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


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 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.