but I’m on it, which brings me to my point. I was bored so I started scrolling through some “friends” photos on the site. I have friends of all ages, and this one happens to be in her low 20s.

Before I go on, I have to repeat, “Ya’ll, I’m old.” I’m old and farty. Ten years ago I would have thought her photos were so cool, and they still are if I was flipping through an album while sipping a beer in her living room, but they are online. Where people at work can see them. Her pictures aren’t exactly raunchy or even too out there. She’s posing with her girlfriends at a bar, martinis lined up in front of them, cleavage hanging out. She’s almost kissing a girlfriend in another. Apparently, she either goes to a lot of costume parties or likes Halloween a lot because she has embraced the slutty costume whole-heartedly. Again, there in NOTHING wrong with her photos. It appears that she is having a blast with her friends, but my beef is that they are online for co-workers to see. Set the privacy settings higher, for god’s sake!!!

Why do people want to so much of their live their lives on-line? (Remember, this is coming from a blogger who writes about her life online.) Don’t they know that employers might be able to see things like their photos? Under likes, she has porn. Again, that’s fine, but do you want everyone to know you like porn, or is it just cool to like porn now?

I graduated college a few years before it was cool to like porn (unless you were a frat boy) or be a lesbian. I’m sure there were women watching porn and LUGs at my school, but it wasn’t main stream. When did all of this change? And more importantly, when did I become someone who looks at the generation behind mine and says, why do they think ______ is cool?

It’s true. I’m officially old.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Non-Toxic Update

I’m drinking out of metal! One of my good friends read my post about the super-fund site I was drinking out of, and turned me onto Affirm Water bottles. I hopped on-line, and ordered 5 of them right away because you can never have too many bottles (plus I saved on shipping and handling since it costs the same amount for 1 or 5 bottles). I got 3 small ones and 2 large ones. I am planning on giving my water drinking Mama one of them for her birthday, and maybe the other to another water enthusiast. We’ll see.

Other than the fact they look almost exactly like the fuel bottles I used to take camping (back when I camped), they are great. They came with two different caps – a sports top and a screw top similar to my fuel bottle. I’m not a big fan of the sports cap mostly because I can’t squeeze the bottle to force the water out. I like to gulp water and it’s more like a trickle. I’m going to take the small one to spin class this week, which will be the true test.













Sometimes, there is a slight metallic taste with the first sip (and it doesn’t happen all the time), but overall, drinking directly from the bottle works for me. I would prefer a more exciting graphic on the bottle, or something more design inspired, but that’s just me being picky. Overall, I’d say get a metal water bottle. The pros definitely outweigh the cons. I just have to get used to it – especially the fact it’s smaller than a Nalgene (26oz. vs. 32oz.).

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Also on the testing front, I bought “healthy” nail polish this weekend. The verdict: I miss my chemicals. When I’m standing, it looks fine, but it’s lacking the luster and shine of a traditional polish. The ridges in my nails show through. Also, the color choice is sort of lacking. There wasn’t an eye-popping bright red or pink. I settled for a pinky, red, purple-y color that is nice, but subdued. The polish was $7.50 and the special remover was $8.00. (Regular remover doesn’t work.) I think I like my bare nails better.

There are more brands to try so I’ll keep you posted. This quest for natural beauty is sucking money.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A Taste of Hell


Poison oak sucks. I can’t even pretend to not mind it. It’s been a week since I raced to the doctor, and you know what? I still have the crap. I still wake up itching. I fall asleep itching. In fact, my whole body itches in solidarity with the poison oak parts.

Two different friends told me about this miracle stuff called Tecnu, which washes away the oils and helps you heal faster. I think Pete and I thought it would be an elixir from the gods, and would wake to find milky, smooth skin after we used it. We’ve both used it 4 times (morning and night – maybe that’s why I’m itchy). The rash is subsiding slightly, but it might also just be time. I’m not sure it is quite the miracle worker I was led to believe.

Here’s the real kicker: the damn oil must be on something we touch regularly because now I have new spots of poison oak on my hands, inside of my right leg and my ass. HOLY CRAP!! I’M OVER IT!!!

We both feel like we’ve woken up in some version of hell. We’re scared to touch stuff in the house, scared to drive the car we used to take the hike (it’s been sprayed with so much rubbing alcohol it smells like it). Our laundry pile grows exponentially every day since we only use a towel and wear clothes once. Hell, Pete even stripped the couch covers to wash because he is sure he lay on the couch with his contaminated hiking clothes on.

This morning, when I told my friend we “pulled off the trail,” she asked if it was to get busy. All I have to say to that is, Thank God L.A. has too many people to even consider that! Ouch…

I’ve heard tales of using poison oak/ivy to wipe after peeing in the woods. All I have to say is, you have to have some pretty bad karma for that to happen.

So, 7 days down. Hopefully, less then 7 to go.

UPDATE: It's 9 days later and it is basically gone, but my skin still has blotches on it. The stuff is straight from the devil.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Oh the Itch

I’ve always had crazy skin. It breaks out in a rash if the temperature changes. I was allergic to milk, wheat and eggs as a kid (and yes, it completely sucked). Besides being congested and slightly asthmatic, I got a rash behind my knees. If I ignored it and kept eating cookies and ice cream, it would spread up my inner thighs, then jump to the crooks of my arms and sometimes even under my arms. Add a little heat and humidity, and oh, those were the days.

Luckily, I’ve mostly grown out of the allergies (there’s hope for all those kids today), but I still get rashes occasionally. I’ve had eczema on my eyelids and an itchy rash on my belly, which were both treated by acupuncturists. (My system runs hot so I should avoid spicy things that “heat” my system. Add it to the list.) So, when I got a rash on the back of my arm and a few spots on my hip, I didn’t think that much about it. I just decided to start following my acupuncture diet (no wheat, no diary, no red meat, no spicy stuff, no sugar, no night shade vegetables – yes, there are still things to eat). In fact, I was kind of happy because it gave me a reason to lose some of the marriage weight I’ve put on.

Then, on Tuesday, I show Pete my hip in a search of some sympathy, but instead, he yells, “I’ve got that on my arm!” Bells went off in my head. I wanted to faint. I was sure we had some awful, contagious skin condition. I’m used to rashes that don’t spread, but this? My lord, I’d given it to my husband! We’re one of the gross couples with rashes! I quickly called the doctor, and rushed over that afternoon.

I was prepared. The quarantine we’d face in our apartment. The piles of laundry we’d have to do. I was ready. Just give me the antibiotics. But, she said it was just poison oak. Poison oak? From where?

Pete and I have been on a get back in shape kick (why does marriage make you fat?), and we’ve been hiking every weekend. Prior to meeting Pete, I hiked most weekends and never, ever got poison oak. EVER. So, a few weekends ago, we were hiking in Temescal Canyon after one of the drenching rains, and happily staying on the trail. Then, at the very end of the hike, there was this group of people with a net wading through the creek. It was an odd sight since a) if you caught a fish in the stream it would most likely be about 2 inches long and b) it would most likely be full of toxins. Of course we stopped and asked what they were doing. (The words, “Move along, folks. There’s nothing to see here,” ring in my ears.)

Apparently, one of them had seen a koi swimming in the creek earlier and they’d come back to rescue it. (You have to love LA. My street is packed full of homeless people and they are saving koi.) We didn’t stay long enough to find out if they found it, but we pulled far enough off the trail to step in some poison oak.

At least this is what we’ve deduced. My dad was here last weekend, so we didn’t go hiking. But, we did get poison oak. The only thing we can figure out is that it was on the shoes we wore for the walk we took with my dad.

Since Wednesday, I’ve been all over the net reading about poison oak and urushiol, the pesky oil it contains that can stay on things for YEARS and infect you. YEARS.

Since we aren’t 100% sure it was the shoes, we are washing everything. Pete started the laundry last night, washing all the towels and his clothes. I have piles of sheets to wash plus my clothes (fair division of laundry). I’ve sprayed the couch and our shoes down with rubbing alcohol. We’re hoping this covers any places the oils may be lurking.

Today, the spots are getting bigger, but softer around the edges – more blister-like. This is supposed to last 12-20 days. On the bright side, my obsessing has made the week fly by, but I have no idea how I’m not going to itch for that long. Pete’s already ripped the tops off of most of his blisters. I guess I did learn something from all my rashes as a kid. Although, it still feels great to just sit back and itch sometimes. Only 10-18 days to go…