Monday, April 27, 2009

Kitty love

This is Isobel.

For anyone who hasn't met Isobel, she is just under eight pounds of attitude. My sister the veterinarian is terrified of Isobel. The vet we take her to kindly calls her "opinionated" - but wears falconry gloves when handling her. But she's our oldest girl, the first cat I adopted entirely on my own (even though now she loves Morgan more than me) and we love her very much. She has a sweet side that most people don't get to see - the Isobel who will follow Morgan around yelling to be picked up, who will sleep curled up next to my head with her motor of a purr going.

She's also a little prone to jealousy (having, over the years, having had to compete for our affection with four other cats and a dog) and there's that whole anger thing, so we've been a little concerned about how she'll deal with a baby. If the other day was any indication, I now think she will ignore him.

I was lying on the sofa, on my back but propped up with several pillows. Isobel decided my chest was the place to be - she came and laid herself down with her backside at the top of my ribcage and her front paws at about my bellybutton. Because of the pillows, most of her weight was on my belly, which the froglet did not like. I had this vision of him kicking and swinging his fists in a toddleresque temper tantrum... Not sure if that's actually what happened, but Isobel started bouncing around on my belly as the bug protested her presence. She didn't bat an eye. It was the first time Morgan got to see the froglet move from the outside - though really, he didn't so much see him move as he saw him move Isobel. Pretty funny. (Once we both laughed at the sight, we made Izzy move - since it was pretty clear it was not a fun experience for the poor bug.)

Sunday, April 26, 2009


A fairly recent, but very exciting, development in our house is that we're having our wiring replaced this week. We've known since before buying the house that this needed to be done at some point (I'll never forget the expression of horror on our real estate agent Christine's face when the inspector peeled back some insulation in the basement and pronounced "knob and tube") but we haven't done anything about it in the four years we've lived here. Instead we've lived with the knowledge that you can't operate the toaster and the microwave at the same time, with one outlet per bedroom, with one outlet in the kitchen (when the electrician came for the estimate, he looked around the kitchen, then stared at me: "How have you survived?"). But our tax returns were especially generous this year, so we decided to take care of it before the froglet arrives.

At some previous point in the house's history, someone who didn't do any research into the hazards of knob and tube wiring installed roll insulation around the wiring in the basement and then covered it with sheet rock. This is bad; the tube part of the wiring can get extremely warm and the insulation makes the whole thing a huge fire risk. Basically, we're lucky the house is still standing. The electrician we're using gave us a quote that included removing all the insulation and sheet rock; we decided that we'd rather spend that money on having them install an attic fan instead. So we gathered the troops and had a good old fashioned demo day today.

Well, more accurately, everyone else had a demo day. I stayed upstairs and outside and was scolded every time I went into the basement. My aunt Virginia and Jill and Christian came over and helped Morgan kick butt; they tore down the sheet rock and pulled out the insulation in just over two hours. Jill also ventured outside for a while and helped me clear out the overgrown rose bushes and weeds along side the house so that the electricians can get to the service head. All and all, we have amazing family, and we're very grateful for everyone's help.

Overall I'm very excited to know that our house will be safer, hopefully cooler, and that we won't need to worry about running the computer and fish tank chiller at the same time anymore. I'm a little concerned about herding cats to keep them out of the electricians' way and about dealing with an uber anxious dog (he was so stressed out about all the activity in places he couldn't go that he hasn't eaten dinner yet), but it will only be a day or two, and - best of all - I'm taking a day off to stay home with the pets tomorrow. Any day off work is worthwhile.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Origin of Concord Dinner

Morgan and I are not warm weather people. This is despite my having lived almost half my life in warm climates (0-10 in gulf coast Florida, plus subsequent summers, 25-30 in Concord, CA). I don't cope well in heat; give me a nice foggy or rainy day and I'm thrilled, but when the temperature gets above 80, my brain stops functioning. This is one of the reasons we sold our lovely condo in Concord and moved to San Leandro - closer to the Bay, closer to family, and cooler.


We've had record breaking heat the last few days. According to the little Google toolbar on my computer, it was 91 degrees at about 7pm last night. Unacceptable. Our house, which we love dearly, has a few flaws. Foremost is our inability to properly regulate the temperature. The front of the house is south-facing, with a lot of windows that either don't open or don't have screens. As a result, the living room, where we spend most of our time, gets sweltering on hot days. The back of the house stays moderately cooler, but not a lot. The basement maintains a lovely temperature, but since we're in the midst of a project that involves pulling down poorly installed insulation from the ceiling of the basement, it isn't exactly the, um, cleanest place to hang out right now.

When we lived in Concord, we developed a method for dealing with trying to eat on days like this without adding any additional heat to the house, but I don't think we started calling it Concord dinner until we moved away. Concord dinner looks something like this: a wedge of brie and/or some other variety of yummy cheese, fresh bread, some fruit, sliced tomatoes, sliced turkey or smoked salmon. Usually there's some variety of white wine to accompany this meal, but given my current state, we had iced tea instead and skipped the meats. (Yes, I know: soft cheese is supposed to off limits too, but it was pasteurized. C'mon, how much am I supposed to give up?) I did buy Morgan his favorite muscato for later - I'm a good girlfriend that way.

Supposedly the weather is supposed to break by tomorrow; I really hope so because I'm tired of sitting in my house dripping sweat. Through this whole pregnancy, I've been dreading the onset of summer; I'm already running a couple degrees warmer than usual, so I feel it that much more. But, as my mother kindly pointed out last night, I was born in Florida at the end of August. So it definitely could be worse. Sorry, Mom. And thanks for moving to California. I really do appreciate it.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pax in a couple months..?*

*Except of course, I wouldn't let our 16 pound brute actually lay on the baby. Questionable parenting, there. ;-)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

And a new symptom

Apparently I'm starting to waddle a bit - twice today, I have slammed my arm or shoulder into a door frame as I through. Sigh.


Today was the first day of our Preparing for Childbirth class through Kaiser. Although the class description did not identify itself as such, some research revealed that this would be a Lamaze-based class. Heh. I'm guessing that the lovely lady leading the class isn't going to follow a very strict Lamaze curriculum. The first class was sort of all over the place and led in a decidedly stream of consciousness style. Not that there's anything wrong with that... but amongst the various topic covered in today's session, pain management was not really addressed. We have four more classes; hopefully it will come up...

There were nine other couples in the class, including a woman I first met in my prenatal yoga class, who also showed up in my water aerobics class. She and her husband live in San Leandro, so we finally exchanged numbers, despite Morgan's concerns over the fact that they are big sports fans and his fear that they might be Republicans. She is due two weeks after me so it will be nice to know another couple with a kid the same age. Our first parenting network connection!

We're 31 weeks along now - which means I can safely say, just two months left. Even better, less than two months left at work. Yay. The froglet is up to about 3.5 pounds, and is fattening up daily. This week, I've discovered the joy of napping in my car at lunchtime, though I'm not sure if that's just because of my general level of exhaustion from last weekend's travels. Apart from the tired, I'm doing pretty good. The carpal tunnel continues to be an issue, but I don't think there's any resolution except birth. I'm a little sad because I'm afraid to pick up a crochet hook. I had hoped to make some blankets etc of my own for the froglet, but with the numbness/pain in my right hand, I don't think I will be able to. Sigh.

I am very proud to report that I made it through the Ting Tings show on Wednesday, and even stayed on my feet the whole times. We are now looking at going to see Jenny Lewis at the end of May. I'll be 37 weeks pregnant. Apparently my friend Melissa went to see Daft Punk at about that point in her pregnancy and was fine. Jenny Lewis will be a much more mellow show, so I think we're going to try. Gotta expose the bug to as much music as possible!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

30.5 Weeks

Due to my excessive weekend activity, my weekly update is a bit askew again. But there's not much going on right now. The froglet is squirming like mad these days. According to my books, he's about 17 inches long and around three pounds. Since he'll only be getting a few inches longer in the next ten weeks (only 10 weeks!), he'll be growing out more than up from now on.

I'm finding that some of the tiredness from my first trimester is returning - or maybe I've just been doing too much. Morgan uses every opportunity to repeat my doctor's advice about needing to slow down. Very funny. But I did take today off to go to the doctor and to rest. It was a routine appointment - the baby is where he is supposed to be and his heart still sounds like a washing machine - and only took about half an hour. But I still took the entire day off for it; someone pointed out recently that I should be using the pregnancy card way more at work than I currently do.

There's not much else going on right now. We start our childbirth prep class this weekend, which should be interesting. We're also going to see the Ting Tings tonight; I'm assuming I will be the most pregnant audience member there and am really hoping to score one of the few seats at the Fillmore...

Monday, April 13, 2009


Morgan and I took another road trip this weekend, this time to Portland, Oregon. His dad lives up there, so we went up for a visit, and to bring back his car, which he can no longer drive. The trip, for anyone who has never done it, is about 640 miles, and takes about ten hours. We left at 1pm on Friday, spent Saturday running around Portland (and Salem, which is about an hour south of Portland), and drove back home on Sunday.

The trip back was much more challenging than the trip up (well, it was for me) since we were driving two cars, meaning I actually had to drive. I'm not a car person; I know some people find long drives meditative, but I'm not one of them. Especially since we had somewhat heavy rain and wind for the first couple hours, followed by winding mountain roads, followed by the sheer tedium of I-5 south of Shasta. Followed, of course, by typical Bay Area traffic jams. I was trying to think about the longest drive I had previously done solo, and it was probably a round trip or two to Davis when Jill was in school. So, maybe three hours tops? This was much longer, and for most of it, I was driving the new-to-us car.

I am very grateful for the car; Morgan and I have been discussing whether or not to replace my Subaru Forester when the froglet arrives. I love it, but its a quirky car, with its own set of noises, lurches, and smells. The smells were what were making us consider getting rid of it; it has a fun habit of suddenly filling the cabin with exhaust smells, which seems not very healthy for a baby. But ultimately, we decided we couldn't afford it, so we would just hold onto it for the time being. So essentially being handed a new car is a wonderful gift.

The problem is, I think this particular car (a 2004 Chevy Impala) is kind of a Big Guy Car. Even with the seat set close enough for me to reach the pedals, I have to lean forward to adjust the volume on the stereo, and I have to actually pick my foot up off the floor to switch from the gas to the brake. Needless to say, by the time we reached home, I was a little achey. But the car will be perfect for having in town and for transporting the baby around in (much bigger backseat - there will room for the bug and Pace at the same time). And for any longer trips, Morgan prefers to drive anyway, so I am happy to surrender the keys to him.

Anyway, ten hours is a long time to contemplate the inanity of motorhome names (they should never include "lite" - seriously), the nature of bad drivers (if your Blazer is so filled up with crap that you can't see the line of cars building up behind you, you shouldn't be in the fast lane), and the ridiculousness of a vehicle so large it needs vertical blinds (we passed it three times, due to bathroom breaks). However, driving up and down SE 82nd Avenue in Portland a dozen times or so, past car dealerships galore, did expose me to this; I totally want one now. The Impala has a V6; do you think that's big enough to haul it?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Week 29.5

Being a bad blogger, I took the weekend off. It was Morgan's birthday last week, so we went down to Monterey Bay. We stayed at Asilomar, which is beautiful, had an amazing dinner at a restaurant recommended by a co-worker, and sent two days at the aquarium watching fish and sharks and otters and seahorses and jellyfish. It was lovely.

There's not a lot going on in the baby growing arena right now. My primary baby book focused entirely on preterm labor this week, which is grim, so I won't share details with you. Og just continues to grow. One of my sources talked about how he's gobbling up all my calcium about now to get his bones stronger, so I made a point of stocking my work refrigerator with yogurt, since I don't tend to get nearly enough calcium on a daily basis.

Fun point of the week: This morning I saw my belly move for the first time. I had just finished putting away a load of clean laundry and plopped down for a minute to rest my back, and felt and saw Og's kick at the same time. I started laughing, so had to explain to Morgan what I was laughing about. He found it more amusing that I was lying there poking my belly waiting for it to happen again. Alas, it didn't. The froglet does not, apparently, perform on demand.

Friday, April 3, 2009


I have nice ankles. Its a rare point of vanity for me, but they're slim, prettily adorned (see above), and are an elegant link between my battered runner's feet and my bulky runner's calves. My friend and running partner Liz used to laugh at me for my dainty gait, since I tend to run on my toes and between that and my skinny ankles, it didn't seem possible for me carry myself a full 26 miles. I did, though.


I've been resigned to the fact that my feet are constantly swollen, resigned to the fact that I'm currently limited to wearing my Keens, my Birks and an old pair of running shoes.* But my ankles? The swelling makes me sad. I'm not quite to full cankle status yet, but they're definitely substantially bulkier. The lovely indentations on either side of the achilles tendon, between the tendon and the actual ankle bone? Gone. I really am fine with the idea that my feet will stay a size larger post-pregnancy, but I will get my ankles back, right?

end vanity post

* All right, I was a little bitter last night when I realized I couldn't fit into my tall boots anymore. Keens look funny with dresses.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Good taste

Apparently Og is fond of chocolate. Someone gave Morgan a jar of very yummy hot fudge sauce, so the last few nights, we've had mini sundaes for dessert. Not the best idea right before bed, I've discovered. This is the first food reaction I've experienced the boy having, but he dances up a storm after I eat this. Its kind of fun. Except for the part where I'm going to give birth to a sugar addict...

Or maybe he hates chocolate and I'm torturing him. That's not possible, is it?

(Edited to add: Yes, I recognize the irony of this being my first post-glucose test post.)