Monday, March 30, 2009

Daily Note: March 30, 2009

What was that? Oh! You want to know what I was doing on Saturday (aka the day of my birth)? Funny you should ask.

I was enjoying a luxurious prenatal massage, a ridiculous spa shower in a room the size of my kitchen, a European facial, and a manicure and pedicure combo while seated in a heated reclined chair. All compliments of my wonderful friends. Thank you, wonderful friends.

I was dropped off at the spa with a “deluxe snack pack” in hand (personally assembled by Kristin) so that I could enjoy my afternoon at the spa without sacrificing my all-important snacking schedule. While I was at the spa my friends checked us all into a hotel suite downtown that put my house to shame. The hotel “room” was literally the size of my house and included a fireplace living room, office, 3 bathrooms, 3 plasma TVs, a bar and dining room area. FOR SERIOUS. Sometimes having friends in the hotel business has its bennies. This was one of those times. So we lounged around, ordered some crab mac and cheese(!) from room service to snack on, and got ready for dinner. Thankfully, dinner was a casual enough affair to allow me to wear maternity jeans (officially the nicest thing I own now). Then we went out for dinner at Purple where Jeff, Maggie and all the other significant others joined us. After dinner, we headed back to our pad at the hotel where some of my old roommates joined us for sparkling cider and champagne, Dahlia Lounge coconut cream pie, and a lemon tart (my two favorite desserts of all time). We then kissed the boys goodbye and the girls had a slumber party at the hotel. At the slumber party, I was able to wear my new robe given to me that afternoon as part of my gift. This robe is softer than any bunny you have ever touched. I’m serious. It’s like when I put it on, I BECOME a bunny. I also become kind of creepy, because I mostly just stare into the distance and run my hands up and down my legs to feel the softness of the robe. And even though I was the first to fall asleep, as Heidi promised, no one froze my bra. Best day ever. Best friends ever.

Jeff and I will be celebrating my birthday on April 11th. We’re staying at the same fancy hotel (just the two of us this time) downtown and he’s taking me out to eat at my favorite – Boat Street Café. We hope this will serve as a dual celebration – my birthday and good news at our April 6th ultrasound. Yes, you read that correctly folks. It is only 6 days until we find out if Bart is really a Bart, or could he be … Bernice? And no, these aren’t really names that we’re considering, but they’re funny, right? I’m so excited and nervous; it’s like when I was 5 and knew we were going to Disneyland. It’s good that I have this to look forward to, because I must say that pregnancy has not been treating me so awesome lately. First, I’m still queasy most of the time. Second, my hips hurt so bad I feel that I’m preparing to birth a baby whale and not a baby human. Trying to sleep on my side is an exercise in torture. Last night, Jeff helped me rig an assortment of pillows that allowed some pain relief, but left me sleeping about a foot higher up than him so that my hip and shoulder could dangle between pillows, simulating the prenatal massage set-up I’d experienced the day before. Jeff was kind enough to only laugh for a minute while helping set this up.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Daily Note: March 27, 2009

Um. Tomorrow's my 30th birthday. I'm pretty pumped. The plans are super hush hush, so all I know is that my girls are picking me up at 11:30. I feel like I'm going on a secret mission. I've been told to have my overnight bag packed and to have a full stomach. I know there are dinner plans at 7pm that include the boys, but I don't know the location. Everything else is a surprise. Oh, except I do know that Katherine is flying in from LA for the occasion! I thought I'd be anxious about all the mystery, but so far I'm just excited. 30th birthdays are not to be messed with where the girls are concerned. I'm the baby of the group (unless you consult Katherine's facebook profile, in which case you might be fooled into thinking she's younger than me, but where I come from we call that a BIG FAT LIE! *I'm* the baby!), but everyone else's 30th birthdays have included a custom day of fun not to be forgotten. Truthfully, I'm most looking forward to just hanging out all together. With Kristin in Bellingham, Katherine in LA, and the rest of us busy all the time, it doesn't happen often enough.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Daily Note: March 23, 2009

Guess who finally took our pictures from last month off the camera and put them onto the computer? My husband! The result is a weird hodge podge of a post. With pictures.

First, a belated welcome to Spring, compliments of my front walk. These crocus (crocuses? croci?) all bloomed last week but have since been blown to bits by all the rain, wind and freezing temperatures. But they were pretty while they lasted, yes?

Next, a series of photos that crack me up. I will explain the reason for each giggle fit below each photo.

This is Maurice. In our bed. Tucked in. Like a person. I walked into the bedroom the other day to find Jeff laughing quietly to himself, while tucking Maurice into the bed. The sight of my weird husband tucking in my weird cat combined with the funny proportion of the cat's tiny head and our giant bed made me run for the camera. Of course as soon as I tried to take a picture, he flipped out and tried to escape what he was previously treating as a his own private cloud bed. Also, I think the weird combo of patterns on our bed right now is funny. It's a mixture of ALL our blankets because that happened to be a freezing cold week that required reinforcements. Result? Toile, plaid circa 1997, and nautical stripes.

Okay, so not everything about this photo is funny. But seriously, what am I looking at in this picture? My line of vision is weirdly high. Am I striking a noble pose? It's unclear. My only explanation is that every time Jeff and I try to take a "belly picture" it ends in curse words, hysterical laughing and a faux wrestling match while I screech, "OUCH - my boobs!!!" and/or, "It's horrible -delete that picture!!!" Strangely, I have a history of enjoying being photographed, but usually only if I'm making a dorky face. So every time I try to smile "normal", Jeff laughs at me, which totally eggs me on and causes me to unintentionally (or sometimes intentionally as you will see below) ham it up. Another reason this photo is funny? Those circular frames have been hanging in our hallway for at least 4 months with no photos in them. My friend Kristin came over once and looked at them very seriously and said to Jeff, "I really like the choices you've made here, the Thomas O'Brien Target logo is particular evocative." Or something equally snarky. Jeff's response was a deadpan, "Yes, that was my thinking as well."
In all seriousness, this photo (and the one below) were taken 8 days ago, when I was nearing the end of week 15. We'd just gone to the Lion King with my entire familia where my "belly" was apparently not big enough to warrant a cut in the mile long bathroom line. It did however justify a plate the size of my head filled with salmon and mashed potatoes post-play. The whole fam, including grandma, aunts, uncles, cousins, and significant others went to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner after the show and -- holy large portions Batman!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Daily Note: March 21, 2009

Sometimes when I sit very still and pay close attention, I think I can feel Bart moving. This started yesterday and I'm almost positive it's not just gas. It feels like one of the following is happening:

1. A very tiny leprechaun is gently knocking on the wall of my uterus from inside.
2. A fat butterfly with strong wings is fluttering around in there.
3. Really faint gas bubbles are popping and shifting, but lower. And weirder.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Daily Note: March 17, 2009

I don’t have much of import to share, so I thought I’d write a post about food. Food occupies much of my thinking time these days (truthfully, it kind of always did) so it seems fitting to write about it. Sadly, my nausea is still hanging around, although at a much lower level, but my appetite has most definitely returned in full force. Primarily I just want to share some of my most recent food indulgences:

1. I’m really into Samoa Girl Scout cookies these days. I know everyone has a bone for the Thin Mints, but I’m not interested. I’d have to eat at least a tube of those airy, minty puffs to feel any kind of satisfaction. I also made homemade chocolate chip cookies over the weekend and have turned my nose up at them in favor of the artificial Samoas.

2. BLTs. I think I’m supposed to be cutting back on sodium nitrate, but COME ON! BLTs are so delicious! I haven’t been eating lunch meat, haven’t touched a hot dog, and avoid most sausage products unless I know they’re au natural. But Louisa’s Bakery about 1/2 a mile from my office makes the most delicious wheat bread, uses the perfect amount of mayo, slices the ideal tomato and loads the sammy with crispy, buttery bacon. I justify this splurge by walking the mile roundtrip and I limit the indulgence to a once weekly event. Today was that day.

3. On Saturday, I took myself shopping for some new elastic waist pants and stopped in at one of my favorite downtown watering holes. I know this is unoriginal, but I heart the Nordstrom Café on the 3rd floor sooo much. Everything they make is so good, but their entrée salads are particularly winning. While I was sad not to order my usual pear and blue cheese salad, I was amazed by how delicious the salmon nicoise salad was. The salmon was buttery and warm, served on top of mixed greens tossed with green beans, warm potato cubes, olives, hard boiled egg, tomatoes and capers. I sat by myself and ate the entire thing. Since then, I’ve had salmon every day. Last night I actually had to take myself out for a weird, solo dinner at The Ram at Northgate so that I could have salmon and mashed potatoes for dinner. In my defense, it was the closest place with free parking that I could think of that would probably have grilled salmon AND mashed potatoes. My only regret was not ordering it to-go and taking it home to eat in my sweat pants.

4. Nancy’s plain, whole milk yogurt with defrosted frozen berries and grape nuts. This has been my breakfast every day for the last 3 weeks and I’m not sick of it yet. Sometimes I even eat it again after dinner.

5. A little shameful – but I have a passionate, on-again-off-again love affair with Doritos. I tend to crave them, over indulge on them, then feel totally sick and repulsed by the whole experience. A week later, I come crawling back though.

6. Pad Thai with fried tofu or prawns. I’ve had this for lunch or dinner at least once a week for the last month. The versions from Royal Palm and Bai Pai are particularly tasty. I’ve always loved Thai food, but something about the salty, tangy goodness of Pad Thai has been calling my name lately.

7. I haven’t been able to satisfy this craving yet, but every once in a while I would kill for a sushi dinner. Although it would be sad to pass on the spicy tuna, I think I could be totally satisfied with the spider, California, and tempura rolls.

So. What are you pigging out on these days? And seriously, if any of these items sound tempting to you and you live in Seattle, call me and we’ll go for dinner. My treat. I’m tired of weird, solo meals while Jeff works late and am totally willing to pay for companionship.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Daily Note: March 13, 2009

1. It’s Friday the 13th!!

2. I think I saw Skipper from Sex and the City waiting for the bus on my way to work today.

3. People who ride unicycles are bozos who mistakenly think they are cool.

4. I’ve been hesitant to post this for fear of jinxing myself, but I’m feeling noticeably better this week. My old friend Barfy is still hanging around, but he chills in the next room now, rather than sitting all smashed up against me on the couch like he used to. My personality has returned to me, and so has my appetite. Hopefully Barfy isn’t reading this and planning a surprise attack just to keep me on my toes.

5. I went to my first prenatal yoga class last night. I’ve always really enjoyed yoga, but it’s been about a year since my last class, so I was a little nervous. Instead of writing an essay to summarize my experience, I’ve compiled a list of the pros and cons:

- It gave me ample time to stare at other pregnant women’s midsections without feeling creepy.
- For the first time, I felt like I was part of a group of people going through a common experience.
- The exercise factor was nice. It was hard, but not too hard. I moved for 90 minutes straight for the first time in about 4 months and didn’t die!
- The teacher played music quietly in the background almost the whole class and at one time while hanging out in pigeon pose, Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd came on.
- It was reassuring to see all these people much further along than me in good shape, but not such good shape that I felt shamed. It gave me hope that I could look and move like them in a few more months.
- There was a funny moment at the end of class where I felt like I’d regressed to naptime in kindergarten that I enjoyed. Basically, pregnant women aren’t supposed to spend a lot of time on their backs after a certain point so instead of the usual corpse pose at the end of class, the teacher encouraged us to find any comfortable position to relax. For most people this involved using their bolster as a body pillow and laying on their sides like sleepy time. Looking around at all these pregnant women who appeared to be napping was kind of amusing.

- Someone in the class was named Juniper.
- The teacher talked a little too much (and by a little too much, I mean that she talked about it at all) about the full moon on Tuesday and the impact it has on our body and spirit.
- There were multiple times when the teacher was going on and on about winter and earth and mud (?!), the heaviness of the season and its connection to our spiritual beings and I was distracted by the sheer dirty hippiness of the situation. I don’t mind a few readings and cymbal chimes and I can even enjoy a good talk about the cleansing power of breath. But this was a little wacked out.
- I am totally out of shape and got winded doing arm pinwheels. The woman 5 days past her due date right next to me was fine.
- There was a woman who looked to be over 40 wearing pigtails that kept making awkward eye contact with me during class. After I’d caught glimpse of her staring at me a few times, my eyes unwillingly kept getting drawn back to her to see if she was still staring. She was. Pretty much every time. Then I started to wonder if she thought *I* was the one staring. Because at that point, I kind of was.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Daily Note: March 12, 2009

This week, I hosted two going away parties. First to be sent off was our ungainly armoire that has been hogging space in our living room for way too long. Craigslist finally paid off (after months of Jeff relisting it and lowering the price) and someone came to haul it away last night! The room literally feels twice the size it did before. And twice as dusty because dude, there were some bunny-sized dust piles under there.

My second party was less of a celebration and more of a funeral - for my pre-pregnancy clothes. I folded and moved to the guest bedroom all my dark wash jeans with zippers and buttons, and kissed goodbye an entire stack of size extra small shirts and sweaters. Oh Extra Small, how I will miss you. Who knew I loved you so much? I suppose pregnancy and parenthood are a lesson in humility and I graduated to level 102 last night. I know it’s shallow, but when I went to Target this weekend to look for some bigger shirts I felt sad as I passed the hangers bearing the XS brand, bravely skipped my fingers over the ones labeled S and dove right into the M’s. I think after being teased for being short most of my life, I decided at some point to turn it around and instead of referring to myself as “short” I decided I was “small” or “little”. This made me feel better. Sort of like how Americans felt when the government started referring to “global warming” as “climate change”. This change improved my self esteem a great deal but the unintended consequence is that I think I started placing too high a value on my shirt size. In conclusion, I bade farewell this week to “small” and “little” and welcomed back my old friend “short”. Because whatever. I ate an entire box of Samoa Girl Scout Cookies on Monday and had like 3 dinners last night AND I ENJOYED IT. If this is the price I pay for being pregnant, then bring it. These days the only “little” thing around here is going to be baby Bart. Have I mentioned that Jeff is referring to the baby as Bart? He does this for three reasons:

1. He is 100% sure we are having a boy.
2. Bart is a terrible name and it eggs me on when he refers to it as such.
3. It’s kind of funny.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Daily Note: March 8, 2009

This morning I woke up earlier than usual and turned over in the bed to face my husband's back. In general I'm a very sarcastic person and am not a big fan of the sentimental. But this morning I saw my husband's back and I put my hand gently on it to feel him breathing but not wake him and I thought, "mine".

Want to know the story of how Jeff and I met? Let's pretend that you say yes, because I'm about to tell you anyways.

It was in March (perhaps this very day) in 1994. There is some speculation that we actually met much earlier, because growing up, one of my best friends was also best friends with Jeff's sister. My Mother remembers one incident in which we played in the same back yard at this mutual friends' house, however she claims I was a little preoccupied with learning to walk and Jeff was running around with the other boy there whipping things with sticks or whatever 3 year old boys do. So 1994 was the first time we met and actually remember it.

I was a freshman in high school and Jeff was a senior. I was a massive drama nerd in high school and had landed myself a role in the Spring production of Midsummer's Night Dream. One of my fellow cast-mates was turning 16 and invited me to her birthday party, so I went. At 14, I was one of the youngest ones at the party, and I grew bored with the crowd. While everyone else was off watching a video in the family room, I sat with my best friend Bibi (also only 14) on the floor of the dining room talking. And in walked Jeff Culver. He was there because he was friends with the birthday girl's older sister and was aimlessly and vaguely pursuing either one of the sisters. He was very tall, skinny with rosy cheeks, and was sporting a bowl cut parted down the middle. I was smitten. He sat with us in the dining room and made a few dry and sarcastic comments that had me swooning in my tapered jeans.

My friend Katherine was supposed to give me a ride home from the party, but she bailed on me to go parking with her boyfriend (which she later claims was intentional so that Jeff could step in and offer me a ride). Jeff quickly offered to give me a ride home (which was TOTALLY against my parents' rules as Katherine was one of only 3 friends they trusted to drive me around). I quickly accepted. He walked me to his car (the very same one he finally sold like 6 years ago) and I distinctly remember it was a long, dark walk. I made a snide comment about how maybe he was just taking me out into the woods to kill me and he went along with the joke, wrapping his arms around my shoulders for a minute and pretend shoving me off the side of the road. I was a twitter. On the ride to my house, we talked about his career aspirations, where he was applying to college, my passion for the performing arts and how strict I thought my parents were. He offered to let me hang out at his house if I ever wanted to. My heart was a flutter. He dropped me off and that was it. I called Bibi the next day and told her I had a crush. A week passed and I only saw him in the hall once or twice, each time getting nothing but a polite hello. I started to get desperate.

A week later, Katherine and I were hanging out at her house one night and started calling around to invite people over (her Mother was rarely around). I oh-so-subtly suggested that we should call "that Jeff guy" to see if he wanted to come over. We called and his parents told us that he'd gone to Seattle with one of the sisters from the birthday party. Did I mention that this girl was a senior? And the heart throb of many, many senior boys? Cue heart break.

But. BUT. A week later it was St. Patrick's Day. I had play rehearsal until late that night and when I got dropped off at home that night and went to say good night to my parents in their bedroom, my Mom stopped me as I walked away, "Waaaiiiit! I forgot! A BOY came over and left a card for you. It's on the kitchen table." I totally lost my cool and asked, "What did the boy look like!?" to which my mom unhelpfully provided, "He looked just like Tyrone Powers!" I looked at her like WTF? because what 14 year old knows who Tyrone Powers is. So she added, "He had really rosy cheeks!" I rushed to the kitchen and snatched up the card. I still have the card. He designed it himself. I think it said something about how he was sorry he'd missed my call the week before, referenced a specific joke that we'd made the night he drove him home, and then suggested that if I wanted to get together sometime, that I should call again. I immediately ran to my basement bedroom and called Bibi to flip out. Years later my parents told me that they could hear me yelling through the floor, "He made me a card!! He wants me to call him!!!" (or something equally dorky) over and over.

I called him the next night after ballet class. We talked for like 3 hours about all sorts of shamefully immature topics. The next night he took me on our first date. My parents made him come in and introduce himself before they'd let me go. I think they were ready to hate him and the whole idea of me dating a senior, but the family-friend connection helped (they knew he came from "good people") and I'm pretty positive that his bowl cut and general polite, dorkiness took him the rest of the way. They sent us off with a strict 10:30pm curfew.

We had a hot date at La Pinata where I ordered fajitas and he ordered something weird with shrimp in it in order to appear "interesting" (a theory he was currently testing). After dinner I think we did all sorts of random things, like I vaguely remember driving to the top of a big hill on Chuckanut drive to look at the stars, we wandered the aisles of Haggen Grocery for a while, and I think we cruised the Western campus; basically filling the time until 10:30 when he returned me promptly to my back door where we stood on the stoop saying good bye. But there was no kiss good night. That wasn't to come until my 15th birthday 10 days and 5 dates later. I'd like to say it was because he was a gentleman, but truthfully I think it had more to do with being a chicken. But he's MY chicken. Still is.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Daily Note: March 7, 2009

Lots of pregnancy books talk about how sometimes the significant other will develop "sympathy pains" while you are pregnant. Truthfully, this sounded like bullshit to me. Jeff isn't some crazy hypochondriac, and he doesn't really ever get sick. So imagine my horror when I came home from work last night to find my husband lounging in the comfy chair, TV on, sipping MY gingerale and nibbling meekly on MY saltines. The better you know Jeff, the more shocking you will find this discovery. He said he'd felt on the verge of throwing up all day and was really tired. My reaction was a mixture of outrage (I'M the sick one!!) and pure puzzlement (Is Jeff crazy?). In the end I settled on mockery and total amusement.

PS: Happy birthday Kristin! Wish we could be there with you today, but I know we're all looking forward to the belated celebration on the 21st.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Daily Note: March 5, 2009

Well, it's happened. I've rounded the corner and have entered the realm of the elusive second trimester. We got to hear the heartbeat on the doppler thingamajig today, which was exactly the boost I needed after the major nausea relapse I had yesterday. While the heart thumped away, my doctor kept looking at me and saying, "There's a baby in there!" And she said it with the exact combination of awe and excitement that I've been trying to get Jeff to display every time I ask "Can you believe there's a baby in there?!" She could give lessons.

Truthfully, sometimes it's very easy to believe that there's something in there (like when I feel like holy hell and wake up every day with 10 new zits), but other times it's harder (like when I stare really hard in the mirror and have to reposition myself 50 times to find my "baby bump"). Anyways, I was happy to receive the go-ahead to garden despite the fact that my cat uses the backyard as his own personal litter box. The yard is in a shameful state and the beautiful crocus that I planted are currently buried under leaves and framed by plants that died during the long freeze in December. I'm also going to try and hit up my old yoga studio this week for my first prenatal yoga class. Last week I ran the expense of the classes by Jeff to make sure it was okay and his response was, "Do I have to go with you?" To which I replied, "No, I would prefer you not. The description says women only." He promptly responded, "Then yes, this is fine."

Many have asked whether we will find out if it's a boy or girl. To which I ask back, "Do you know me at all?" I am the least patient person perhaps in the whole world, plus my Mom is already buying polka dotted hair bows, and I'm not sure how much longer we can put her off from buying gender specific items. Not that there's anything wrong with boys wearing polka dotted hair bows. I'd just prefer to wait until he's old enough to express that interest himself, rather than foist it upon him.

In conclusion, we are scheduled for April 6th for the "big" ultrasound where we get to find out if it's a boy or a girl (and if it has a third leg, one eye or two heads - although judging from the 12 week ultrasound, I'm hopeful that this is unlikely). The general consensus from most friends is that they think it's a boy. Except for Maggie, who despite all proof still thinks I'm having twins and refers to them as Louis and Louise.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Daily Note: March 3, 2009

Jeff and I have a history of ensconcing ourselves in TV shows on DVD. There's a whole period of last year where my social life disappeared because all we did was watch episode after episode every night of Lost. Ditto Arrested Development a couple years ago. Currently, we are addicted to renting episodes of Entourage. We go through entire discs in one night.

Everyone suggested Mad Men but we just couldn't get into it. Yes, the costumes were cool and the period-ness of the whole thing is a good concept, but once you get over that (like 5 minutes in) I was bored and disliked all the characters. We felt like we were being slapped in the face over and over with "Look at how everyone smoked in the '50s!" and then "Look at how terribly women were treated in the '50s!" After a while I was all, "Yeah, yeah, I get it! Do you have anything else for me?" Apologies to everyone who said we'd love this, because there were many of you.

Entourage however, is so highly entertaining to me. I love Ari's temper tantrums and Eric's love affairs and when Turtle says things about Drama like, "He mostly just stands around trying not to look retarded." It seems like such a dude show, but I heart it.